Thursday, January 31, 2013

Christmas Day

 I thought it would be fun to compare previous Christmases in my parent's house.  In 2010 we had Ryan's sister Julie come celebrate with us, last year we lived with my parents, and this year we live near my parents :)

My dad wrote and composed a beautiful song about our Savior that Emma sang for our program, the picture of her kneeling by the manger is part of her musical performance.  Lydia couldn't be left out, so she had Caleb hop on the piano while she sang us Jingle Bells.  I had my parents give the girls their gifts on Christmas Eve so they wouldn't get washed out with the morning's presents.  Emma was over the moon about her new "warm sheets" (flannel.)  Lydia....not so much about her "warm sheets."  Then we had white elephant prizes and the highlight for the kids was the penny auction.

We went outside and set off paper lanterns, a signature activity for this year and to celebrate a Holiday. 

The elf knocked and the kids went RUNNING for bed!!  They crawled right in bed and pretended to be asleep as fast as they could....never to even make a peep or get out of bed until the morning.  Oh how I love that elf knock and all that it represents. 
 I'm very thankful that Santa got my note and was kind enough to take a photo of all the toys that he had laid out for the girls the night before.

The best part of Christmas morning was watching Lydia be reunited with her "Taggy."  On her third birthday we sent her Taggy up to the North Pole for Santa to keep it while Lydia worked on not sucking her thumb anymore.  This blanket had a tag on it, and Lydia would hold the tag in her hand while she sucked her thumb.  This was cute as a baby, but had to stop.  So off the blanket went and she never sucked her thumb again past her third birthday.  Christmas morning Lydia knew her Taggy would be there, and sure enough, she was the happiest I've ever seen her. 

 Doc McStuffins Kit- we have all had MANY check ups.

I love this photo.  It capture the early morning sun rising over the mountains.
  This is my FAVORITE photo of Em.  I just love how full her confidence is in herself.  I know that with time, age, hormones, and mean girls that it will surely decrease.  For now, I try to encourage her every chance I get to love everything about herself.


Brave- Bow and Arrow

Ry might have been the happiest of all....finally, not only do we have a decent blender, but the best on the market!!  Blendtech!

The start of many toys and tiny toy parts to assemble

It's fun to see how things change, even though I bed Lydia could still fit in those baby pajamas

We had a yummy breakfast and let things simmer down before I let the girls open their presents from their Grandma and Grandpa.  I don't think it's fair for grandparent gifts to get lumped in with everything else.  They were so thrilled with these gifts, thanks Margo and Clay!
 From Margo and Clay Lydia got a new Minnie Mouse dress up, and Emma gave her the little Minnie Mouse doll. 

We spent the day eating left overs, playing cards, and just RELAXING!  The girls took at least a two hour tub since some of their new toys were tub friendly, this is how their hands looked when they finally got out. 

I can't say enough how thankful I am for all the joy, love and blessings I have in my life.  I am thankful for the outlook I have on life and the clarity in which I can see what is important.  I am so very thankful for my Savior, Jesus Christ, who loves matter what.

Christmas Part 2

For my family's Christmas party my parents stuck with tradition and got all of us a hotel.  This was our first time staying at a Hilton compared to the Marriott and we loved it!  We stayed downtown Ogden at the Junction and had the best time.  We started with dinner at Olive Garden, then a scavenger hunt at the mall, and a visit to see Santa.
Then we came back to the hotel for dessert and games in our own private room.  We all went swimming and hot tubing and had the place to ourselves.

Of the girl's 28 cousins, these are the only two they live by!!  All the rest live in the North West.  But these four are super darling together and close as can be :)
The next day we went out to breakfast and then headed over to the Junction for bowling and mass amounts of arcade games.
This was such a great way to spend time together and get outside of Cache Valley for a little bit.  I just LOVE my family!

Ry was busy finishing up the last of his finals and it was a great feeling to know that we survived this first of many chapters in this new life of ours. 

In honor of the children of Stoney Brook Elementary we decided to do some random acts of kindness.   We stopped by a nursing home one evening and popped in on a random tenant.  This has been my highlight of the whole Christmas season.  The girls sang her some songs, and she cried, and we just enjoyed a great visit with this WONDERFUL woman.  We have since been back to visit her and there isn't a night that goes by that Lydia doesn't bless Carma in her prayers.  (I don't know why Lydia looks so frightened in the photos below, but she loves this woman despite that look on her face)

Is there anything better than little girl's dresses at Christmas time?

These two cousins of mine ADORE my kids.  They have been SOOOO good to them, above and beyond.  Calling them their first cousins once removed just doesn't cut it, so we just go with Aunt Kylee and Aunt Jessica.  The title "Aunt" has far less to do with the blood relation and birth order than it has to do with the commitment and connection in one another's life.  Lydia likes to call these girls her sisters.  They came over one night for a slumber party.  They played tag, hide and seek, and tucked the girls in bed.....they were in heaven!!

Another day we went to the Jump Zone with the Jensen fam.  It was really fun and we pushed ourselves really hard, or some of us did.  Granted, I was sore the next day from ATTEMPTING to do tricks, but it sure was a fun time as an adult acting like a kid.

We were so glad to have Kylee and Brody in town and see them as much as we could.  After jumping we went back and had a scrumptious pinterest breakfast before Bundy and I had to dash off to finish our long list of last minute details for Christmas.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

First half of Christmas

 Christmas was so magical this year, more so than any other.  The girls LOOOOVED getting their greeting from Santa with a special message just for them.  Santa knew their names, what they were asking for, and even had photos of them in his naughty and nice book.
 I didn't take photos of all our Christmas decor, but this is just some of my favorites from my small collection.

The girls have their own tree and every year they get an ornament to represent something from the previous year.  This year the elf gave them ornaments to represent the themes from their birthday parties.

Ryan is such a rock star of a dad and husband.  He does all the gross stuff that I can't handle....including weird rashes and viruses such as warts and what not.  After a lot of research online he found that Apple Cider Vinegar is the cure-all for pretty much any ailment.  Sure enough, it worked like a charm on a virus Emma had and it even got rid of a plantar wart on the bottom of Em's foot.  Just a few drops of vinegar, cover it with band-aids, and let the ailment die out.  No doctors necessary.  

This season we read The Night Before Christmas and the girls memorized it, Lydia knows the whole entire story.  They recited it any chance they could get and loved having another number to add to their performance repertoire.  The best is when Emma would get a little stuck on her parts and Lydia would whisper to her what her lines are. 

I L-O-V-E getting Christmas cards.  I think it's one of my favorite parts of the whole Christmas season.  I love seeing people's creative cards and also hearing updates and seeing photos of how their family is doing.  I hope that this won't phase out now that we have facebook, blogs, and text pictures, because this really is a highlight of the season.  

I let Emma have a small Christmas party with a few friends from class.  I was surprised when they all came, I was thinking that some wouldn't.  Thankfully another mom offered to help drive the kids up to my parents and stick around for the party.  I made little milk snowman drinks, red and green sandwiches, fruit, and sugar cookies.

They played a few games.....

...wrote their wish list on special magical balloons that I ordered from the North Pole, and then released them up into the sky for the elves to collect.  Since they were magic balloons, they would just fly right back to the North Pole.  
 They also played in the gym....but mostly they were all kinds of CRAZY and ran around like they have never been to a party before.

They look so sweet and innocent here.....but these kids know how to have a good time!!

I have been loving having a membership to the Sports Academy.  Emma had a friend who took her one day for swimming and then smoothies at the bar.

A play date at Papa and Annie's....they have everything a little girl could ask for.

Finally....FINALLY we got together with our friends the Stowers.  We used to do EVERYTHING with them.  They drove up to Logan and we enjoyed having a whole day to catch up and hang out.  Lily and Emma have been friends since birth and it's been fun to see them grow up together. The picture below was 3 Christmases ago when Holly and I took them to the Nutcracker.
 Our younger kids don't quite have the bond that the older girls have, but it'll happen :)

Emma is my dad's biggest fan.  She was over the moon about having a real date with him.  He took her out to eat and then to see a performance of the Christmas Carol.  She's not interested in playing games on his phone or watching a show in the car, she just likes to sit up front and talk and visit with Papa.  I always wished I had a Grandpa, and I am so thankful for the relationship Emma has with my dad.  

We closed out the first half of the month with a killer party thrown by my Aunt Carol.  She hosted it inside her Kindergarten classroom.  The food was fabulous, as always.  There were 3 tables just as full and yummy as the one pictured below.

We had some really fun minute-to-win-it games.  Including this one to see who can make the tallest whip cream tower.
 Jaken wasn't too happy with me when I dunked his face in the whip cream afterwards, but that's what aunts are for, right?
 This was such a fun party.  I think Carol had nearly ten games and prizes to boot!  I LOVE living by family!!

Well, that's part one of Christmas.  It's hard to think it can get any better...but just you wait :)