Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Merry Christmas Eve

 Christmas Eve 2015: Smith, Horsley and LeBaron kids with my parents and Sam the cat :)

With Nanny and Neil gone for another Christmas Joseph and I repeated our plan from last year and had all the LeBarons over to our house in the morning for brunch and exchanging gifts (we now just trade names for a family and find something for the whole crew to enjoy) and singing Christmas carols. This has been a great tradition — not sure what we'll do once Ruth and Neil are back but maybe they'll just have to be the ones to entertain us all at their home again :)

 And then it was over to my parents' house for our beloved Christmas Eve. We began with lot of pictures because it was a nice balmy day (warm before an excellent snowy storm) and everyone was all dressed up: 

My sweet babies (plus Bentley's awesome green socks!)

Tye's family

Cec's family

my festive little family

We had dinner and hung out for a bit before getting the children ready for the nativity:

 I love this shot of Ethan the donkey actually giving Mary a ride as part of the scene — too funny (and also very sweet as Cares loved it!)

My kids adore that baby Stanford and wanted to make sure he was happy

  After the nativity we exchanged gifts. These kids are always well-taken care of by my parents and they get the funnest things!

 We gave my parents a book filled with all our Hawaii pictures and memories. It was so much fun to create and remember those happy days in that stunning place. We truly loved the undivided time with my parents too (some screen shots of sample pages):

Being together is the true highlight of the night though

 Like Thanksgiving, it had been years since Marshall joined us so I made us get a group pic of the adults.

 And then we did a silly one which only half of us were silly for but I thought it was way funny! I love laughing with my family.

 We made it home around 8:30 that night with just enough time to set out stockings, change into PJ's and grab this happiest picture before getting our sugar plums to bed. These kids fill my heart with so much love!! And they also make every holiday gloriously fun.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December iPhone

 Bean got his braces off! Phase 1 done and in several years when all his baby teeth have fallen out we'll go for phase 2 :)

 Crazy winter day in 50s so these guys ran to the park with me (Bentley was at a friend's house)

 More warm days let me fit in 3 or 4 outdoor rides in a month I usually stick to spinning and treadmills. Outdoor rides are waaaaaaay better (and so much less sweaty with air and wind to wick it away!)

Cec had a birthday so my mom and I took her out for pedicures

 Tumbling fun for Cares and Maddie. Tumbling on Saturday mornings has been tricky — especially when we have jr. jazz games and lots of holiday activities. Caroline has learned so so much though! I am so proud of all her hard work and sore muscles after tumbling class.

 Joseph and I sang in my mom's December RS lesson and these darlings dressed up for it and were our reverent nativity.

 Bentley's Christmas piano recital. He played We Three Kings and Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring. I loved hearing him play and memorize those songs during all the weeks leading up to his performance.

 Outdoor runs to the end of the road in the hills behind my house.

 Sunshine, no matter what month it is, just feels so lovely. Simple pleasures...

 Snow finally came!! It was a Christmas miracle and we loved waking up to tons of white stuff Christmas morning and then playing in it lots during the rest of our winter break.

 Date night to see Unbroken with my parents. 

Cold weather finally hit us (and my kids were so upset about having to actually wear a coat! They got so spoiled this winter!) Cabella's is a great spot on freezing days.

  Enjoying our Christmas cards!

 During the break we had a serious puzzle itch. I think we finished 5 puzzles in 5 days, sometimes with kids helping and sometimes once the kids were in bed. It's been a lot of years since we puzzle binged and our necks were totally sore from it :)

We also watched a movie nearly every day of our break! 
I think Rise of the Guardians was our favorite.

One last thing we did early in the month was the 12 Days of Christmas for Joseph. The kids and I  planned ahead and got him lots of different things like a pair of socks for day 2, 3 packs of gum for day 3, a $10 dollar gift card on day 10, 8 pieces of his favorite beef jerky for day 8, and 11 mini toiletries for day 11 that he can use in his gym bag. Olivia helped me wrap the gifts each morning and then we left them on his pillow or on the kitchen table for him to find when he got home. We just love him so much and wanted him to know it. Little efforts like this are the best — we all enjoyed it so much!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

More Advent

 A very lit up house we found on our Christmas lights scavenger hunt:

 The live nativity created by the YW and YM at our ward Christmas party:

Gingerbread houses! I hate these but my kids love them so we make them (but only every other year or so...I'm such a grinch ;)

Gardner Village: fun and festive for every holiday!


Chocolate, pretzels, M&Ms and popcorn — new favorite treat!

Night at the Museum 3 with Tye and Mason and Cec and her kids. Such a great family movie!