Wednesday, January 24, 2018

December 2017, When All the Dreams Came True

I felt under control in December 2017. It was just a really nice holiday season and stuff got done in time. I tried to do an activity related to Christmas every day in December, but I didn't tell the kids I was doing it - just in case nothing happened. It worked! We read nice books, celebrated St. Nick, decorated cookies, made luminaries. Colin and I spent some quality hours at the Instacare on Christmas Eve, but that's become a tradition as well (being sick on or around Christmas).

One of our first celebrations was, of course, the piano recital. I had it at the Arts Center for the first time. It won't be the last - that was so easy! The room isn't very big, but the piano is nice and it's so close. Same price as both my other options. Sold! It was so long ago now that I don't remember much, but Bridget, Emil and Colin were all very prepared. I do remember feeling very proud of all of them. Bridget played The First Noel memorized (her middle name is Noelle). Colin played Silent Night, his favorite song. Emil played Jolly Old St. Nicholas because that was one no one else had picked. Emil and Colin played their songs memorized as well because their teacher lives with them.
I was in charge of a youth activity with a family history theme in December. I decided to have some treats from around the world and introduce the young women to Christmas traditions from countries where their ancestors are from. I've tried to include some of those traditions in our family celebrations, but this year I had some very legit stuff to go with our German and English Christmas traditions. (Colin and Emil were learning about Christmas traditions at school and Colin wore that St. Lucia crown home from school. Hahaha!) To celebrate St. Nickolaus Day we had the kids put one of their clean shoes outside their bedroom door to see if St. Nick would leave candy and gold or Krumpus would leave sticks. It was Emil's turn for the evening family prayer that night and he said, "Please don't let anyone steal our shoes tonight." Parenting win! HAHAHA!
They got the gold and the German candy. :)

We participated in Project Teddy Bear again this year. The boys each put a bear under the tree at Bank of American Fork in Lehi. I love that Emil looks so genuinely happy in this photo. :)
We went to Bridget's Christmas choir concert. The boys and I were on the front row. Bridget was the best one, naturally. :)

I made sugar cookies a couple of times during December and Emil helped with every part of the process. Bridget and Colin were only interested in decorating, which is great. (Our tree looks so pretty! I added three more strands of lights to our pre-lit tree this year.)
I covered a hand bell choir performing at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building and thought it would be fun for the kids to see too. I was 1/3 right.
In the lobby of the JSMB during December there were vending machines with items for people around the world. We bought three chickens! Coolest idea ever. 
Daddy and Colin walking out of a store at City Creek. Colin telling Dad everything. :)
We went from here to City Creek where we had lunch at The Cheesecake Factory, then split up so the kids could shop for each other for Christmas and birthday. I also found Brian's dream coat. (I realized that he is a coat guy over the last month or so. Now he has the perfect dress coat for his collection.)
The boys are seven years old now! I can't believe it. They opened presents after school and then we went to Salt Lake for a night at Little America, then skiing the next day. We took the train for no reason, it turned out, walked Buca di Beppo for dinner. I loved this photo of Colin opening a present from Grandma Peggy. She put it in one of her (many) American Girl product boxes. Emil and Colin thought for one horrible moment that they were getting doll clothes for their birthday. AHAHAHAHAHA! Awesome.
There we are on Trax.
December birthdays unite!
The wind-y road to Alta always makes Bridget car sick, so I didn't think much of it that Colin said he was sick once we got to the ski resort. Every time we stopped walking he'd lay down on the floor. Then he didn't want to go skiing, which he normally loves. I ended up making him a bed with two chairs in the lounge, with my coat for a blanket while Brian took Emil and Bridget skiing. It was a rough first day, but they've since had The Most Magical Day of skiing. How would they know if they didn't have rough ones too? Colin had the flu and it went on for the next four days.
Brian always stops at 7-11 to get everyone hot cocoa after skiing. Here's the thing about Brian - he's the kind of Dad who will do all this work (and it's the hardest work ever) so that his kids can experience amazing things. It makes me Olympic Cry and love him even more. It's easy to decide that certain things are too hard and too expensive to do with kids. I love that it's worth it to him (and to me) to give our kids memories that will be the foundation for their future well-being.

Family Christmas Party
Before we partied, we met at the amphitheater across the street from the Mount Timpanogos Temple to get some family pictures. This was my assignment and it stressed me out a little. It was raining while I was setting up and I had to find a spot that was kind of covered. Ah!
I needed to back up so I didn't have to stack people so deep, but the sidewalk dropped off right behind where the camera is. I would do a lot of things differently, but you can see everyone's face and that's a win.
These two are still a great-looking couple. :)
Kelsey, Olivia, Jed, Janessa, Dena, Darin, Brighton, Jake, and Shawn
 Front Row; Nick, Aiden, Kalvin. Back Row; Linzy, Nicolette, Diana, Kyle, McKade and Abby
Hal, Nate and Debbie

We had our traditional Christmas Party at Brian's parents' house on the 23rd (always the Saturday before Christmas). The fish pond was a hit again. :) We did the Dice Game as usual and I didn't try to get photos of that again because I like to not be on the job for some of the party. 
This makes me smile because Emil was like a dog chasing his tail trying to get to his present/fish on the end of his line. Thankfully Grandma helped him out.
The boys got magic tricks and joke books. :)
This is what Bridget was busy with during the fish pond.
The boys made very specific lists during the first week of December. When they sat on Santa's lap on December 23rd, they mentioned none of the items on their lists. Insert my face here.
Emil asked for Minecraft, which he became obsessed with on December 22nd. 
Bridget wanted to ask Santa for a dog and Brian even encouraged her to go for it, but she didn't dare. Probably because of me. I've been giving her a hard no on that for years!
Grandpa asked for and got a brand new truck! :)
This is the picture I got. Let that be a lesson to all of you.

Ah, yes. Christmas Eve at Instacare with my little buddy. As we were walking out the door to go to church, Colin coughed so hard he threw up on the floor of our bedroom. (Booo.) Brian stayed home with him because Bridget and I were part of five musical numbers in sacrament meeting. Emil sat with our friends, Lee and Janine Barnes. It was such a beautiful meeting and I was so sorry Brian was missing it. Bridget and her friends crushed their song. Every song made me cry with happiness. When we got home I took Colin to Instacare to find out if he had pneumonia. They did a chest X-ray and everything. It was the flu and Colin was at the end of it. Whew!
The kids and I made luminaries for Christmas Eve. We also played many, many games of Bang! (Emil is wearing the sheriff's badge, so that must have been one of the few games when he wasn't wailing in agony during the game.) The tea lights I put in the luminaries burned out really fast, so I went out to replace them when it was dark. I fell off the porch and I thought I'd broken my foot, or at least all of my toes. And my back hurt for two weeks! Never felt so old.

Christmas Day!
I still have a mental picture of what my childhood Christmas tree looked like on Christmas morning. :)
The kids opening Santa presents. They're wearing new pajamas they opened on Christmas Eve. I found Emil Nightmare Before Christmas pajamas. HA! I love that he loves that movie.
All of us got a ticket to a monster truck show in our stockings. (Note to self: Best Idea Ever.)
Okay, you guys. Brian and I gave Bridget this dog for Christmas. I'm not exaggerating when I say she's been begging for a dog for years. She watched a friend's dog for a week last summer and she was amazing with that dog. The reason I've been against it is because we've had dogs! Brian and I were both working and they were outside dogs. One time they busted into the house and ate one of my skirts. What. The. Heck. I was ruined for dogs after shoveling all that poop and having backyards all dug up. Bother! This is a small (the runt of the litter) shih tzu that will live inside. And I love Bridget more than I don't want a dog. We wrapped up some dog bowls and a photo of one of the puppies from a previous litter. She was so happy she cried. It was the best moment of Christmas. The dog was born January 12 and we'll bring her home on March 9.
I didn't realize until later that Bridget's dolls got a lot of presents. Even Emil couldn't resist buying her dolls a stuffed dog. How cool is this ski get-up, though?
We went to Grandma and Grandpa's to open more gifts. The boys got special belts from Grandpa for their birthday and cowboy boots from them for Christmas. Bridget got cowgirl boots. :) It was such a sweet Christmas Day! Everyone got something they really wanted and Bridget's happiness about the dog was infectious.

Taylor and Madison's Wedding
These two! We've had them over for Sunday dinner and shenanigans a few times and they make me happy. They restore my faith in humanity, really. They got married in the Bountiful Temple on December 29. I had the pleasure of taking Melissa and Aaron with me and my kids, of course. :) Brian has no time off at his new job so he couldn't take the day with us, but he came with me to the Meet & Greet for Taylor and Madison the night before they got married.
I dropped Melissa, Aaron, and the kids off while I found a parking spot. Melissa said the boys went over and plopped down on a bench right next to their cousin Henry. That's funny to people who know Henry. :)
Lee kids! Melissa, Aaron, Jen, Rob, and Me. Have you noticed that any time I'm with my siblings I'm smiling off my face? They are the most fun and the best. I love it when they come to my house. :) We missed the other three (Katy, Allyn and Makenzie) - Allyn was out of the country and Katy and Makenzie live on the east coast. Maybe that's why it's such a treat when we get to see each other. 
At the wedding luncheon my boys took more than their share of mint chocolate brownies. I pointed out to Emil that he took two before people had a chance to get one. "I only took one! It was cut in half." 
Grandma Peggy and Grandpa Bob dancing the afternoon away. :)
Ben and Jen. I'm only a year younger than Jen, but because Brian and I didn't start our family until we'd been married for ten years, Jen is way ahead of me when it comes to life milestones. I'm taking notes, man.
Eating wedding cake. :) I loved sharing such a lovely day with my sweet kiddies. They have a million cousins and I'm sure we won't make it to all the weddings, but we definitely want to. Congratulations Taylor and Madison!

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