Tuesday, December 31, 2013

family nativity party

My mom's side of the family always gets together before Christmas to have a party. We all bring soups to share, Grandma brings ice cream, and we help the kids do a little (as "little" as you can get with roughly 30 kids on the stage) nativity play.

As you can imagine, it's pure chaos trying to get all these kiddos dressed and in their places before the play starts.  Here are my darling little shepherds waiting their turn:
Ellie decided that the baby doll we used for Jesus was actually hers. If you know any two-year-olds, you understand what happens when they decide something is "MINE!"  
 She also felt inclined to stand center stage through the whole production. 
Hopefully no one minded, because she was not moving.

After the play, Nicholas got to run wild with his favorite cousin-friend Sam, Ellie thoroughly enjoyed some ice cream, 
 and my cousin Glen used photos of all of us to do some Elf-yourself videos.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Eve

 Christmas Eve started off with my brother's delicious French Muffins.  We did some cleaning, some playing, and my kids helped Sarah make gingerbread cookies.

While Ellie napped, Nicholas came with all of the big kids to go sledding, or "bogganing" as he calls it.

 We all seriously over-dressed for the activity.
It was in the high 30's out there, (yes, I said "high 30's." When you live in northern Utah, you acclimate.)
and within the first half hour we'd all shed our coats, gloves, and even our snow pants.
 Here's Josh adding his coat and pants to the pile of discarded warm clothes.

Nicholas started off just going down the little hills, but then he decided that if he brought a little block of ice with him he'd be brave enough to go down the really big hill with the rest of us.

We always do our big fancy dinner on Christmas Eve, so no one has to spend all their day on Christmas in the kitchen.
I set the table,

and my mom baked the most amazing meal. Ham, au gratin potatoes, rolls, jello salad, fresh greens with pears, pomegranates, raspberries and almonds, broccoli and cheese sauce, and finished with a triple chocolate bundt cake served with peppermint ice cream.

We ate by candle light.
My Grandpa Murray owned a beautiful set of real sleigh bells.
When I was a little girl, every Christmas Eve we'd be getting ready for bed when we'd hear Santa and his bells, walking around the house, checking to see if we were still awake.

This year, my kids heard those bells, and they were off to bed in a dash.  Ellie kept saying "Santa! Roof! Down!  Sleep!!" and Nicholas insisted we all go to bed "right now!"
I didn't even get a picture of them in their pajamas with the cookies and milk they set out for Santa.  They got in bed too fast for that.
I wasn't about to get them back up again.

And while they slept, Santa came.

Kent and I stayed up with all my siblings way too late, teasing Jonah with messages on facebook, laughing about pure nonsense, as usual.

It was, truly, a perfect Christmas Eve.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas fish

 This is what Santa brought for Nicholas.
A new shirt (that Nicholas refuses to wear...of course), books, oreos, a play tent, stuffed panda bear,
oatmeal, and pet fish.
 Nicholas's first delights were in his oatmeal.  He squealed, danced around, and hugged it tight.  Oatmeal.
 And then he noticed his stocking full of candy....

And finally, he saw it.  
"Santa brought me a pet FISH?!?"   

Totally worth it.
Even though I've had to change the water every single day so far. I guess we need to buy a bigger tank. And a filter. 
These little fish are a lot of work.  But he loves them. I've caught him several times just sitting next to the bowl, watching them with a giant grin. 
He keeps telling me how happy he is,
because "Santa brought me fish.  I knew he'd bring me fish."

These two little fishies have changed names about every three hours since Nicholas has gotten them.
Here's the names I can remember:
Jonny and Whooshie (these were the very first names he gave them on Christmas morning)
Beta and Christmas Mushi
Johnson and Clamfish
Mara and Christmas Clamfish
Clownfish and Freddy

I think I need to start writing the names on the side of the bowl with a dry erase marker so I won't keep getting in trouble for referring to them as the wrong names.  I just can't keep up with that little mind of his.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Merry Christmas

Our Christmas card this year: 

And the letter we sent with it:

Today we're wrapping the last few gifts, going sledding (or "bogganing" as Nicholas says), having our fancy Christmas Eve dinner, and hopefully going to bed early.  
Ellie didn't go to sleep until 11:30 last night....
a mom can dream, though, right?  

Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Sunday

 We're at my parents' house for Christmas.  
Yesterday started out with a pajama-clad snow shoveling party.

 Then we all got dressed in our Christmas best for Church.

After Church (the Christmas program-so nice!) we came home and played--Alicia played G.I. Joes with Nick for a while, we played several rounds of Guess Who with the kids, went to see the stake choir sing The Messiah, and stayed up late being way too silly.  

The snow came down all day, my mom has the house so cozy and Christmas-y, we shopped for a few last-minute gifts and stocking stuffers today, and the kids are continually checking and re-checking how many days are left on our paper chain countdown.  
Christmas is almost here!

marshmallow pops

We were in charge of bringing a special treat for Nicholas's preschool Christmas party.  I saw this cute idea and thought maybe he'd want them?  Strawberry and bananas shaped into a candy cane?  
I showed it to him and asked him if he wanted it. 
He just looked at me and said, "Um......."
"How about marshmallows?"

Got it.  Healthy food is not an acceptable Christmas party treat.  Okay.  
So we covered marshmallows in white chocolate and sprinkles.
And every kid in his class loved them, except one girl. She said they were too sticky.
She probably eats strawberries and bananas in candy cane shapes at her house.

 This girl.  She dumped out the whole bottle of sprinkles, so I scooped them into a bowl.
When I looked over, she was eating sprinkles by the fistful.
And just so you know, I do style her hair every morning--comb through it and put a cute little bow or clip in the side.  But by midday, it always looks like this.  

There's too much playing, climbing, couch-jumping, and sprinkle eating to be done each day to worry about keeping your hair nice.  

Thursday, December 19, 2013

halls are decked

My finger model points out her favorite snow globe.
Teresa helped us make these darling snow globes on Thanksgiving.  
You can bet my kids are continually rearranging them, moving them, carrying them around the house, pushing them around in the shopping cart, etc.

My finger model steals the shot with her "rabbit" fingers.  Hop!  
She does this all the time-holds up her hand and tell us it's a rabbit.

This year's ornament--sweet little man from Mexico.
We've been loving our tradition of lighting the candles for every meal in December--breakfast lunch dinner by candlelight.  We used up the last of the juice in our lighter burning our tree on Saturday, though, so we've been candleless this week.  Hoping Kent can pick a new one (and some matches for back up probably) on his way home from work today.  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

santa store

Last Wednesday Nicholas's preschool class went on a fieldtrip to see Santa at the mall.
When I was telling him about it on Tuesday, Ellie jumped up and shouted
"ME too?! Santa store!?"  

I couldn't say no to that, so we skipped naptime and tagged along.

 Nicholas's class.  These are some super cute kids, and it's been awesome for him to be able to make new friends.
(He's kind of wincing in this picture because he was NOT pleased with the super bright flash on the camera they were using.  He would jump and grimace every single time.)

 Nicholas told Santa he wants frosting, oatmeal, and a pet fish for Christmas.
Santa hasn't decided yet if the fish is going to happen... Santa might not make up his mind on that one until the last minute.  Santa's pretty torn.  (The joy in his eyes when he sees he got a pet fish vs. the work for Mom to take care of a pet fish.)
I was kind of expecting Ellie to be too afraid to sit on his lap, 
but she surprised me by willingly and happily approaching him, climbing onto his knee, and telling him that she wants "presents!" for Christmas.  

As we walked away, she turned back to Santa, waved and said "Merry 'Mismas' to you!"  Since then, she's been saying that to everyone, including the checker at Target.  
This girl.  I want to eat her up she's just too cute.

These kids are super excited for Christmas this year.  I'm talking shrieks of joy when we take another link off our Christmas countdown paper chain. 

Ellie has learned to sing Jingle Bells ("Bells! Sleigh! Horse Open Sleigh!")  and Nicholas is a big fan of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  

We've been wrapping presents (and re-wrapping....Ellie just can't handle the temptation), making and eating gingerbread houses, dancing around the Christmas tree to Pandora, eating our meals by candlelight, reading Christmas books, and talking lots about the real Christmas story.  

We went to a live nativity the first weekend of December, and Nicholas has been very curious about the story of Baby Jesus and when he was born.  We've had more than one instance of tears and despair because he "just wishes we were there when Jesus was actually born!"  and "Why didn't you take me to see the real baby??"  Teaching a four-year-old about what two thousand years ago means is no easy task.