Monday, December 31, 2018

Christmas, Birthdays and New Years

We geared up for our long Christmas break. The Saturday everyone came Grant nicely took the kids to lunch and bowling so I could work on Luke's video, shop and start dinner.
 Saturday night, the 22nd, my parents, Rose and Levi drove in. We celebrated Mom's birthday that night. She requested gingerbread cake. Rose and I didn't use great baking skills, and when we doubled the cake recipe, not only was it too much cake for the pans and overflowed in the oven, it was too much cake for those willing to eat it. At least it made Mom happy.

That might have been her face to our birthday singing. Hannah and Tyler and kids came over for dinner and cake as well.

Sunday night Grant smoked a prime rib that turned out delicious.

Levi sneaked this picture of me yawning, pretty much sums me up.
 Christmas Eve Grant got sick, so it deterred Stoehrs from coming over for dinner. I was grateful my dad got the run down on the smoker the day before and he was happy to take over cooking the lamb. We had our "Bethlehem" related meal of lamb, rice, israeli salad, hummus and tzatziki. The lamb shanks were delicious, but the lamb roast took much longer to cook past our dinner and wasn't as good.

Christmas Eve tree

Each kid got a gift that was a reminder from our big CA trip. Calvin got the orca whale he wanted at Sea World, Audrey got a Minnie, Luke got legos for legoland and Warren got his spray fan he wanted at Sea World. They also loved their BYU apparel from each Grandma. Luke and Calvin put the BYU pajama pants right over their Christmas fleece and wore them like that all day. I don't know how they weren't overheated.

Dollar tree Princess nails that lasted about as long as it took to take the picture.

Audrey put on the dress she got from Grandma Stum right over her pajamas and also wore it like that all day.

Rose gave an Alexa to Mom and was giving her the tutorial.

It was nice to have some reprieve of Audrey always climbing and sitting on me. This pushing her way onto laps seen here is very common, especially when one is trying to work.

We went to Denver Museum on Wednesday. Grant spent his whole time in the temporary Brain Games exhibit, which is why I wanted him to go. Another temporary exhibit was about Cuba. It was a beautiful exhibit and fun to learn a little about Cuba. Mom matched the wall perfectly.

Thursday during the day we went to the Apex for swimming for Joc's birthday. It was crowded. After swimming we took the kids to pick up Danny and Camille from the airport. We went straight to Defy, a trampoline, obstacle course place. Casualties were; Audrey peeing her pants as we entered, leading to Grant taking her next door to Walmart for a change of clothes; Calvin accidentally jumped on another girl, which made her very upset; and near the end Danny broke his big toe on the warped wall. I think we still managed to have fun? 

 Post playing we planned on going to this all you can eat Italian restaurant. It had an hour and a half wait so we ended up at uneventful Golden Corral instead. They even served cotton candy there, which my kids happily consumed as if they hadn't had enough sugar over break yet. We of course then topped off sugar consumption by me and the kids going over to Stoehrs to have birthday cupcakes and ice cream for Jocelyn.

 Audrey took a few candids of us hanging around. Though dinner and activities were a lot to manage, I still got to sleep in, didn't worry about too many breakfasts and lunches, watched a number of movies. And the best was that I didn't have homework! So it still felt like a break to me.

Grandpa ran into the boys at the park on the way back from his bike ride. Warren loves his new electric scooter.

Johnny taking a nap with my Dad.
 Friday was the movie marathon day. There was a variety of combinations of who went to what, but Grant fit in four movies and eating out for lunch and dinner. I stayed home with the kids, shuttled to the theater once, made a good Costco run, and finished working on Luke's video.
I set up a yoga class for Wednesday and Saturday with our neighbor Laura. I should have run the other days with Rose, but I didn't.

Saturday was Luke's birthday and baptism, which will be it's own post. But we had a lot of people and more cake that night.

Sunday Grant and Camille participated in a musical number at church. That evening we went over to Stoehrs for dinner and to early celebrate Levi's birthday. He always gets the shaft as he goes home from the holidays and spends his birthday on his own three days later.
Rose and Hannah made delicious bread.

 Monday, New Years Eve, we got a girls outing. Hannah, Rose, Mom, Camille and I went and got pedicures and sushi. Both were within our neighborhood, which was nice as it finally decided to snow that day.
Our sushi was served on a boat with an ice sculpture.
 That night we watched Lincoln and played games, mostly Jackbox games. Jack box games are through the computer and everyone participates through their own device, casting answers and voting individually. We played it all week a hundred times.

We also had a dance party in the kitchen, mostly just Rose and I, and a little with Audrey. I may have looked totally ridiculous, but it got my energy up.

Audrey is still not 100% about Johnny, but warmed up to him a lot. 

We did a lot of puzzles over the break. The kids all had smaller ones and we did a 500 piece nativity one on Christmas Eve.
Tuesday, New Years Day, all our guests went home. It was a fun time together.

Friday, December 21, 2018


In November we took all four kids to the Nuggets game in the Gates suite. They won and we won free chick fil a the next day. We also go to go to Disney on Ice in December. We love the Gates suite perks.

Calvin and Audrey were the only ones interested in picking out the Christmas tree with me this year. We ended up deciding on a smaller tree. Mostly because of the kind of needles it had and the price. I always swear every year we will get a fake one.

For Light the World, day of service on December 1st we went as a family to help Colorado Feeding Kids. We got to pack bags and boxes of food that gets taken to local food banks and organizations. When the kids woke up that morning and we told them we were going to do service, not understanding what it was, they were super grouchy. I was worried about taking four ornery children to help. They were still grumpy as we were asked to put on hair nets. Once we got started and they got the assembly part down they had so much fun. It may not have been fun because they realized they were serving others, but their hearts were changed none the less. They were asking when we would come back and do it again.  

Gates brought back their family Christmas party this year. I've loved them in the past and was super sad when they didn't do it last year, so we made it a priority to go. We even put family first over the adult session of stake conference (I really dislike December Stake Conference!). It was held at their new building and in conjunction with the parade of lights. Though they had the usual kid friendly food, caricature drawing, face painting and family photo, it seemed very underwhelming. They didn't get reserved seats for us on the parade route, so since we weren't outside early enough we wouldn't be able to see the parade. We started watching from Grant's floor, 14 up, but soon realized it wasn't the same if you couldn't hear anything or barely see it was so far down. We went to the second floor lobby that had a better view, but still wasn't the same. Calvin, like me, was the most disappointed. He really wanted to be out in the action. We tried stepping outside to see it, but it was just so crowded. In the end I left wishing we had gone to stake conference instead.


Thinking hard about his list. We didn't get a Santa at the work party, but they did at the Ward party. Only Luke and Calvin chose to go talk to him.

We had a great turn out at our Relief Society Christmas dinner and program.

Our second service for Light the World, light the community, was not nearly as successful. They once again started out super grouchy and ended perhaps even grouchier, or at least two of them did. We were singing carols with a few other Relief Society sisters at a rehab center. Not all efforts feel perfect.

After a long year of travels, school and festivities I was so glad to have a couple of days before guests came. Sadly, Audrey and I got sick. I was glad the house had already been cleaned and I finished my finals, so a day or two on the couch actually felt welcoming. It only put me a little behind on making Luke's birthday video.

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