Tuesday, December 25, 2012

{Christmas Day 2012}

Christmas morning arrived in a flash. All the excitement and build-up!!  The kids didn't wake up until almost 8am (yay!).  They waited for us to set up downstairs before racing down the stairs so quickly I barely got one picture!  
 Santa had come!  Everything glowed...the bright tree, warm fire, ribbons and bows.  It's a happy day for a kid and for everyone!  We were so blessed.

Rylan was thrilled about his new big boy bike!  He rode around on the tile off an on the whole morning.  And Carson got a new bike too...upgrading to a 26 inch!  

 And this basketball-loving baby got his very own hoop!  Writing this a month after Christmas, I can safely say this gift is probably the most used of all the gifts received that day.  This boy loves his own hoop and never tires of taking shots each and every day with his wide variety of basketballs (aka...anything round).  As he squealed in delight it just filled my heart with joy.  It is the best feeling watching your kids open something they just adore.  

Carson was surprised to get his very own Red Rider BB gun this year (every boy MUST have one at some point, right?)

And also got his 'top pick' from his Grandma...a radio/dock for his iPod.  

Addy couldn't get the wrapping paper off fast enough to discover the pink camera she wrote to Santa about.  

And her very own American Girl doll that she cherishes and loves on all the time.  

We had so many TOYS to play with this year (I guess that's what happens with 4 kids that are all in the 'toy phase'...I'll be sad when they want clothes and $$, that's just no fun.)  It was really so nice taking our time to open presents one at a time and then taking items out of packages and assembling.  I love going at a slower pace and letting the kids enjoy their gifts as well as taking some time to be grateful to the sender. We sent a lot of text pictures that day to cousins, aunts & uncles, and grandmas and grandpas expressing thanks for such generosity and kindness.  

This year the kids drew names for each other and they had to use their own money to buy something.  Carson picked out the cutest Mickey Mouse car for Miles (He loves cars and Mickey Mouse...perfect combo).  It was so sweet to see Carson so excited for Miles to open his gift...and I'm glad he is beginning to understand that feeling of giving can be pretty darn great!  

The only thing Rylan asked for his year was a "big dinosaur, like Rex" (from Toy Story).  I don't know where he got that idea. He's loved Toy Story for years, but all the sudden, it was all about Rex. Santa somehow located such a thing.  And he loves it.  It talks and roars too!

Other faves were binoculars...that really work!

And this fun wooden mailbox.  

Grandma Dalley made these fun pillow cases for the kiddos!

And my favorite expression caught on camera that day...when the kids opened an iPad that we've been saying Santa won't be bringing this year.  Surprise!!  Priceless. (And maybe this is the gift that gets used the most.  It's hard to keep them off of it.)

The aftermath, below.  It was so much fun having Uncle Tyler, Grandma Judy and Grandpa Chuck here with us.  Having more adults than kids really helps out when you have a 'major-assembly-required' day.  They were so helpful with the kiddos.  And I was able to play with my new camera lens and am now realizing I didn't get a single shot of me the entire day.  Trevor was busy with the kids all day (and trying to recover from the late night), but loved his new running gear, phone, and watch.  The kids spoiled me with some fun jewelry and homemade gifts too...my favorite!

Our parents were amazingly generous too.  My mom makes me feel like a kid again every year with her thoughtful and fun gifts ideas that she comes up with.  And the grandmas and grandpas showered their grand kids with all kinds of goodies.

The boys got out to ride their new bikes!

And play with the new family gift from Santa (the one the elves were working on really late on Christmas Eve!).  I've got 3 boys...it was time for a legitimate basketball hoop!!

Christmas dinner wasn't too difficult with so many helping hands.  Yummy ham...and all the fixings. Delish!

It was a beautiful day that always goes by too quickly.  We left the bulk of the toys and presents in the family room and opened and played with different games & toys for the next week...trying to hold on to Christmas as long as we could.  It's always tough taking the trees down and marking the end of the season.  But what a wonderful one it was!! We enjoyed it so much!  

Monday, December 24, 2012

{Christmas Eve}

I love Christmas Eve.  It's the culmination of the whole season...the anticipation, the excitement, and the sweet, tender spirit of remembering the Savior's birth.  All of it.  Love, love, love.  

Uncle Tyler came for all the festivities, so we picked him up from the very crowded airport on Christmas Eve  morning.  Trevor had a few patients in the morning (can't wrap my brain around the fact that people want physical therapy treatment ON Christmas Eve), so we used out time downtown to visit the Sheraton hotel with the huge display of amazing gingerbread houses.  The line was long (an hour!), but the kids were good and had a blast with Uncle Tyler.  And the gingerbread houses did not disappoint.  Totally amazing creations.  

We grabbed a quick lunch and headed back to the house for all our fun Christmas Eve festivities.  It was a slow paced afternoon/evening with plenty of time to do everything we had planned.  (In stark contrast to the craziness of the previous 3 weeks!)

We made a huge batch of sugar cookies, with plenty to leave out for Santa.

And shortly before dinner, Grandma Judy and Grandpa Chuck arrived.  The kids were so excited!  We ate our traditional take-out Chinese food.  (I can't bring myself to cook a big meal on both Christmas Eve and Christmas).  It was delish!

We watched a couple of our favorite Christmas movies while Carson created a great program for the evening.

The kids preformed a couple Christmas songs on the piano that they have been working on for a few weeks.  And I even pulled out my favorite Christmas book to play 'O Holy Night'...my fave Christmas song.

We acted out the nativity and watched a couple of the new church videos on the Savior's birth.  They make you cry they are so powerful.  And the (older) kids were quiet and reverent too.  Tiny testimonies with heartfelt moments feeling the spirit.  So amazing to see that in your own kiddos.    

New Christmas PJs all around.

And then we read a couple Christmas stories finishing up with 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' read by Addison. (Can you tell she was just a little excited to read it to everyone?) 

The kids couldn't wait to jump into bed!  (The only day of the year they are actually excited to fall asleep).  A couple of Santa's elves were busy until 3 am working on something great for Christmas Day.  So it ended up being a late night!

Christmas Eve is the best.  It was quiet, stress-free, and peaceful (amazing with 4 kids, right?).  I so enjoyed being with our sweet family and participating in our traditions while focusing the night on the true meaning of Christmas.  Our faith in His gospel brings our family more happiness and joy than I ever thought possible. It's miraculous and beautiful. I am so grateful.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

{Christmas Festivus}

 After Addy's Baptism we really crammed things in before Christmas.  We had to fit in our usual traditions and some new things too.  Needless to say, we had an awesome couple weeks leading up to Christmas.  It's Trevor's favorite time of the year...and we were so blessed to have him around much more this year.  Christmases come and go so quickly, and we are hanging on to our young kids with all our might.  Christmas is still so magical for all our little ones.

Rylan's Preschool Program:

This definitely is a contender for my favorite Christmas activity the entire season.  I love preschool so much, love Rylan's teacher, and love Rylan's excitement for it all the most.  Watching littles perform Christmas songs brings out the Christmas spirit in everyone!  

His favorite song to preform?  Michael Jackson's, Thriller.  Yes, really.  Not Christmas-y so much (it was part of their October unit on werewolves...yah, his preschool teacher is THAT awesome). He had the dance and lyrics memorized and it was the cutest thing you have ever seen.  

Of course Santa was the 'surprise guest'!  Such a fun night!

Snow Day
And we were spoiled to have SNOW in December too.  We woke up to a Winter Wonderland (and a 2 hour late start to school).  It had mostly melted by the afternoon, but they had a blast in the morning.  It's been our only significant snow this year.  

DIY Snow Globes

We made our very own Snow Globes this year.  Kids LOVED it.  They are boxed and put away now, but I'm crossing my fingers we will find them in good shape next year!  It was a really fun project.  

 Gingerbread Houses
This year we broke into teams.  Carson & Ry, Addy & Dad, Mom & Rylan.  I used the left over candy from last Christmas and the remains of the Halloween candy still lingering.  Can't have Christmas without gingerbread houses! And they looked so cute on my side counter!

 This little guy wasn't much help decorating. Eating?....he's a champ.

Painting Ornaments
We missed this last year so we had to fit it in this year.  Some of my favorite ornaments are the handmade ones from the kids.  They added these cute painted ones to our collection along with ones from school and piano too!  

Snowflake Lane
At the recommendation of my sister, we headed to Bellevue one weekend to see the fun on Snowflake Lane. It was packed and crowded, but we had insider tips from my sis and we staked out a great spot to see the costumes, drummers, and jingle bell dancers.  It's a short show jam packed with awesome entertainment including snow falling from the sky!  And did I mention it's free??  Definitely on our list next year too!

Fantasy Lights
Can't miss our local display of lights on the golf course.  It's a 30 minute drive through the park with hundreds of light displays.  Kids love it every year.

We couldn't get the dates to work with my sister this year, so I took Addy and her friend, Sophia on my own.  We still had a blast at this local production!  

Neighbor Gifts:
We delivered 20 neighbor gifts of homemade salsa.  

Teacher Gifts
Loved this teacher gift idea from Pinterest.  And we all thoroughly enjoyed the sleeping in and break from regular homework and schedules!  

I did 75% of my shopping this year on-line.  I fell in love with Amazon Prime.  And it was a huge life savor since, due to the baptism planning, I had only bought a couple things as of December 8th!  


We had our annual work Christmas party. It was a blast this year.  All but one could attend. Here is the group with spouses.  These guys are all amazing, and we are so grateful for such a good group of employees!

 I had my primary class from church over for a Christmas party.  Unfortunately we missed about half the kids, but still had a great time!  

 I also hosted my Activity Day girls over for a movie and hot cocoa and popcorn (left over supplies from the baptism!).  No pictures, darn.  And we squeezed in our Ward Christmas party too!  

And last, but not least...we saw the big man himself!  We've been going to this Santa for 5 years in a row.  The kids almost revolted when I made them get up at 7am the first day of Christmas break...but it was the only way to avoid the massive line that close to Christmas!  Never mind that Miles woke up with a swollen eye.  I always consider it a miracle if they are all looking!  So success!

And that brings us to Christmas Eve (finally...it's February in 2 days. Where does the time go?)

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My little blog is a family journal. I include things on here I want to remember years and years from now. So when I post a zillion pictures...it is because I want to have it for my posterity. So please forgive the often posted-picture overload.

Currently I am trying to focus on my photography skills...reading, reading, reading, and taking pictures when I can. Then edit, read, read, read some more. I finally feel like I have a basic understanding of exposure...hooray! I updated my blog template so I can display larger photos because...aren't pictures better than anything I have to say anyway?

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