All right, so I finally can add pictures again. I've been meaning to document the fact that Christmas, indeed, did come this year. No Christmas card or letter based on the fact that there was not a suitable picture of the family, or anyone of late. Merry (belated) Christmas to all anyway. I'm hoping things will be luckier next year in this department for our family.
We drove through the Thanksgiving Point Festival of Lights and now we know, we don't ever have to waste 8 bucks to see that again. Most of the lights you could see from the road anyway.
We went to see the lights at Temple Square. It was cold, but not snowy. I scrounged up enough cold weather clothes and spent a good 30 minutes trying to convince the kids that they were going to want to wear them. "No, really... it's going to be cold," I would say. They kept rolling their eyes at that ridiculous notion and coming downstairs in things like capris and flimsy shoes, that is until we got out of the car and they felt the cold, night air. Turns out, I was right this time.
The lights were beautiful. I forgot the stroller--a dumb move--but at least everyone was warm. Also, we waited in line for over an hour for some food. I guess we weren't the only ones with the same idea for FHE that night. I tried to take some pictures and here's how it went:
Erin was happy the whole time...
...and smiled for every picture. They make a cute couple, eh?
Connor was not into pictures until we started tickling him. Then his face lit up like the lights. He could not have been cuter all bundled up. I don't think he could put his arms down all the way either. I just want to eat this one up!
Marissa didn't run from the camera, but she made it a point to only make faces.
Can you tell which one of my kids doesn't like getting their picture taken right now? Wow, he's going to think he had a miserable childhood when he looks back at this one. Alex is actually a content, happy child until you try to take a picture of him. "No, I hate getting my picture taken!" It seems like there is always one child going through a picture strike phase at any given moment, making it entirely impossible to take any form of good family photography. Am I the only one with this problem?
We got our annual family Christmas ornament. Love that tradition. This is a cute one.We hung our stockings on the banister which had been primed at this point. The banister was the perfect length for our family too. How did that work out? Is this a sign that I should stop having kids? These stockings are way cheap. In fact, they came from our ward Christmas party in Florida--back where the primary is so small that every child gets a full stocking with their own coloring book, crayons, candy. (Here we were lucky to get a candy cane). Anyway, as it ended up, we had 3 blues, 2 purples and 1 red from Erin's school at one point. I think Erin liked being unique. My goal is to make cute stockings one year, preferably before the kids move out.Since we moved into our house in the middle of December, we didn't end up getting a tree until a week before Christmas. We went to Lowe's and could barely find the tree place because they were almost all gone. There were a total of three trees to chose from. We got a discount because it was so late in the season. This was literally the driest, most unhealthy specimen of a Christmas tree ever. Even the lady checking us out remarked how light the tree was (bad sign). It just had to last a week. The day after Christmas we took it down and bought a fake one. We still don't know what to do with the tree. I think it is still blowing around in our back yard. That'll probably be our last real tree. Just look how sad and saggy the thing is? Presents
On Christmas morning the kids got up and opened their stockings. We also went through all the toys that didn't have batteries and left them out for Santa to fix. We hardly had any time because church was at 9:00. The one day you want church at 1:00 is Christmas. Now we really do have 1:00 church. This picture also shows the first rug I bought and then later exchanged for another one. It was the softest rug ever. It looked silvery on one side and black on the other, but I didn't know that when I bought it. I really wanted gray, and I wasn't loving it. Be honest, it looks like a giant, dead muskrat on the floor. I don't think I've ever bought the right rug on the first try. The bad thing was that this store didn't have a return policy, you could only exchange it. What was I thinking? I was so stressed by that! But I finally found one I like--that is much less dead-animal-hide-ish too.After stockings we had a quick pancake breakfast. Here they are dressed for church. It was my dream to have all four kids lined up at an island bar on bar stools. They love eating breakfast and lunch here. But, it only seats four, giving me yet another indication that I can't have any more kids. Think how many fights it would create? Also seen in this picture, another example of how utterly impossible it is for all four of them to smile at the same time. We made it to church mid sacrament, as in we missed the bread. Oh well. It was Christmas after all.
After church they opened their presents. The only thing that Alex said he wanted was a scooter, which naturally meant that all three of the older kids had to get one. They have a blast riding those things around in the unfinished basement and haven't as of yet broken any bones doing it. But we'll give that some time. They are constantly running into the wall or each other. Also, you know how the only red stocking was Erin's? This day the only outfit that wasn't red was hers. This was because I completely failed on the Christmas outfits this year. I ended up buying what you see at a consignment shop. Lame, but whatever. I should have bought those cute red dresses when I saw them instead of trying to find them again the week before Christmas. I did try, sort of.Erin had been saying she wanted a new jewelry box for months. I think she got one two years ago, but it was quickly ruined by some sibling or other. Erin was so specific too. It had to be pink, wooden, with fairies on it and a twirling fairy inside with music playing. I felt so proud to find it. The other thing she started asking for was an American Girl doll (thanks go to her best friend in Florida who has one, otherwise she wouldn't even know what they are). I told Jared how much they were and he brought me back to reality. "There is no way I am spending $100 on a doll!" he told me. Oh yeah. I ended up researching knock offs and got the cutest one I could find. You really can't tell them apart, unless you collect them (and believe me, that will not be us). When she opened it, instead of reading the brand of doll on the box, she exclaimed, "An American Girl doll!" She loves that doll! If anyone tells her it's not real, they are dead meat.Alex is so hard to shop for. If Erin is super specific, Alex is the complete opposite--totally non-descriptive in what he wants. "Just boy stuff. I don't really care what I get." He is happy with anything, but he isn't into any one thing. That's what makes it hard. He ended up getting the batman cave Trio set and Marble Works. My parents got them the Toy Story Lego set. Way awesome. (I'm not sure if Alex's picture strike is over here or not, but my guess is that it was temporary due to me maybe threatening to take all his presents away or something along those lines.)Jared had the most fun with marble works.For a long while Marissa kept asking for a baby doll with a baba. After I had already bought one, we unpacked some things from storage and she found her old baby doll with a baba. "I don't actually need one anymore," she informed me. That's when she decided she wanted a spydenscope instead, whatever that was. "Marissa, did you ask Santa for that?" I asked her. "No, but he's going to get it for me," she kept telling me. Great. I tried my best to figure out what exactly a spydenscope was and got her a cheap telescope. Maybe I was way off, but what else could I have done? Update on the spydenscope: something inside it is now dislodged rendering it even more useless than it was before. Another update: the kids just informed me it's actually a "spotting scope", you know, like to spot the moon, and I still have no idea what they are talking about. The other thing she got was a play toaster, hot chocolate maker (because we don't drink coffee), and a cool blender that actually sort of works. She kept trying different things out in it and was really mad when raw carrots didn't work. Update on that gift: the top of the blender is now completely melted due to one of Connor's new obsessions, putting random items in the oven. And yes, this was the best picture I got of her all day.I didn't catch what Connor wanted, due to the fact that he still speaks Chinese. But there are three things in life that Connor loves: balls, tools and vacuums. Seriously, even as a little baby he loved the vacuum. Weird kid. He wouldn't sit still for a picture, but he got a tool set, a toy vacuum and lots of balls. I couldn't even find them all because he'd thrown them all over the house. I think he ended up getting 8 of them. Excessive? Maybe, but that kid loves to play ball. I may have to donate some to the nursery as there is only one in the entire nursery room.Connor with his safety goggles. Love this kid!Jared and I did a good job of avoiding the camera this year, though it was my intention to get a family shot. We both got a potato masher in our stockings (since we fill each others). This was only because every time Jared went to mash potatoes he asked me if we had one and the answer has always been the same for 9 years, "No, we don't have one." Now we have two. Jared got new work clothes, a Kelly Kettle and a new set of keys, after losing his downtown somewhere. I got a new set of Pyrex dishes with lids that I love, a muffin tin and a new blog book. It was a good Christmas. The best present of all was our new house, but Jared was smart to get me something other than just that:)
We spent Christmas Eve with Jared's family where the kids acted out a stellar performance of the Nativity. Marissa was a sheep, Alex was a shepherd, our doll Dot played baby Jesus, and Erin was an angel with her cousin Rebecca. They sang and spoke and did a great job.
On Christmas night we went to my parents' house where we had another great family dinner with everyone. What a blessing it was to celebrate our Savior's birth through song, family and a wonderful spirit that is always present around that time of year. Merry (very belated) Christmas!