Our December was eventful and... not. It was basically the perfect mix of going out and doing fun things, but a good amount of just staying home and being together. It really was magical. I really just want to post all the pictures and do some captions.
PK played Joseph in the ward play that I helped direct.
Homeschooling: When learning happens anywhere but in a desk.
Decorating the Christmas tree. We decided to do it over a several day period and it was WAY more enjoyable.
Trip to the Indianapolis temple. BEST thing to do in the busyness of December.
Jed and I watched the First Presidency Christmas devotional with just baby #3- it was SO beautiful. I love the extra focus on the Savior during December. He really is magical!
PK started making the "heart" sign this month. We both love T. Swift! haha.
My friend organized a caroling activity at the senior home next to our complex. It was amazing. I really felt the spirit of Christmas and I think the boys did too.
Our special friend who is 101 years old!
Now that it's winter- we are playing the Wii! Of course, the boys are loving it! Pro-tip: When we were given the Wii, I made a point of saying that we are "borrowing" it & that we'd wait until it was cold to "borrow" it. And now, we only "borrow" it when mom & dad want to. It's perfect.
Took Jed to the ER for a wicked bloody nose. Thankfully it wasn't serious, we were just exhausted from being out late.
PK climbed the rock wall at the Y! He didn't love it, but he did make it 1/2 way!
Just the almost 6 month old walking around with the diaper box.
We were the grateful recipients of The 12 Days of Christmas this year. Each night we received some small gift/activity to help celebrate Christmas. It really was the extra something to make this Christmas feel super special. I will never forget it! And we are already looking forward to paying it forward in the years to come.
Making the kids' friends gifts- white chocolate & sprinkled covered mini-oreos.
Easy, tasty, and fun.
Our big boy lost his first tooth. And then... lost it. In the baby's room. WHO. KNOWS. WHERE.
Oh, nothing to see here. Just- Jed's pen leaked- ALL the way through.
He was not happy. I was laughing hysterically.
I guess it's time for some pocket protectors.
Helping Mom bake. PK helped read the recipe out loud and they both took turns measuring, stirring etc. I'm not a huge fan of baking, but I am a huge fan of MEN baking, so I will be teaching my boys how to bake/cook/clean etc. Because, as much as I don't want to think about it, they will have their own homes one day. Crazy.
I got to spend the night with my two bestsies. It was MAGICAL. We ate LOTS (okay, I did), chatted for hours, and mall walked. It was heavenly & just the best way to start Christmas week.
A few handmade gifts I did this year (wood burned spoons and decorated apron). These were for my brother, Aaron, who my family was assigned for secret santa. It was a "Survivor" theme, so we did
"How to Survive a Cold Winter Night" with a baking focus.
They saw Santa at story time. Pk was happy to sit on his lap, but
Mason only wanted the candy cane :)
Singing Christmas carols by the Christmas tree lights is one of my favorite Christmas traditions. I'm finding that the magic and excitement from Christmas can come from small and simple traditions- that don't require much preparation or money.
We hosted a last minute Christmas Eve dinner with appetizers & desserts. We invited a few friends and luckily they were all able to come! We also invited the missionaries from our church, in keeping with my Grandmother's tradition. We ate, chatted, played a few games, and same some Christmas carols. It was wonderful.
I had to give a few people a ride after our Christmas Eve dinner, so Jed stayed and kept the boys up so we could do our traditional Christmas Eve jammies. It was fun to get all dressed in our festive jammies and then read the Christmas story all together as a family. We really focused on talking about each of the parts of the Christmas story this year (thanks to the December Friend)! Throughout the month, I could hear the boys' prayers change and include other aspects of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It was beautiful, wonderful, and totally magical. We've chosen not to include Santa in our Christmas celebrations. Not because he's a bad character/idea, but because it's hard to teach the boys about him and about Christ, without loosing our real focus. I've worried about loosing the "magic" of Christmas by doing it this way, and boy, was I wrong! There is SOO much magic in the true story of Christmas, that Santa wasn't even missed.
Then we got the boys in bed, and Jed and I brought the air mattress out and slept underneath the Christmas tree. This has been our own tradition since our first married Christmas, and something that I look forward to each year! I don't have any pictures of that because we had to hurry and get it out away so we could have room to open presents in the morning. (And because Jed doesn't like to be photographed in his "jammies.")
Our Christmas Day was a busy one. We opened presents in the morning, had an extra fun and yummy Christmas brunch with our neighbors and good friends in the late morning, we Skyped with my siblings for our gift exchange opening, and then we drove the 3 hours to my moms house in order to spend a few days with the family up there (including my sister-in-law and 4 nieces who were visiting!) It was an awesome trip- minus me getting sick the last few days. I could do a whole other post just on the illness from this winter, but I'll spare you the gross, horrifying details.
(Pk, Oma, Morgan, and Gabrielle (and little D) playing Spot It.
For New Years Eve, we had a small party at home. We used our large roll of paper, traced each other, and wrote things that we love about each member of our family. This was a fun and meaningful tradition that I hope to repeat next year. The idea is that we'll compare the traced bodies to see just how much they've grown!
M and PK had spent one afternoon playing (I think this was just after the new year) and M wanted to keep playing! But he was so cold! So he came in to grab a blanket, and went and sat outside with the blanket. Man, he is one good problem solver!
Christmas 2015 was simple, pure, and amazing. I had a tender moment on Christmas Eve that I wish I could properly share. I had made several dishes that to me- represented the people that I loved and wished I could be with. Each dish and part of the meal made me remember so many different Christmas memories- its amazing how food and Christmas really can transport us in time. The holidays always make me reflect just how blessed I am and how many wonderful people we have been blessed to know and love. This was a Christmas I hope to always remember!