29 December 2014

Pre-Christmas Festivities

It seems like I always do a huge sigh of relief when Christmas is over. There is so much to pack in to the month of December and this year was no exception.

Before we met up with extended family for countless festivities the week of Christmas, we filled our December days with our traditional holiday activities.

The jolly old man was conveniently present at our church Christmas party which eliminated the need for our usual trip to the mall. I sure love killing two birds with one stone.
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Chocolate chip cookies were the extent of our holiday baking this year.
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I joined Nash at preschool for his holiday party. We stuffed a gigantic candy cane with crumpled up newspaper and watched the annual magic show. I have done this four years in a row now and those magic tricks never change. The preschoolers think the magician is the most hilarious person on the planet, so it is much more entertaining to watch them than the show.
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Nash also performed in an evening holiday concert and nailed his first ever speaking part.
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I hauled the boys to Blake's elementary school for his holiday performance as well. It was located across town at 2:30 in the afternoon; smack dab in the middle of nap time. I huffed and puffed all the way in the door but the look on Blake's face when he spotted us was completely worth the hassle. 
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Add in buying and wrapping gifts, putting up decorations, making homemade gifts, delivering treats to neighbors, speaking in church, replacing the Christmas tree fuse multiple times, fixing broken ornaments, eagerly checking the mailbox each day for cards from loved ones, reading beloved Christmas books, watching the Home Alone movies on repeat, and driving around to see light displays and our December was filled with anticipation, excitement and nonstop activity once again.


24 December 2014

Holy Infant so Tender and Mild

I can't say that this year's Christmas Eve nativity reenactment was very calm or orderly.  Crew and his cousins peeled off their shepherd costumes before we even finished the story. Troy somehow morphed into a ninja Joseph. We sang a not so reverent rendition of "We Three Kings" in the mix. And I'm pretty sure the real Mary didn't sit behind her camera lens attempting to capture the chaos while in the stable.

But there is something special about having a real live baby to play the part of Jesus. And he was the most reverent of us all.
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Nash was thrilled to be a "wise guy."
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I never tire of hearing the story of the birth of our Savior and the older I get the more appreciation I have for this blessed event. He is the gift, which is so much more than a month long celebration. It's a life-long celebration as we come to understand and embrace the gift. 


A Pop of Christmas

Sometimes popcorn is the only way to get four boys in one place after three hours of church.
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Merry Christmas!


23 December 2014

Fall in Instas

Before we wind up 2014, there are a few more events via my phone that I want to record.

A week before Finn was born, we took Blake and Nash to the new Ogden temple open house. Before a temple is dedicated for worship, it is open to the public. Everyone can enter and feel of the special spirit within it's walls. The boys loved the "sparkly room" (the celestial room) the best.

Once Finn was born, he never left my side. Newborns make the sweetest faces.

A week after Finn was born, I was feeling pretty good about having all three older boys bathed on a Sunday morning and was ready to give Finn his first bath. I went in the bedroom to get him, and when I came back, I found Crew fully clothed in the baby tub full of water. We got a little stir crazy on those first days trapped at home with a newborn, so I took the older boys for a jaunt around the Great Salt Lake that evening.

Crew was a good sport about running errands with me while Blake and Nash were at school. Sometimes he was lucky enough to score a balloon. We usually grabbed lunch on Fridays because Blake got out of school early and there wasn't enough time to run all the way back home after picking Nash up from preschool.


There were many Saturdays filled with college football. We didn't kid around when it came to the Michigan State/Michigan game.


We enjoyed many weekend date nights with our good friends as always. We kicked off the holidays with dinner and dessert downtown and a walk through the shopping center admiring the lights.


22 December 2014

Wreath Woes

Ever since I painted our front door black, it heats up like crazy in the afternoon sun pouring in from the south. Last Christmas, my beloved cranberry wreath completely melted and warped. 
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To replace the cranberries, I crafted a wreath made from cinnamon sticks. It smelled divine. 
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It never crossed my mind that the sun might damage the cinnamon stick wreath too. A couple of days after hanging it up, I started hearing a sporadic plop, plop...plop. I could not figure out what the noise was for the longest time. Until I opened the front door and found this:
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The sun melted the hot glue and good chunk of the wreath was lying on the ground. I re-glued all of the cinnamon sticks back on with gorilla glue, and the exact same thing happened. Plop, plop, plop.
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When I pulled out my Christmas decorations this year, I sighed when I came across the cinnamon stick wreath. I didn't even attempt to hang it up. Maybe next year I'll find it a new home.


19 December 2014

My Favorite Holiday Tradition

December chaos is in full swing, but my all time favorite tradition is slowing down for a few minutes each night to read a Christmas book next to the glow of the tree. I wrap up 25 books and the boys take turns opening them. Some are silly and some are meaningful but all are enjoyed.

We started the tradition last year and I'm just as happy about it now as I was then. There are so many "extras" that we could cram into our holiday celebrations, but this is about as much as we can take on in this season of our lives. The baking, caroling, crafting, volunteering, and adventing will have to wait. This is perfect for us right now.
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18 December 2014

The Difference a Year Makes

It's hard to believe how much baby Crew has grown in a year. Although he's walking and talking now, he still fits into the elf pajamas that he wore last year.
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I've been thinking a lot this December how much our lives have changed in a short year.
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We had no idea when we celebrated Christmas last year that we'd have another baby under our tree this holiday season. 
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Each of our boys have worn these elf outfits at Christmastime and we just keep passing them down.
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It's still up for debate who has been nice and who has been naughty.
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But one thing is certain. These two make a sweet little duo of elves.
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