Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Post You Thought Would Never Be Posted

Don't forget to write about the 12 days of christmas performance -Chloe
(That moment when Chloe logs into your blogging account and leaves you reminders... ^) 

Lots of Days in the Life at Random...

Since it's now January February 2017 (yeah, I started this draft a while ago...) I think it's about time we tell y'all about our last month of the 2016, because we had a ton going on which means there are lots of stories to catch y'all up on and tons of pictures and everything else! 

Ignore that whole paragraph basically, because now it's May and I don't even know how many times I've logged on here trying to finish this one post so y'all know we still exist and that we had a good ending to the year 2016. 

Because going day by day would make this post waaaaaaaaaay too long (and because there's no way I can remember that far back) I'm just going to give the highlights of our Christmas season and finish out the year for y'all. 

An early morning "sunrise alert" text from Gramma got me out of bed one Tuesday in time to enjoy the golden glory of the sky in this picture. 

That night, while Gabe was at gym and Dad and Christian were out together, us girls watched "Newsies". Mia goes crazy over that movie every. single. time. 

November 30th was Mom and Dad's 20th wedding anniversary. 

This was their first Christmas together.

We never watch Christmas movies or listen to Christmas music or start decorating EVER!!! until after Thanksgiving. Usually we being all that the day after, but this year, because we were still celebrating things with Mom's family, we waited a few extra days. 

This wreath was the first thing to be put out.

The first Saturday in December Gabe had another gymnastics tournament and Christian and I went to be judges for a speech tournament. (Goodness that was so long ago!!!) Everyone else went with Gabe to his tournament and then we all met up again at church that night. 

Christian and I had never judged for a tournament before, but we had watched many times so we sort of knew what to expect. Normally there are 3-4 judges per room for each speech round and each round usually lasts for about an hour with 5-6 competitors presenting. 

There was a shortage on judges, however, so there was only one judge per room. That was a little daunting, knowing that we were making the final decisions for these kids' speeches by ourselves. 

We both judged two rounds and in between got to visit with friends. 

All the ballots I got to fill out in a round.

Food was provided at the tournament, but there wasn't a whole lot of it and by mid-afternoon we were both very hungry so we got chicken sandwiches, french fries, and peppermint milkshakes at Chick-fil-a. 

Pictures from Gabe's tournament.

He won a medal in every category!

Sunday afternoon we finally got to decorate our Christmas tree! We turned on our Peter Hollens Christmas CD from Uncle Adam and had Dave Ramsey muted previewing on our tv in preparation for Financial Peace University later. We found it very entertaining to imagine Dave lip-syncing with the songs. 

Once we got into December we enjoyed watching lots of Christmas movies like "Elf", "White Christmas", "Christmas in Connecticut", "The Santa Clause", and "Little Women". (The last one isn't technically a Christmas movie, but we always watch it around Christmas time so it counts in our family.) 

You know you are an artist when you can hold 7 (or more) pencils
in your hand and know exactly which colors are where.

I got to meet baby Jackson while at work one day!
(No, his finger is not up his nose, it's on top of it. *wink*)

It was a rather dreary month... 

But we had a few stunning sunsets!!

One day Nana and all of us except Dad went to the Galleria in Dallas to ice skate. This was our third year in a row to do that and each year everyone gets better! Gabe still has no problem racing all over the place, wiping out, and going again, and he definitely took home the invisible, non-existent, imaginary trophy for the most coolest wipeouts. Mia got to the place where she left the side to skate in the middle for the first time!

Neither Mom nor Nana skated, but they enjoyed visiting and sipping on hot drinks from Starbucks while the rest of us got a good workout. We arrived early in the day and only had to share the rink with about 3-4 other people for a majority of the time. Because when the crowds started flooding it we decided we were done. After about an hour and a half we finished up and got lunch at Five Guys. Then we made a trip to Old Navy and to see the Santa who must live at the South Pole (he had a bit of a accent). 

When you take a gymnast to ice skate.

Doesn't everyone read like this before bed?

One Sunday we had our brunch meal and then spent the rest of the day all together in the living room talking, and watching different music videos on YouTube, and watching Dad help Gabe work on his back handspring. Mia wanted to get in on the action too, but Dad was basically picking her up and flipping her over like a rag doll while she giggled and laughed. 

Late in the afternoon we watched a movie and then after dinner we watched another one. It was fun to have such a relaxed day together with no agenda or plans. 

One afternoon Kate came over to our house to play for a few hours while Blaire and their mommy ran some errands. Ava had been doing some sewing earlier and made them both little bears. Kate was so excited to see the kids, especially Gabe. And let's face it, they were over the moon excited to see her too. 

She is always pointing her toes 
like a little lady. *heart eyes*

Kate enjoyed chasing the Christmas train we had set up until she accidentally hit the reverse button and it scared her. She also wanted to go swimming... 

I spent an afternoon with a friend and we made sugar cookies together. I'd never done that before and it was really fun. She took this super artsy picture for us to remember it by. 

I continued watching Kate and Blaire about one day a week. One day while I was feeding Blaire I realized it was very quiet. I got up and found Kate using a baby wipe to clean her toy chest. She told me what she was doing and then I saw the Vicks Vaporub bottle on the floor open. On further examination I realized Kate had rubbed it all over her forehead and hair and then put cheerios and raisins in it. She happily told me all about it while I just laughed. I tried to explain to her that only mommy could use the rub and then set Blaire down so I could clean sticky Kate up. That stuff is not easy to get off of things... 
That face though...

That same day, after watching Kate and Blaire from 6:00 in the morning until 5:30 in the evening, I left their house and went to babysit three other little girls from our church while their parents took the baby and went to a work holiday party in Austin and came back the same night. 

When I got there it was after dark, but the chickens were out. And they weren't just out, they were roosting on top of the coop not willing to move. 

So one child stood under the coop jumping to knock them from underneath, I tried to brush them off with a rake, another child ran around the base of the coop grabbing falling chickens by the tail to put them in the coop, and the last child stood in the corner waving a flashlight in every direction which didn't improve anything at best. 

It took about 30 minutes, but we eventually got them all inside. Again all I could do was laugh. Chloe and Christian always take care of our chickens, so inexperienced me probably didn't do the best job in the world. But least we did it!

Inside I had everyone wash up thoroughly and change into pajamas because chickens aren't the cleanest animals... And then we decorated a gingerbread house and got candy and frosting all over everything! 

Once that was...mostly cleaned up...we all settled on the couch to fall asleep watch the first two episodes of "When Calls the Heart." I'd never heard of the show before, but the girls love it so I said it was fine. The younger two both fell asleep before they were over so bedtime was easy since all I had to do was help the older one carry them to bed! 

I had many many hours left to wait before their parents got back at 2:00 am, so I continued watching the show because it kind of sucks you in... But as far as tv shows go, "When Calls the Heart" really is good and it's very clean. I was really impressed with it and very much enjoyed watching it. 

By the time I got home I had been working a solid 22 hours. 

The next day was a Saturday and Dad and us kids spend the entire day making Christmas cookies. While I was babysitting the night before the others made fudge, toffee, and something else and then watched "Frozen." 

Saturday we made cream cheese cookies, pecan sandies, chocolate cookies dipped in white chocolate and rolled in crushed peppermints, butterfingers, and peppermint bark. It's very possible I'm leaving something else out too.... It was a lot! 

I helped with the other stuff but then also made "Kitchen Trash"
(which is basically chex mix). 

The Sunday before Christmas we went to Gramma's house to spend the day with Dad's side of the family. 

We took family pictures when we first got there and then finished making the traditional turkey dinner to eat at 12:59. (Our goal was noon.) 

Chloe, Uncle Dan, and 
Aunt Sherry are our photographers. 

Busy kitchen.

After the meal, but before cleaning the kitchen, we exchanged gifts. Then the kids played while the adults cleaned up. 

We made ornaments for our craft.

After our craft was finished dessert was pulled out which included all the cookies and other treats we'd made, plus two pies bakes by Aunt Sherry, and a cake from Aunt Candice's kitchen, AND Blue Bell ice cream because the Linn family never has a gathering without that!! (Except, of course, for the gatherings that took place during the "great Blue Bell famine of 2015".)

While people had their dessert, we provided the entertainment! (I didn't forget it, Chloe!) 

Please enjoy our performance!
Even though it's nowhere near Christmastime anymore...)

I had to leave after dessert in order to get to Aunt Lauren and Uncle Phil's apartment before dinner time. I had been helping Aunt Lauren with a project and went to spend some time with her to wrap it up. But that evening we just had dinner, visited, and watched a movie together. 

One night the sunset did this to my white shades,
I thought it was pretty. 

Because every post is gonna have at least one or
two pictures of them.... *wink*

A few days before Christmas Gramma and Grandpa came over to have lunch with us out and then to visit during the afternoon. 

Chloe, Christian, and I went out to one day, late morning, to give Mom and Dad a quiet house to work on a surprise. The littles were on a fun outing with Nana and Grandfather to see our local Mint. 

We got to take the recycle to the place where you take recycle (super fun and exciting!!). Then we got milkshakes and went to see "Sing". 

While wrapping gifts I tried to wrap my head
around the fact that Christian would actually really like this gift. 
How is he 16, taller than me already, and totally into fashion?

Christmas Eve we went to Church as usual. Mia got to begin the service by reading some scriptures our pastor had selected for her. 

The Night Before Christmas...

Christmas morning (now here's the real's May and I have to remember what we did..!) we got up around 7:30 maybe (?) and opened stockings in the living room. Then we had breakfast which was I think cinnamon rolls, and eggs, and sausage, or something like that. Mom and I got coffee and we headed back to the living room to exchange gifts. 

Ava's gift to Dad.

Opening Legos.


Christian was given a special new guitar!

Ava's new game.

Happy with his pile.

Mom and Dad face-off.

At some point Nana, Grandfather, Aunt Lauren, and Uncle Phil (the later two with whom we'd spent time with the night before after church), came over to see the elephant in the bonus room. (Not a literal elephant, but that's what we were calling the surprise.) 

It was a new workout area! 

He's amazing.

Trying to do something effective ish.

Once gift-giving was over we played some games and then did a workout together and then worked on a causal lunch of snack-y stuff. 

Then we watched a movie and spent time celebrating with Nana and Grandfather. The rest of the day was laid back and wonderful. Since we live in Texas, I wore shorts all day. It was in the 70's. 

In the last week of the year I went to the One Thing Conference in Kansas City with other ladies from church. We had a wonderful time and it was really amazing! I could not believe how many thousands of people were there. The worship was my favorite part, that and witnessing miracles. 

We got home in time for church on New Years Eve and then had people over afterwards for dinner and to play games and pray into the new (now middle-aged) year. 

A random picture of the pretty morning sky from I don't know when.

Starting my Bullet Journal!

 I've been pondering...

Taking time for myself is hard for me more often than not. I'd rather be helping someone else or serving or taking care of someone, or something like that. Those things are easier for me. For five years I journaled every single night. But this past summer I stopped. Not on purpose, but adulthood hit me and that was one thing that fell by the wayside. Not taking the time every night to process my feelings and all that happened each day has not worked well for me at all. So now I am working at building my habit up again, setting aside time for myself, giving myself time and space to think and process. Being behind stresses me too, but writing something helps. Your mental and emotional health is important and writing may not be what you personally need in order to give yourself time and space, but whatever your thing is, know that it is important and you should not feel guilty for taking care of yourself. (Also, sleep is not overrated. Get good sleep and lots of it, if at all possible.)

When you wake up on the edge of the world...

Or, what the wall of adulthood looks like some days... 

I'm so glad that when I can't see the next step, God can. 
When I'm not sure the next move, God knows.
When it feels like some days all I can see is fog, God has the clearest picture in the world. 
By faith I can put one foot in front of the other.
By faith I can move forward.
By faith I can trust God will bring clarity. 
Trust is so simple.
Trusting is not always easy. 
But God, who is faithful, who sees everything, who never leaves us or forsakes us, who is arranging every detail of our lives perfectly for our good and His glory, gives us grace and faith and strength to trust Him more. 
With Him as our source for all things, we have nothing to fear.

That Moment When...

The place is so conservative Chloe has on the shortest skirt of anyone else present. And her skirt is touching her knees.

The Herd Quoted 

"You are going out tonight. I refuse to have you in the house for dinner." -Chloe to Mom and Dad on their anniversary when they weren't sure if they were going on a date or not.

"No, Coach Titus wasn't there, he had a membrane." -Gabe
"A migraine?" -Mom
"Yeah, that." -Gabe
(Later that day)
"Yeah, his memb- I mean, migraine was so bad that he couldn't see like five inches in front of his face. Like if Lydia was right here-" -Gabe puts his hand three inches from his face
"I would be WAY TOO CLOSE!!" -Me
"Yeah, well, he could see you, but yeah, don't do that." -Gabe

"I think I might make a pie or two. We will see... I can't recall what we had talked about. Oh I remember what we were going to do, we were going to make an apple cake!" -Mom
"How about pie?" -Me
*Dad bursts out laughing*
"I think you just volunteered to make pie, didn't you, darling?" -Mom
"I guess so..." -Me

"It's just been like my one life long dream, to actually see a real trumpet. Like I thought they were extinct!" -Mia 

"Tasty adult beverage, beer, not root beer, but BEER." -Gabe 

"The proper term-age is..." -Me 

"We have some Breath-Away oil in the drawer." -Dad
"Breath-Again?" -Mom
"Yeah, Breath-Away, aka Death." -Me 

"I know it tastes awful, but I value my health over bad tasting stuff I have to eat." -Apparently anonymous because I can't remember who said this... 

"I'm going to slap together to two things on the ends of my arms." -Dad playing Taboo
"Clap!" -Someone who was right.

"It's non-caffinated." -Also Dad playing Taboo
"Decaf." -Someone who was right and drinks coffee. 
*Que the room busting into laughter* 

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