Friday, December 18, 2015

Our Christmas Letter (illustrated and unabridged)

Warning! Christmas Card Spoilers Ahead!
2015, The year that was!
Hello friends and family! We hope this letter finds you cheerfully enjoying the holiday season.
There never seams to be a dull moment in our house. In fact it was hard to find time to write this letter! The kids are growing as they do. Miles turned 4 this year and Alice is a rambunctious 2 year old. She finally started to grow some hair and had her first hair cut in November.

We love having their birthdays in the summer so we can have our friends over and play outside all day. Plus Grandma and Grandpa Kross don't mind coming up from Florida to visit us that time of year. Miles ate the frosting off of all the leftover cupcakes at Alice's birthday party. Needless to say he was bouncing around on a sugar rush the rest of the day.
Alice and her 2 year old friends.
Puppies at Miles's dog birthday party. Thanks Grandma Kross for making all the masks for the kiddos.
Cheese! Miles and Nora

Our awesome friend Karla!
Miles and Elea
In February, Aaron and Jen went to Mexico with some good friends. We left the kiddos with Grandpa Sam and Nana Linda. We had a great time getting out of the cold in North Dakota and soaked up some sun and salt water. While there we visited an eco-park called Xel-Ha. It was amazing, we saw some cool Mexican wildlife (in and out of the water) and jumped off a big cliff. We have photos to prove it if you don't believe us!

Miles started pre-school in March. We were a little worried about how he would do, we weren't sure if he was ready. Turns out Jen was the one who wasn't ready. He is doing great and comes home singing all sorts of new songs. He also comes home with some weird rumors that the kids start. A few weeks ago when the snow melted he thought Christmas was going to be canceled because there was no snow. He was quite upset about it, but we explained that Christmas would come whether there was snow or not. Funny how a kid thinks when he is growing up with snow every Christmas.

This year seems to be the “year of breakfast.” We have tons of photos of us eating waffles, aebelskivers, and cinnamon rolls. Jen got an aebelskiver pan for Mother's day this year so that is probably why. Come on over for breakfast one Saturday, but you'll have to come early, we are a bunch of early risers in this house.

We've also discovered lot of new books this year. "Don't let the Pigeon drive the Bus!" by Mo Williams is a house favorite. This guy has true kid writing talent. Check out his stuff at the Library, the Elephant and Piggy stories are gems as well.

Jen wanted to make sure we soaked up the summer this year so we had lots of  adventures outside. We went to Storybook Land in Aberdeen, South Dakota with our friends Ruby and Janelle. We went to the Bismarck Zoo and had many trips to “The Farm” to see Grandpa Sam and Nana Linda.
Miles and the Monkeys
End of the rainbow at Storybook land.
Carousel ride
Our camping experiment

Our big summer fun activity was a road trip to Colorado! We stopped at Wall Drug in South Dakota and spent a day in Rapid City to see Mount Rushmore. The highlight however was not the big carved out mountain, it was a mud kitchen we found at the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks outdoor area. The kids played in the mud for an hour making mud cupcakes and mud-milk shakes. Good old dirty fun!
Alice was in a grumpy mood at Wall Drug and she had a big problem with this giant rabbit.
The Family at Mt. Rushmore

We spent time with Grammie Julie in Fort Collins and visited with Uncle Luke, Aunt Brandi, Cousin Carter and the family's newest addition, Cousin Clara. Miles continually tells us he loves baby Clara.
Miles and baby Clara

On that trip Jen and Aaron left the kids with Grammie and had a reunion with some of our grad-school friends in Gunnison. We all started to count the number of years it had been since we had seen each other and decided not to let it be that long again. We are planning another reunion in 5 or fewer years.
Jen and Amy and a landlocked mermaid
Aaron and Theresa
The gang and a Vista!
What kind of flower is that Dude?
The girls and a Vista!
Jen went to a Lamaze childbirth educator seminar and is on her way to becoming a childbirth educator. She will need to take an exam in April and work out some logistics. Her goal is to be teaching by October 2016.

In September Aaron and Jen had a once-in-a-life-time experience and went to Los Angeles to see our friend Steve Listopad receive the Hugh Hefner Free Speech award at the Playboy Mansion! We are so proud of his accomplishments and we were honored to be part of his entourage. While in L.A. we went to Venice Beach with Jen's friend from Girl Scouts Theresa and visited with Aunt Judie and Aunt Jonnie. We also did some typical L.A. things like see a taping of Conan, walk along Hollywood Blvd., party on the Sunset Strip, and eat at the In-n-Out Burger.

No caption necessary, Dude

Sean, Aaron and Steve at the mall on Hollywood Blvd.

Our award winning friend Steve and the people who helped make it happen including our Jamestown Rep. Jessica Haak
Smooches outside the grotto

Giant Conan bobble head waiting for the taping.
In October Gramie Julie came to visit and we had a fun trip to the Natural History Museum in Bismarck.
Grammie Julie and the kiddos
Giant pumpkin at Pappa's Pumpkin Patch
For Halloween, both kids wanted to be Scooby-Doo! Well that was easy for Jen to make both costumes the same. They are both really into Scooby-Doo right now, it is a little insane. But that's ok, because Jen and Aaron like it too. We had a party for all of our kid friends and took about 8 little ones trick-or-treating. It was a blast! Aaron and Jen dressed up and went to an adult party that evening. Jen was a SPARKLER! and Aaron was a Price-Is-Right contestant (since we didn't get to go while we were in L.A.)

SPARKLER! and Aaron
Sadly this year we lost the matriarch of the Pearse family, Aaron's Grandma Mary Lou passed away. She was a wonderful person with a generous heart and we will miss having her in our lives. We also lost Jen's Aunt Kathy Kross who lived in New York City.
Alice and pig tails!
The family at Thanksgiving
Alice snuggling up with Grandpa Sam after Thanksgiving feast. Grandpa has some kind of magic, he can always get Alice to take a nap.
Well the ground is snow covered again and we are excited to be going to Florida in January. We are going to celebrate Christmas with Grandma and Grandpa Kross and go to Jen's friend Vicki's wedding. We are also going to have a family vacation to Disney World! We got a cabin at Fort Wilderness and can't wait for Alice to experience it for the first time.

First big snow of the year!

What a cutie!

We hope you have a wonderful Christmas and peaceful New Year. May our paths cross soon in 2016!
Jen, Aaron, Miles and Alice

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