November Little Things

We are plugging away and getting so close to being caught up!

November was another month that was filled with some pretty great things.  Sometimes I feel badly putting these events in the category of "little," because many of them are anything but!  Again, if I kept up with recording these events, they might have their own post - - - again, something to work on this year!  For now, I'll just enjoy these sweet memories all wrapped up together.

On the very heels of Jake coming home from the hospital, I had to rush Hayden to the ER to make sure she didn't have a fracture or break anywhere in her arm after she did her zillionth attempt at a back bend.  I've never seen her in such pain, but admit that I was *somewhat* frustrated with her because I had told her to not practice such moves without someone spotting her.  As any good mother would, I reminded her that she was not, in fact, Gabby Douglas.  In one ear and out the other, and the next thing I know, I hear a terrifying scream from the backyard.  I had to crack up when the nurse asked her what happened.  "I was showing my twin sister how I completely mastered backbends!"  The irony of that statement as we sat in the hospital room was not lost on me!  Thankfully, she just had a little sprain and we were out of there.

I had written about Cole playing football and have had photos throughout, but it was this month that I made him pose for his "official" pictures.  I never like the ones the photography companies do and that we are supposed to pay big bucks for, so I had him put all of his gear on the day before he had to return it, and took some photos in our yard.  Seriously, he's got to be the cutest football player ever!

One of his last games was under the lights on the high school field.  There is a special kind of energy at a night game.  It was such a fun way to round out the season.

We are so proud of Cole.  He began football not really sure what he was getting himself into.  He came out of this season being willing to work harder than we've ever seen him, and his respect for authority was even greater.  I wasn't so sure in the beginning either, but football was a great experience for him and hopefully one he'll repeat next year.

I came home one day and was on the phone with my sister.  Laina had been begging me for a playdate with her friend, Jillian.  Since I was ignoring her attempts at interrupting my conversation, she got the sidewalk chalk and drew this in front of me.  That girl knows how to get herself noticed!

There was one night this month where all of the girls had sleepovers so we had a date with Cole, which never happens.  We picked up his new bed and then went out to dinner.  Time with just this guy was so fun and so sweet.  We shared a TON of laughs and had great conversation. We need to make this sort of time happen with each of the kids more often!

Hayden began reading my book, Wild and Free, and was sending me emails referencing what she was comprehending.  It is so fun to be at a stage in life where we can talk about these serious, deep truths.

I always say how I love the kids' emails to me - and how awesome that they cheer me on when I'm at school and nervous about things I have going on there?  They're simply the best!

 Speaking of nerves, Laina had the amazing opportunity to get to participate in the CESA 1 conference in Milwaukee where her incredibly teachers were presenting.  Laina's class was able to come to the conference and show these educators from 14 different states around our country just how they do their personalized learning every day.  Laina was very nervous initially, but she completely rocked it!  Superintendents, teachers and parapros were incredibly impressed with her work!  I was so proud of her for overcoming her fear and sharing her learning!

After the conference, we rushed back to pick the big kids up from school.  We decided we needed to celebrate Laina's accomplishment so we headed to Culver's where each of the kids told me something about their own days that we could celebrate as well.  I love making time like this with them.  Staying connected like this is so important to me, especially as they're getting older.  Time with them is so great.

The girls had an awesome opportunity to meet Gary Hogg, author of the Charlie Bacon series.  Jake took the girls to Author Night at school where Mr. Hogg spoke about becoming a great writer and the girls were incredibly inspired and came home ready to write their own stories!

We had an unseasonably warm November - yes, these photos of my kids in shorts and t-shirts really ARE in November and in Wisconsin!  It was a gorgeous day to go outside and play in the leaves, which makes me so happy they still love to do this!

Once they were done wrestling in the leaves, they got the idea to play The Boxcar Children.  This.was.awesome.  I nag our kids always to use their imaginations (cough, cough, instead of the dreaded screens) and this was so fun to watch.  Maurah had my camera because I'm a brave, cool, mom like that and didn't tried not to nag her at all about how careful she needed to be with it.  I'm so glad I let go of some control because these are some photojournalistic shots she got of their play as well as Cole rocking it on the trampoline.

Unfortunately, sickness didn't just touch our own family, but our friend's too.  While their dad was in the hospital, we had our friends' four little girls over for a slumber party.  Count it - 8 kids.  And did I mention Jake was out of town hunting?  Yep - at a little crazy but a whole lot of fun.

Cole started band this year and I love walking past his room to see him practicing his trumpet.  I feel like this picture encompasses so much about my boy.  Still a lover of superheroes and his puppy dog, but growing older and more mature each day.

We had Jake's sister and her family come join us for Thanksgiving which was such a treat!  They hadn't been able to visit for a couple of years, so it was so fun to have them here, despite the fact that it was my turn to be crazy sick.  These guys were wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving, so don't be fooled by the boys' expressions - they really were happy to be together!

Aunt Rachael is the best at coming up with crafty ideas for the kids to do!  This was them making their roll-a-die photos.

Right after Thanksgiving, we went to get our tree together.  We waited until Cole got back from his trip to Nature's Classroom last year, and the poor guy was so exhausted, he didn't care one bit about the tree.  Me and my desire for everyone to LOVE all things Christmas decided we'd go beforehand this year!  We had another beautiful day, which was good because it took us a *long* time to find the perfect tree!

Hayden had the honor of cutting down the tree this year.

And Maurah swooped in when Hayden's arms got tired!

Each year, the kids insist on carrying the tree to the car themselves.  The adults are not going to argue with that!

Look at all of those faces so excited to trim the tree!  Ha!

Laina was our star-topper this year!

And just like that, we were saying goodbye to November and to Cole as he left us for a week.  It was another week where there was this huge hole in our home while he was gone.  I will not be ready for next year when we send two away!

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