December Recap

Being that December is coming to a close and there will be many a Christmas post I thought I'd recap through photos of course exactly what us six Hansons have been doing all month. 
There were two school concerts.  The first for Thing 4 and the ERA orchestra.  He is learning to play the clarinet this year and it has been entertaining to say the least.  The music instructor showed us parents what the children sounded like at the beginning of the year and then the progress they had made three months in.  It really was quite impressive.  No squeaky notes or missed keys.  They played beautifully.  And it was no surprise that our boy was front and center and taking in the crowd.  Made for the stage?  We shall see.  I do believe that drum lessons are in our future. 
(no photos here bc there were too many other children in the photo, for which I do not have permission to post)
Then there was Thing 3's choral performance.  For this there was no before and after, only sweet singing voices belting out melody after melody.  She was a bit nervous and had been ill previously but she was fantastic.  Poised and never even looking down at her sheet music.  Impressive. 
December was a full month and I didn't quite realize until I started looking back at our calendar and the photos.  We did manage to do some baking here and there.  Sugar cookies and Poppi's bark.  I also took on a little side job for my boss and created Christmas gifts for the directors and schools we coach at; eighteen director's gifts and twelve treat boxes for the schools.  This was an opportunity I couldn't refuse.  The marriage of two of my favorites, giving gifts and baking.  I love everything from the packaging to the shopping for ingredients to assembling the finished product.  Here's what I chose, gingerbread granola for the individual gifts and an assortment of almond biscotti, white chocolate peppermint fudge and chocolate no bake cookies for the treat boxes. 
Will making the bark, white chocolate with pretzels and peanuts

Jared surprised the girl Things with a  date night this month.  We found tickets for the Nutcracker as performed by the Twin Cities Ballet Company at Burnsville PAC and the four of them got dressed up and took in some culture.  I think.  At the very least they made some special memories with Dad and he was able to tell them the story of how he surprised me with tickets to the Nutcracker when we were dating. 
Thing 4 and I attended the MN Teen Challenge Concert at Grace church for our date night.  May not have been professionals on stage but the Holy Spirit was present.  The choir consisted of 350 plus recovering addicts finding redemption through Jesus Christ.  Their testimonies and the power of their voices was so moving.  Thing 4 and I sat slack jawed for most of the night, me wiping the tears and him taking in the music.  Bebo Norman made a special appearance and sang a Christmas song that I had never heard before and is now one of my favorites, "The Rebel Jesus" by Jackson Browne.  I highly recommend you check it out. 

Let's see, what else did we have going on this month.  Oh yes, a trip to downtown Minneapolis for the very last night of the very last ever Hollidazzle parade.  This electrical parade has been taking place for years here and they are shutting it down.  We thought we needed to experience this MPLS tradition so we bundled up and headed to the city.  After navigating through traffic and barricades we parked, found a street corner with a view and watched a few floats pass by.  That was it folks!  We were cold, it was crowded and honestly, just not our scene.  Although we were able to trek through the skyways, which if I may, those are brilliant!  Over five miles of them throughout the city and definite must when the temps are below zero with a wind chill.  Then we went into Macy's for another tradition, Santa Land, where they decorate the entire eighth floor, this year the theme was Elf Land.  Supposedly reminiscent of Gimble's from the movie ELF.  I say supposedly because we never actually saw for ourselves.  The line snaked through the entire store, top to bottom, and after a false glimmer of hope for a shortcut we left our place in line and decided on plan B.  Chick Fil A and a movie at home, in our jammies and snuggled together.  Yes please.  There might have been a bit of disappointment from the Things but with the promise of fried chicken that was remedied. 
Much better view

Thing 3 and Thing 4
A float

Playing ELF on the escalator
 There was also our tradition of cinnamon roll baking with our sweet friends and neighbors.  The girls usually take this on themselves.  My only job is to prepare the dough and assemble the ingredients for them and then they do the hard work.  The rolling, sprinkling, baking and icing.  They are great bakers if I do say so myself! 
Love these two girls and their smiles, they were using typewriter fingers,
or piano hands, your choice!
Pinterest is a common conversation topic in this house, you know with three girls and all.  A few weeks ago Thing 3 mentioned a project she had seen that she thought would make a great homemade present.  Well, this Mama can't refuse homemade presents so what you have below is our attempt at a Pinterest rendition of peppermint bark with candy cane hearts all tied up in cellophane and polka dot ribbon!
We were given charge of the Stinson kiddos for a day and we had so much fun.  I was with the two littles in the afternoon all by myself.  Little sister fell asleep on the couch while Michael and I watched Toy Story 3.  Then when brothers and the Things were home from school it was playtime.  The Nerf guns came out and the Wii games and then we moved right into crafts for Mom and Dad.  Ornaments were painted and a welcome home sign made for Dad.  I just love seeing my four interact with their four.  There is such a gap in age and each one such a different personality, the air can be electric in this house when they're all together. 
Making the sign
One wintry afternoon, too cold for outdoor activities, we made our way to the ice skating rink and met some friends.  An hour and forty five minutes of racing around in a circle was just what this family needed.  It had been a few years since we were all out there together and in between laughing and racing pretending to be professionals I saw all four of my Things smiling. 
Trying to find her balance, she did great, just like riding a bike, it all comes back to you!

Carolyn and Finn, he was grinning from ear to ear!  The best!
We're not stopping here.  I can't leave out the knitting lessons that began around our kitchen table.  Thing 3 is the only in this family that knows how to knit and crochet.  So Thing 1 enlisted our friend to come and teach her.  It was only one lesson but I am expecting some infinity scarves in my near future, hint, hint. 
The five of us, me and the four Things, found ourselves helping a family we love make fleece blankets for the homeless.  It is part of their ministry that they participate in yearly.  And they were kind enough to invite us to be a part of it.  The blankets are distributed at a restaurant downtown on Christmas day to the kids that come in.  We cut, tied and folded over twenty blankets.  When I stood back and saw all these kids joyfully participating I was overcome with emotion.  What a picture of the kingdom.  Hands and feet of the church.  Beautiful. 
This month has brought lots of snow to us here.  Thankfully we have a boy who was excited about a new shovel and spent some time putting it to use.  First for our driveway then out front to build snow tunnels and forts with his friends.   
In keeping with the weather, I thought I had better include this photo of my screen.  Does it really matter once the temperature reads below zero?  I am not sure.  What I do know is that it was painful to be outside and breath in that air. 
 And what would a post about December be without at least one of Polo, the low man on the totem pole.  Here he is donning a hat because of the temp shown above.  He was so cold on our walk that he pulled us inside immediately after taking care of his business. 

That does it for December.  It has been a full month and it isn't even over yet.  To keep you laughing until the next post, take a look at what these four did when given control of the camera, self timer and access to the tripod!  Love my Things!


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