Friday, January 1, 2010

Christmas Recap - 2009

From beginning to end...we had a LOVELY Christmas season!

I love putting together our annual Christmas card! My friend Joyana took our family pics, and I designed the card. Let the holiday cheer begin!!!

One of my favorite family traditions that we do with our kids is cutting down our own Christmas tree every year. We used to go hiking up in the mountains with a permit from the city, but after a couple years of kids crying their eyes out because they were freezing, and waist deep in snow, with a mile to hike back to the truck -- we decided we should change it up a bit if we were actually going to create FUN family memories with this tradition. So this year and last, we visited The Merry Christmas Tree Farm in Black Forest. You still get to bundle up for the walk in the snow through acres of all natural, scraggly, Charlie Brown-ish {my favorite kind!} pine trees, and pick out your own tree to chop down yourself - but you get this minus most of the tears. I love it!
All of the kids {and mom too} helped Dad saw the tree trunk.

Once we get the tree up {which can be difficult when you have a forest grown lopsided tree with a split trunk. One year it required the hanging of a ten pound dumbbell with duct tape from a lower tree branch on the left side to keep the tree from falling over to the right - such a cute ornament!} we spend a Family Home Evening decorating the tree and talking about where each special ornament came from. We have several homemade ones from Dan's extended family. I love to ooh and ah over each one as we put them up.

This is a rare glimpse of Eden and Calvin getting along!

Our whole family was asked to be in the ward program this year, and we had a lot of fun with it! One of our Young Single Adults, Ashley Myers, wrote and directed it. When she told us that our family would be starting out the show by singing With Wondering Awe, and explained that we'd also be singing two other songs with the rest of the cast, Dan told her, "You know that I DO NOT sing, right?". She didn't know that, but it didn't bother her either. She basically just said, make it work, and we'll see you at practice. So he did make it work. I sang loud, the girls sang really loud on the chorus, and Dan whispered right along. Bless his soul - he's such a good sport.

We attend church every Sunday, so being there for the Sunday before Christmas is nothing out of the ordinary, except that the choir sings lots of beautiful music, the speakers focus on the birth of Christ and the sweet spirit of the Season, and our kids get to wear their special Christmas outfits. Somehow being a little more dressed up than usual makes this Sunday even more delightful.

The girls were soooo excited for Santa to come, that we thought for sure they'd be waking us up at 5am. In actuality, they were pretty tired from the week's events, so they were still sleeping at 7:00. I got out the camera, and took a picture of each one of them to wake them up with the flash. Probably not the nicest thing to wake up to - but once they realized it was Christmas morning, they didn't mind too much!

Bella took the longest to wake up.

Azure was bright eyed and ready to go.

Calvin couldn't wait to see what Santa brought him.

And Emmett didn't even flinch. We let him sleep in a little longer.

We always leave carrots out for the reindeer, but apparently, Donner doesn't like them - so he left his behind. Calvin was quick to snatch it up while we were reading the letter from Santa.

This was the first Christmas that we were at home with just us and our kids on Christmas morning... and it was AWESOME! We took our time and enjoyed each gift as it was opened, made a big breakfast after, and started our own traditions. One of which was that Santa left a letter for the kids hanging from a ribbon at the top of the stairs. Daddy helped them read that, and then Calvin got to cut the ribbon to let everyone pass and race to find their stockings.

I spent most of Christmas eve throwing these stockings together with material I had on hand. I couldn't find our stockings I had made a few years back, and Bella was seriously concerned that Santa wasn't going to leave anything for her since she didn't have a stocking! She was so glad when I finally made these new ones, that she wrote a note to Santa thanking him for everything he's ever given her, and left it in her stocking for him to find. Too cute! He was really appreciative.

After they they found all the treasures in their stockings, they made their way to the tree. {Which you'll notice is propping itself up against the ceiling.} They easily spotted the Santa presents, as he wrapped them all in the same, special Santa wrapping paper. What a clever guy.

I love this picture of Calvin! His huge smile made all of the headache and stress of planning, searching, shopping, and tracking down craigs-list treasures, worth it. He absolutely LOVES the truck Santa brought him --- and wouldn't you know it, Nana sent him a gas pump! How perfect is that?

Azure was all smiles when she opened up her new bike from Santa! Now she won't have to fight over using Bella's!

Santa surprised Bella with a pogo stick! Although she was really excited - it might be awhile before she really gets the hang of it. It's kind of tricky!

The thing the girls were the most excited about, were their Pillow Pets from Santa. It was the only thing they wrote to Santa requesting. Over, and over, and over. Of course, they were sold out EVERYWHERE, and people were selling them online for OUTRAGEOUS amounts of money. Luckily, Santa's little elf isn't a quitter...and tracked down a little booth that still had a few left! Phew! Christmas catastraphe avoided!

Ah, there's nothing like a baby's first Christmas! Emmett loved playing with all of the wrapping paper - and it was so cute to see Bella, Azure and Calvin get excited for him. They opened all of his presents for him, and squealed just as loudly for his gifts as they did for their own. Adorable.

Santa brought Daddy a spotting scope for hunting, and a surprise iPod touch. Exciting!

Lots of Dan's family lives close by, so we spent most of our holiday season celebrating with them. We made candy houses {my favorite!}. I'm loving the sugar cone trees this year!

Azure, Bella, Vince, Daemon, Calvin

Went bowling...

Bella, Catcher, Griffin, Azure, Daemon, Harris

And cheered on Dad vs. Uncle Todd in a very manly round of arm wrestling.

With almost three whole weeks off of school, we had lots of time to fill. We had a blast!
We went swimming with our friends at the awesome, huge and loud kiddy pool at Villa-Sport.

Lovejoys, McOmbers, Harveys & Drapers

We hung out at the Little Mr. Biggs playplace,
where even Emmett got in on the action.

Cal & Az love the carousel there

The girls went to gymnastics camp.

And a few days later, got all glammed up for a trip to the mall.

{Wild things happen when they're allowed to pick their own outfits!}
All in all, we had a FABULOUS Christmas Break full of friends, family, faith & fun!

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