I am finally going to catch up on my blog! This is going to be a long post--feel free to just scan through the pics if you get bored:)
First of all, I couldn't believe this display of Christmas lights! This is a house that is about a mile away from my house and after passing it a number of times and getting a kick out of it, I had to stop and get out of the car to capture it so I could share it with the rest of you. From the first picture you see a blow up thing with lights in the background.
Now take a look at the second picture. Are you seeing it? No less than a foot behind the blow-up is a nativity scene. I think it is a visual of commercialism taking over the true meaning of Christmas. Seriously, I don't get it! It cracks me up! From the street you can barely catch a glance of the nativity scene. I hope that you find it as oddly humorous as I did:)
The days leading up to Christmas are some of my absolute faves! On the 23rd my Dad and I delivered all of our neighbor gifts. I loved every minute of it! Growing up my parents always made it a priority to visit neighbors, and especially the elderly, in our ward. Our neighbors are like family. It was fun to make our way around the neighborhood sharing gifts and love. One of my most favorite memories of Christmas 2012. After delivering we watched Home Alone with my sister and nephews. I LOVE that movie! It is a Christmas classic. And my nephews were cracking me up! They were just as scared as Kevin when the heater in the basement would turn on! Check out that pic:
Christmas Eve was pretty fabulous! Last year some family members went to Costco and bought a bunch of food and then delivered it to different waiting rooms at the University Hospital. We had the blessing of joining them this year. It was so fun to buy all of the food items with those who would be in the hospital in mind. There were about 20 of us and we were able to provide food to four of the waiting rooms. As we talked to the people in the waiting rooms we felt of the Spirit of Christmas--love. It was another memory never to be forgotten.
We stopped at my grandparents' home and spent the rest of the afternoon with them before talking to this special Elder!!! We got to Skype with Corbin and it was soooo awesome! He sounded so good and his laugh was just the same. All of the family was over so he had the chance to talk to everyone. Isn't he such a stud? It was amazing to hear him speak the Thai language and to hear the joy in his voice that can only come from missionary service. It was a bit of a heartbreaker to end the conversation with him, especially when we all got a little teary-eyed. Can't wait to talk to him again on Mother's Day!
By the time we hung up with him it was 8:30 and we hadn't had dinner. We cruised to the Asian Star--one of our family favorite restaurants--to celebrate Brooke's birthday! YAY! I love that Brooke's birthday falls on Christmas Eve. I love celebrating her! She is the best big sister ever! This is the fortune that I found in my cookie. It got me thinking that I was maybe going to get a husband for Christmas:)
It was kind of weird just having me and Carli sleeping at home on Christmas Eve. We opened our Christmas pajamas and then headed off to bed. It was the first time not sleeping in the basement on Christmas Eve but we slept comfortably in the guest room upstairs and enjoyed watching Elf together.
Christmas morning we usually get up at 5:30 but we didn't roll out of bed until 7 this year! Seriously, for only four of us opening gifts this is quite the outrageous number of gifts. My parents are still too used to having 7 kids:)
We didn't touch any gifts under the tree but headed out to make the rounds and see all of the grandkids on Christmas morning. Christmas is so magical for them!
Carter was so excited about his kitchen!
Linc's favorite gift was definitely his RC Ninja Turtle fourwheeler.
Ella loved her American Girl doll.
Hannah was excited about everything!
Crew loved his Spidey jacket.
Kate couldn't stop playing with her kitchen.
Ava loved her Minnie Mouse tea set.
Rhett and Jack couldn't get enough of their iPad minis.
Trevor was wearing his 4 new sports shirts/jerseys at the same time!
Ryan was all decked out in his Utah gear.
Landon is our little entrepreneur and was busy making snowcones for everyone all day long!
I didn't get a picture of Zachary on Christmas morning. He was taking a little snooze.
We enjoyed a breakfast of crepes with Brandt and Kelly's family and returned home to open gifts and stockings by 1:00. I have never had a Christmas without my Grandma and Grandpa Buchanan and they showed up to open gifts with us. It is such a blessing to have them close by and so involved!
Carli was sick on Christmas so we gathered her gifts around her and she slowly made her way through them.
The main theme of my Christmas was Craftsman tools. Seriously, I am loaded with tools! I have a staple gun, drill gun, jig saw, wrench set, and a toolbox full of every other tool that you can imagine! I am stoked about it! Can't wait to start a project! I also received so many other wonderful and much-appreciated things: scriptures, beaters, a sonicare airfloss, clothes, shoes, jewelry, books, Costco and Sam's Club memberships...I was spoiled to death!
After opening gifts and getting things cleaned up a little bit we had just enough time to shower and prepare some food before the whole family came over for our gift exchange. It was a wonderful evening together. I am just so grateful that we can be together as a family during the holiday season.
The days following Christmas were very chill and definitely included Just Dance 4. Look at those two little cuties dancing their hearts out! I might have a little bit of an obsession with the game:)
I came back up to Logan for a few days for some very special events! On the 27th Wendi went through the temple. I am so thankful that I was able to be there. I am thankful that Wendi invited me to be:)
On the 28th I went to Tish and Mike's reception. It was wonderful to spend the evening with them and with other dear friends!
The next day I was very privileged and blessed to attend their sealing. It was beautiful! The weather was freezing but at least the sun was shining! Don't the newlyweds look happy?!! They sure were.
After the wedding luncheon we went and got steamers to celebrate Carolynn's birthday! Happy 25th Care! Goodness! I don't get to see that girl often enough.
I didn't know what a steamer was before that day so I will share:
These are the steamers. Milk is the base and then you can choose flavors to mix in. Yes, it is like hot chocolate. But if you are not so much a chocolate fan--like me--then they are all the better! I got the Van Halen steamer which included a mix of vanilla and hazelnut. It was delicious and warm for a cold winter night. After the birthday celebrating, I headed back home.
On Sunday evening we continued on with one of our favorite traditions from last year. We invited a few of the widows over for dinner and we had such a wonderful evening with them. Each of these ladies is so special to me! I really consider them grandmas. Not only are they sweet and kind but they are really funny too!
On New Year's Eve day (if that makes sense) we did a lot of returns and some shopping. We made a stop at one of my all-time favorite stores: IKEA! I think that I love it soooo much because it reminds me of the Netherlands. And I really LOVE the Netherlands:) We took a little break in the cafeteria and had some lunch.
I don't know about you but I definitely didn't get anywhere close to finishing off all 15 of my meatballs.
We also made a stop at Britt and Marianne's new house. It is beautiful! We are going to miss having them so close but 20 minutes really isn't that far. We are just lucky that they didn't move out of state! They are getting all settled in just before the baby comes--and he should come any day now!
This is how I felt on New Year's Eve! But I hung in there until midnight:) It was a super chill night with Brooke and her boys and LaRae and my parents. We enjoyed dinner and laughing together.
New Year Day is my Mom's birthday so we always have a fun time celebrating! This is what my Dad surprised her with and she was ecstatic! It was my job to somehow get her outside just in time to see it coming down the street loaded with kids and grandkids that love her.
My mom loves doing yard work and has a trailer that she hooks onto the back of her riding lawnmower that we call the yard nerd--and now she has an ultimate yard nerd! My Dad really decked the whole thing out to personalize it for my Mom. Petunia is what my Grandpa Sharp would always call my Mom so it seemed only fitting to have that as the license plate.
And all of the grandkids' names are on the back. I am sure that they will love this as much as my Mom does:)
That afternoon we had a birthday dinner for my Mom at my aunt Larae's house. She always does a dinner for my Mom and invites the whole family over. She is so kind to make the day so special for my Mom.
I had to get a picture with the birthday girl!
The family members who hadn't seen my Mom's gift made a stop at the house to check it out. Even though Zach is only 1 he has a major obsession with trucks. This is his face when he saw it:
And the last day of the break was spent taking Christmas down. I started at 4 in the morning and still wasn't finished by 4 that afternoon--hence the boxes that Linc and Carter were playing in:) I really wanted to cry when I realized the holidays were all over. I just love the warmth and joy and love that the Christmas season brings. But there are lots of memories that I will never forget! I am just so thankful that I was able to be home for the holidays.