Tuesday, January 29, 2013

We Had Ourselves A Merry Little Christmas

Well, another Christmas has come and gone, and this one was just fabulous, there's no doubt about that! We had such a wonderful day with our little family, but it was also wonderful to be back together with extended family... cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, and sisters.
We started Christmas Eve afternoon  with my family. We had an amazing dinner prepared by my mom of artichoke chicken and rice, rolls, salad, green beans, and other yummy fare. She had a lot of fun activities planned. She had a bunch of nativity dress-ups, and the kids took turns dressing up and acting out the nativity. They decorated sugar cookies, and we read Christmas stories. The we exchanged family gifts with each other. It was such a fun night.
We went home and put some of our newly decorated cookies out for Santa, and made sure to throw out the reindeer food on the front lawn. There was a big snow storm that day and evening, which was so magical. I love me a white Christmas. Then the kids opened their Christmas jammies and hurried off to bed to have visions of sugar plums dance in their heads!
And then...... Santa Claus came!

 He filled the stockings and left a gift for every one. What a nice guy that Santa is.
Here's a couple pictures of Christmas Eve right before bedtime.

Magnus was super sleepy and could hardly keep his eyes open.

Christmas morning is always my absolute favorite. The kids slept in until about 6:50. I happened to wake up around 6:30 (I'm still just a kid at heart, what can I say?) and I loved listening to the kids run downstairs to see what Santa brought. The squeals and laughter and excitement make my heart so happy that it just might burst. Of course, they are not allowed to touch anything until they come and wake up me and Andy so we can come and watch their excitement :) They ran in and jumped on our bed, all talking at once, telling us what they could see.
We open stockings first, of course. They are always my favorite, with all of their little treasures hidden inside. Hats! Scarves! Jewelry! Pokemon Cards! Movies! Books! CANDY! And so on..... stockings are the best :)
Mine and Andy's even had new iphones inside! Like I said, stockings are my favorite. 
We moved on to gifts from Santa, because I just don't think the kids could wait any longer if they tried. We always go youngest to oldest, so Magnus got to go first, and then Bear, and so on.

They all got their wishes, so they must have been very good this year.
Jonah and his pokemon DS game

Laylah and her rollerblades

Bear and his Skylander Giants
Daph and her locking journal (with her name on it... she was very specific about that :)
I must have been really good too.... Santa brought me two new pais of shoes, running shoes, and some platform sandals I have been wanting for months.
And don't mind that little dog sitting next to me. We didn't get another one, we were watching our neighbors pup while they were in Hawaii.... jealous!

Andy got an Xbox for Christmas. Someone must have put in a good word with the big guy for him.... because I don't think he was that good last year ;)

Sadie got a new rope toy, which is already chewed to smithereens
We then spent a liesurely 2 hours opening the rest of our treasures, those giving being just as excited as the recipients. We would pause to open packages and play for awhile and then move on and open more gifts. It was so enjoyable, and the thing that made it even better was that everyone was so grateful and appreciative. I think that was the best part!

I loved just sitting in my chair and relaxing and taking it all in. I enjoyed Christmas so much this year.

We always get a family gift from Santa too. This year did not disappoint. We all got a Pass of All Passes. It includes so many fun activities, but I think the kids are most excited about going to Seven Peaks as much as we want to this summer.

After the last package was opened and the kids were all busy with their new toys and goodies, I made us a scrumptious feast. Cinnamon rolls, cheesy eggs, sausage and bacon, hashbrowns, orange juice, and hot chocolate

After we cleaned up a bit and got dressed, my parents and grandma came over. The kids received more gifts. I always love the gifts my mom finds for me. It is always so thoughtful, usually things that I pointed out that I liked months before. She always remembers, and I always feel so spoiled by her. She is the best.
My parents had a big surprise for the kids. They gave them all little Disney calenders and told them to go through and find their birthdays and circle the day they were born. Then, they told them to go to February 26th and circle that date. The kids were all a little confused and Laylah asked, "Whose birthday is that?" and then my dad announced that that was the day we would be leaving to go on a trip to DISNEYLAND!! I don't think they quite understood (besides Laylah, who squealed with joy) but after explaining it to them, they were excited. We haven't been in over 3 years, and I am SO excited to go now that my kids are older and can do more/last longer. I can't wait!
We went over to Andy's parents house that afternoon. We were able to talk to his brother David on skype. It was fun to see him and hear his voice. I can hardly believe he's already been gone for 6 months.
We had quite a feast of appetizers (bacon wrapped chestnust, chips and artichoke dip, and different types of treats) turkey, ham, potatoes, gravy, rolls, broccoli, corn, and salad. it was so delicious, all of it!
We then opened gifts and had fun playing, chatting, and listening to the chaos of 13 little kids running around, hyped up on sugar and the excitement of Christmas.

Andy's mom did her traditional homemade Christmas jammies for all of the grandkids, and the only cousin's missing were Jenny's kids, who weren't able to make it up from St. George this year. We missed seeing them, but it was great to have everyone else there.  
We had such a joyful Christmas. I loved being able to see our families on Christmas in person, instead of on a computer screen like we have the past 2 years. My kids were so grateful and happy and it was so enjoyable to spend the day together. I am especially grateful for the reaon we celebrate. That innocent, perfect baby Jesus is such a wonderful example to us all, and I am so blessed that I can teach my children about Him at this time of year, and always.
Merry Christmas to all!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Half Of December

 December was, as usual, a busy and wonderful month. We started the first day with the reappearance of our elf, Oafie. The children were so excited to see him again. They left their Letters to Santa for him to take back to the North Pole. Daphne was especially excited about Oafie this year. I would catch her talking to him throughout the day and telling him all about how good she was being :) Laylah left him some notes with questions asking him about himself. He answered back and she was so excited. He also brought us some pictures of himself having fun up at the North Pole with his elf buddies (I'll have to add some of them when I find out where they went....). The kids absolutely loved it. So did I. I love the magic of Christmas with children.
We had a lot of Christmas parties this year. We had a neighborhood one for families and Laylah got to play the piano for it, a neighborhood one for adults (I have pictures of this somewhere.... if I find them, I will add them!) that was a Christmas scavenger hunt. It was soooo much fun. We had one with my mom's side of the family where Laylah and Jonah played the piano. We also had our ward party where I was in charge of decorations. I wish I would have taken pictures, but I didn't. The theme was Christmas Oranges, and it tunred out so darling. It was a fun party.
We made a gingerbread house, of course. The kids ate a lot of it this year before I threw it away.

Laylah got to go on a snow skiing field trip with her class, and she had a blast. I am so glad she has learned how to ski, so now we can go together.
The kids' school has a little tradition where the first grade class does a performance of the nutcracker every year. Daphne was a snowflake dancer, and oh my. It was the most darling little performance I think I've ever seen. I couldn't believe how well these little children did. Absolutely darling.

Their performance was the night before the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. After hearing about what happened on the 14th, I cried for days and days. Every time I would think about this performace, I couldn't help but think of those precious little first grade children in Conneticut. So horribly sad and tragic. I am so thankful I have my little first grader still, and my prayers have been with those who were affected since that terrible day.

 The kids had several choir performances and this was their big Christmas concert. They were so cute. Sorry about the picture quality, I was in the very back of the auditorium and my camera is not the best.
Some other fun things that went on in December:Laylah and Jonah both got to have some fun Christmas parties with Activity Days and Cub Scouts. Laylah's group had a party and Jonah's group went ice-skating and had hot chocolate and donuts. We had our friend's the Olsen's over for dinner, who we hadn't seen in a year and a half. Our kids are all similar ages and it was so great to see them. I spent a day making toffee with my mom. The kids all got to have fun parties at school too. Such a fun time of year.
Andy and I took the kids downtown on trax to see the lights at Temple Square.

 We had a fun time, even though it was absolutely freezing and Magnus cried the second half of the night. After we went to see the lights, we went to Liberty Park to see a free program called Echo's of Christmas. It was beautifully done, and the kids really enjoyed it. They didn't enjoy the mile walk to the park from the trax station. I think we'll have to drive if we do that again next year. We went home and had hot chocolate and cinnamon toast to warm our frozen bodies. It was a nice night together as a family.
Baron had a Christmas performace at his preschool. Oh my goodness. Why is a group of 4 year old's singing Christmas carols the cutest thing ever?! It was darling. And Baron is hilarious. He had everyone laughing with his cooky-ness.

Me and the kids spent a whole afternoon delivering Christmas goodies to friends in our neighborhood and from school.
We also got to have a fun visit from Becca and her family who were in town for Christmas. Our kids love each other so much, and it was so fun to just chat and relax together.
Ahhh, I love this time of year. It is so wonderful, and even though it's stressful at times, I love it and I'm sad when it's all over for another year. Next up, Christmas!