Sunday, March 23, 2014

Christmas 2013

Sometimes the holidays are picture perfect!
And sometimes they aren't!  :)
But with these cute kids the holidays are always fun and festive!!
Here is my final post for 2013.  Like I said in the post before....We had such a great, relaxing Christmas vacation.  Sometimes this time of year can be so stressful and put me over the edge...but not this year...we had the best time!  The kids are all at such great ages and have been so much fun!  

We like to spend time up in Salt Lake at temple square during the holidays.  There is so much going on up there.  One day we met Grandma and Grandpa up there to look at the lights.
Then the girls always have their annual choir performance in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.  It's always a perfect place for picture taking!  :)
Being on temple square always keeps things real.  Walking up to the Christus statue or around the temple brings so much peace to the holidays!

Then Christmas Eve hits!  Everything is done...and if it's not done, it doesn't matter, there is no time to do OR BUY anything else!  It's here and we just go for it!  The first gift is always fun!  Christmas PJs for everyone!
Our other traditions for Christmas Eve night include food...which we change all the time.  Sometimes it's real fancy, sometimes we (Matt) barbeques.  We eat too much chocolate from the wonderful neighbor gifts we receive.  We start to wind down early and read from Luke chapter 2 and then read some scrolls Matt made years ago of the The Living Christ
Hopefully with all of the fun and excitement of receiving gifts we have given enough throughout the month and have remembered our Savior. 
7:00 is our goal for a wake up time.  The kids don't seem to get up much earlier.  We all meet together, and then it's one big free for all!!
We all might have been a little spoiled!
and even Santa brought Matt and I a little something to remind us of our amazing NY trip!
But the BIGGEST and BEST surprise ever was this guy right here!!
Brian had our family for Christmas this year.  He had called earlier in the day to tell us our gift would be on its way, and that he was sorry it was late.  We had the normal Christmas Day conversation...what'd ya get...are you guys doing anything fun for the break?  That kind of thing.  He must've been thrilled to know that we were staying put with no plans being that he was already almost here from Wyoming!!  About an hour after that phone call we got a knock on our door and in walked Brian and his 2 kiddos!  We screamed!  I cried!  We were soooo excited!!!!!
I was so excited that we really did have nothing going on...that hardly ever happens!  We had a blast with these guys!  They stayed for 2 or 3 nights...I can't even remember because it was all just fun!  We love these guys so much and really wish we could see them more often!  It was the best Christmas surprise ever!!
I feel so blessed at this time of year!  I am beyond thankful for Matt and my own kids!  And then to think of my family, Matt's family, our extended families...I feel so Matt's grandma would say.  Sometimes I wish we didn't have to do all of the presents and get more STUFF!  But it is fun to see the joy on the kids faces!  We have fun with the THINGS, but it's even better to know that we have fun just being together!  That was definitely what this year's Christmas vacation was all about and I hope I can be better about just slowing down and being with those I love!

One of my very favorite presents I got this year was this one from Matt.  A sweet friend told me about this picture years ago and I've used it in a few talks and thoughts I've had to give over the years.  I usually just carry around a little print out of it and I've always wanted it framed.  Matt is amazing...he totally pulled through for me (although, I may have kinda requested it in a talk I gave last fall)!  :) It's a fun little reminder for me, especially at the start of a new year, of the reflection I want to see looking back at me...that of my creator.  It is a good reminder of the self-portrait I want to draw this year! Love this!  It hangs in the hallway right as I walk out of my bedroom!  Yay for another year in the books...and on to 2014!!