Happy Valentine's Day!

We enjoy taking a day to reflect on and enjoy our relationships every year. It's good to have the reminder to do so, especially during tax season. This year's Valentine's Day went better even than usual, a function of the kids getting older, I suspect. Although, we did have an Ash Wednesday service that same day - so it was a rather odd juxtaposition of somber reflection and romantic sentimentality. :-)

Memories in the making

Judah, Ezra and Phinehas are all doing HOOPS basketball this year. And boy was Phinehas excited - he kept telling me how many days, and then how many hours, until his next practice! That enthusiasm was dampened somewhat when they lost their first game, but all to the good, that's what sports are for, right? His fires haven't gone out too much though, and this is what I saw this afternoon.

Makes my heart happy. 💜

Christmas 2017

While people who have both sets of parents in town have to figure out how to spend each holiday with both sides of the family, we have always had the situation of having my parents 4 hours away. Even though it would be lovely to have my parents and family nearby, I am always a little thankful during the holidays that we are either here in town with Michael's parents, or out of town at mine. So we rotate, in an orderly fashion, Thanksgiving and Christmas every year, and this year we were in Eastern Washington with my parents.

One upside of spending Christmas with my parents is that my dad is an amateur photographer with the patience and (tiny) bit of OCD to make all of the fiddly little preparations to take some great pictures! Here are some of his:

Giving Thanks, 2017

For the last three years, Michael has instituted a tradition of having a Thankfulness Box available the week of Thanksgiving for people to note the things for which they are thankful. Then on Thanksgiving he reads through them, and sometimes prizes are awarded for the greatest numbers, but not this year, which was a little more haphazard than the previous two years. Nevertheless, I actually documented some of the "thankfuls this year" and am posting them here for posterity:

Monica's somehow got misplaced and haven't turned up yet. She was thankful for many things, among them her chimes class and Ezra's parakeets. I can't remember any other right now, I'll have to ask her for a refresher.

Viva la Mexico!

In October, we took the opportunity of a firm-offered "boondoggle" to visit our neighboring country to the south. First stamp on our passports, for both of us! Michael had to spend a whole 3 hours a day in classes, but the rest of the time was, frankly, just for fun! Monica's teacher stayed with out kids while we were out of town (except for Elena who hung out with Grandma Valerie and Grandpa Howard for a few days). 

Catching Up on Birthdays

It is a truth universally acknowledged that someone who posts blog posts less than monthly might as well not be blogging at all. *sigh* Nevertheless, I press on. I use this blog as my scrapbooking process, and without it, there will be no scrapbook, and hence, no record. 
So, to catch up on birthdays from this year:
Elena turned 5 in August! Our baby is five! We actually had a small family celebration the day of her birthday, complete with some candles stuck into a Costco muffin, and the pictures were sweet. However, a young man of the family was messing around with my phone, and those pictures are gone for good, a feat that seems nearly impossible in the day and age, but there you are. At the end of August, we celebrated a joint birthday party for Elena and her cousin Elinor, who was celebrating her first birthday. 

About a month later, Ezra turned 12! He had spent the night at his friend David's house earlier in the month, for a birthday celebration, and when I picked him up th…