bouquet background

Friday, January 11, 2013

There's No Place Like Home For the Holidays

We traveled all over for our Christmas vacation this year. Kelson was busy with work, so I headed home a week early.  My trip started with an early morning flight to Salt Lake, where my sister, Katy, picked me up on the way home from BYU. That way I got a cheaper flight, Katy didn't have to drive alone, and we got to spend the day together.  Score!
 There are few things happier than a Cafe Rio salad and tres leches cake with your sister.                         This was definitely worth a detour into Ogden.
In our family, Christmas vacation is synonymous with inventory. Fortunately, technology has made this a much faster activity than it was when we were kids. Katy and I spent some quality time scanning items. Other activities in the first few days of our vacation included the church Christmas party, lots of board games, and a trip through the snow to Elgin to see White Christmas on stage.

 Annie got her Christmas present a little early. I made her a felt doll with a whole wardrobe of outfits and a house to carry everything in. I may have gotten out of control.
 Kelson and I wanted to visit his family in Seattle this Christmas, so it worked out great that my parents were already planning a trip to Seattle to see Elf: the Musical. I even got to see the play with them (Dad was super nice and gave me his ticket). It was great. Kelson's plans to fly up to meet us there got delayed by a day, so I had a whole day to play in Seattle with my parents and Katy. One of the fun things we did was see the gingerbread festival at the Sheraton hotel downtown. They made edible replicas of all of the Disney castles plus some other fairytales. It was so cool!

 We finally picked up Kelson and got to his sister, Jehana's house about midnight, and we had to leave by 10:00 the next morning. It was a short visit, but it was great to see Kelson's family and give the kids their Christmas presents. We love all of our family!  Our visit to Seattle was great, although the endless downpour made me question our desire to go there on our next tour. It would definitely be a hard transition from sunny San Diego.

Kelson's nieces are so cute!

 Back in Baker, we finished the preparations for Christmas, including a batch of Grandma's raisin bread. It isn't really the holidays if there is no raisin bread.
 We almost never eat in the dining room at my parents house, which makes Christmas Eve special. As dictated by tradition, we had lasagna, french bread, and Diane's beautiful layered jello salad. For dessert, Diane and Roger brought huckleberry cheesecake.  I love them!

After dinner, we all gathered around the piano for a little musical performance and caroling. This is one of my favorite parts of our Christmas tradition. This year, Kelson joined in the festivities with a harmonica performance. He just started playing a few months ago, and he is doing great! Kelson and I had a new adventure this year. We wanted to see what a midnight mass was like at the Catholic church. The church in town didn't have one, so we went to an earlier Christmas Eve service. It was very interesting. Seeing how other people do things and experiencing new things ourselves is always fun. We topped off our Christmas Eve with Mr. Kreuger's Christmas and then prepared for Santa to come.

Every Christmas before this one, we opened presents at home and then spent the rest of the day at my grandparents' house. They moved into town this year and now live next door to my parents, so we spent the whole day at home on Christmas. It was different, but we all had a wonderful day. Santa was very kind to us, but more importantly, we had our family home, and we all got to spend the day together. We ate in the dining room on Grandma's china for the second day in a row, which is an unprecedented event. After dinner, we went to see a movie, another Hindman family Christmas activity.
Dad always gets a toy for Christmas, and this year it was rockem sockem robots. I totally dominated.
Kelson and I ended the day with a walk through the deserted, snow-covered streets of town. 
It was a wonderful way to end a perfect Christmas. 
There was so much snow that we just had to go sledding. Kelson had a brilliant idea to go off of a jump.  What you can't see in the picture is that the "jump" consisted of a block retaining wall with a four-foot drop. Katy and I heard a big thud and then a lot of moaning. Smart, Kelson. Smart.

Before we flew out, Kelson and I spent a day shopping in Boise with my family, including some delicious frozen yogurt. Whoever thought of putting ottomans in a restaurant was a genius. We were sad to say goodbye, but it was good to get home too. We are very grateful that we had the chance to be able to see so much of our family this Christmas. Family is what makes the holidays wonderful, and our family is the best.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: San Diego Style

It was our second Christmas season here in San Diego. We may not have snow here, and it may look like Spring outside, but Southern California still manages to find some Christmas Spirit. 
 One day, I received a 5-foot cardboard cylinder in the mail. (It was sealed with gorilla tape, so I know my dad was in on the project.) Inside was an advent calendar just like the one that was on our mantle the whole time I was growing up.Every day, we got to open a little box which contained a note and something special, most of which were handmade clay figurines crafted by my mom. You may think your mom is the coolest, but I'm pretty sure you are mistaken.  I have the best mom in the world.

 For the kitchen table, I created a forest of Christmas trees.  I love how they turned out!
Meet Tiny Tim, our beloved, crooked, living Christmas tree.  This is his second year with us.
 One Friday, Kelson didn't have to work, so we spent the day at Sea World.  I have never been to a theme park at Christmas time before, and it was awesome! The whole park was decked out. 
 If you have never petted a sting ray, you are missing out.  It was so cool! They love being petted and will come right up and suck on your fingers. We went back twice.
 This is where San Diego kids go for their winter fun.  They have a whole area full of manufactured snow for the kids to play in, including a tiny sledding hill.  I thought it was hilarious.
 The 4-D movie was Polar Express, and you walked out the door into a "snow storm". How often do you get snow and a palm tree in the same picture?
The park stayed open late so that you could see all the lights. We rode up in the sky tower at dusk and looked over the whole city.  Beautiful!
 One Monday night, we went to a concert at the temple grounds for FHE. The San Diego temple goes all out for Christmas, including tons of lights and two life-size Nativity scenes. What better place to celebrate the Christmas season?

 I spent the six weeks before Christmas playing Santa's elf and loving every minute of it. I created custom gifts for all of our nieces and nephews (except the babies.  I will get to them next year when they can appreciate it. Don't worry, I still love them.) I made little felt roads that you can arrange in all kinds of shapes. I did one with horses and one with race cars. I also made art cases, puzzle bags, and felt dolls. For our moms, I made temple bags. I'm not sure what to do with my time now that I am done with Christmas presents.  I guess it is time to start on next year!