January and part of February

New Years Day.  Noah's had a cold off and on for a month, thus the pile of toilet paper. :)
 So much rain and water this winter.  This is at the creek by our house.  This is where the kids usually play in the little tide pools in the summer (behind the trees in the background).  After one of the big floods (I think early 90's) they spend millions of dollars to build these over flow areas.  I've never seen them filled with water, but man, they've come in handy this year. 

 We like to see Rachelle every day, so we pull up her youtube channel and do her yoga videos. :)
 Headstand contests. 
Sometimes I tell the kids if they can do a handstand for 5 seconds (or something a little out of reach) then they can watch a movie.  Usually they end up practicing for a long time, and then don't have time for the movie.  Ha, mean trick. :)
 Went to Folsom lake to play a couple weeks ago.  The kids put on their wet suits and kayaked to that little island.  They got in at the end.  Crazy kids.  Surprising how low Folsom is for all the water we've been getting.  They are letting out so much it doesn't allow for it to fill up during the rainstorms.  Makes Adam mad. 


 One of Ava's sweet notes she left for her dad (way better than her angry notes :) ).  "I love you daddy because I helped you get your pantse and shrte and shoes. I love you daddy" We were headed to the cabin so she go him all packed. 
I stopped packing my kid's clothes a long time ago, so they've gotten pretty good at packing.  This is usually how they pack.  Grant comes and asks me how many days we are staying and what he needs.  Then he writes it down and passes it to Noah and Ava when they're done.
 Grant and his large gaping hole in his teeth.  Bucky-Beaver-Tooth is what we call him. 

 One of our trips to the cabin - explored around Whiskeytown Lake a little bit.  The tiny little town here is so cute, I want to go back and explore it some more.  

 One of the times up to the cabin we got a flat tire.  We were almost there and the back of the truck was full of stuff.......and it was dark.  A police officer pulled over and turned his spotlight on for us.  We (Adam - I mainly held the cell phone up for light) had to unload some of the stuff from the back to access the spare tire.  Just that morning Adam took a different tire in to get a hole filled.  Unfortunately, this tire had to be replaced because the hole was too big. 
 Ava being a weirdo. 
 Helped in Grant's class for Antarctica day. 
 Grant's punishment for saying potty words. I don't think it helped. :)
 Went to art night at the school and came home with lots of 'treasures'/works of art. 
 Hail storm - closest thing to snow we get. 
 Playing in the rain. 
 "Don't play in the puddle".  They obey so well. 
 One of our trips to the cabin we went into Redding for some dinner.  We found an Italian restaurant on Yelp and decided to give it a try.  We were told 10 minutes before we could get a table, but ended up having to wait 30 minutes.  We were getting up to leave and the waiter said he could seat us right then.  We also didn't realize how expensive it was. It was in a random location and din't look that nice from the outside.  Anyway, we ended up staying and the food was AMAZING.  Everything we got was super good.  When we were about to leave our waiter said someone had paid for our dinner.  We were shocked.  We've never had anything like that happen to us before.  Adam and I kept saying we couldn't believe that just happened, so the kids caught on how amazing it was.  I told them we will do that for someone else sometime, so now they ask when we are going to pay for someone's dinner.  Adam does it every day at lunch, but we'll have to do it when the kids are with us.  We got ice cream afterward since we had all that extra cash. :)
Adam and I joke that it was probably because we looked out of place at a fancy restaurant (we don't have nice clothes at the cabin and the kids usually look a little dirty). :)  
Ava got a jump rope for Christmas and all the kids have been enjoying it.  Grant is having the hardest time coordinating jumping with swinging his arms around. Quite funny to watch. 
Went to the cabin last weekend with some friends and took them on a hike by the lake. Love all the green moss and ferns growing on the trees and ground. 

 Ghost baby. :)  Should have had her out of the sun. 

 Manzanita tree with green moss. 
 Ava found a stick with these tiny yellow dots on it.  Mushrooms??

 Last week they had 10 inches of rain, and the road to our cabin had about a dozen mudslides.  They closed the road so we had to go around them.  Pretty crazy.  
We had huge channels dug out from the rain and a small mudslide on the back of the cabin.  That pipe is supposed to be buried.  We have some work to do to avert the water. 
 Shasta was 5' from full pool last week (they're draining it as fast as they can right now though to get ready for more rain and the snow melt).  It's so nice to see the lake full.  Should be a fun summer.  
 The kids picked out their Valentine treats and made their cards for school.  Grant picked out these Mexican Jello things.
 Noah did corn nuts.  He decided to use stamps since his handwriting is so bad. :)
 Ava did Chips Ahoy cookies.  
I think they pretty much consumed their weight in sugar yesterday (and this morning).



Citrus season in California.  Oh man, California has it's issues, but amazing produce is NOT one of them.  Our lemon tree produced a good amount of lemons this year.  We were able to make quite a few batches of lemonade (doesn't seem right that lemons are winter fruit, when it's summer time that you want lemonade the most!)  We have quite a few members in our ward and neighborhood that hand out lemons and limes all winter, so we really never run out.  It's awesome.
 The scene I came down to one morning.  The kids making lemonade.

 I bought a one-burner table top induction cooker, so the kids could cook with me.  They put it on the bench at it's just the right size.   
 It's been a couple years since we've been home for Christmas, so we haven't had a real tree for a few years.  This year we were staying put, so we were able to get a real Christmas tree again. 
 Searching for our perfect Christmas tree.

 Found our tree.

 Caught Noah doing some business in the bushes.
 Snow capped mountains.  So happy with how much moisture we've been getting this winter.  Our cabin has had over 50" of rain since October, our house 23", and Tahoe and Shasta are covered in snow.  Boating season should be awesome this year.
 Trimming our tree.  I'm amazed at how much control I've been able to relinquish over the years.  I don't even care who puts the lights on anymore (I know, those that know me, know what a big deal this is - don't worry I still give pointers).

 Grant is very particular about how it's done though.
 I have about 100 pictures of our ornaments - 90 of them are blurry.  :)
Adam was at a King's game, so the kids and I went out and looked for Christmas lights.  We walked around one of the "Christmas light neighborhoods". 

Ward Christmas party.  Wish I got a decent picture of the decorations, it was EPIC.  Overkill, IMO, but it looked nice.  Adam was the MC for the evening and did a great job (he also sang in the program).  I was a contestant in the musical chairs competition. :)  I lost.
Another thing we haven't done for a few years is get presents for each other since we've been away, so the kids had to come up with their sibling presents.  I told them they could use their own money to buy something, or make something.  Grant made Ava a 'sleeping bag' out of an old pillow case for Ava's big stuffed cheetah (it sleeps on her bed).  We used scrap fabric to sew on the name 'Jack' and some stars.
Grant and Ava went in on a gift for Noah.  They (Adam did most of the building) made a wood box for Noah to store all his 'treasures' (AKA junk) in.  We actually ended up putting all his stuff that he wants to save in it (old pinewood derby cars, awards, letters from Charlotte). The babies used my wood burner and burned his name into the lid.  I think we only got one small burn. :)
Ava bought Grant a giant shirt for his giant bear (shirt says 'I don't give a quack'). 
Noah made chore coupons for Grant (i.e. I will make your bed.  I will fold your laundry.  I will feed Nala, etc.)  He thought it was a great quick idea, but now that he's had to start paying up, he's not liking that gift as much. HA!!  We have to tel him multiple times that you can't take the gift back. 
 Noah made Ava (with a lot of help from me) this awesome book about how she traveled the world.  We photoshopped her into lots of different places and told a little story about each place.  Here's some of the pictures. This one said something about Ava going to Africa and running with the cheetahs, and how she won because she was so fast.
 This one said something about how Ava did some boonie gas on Easter Island in Chile and her gas tipped over some of the Maori heads.  I'm too lazy to go get the book to see exactly what it said.
This one was about how Ava climbed Mt. Everest to put a Christmas tree on top.
In the middle of busy December my car started acting weird and died on me twice. Ugh!  The last time we ended up having to get it towed.  Grant got strep at the same time. :)
Helped in Grant's class for his Santa's breakfast.  This is his best friend, Freddie.  He talks about him ALL the time.  Mainly about what an awesome drop kicker he is.  That's what makes a best friend, I guess.

A note I found from Ava after getting mad at her for something.  Luckily she didn't actually go too far (she was hiding in the back yard).
 We invited anyone who didn't have family or other plans to come over for Christmas Eve.  We had a house full (30+ people), ate lots of yummy food, sang songs and had good conversation. 
 Ran out of space so we had to put the drinks and dessert in the entryway.  The best table of the night.
 After our guests left, we opened our Christmas P.J.'s and books.
 Aunt April makes their P.J.'s every year.  She awesome!
 Christmas morning - I LOVED Christmas growing up, but being a parent on Christmas is WAY better!!
Ava loved her book from Noah.
Noah loved his box from the babies.
Ava's favorite Christmas present was this microphone and speaker.
Grant's loot. BB gun, soccer ball and headphones from Santa.  Roller skates and legos from us.  Electric toothbrush, invisible pens, astronaut ice cream and chocolate in his stocking.
Ava's loot. New bike and that remote control dog from Santa.  Books and microphone from us.  Jump rope (all the kids have loved the jump rope - who knew!), astronaut ice cream, electronic toothbrush, invisible pens and chocolate in her stocking.
Noah loved this present.  It's a sand table that makes designs with that marble.  You just turn on the power and you can make different designs by adjusting the knobs.
Noah's loot. BB gun and the sand art from Santa. Telescope and Harry Potter books (he's already on book 5) from us.  Electronic toothbrush, invisible pens, selfie stick (for his camera), astronaut ice cream and chocolate in his stocking. 
Adam got new tools for the cabin and I got a robot vacuum for the cabin. 
We looked like a bunch of hillbillies heading to the cabin. We went to church on Christmas morning and then packed up and headed to the cabin.  I loved having Christmas on Sunday.  Really make the spirit of Christmas more meaningful. 
Grant target practicing.  He claims to have shot 2 birds already.
We had a steady flow of visitors all week at the cabin.  It was so much fun!  We didn't see any of the kids until it was time to eat.  Tried to go to the look out, but we ran into snow, so we had to stop.

That tiny 'fire look-out house' on the left mountain was our destination. 
We spent one day at Mt. Shasta playing in the snow and sledding.   The kids had a blast.

Got my baby fix with little Cooper for a few days.
My kids were in heaven with all the friends around to play with.

Ha, watch out for that bush, Grant.
A LOT of snow was eaten.

I tried the big hill ONCE.
Showed the Edwards one of the McCloud falls.  So cool to see this in the winter. 
Summer time.
Went to the headwaters of the Sacramento river, filled up our water bottles and explored the park a little. 
Noah likes to color the snow yellow. :)

We got to have 3 families up there over the Christmas break.  Lots of fun had by all.
Lots of illegal riding in the back of the truck to get to places.
After this trip Ava kept asking for a sister. :)
Checking out the lake.  Right now it's even fuller!

Adam does NOT sit still at the cabin.  He thinks he has to be working all the time, so this was an unusual site for sure.
Adam and Shaun built a tire swing. The kids love it.

When our last round of visitors came we tried the overlook again.  We made it to the top this time.  We had an entire week of amazingly warm weather (rains a ton up there, so very unusual to get an entire week with no rain) over Christmas break.   The views from the top are breathtaking.

Usually you can see giant Mt. Shasta from up there, but it was covered by clouds.

Such a fun week with great friends, at a place we love to be.
New Years Eve.  Had some friends over for dinner and then we watched the ball drop in New York and then called it a night.  I know, real party animals ending at 9.  We're old.
Grant put together his Christmas legos all by himself.  He was very proud.  We seem to have a problem with poison oak.  The last few times we've been to the cabin the boys get terrible rashes from poison oak.  Trying to figure out a solution to fix/cure this. Hmmmm   Part of it is my fault because I thought since the leaves are off the poison oak, the bushes wouldn't effect them until Spring.  I guessed wrong. 
There you have it.  Busy and fun December.