Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Christmas 2015

 Christmas Tree Hunting
we picked our tree very meticulously this year.  We basically got there and cut down the first tree we saw.   It was a little Charlie Brownish but that was ok.  Then we just sort of hung out at Priddy Farms and let the kids play.   Yeah, we let our 18 month old carry a saw around. 

 the initiator of this tradition for us and her baby lumberjack.

After we picked our tree - the kids each got an ornament.  (they get to pick one out every year) So we braved Target on Black Friday (yuck).    Freddy's moccasins,  Maryanne's Elsa, Luke's plaid deer and Lucy's baby black bear.

Our charlie brown tree decorated by the kids.  I think I'll miss having a little kid Christmas tree someday.  Maybe I'll just have my grandkids come over and decorate for me. 

Kate's tradition of getting a Christmas Tree the day after Thanksgiving makes it so we get our house decorated early too.

Oreo Balls
There is always something that sort of makes one Christmas different than the next.    This year was the year of oreo balls.  Oh my goodness gracious - I made a LOT of oreo balls... and reindeer cookies and many other treats.  (Oreo balls are basically oreos ground down to oreo dust and then mixed with cream cheese, rolled up in a ball and dipped in chocolate. They are dang good.)  And, of course, along with the treat making comes the caroling and visiting with friends and neighbors.  One of my favorite Christmas childhood memories is caroling dressed up like an elf.  Yep, tights, make-up ... the works.  We had two elf costumes and whichever Songer kids fit into them got to be the singing elves that year.  I loved it.  I really thought we were so sneaky and we'd drop off my mom's warm pumpkin bread and sing them a song and run away.  I loved seeing everyone light up when they saw us.  My mom was home in her sweet factory pumping out loaves of bread, homemade peanut brittle and her famous english toffee.  I'm pretty sure we sung to every widow in Huntsville (which is a lot btw) and multiple families on top of that.  So, this year, after making a long list of people I really wanted to visit (minus the elf costumes) - I set out to make all the plates of goodies.  And I loved doing it.   I wanted to do it all.  But I was really worn out by then end and so was my family I think.

[So - I need to say a little something right now about moms making Christmas.  I don't know how to say this without sounding grinchish but... it's basically the worst...(right?) .... and the best.  There is so much mom Christmas stress because it really is the perfect time to do so much good, bring people together and create family memories.  So there is this excitement about all the things you could do to make your Christmas special and meaningful and you make big plans to do just that.  And it's kinda all up to the mom to make it all happen.  But this year, there were many times that I felt desperately stressed over all the things I wanted - wanted - to do for Christmas.  And there were times that my days would not go as planned and I felt trapped at home with napping babies or watching extra kids or a deadline to be at the bus stop.   I didn't feel organized enough or something to be able to get it all done.   So I'm just saying I really don't know how to do Christmas.  It's just stressful, that's all.  But I sure do love the sweet moments -- the ones God intends for you to feel as you celebrate His Son.   I just wish I could figure out how to have those without the other.]

Joey trying the reindeer cookies.
Me: "How are they?"
  Joey: "they taste a little gamey"  
don't ya just love him?

Here are my nice marathon carolers humoring me. (sorry family!)  I think I made like 23 plates.  Luke played his uke.  He's got "O Christmas Tree" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" down.  
Writing Christmas Letters

 Run, Run Rudolph
A fundraiser run for Luke and Lucy's school.  Luke was in a running club every Wednesday before school to 'train' for the race.  Joey, Luke and I ran the 5K and the girls ran the 400 meter dash.  Luke and Hawkins ran/walked the whole thing together.  At the end, Hawk's foot was hurting and I didn't realize it.  I was yelling to Luke to sprint to the finish and couldn't figure out why he looked so conflicted.  He would run but then turn around and go back to Hawkins.  A loyal friend.

The Dorothy Day House
We learned all about this lady and this neat place that houses homeless families until they can re-gain their independence.  And it's one of the only homeless shelters where families can actually stay together.   Dorothy Day said, just put on a pot of soup on the stove and open your doors and somehow you'll stay open.  

Dancing Lights!
one of our favorite family traditions
dancinglights2015 from katiehale on Vimeo.

Dollar Store Trip
I loved this.  All the kids at the Dollar Store with their piggy banks picking out presents for each other and their dad.  It was pretty tricky trying to hide from each other but we somehow got out of there with each kid getting a secret little treasure for each other. 

Christmas Eve
This was my favorite part of my Christmas this year.  The Wilsons had a nice organized program and I really loved it.  I felt the spirit and just glowed with love for family and my Savior.

  a little before dinner Santa Cause Book perusing

Grandpa Hale skits

"God gave us families to help us become who He wants us to be
That is how He shares His love - for the family is of God."
I love the moments where the love for your family and the love for God come together. 
Silentnight from katiehale on Vimeo.

It truly is a wonderful time of year!  Finding little scraps of paper like this: 
(by Lucy)

And for the times that your heart feels like this:

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Freddy Bowens - 18 months

Little Freddy Bowens (our newest nickname for freddybones) - is now 18 months.
 His stats come in at --- Height: 32" and 33% and Weight: 20.13 lbs and 9%.   Oh he's just the tiniest, nicest boy ever!  Look at that little face looking back at you.  I mean, he's pretty great right?

Somehow our doctor was WAY behind this day and so we had a LONG wait to see him.  So, I read to Freddy and took video while we waited.  It was actually kinda fun to be focused solely on this little guy who usually has a lot of competition.   (video notes: totally randomly he's been chanting what sounds like "I've got a daddy!" Luke says he's teasing orphans. :)  Also, recently when he encounters a stranger - he automatically sticks out his bottom's kinda cute. So the nurse is saying "why is that lip pokin?"  And also - Freddy always pats his chest when he says "dada" because Joey did that when he was teaching him.  haha)

18mdocappt from katiehale on Vimeo.

I love watching this little person just walking around or climb around because he just seems too little to do all that he does.  He's climbed out of this packn'play already, he can climb up the ladder to Luke's tall bunkbed, he climbs up on the kitchen table to forage for food and can climb UP a slide and slide down by himself.  He's a scrappy little fella and is pretty independent.  That's what we always thought anyway - until we tried to take him to nursery.  He's usually fine to just run and explore and not worry too much about having mom close - but for some reason he's deathly afraid of nursery and clings to me or Joey for dear life.  He's so sad when we leave and never really recovers.  I don't even know how to handle this.  But anyway, I'm getting sidetracked - here he is just walking down the street.
Speaking of him being independent.  He's been escaping lately and has had to be rescued a few times by a goodly neighbor.  If a kid comes through the door and forgets to close it - he sees his opportunity and takes it.  And just runs out and down the sidewalk.  That's why I'm so surprised that he's having separation anxiety in nursery.   When we are all coming in from the van and I put him down - he runs for it.  But, unlike Luke, he makes sure I'm watching him.  If I just go in the house with the other kids it takes all the fun out of it for him so he just come in too. 

Ok - so this book pretty much defines his last few months...
It's a story about a little baby kangaroo, Joey, who bravely takes his first few hops and explores but when he meets new creatures - he gets a little nervous and yells "POUCH!" and jumps back in his mama's pouch.  Freddy is obsessed with it.  He used to say "Pow!" for pouch but his language is regressing I guess because now he just says "Ga!!" for pouch.  :) 

Pouch! from katiehale on Vimeo.


Viking fly-swatter to the rescue

Fix-it Freddy

And do you ever just look in your rear-view mirror and think - oh look at that little face!!  Sometimes it just strikes me out of the blue that I'm actually a mom. 

One thing I love about Freddy is that he's such a nice and gentle boy.  His favorite thing in the world is "ballllll"  (I love how he says "ball"-- sort of deep and garbled from the back of his throat)  He would play catch with you for hours.  (ask Uncle Caleb)  And he's been throwing ONLY balls until recently.  He realized he could throw anything.  And knowing how much he loves to throw a ball around - I was worried that this would become a big problem.  But I pretty much told him not to and he stopped. (!!)  He knows that he can only throw balls.  He'll pick up something hard that he knows he shouldn't throw and just sort of wind up and pretend to throw it and keep it in his hand. 

Oh wow - this post is getting overly detailed.  Sorry.  But I'll be glad in 20 years right?   Well, here is another 2 minute video of a few other things...for posterity...

freddy18months from katiehale on Vimeo.

We sure love you Freddy Bowens.  Love your nuzzles and snuggles and your elbow dances too!  Keep up the good work.

The St. Jude Half

Kate and I decided to run the St. Jude Half Marathon about 5 weeks before the actual race.  My neighbor Sam had a few spots for us through his company.   So, we "trained" for 5 weeks.  I think we only got up to 5 or 6 miles.  I was worried. So the last time I did this was with Jerianne 5 years ago - and it was a doozy.   I loved training for it but you know how sometimes you feel good and sometimes you don't?  Well, I trained for months and I loved the first half of the race but the last half was terrible.  I had some unforeseen circumstances and was pretty miserable when I crossed the finish line.  And even though I got my goal of under 2 hours (1:59:58) I vowed I would never do it again.  Well, here I was 5 years later and this time without really training.  So I couldn't sleep the night before because I was so anxious about how it would go.  Well, this time I got lucky.  I felt good.  And I ran it and actually really enjoyed the whole darn thing.   About half-way through the race I decided I was going to try to finish under 2 hrs and 30 mins.  I finished at 2:29:44.  And Kate got 2:32:58!  The funny thing is we separated after the first mile but apparently ran the whole thing pretty darn close to each other.  We were both listening to headphones (music and Little Women).   But I was so proud of Kate because this was her first half and 5 miles during training was the furthest she's ever run in her life.  And she didn't even seem that tired at the end.  I can see her doing some more of these. 
me, Sam and Kate at the fire station where we got to park because Sam is the man with the hook-ups.
in corral #10 waiting to start with my best Kate
sooo many people.  And here we go.

this is a little taste of what the whole race is like.  It's amazing. and inspiring.
stjudehalf from katiehale on Vimeo.

The Walkers were there and snapped this picture of me.  I was excited to see people I knew.

We're done!  And getting our yummy soup in the food tent. 

 Lucy welcomed me home with a sign and a massage. 

I can honestly say I had fun running it this time and even though I didn't get to train much or get a PR, I'm glad I did it. 

Every story has a beginning...

Joey and Katie first met in Mr. Hawkes 3rd grade class at Valley Elementary. They became good friends in Jr. High and best friends in High School. Katie wrote to Joey on his mission in Tiajuana and Joey wrote to Katie later on her mission in Tokyo. Years later at the ripe old age of 25, these best friends finally fell in love... or maybe just realized they were already in love. They got married on January 22, 2004.

happy kids

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