Sunday, January 2, 2011

Christmas Festivities

Along with tree hunting and decorating, the live Nativity, going to see the Christmas lights on Temple Square, and all the musical recitals and concerts already mentioned, we also attended 2 friend gatherings, 2 work dinner parties, 1 family dinner, and 1 church dinner party. (That's about par for the course for all of us, right? Are we nuts, or does everyone do this much?)

Here's our jubilant shepherd at the church party where it was optional to come in Bethlehem attire.  (Check out his friend's little sister looking at him like, what is he wearing?)
Here's our cute little Mary in this next picture, and you can see how many of the other boys' mothers made them dress up like wise men/shepherds/Joseph. (Hence, William's face in the previous picture.)
Rachael and her new best buddy, Maddie:
We went to Brandon's aunt and uncle's house in Salt Lake City for dinner with them and three of their four children. This is Cami (and husband Drew), due in March, all dressed up by Elizabeth and Rachael:
Another traditional must-do activity is decorating sugar cookies. About a week before Christmas, my best friend from college saved me from doing it myself and invited our family over to her house for a little sugar fest. It was a spur of the moment plan, so I brought store-bought sugar cookies and toppings, and she had store-bought frosting and more toppings. And you know what? They were totally good enough! It's all about the decorating anyway. And the sugar. Which is why Elizabeth looks like this:
I don't know how this happened, but Mia is now 15 and in 9th grade. I remember when Amy and Teppo used to put her on top of their dryer in her little baby seat to get her to sleep!

All of the fun and none of the work, though I must admit I missed Grandma Reynolds homemade sugar cookies and frosting this year. It's the best!
Amy is the kind of person I was talking about in my post about decorating. If she weren't so nice and fun and still liked me in spite of everything she knows about me, I'd have to hate her. Look at this handmade goodness she crafted out of her grandmother's old jewelry:

 Her adorable Christmas tree:

 And this looks straight out of Martha Stewart Living:
But THIS??  Who does THIS?  She made--with her own hands--this fluffy white feather wreath WITH LIGHTS for her front door:
It really does make the rest of us look bad. We're still friends though, Amy. I'll forgive you for being so fabulous.  I just wish some of it would rub off on me!

Last but not least, the day Elizabeth declared, "THE BEST DAY EVER!"

The Tuesday before Christmas it snowed like crazy during the night, so the kids and I went sledding in our pajamas on one of the best hills in town just across the street from us. I'm sad I have no pictures, but there was no way I was going to take a camera; my hands were a little full pulling Rachael around on the sled when she got tired, and going up and down that hill with the two little girls a million times. (Kate and Will were doing their own thing.) There were tons of kids there, but I was the only mom.  I could have sent the kids off on their own, giving the older ones instructions to help the younger ones, but we moms don't have enough fun, and I really wanted to go sledding too! I had a million other things I could have been doing the Tuesday before Christmas, but that was one of those days I felt like I just needed to grab the moment, make some memories, and enjoy my young children. It was so worth it! Cold enough to keep the snow from getting too slushy, but warm enough that it didn't even feel cold once you got going, I felt so happy when I was there and Elizabeth said--with her arms up in the air--"This is the best day EVER!"

After some hot peppermint cocoa with marshmallows (yeah, it just keeps getting better), we got ready and went down to Thanksgiving Point (home of all things fun, yummy, beautiful, cultural, and educational) to see Tangled (if you haven't seen it yet, it's my new favorite children's movie), and then Brandon met us for dinner and the "drive thru" lights. The only thing that would have made the day even more perfect is if the line to sit on Santa's lap hadn't been 2 hours long. We PASSED and no one seemed too disappointed.

 The water tower in icicle lights:
 Warming up:
 The trolley:
 Ice sculpture:
Beautiful decorations:

Yummy treats:
The cheesy lights: 
The thing I like best thing about drive thru lights is letting the little kids sit on our laps in the front of the car. They LOVE that! I even let them steer, so of course Will had to get in on the action too.

Now, I know this may be too much family fun and joy for one day, but we actually sang Christmas carols together while driving home that night. The whole pre-Christmas feeling was so wonderful the entire month, I wish I could figure out how to bottle some of that up for the coming months ahead.

But before I get into the new year, just a few more Christmas posts to catch up on everything.

We left the day after Christmas for California (our first visit since moving last July) and just got back this morning around 3:30am after a long and ugly drive, only to find no less than FOUR leaks in our ceiling, drip, drip, dripping away! We're sure it has to do with the freezing temperatures and snow that has been here while we've been gone. Water got in the roof somewhere, froze, expanded . . . there you go!  At one point during our drive back, the temperature outside was negative 13!!

More later . . .

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