Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Our Season

Anyone else out there love it when your laundry room (area in my case) smells like a pool? I love me some Clorox!

Now, onto the main event: our family had a wonderful December! In years past (all of them) I feel like I've really missed the Christmas Boat. I thrive, as do my kids, on schedule so well that it's hard to deviate from that course. But I did, and it was so worth it! I'd done some research and found some really neat ideas for upping our holiday involvement. So Matt and I threw caution to the wind. We delayed the kid's strict 7:30 bedtime nearly every night, ate more take out than I care to admit (although, secretly loved- Domino's please!) and made Christmas a truly magical season this year.

One night early in December we took the kids on a drive to see Christmas lights. We went on a hunt for home lights and also saw the 'Twas the Night Before Christmas street in Taylorsville. This was really fun, but woke up really concerned the next day that because we'd seen those lights we wouldn't be going to Temple Square. We did make it to Temple Square a week or so later. The lights were beautiful, as always.

One of my personal favorites of December was this night. Leah's first on stage dance recital. She was in dance last year, but in a non-performing group. This year Leah got to perform on the stage and she was so excited about it. She took to it like a fish to water, not a bit of stage fright. Leah was right on cue and remembered about 99% of the steps, she's also got a killer hip shake. 

Later that night Leah received a very special call. She answered the phone and Princess Aurora was on the other end of the line! My sister-in-law had mentioned that you can get a free Disney Princess call for a special occasion or birthday. I knew this was happening and had it scheduled month's in advance. I wish I could get the video to upload because Leah's reaction to the call is heartwarming. She was ecstatic. Then, to top the night off, I had a received an email from Santa (Portable North Pole) just for her. Santa told her that he knew she'd been working hard to eat all her dinner and that she wanted a Rapunzel doll. He called her by name and even had pictures of her from her birthday and Halloween. To say that Leah was floating on air, would be a gross understatement. She was practically flying. 
Matt and I got tickets to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Christmas Concert. It was incredible. I don't know what more to say about it than that. Dancers, bell ringers, Jane Seymore, Nathan Gunn, the decor. It was phenomenal. (er... I guess I do know what else to say about it.)
One of the things I'd heard about was the Larry H. Miller Christmas Carol Sing-a-long. It's an annual event held at the ESA and it's free. You go in, grab some seats and sing Christmas carols with a thousand other people and a live orchestra. Santa made a visit (see the above right picture: "Hi my name is Parker and I approve of Santa... or I want to shoot him."). It was so much fun, not to mention we got tons of free stuff. Since it's such a relaxed atmosphere it was easy to just let Parker do whatever he wanted and he wasn't disturbing anyone else. Matt and I both agreed that this will be an annual thing for us.

Christmas Eve with Matt's family. Traditional Red Lobster dinner.
Typically we see both of our families on Christmas Eve, but this year (being a Quinney year) we spent it all with the Matt's family. It was different for me, not participating in the potluck, but it was still a lot of fun. After Red Lobster, some of the Quinneys came over to our house where we played games, made spritz cookies, read Luke 2, and sang some Christmas hymns. Afterwards we opened one present and took the PJ Pyramid photo. Want to know the best part about this night? The kids were in bed by 8:00 and since Matt and I had previously wrapped all of the presents, we were in bed by 11:00. It was so nice and quiet.

Christmas morning was so much fun. You can't see it well, but Santa left a trail of Santa Magic (kind of reminds me of glitter) from our fireplace, to the cookies and then to the tree. We had a smaller Christmas this year, trying to focus on keeping to a budget. We figure our kids are still small enough that if they don't see GOBS of presents under the tree now they won't expect it later. Each of the kids received four presents from Matt and myself and one present from Santa. Leah knew that she could only ask for one present from Santa and she was stuck on getting a Rapunzel doll. She really is a cute little thing, although the hair is really out of control. Parker's Santa gift was a basketball hoop. It's in his room for now, and he pretty much hasn't come out of his room since then.
Since Christmas fell on a Sunday we attended Sacrament meeting after our Christmas morning was over. The meeting started at 12:30 which gave us plenty of time to do presents, eat some yummy Christmas Morning Breakfast, and get ready for church. We really weren't rushed for anything. By 2:30 we were gathered with Matt's family, then left at 5:00 or so we left to see my family. It was a really wonderful day. We got to go to do our Christmas thing, spend a little time at church and then we saw our families. It was very low pressures and we kind of waltzed along our morning. I think I'm going to have to start being selfish about our Christmas mornings from now on.
Leah will do anything to get a laugh out of Parker. And Parker is a willing participant.
A preview of one of Leah's Christmas presents. Stay tuned...
There were many things that I wanted to do, but didn't end up having time for namely the Live Nativity at Lincoln Park and Candlelight Christmas at This is the Place Heritage Park. One of my favorite memories of this month was decorating sugar cookies with the Lufkins and Hancocks. But alas, this memory will have to stay logged in my mind, because I didn't take any pictures of the event; like so many other events throughout the month. 

I think what impressed me most this Christmas season was that our Heavenly Father really loves us. He listens to the righteous desires of our hearts, and blesses us as often as He can. I feel like I understand more about tender mercies and the spirit of service. Keeping a positive attitude even when all I want to do is growl can actually make me feel better. 
One more holiday pondering: why is it that I can rarely find a good parking spot when I'm Christmas shopping, but when I vacate one no one is waiting for it? That really bothers me, especially at Wal-Mart and Costco. There should always be someone waiting to poach the best possible parking spot.


Snell Family said...

Sounds like you had a great December! Leah looks so pretty in her dance outfit. And when did your hair grow so long? Again, we need to hang out!

Lindsay Quinney said...

What a fun December. Leah really does look so sweet in her dance outfit. I can't wait to see what that Christmas present of Leah's was. I am curious why I never heard on Christmas day what it was.

Amber said...

That is one packed Holiday Season! Sounds like it was lots of fun and very memorable though. And I can't wait to see Leah's present as well, I have an idea though!