Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells

December has been a very fun and full month for us! I love how there are so many fun things to do around the holidays....especially with the freezing cold temperatures. Sometimes it feels like we have to be forced out of our house and into the cold!

We started off the month by going to John's work party. It was very nice with delicious food and awesome prizes (of course we didn't win anything). We had not gone on a date in a while so it was REALLY nice to go out with my man!! We traded babysitting with two other couples this month so we actually got to go on TWO dates this month! We've really missed this! Babysitters here have been hard to come by. Everyone in our ward are the same age as us with young families. There is one family with teenagers but it seems like you have to fight for them...and I'm not so much into stealing other peoples babysitters!
St. Nick came!!!!! I love this day (December 5th) because it's a small dose of Christmas morning. It just gets me ALL excited! John actually surprised me with a few new things in my shoes (I usually fill my own)!
We took a small roadtrip. We decided to go to the temple in Palmyra New York (that is OUR temple). It's still 3 hours away...man do we look forward to living closer to the temple. Of course we brought the kiddos...because there was no where else for them to go. It was a REALLY long day for them. We tried to make it fun but spending 6 hours in the car is a long time for them. It was really cold so we couldn't spend too much time out of the car or the Visitors Center or we would be popsicles.

While John was in the temple, the kids and I visited the Hill Cumorah. This is where Joseph Smith was lead by Angel Moroni and he found the golden plates in the mountain side. It was really pretty and very fun to be there. I am SO excited to go back in the Spring/Summer when the weather is nice.
We decided that it was as good a time as any to check out the Sacred Grove and I am so glad that we did. It is not very busy in the winter so we had most of the place to ourselves. I hear it is PACKED in the summer so I'm glad we went...even in the snow! This is a part the Smith's farm. The kids loved it!
The Smith's Frame Home. It was such a step up from their first home that is on the property. I have small memories of being here with my family when I was a kid. It was great to bring my kids to have the same memories as I did.
What would Christmas be without decorating Sugar Cookies? We didn't do Ginger Bread Houses this year...no one seemed to notice!
These cookies were YUMMY! Thick and chewy!
Our little "Rugby Player"! We sure do spend A LOT of time in our house right now. It really is so much work to get everyone bundled up and to go out into the dreary...blah....weather. I have really missed the sunshine (we did have one sunny day this month) and am already REALLY ready for winter to be over. There are people here who really don't mind the weather. I just can't get into it. I want green grass and I would love to be able to go to the grocery store without trudging through snow or melted snow and mud and sand. I love our house and it's a good thing.
This is Talon. In my bed. This has been a nightly occurrence. The only reason he is allowed in my bed is because he pays me with random, sweet kisses occasionally in the middle of the night and he is such a sweet cuddler. BUT, John and I both sleep so much better when he actually makes it through the night in his own bed. I think he is ready to be out of his crib. I remember that when Isabella was getting really hard to get to sleep and stay asleep, as soon as we switched her to a bed, she slept all night. Maybe that will work with Talon. I think we'll be getting him a bed this week!!
These pictures are awful...blurry, crooked, table in the way....but they are the only pictures that I took with all three together on Christmas Eve or Christmas! I hate when I do that! We had a really fun Christmas Eve! We had grand plans of eating and playing with another family in our ward this night but their newborn baby ended up getting really sick and needed to recover, so we had to come up with a back-up plan. We started out the morning with a delicious...sit down breakfast. My favorite! Then we went to the movies with all three kids (a first!!!) to see the Legend of The Guardian Owls. We were one of two families in the movie! I thought it would be packed...but we enjoyed having all the space we needed. Talon does not watch TV or movies...so after he was really rambunctious for the first twenty minutes...John was able to snuggle him up and he fell asleep for the rest of the movie. The girls of course LOVE going to the  movies.
After the movies we took the kids to a Restaurant. We went to Olive Garden, and AGAIN, we were surprised at how EMPTY it was. We had a quiet, relaxing, completely civilized meal with all three of our kids. They were GREAT! It was a lot of fun and the kids all got their tummies full! By the time that we left the restaurant, it was picking up and there were people everywhere. We beat the crunch!
We came home, made cookies for all of our neighbors and went caroling! It was a highlight of our Christmas (this was our second round of Caroling!!) Then we had the kids each take turns reading (or reciting) a few scriptures...this was Talon's turn. He always does so great. He repeats every word John says (again...let me remind you that he is not a talker yet!) Some of the words he repeats sound SO close to the real word...other's...not so much. BUT he tries and does such a good job! We've been trying to read the Book Of Mormon this way for the past few months and the kids really love it.
Our stockings were PACKED full this year! It was a good stocking year for us! When we are all finished having babies, I plan on buying matching stockings and getting our names monogrammed on them. BUT until then...we've got a little of this and a little of that!
Yeah for presents!!! Christmas morning we heard the kids at 7:30 (they knew they could get into their stockings before we were up). We totally could have let them enjoy their stockings for a while before we got up but we were too excited! We woke up Talon (easy to do since he was sleeping pushed up against my face) and headed out to see what Santa had brought us! The girls favorite gifts are their Pillow Pets! Talons is probably this:
Talon and JOHN love this new hoop! They play everyday together! The rest of the day was spent with the kids in their jammies (John and I actually got ready for the day). Playing with toys, eating candy, playing new DS games and Explorer Games. Most of my afternoon was spent cooking dinner...
Our ham...fall off the bone....goodness.
Homemade Lionhouse Rolls.
Cheesy and Crunchy Potatoes
Sparkling Grape Juice
I had more things planned for our meal but I tuckered out. My kids kept coming in complaining to me about what we were having for dinner...so I finally decided that if John and I were the only ones eating then I wasn't making ANY MORE FOOD! They of course loved the rolls. They all eventually decided that the ham was good and ate some, but Hailey HATES potatoes. She wouldn't even go near them. Isabella is still a good sport and tried everything. Talon is the worst eater out of them all. He did eat quite his share of the ham though. He loves meat! We had cinnamon rolls for dessert and those were a hit!
John got a sled for Christmas. After the girls were in bed (and Talon should have been) John and him went out for a late night sled! We have the tiniest of hills in our front yard. Talon LOVED it. Giggled SO loud! John froze to death.
John has gone out everyday since Christmas with the kids and pulled them super fast on this sled. One day we'll have to actually bring it to one of the hills for a really sledding experience.
And....those are open backed slippers in his feet!

I really, really missed being with family this year. Erie just seems like such a secluded place. It is REALLY easy to feel alone in this town. I think that next year, we may be doing anything necessary to spend the Holidays with people we love!
Thank you for all of your wonderful Christmas cards. We look at them daily and think about all of the memories that we share with you. We are all worlds apart but at this time I can still feel the love that is shared with one another. We have many things to be grateful for and are so thankful for this Season of beautiful music, gorgeous decorations, and sparkly lights!!!


It's a......

Well, some of you may recognize this first picture from 2 1/2 years ago when I was pregnant with Talon. This picture was taken at 20 weeks and 1 day. I thought it would be fun to take a picture in the same outfit that I wore that day.

Darn it. Here is 20 weeks with this baby and I am very disappointed. I was thinking that the previous picture had been taken earlier in the pregnancy...like 17 to 18 weeks. Nope. I double checked.
Big ole belly! Sheesh. The funny thing is that I still have not gained ANY WEIGHT! Makes no sense. BUT...even though they are not pictured...the jeans fit. They are not maternity jeans. Maybe I couldn't breath....but they fit! Just sayin'!

We made the little two wait until Hailey got home from school before we would tell them what we were having. The girls both guessed it was a boy. I don't think Talon knows what's going on.
And here comes the cookies. They knew the drill: pink means girl, blue means boy!

 Yeah!! It's a girl! I called it!! The Ultrasound Tech kept playing games with us....couldn't fool me! She looks so healthy and I love her so much. We had a 45 minute session (super thorough tech) and we loved every second of it. A boy would have been cool. 2 girls...2 boys...but a girl sounds just right! 

Happiness all around!

Proud Daddy!

Now we can back-up a bit. We ALL know that I only blog once in a while these days so here is a chunk of stuff that we have been up to! Thanksgiving was a nice relaxing weekend. Well, for the most part.
This picture below is the only picture that I have of Thanksgiving Day...Lame I know. We went to a friends house and had a great time! The food was delicious and plentiful! Everyone was worn out by the time we got home. Isabella didn't even make it to her bed. Straight from car to kitchen floor.


Girls day out. We went and saw tangled while Talon napped and John tried to recover from being sick. All of the adults in our Thanksgiving dinner group, caught this nasty stomach bug and this was John's turn. I had it the day before.
Of course there was shopping! This picture was taken at 2 am. Eating a midnight snack at McDonalds to kill some time (and get warm and dry). We started our day at 7:30 Thanksgiving night. Went and stood in line at Toys R Us in the rain. It was about 42 degrees at this point. It was great though. We had chairs, umbrellas, and we were still dry. Great company! It was a blast! Doors opened at 10pm and we got everything that we had on our lists (plus some). Then it was off to Wal-Mart. We got there about 11 so we could scout out what and where our items were before midnight when the madness begins. I got about half of the things on my list. This place was truly a M.A.D H.O.U.S.E. It was intense. Wasn't sure if I was going to make it out alive. Good news...I did...but I had to sacrifice a few things.
Britani and Nicole! So here we are back to 2am and after we warmed up a bit we headed back out into the even worse weather (sideways rain and temps. around 35 degrees). We were still damp and getting a little tired but still ready for some fun! We drove over to Target and thought we would wait in the car for a bit to stay warm and dry but realized quickly that the Target line was growing by the second and we had no time to lose. There were a few things on our list that would be hot items so we braved the weather and got in line for the next hour and a half until it opened at 4am. I don't know if I have ever been THAT COLD! My feet were soaking wet and so were my pants. We finally started taking turns waiting in line so that we didn't DIE! Met some great strangers in line. Always do! Target was a success and it was 6:30am by the time we were done (and snowing now). By 7 I was sound asleep in my bed, just in time for the family to be waking up. I slept until 9 and headed to AC Moore for a few more things that I had on my list! A HUGE SUCCESS! I got the best deals. But by the time I got home I was feeling that stomach bug that I was unaware that I had and I was SOOOO Tired. I took a little nap but the kids just wanted me up so the rest of the day was spent watching movies, playing games and feeling osososososososososos sick.

Here's our Thanksgiving Snow. Saturday the kids had a great time playing in the foreign material! I had stocked up on all of the winter essentials (knowing what we were in for) but I forgot one thing....snow gloves. They didn't care but I was sure to buy them on Monday!
These two kiddos crack us up. They have turned into the biggest fighters. They are only 19 months apart and you can see that now. For the longest time Talon was just the baby but he has turned into a full on toddler right along with Isabella. John is soothing two very unhappy children who were just beating each other up.
Two minutes later...they are loving on each other. Seriously...this is all day long. Either they LOVE each other or are Gladiators trying to see who can hurt the other one more!
We decorated for Christmas about 2 weeks before Thanksgiving. Loved it! Lay off!


This picture was taken yesterday before school. Our Thanksgiving snow had all melted but we woke to a beautiful WHITE wonderland and Hailey was SO excited about school being canceled. She was very disappointed when I informed her that school doesn't get canceled here in the snow (unless it's a few feet maybe!)