Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Christmas Vacation in Utah (Part Two)

Christmas Day!

I had to wake the kids up in the morning to get them going!  We wanted to be sure to open stockings and family presents before the extended family arrived for brunch and present opening.  It was fun having the kids come up the stairs and go into the living room to see the presents from Santa laid out on the floor with the stockings next to them, just as I had experienced as a child.

The kid's Great Great Grandma May made these stockings for them.  Aren't they great?
We opened our stockings first, starting with the youngest.  Santa was very nice and didn't put TOO much candy in the stockings, but even so, what candy there was, it was gone within an hour!   Evan received some cars and Transformers from Santa, as well as Batman jammies.  Mykelle was given exactly what she asked for- a Mulan Barbie doll!  She also was given Mulan and Tinkerbell jammies, which are now her two favorite pairs.

Adam and I did pretty simple Christmas gifts for each other.  Adam gave me some I-pod speakers I'd been wanting and a workout towel and t-shirt (he had to apologize and make sure I knew it wasn't a hint :)  I gave him a shirt and some cologne.

Showing off new Spiderman socks! 
Mykee desperately wanted to help Evan with his stocking 

Just what she asked for! 
My turn!  Mykelle and Evan were only excited for me when I opened candy

After the rest of the family showed up a while later we settled into the living room, trying to fit 16 people in one small room (only 6 of them kids!)  My dad traditionally reads the story of Christ's birth to everyone, but in particular the little kids.  It was so cute to see them lined up watching and listening to Papa Mike.

 The kids also performed a couple of songs for everyone.  Mykelle and Evan did their Joy School Christmas songs and then sang Jingle Bells and Rudolph with all of the cousins.

They don't look to excited, but really they were!  And they did a great job too!
The first "present" to be opened with everyone there was an especially exciting one- Jake and Kami had a sealed envelope with the sex of their baby written inside!  They ripped into the envelope and were extremely excited to find out they're having a BOY, and they already have a name picked out- Mason.  It was really neat to share that experience with them.

"High five for being pregnant Honey!"  :)
Then it was time for everyone else to open presents- in the past we've gone one at a time, from youngest to oldest, and it can take F-O-R-E-V-E-R, but it's fun too.  This year we decided to open simultaneously and we were finished quite quickly.  It was still enjoyable, especially since we got to the food faster! :)

After a delicious lunch of Honeybaked Ham, funeral potatoes, cinnamon rolls, yummy breakfast casserole, shrimp, and lots of extras the families had to part ways to go to other extended family homes.

We were spending the rest of Christmas Day with Papa Skip at his house.  He had a beautiful tree up with lots of presents under it for the kids and our family.  Evan was given just what he'd asked for, a "twisty slide" and Mykelle was given a package of SIX Barbies and a Rapunzel tower- also JUST what she wanted!  We had a great time watching a movie and eating Chinese food Skip had purchased the day before so it would be there for us on Christmas Day.  It was really good too, might have to be a new tradition??

Yep, Adam is having more fun with the Barbies than Mykelle... 

Christmas Day ended all too soon, but it was a great day full of family, food, and fun!  Looking forward to December 2012 already!

Christmas Vacation in Utah (Part One)

We spent a whole month in Utah!  And it was wonderful!  I loved spending such a special time of year with mine and Adam's family and friends.  We did a lot of family stuff but I was also able to just relax and take things easy without any schedule to stick to.  Adam and I also forgot our camera... convenient huh??  :)  Fortunately we were able to borrow my mom's camera and able to steal some of the pics from other people (thank you!).

The flight to and from Utah went better than I thought it would go, with just me and the kids with a connecting flight in Denver.  I brought a bag full of treats and new toys the kids seemed to enjoy, along with my laptop and some movies.  Though they were two very long days I would do it again!

We stayed in my parent's house in the basement.  It was odd to have to share a bathroom with my brother Zack again...  It's just weird to go "back home" when I've been away so long!  It really wasn't bad at all, but it did take a little getting used to!  The kids had their room again (Zack and Jake's old room) with two toddler beds on the floor and their sleeping bags.  One of the best parts of staying there was watching Mykelle and Evan have some of the same experiences Christmas Eve and morning that I'd had growing up.

Nanna Anne wanted to start a new tradition of making Christmas candy with the kids.  Of course the kids LOVED it, though whether anybody else loved the candy is questionable...  :)  Anne and Stephanie came up and we had a lot of fun making the candy and the kids had a lot of fun "testing" the candy as we went along.  Evan had a slight emergency with a burned finger on the stove, but he was strong and only cried for a minute- or five.   I love the new candy-making tradition and hope the burning part was just a one-time event!

We kept the tradition of spending Christmas Eve at Grandparent Trowbridge's home- complete with a visit from Santa Claus!  Grandma Gail and Grandpa Bob really know how to throw a magical party for everyone, not just the kids.   It usually starts out with a nice dinner (this year it was ham, rolls, and potatoes with additional sides, I'm getting hungry just remembering the delicious potatoes...) after which we clean up and hang out talking a little bit until we hear Santa's bells outside!  The children all rush to the door to greet Santa and we all sit around him while the kids help take a present for each person out of his sack.  Evan LOVED reaching into Santa's sack that could have swallowed five of Evan inside!  After we all had the opportunity to sit on Santa's knee we sing a few songs and Santa leaves to visit all of the other kids in the world.  Then we do individual presents of the names we'd drawn earlier in the month before heading off to our homes.  It's always a great night and especially fun now that Mykelle and Evan are old enough to really be able to enjoy Santa.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

December Catch Up

I have been overwhelmed with the thought of creating a blog post to cover all the events and craziness of the past month and 1/2...  But I've got to start somewhere so here I am!

December was definitely a busy month, as it often is.  I had to tell myself many times to remember the purpose of the season and try to teach my kids of Christ's birth and the importance of giving, rather than only receiving.

Joy School was very helpful with the concept of giving, and each day we had school we practiced the Nativity.  Eventually we were able to present the Nativity program to a bunch of "Grandmas and Grandpas" at a senior center.  The children were so happy to do it, and even happier to get the applause and hugs at the end.  Evan's favorite part was, "When all the people clapped!"

My little Joseph and/or Shepherd :)  We didn't have enough kids for all the parts, so some had to play more than one!
The pictures I have here of the Nativity were of the Joy School family get-together we did on a Saturday so fathers and siblings could be there.  We had a nice dinner and short little program before we left to walk over to the "Clifton Candyland" Christmas event at the city grounds.

I think Mykelle was an innkeeper with her hat on and Cailee was the angel, and Evan should be Joseph but he's carrying a lamb?  We didn't really go all out for the props, but it was enough to make the kids happy!

Super Service Awards were given to all of the kids for doing nice things for their classmates, teachers, and siblings.  

The mothers each kept a record of different nice things the kids did to earn their awards and we read them to the families.
They included things like, "Evan helped clean up other children's toys, without being asked!"  

They were obviously very proud!
Clifton Candyland was a lot of fun, though it was very cold...  We walked the short block over-

All bundled up! 

Played some games-

Ring the candy cane 
Fishing with candy canes

Then we rode on "The Polar Express" which was a series of trains driving around the city complex

Just take my word for it, this was on the train. 

We met Santa- Mykelle asked for a "Mulan doll because I've never had one of those before!" and Evan asked for a "Twisty slide that goes shwoo-shwoo-shwoo!"

We also met the REAL Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman!  Mykelle likes to remind us of this event.  Though she was sad they didn't talk to her for some reason...

And the last activity we did at Candyland was make a craft- both kids chose a snowman. 

I do love how different Evan and Mykelle can be- this snowman is his, with lots of "Googley eyes." 
Mykelle's snowman has "Rainbow hair" and lots of buttons. 
During the first week of December the kids and I made my traditional sugar cookies for Christmas neighbor gifts.  We had to do everything pretty early since we had to leave for Utah on the 13th!  I love these sugar cookies... but I think I gain weight just looking at them!  

Evan's favorites were the candy canes with sprinkles- he would eat off every single sprinkle individually before he'd eat the cookie.   
Mykelle's favorite were the angels- because Grandma Roxie sent her a book called "Snow Angels" that she'd had read to her every night for the previous week.  

We did decorate our house for Christmas a few days after Thanksgiving.  I couldn't NOT put up the decorations, even though we were leaving so soon for Utah.  I'm glad we did, but it was a pain to finally take them all down when we came home!

We were given a tree again this year, by some dear family friends.  Isn't it the perfect size for our tiny apartment??

Jumping for joy!