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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Christmasing with Family

We spent Christmas at home in Baker with my family. Aunt Katy was home too, and we all had a wonderful holiday. 
 Grandpa let Sarah help build the fire. She forgot to let go of the match, and I suddenly heard Dad and Kelson yelling, "drop it now!".  Leave it to the men to hand the 4 year old a lit match. Fortunately no one got burned, and Sarah thought it was very exciting.
 One of our Christmas traditions is making brigadeiros. They are a Brazilian chocolate caramel that you roll in different toppings. Kelson brought out the toppings while Sarah and I were starting to roll the caramels - cocoa powder, chocolate sprinkles, sugar sprinkles, and toasted coconut. I handed Mom a coconut one to try. She tasted it and then made a horrible face. I thought maybe the coconut was bad, so I tasted it and realized that Kelson had brought me a bowl of onion soup mix instead of coconut. Gross. Poor Mom. Chocolate caramel rolled in onion soup is not good. 
 We corrected the topping mistake and Sarah had a great time rolling the rest of the caramels.
On the 22nd, we went to my Uncle Donny's house for Danish Christmas. Don't you just love the gingerbread cookie place cards?
 Chris got stuck behind me, under the Christmas tree. He took advantage of the opportunity to snitch candy canes during dinner. 
 Danish Christmas is one of our favorite traditions. It is a wonderful time to be together with my Mom's family and celebrate our Danish heritage. Sarah entertained herself photographing the party.

 Chris decided that playing under the table was super exciting. He rolled around down there for at least half an hour.
 Katy offered to read Sarah a book, and Sarah came up with a Beauty and the Beast chapter book with no pictures. She settled right in and demanded that Katy start reading. She read for several pages before I intervened and brought a children's book for them to read. Sarah loves her Aunt Katy.

 We took the kids to see the lights at Sam Bass's house. He has wooden cutouts of dozens of cartoon characters and lights all set up throughout his yard for everyone to walk through. I have been going there as long as I can remember. Mr. Bass died this year, so this will be the last time going there. Fortunately someone in the community has offered to take over the display. It was extremely cold the night we went, but the kids loved it. 
 Kelson went for a late night run in the cold to enjoy the festiveness of downtown Baker. 

I will write about Christmas and Christmas Eve in the next post, but we will jump to after Christmas real quick. 

 Mom, Katy, and I got to spend the afternoon shopping at after-Christmas sales and attending the new temple in Meridian. It was such a great day with my two best friends!

We went back to Grandma's for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. I didn't take any pictures for some reason, but we celebrated at Jeremy's house this year. We had a delicious dinner of ribs and shrimp and then spent the evening playing games. We spent the night at Jeremy's so that we could put all of the kids to bed early. We almost made it to midnight, but the baby woke up at 11:45 and broke up the party. The next day, we all played at Grandma's house. The kids have been making great use of the new tea set that Grandma bought for Christmas. 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Day 2017

 Last year we had to coax Sarah downstairs on Christmas morning. No need this year. She was very excited to see if Santa had brought a mommy for Sweetie, her seahorse.
 It took some convincing to get Sarah to open her stocking before we checked out what was under the tree. She finished taking everything out of her stocking and then burst into tears because Sweetie's mommy wasn't there. We quickly reassured her that there were still plenty of presents to open.

 Santa came through! Sweetie will be so happy to see her mommy!
 Santa brought Chris a set of cars and buildings and a rug to play with them on.

 Kelson's big gift was a copy of Washington at Valley Forge for our office. For me, Kelson arranged with a local watercolor artist to give me lessons. Best gift ever! I had asked for a butter dish, and he found one made by my 6th grade teacher, who is an artist, and included a personal note from her. I have an awesome husband.
 From us, Sarah got a Littlest Pet Shop set. Yard sale find!
 For breakfast, I made cinnamon rolls, pecan sticky buns, and a hot chocolate bar.

 Later in the morning, Jeremy's family came and we opened all of our presents for each other.
 So much happy chaos!
Amy made these adorable play houses for the kids. Sarah got a house with a little garden set and Chris got a barn full of animals. So cute!
Aunt Jehana sent the cutest pajamas!
 It was a happy day full of playing with new toys.
 Prime rib dinner, Christmas crackers, and paper crowns. 

 By afternoon, the poor men were just worn out. Christmas is exhausting.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve

I love that Christmas Eve was on a Sunday this year. It was so special to dress in our Christmas finest and celebrate Jesus Christ as a church family.

 Getting children to smile for perfect Christmas pictures is always an adventure. Daddy is an expert.
 My two Christmas angels
 We didn't all plan the matching, but aren't we cute?

 We Skyped with Nana & Papa to open presents with them on Christmas Eve. They sent the kids these adorable tents for Christmas. So fun!
 We had Christmas Eve dinner at Jeremy's house. After dinner, we did a little Nativity play. The girls were angels, Levi and Will were shepherds (complete with Star Wars robes), and Jack was the cutest little baby Jesus. Our good friends, the Lemasters, always join us for Christmas Eve. Diane was our narrator while Roger played the very important part of the Christmas star.

 After our play, we enjoyed some Christmas carols
 Then we finished up the evening with story time with Grandma and Grandpa.
 When we got home, Sarah scattered reindeer dust on the snow so they could find our house.
 Then we left out milk and brigadeiros for Santa (he needed a break from cookies) and an apple for the reindeer. Afterwards, Sarah went right to bed so that Santa could come. It was the easiest bedtime we have had in weeks.
 Arranging the presents under the tree and getting everything ready for Christmas morning is one of my favorite moments of the whole year. I just love anticipating the happy faces coming downstairs in the morning.
We finished our Christmas Eve with a walk in a magical Christmas Eve snowfall. Who could ask for more?

Friday, December 22, 2017

Joy in December

I did something fun and painted our Christmas card this year. I am loving my new adventures in watercolor painting.

 Grandpa built this fabulous baby gate to keep Chris out of the fireplace at his house. Chris did not appreciate being foiled.
 We dressed up warm and went to the Christmas parade in Caldwell. It was cold, but we had lots of fun. Chris looked like a little marshmallow boy.
 It was a great parade with tons of lights and music on the floats. The kids loved it.
 Chris is a bit of a Christmas tree menace. We moved most of the ornaments up high on our trees, and the ones that have been in his reach are constantly getting pulled off. 
 Mom and I made gingerbread houses with all of the kids one day. It was a rather terrifying experience. We may need more adults for this activity in the future.

 The kids had fun, though. That mischievous grin on Will's face is because he had already started eating his house.
The same day as the gingerbread madness, we made our annual batch of my Grandma's raisin bread. It is a major project. Mom was a bit busy while I was baking, and I was also distracted by two squirrelly children. We came out with 13 beautiful loaves, and I was feeling pretty proud of myself until I tasted the bread and realized I had left out the salt. Epic holiday tradition fail. It was edible, but just not what Grandma's raisin bread should be. It was a very sad moment.
 When Mommy & Sarah accidentally dress in matching shirts, we must take selfies. 
 My kids love Christmas lights. Sarah stretched her Little People city across the entire room and draped "Christmas lights" across the whole thing.
 Sarah has suddenly decided she is afraid of the dark and won't go to sleep without a lamp on. However, she usually piles animals on top of her to block the light so she can sleep. Silly girl.
Sarah is apparently the most enthusiastic singer in primary on Sunday. You wouldn't know it by her performance with the children at the church Christmas party. She stood in the front row with a scowl on her face and refused to crack a smile or sing a word in spite of much encouragement. She wouldn't even shake her jingle bell. She just stood there and held it. It was actually fairly hilarious to watch. Afterwards, I asked her what was wrong, and she said she was mad because she wanted a cookie.

 Photos with Santa were less than successful this year. Chris was not a fan. Sarah has finally decided that Santa is a good guy. Her request from Santa was a mommy for her stuffed seahorse, Sweetie. 
 We visited the Idaho Botanical Garden to see the lights. We all enjoyed it a lot in spite of the cold.

 One of Sarah's friends moved right before Christmas, so we had a gift exchange party with all of the sunbeams. It was a little crazy, but they loved it.
 I cheated this year and bought a roll of refrigerated dough to make sugar cookies. Sarah didn't know the difference and still thought it was a great activity.
 We went to the pet store and finally picked out Sarah's birthday fish. She is the proud owner of 3 lyretail mollies, named Mommy fish, Daddy fish, and Baby fish. By the way, taking 2 small children to a pet store and actually trying to accomplish something is the worst activity ever.
 Sarah was having a really hard time going to sleep one night. Kelson took her out of her room and snuggled with her on the couch by the Christmas tree and chatted with her about the meaning of Christmas and then read the Nutcracker with her. He told her she could sleep there for the night and she settled right down. Happy Christmas moment.
 I wrapped most of our packages in plain paper this year so Sarah could get involved by decorating them. It was a really fun way for her to join in the gift wrapping.
 So far this winter has been the complete opposite of last year. We finally got one snow storm in December. Just enough snow for the kids to have fun in. Chris enjoyed it until he fell and got snow in his face. After that he decided snow was not fun.
 Sarah loves the snow. She can't wait for more to come.
 One Saturday, Sarah and I left Kelson and Daddy at home and went to a musical production with Grandma, Grandpa and Anne. It was a great Mommy-daughter date.
 Anne was a little bit excited.
 Daddy and Chris came to join us for dinner and then we all went to see the Christmas lights in Caldwell. They do an amazing job.

Sarah all snuggled up with Sweetie for bedtime. She could hardly wait for Santa to come so Sweetie could have a mommy. Waiting for Christmas is so hard when you are 4!