Happy New Year!

New Year’s Resolution: blog more. Actually, my real resolution: keep everyone alive. Last night I was so tired when Christopher got home from work I got in bed at 6:30 and stayed there for 13 hours. A rare occurrence, but a much-needed one. With Ben not napping, it’s nonstop fun around here.

The week after Christmas was a whirlwind. We watched football. We shopped. We cooked and ate great food. We saw Les Mis. We had the privilege of being in the temple with Ethan as he received his endowment.

The weather was nice almost the whole time my family was here. We had lots of sun before and after the new year.

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New Year’s Eve we went to the church and played games with a bunch of families. Grammy stayed home with the boys. It was a lot of fun. We celebrated “New York NYE” so we did our countdown at 9 p.m., which was plenty late for those who had spent time with Ben that day. Don’t ask what Christopher’s wearing (because I don’t have a good answer), but Megan titled the picture: The Hippie and the Hobo.

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Christopher and I attended the graveside service of his great-grandmother, Regenia Baer. It was a small service (the funeral was in Utah), but it was wonderful to see family, and hear some cool stories about Granny Baer. She was a smart woman who graduated high school at 16 and started college at UC Berkeley in 1929. When the stock market crashed, she had to drop out of college. She later married and had six kids, when her husband died. Knowing she needed to provide for her family, she completed her bachelor’s and master’s degree at BYU and became a social worker. Later, she remarried and they traveled as missionaries to Guatemala. Sadly, he died soon after, leaving her a young widow–twice. She then worked in the temples in Washington, DC and Atlanta before settling back near Salt Lake City. She didn’t slow down until her 80s, and her mind was sharp well into her 90s. Christopher may outlive me.

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My family left on January 2 and 3, and we were sad to see them go. Devin and Hillary are back in Iowa, at school and preparing for the birth of Baby Girl in February, Allison is planning a June wedding, and in March Ethan is heading to Argentina for two years. Lots of changes for the Carroll family.

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The big kids went back to school January 2 (!) and Ben started preschool on the 3rd. I can’t tell you how happy I was to drive away from his school Thursday morning. I’ve said it before, but two days a week is not enough. Our afternoons are also getting busier. Megan still has swim team two afternoons a week, but I signed the boys up for karate at the exact same time (Gavin twice a week and Benny once). It’s a hustle to pick the kids up from school, drop Megan at the pool, take the boys to karate, pick up Megan, and head home, but I figured it’s easier than having activities at different times or different days of the week. Megan has church “activity days” twice a month, and next month Gavin will start Cub Scouts weekly at the same time. February will begin my 15+ year stint in Scouting.

This weekend we played and cleaned and got the house back into shape. Gavin’s friend Brandon invited him over for a play date all afternoon. I dropped him off at 12:30 and asked his mom, Sophia, when I should pick him up. “Oh, after dinner is fine,” and I was shocked. Then I learned Brandon is an only child. It’s a whole other lifestyle. One of Megan’s best friends, Christina, is an only child, too. She loves playing at our house because it is so “fascinating.” Yes, our house is a lot of things. But it is never boring. (Right now, thanks to this guy.)

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