Sunday, January 11, 2015

Halloween, Park City and a Bit of Christmas

I'm pretty sure "Blog" has showed up on my To Do list more than a few times in the last couple of months. Shows how much of my list I get done. Well first up, Halloween happened. We didn't carve pumpkins and I didn't go out of my way with the costumes. That is probably apparent by Hallie's way too small ladybug costume that she wore last year (I think it's a 12 month size). It basically consisted of a trunk or treat, a piano recital that Erin and Alex dressed up for, dressing up for school and then going out Halloween night to replenish their stash that was majorly dwindling after the trunk or treat.
Erin and Alex used the Mr. and Mrs. potato head costumes that I made several years ago. Glad those are coming in handy again.
I thought it was cute that Marissa and Connor also ended up matching, Batman and Bat-girl. This was only because all the Elsa costumes were sold out and this was the best I could do for her. I actually think it's a pretty cute costume.
 Hallie wearing Marissa's costume
We did take a really fun little trip to Park City in October. When I was at the parade of homes last summer, I signed up for one of those time share deals where you pay $99 for two nights/three days, have to listen to their schpeel and then they give you $100 on a Visa card. I normally don't go for those types of things, but I also seem to never get away so I decided to do it. The place was so nice. We had a huge, luxury bathroom and enough beds for everyone. On the morning of the presentation, there were a million people there. When Jared and I told them what time our presentation was, they told us that they had us scheduled for the next morning, but I had written confirmation that it was that day. After a few minutes with the manager, they told us not to worry about the presentation and that we should just go pick up our $100 Visa card. What could be better? So it ended up being a free stay with no time share presentation. Coolest. Thing. Ever.

We did some fun things while we were there, but we also got to just relax. We were all about to go to the pool when we realized Connor had a fever. I volunteered to stay in the condo with him while everyone else went swimming (did I mention that I actually don't like swimming?) and I got to watch three hours of HGTV while Connor slept. What could be a better vacation? And we had two TV's so I got to watch much more of it while the kids watched whatever they wanted, stuff I usually can't sit through.

Here we are taking a little hike and poor Connor feels so sick.
One day Jared, Erin, Alex and Marissa did the Alpine Slide. While we were waiting for them to come down, a bigger man got to the bottom. Connor yelled, "Mommy, I see a fat man!" and yes, everyone around me heard. Oh, to be four.

 The next day we went up to Olympic Park. Jared and the three older kids did a rope's course that they had there. They had a lot of fun on that, especially the zip line at the end. Overall it was just a nice little get away for the family. We should probably do stuff like that more often.
November was a really busy month. Not sure why except I know that I had one thing after another. Thanksgiving was spent at a church with Jared's side of the family. That was great. I somehow managed to convince Jared that we should set up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. Hey, all he had to do was get the tree down and set it up. The kids pretty much did all the decorating after that, which is why all the ornaments are bunched together near the bottom. It makes me smile. Oh, and I didn't have to do it. That also makes me smile.

When Dec. 1st came we began doing our advent calendar. It's basically a scripture a day (that we may have only read a few times), a piece of candy and a daily activity. Some of them were pretty simple and some were more effort, and sometimes we just didn't get around to doing the daily activity--which I was perfectly okay with. Sure, we don't have to make the holidays harder than they already are with this advent calendar, but at the same time, we did a lot of things that we never would have gotten around to doing (since we are actually kind of boring people). Jared even mentioned that we should have some sort of advent calendar like this throughout the year. It would force us to do more fun stuff I suppose.

We saw someone do an ice sculpture, we went to see cool Christmas lights set to music, we wrote to our missionaries, we went to see Elf at the theater (a big treat for our kids), we made up Christmas skits, we delivered gifts to the neighbors and even caroled for them, we made a fun Christmas craft, we decorated cookies, we made a gingerbread house (which by the way, the kids are still eating a month later--ew!) and we took a trip to temple square to see the lights. We had such a warm December that we actually had an enjoyable time walking around to see all the lights. Usually we are too cold to see anything (but we still go, dang-it). We even ran into Santa in the hall at City Creek and he asked if we wanted to take a picture with him. Uh, yes! That just saved us two hours of standing in line to see him. I thought the activities were really some fun times with the family.
This was our craft. We put our names in glitter on lights and hung them up, just like an elementary school classroom. We're classy like that.
 The gingerbread house
Decorating cookies
Here are the kids sitting on Santa's lap at our ward Christmas party (pajama party). It's safe to say that everyone was excited about it...
 ...except Hallie. I love the whole sliding off Santa's lap business...
...followed by the crying. Since then she talks about sitting on "Santa's Yap" all the time, and how much she loved it. Go figure.
 Dec. 1st also brought the start of my homemade Christmas. I'd been planning it for a long time, but I really didn't start until December. I don't know why I have this insane idea every 3 or 4 years, but this was the year I decided to make all the presents. The kids even got on board making presents for each other. The boys made bows and headbands for the girls and the girls made marshmallow guns for the boys. Erin and Alex made these bead geckos for everyone and the younger kids drew pictures for the older kids. I thought it was great.

I made three different doll beds for the girls and I think they turned out so cute. I love the bedding too. I feel like these types of gifts are so much more meaningful than some plastic thing I could buy and then be rid of in a year. I hope they feel the same way.
We made a checkerboard for Alex. Overall I think it is cool, but I wish I had used a different type of wood for the lighter color. It was birch plywood and because I had to sand it down so much, you can see through to the lower layers. Oh well. Jared made the checkers out of a pine block and a lathe. Way cool.
Jared made two catapults for Connor. They were fun until they broke on Christmas day. So they may need to be tweaked a bit, but whatever.
Jared also made a tether ball stand for the boys. I think all the kids & neighbors will have fun playing with that once it warms up a bit.
 I designed a doll house and had a lot of help from Jared putting it together. It is huge and sturdy, 4 feet wide and 4 feet high. I wanted to do more on it, but I kind of didn't have time. We were painting and assembling on Christmas Eve. I thought it would be fun to make furniture and put on the shingles with the kids after Christmas, not that I've done any of that yet. I seriously think it is amazing that all the kids play with it all the time, even without furniture. They each got two people for Christmas so I guess that is really all they needed. I remember getting a doll house for Christmas one year that my parents put carpet and wallpaper in. I loved it and played with it far longer than I should have. I really wanted to make one for my kids before they got too old to play with it.


HeatherWasHere said...

How did you have time to eat or sleep in December? What most people probably would've spent a year on you did in 25 days. I'm kind of astounded. You're so awesome. And Jared too. :)

Lisa said...

Those Christmas gifts are incredible! Great job!!