Wrapping Up Twenty-Thirteen

Jan 22, 2014

My grand plans for catching up on blogging before the start of the year failed miserably. And it really stinks to start out the new year "behind". Especially when we are already more than halfway through January (WHAAAAT!?!) and I have plenty I want to blog about for this new year already. So, I'm going to do a little recap of what I hadn't gotten around to blogging, and then I'm moving forward!

I left off with our end of September trip to San Diego, which brings me to...

October has been a hard month for our family for the past few years. This year, October 5th marked 3 years since Bruce Wayne's mom passed away and it still has not gotten any easier to be without her. But, this year was the first year since she passed that October did not feel like a sad month. It was filled with plenty of excitement and happiness and I am sure his mom was celebrating with us.

The beginning of October is when we found out Bruce Wayne was being promoted, and he started his sergeant training at the end of October. And the middle of October brought our first family trip to Disneyland since Man Cub was born. It was so much fun. We all loved showing the little man around our favourite place. Plus, it was Halloween time at Disneyland which is pretty awesome. Two of my brothers met us there and we all went to Mickey's Trick or Treat party together, dressed as Peter Pan and company. I was Peter, Bruce was Hook, Sunshine was Tink and Beebs was Wendy. Man Cub played the role of Tick Tock Crock and my two brothers were members of Hook's crew. One of them had even found a perfect Smee hat. I think we were a pretty good looking group. The only down side of the trip was that my camera was malfunctioning, so the only pictures I have from Man Cub's first Disney trip are iPhone quality.

October also included a field trip for Sunshine. It worked out that I was able to attend the field trip with her and it was so much fun. We went to a local farm where we explored the fields and picked some fresh produce, saw lots of animals and went through a corn maze. I loved watching Sunshine interact with all of her friends. She is such a social butterfly. Maybe a little too much sometimes... like when she should be listening to the teacher instead of talking Ü but I am grateful for how friendly she is and her eagerness to make everyone feel loved and included. And have I mentioned how much I love her school??? Going on the field trip with her just reminded me of how blessed we are to have such a great school so close to us. She has had amazing teachers, and is making so many great friends. And I love all the other moms I've gotten to know so far. It is a great school to be a part of.

November was a busy month as we prepared for the fast approaching holiday season. My parents came into town to celebrate Planksgiving with us... any Hart of Dixie fans? We decided to give our Thanksgiving celebration a pirate flair, so the girls dressed up in piratey clothes and wished everyone a "Happy Planksgiving". We had our traditional steak and crab leg dinner, eaten outside on a beautiful Arizona fall day. The food was delicious and the company was fantastic, but my favourite part of Thanksgiving was when Sunshine got a  brilliant idea. She had heard me mention a little girl I knew of whose family was really struggling over the holidays. They had very little by way of material possessions, right down to not even having a couch in their front room. While at my father-in-law's for dinner, Sunshine started picking oranges from his orange trees and decided she was going to have an orange stand. She was going to sell oranges to raise money for this little girl "who has nothing, not even a couch". It was the cutest thing ever, and I posted a picture of it on Instagram and that's when the text messages started rolling in. By the time all was said and done, not only had Sunshine earned a little bit of money which she put towards a Christmas gift for the little girl, but she had also been the inspiration behind a couch, Christmas tree and tree decor, a television and other odds and ends being donated to the family. It was the PERFECT reminder of what the holiday season is truly about and I am so grateful for the wonderful example Sunshine is to me, of selfless service. She has such a tender heart and is so good about thinking of others instead of herself.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, the girls and I did one of our favourite Christmas traditions- we got dressed up in our Christmas dresses and went to a show. This year it was the Phoenix Symphony Holiday Pops, and my mum and baby (ha- she's 18 now!) sister were here to go with us. I thought it was a fantastic show and I am hoping Bruce and I can go see it together next year. It definitely put me in the Christmas spirit. 

December was wonderful this year. A little crazy... but isn't the end of the year always that way!? I only did photos for a couple of my long standing clients, so I didn't spend the entire month editing. Bruce was officially working the position of sergeant, so he was working a flat 40 hours a week instead of the 60+ that being a detective often meant. I say it was a little crazy, but in reality, it was far, FAR less crazy than any other Christmas time we've had recently. We went to the temple lights, decorated gingerbread houses, did a small amount of Christmas treat making and a whole lot of Christmas treat eating. We watched The Santa Clause trilogy approximately one thousand times and sang our hearts out to Christmas tunes. We enjoyed opening the Lego Friends advent calendar each day, and running to the tree to discover Christmas Elf candy each morning (Man Cub was a huge fan of that tradition!). We read so many stories by the light of the Christmas tree. It was such a fun month leading up to Christmas.

And Christmas itself did not disappoint either. Christmas Eve was spent at my father in law's, chowing down on soup and sandwiches before reading the Christmas story together. Bruce didn't work until 9pm on Christmas Day, so we were able to enjoy our normal Christmas morning festivities... I woke up before anyone else and waited as patiently as I could until about 6:30 when Sunshine finally woke up and together we got the rest of the family out of bed. We started with stockings, then moved on to the presents. Everyone's Christmas wishes came true... Sunshine got an American Girl doll, Beebs got the Lego dolphin cruise ship and Man Cub got a big whee, which he found immediately upon entering the living room, and did not want to get off of no matter what other presents we showed him.

But Bruce Wayne and I got the most amazing gift of all... his dad had a quilt made for us, using pieces of Bruce's mom's most loved shirts. "The Grandma Blankie" is sure to be one of our most prized possessions for many years to come. I love snuggling up under it and remembering Becky wearing all of those shirts. And each time I find Sunshine curled up under it on the couch, my heart just melts. It is truly a treasure for our family.

After presents, Bruce Wayne's family all came up for brunch. We spent time with them, and then the girls and I built Legos and watched new movies while Bruce slept in preparation for going back to work. Then we had our traditional Christmas dinner of roast and Yorkshire puddings before sending Bruce off to serve and protect.

The rest of the year was pretty relaxed. We packed away Christmas on December 26th, so we could all focus on Beebs's upcoming 4th birthday. On the 27th we celebrated my mother in law's birthday with lunch at her favourite restaurant, my homemade carrot cake and a trip to the cemetery. And the last few days of 2013 were spent with our awesome friends from Coronado who came to visit. Nic and I hit up Last Chance for some smoking deals on kids shoes and stayed up late doing "crafties" and took all the kiddos to SkyZone. It was a great visit with great friends. We miss them so much and really wish they hadn't left Arizona all those years ago! 

New Years Eve we had dinner and s'mores, Cornhole and Catch Phrase with some good friends from church, and with that, 2013 came to an end. 

It was a fun and exciting and crazy busy year that flew by in the blink of an eye, but oh what a great year it was! 2013 treated us very well. Here's to hoping 2014 does the same.

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