"Being a family means you are part of something wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life. No matter what." ~Author Unknown

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Party Time

The enjoyment of the holidays comes when you get to celebrate with friends and family.  However, there is a phenomenon that tends to happen surrounding this.  If there is 4 weekends in the month and you have 4 parties to attend, they will all fall on the same weekend. Every time. 

Our Johnson-Culley Christmas happened on a Friday night.  The location changed a couple times, a couple kids missed a practice or activity, we had to drive in a snowstorm, but we made it happen.  Even if it’s once a year, we want these kids to know that it’s important enough to us to put forth the effort.

IMG_0406 Ellen planned some games so the big kids couldn’t disappear on their phones.  Truth be told, they really like to hang with us though.  Sometimes we have to remember to show them we really like to hang with them too. 

IMG_0373  The Saran wrap game started in the living room, and ended with little kids chasing the big kids around trying to get the ball of goodies back. 


Mark brought lottery tickets which yielded no good winners!  However, the big hit was dirty bingo with all Visa gift cards.  Mark and Brian decided together to purchase varying denominations.  Let’s face it, everyone is winner when $25 is least you can get, but when the 3 year old ended up with $50, the big kids were all like WTH! 


Devan’s birthday is close to the holidays, so for the second year we celebrated him as well! 


We don’t mess around lighting candles.


The kids spent the rest of the night playing with red solo cups.  Cheapest toy ever.  Next bday gift you need, go to Costco and buy the large pack of red Solo cups.


Sof found this mouth guard in the game and wore it all night.  Never played the game.


It was a great night and a kick off to a busy weekend.  The next day we had two parties. 

Melissa finished up her student teaching, so we celebrated her graduation. 


We’re so proud of the young adult she’s become.  She’s going to be an amazing teacher!


What else would we do to round out the weekend other than attend a Hanukah party? 


Liz and Scott were so sweet to include us in their party.  Complete with kid activities! 

That rounded out our party weekend, and I’m not lying when I say those were all the parties we had before Christmas and they were all on the same weekend:)

Monday, March 20, 2017


I’ve always done advent calendars for the girls with candy in them, but last year I stepped it up a notch.  A few of the days had a little note with a code on it.  The kids then go to the tree and find the gift with the coordinating code.  This, as you can imagine, was a big hit and was begged for this year as well. Sof was SO excited.  SO excited in fact, that she was up SO early the morning of December 1st.


After the 1.2 seconds it took to open the gift, she had approximately 7 hours left before she needed to get ready for school(or it felt like 7 hours).  She joined me during my work out. 

IMG_0200 Then she set her toys up on the bathroom floor and said ALL the words while I got ready.  Cute right?  Maybe for one day, but mama’s ears are not ready for all that business in the AM.  


Lucky for me she was able to sleep through her excitement the rest of the days of the month!  Although don’t be fooled, these next pics are from first thing in the morning as well.  She slept in those clothes because we don’t always do details like pajamas at the Culley house.


She still loves any kind of surprise bags! I think these were Shopkins.


Big girls not pictured, but happy and reaping the rewards as well:)


When I think December, I think Christmas.  It seems the decorating, shopping, wrapping, menu planning, and partying consume the entirety of the month.  In reality though, there's a lot of regular life still going on too. 

Kaitlyn decided to give volleyball a try.  It’s always fun to see one of our girls branch out and find their niche.  Besides serving, she seems to like it, LOL.   


Adrienne and Livy had their first dance performance at the town holiday festival.  They had crafts for the kids to do, and there really wasn’t anyone there!  Our kids had a blast!   


I babysat the sweetest 8 month old baby boy.  His mama is one of Mark’s employees, and she was in a real pickle one day.  It did two things; 1) Gave me baby fever 2) Reminded me I don’t actually want any more babies living with me.  Borrowing them is just perfect. 

IMG_0210We had the tree up for a good week and a half waiting for a time when everyone was home and could decorate it together.  The night finally came, and this mama’s expectations were set.  However, teenage attitudes and emotions made said mama’s expectations unattainable, which made for many angry women and one man seeking refuge.    


Which is why one child(pictured below ACTUALLY decorating the tree AND smiling for a picture to remain unnamed so as not to hurt any feelings) will from now on be referred to as the favorite child and will be the only one named in our will.  But seriously, it’s cool, I’m really over it.  No I’m not.


One of Sof’s friends came to school making a snake baby.  She was obsessed with learning how to do it after that!  We bought the supplies, and between Youtube and what her sister’s could remember she started her own snake baby!  This is something(like playing the recorder) that the kids generally learn how to do in art in fourth grade.  Adrienne made one the size of a couple football fields when she was little!  Just like that, we’re back to buying yarn again!


A couple of Sof’s friends participated in an afterschool musical theater program.  At the end they had a performance, so we went to support!


Adrienne had a pom competition.  Their jazz performance was BEAUTIFUL!  I never tire of watching her.


Sof’s school hosts a craft night near the holidays.  The kids can choose between all sorts of crafts that cost between $1-$3 to make for their family.  Sof loves it!


Sof had a cheer competition and Lexi ended up filling in on her team.  It was fun for both of them!   


The kids still wanted to eat in December.  I feel as though I should not have to plan party menus and still serve regular meals.  Just stop with this “I need to eat 3 times a day plus snacks” business.  It’s nonsense. 


Alas, grocery shopping still happened.  The girls had some cheer friends over for a sleepover and the first place they wanted to go was the grocery store.  Might have to do with the Starbucks there…


We got our first snow day of the season!  The girls each had a friend over and the big girls helped the little girls make gingerbread cookies.   


Sofia got a “Habit Hero” award at school.  Staff members award them to kids they see doing the right thing.  She was so proud of this award!  She posted it on her bed!  Then she decided to make an award for her principal.  She was so excited to give it to her!  When she did, her principal had it announced on the morning news!  So cute. 



We celebrated Steve’s bday with dinner out.


Sof got a letter from Santa in the mail!  In the letter Santa mentions that although she’s been very good, he would like to see her brush her teeth more without being reminded.  Guess who ran straight to the bathroom…


Adrienne was invited to speak at our local Rotary club about our Sri Lankan loves.  Again, she did an amazing job and I was so proud of her!


  Lexi started back at the gym this month.  Usually when Sof has practice, Lexi and I go to Starbucks.  She does homework and I blog(obviously I get distracted with other things because I’m not doing a very good job keeping current here).  So when Sof found out Lexi had practice and she didn’t, she insisted we go to Starbucks!  She got a little restless after her cookie was gone, but she made it to the end!

IMG_0356  Sof loves giving gifts.  The penguin box was filled with little things she made for her principal.  She was so excited and proud to give it to her.  She did it totally on her own!


Every year we give soaps to all the “extra” staff in her school.  Lunchroom helpers, specials teachers, custodians, secretaries, etc.  She wrote a little note to each of them on the cards. 


For cheer they had a secret Santa gift exchange.  The girls shopped on their own with their lists!


She absolutely loves her teacher, and this card melted my heart!


This envelope was for her bus driver, who happens to be named Crystal, LOL. 


We went to school all the way up to the 22nd.  It’s too damn close to the holiday.  Every day that week felt ridiculous!  Unless you’re a school lovin’ girl like Sof.


She had a field trip that week which was very exciting to her!  She was so happy with her bag lunch:)


Finally, all that was left was holiday prep.  When you buy and wrap all the gifts, there’s a good chance you’ll get what you want.


Lexi decorated our cookies this year, and they look beautiful!  I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture until after they were packaged up!!


By Friday evening, the 23rd, we were so ready we were able to go skiing with Sof’s triplet friends. 


These girls were having so much fun you could hear them from the ski lift! 

So there ya have it…a lot of life lived in December in-between holiday festivities.