Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Christmas 2011

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas if it wasn't crazy busy and this year was no different except this year I decided to add to the craziness with a few BIG undertakings.  Two of the girls in my Mia Maid class mentioned they would like to learn how to make gingerbread houses from scratch to display at the Cottages for Children event that is held in Heber each year to benefit the Children's Justice Center (where their mom works).  So I thought - sure - I can do that (I have never made a gingerbread house from scratch, and I have only every made one from a kit, what was I thinking).  I thought it would be a great activity that would certainly take 10 hours and they could count it as a value project.  Well turns out it takes much longer and it is really really hard work.  We started before I left for California and of course did not finish during the activity.  The girls did the rest of the work on their own and I finished mine the day before it needed to be displayed.  Together we were able to donate four Gingerbread houses which probably earned the CJC nearly $100.  the girls also donated some of their time to help at the event.  I have a whole new appreciation for the masterpiece gingerbread houses that you see around.  This was mine - I liked it well enough but I was hoping for something a little prettier.  I can't say if this will be a tradition I carry on or not - it was a lot of work and a big mess - but I would like to improve the skill.

The boys had a lot of fun looking at all the gingerbread houses and playing in the pretend gingerbread house cutouts.

Our ward held a great Christmas party with Joseph from the nativity and Santa being played by the same person - he was great!  And the boys even cooperated for a picture. :) YEAH!  One of my other Mia Maids was the darling elf - love her :

Jared's firm is part of the Heber Valley Chamber of Commerce.  He got an email inviting us to a preview of the North Pole Express Train Ride; with a donation of canned goods our tickets would cost us $6.00 a person instead of the normal $20+ per ticket.  So we jumped at the opportunity.  It was a little weird riding the train during the day instead of at night but it was still super fun and the boys left with a giant goodie bag of donated treats from the other businesses.  Love this picture of Grant when he spotted Santa. :)

Goodie bag

Grant appeared to be so upset when Santa stopped to talk to Brandon and not him so when Santa came back around I asked him if he would take a picture with Grant - then Grant threw a fit - go figure?

I am not entirely sure what possessed me to do this but I decided I wanted to make a full on Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner for Jared's parents when they came into town.  I cooked a turkey, made mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, rolls, apple pie, two pumpkin pies and whipped cream all from scratch; and it all turned out! :)  I also decorated by bringing the outside dining table inside (it is bigger and better than our folding table) putting small white twinkle lights on the ceiling, setting the table with Christmas china, making my own napkin rings, and turning on the fire and ambiance DVD.  I must admit I was both surprised and proud of all I was able to accomplish in one day - why can't all my days be this successful?

We enjoyed our traditional "Baking Day" with my sisters, mom and grandma.  I love this tradition, it is one of the few reasons I would be really sad if I didn't have any daughters.  I think in addition to the two batches of Gingerbread cookies that we made that day I made four to five other batches (possibly more because I taught my Mia Maids how to make them) I love Gingerbread cookies!

My V.T. traded babysitting so we could each go to the temple.  It was the first time in the 11 years I have held a temple recommend that I went all by myself, I really enjoyed it, of course I always enjoy a trip to the temple. 

Jared and I kept the tradition of taking the boys to the lights on Temple Square.  They are beautiful and we all enjoy them, but the crowds detract from the spirit that would otherwise be felt there.  I am starting to think I would prefer to make it a tradition to visit Temple Square in May to celebrate our wedding anniversary.  It is just a beautiful in the spring as it is in the winter, but there are no clouds and it is warmer.  Oh but I do love the lights!

We alternate years spent with each family for Christmas and this year Christmas was with the Bowman's.  This was the last year we would be traveling to Idaho for Christmas Day, it is just too hard to move children and presents for Christmas, but it couldn't have been better.  The WHOLE family was there - that never seems to happen anymore with family living in California, Utah and Idaho and with the family getting bigger.  It was so fun to have everyone gathered around the Christmas tree.  Jodi loved being able to dote on the kids.

Grant thanked her by giving her a Christmas gift of snuggling with her for nap time. So cute!
The boys Christmas stash from Santa all laid out for Christmas morning.  One of my favorite parts of being Santa - I mean mom.

Grant with his treasures.  His favorites were the balls and the stick horse, my favorite was the giant box of duplo legos, and Jared's favorite was probably the new book collection -especially The Big Hungry Bear book - it is a family favorite.
the boys were once again spoiled rotten and so were we.  Jared and I got a new mattress pad, new pillows, a new lap top, jewelry, a sports coat, and more.  It was a very Merry Christmas!!!

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