Wow... This is going to be a very big blog entry... so much to catch up on... hang in there!
Have I mentioned in the past how much I love my neighbors?
Here's how we celebrated all the snowfall... a driveway Happy Hour!
The beginnings of our bar:
Parkas, fire pit, appetizers...
More families joining... until we were all together enjoying the weather. The Joneses, The Cervenak's, The Dubin's, The Wellses, and The Jordan's. Our drink menu included Snugglers, mulled wined, Poinsettias, and much more... we HAD to stay warm, right??
The week before Christmas the city of West Linn just about shut down. No school for any of the kids, no gymnastics, no dance classes--it hardly would have mattered--we couldn't get anywhere in the snow anyway... The house definitely started to feel small!
In an attempt to keep herself entertained, Avery upgraded her "work station" in Lulu's room to include reading glasses.
We also found our own personal use for the 18 inches of snow we had. This is my new wine cooler just out the back sliding door on what would be our porch step.
This holiday season, Grandma introduced the girls to the story of Frosty the Snowman...
... and advent calendars. Both were a huge hit.
It must be December 24th... because there's no more chocolate in here!
On December 23rd, Greg and I spent more than three hours in the car driving less than 40 miles roundtrip to pick up Auntie Jessica who was snowed in at her apartment in Portland.
She kept the little ladies busy on Christmas Eve making cookies for Santa.
They did a great job...
But I'm not sure that the little ones really helped all that much!
They were good "testers" however.
Geneva got caught up in the wrapping frenzy.
Christmas morning Geneva woke up an hour before Avery. Luckily, she forgot that Santa had come (and we did not remind her) so we were able to keep her in bed with us until we heard Avery begin to stir. Then it was time to "remember" that Santa had come!
We woke up Auntie Jessica, Grandma Lulu and Cousin Stephanie (who was able to dig her car out of the snow and survive the "white knuckled" journey in her two-wheel drive to our house the evening before).
NeeNee's stocking was a hit: Barbie and a cell phone??
Too cool for school in her new Hannah Montana pajamas.
(No she still has no idea who HM is... she is convinced that she LOVES her though.)
Avery got her first pair of Nike sneakers. She's quite fond of them--can you tell?
Rock 'n Roll People!
Momma got exactly what she wanted too!
Matching performance leotards (and new tennies) require an impromptu Christmas Talent Show on the fireplace "stage."
Matching was a theme this year...
Piper--ready for some fun... too bad we're still snowbound!
How did those bracelets get down there??
Hmmm... one of the more innocuous things to be found in Piper's diapers.
Auntie and Lulu decorating more cookies.
The Staggs' were in town from Seattle visiting family and were able to spend some time with us on Christmas Day.
The new scooters definitely got broken in--a big hit Grandma Lulu (winner of the best gift contest)!
Sofia and Piper are just 3-weeks apart in age! It was so fun for Avery to have a little buddy just her size!
Greg, Piper, Geneva, Tammy, Sara, Sofia, and Dan
Linda made her mother's (Grandma Verna) recipe for chippino for our Christmas dinner... AMAZING!
December 29th brought the Bills Family to our house for a holiday visit!
Baby Norah is almost walking and sooo BIG (in a little Bills kind of way).
Natalie and Geneva took less than a second to warm-up to their BFF status again. Before she could even get her coat off, Natalie was engrossed in a new game with Geneva. We were treated to many talent shows and singing performances.
The big girls got along amazingly well for 5 days. Nighttime brought slumber parties and a bit of drama from time-to-time and the days were filled with games, laughter, squealing, dress-up, and performances.
Norah-Ba-Borah made herself comfy in Avery's highchair for her meals and Avery was delighted to sit at the grown-up table.
Uncle Rusty made pancakes.
The girls enjoyed some downtime (not a lot--but some).
The mommies had lunch out one afternoon and the little ladies kept the daddies busy.
Avery sported her first ponytail for the New Year's Eve party we went to at the Royer's. There were 5 families and the kids outnumbered the adults. We celebrated on "East coast time" and counted down at 9pm. The countdown was followed with a crazy dance party and we were home with the kids in bed by 10pm.
My niece, Jackie, was in town visiting her Granddad. I had picked her up earlier in the day. She spent the evening at our house enjoying some movies and time on her new laptop. She stayed at the house with the sleeping kids while Rusty, Staci, Greg and I ventured across the driveway to The Dubin's for more champagne and our second countdown.
January 2nd brought sunshine, a bit more snow, and the Bills' departure (boo-hoo). Geneva and Natalie had a great time visiting each other--we all did. We were sorry to see the Bills go.
Kisses, kisses, and more kisses...
Then Greg took them to the airport.
They called a little while later to report that their flight had been canceled. They had about 7 hours to kill... we got dressed, drove out to the airport, and enjoyed a great lunch together before we had our second emotional goodbye.