Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

The kids were very excited this morning and enjoyed all of their gifts. Thank you to all of our family who gave us such wonderful and thoughtful presents. Here are a couple of pictures from this morning...

Christmas Eve

We spent Christmas Eve at the Hilton's house. Grandma Heidi made her traditional Christmas dinner which was delicious. Grandpa Steve led us in a Christmas devotional- we all took turns reading the Christmas story from the scriptures and sang Christmas hymns while he played the guitar. The kids were very excited to have uncle Dave and Rob home from school. While we were there a special visitor paid the Hilton's a visit...

Carter was thrilled to see Santa. When asked if he had been a good boy this year, he quickly sold out his little sister, telling Santa that she is sometimes naughty.

Taylor was terrified of Santa and went screaming into Drew's arms when she saw him. She warmed up a little after he gave her a candy cane but was very leery of him and wouldn't Drew put her down. Taylor still insisted however that "hanta" (Santa) was going to spend the night at our house- "downhairs" (downstairs). And that he was bringing his own "blankie" and "moo" (stuffed animal) to sleep with.

When we got home we all got our jammies on and headed downstairs to the Christmas tree. This year we started a new tradition. We turned off all of the lights except for the tree lights, turned on the fire place, and read Christmas stories while munching on cookies and egg nog. Before heading off to bed, we left the traditional plate of treats and cup of egg nog for Santa, as well as a bowl of carrots for Rudolph. Surprisingly- both Tay and Carter went right to bed this year!

Our month of December

This month has been a fun one for our family. We decided to keep Christmas simple this year- I didn't even write Christmas letters! Hopefully, I'll be up to that again next year. Here is a list of the fun things we did:

Christmas lights- the all time favorite of our family! We spent many nights this months driving around looking at Christmas lights. We found some pretty awesome houses too!

Santa on a Fire Truck- one night Santa came through our little planned community on a float, pulled by a fire truck. Not only did he come to the neighborhood, but he was escorted by several other fire trucks and ambulances with sirens blaring and lights flashing. It was quite the site! Santa and his helpers were collecting gifts and food for families in need which we were happy to support.

Giving and Receiving- our neighborhood mom's group held several events to help the kids understand that the season isn't just about getting things from Santa. Most of the activities were on Sunday so we weren't able to join in but we were able to help with one fundraiser. Carter and Tay helped me go through their toys and we donated several that they no longer play with. We also were able to donate several baby items that we won't need or had duplicate of. Hopefully it taught them something on some level.

Dinners Out- Drew got a nice gift card from work this year as a Christmas gift and we quickly put it to good use! Grandma Heidi watched the kids and we were able to go to dinner with Drew's brother Rob and his honey, Christie. We also went out a few times as a family. What a treat!

Christmas in Bethlehem- This year our ward (congregation) did something different for the Christmas party. We had a Christmas in Bethlehem party. Everyone dressed up in biblical clothes and brought "taxes" (canned food) to give to the Bishop's Storehouse. In the church gym, twinkling white Christmas lights hung from the ceiling and the gym was completely decorated like a market place from Christ's day. The activities committee did such a good job. We ate middle eastern food on blankets on the floor and the kids got little pouches of coins to buy food with. And of course there was a Christmas program about Christ's birth with music and narration. They even had someone taking family pictures up on the stage where the stable was. I'll post that as soon as it is emailed to me.

Other fun stuff: Handel's Messiah sing-a-long, a yummy dinner at our neighbors house, a work party for Drew, and Carter had a preschool party that Tay and I attended.

Not so fun stuff: Drew sick. Tay sick. Carter sick. I guess I can't really complain since my kids are the healthiest kids I know but I hope this month we've paid our winterly sickness dues. I just don't think I can handle sick kids, a sick husband, and a newborn in February.

Trip to Rochester NY

Coming soon! I couldn't post about my trip to New York until Drew & our families had opened their gifts from of the kids. My dear friend Lisa took them and they turned out awesome! Anyway, now I can post them and will do that in the next couple of days as well as tell you all about our fun trip.

Middleburg Christmas Parade

Middleburg is a cute (and very affluent) little village about 25 minutes from us. The main street is decorated very festively and the town hosts a day of Christmas activities. It was freezing cold this year but we decided to head out for the last event...the much anticipated Christmas parade!

Our first adventure of the afternoon happened upon getting out of the car in Middleburg. Drew accidentally dropped the car keys. No big deal right? Well, the keys fell right down a storm drain! Drew was able to lift off the man hole lid and look inside. The man hole was at least 15 feet deep, and at the very bottom was our keys. The hole was dark, dirty, and very creepy. Luckily though, Drew spotted a metal ladder bolted to the wall and down he went- like Santa down a chimney. Our keys were saved! Way to go Drew.

As I mentioned before, it was a cold day. I was pretty sure we were going to come home with icicles for fingers and toes. We had put the kids in several layers and crossed our fingers that they would enjoy the parade despite the temperature. We quickly found a spot along the parade route and set up camp. Carter brought his camping chair and Tay sat snugly in her stroller. Actually, Tay was miserable and refused to wear her mittens.

Carter & Tay patiently waiting for the parade to start. Carter told me his face was too cold to smile. I couldn't blame him.

Snug as a bug!

Carter immediately stood up to run when he heard the piper band coming through- we forgot his ear muffs! He has sensitive ears but luckily it wasn't a very noisy parade- the fire engines never turned their sirens on so it was all good.

I sat next to Carter during the parade and he was definitely more entertaining to watch the the parade. He was so excited about everything and waived to everyone that passed by. He particularly loved the candy throwers! He was very sweet and always grabbed candy for Tay who was either glued to Drew's hip or wrapped up in her stroller.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

This year we made a cute thanksgiving turkey out of Carter's hand prints to display on our wall. For family home evening in November, we learned about the history of thanksgiving, read lots of thanksgiving stories, and shared with one another what we are thankful for.

On Thanksgiving morning we put up our Christmas tree and decorations and headed over to Drew's parents house for a quiet dinner after naps. Overall it was good and very uneventful. This year I made rolls, brought veggies, stuffing, and potatoes. Drew's family provided the rest. Later in the evening we all headed over to Drew's cousin's house for yummy pie.

Overall Thanksgiving was good and very uneventful. However, we really need to come up with a few thanksgiving traditions. Maybe it is just me, but holidays in Virginia have become quite lame. The only thing we do is eat together and call it a holiday. Don't get me wrong, I love eating (especially since the baby inside of me also likes eating) but it seems like we could do more than that! Any ideas, people?