Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas Day 2014

We had a wonderful Christmas this year. We have so much to be grateful for! We spent Christmas morning together as just our family. We got up when Brighton woke up since he's usually the first one awake. He seemed to sleep in a little, but he still woke up in the sixes so I felt that it was early enough. Santa had come and put some fun gifts in their Santa sacks that the kids got to look at right away. He also filled their stockings with a few treats and small toys. 

Looks like Santa enjoyed his cookies.

Then, we moved onto gifts under the tree. 

The kids got some really fun stuff! 
Lila really loved getting her Doc McStuffins outfit (from Grandma and Grandpa Pratt) and her doctor's bag with instruments from mom and dad. 

Brighton loves his blocks (also from Grandma and Grandpa Pratt) and all of the fun books that he got. 

They're both getting much better about opening gifts on their own. 

He really liked his new crayons and wanted those right away, but he's still working on drawing well with them. He really likes to break crayons, so he got some from Santa that have a plastic casing on them so that he can't break them. :) The kids also got some new reading books, shape blocks, coloring books, and clothes this Christmas. 

I felt especially spoiled this year from Micah and my kids. I got several things for the kitchen that I have been wanting for quite some time. I'm especially excited about my cast iron skillet from Micah, and my cake and cupcake caddies! No more trying to figure out how to transport my goodies. :) I got a book of a collection of works by C.S. Lewis that I just can't wait to read! I also got several other things that I'm really so grateful for. Thanks my dear loved ones!

I was so proud of Lila for writing her name on a gift to me. :)

Micah got some new shirts, a knife, a few books, a drill, and several other great things. I'm getting much better and less stressed out when it comes to buying gifts for Micah. 

After we had our own Christmas morning we headed to Grandma McSweeney's house for more gifts, lunch, and to spend time with our extended family. 

I included these pictures because I've been working on different braids in Lila's hair and I finally did this one well enough to leave it in. :) I'm slowly getting better and her hair is finally getting long enough again (I don't think I'm going to cut her hair that short again)… oh and yes, Lila is eating something.

Lila got a really beautiful blue coat from Grandma and Grandpa McSweeney. I didn't take any pictures there because there were so many of us that I didn't even think about it due to the fun chaos. She also got some really cute puzzles that she can color on from Sarah and Angelica, and a frozen "spot it" game and Sleeping Beauty from her baby cousin Addie. I can't wait to play that game with her! 

Brighton got a nice warm outfit from his McSweeney grandparents, a really nice sweater from Sarah and Angelica, and Toy Story (Yay! I love it!) and fruit snacks from his cute cousin Sydney. Boy are my kids so loved and spoiled!

Micah got a very nice Texans wallet from Emma. He really loves it. I got a nice wall hanging from Bec. I can't wait to put it up! Then together we got a nice new large nonstick pot from my mum and dad which we really needed and are so grateful to have gotten! Thanks everyone for the wonderful gifts.

After gifts we played some Christmas games together. My sister Emma put together a fun jeopardy style game for my family. My team lost the first round to Micah's, but we pretty much dominated the second one. (I'll admit the second round was easier. :) ) It was a lot of fun though. We also got to talk with my dad for a little while which was great to be able to catch up with him and see him. We miss him a lot but are glad that we have such great technology to help us keep in touch. 

Finally, we had our delicious lunch and yummy trifle for dessert and then headed home.

At home we just relaxed, put away gifts, and spent some time together as just our family again. It was a wonderful holiday season. I'm sad it's gone, but so grateful that I have my family around to feel loved all year long. 

The most wonderful time of the year!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Eve 2014

This year we decided to do Christmas Eve just at home. I'm really glad that we did. We combined some of my traditions with some of Micah's and did a few that are new to our family from the past few years.

We started off by making cookies for Santa. This year we decided to go with traditional sugar cookies. Brighton didn't really decorate… he just ate.

 Lila did a great job though. I was really impressed with her creativity. We made a lot of cookies but decided on just a few for Santa. 

Then we had soup for our dinner. This will be one of our traditions every year I think. I made a copycat version of Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana. It was really good. I'm so glad that it turned out. I also made french bread. Yum! I finally got to use my snowman dishes. It's the first year I've done so. We also used my snowman baking dish to hold the bread and Christmas serving spoon and fork for the salad. The whole dinner was yummy and I had a great time preparing it and the kids had a great time eating it!

After dinner the kids had a bath and got into their new Christmas pjs. Lila was in heaven. She still loves Frozen… so do I. :) I couldn't get a picture of Brighton in his Spider Man pajamas. He just did not want to stay still. 

Before bed we each got to choose a Christmas song for the family to sing and read the Christmas story in the Bible. I also read a book called Away in a Manger that has Thomas Kinkade pictures of the nativity in it. We watched Frosty the Snowman then the kids went to bed listening to "The Sugarplum Fairy". It was such a great night and I loved having it be just my little family. I always loved this night with my family growing up, but I think I'm finally ready for it to be set aside for my own family.

Holiday Happenings 2014

This year felt jam packed with activities! They were done with my family though, so it was a lot of fun. We started off the Christmas season by going to "The Forgotten Carols" with the girls in my family. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that show. It always helps me to really get into the spirit of the season. I really wanted to take Lila this year because I know that she would love it, but kids have to be 5. I don't know if I can wait two more years!

The next day, we had our baking day. So much fun and so delicious as always! Here's a spread of all of our buckets filled with the treats to take home.

 I made the cheesecake cookie cups. They're the things at the very top of the picture above. They were really good. They took some time (probably took me longer than it would another person), but I felt like they were well worth it. Everything everyone made was delicious. I love trying out new recipes with my siblings. It's a great way to spend time together and try new things without having to do all of the work! 

This year we had the kids create brownie Christmas trees. I made the brownies (my favorite recipe, of course) and brought the peppermint sticks for the trunks, but my sisters Laura and Rebecca brought the frosting and sprinkles and that made all the difference. It was a fun way for the kids to participate in the day without having them do menial stuff.

Right after our baking activities the majority of my family participated in the Santa fun run. So much fun! Even Lila and Bright took part in the action. Brighton was very good in his stroller and Lila ran quite a bit of it. Eventually she did get tired and sit with Tracee as she waited for everyone to finish (Thanks Trace). It was so fun to see Lila and Brighton in the race. I actually ran most of it. I would've run the whole thing (as planned) but part of it I had to hold Lila and I'm not fit enough to carry her and really run. :) Once I handed her off to Tracee the race suddenly seemed a lot easier. ;)

I was way ahead of them at this point. ;) 

Lila and I were off to the bathrooms so we missed out on the ending photos. :( At least Brighton was there.  

Thanks Grandma for pushing Bright!

Look at the jolly runners. Again, I was ahead.


Lila hanging out with Tracee during the race. 

Hallie was very sweet and pushed Brighton for a good part of the race. 

The whole gang ready to go!

At work we decorated gingerbread men. My team decided to do gingerbread pirates after we read a book to our second graders about them. They turned out really adorable!

Here's mine:

My whole team:

I also made this wreath for my front door, but no joke, not even 24 hours later it fell off the door and broke. :(

I was sad, but no worries, one of my students gave me a door decoration as part of their gift to me. It smells so good and is beautiful! I wish my phone took better pictures.

Later several people in my family sang carols at a retirement home in Santaquin. They had this beautiful sleigh set up so we took advantage and took some pictures.

We also went caroling to some of our old neighborhoods. It was so good to see everyone!  

I think we did some other things, but I can't quite remember. Anyway it was a busy but awesome holiday season!