(This is how we found Kate one morning)
(and if you make it through this marathon of a post, you may find yourself in a similar position...)
Our December, just like all of yours I assume, was festive and busy! During the first few weeks, we found out that Matt got into both his first choice schools, The Cleveland Clinic, & The Mayo Clinic. We then had to make a tough choice. After much thought, debate, prayer, research into the communities & elementary schools, & more prayer, we decided to attend the Mayo Clinic's Nurse Anesthesia Program in Rochester, Minnesota.
We went to a couple of ward parties. I was asked to sing at our old ward's party. It is pretty strange, I haven't sang anywhere, for anything in 2 years, then out of the blue I was asked to sing solo/small group 3 times in December! So Lily got to sit on a couple of Santa's laps. She was very concerned that Santa shaved his beard so short after the first time she saw him, and wanted to know why he would do that. I told her it was probably Mrs. Claus' idea.
The weather was so nice this winter so in order to take advantage we tried to take a few walks (before everyone ended up sick! Poor Lily missed a LOT of preschool and gymnastics in Dec & the beginning of Jan)
We had a primary sponsored ward activity at the temple lights, which I ended up doing practically nothing to help out with, but I did have a nice time at the temple lights with my sister-in-law Heather's family, my brother Charlie, and my girls.
Traditional Gingerbread houses, though this year we were so busy, that technically they didn't get done until AFTER Christmas, and even then, they were only done because Nana got them for us at the after Christmas sale, because the kids had been complaining about the fact that we hadn't done it yeat this year.
The girls also got crafty this December by making these fridge magnets for their grandparents.
Uncle Charlie came over the week before Christmas and gave the girls their present from him. His old iphone. Nothing we ever give them will ever compare to this. Let it be known that neither Matt not I even have smart phones or data packages. But now our kids are "those" spoiled ones with an iphone! It isn't connected to service, but it gets wifi and is loaded with their favorite games. Don't you wish YOU had an uncle like charlie?
And here I am bossing kids around while trying to organize our little nativity pagent.
Matt's parents and their grandkids
Me explaining/giving instructions (ok, bossing around) the Christmas Caroling group
Every year we let the kids decorate cookies to leave out that night for Santa (and also eat some themselves)
After caroling we took the girls upstairs to open our traditional Christmas Eve presents of new pajamas and do our Jesus Stocking (we each write down on secret slips of paper things that we will give to Jesus for his birthday, goals or resolutions of kindness, etc. On Christmas Eve, we privately read last years, think about how we did, and write out next years. We try and give the Savior the gift of our discipleship all year long).
Here we all are in our new Jammies!
We let the girls play downstairs for a few minutes before we sent them back up to bed! Here they are playing Hide 'n Go Seek!
The next morning was Christmas! We put up a dog gate, so the girls couldn't see their stockings without us! :) It was a magical and wonderful morning. Each year, we take the girls to the dollar section of a store and let them pick out Christmas presents for each other (we take them to different stores, so they don't see possibilities of what the other one could've bought them). Here they are hugging each other after opening their presents to each other. They love so much to give each other presents that they specially picked out, it is so fun and heart warming to see!
Nana bought our family a Kinect this year! We had to try it out right away!
And boy did we love it! Thanks Nana!
Kate woke up a little later than everyone else, so she got to open her presents all at once! Here the girls are, giving her the presents they bought her.
We always do stockings first, but because Katie Lou woke up late, we forgot to give her hers. She was NOT deterred however! As soon as she was done opening her gifts, she saw her stocking sitting in the chair, with a teddy bear sticking out & headed straight for it! She grabbed the stocking and emptied it out like a professional!
She of course had to taste test everything in her stocking!
Matt and I got the girls pillow pets and they were a hit!
Izzie was VERY perplexed by the cow's utters. She pointed to them and asked, "What IS these?" Matt and I were cracking up watching her face while we explained where milk comes from. Very entertaining. Never a dull moment with that kid!
Then we had to get everybody fed, dressed, and ready for church! We had to leave by 8am to get there in time to practice for the choir's presentation at 9.
The week after Christmas, I took a quick trip (a day and a half) to Thatcher for my good friend Amanda's wedding reception. It was lots of fun to see her and Jake before they headed off to Georgia. I also took down my mom's christmas lights, so that I wouldn't worry about her doing it when I wasn't there. We went out to visit GG and my girls discovered how much fun it is to use her half-wall as a balance beam, which tickles me, because my sister and I used to do the exact same thing.
In between Christmas and my trip to Thatcher, we also got a bunch of family pictures taken, by my friend Lacie Lane, who is a great photographer. They won't get posted here, they are going to get their own post (coming up next), but here is a teaser!