New Years Eve…

We closed out the year with dodge ball, cotton candy, games, fireworks and family – there’s no better way!

Some years we let the kids stay up as late as they want – other years we cap it. This year it was capped (much to our children’s chagrin) – most the group was doing a long hike the next morning so there were just a few that were up at midnight. We partied loud at 10 pm (when the ball dropped live in New York) and then we had a quiet party at midnight as to not wake the kids who had already made it to bed. Because surely they were all sleeping just as we had asked them to…

As I crawled into bed around 1 am I heard some stirring upstairs so I quietly made my way upstairs to investigate. To my surprise, I found some of our boys playing games by flashlight in the dark, complete with snacks!

They were not about to go to bed before midnight. And who knows how late they would have stayed up had I not caught them. Crazy boys. They didn’t quite grasp just how long and exhausting their hike would be the next morning.

2019 was a great year and we’re hopeful that 2020 will follow suit!

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Post Christmas festivities…

Never failing, the day after Christmas, I want to go through my whole house and throw everything away. I make all sorts of lofty goals of all the things I’m going to go through and clean out. It lasts about one whole morning and then I realize that all my kids are home for break and I’m going to get little done – not to mention we had company!

So although my week after Christmas wasn’t overly productive – we really did have the best time with my brother and his family visiting.

Our kid’s took care of our friend’s mini-farm which is a bit out of our comfort zone and they totally owned it. I was pleasantly surprised with how serious they took the job and how willing they were to ride they’re bikes and scooters over two times a day. We had eggs for days!

We took the girls to the Gilbert temple.

And made a visit to the Christmas house which is just as fun after Christmas as it is before!

There were books and movies and snuggles and naps…

We went to a pre New Year’s Eve party that would rival most parties. Complete with food trucks, photo booths, bouncy house/ninja warrior. It really is the best night ever.

A week with my brother’s family is never complete without frisbee dodgeball, KTR (trampoline/ninja warrior park) and anything else that would leave us completely exhausted.

We played games every night.

We made the rounds and grabbed some favorite foods for date night.

As one last memory for the Christmas break: the older kids and dads hiked flat iron. Not an easy hike at all – we wanted to really make sure they couldn’t feel their legs when they went back home. 🙂 Steve was reluctant to bring Bennett because it is that intense, but Bennett insisted and didn’t want to be left out of the big kids. He was warned and promised he wouldn’t complain. As hard as it was – he never complained.

Steve on the other hand couldn’t stop talking about his leg pain for the next three days! They all had some great stories.

The time with them is never long enough. Briggs cried and cried as they loaded their luggage into the car and drove away. He keeps asking when he gets to go to their house. We love that they take the time to be here. It’s loud and chaotic and exhausting and yet they keep coming back!

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Happy wall 2019…

The tree has been down for over a week but the Christmas cards on the fridge are still going strong. Maybe this week. Maybe not.

I love having them up – so many fond memories of all the families on this wall – but I also love taking them down and finally cleaning the fridge of all the little fingerprints and having it clean and simple again.

Only 10.5 more months until they start rolling in again and land on our fridge!

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Christmas 2019…

Steve and I talked before Christmas and we knew that this was going to be Christmas to remember – not because the gifts that we were giving – but because of the ages of our kids. They are all at such fun ages and really have such low expectations that we knew it was going to be a fun year. We keep wondering how much longer we have where kids believe in the magic and they are requesting crazy expensive gifts!

They gave us some great reactions – and it was even more fun to watch them excited for each other’s gifts.

We got this reaction from Green Bay Packers socks. Throw that “G” on anything and he would be over the moon!

Bennett is the best on Christmas because he is overly excited about everything. He asked for a lego set and we delivered. He would’ve been happy if the day ended right there.

We hid Hallie’s present under her bed and she couldn’t imagine anything being underneath her bed because they had all been hanging out in her room since the wee hours of the morning and they didn’t notice anything. That’s we call parent magic!

Bennett opened a gift and was so excited. And then we teased him and told him it was just the box and then he proceeded to tearing open the box and was excited all over again when he realized he really did get it!

The kids did homemade or regifted gifts to eachother. Briggs drew pictures for Cannon and a note that says “I love you”. Cannon thought he one the jackpot and Briggs was elated to give it!

We open gifts one at a time and I love how everyone tends to hover over the person opening gifts.

I asked for a comfy for a Christmas. Its basically an oversized hooded sweatshirt with sherpa lining. I think Steve got it for me to be funny – the jokes on him because I love it and wear it every day!!

My parents gave Hunter and Bennett matching rubberband guns. When they realized they were the same shape, they opened them together and rushed to see who could open it first.

I’ve been working with Hallie on a special idea she had for Steve. She watercolored a picture of Jesus Christ for him and she worked so hard on it. She started back in October and made several drafts before finishing this version. Steve was in tears. Hallie was in tears. She nailed it.

Cannon and I were excited for our new cotton candy machine. This has been a long time coming. I have asked for one for years and Cannon has been asking for over a year. I know I seem like a 10 year old by liking cotton candy – but I love it! And we are all excited.

We had friends stop by for just long enough to play with some new toys.

Hunter and Hallie both got long boards and as soon as the rare Christmas morning rain stopped, they were outside trying out their new rides.

Christmas

And how could we not spend Christmas afternoon trying out new flavors of cotton candy?! We made bags full and took it over to Steve’s family gathering. It was gone in no time. 🙂

Christmas exceeded all of our expectations. It was good down to the very last minute (and bag of cotton candy!) I would replay this day over and over again if I could. Instead, we’ll bottle up these pictures and videos as a memory and hopefully years from now they will spark some of the emotion we felt spending Christmas together as a family in 2019.

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Pre-Christmas Fun…

December comes in like a hurricane and it always takes me some time to catch up with the month after its already gone!

December was a full month and here’s some of our fun.

Hunter and Bennett stuffed and labeled our Christmas cards this year. Some years we hand letter and other years we’re short on time and they get a label!

We read Christmas books and listened to Christmas music by the light of the tree.

I’m not sure how this was even possible but we only went to the Christmas house one time before Christmas. This is usually a weekly activity in December but rain thwarted our plans to walk down with friends not once, but twice!

We had Steve’s sister for Christmas and he was so proud of his wrapping job complete with a squeaky dog toy tied to the top!

Steve’s mom hosted cousin game night – one for the elementary aged kids and one night for the junior high through married cousins. My kids always love this time with their cousins.

Briggs worked hard to write cards for his teachers.

We went to the school for cookies with Santa and the kids love their “funny face” pose.

Our neighborhood had their annual Christmas party in the front pasture of one of the houses. I’m always overwhelmed with love for all my neighbors at this event. It’s a lot of work and every one signs up to bring food – its a lot of coordination.

We participated in the nativity at the neighborhood party and it’s always my favorite 5 minutes of the night. The next best moment is right after the nativity when we do a candle lighting with 300+ people.

We hosted Christmas eve with our friends that we consider family. With 11 kids between our 2 families, a nice sit down meal can be a challenge but it turned out beautiful.

We played Christmas songs using chimes – my kids now want chimes! It was fun and they were way better than I could’ve imagined.

We acted out the nativity which is always entertaining!

Our friends said goodnight and it was just our family. We opened Christmas jammies and decorated cookies for Santa. There was laughing and excitement.

Steve read Twas the night before Christmas before we ushered everyone upstairs in hopes that they would eventually settle down and go to sleep!

And then it was quiet…

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