Thursday, February 7, 2013

The After Party (Christmas 2012)

Okay, it's time for a photographic report of the week after Christmas. But before we get started, let's just admire some of Roger's handiwork. Look at this innovative weather proofing I found in the downstairs bathroom:
(Does your dad do things like this when he comes to visit? Aren't dads just the best?)

And this is how we repaid him for his kindnesses. When he got a boo-boo, we gave him a fairy band-aid:
On with the report!

So, all that January snow I've been talking about actually started a day or two before Christmas. I spent several hours three days in a row sledding outside with the kids until I finally woke up hurting one morning. The snow really was a highlight of Christmas break. Our floors were constantly covered in wet snow clothes and boots and they spent hours outside making snowballs:
And snow people. Brandon made these with Rachael and boy, was she ever proud. Of course, it's a family with a mommy, daddy, and baby (i.e. me, Brandon and Rachael):

She had to have a picture with every one of them:

And then there was the sledding. That is one steep hill in our backyard! When we landscape someday, we're planning to keep an area smooth and un-terraced for winter sledding:

Will and Andrew said they made it all the way to the creek one time:
 More snowballs:

Nice shot! I took this from my bathroom window:
This big hawk hung around the house for about a half an hour:

Winter berries:
The night the grown ups went to see the movie Lincoln, we left the kids home with gingerbread sled kits:

Gag me with a spoon?
When we got home, we finally had the kids open Mimi and Papa's presents that were delayed by the snowstorm. They gifted them a bunch of fantastic books, but rather than spending a lot of time wrapping them all up, we decided to put them out on the floor and have them take turns choosing the ones they thought were for them. I suppose it could have backfired on us, but everyone chose the right books for them and it ended up being a really fun way to do it. It was kind of nice that the books came late because the kids were able to appreciate them without competition from all the other stuff on Christmas morning:

Bonus--the kids spent the next hour or so absorbed in their new books:
The Saturday after Christmas Andrew had his birthday party. He was lucky to have cousins from both sides there since all of my sister's husband's family moved here from Iowa several years ago:
It took some convincing, but once I got my dad going on this game we couldn't get him to stop:
That night we hosted a little dinner party for some of Brandon's extended family on his mom's side. He was supposed to be on call over Christmas (something that should only happen every eight years with the call group he's in), but the doc who was on for New Year's had a child getting married that weekend and asked Brandon if he wanted to swap. We were thrilled! But wouldn't you know it, he didn't have to go in even once the entire weekend except for the exact four hours that his family was over for dinner. I felt so bad! We all had a great time, but Brandon was only there for the first fifteen minutes and then came home literally 15 minutes after the last person left. At least we got one good picture with him in it:
Sunday was Andrew's actual 8th birthday, so we all got to be there for his baptism. Except for Brandon, who got called in AGAIN. Such a bummer, but a treat for the rest of us:
He's a bit of a ham:

We all went back to Jason's parents' house for a little dinner party after the baptism. Does Will look like a total stud here or what? 
Both of Jason's parents are very musical, so they indulged my kids by listening to them each perform a few numbers on their lovely grand piano:
It really was a fun time:

Our families were friends back in Iowa City before Jason and Liz even started dating, so it's nice to have a reason to still see each other:
A special little cake for Andrew:
He lost a front tooth that weekend. Isn't that cute?
Love Rachael in this one:

At this point, Liz and I realized we hadn't taken a single picture together. So we did. Can you tell we are sisters?
With two of Liz's other sister-in-laws. Karin (in the red) and I were actually friends back in Iowa City and did an overnighter one time with some other moms the year we all turned 30. (That was like, last year or so . . .)
Okay, this is so totally random, but for some unexplainable reason that I never found out, Jason and his brothers have a "potato gun" that they occasionally shoot off in the backyard. I just had to try it! Putting the potato into the "gun" . . .
Jamming it down inside with some piping. Did I mention this brother (Mike) is a plumber?
Greg had to keep the big heavy thing up and steady for me, but I actually pulled the trigger. And lost my hearing:
Their home isn't some farmhouse out in the middle of nowhere, mind you. It's in a really nice neighborhood up above the capital building overlooking the Salt Lake Valley. Maybe they don't have police up there? Who knows, but somehow they get away with this type of uncivilized behavior:
Time to say good-bye. It really was a fun night: 
Monday (New Year's Eve) we met up with Jason, Liz, and his family again and some of us went to see the lights at Temple Square while some of us (the grandpas) stayed behind and watched football (with their eyes closed). You pretty much HAVE to go see the lights at Temple Square if you're in Utah over the holidays. It's just gorgeous, and since my parents hadn't done it in probably 20 years it was a must-do on the schedule. Well, for my mom anyway. My dad wasn't interested since it was in the single digits. (Ya, a pretty cold night to go see the lights.) Yuki had to stay behind, poor thing:
In the elevator leaving the parking structure. Don't really know why I took this picture, but my sister's face is cracking me up so I'm including it:
I mean, really, how can you miss this?

We stopped for hot cocoa at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building before forging on. We thought we understood what it might have been like for the pioneers who made the trip west during the winter months. (Okay, no comparison at all really.)
But we couldn't miss this. I think it's the most beautiful display on the entire square:

The penguin hat just works, don't you think? Joseph, Mary, and their big baby penguin:

No, my mother isn't wheelchair bound, but she can't do long distances because of one of her knees. Thank goodness we happen to have someone in the family who can easily get a wheelchair:
One more stop at the old Tabernacle to warm up and watch one of the many shows that were going on all night. This one was kind of jazzy/bluesy. Not really my thing, but it was nice and warm in there:
Last picture with most of the group:
I try to get an occasional picture with my hubby:
And why we picked this moment of face freezing pain to take the one and only picture of us together is beyond me, but here it is:
There she goes again:
New Year's Eve was extremely uneventful. (As always.) We played games. We watched the ball drop in New York. We drank bubbly juice and yelled "HAPPY NEW YEAR!" We put the little girls in bed. Some of us tried to stay awake until midnight and complained about how raunchy Kathy Griffin is and watched classy Megan Kelly on Fox News instead. I am always still recuperating from Christmas on New Year's Eve and rarely do anything spectacular. I do like to make goals (resolutions, whatever) every year, but not until the kids are back in school and I feel like I'm ready for normal life again. On New Year's Eve I'm still in lazy, vacation mode. Big time. I mean, who can start a diet on New Year's Day? What in the world is the point? As for me and my house, we eat my souped up version of Kneader's french toast with our own homemade coconut buttermilk syrup. It's divine, I tell you. Divine:
(You see I am in workout clothes, however. I'm not a total loser.)

Brandon making the coconut buttermilk syrup:
(Don't tell my dad there is CORN SYRUP in this recipe, because he ate it!) 

After the french toast, we did a whole lot of nuttin' for the rest of the day. Nuttin' being defined as watching football:
Crafting dolls from the fashion design kit the girls got for Christmas:Making snow cones from real snow and leftover Otter Pops from last summer:
In roller blades, no less:  

And the longest game of "Ticket to Ride" in the history of the world:
Last but not least, just a few really cute pictures for the heck of it. Rachael with the hand-me-down doll Elizabeth gave her for Christmas. (Hand-me-downs are treasures in our house. Rachael was seriously thrilled.)
Rachael with Papa:
Does this happen at your house?
Bonus section: More snow pictures! Because there was a lot of snow:
I swear our neighborhood is the last one in the city to be plowed:
Wow. This posting a little bit every day thing isn't really panning out like I had planned. Is it possible that I will get to a point at which I actually get caught up or run out of massive amounts of pictures? We'll see. We'll see . . . 

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