Wednesday, December 28, 2016


So, Kiara and Kotten Kandy went on a double date yesterday.  They had lots of fun plans, but then this happened:
Taffy, Kotten Kandy, Asparagus and Key Lime Pie
These crazy kids were laughing about their change of plans!  And they played games and had a great time on the side of the road waiting for rescue.
Then.... after their date, Scott and I arrived to pick kids up.  We all laughed when we saw that Kotten Kandy's date and Scott were wearing the same thing:
These two cute guys posed for a "twins" picture!
I'm glad my daughters have such great friends to have adventures with!  Taffy and Asparagus ROCK!


Scott is loving his work this year!  And it shows!  Look at all the fun they have had together during the Christmas season:
Scott - Paige - d'Argy
Dinner at Brazeiros - YUM!
Everyone dressed up nice!
Everyone loved it!
Everyone ate too much!
And I loved getting to know Scott's crew better!  He has an amazing group right now!
Arts and Crafts at CPS
Each employee created a self representation out of bottles and Santa hats!
How creative!
Scott made the star out of plastic left overs.  Isn't it gorgeous and creative?!
Everyone decorated the tree with homemade creations....
Pit was a HUGE success at the Christmas party!
Games are always fun!
This guy makes me smile!
He knows how to have fun and make things fun!
And he's perfected "the selfie!"

Sunday, December 25, 2016


We are so blessed to share our past two Christmases with foreign daughters!  And Fig Newton is so cute and continues to remind us by her excitement how wonderful this season is.  
Kiara - Fig Newton - Kotten Kandy
All three girls were woken up this morning with the traditional greeting "Santa came!"  And the stockings were a huge hit!
They just woke up - and are about to look into their stockings....
Key Lime Pie enjoyed socks and gloves!
Fig Newton didn't know where to begin...!
Kotten Kandy can't wait to use her Nerf gun!
Then we ate Scott's yummy, sweet rolls!  And got ready for Church.  Our meetings were wonderful:  lots of Christmas music and narration about our Savior!
I'm so proud of my beautiful daughters!
Look at these amazing young women!
Then... home.  Back in our PJs!  And we opened our gifts from each other.  It was fun to be together!  And it was fun to laugh and enjoy our little family!
These superhero jackets are "the bomb!"
And the girls loved their Jets jerseys!
And Scott was super surprised by his main gift!
(He cried.)
Like Tiny Tim said, "Hooray for Christmas!  The most wonderful time of the year! ... And may God bless us, everyone!"


Guess who came home December 24th!?  KIARA LEA!  And of course, we celebrated!  The airport scene was out of a movie... Kiara ran towards me.  I ran towards her.  We cried and hugged!
Our best friends were invited last minute to celebrate with us!  (And we were happy to share our daughter and our traditions with them!)
Kiara had no idea that the Bettenhausens would be with us....  So she was beyond excited.  She was surrounded by hugs and smiles and love!  (Marmalade and Jelly Bean were especially excited to see her and wouldn't let her go.)
Apple Pie and Marmalade hugging Key Lime Pie
Jelly Bean was excited to see "his Kiara" again!
Marmalade couldn't stop giving hugs....
Dinner was AWESOME!  Scott always makes this feast his gift of love!  Kotten Kandy helped out behind the scenes and Fig Newton created the beautiful name cards again!
Isn't Fig Newton so talented?
She's truly amazing!
Look at this large, wonderful "family!"
Afterwards, we had our traditional Christmas program:  group singing, individual performances, and giving gifts to our Savior.
Kotten Kandy sang "Angels We Have Heard On High"
(And she sang the Glorias on one breath!)
Nuts performed "Good King Wenceslas" - all the verses!
What a memory - and an incredible voice to boot!
Marmalade played a beautiful Christmas hymn for us!
Apple Pie was being shy!
Juice played Carol of the Bells!
Way to go!
Jelly Bean played a "song about Jesus" which consisted of an unusual grouping of notes and dissonance... but still adorable!
Scott played his harmonica!
He's loving his new talent!
And Mark made us all laugh with an enthusiastic rendition of "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer"!
Then we exchanged Christmas gifts with the Bettenhausens:
I love being the "World's Best Honorary Aunt Hands Down!"
These kids are truly special to me... I love them like they are my own!
I'm sooooo glad Amy shares them with me!
Kiara was excited to get a planner....
And we all laughed when Amy got Kotten Kandy a SLOTH!
"Sloth the most adorable of sins!"  (See Studio C's 7 Deadly Sins on youtube)
Fig Newton got a spirograph to play with!  How fun!
Afterwards:  Christmas Pajamas!  FOR EVERYONE!  And we watched The Nativity Story.
Amy and Mark
The Betenhausens
The Bettenhausen Kids
The Kids I call "Mine!"
My girls!
Kotten Kandy - Fig Newton - Key Lime Pie
Family PJs!
I always thought I'd have a "nice and normal" family,
Instead I am blessed with a "kind and weird" family!
Raisin was engrossed in The Nativity Story!
She loved the Baby Jesus.
It was a beautiful night!  With some of our favorite people EVER!  YAY, for family!  YAY, for the Christmas season!  And YAY, for the reason for the season!
I truly am grateful for the birth of our Lord and his eventual sacrifice to save all mankind!

Monday, December 19, 2016


We are so blessed!  We have so many wonderful gifts/friends!  It's true that as I get older, I don't need or want material gifts as much as I need dear friends!  These great friends of ours all are striving to live righteously and do good.  They are examples to me and my daughters!  And they are loving anchors for my sanity!  Spending Christmas time with them is the best!
Bettenhausens, Coolbears, Schmids, Pinas, US, Kellys
The Schmids hosted a Christmas party for the adults.  We had so much fun learning how each couple met, fell in love, etc.  Then we had lots of yummy food and played White Elephant!  The spontaneous sing-a-long was the best part - we could start a pretty good choir with Tony on the guitar and the rest of us singing "O Come All Ye Faithful!"  I love these wonderful friends!
And with these wonderful friends come some wonderful kids - whom I love and adore!  I'm grateful that we can spend time with them sharing my love of books with them, my love of music with them and my love of nativities (and all things Christmas) with them!  Here's how we share those things:
Spencer - Asparagus's novel is also in the pic - but he fell asleep.
I was so excited to share my dad's autobiographical novel with some of my favorite young men...
Rice Krispie
Goose Girl is one of my favorite novels.  I hope they love it as much as I do.
(When we gave them the books from Scott and I - 
Scott told them they weren't from him if they didn't like them.  Ha ha!)
I love these silly, selfie-taking girls!
Fig Newton, Maple
Rice Krispie, Guarana and Apple
These two jammed on their harmonicas...
It sounded GREAT!
I ended up getting out my recorders, dulcimers, ukuleles, didgeridoos, etc.
Everyone was playing something!
Marmalade is playing the recorder in this picture,
Kotten Kandy and Taffy are sporting didgeridoos,
And Scott is accompanying them on the bones!
So Ben Coolbear (Taffy, Maple and Apple's dad) is extremely talented...
He wanted to add to my nativity collection so he cut me an original snowflake.  
It's GORGEOUS!  He also cut out 4 other snowflakes of wise-men and a camel.
I'm going to frame them.  How does his mind work?!  It's incredible that he can fold a piece of paper and see these intricate designs in his mind - and execute them with scissors.  What a talent!
These girls (Marmalade and Apple) made my night!  They used my food storage and blankets, along with some creativity to create their own nativity!  The pink blanket/bucket is Mary.  The chair is Joseph.  The basket contains Baby Jesus (a stuffed animal).  The wise-men have decorated paper bowls for crowns and candy for the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  The angels wings are Santa hats and the shepherd's staff is a billiard cue.  These adorable cuties had fun creating a nativity for me!  And I LOVE that they are learning about the true meaning of Christmas!!!!