I made a trip to our old city to visit my best friend there (and her kids after they got out of school). We had such a good time spending the day together and I had fun bringing her kids some surprise gifts :)
We went to walk around a park that used to be an old shipyard. It was really quite nice and I found myself wishing I had all the kids for some photo ops ;)
We climbed aboard an old boat and took a picture. You could see the "new" boats on the river waiting for the nightly cruises to start.
So, they have plans to visit America next summer. I decided that US dollars was the perfect gift. I think I was right by the expression on their faces.
Hudson and I went out to do some Christmas shopping. We pretty much struck out on everything we were looking for, but had fun all the same. He was glad that we got to ride a bus.
The kids exchanged gifts (Each kid buys for one) Regan had Hudson this year. She found him a cute little skateboard. He loved it!
Katherine bought these little things for Lauren.
We always get the kids an ornament for Christmas. This one seemed appropriate for Katherine this year. She is quite the soccer fan!
Katherine and Benjamin had art class and it turned out that it was a "Christmas party" Too funny.
The teacher then took their pictures in smaller groups.
This is Katherine and her "3 friends" She knows their names but I don't yet. She just found out that one of them lives in our complex! YEAH! I hope she can find her sometime.
"Santa" made an appearance. A little scary if you ask me :)
Ayi loved her gift...a soft, warm blanket!
This is the kids all opening their gift form Ayi. She had me wrap their cards since "that is our tradition"
Benjamin got a nice shirt.
The ONE class per YEAR that the parents are allowed to watch! I almost missed it. I was going to run an errand and come right back and ran into the teacher. She told me that it was the one day we could watch. Lauren said she didn't know either. I videoed the ENTIRE thing so Jonathan could watch it later. She did so good!
I am one happy homeschool mom! I am set for school to start back...dry erase markers are the best!
This crew came and sang "Rise and Shine and give God the glory..." to wake us up. :)
Hudson had a very tall present under the tree...a mat with roads on it. He loved it!
One, two, three, OPEN! The kids made this their tradition for Christmas mornings. One year they were so sad because they missed what everyone got, so they decided either last year or the year before that to have every one open only one of the presents under the tree, but at the same time. It works pretty well...organized chaos is good :)
This was a winner! "How to Train Your Dragon" Book Series. He was so happy. My child who says he doesn't like to read has already read 7 of the eleven books!!
This was driving the kids crazy! They all knew that the schoolroom door was locked, but couldn't figure out what was in it or how to get in. They were ready to "break the lock" when I told them they should wait until after we opened gifts. The keys to the room were wrapped in a box for Regan. She got a new bike! (pictures to come)
She said this was her other favorite gift...a cookbook for teens
He has no clue what it is...just that the other kids were super excited about it and he said, "I got one, too." :)
Gracie enjoyed watching Christmas.
This little princess got a new dress and new shoes so that she has something "fancy" to wear on January 10 when she gets to use the other part of her gift. She got two tickets to the Paris Opera Ballet. She is beyond excited! (and I'm looking forward to watching her watch the ballet)
Hudson said that this was his favorite present (Gracie was fascinated by it as well). If you know the game Perfection, it's basically the same thing. It's great practice for Hudson and he has no clue that it's helping him out ;)
Sheddan family tradition...pigs in a blanket. They may taste different depending on which country we are living in at the time, but the kids really look forward to these every Christmas morning.
This outfit looks really nice on Regan. She got them both for her birthday and it was finally cold enough for her to try to where them...it's in the mid 60's. I guess I've gotten used to the heat because I'm layered up and think it's chilly...she made it until lunch and then changed back into shorts and a t-shirt :)
Can you guess what he got for Christmas? A bath toy. He asked to go take a bath. I couldn't get the kids to come out he was having so much fun :) He thought the old man hands were hilarious.
Katherine got a portable soccer goal for Christmas. Nothing like trying to play a game of soccer in the middle of all the trees.
Benjamin's other gift...now he can stop stealing his sister's and they can play together ;)
Success. Love the little city he's building. It changes every day.
Here is Regan's bike!
The day after Christmas we all went out exploring. We found an awesome community park. Regan got to try out her basketball for the first time...
...and we got to play a "real" game of soccer on a turf soccer field. This is the ONLY picture you get though. It's not a good idea for the goalie to try and take pictures during the game ;)
After fun at the community park, everyone was hungry. So we had a picnic city style...
...bought McDonald's and ate it on benches outside. (Happy Birthday to Jonathan)
Lauren spent some of her Christmas money to buy ear buds. She's been listening to music all day!
Benjamin also got a fishing rod for Christmas. He didn't have any bait to fish with. All the locals said it was best to use cut up shrimp, so we went to a market to buy some. When I was paying for the shrimp, I apparently startled a rather large live fish for sale. It jumped all of the place and got me soaked. The kids thought it was quite comical :)
He didn't have any luck catching any fish, but he did learn how to bait and cast.
Little sisters came along to watch, but were rather fascinated with the worms (that we bought from another guy who said they were better than shrimp) I guess, my kids' fascination is also fascinating ;)
Some local fishermen gave the kids some fish to take home. I think they rather enjoyed that they were trying to learn how to fish and felt sorry that they didn't catch any. The kids didn't care. They had fun.
We came home and celebrated Jonathan's 36th birthday. Yes, it's a pink-ISH cake. It's actually a chocolate cake with a strawberry/blueberry icing.
The heat from 36 candles started to melt the icing.
His lungs are good. He blew out all the candles in one breath ;) and we didn't catch anything on fire.
More exploring with the older kids. We were on bikes and could cover more ground.
We went quite aways. Thankfully, it was at the end of the trip that Regan ran over a nail and got a flat tire. She has a good Daddy who, once she got it home, walked it to a bike repair shop and got it fixed so she can continue to enjoy her Christmas gift.
I'm not sure who had the better view...me or Auntie Em. Love this.
Leading up to Christmas was quite busy and hectic and we didn't have time to make Christmas cookies. We took the week after Christmas off and I told the kids we would make several kinds of cookies. We started by making sugar cookies, then chocolate chip cookies (been saving the chocolate chips for Christmas) and then candy cane cookies. Mmmmm. I hope the kids help me eat them all :)
Last day of art class....they finally get to bring they houses home! :)
We ran into one of Regan's friends and all of her classmates on the way home. Benjamin kept going because they were crowding him too much and he was afraid his house might break.
We needed to make a visa run before the holiday rush (new years) The kids were so excited to see all the Christmas decorations up and even a nativity scene!
We saw a really old cemetery. It was very interesting.
St. Paul's Ruins
Back at home again...Regan finished one of two puzzles that she got for Christmas. Time to start the next one :)
All the girls helped with the puzzle (and Hudson didn't want to miss out on the photo opportunity) Christmas 2016 has been a good one.