Thursday, January 16, 2014

Christmas 2013

 My favorite place to be for Christmas is right in my own home; however, due to the fact we are still living in our basement and space seems to be getting tighter and tighter (I wonder if that is really true or it just seems to be true), I decided it would be a good idea to not stay home for Christmas this year. Since last year we went to the Nates (my side of the family) for the holidays, this year we headed to the Congers. We were very excited, let me tell you.

The kids and I headed north to Logan on Sunday, three days before Christmas, leaving Dan behind to work for one more day before joining us for a big prime rib dinner the next evening. Yes, prime rib. Boy, did we eat like kings and queens while we were there! And since eating is something we absolutely love to do. . . well, we were in heaven pretty much all the time! The good thing about Dan coming a day later is that he was able to take care of all the little things I forgot--or the not-so-little-things. Ok, so the truth? I forgot some huge things!!! Like Regyn's major thing from Santa. And Regyn and Boston and Berkley's Christmas Eve pajamas. And dare I mention I forgot to ever take Boston shopping to pick something out for Hallee since he had drawn her name? Oh goodness! Good thing my husband is patient and was willing and able to make a trip home to search out all my hiding spots to find everything and bring it.

Anyway, here are some pictures of our Christmas this year. It was truly wonderful!

 Okay, so the Saturday before Christmas we actually went down to Salt Lake City to see "Savior of the World" at the Conference Center. It was amazing! I highly recommend it. It was a great way to start us off in the true spirit of Christmas.

Notice my flaming red hair. That was because I thought it would be nice to be a red-head and I colored my own hair from a box I bough from Wal-Mart. Not the best decision I ever made (although I did look quite festive, don't you think? Ha!). I fixed that baby the very next day to a very normal brown.
Each year we choose a project to do that helps us think of others. Usually we choose a family in need to do something special for. This year we did something we've never done before. We made hygiene kits for the Humanitarian Center in Hyrum. This is the only center run by a Stake throughout the whole Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We were lucky enough to get a private tour of the place while we were visiting over Thanksgiving, and that little tour really sparked my children's interest to do something to help out (I loved it!!). I mean, they were honestly ready to go right home and start building quilts or something. I love enthusiasm like that! Unfortunately, reality has to set in as well. We decided instead to make something every one of us could help with; thus, the hygiene kits. 

We all went shopping together, first at the Dollar Store, then to Wal-Mart. I was so excited at first, thinking we could whip out tons of these things, but then we realized that hand towels were quite expensive, especially when each kit needed two, and our excitement fizzled a bit. We weren't able to make as many as we first imagined, BUT we did do it together, and we did do something! That's what matters. It was a great experience.

Here we are stuffing the Ziploc bags (no easy task, I must say)

Here are the finished kits.
a little closer look

Next . . . Christmas cookies!

That is one patient, beautiful grandma!

Ok, so what is this? Nate seems to think a gallon of chocolate milk and some cookies are a normal snack these days. Can you say, "growth spirt"?

Berkley had to get involved, of course. She was covered in flour from head to toe by the time we were done. But oh, so cute!

Boston is the only one who stuck it out until the end. He looked at me and said, "I'm no quitter." I loved it!

This is the cookie Berkley frosted over and over and over again. She just kept licking the frosting off and then frosting it again. That is one great strategy, I'm telling you.

We all look happy (and blurry, darn it), but by this time, we were losing our edge a little, to be perfectly honest. Making Christmas cookies is not for wimps.

Boston made this ginormous cookie for Santa. It took him forever. But Santa sure appreciated it:)

His note was so cute. Too bad I can't remember what it said, and it's too little to read here. Oh well. It was cute anyway.
Dad even got involved by the very end,  you know, when it was time to eat them!

Does this look impressive or what?

Then there was Christmas Eve, my favorite. Dan's father, Reed, always tells a Christmas story (something I was unaware of, but I sure loved it!), and this year he told about the priest in Les Miserables, which just happens to be his all-time favorite book. He did a marvelous job recounting the story and the priest's merciful decision that changed Jean Valjean's life forever. Then we had a testimony meeting and presented our gifts to Dan's parents--memorized scriptures and pictures, as well as some favorite books we thought they might enjoy. The kids opened new jammies, we watched a new Christmas movie, Christmas for a Dollar (I highly recommend it), and went to bed with visions of sugarplums--or was it geckos and new headphones--dancing in our heads:).

And then, it was Christmas morning . . .

Berkley loved her new slippers . . .

. . . and her new Arial dress and her huge gorilla pillow pet

Regyn got her much-wanted Monster High dolls (it's worth giving her gifts just for the look on her face).

Regyn also got a karaoke microphone and Boston got an electric guitar. There was music all over that house, I'm telling you.

And then there was the gecko. It was so fun watching my kids watch the gecko.

Oh yea, I almost forgot the visit from Santa himself on Christmas Eve. He ran around the house a few times so my kids could spot him from the windows. It was . . . hmm . . . how should I put it . . . weird? That's as nice as I could say it. My kids were way to smart to think Santa was spending his time on Christmas Eve just running around the back yard waving at them. Dan's mother insisted he put this Santa suit on and do the jig, but it didn't quite go over the way she envisioned. Oh well, kudos for trying, right?

We had such a wonderful day together on Christmas day. We visited my grandmother and Dan's grandmother, both in their 90's. We played games, watched movies, rested and just soaked each other up. I love it when we can be together without expectations, which truthfully happens so rarely.

With Dan's grandmother

The day after Christmas, Dan went back to work so we packed up and headed to Wyoming to see my side of the family. It was another few days of fun.

Not sure what we were doing in this blurry picture, but we were together, which means we were having fun!:)

More karaoke concerts

Berkley got a makeover from my sister, Katie. So cute!!

There is so much to be thankful for in my life. Right now, I must be honest and say I am thankful it's a whole year until Christmas comes around again, but when it does, I know I will soak up the music and lights and smells and feelings like a sponge and love it all over again. That's the beauty of Christmas!