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.