Thursday, December 27, 2018

Christmas Eve 2018

We've spent Christmas break shuffling around to all of my families' houses for parties, games, late nights, etc. My parents recently moved again into the same house we bought when we first moved back to Utah in December 1999. It's been fun going back to one of my childhood homes, though I still miss our old house my parents moved from a few years ago.

Taylor has been on his mission in Chile for almost a year and we've only talked to him on the phone during Mother's Day. So we were excited about skyping with him on Christmas Eve! He is getting released next year a week before Christmas so he will be able to be home with us by then! It was so great seeing him and he seemed a lot more grounded this time. It was so emotional last time we talked with him on Mother's Day, but he seemed so happy and like he was grasping the language really well.

Brooklyn and Matt were in Morgan with his family, so she facetimed in to see him. :))

 We ate food and hung around until we had to go back home for a cousins dinner with all of Ryan's cousins. We had a cousins Thanksgiving last month and it was so fun that we wanted to do it for Christmas too. It's been so fun having them back in Utah.

After we ate, we all dressed up in the costumes my family used growing up (plus a few I've added to the collection) for the Nativity story. 

Norah played Mary, and Janel played the donkey haha

Jake played Joseph and everyone had a script so he helped Norah out during her lines. Notice her cute pregnant belly 😂

Baby Henry woke up from his nap just in time to play baby Jesus. 

Callie as the angel, proclaiming the great news 

And everyone coming to worship Jesus

Look at this good looking cast! 

Ryan, Lucy, Nick, Jake, Caleb, Aunt Audrey
Janel, Jane, Me, Great Grandma, Callie, Henry, Amy, Norah

All the cousins

Once we wrestled the kids into bed, we got out our white elephant gifts for the gift exchange. It was so fun and everyone brought such hilarious things. I ended up with a Justin Bieber tank top from Callie 😂

Since Ryan and I were sort of procrastinators with wrapping gifts, we ended up staying up until 2:00am getting everything ready. I was so tired, but really excited to see the girls' reaction in the morning! It was such a fun night with some of my favorite people ever!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Polar Express

December has gone by so quickly, I felt like I was rushing to squeeze in all the fun activities I wanted to do with the girls. It has been such a wonderful month and I've loved enjoying this great season as a family in our new home. 
I wanted to do our little polar express tradition again where I read them the Polar Express book while they sit and drink hot cocoa.

But since it was already Christmas Eve, and we were supposed to leave soon to my parents' house, it was a little rushed. Ryan was still taking a shower, and Janel was about to walk out the door herself, so I just did it with the girls myself. They were excited about the hot cocoa and less enthused about listening to the book haha--honestly, I don't even remember if we finished reading it. 🤷

Lucy and Jane both were fighting over putting their cups on the edge of their seats to take a break haha. But then Lucy's cup fell and broke all over, spilling hot cocoa all over as well. I had to pause the book and clean everything up. But once we were ready to resume again, their interest had really plummeted since the hot cocoa was all but gone--and completely gone for Lucy.

So Norah and Lucy ran off while I bribed Jane with a little extra hot cocoa to sit back in her chair while I snap a couple extra photos of her. 

Pure joy! I love this girl.

So maybe it wasn't quite the way I pictured the activity, but I always find that the crazy moments are the ones I look back on with a little more fondness. These girls are growing up so fast and I've been heartbroken about it all year long, especially with Norah starting school, it's made it sink it a little more. 

It's been the best Christmas season I've had in a long time and I've loved sharing it with these sweet, though sometimes crazy, girls! :))

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Candlelit Christmas Feast

Last year we started our first annual Candlelit Christmas Feast tradition, and it was so fun that I was really looking forward to it again this year! 

Every time I've made a turkey, I seem to be very unprepared as far as thawing it out and brining it before and getting the right seasonings until it's too late. But it turned out really well this year despite my forgetfulness. It was still being pretty frozen in the middle before throwing it in the oven so I had to hack at the ice chips inside for quite a while before being able to get the neck out. 😬

I think if I had prepared a little better it would have turned out even better. The schedule was much easier this year since I made the sweet potatoes in the crock pot instead of the oven. I had planned this all out just a couple of days before since we were starting to run out of evenings that would work for our schedule, so it was all planned with late notice.

The girls loved the candles and had to exercise great restraint not to blow them out haha.

I loved the Christmas tree in the background. We played music and had such a nice dinner together.


We drank sparkling cider and talked about our favorite things that happened this year, including moving into our new house, visiting Arizona for Thanksgiving, going to cowabunga bay (haha something they ask about often), and Norah starting school. 

Picture dump

Lucy got up on Ryan's lap to snuggle and so of course everyone had to get in on it too. :)

It was finally time to blow out the candles, the girls' favorite part haha. 

They started crying because they didn't each get to blow out as many candles as they wanted haha

So Ryan relit them all to do it over again.

Haha Norah's face. 😆

I love this little tradition! It's been a great year for us!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Norah's Birthday Party! 🎉

We decided to keep Norah's party really simple. I sent out invitations to her class and some neighborhood kids earlier that week and then made a cake the night before and called it good. haha Ryan picked up some balloons and we just winged the rest.

Once all of the kids came, they started their own game of duck duck goose until we were ready. 

I still wasn't exactly sure what games we were going to pass the time, but then I remembered I bought some m&ms for gingerbread decorating later that week, and decided we would play a game of Don't Eat Pete! A game, I might add, that Ryan has never even heard of! what?? The kids loved it though and it took a good chunk of time haha.  

Once everyone had a turn, we did a few rounds of freeze dance. haha. It was so funny to watch the kids all dance together. I feel like it made Norah more comfortable to be silly when everyone else was being silly too.

We all went up for cake and singing

It was so funny to watch Norah open presents. Not only because all of the kids would start out sitting down but by the end of each present (they'd all be standing around her crowding in to see. haha it was hilarious and we had to ask them a million times to sit back down so everyone could see), but because Norah's reactions were so cute to watch. 

She was really excited about all the LOL balls she got (a toy I don't think I will ever understand). They all played with the new toys until parents came to pick their kids up. Ryan and I sighed a breath of relief and now we get a break from parties until June haha.