In case you were wondering. . .

I'm sure most people have had a half decorated tree, but in case you are one of the lucky few with children that can resist the Christmas tree. . .
This is the reason we only have ornaments on the top half.

I'm hoping next year we will have a fully decorated tree. Of course I'll need to buy some new ornaments after all the ones that fell victim to Luke this year.

Is it time yet??

In typical Maddy fashion, I harped on everyone all week to get things put together and wrapped so we could enjoy Christmas Eve. As a result, we had everything cleaned up, put out, stuffed and were ready for bed by 9:30. Dustin and I snuggled in bed and watched Despicable Me during which Dustin promptly fell asleep. I, however, could not sleep. I was congested and excited all at the same time. Nate was feeling the same way because I could hear him in there talking to himself and coughing until about 1 am.
This has to be my favorite picture of Christmas Day.
By 6:45 the troops had rallied and were ready to go, except for Luke. Didn't he know it was Christmas??

He woke up around 7 am, came out with a confused expression on his face, found his new Thomas the Train toy and promptly refused to move from it for the next hour. He probably opened half of his presents sitting on that thing.

What a fantastic Christmas we had -- clothes, iPods, Legos, cars, Pillow Pets, dolls, Star Wars, shoes, books, games, aprons. . .

It took us almost 2 hours to get through everything, but everything was perfect. No returns to be made here!

On the 23rd I forced my Dad into our bedroom to start putting together the dool house they had bought for Sadie. Nate wanted to go keep him company and eventually Dustin ended up in there. They spent the next 90 minutes putting together the cutest doll house I've ever seen.

It was so big we decided to put it straight into the playroom and then have Sadie open up a present telling her to go look in the playroom. We did not take into account that she is my daughter. After opening some toys in her stocking, she disappeared. I looked around and finally saw a light coming out of the playroom. Sadie had gone in to put her new toys away and totally missed the giant doll house in the middle of the room.

I tried to hurry her out of there, but she turned around and saw it. "I always wanted a great big doll house!" We had to drag her out of there to open more presents after a few minutes.

Then came the best art of Christmas -- playing! My dad HEROICLY spend the next FIVE hours putting together Hogwarts with Nate. The rest of us rode trains and plasma cars outside, watching movies, eating junk food and playing with dolls.

For dinner we opted to eat out at Cowboy Ciao which was delicious. It was such a fun Christmas and the best part was that my parents were here to enjoy it with us!

My parents left the next day and I was home from Church with the kids because Ellie was now sick, so I ended up taking everything down. Call me crazy, but Chrstmas gives me nesting urges. So it's all cleaned up and put away here. Dustin is off snow camping in a blizzard with the Young Men and the kids and I are heading out to pick up stuff for Sadie's birthday party. Bring on the New Year (hopefully with more blogging -- I was lame this year).


We partied some more

With my family in town and illness we stayed busy, but still managed to squeeze in a few Christmas celebrations before the big day.

Sadie was THE Partridge in a Pear Tree for the 12 Days of Christmas Song at the Ward Party

And everyone LOVED sitting on Santa's lap of course

Most of us made it to church in our new Christmas clothes.

Poor Sadie stayed home sick with a fever of 103.
My parents made it in safe and sound
The weather was gorgeous so the kids could swim in the pools and sleep over. It also meant Livy could run around diaperless.
Hayride and caroling at the Haymonds. Poor Nate was sick by this point and missed out -- especially sad since his little crush was there.

Up to Williams via Sedona for the Polar Express. This was probably the worst weather of the month. It was raining, then sleeting and eventually turned to snow on our drive home. I may have uttered, "We're going to die," more than once. I may have been over reacting.

And of course Christmas Eve. This year we did it with "family" and invited over the McGuire girls and their Grandma Nadene who my family has known for over 30 years. Molly and I may have tormented Meredith a bit too much when we were younger, but she has since forgiven us. Per tradition we had soup for dinner and Molly brought the yummiest rolls from a bakery in St. George.

We tried playing Left Right Center with the little kids. It went horribly wrong as everyone was a little upset as things gotten placed in the center. . . but now I'm convinced it should be a new tradition and eventually they'll all grow to love it.

Then on to my favorite part: The Nativity

We've been having a few families over on Christmas Eve for 6 years now and I'm getting excited because we all finally have enough kids (who are old enough) to play most of the parts in the Nativity.

Followed by decorating cookies for Santa.And *maybe* some eating of sugar cookies

Christmas charades
She's a star

New pajamas being left on the doorstep by an elf
And then to ALL a good night!


Party Day

It just about killed me to wake all the kids up Thursday morning. We were all snuggled up, warm in our beds. . . but it was time to party!

Sadie had her preschool party complete with a visit from Santa Claus. In case you are wondering what she asked Santa for this year, it's Fin Fin. I gave Sadie the Target toy catalog and told her that she could pick ANY toy out. She picked out this tiny plastic fish play set. I tried to change her mind, but she still wanted the toy. "Sadie, don't you want this giant Barbie doll house?' "NO, I want Fin Fin." "Sadie, don't you want this full sized horse that actually walks and says your name and poops in your yard?" OK, maybe there wasn't anything that cool in there. After realizing it was on sale for $10 and her heart was set on it, I decided to embrace it.

After Sadie's party it was straight up to Nate's school party. This is Allie, his little crush. Look at how cute he is pointing to her like it's some secret. I think she knows you like her Nate. You can't cover up the folder that you've written Mr. Allie Scarborough in glittery pink marker all over any longer.

They did a book exchange, made candy cane reindeer, played pass the ornament, decorated gingerbread houses and ate MORE sugar for a snack. Nate was suppose to have PE after the party, but he managed to squeak out, "I don't feel very well" from the midst of his sugar coma and I took him home early. My sister showed up for part of his party and he screamed like Buddy the Elf when he heard Santa was coming. "That's my AUNT!"

Ellie's party was a little more relaxed with only 3 major activities and not as much parental involvement. Sniff sniff, they're really growing up. Luckily still small enough that having your mom at the party is cool.My favorite part of doing the kids parties is remembering that no matter how boogery my kids can get at times, I'd still pick them over any other kids.

After school we hurried back home to mess up the living room and play room as much as possible and when that was accomplished we moved on to making cookies in the kitchen. I think I had just started when Dustin moseyed on in and announced, "The Missionaries are coming over in 30 minutes." Cue mad scramble around the house.

That night Kathleen and I went to my MELS (Meeting of the Elite Literary Society) Christmas party at Molly's house. We read The Autboigraphy of Santa Claus and despite what the Amazon reviews and the first 70 pages might tell you, DO NOT read this book. Words cannot describe how much I disliked this book.

Luckily there was a party to make up for the sorely lacking book discussion. I will only post the tame group shot. We did a gift exchange, played Left Right Center and Mafia and ate and ate. . . I just love these girls and I'm so glad my sister got to come along. You know it's fun when I can manage to keep my eyes open passed 10 pm.

And that was Thursday.


The best part of Christmas

I think the best part of Christmas has got to be spending time with all the amazing people and we all know I love an excuse to party.

So far we've had 3 major activities at our house on top of all the other Christmas festivities.

The Young Men and Young Women of our Ward put up Christmas Lights as a service project and then came back to our house for pizza and cookies. Dustin mentioned this to me about 4 days before it happened and asked me to pick up some cookies from Costco. GASP! Store bought cookies?? Please sweet husband. Party, Christmas, baking. . . three of my favorite things. I baked for 4 days straight and easily made a few hundred cookies. With all those kids, pizza and cookies the biggest mess of the night was made by me when I let the cocoa pot boil over. If you can believe it, we even had a few cookies left over.

Last weekend we hosted the annual Elgin Street Christmas party for all of our old neighbors. Janel had planned on hosting, but due to a few conflicts we ended up having it here at the last minute. I was glad Janel was willing to give it up because I love a house full of people. We have been so lucky living on this street for all these years because the BEST people have come into our lives because of it. I loved just lounging around and talking with everyone and seeing the kids play together. Scott and Mark were even willing to leave in the middle of the party to pick Dustin up from the airport. Those are really amazing neighbors, right?

Janel made salt dough ornaments for all the kids to paint and besides that all of our plans fell to the wayside as everyone was happy just being together. Well, the kids were DYING to open their gifts from the gift exchange. You should have seen how excited they all were to open their $1 gifts. It just reminded me that no one really cares how much money you spend, they just want to know someone thought of them. And that is my favorite part of the season -- generosity of spirit. Christmas cards, neighbors gifts. . . they may seem like a lot of work, but I think they remind people that we love them and think of them and what better time to remind people of that than when we celebrate the birth of our Savior. Luke reminding everyone to say a prayer.

A few nights ago we had our service Family Home Evening with 3 other families and divided the kids into groups for the shopping. We ended up with the two big boys and Ryder. When we were walking into the store, I was was pretty sure someone was going to stop us when they saw that little toe head and accuse us of stealing him. The bad part of being on a team with 5 boys is that no one cares what you buy and they want to get out of the store as fast as possible. The good part of shopping with 5 boys is that you can pick out whatever your want and everyone agrees that it's fantastic. I had so much fun picking out little tiny girl toys. Then we came back to our house for a wrapping party, treats, some caroilng and a quick lesson about The Christmas Orange. My easy going teamThe sweetie pie girlsTrouble with a capital T. I walked into the store and said, "I hear our children." Sure enough by the time we got to the back of the store there were the boys. The wanted to get EVERYTHING.

Have I mentioned how much I love squeezing everyone into our house? We always manage to make everyone fit.

And now I'm lucky enough to have my house full of family-- my sister and niece got here last night! We are having so much fun in this fantastic weather. We've already hit Target, Paradise, Cafe Rio and temple lights.