This kid

can. not. wait. to see what she becomes.

Urban romping

We love living in the city, though I used to bemoan my children missing out on romping about in the woods like we used to as kids.  I remember this one house on our street (feels funny to say street and not block), where a huge wooded area backed up to their back yard.  Her (AJ was her name) dad had hung a rope swing about 40 feet up in a tree back there.  I remember the day the rope broke and AJ was on it.  I think that was the only time I ever saw her cry.  She was tough.  They also had a huge pit back there where people from all over the neighborhood would dump their leaves.  There happened to be a tree that arched over the pit - perfect as a high dive of sorts.  I remember the day my step sister jumped of the tree into the leaves and held her nose.  I think I laughed until my stomach hurt.

Anyway, once I quit moaning and started looking around, I realized there are plenty of romp-able places in the city.  You just have to be creative.  Canyons are the best.

 We don't always romp in our Sunday clothes.  The just happened to be a "Hey! let's go to the tunnel!  Okay!" kind of moment.  So we went.
 And sometimes, in urban settings, nature bumps right up against...nurture?  Or, the golf course.

 The tunnel!  This runs under the Switzer Canyon bridge, connecting the two sides of the canyon.  It's just long enough, so that it is just dark enough in the very middle, to be just scary enough.
 But she ain't sceerd.

Family photo compliments of August.  I suggested Mike grow a mustache for Christmas.  He obliged.  I always say 2 things about mustaches: 90% of firemen have them and most guys (except firemen) who have them look shifty.  While he had it, I didn't think Mike looked very shifty.  Looking back in pictures, he definitely does.
I'll get you more pictures of the actual scenery next time.  Clearly this post is a little people-heavy.  But they're my people and I like takin' their pichur.

Some days...

...the fun just starts happening too fast and there's no time to get out of your pj's.

The day orange ruled the block

It is really a wonder no one ended up in the ER this day.  Yes, those are golf clubs.  No, I do not remember which parent was supposed to be on duty.

Our American Girl

It was about a year ago that she finally decided she enjoyed reading.  These days we have to ban reading material from the kitchen table, coax her away from her book and bed in the mornings, and not forget to double check before we go to bed that we have remembered to tell her to turn out her light, put the book away and go to sleep.  The American Girl series have definitely helped nurture this love.  Very regularly she pipes up with a comment like, "Oh, I know about that.  That was during the Great Dispersion."  What she actually means is Depression, but we understand. - hazard of being a pastor's kid and learning about the history of the Jews as well as the history of America.

For Christmas she got a trip to L.A. to the AG store and money to buy her own doll.  This is us sleeping 6 people in a 2 person room at the Biltmore.  Thankfully no one asked any questions as we filed in with a pack n play and blow up mattress.  Felt a little bit like the Clampetts.

 We visited the La Brea tar pits while we were there.  Fascinating.  You would not believe the prehistoric things that have been uncovered virtually in our backyard.
 The actual dig sites were closed, but it was fun to walk around them.

 Not sure if this was the blurry photo or how I was really seeing life after a sleepless night with 6 people in a hotel room and 6 hours on the road.  But it was all worth it.

A few more highlights

Okay, this is (one of) the last (couple of) catch up post(s).  I was just looking at some of our most recent pictures and there are so many fun ones...I think I am learning to take pictures a little better.  This post is not representative of that, however.  These are just snap shots, if you will.  Of Joe actually accompanying us at our church Christmas party.  (Never mind the stupid look on my face.) 
 These are the extraordinary, handmade Jesse Tree christmas ornaments our friend Amy made us last year.  It is my dream for our children's great grandchildren and beyond to be using these in years to come...if Jesus tarries.
 I love Christmas morning.  I did not post a string of pictures of the opening, mostly of just the hanging out.  Our Christmas morning lasts all day, between skyping with family, stopping for breakfast, stopping for neighbor visits, stopping for lunch, going out to try out the new bike.  Come to think of it, our Christmas morning truly lasted until a couple of days ago when I thawed out some of the sausage balls we had left over from Christmas breakfast.
 I love that our neighbor kids stop by.  Our door starts revolving about 10:30 a.m.
 Lana and August
 Chillin' on the new bag.
 Our Christmas Grasshopper
 Deep Christmas thoughts
We did not get a good shot of the finished doll house.  Scrappaw is sending us some furniture for it - we'll post a picture once that arrives.