Merry and Bright

The tree is down, the decorations gone. . . if only there weren't a giant wagon full of Dustin's Christmas presents sitting in my living room. I'm not going to lie -- our Christmas was FANTASTIC!Also I had to squeeze some pictures of Luke in here to prove he was here!

Christmas Eve we had our usual dinner over here. This year we had 4 families, so there were people and tables everywhere, but I think everyone had a good time.
The kids made place cards so everyone would know where to sit.

We had Chinese for dinner and then our Nativity program. Nate was of course a very captivating Joseph. After that, we decorated sugar cookies for Santa (Mary envy)
and Azure so kindly provided a pinata for the kids.
This was the perfect distraction so Santa could leave pajamas at the front door undetected. Before we knew it were there were naked bodies and clothes everywhere (no one call CPS, the older kids changed in the bedrooms).

That's 15 kids, ages 8 to 6 months. Some children were less than thrilled at the idea of taking a picture. Poor little Aden was not having it. At least until everyone else had left and we were taking our own "new jammies" picture.

The house was clean, the kids were asleep and the presents were under the tree by 10:30 when I headed to bed. Nate was up bright and early at 6:20, so I told him he could grab one thing from his stocking to play with in bed while we waited for the girls.

Christmas morning was filled with lots of these faces:

And we had a nice leisurely morning/afternoon. I refused to make breakfast burritos this year since we always go to a lot of work and then the kids won't eat them. So this year we kept offering the kids food choices and they were too busy playing to eat. In fact, they didn't eat lunch either, so they were starving by the time we met up with our friends, the Larsons, for dinner.

Yes, we went out to eat on Christmas Day. The company was fantastic, nothing to prepare, and no clean up. Although Dustin and I were laughing about the crowd of people who go out to eat on Christmas. For the most part, everyone was slightly odd looking. We felt like we were in the scene from the Santa Clause with Tim Allen where he and his son are out for Christmas Eve dinner.

After dinner we all headed back to our house so the kids could share their new toys, the girls could chat and the boys could play Dustin's new PS3 game. I should mention that Dustin and Jeff got their butts kicked by Skylar who was texting half the time.

Around bedtime we decided to capitalize on the fact that our favorite babysitter Lyndsi was already at our house and had no more plans for the day. . . so we put Luke down and headed out to a late Christmas movie.

AS Nate would say, "I told you so." It was fantastic.


Merry Christmas

Lots to share, but for now. . . To ALL a Good Night!


Not so Lazy Days

I've been looking forward to nice relaxing mornings and lazy days since school got out last Thursday. So far one has yet to materialize. . . until today. The girls and Luke are still asleep and Nate is out watching cartoons with me. I've totally revamped my plans for the day realizing that I really need some nice quiet down time. I'm not even. . . get this. . . going to the gym. GASP! Shock! The HORROR (name the book)!

Monday night we had some extra kids so we had pizza for dinner, played, made/decorated sugar cookies and watched a Christmas movie. The girls treated Sadie like their very own, real life Barbie doll.
Nate and Daven -- played Legos pretty much the whole time
Watching the movie. Finally calm and quiet.

Tuesday Dustin took the afternoon off and took Ellie and Nate to the Nutcracker.
Ellie has gone every year since she was 4, but this was Nate's first year. His favorite part was the Nutcracker. I thought for sure he would say the Rat King. Ellie's favorite were the Candy Cane dancers.

Last night we went out for a hay ride at the Haymond's. Her dad has horses and drives everyone around the neighborhood to look at the lights and sing Christmas carols.
Not the best picture of everyone, but we'll take it!

So now to go be lazy. And probably do some laundry. But that's it. I swear! Tomorrow we've got 27 people coming for dinner.


Feeling Not So Christmasy

In stark contrast to yesterday's post, there is one thing that makes me feel a little less than "joyful." There is nothing like trying to take pictures of the kids to make one lose the Christmas Spirit.

Rest assured there were threats and bribes involved in this lack-luster attempt to record this year's Christmas ensembles. It just proves that you don't always get what you pay for. And I paid nothing for these pictures. Nothing if you don't count a few gray hairs and lost brain cells.

Already off to a bad start. He would rather stare at the blank TV than take a picture.

Proof that Nate can be really sarcastic even at a young age.
Smiling is painful.
Nate lays down in protest and refuses to get up off of the floor. I know everyone wants to see our carpet.
We'll call that one good. Here are your skittles.

I must have been shouting, "Don't look at the camera."
Really. DO NOT LOOK AT THE CAMERA! Also, roll your eyes at me. It will only prepare me for the teen age years.
Ellie has this weird fake smile thing which kind of bugs me because she has the BEST real smile.

Thanks gorgeous.

Sadie will one day wonder why she is sucking her thumb in every picture. I will tell her it is not my fault. And then explain that her college tuition and inheritance went towards braces.
Don't force it or anything.Tell you what, just go eat your orange.

Group shotOh crud, we have 4 now. Let's wait until Luke wakes up. Nate and Sadie are ecstatic at the idea of more pictures.
Luke is not happy to be forced into a picture approximately 3 minutes after being woken up.
Still really unhappy and Ellie is morphing back to crazy smile.

A little to the left
OK, now back to the right.
Now we just need a smile.
Almost there. . .
And I think we all know how this ends. With Luke being my favorite child. Ever.

PS I hope you all know that I really do love and cherish ALL my children.


Feeling Christmasy

Phew! There was delivering of neighbor/friend gifts, teacher gifts (one 2nd grade teacher, two preschool teachers, one speech teacher, 4 church teachers), Visiting/Home Teaching gifts, Secret Santa gift (which involved 4 kids and a mall on the Friday before Christmas -- I'm CRAZY), birthday parties (why so many kids in December dear friends?), school parties, Christmas caroling and then I threw in a neighborhood party here.

We couldn't find a day that worked for everyone, but I'm glad we decided to do it on the last day of school because I was WIPED when it was done.

I don't have many pictures because I gave up half way through and decided to just talk and enjoy myself instead, so I'll have to steal some of Casey's (if she ever blogs it).

We made ice cream cone Christmas trees, foam ornaments, skyp-ed with Jill & kids in Virginia Beach, and wrapped it all up with a gift exchange. Learned a lesson for next year: less activities, they just want to play. And a candy exchange instead of a gift exchange because it was impossible buying something to cover the age ranges.

After mostly everyone had cleared out, we left Cade and Sadie with the kids and Dustin & I ran out for a nice adult dinner with Casey and Janel.Grant -- I appreciate you eating the extra candies because otherwise Sadie would have and then she never would have gone to sleep that night. Oh wait. . . she never goes to sleep.

Kate & Claire
I love how boys love to stick out their tongues while they're working
Ann and Mollie & Casey and Beau

Today we were lucky enough to spend time with some of our best friends from college -- The Gustavesons! I was pregnant with Nate and she was pregnant with Maisy the last time we were together, but thanks to e-mail/Christmas cards, blogs and facebook we're still great friends. Brett is hilarious and Kasia is possibly the sweetest person I've ever met. She entertained Sadie all through Sacrament for us. All except for the part where Sadie went up and sang with the Primary kids. I guess since she's been going in to prepare for Sunbeams, she thinks she's in Primary now. I said, "Sadie, you don't know the songs." "I do," she said as she walked out of the pew and starting singing, "I am a child of God. . ."

Dustin made his famous baked French Toast to celebrate and I made fresh squeezed lemonade from our lemon tree (please let me know if you ever want lemons or oranges -- our trees are bursting).
Sadie got tattoos as her gift at the neighborhood party and I CANNOT get them off. So please note her tats for Christmas Sunday.
And Luke says, "Merry Christmas." Hopefully I'll update before then!