Monday, January 20, 2014

holiday hoopla

Now that it's the middle of January I'm finally getting around to recording all the holiday hoopla that went on around here in December.

Sure we were gone for actual Christmas itself, but there was sure a lot of stuff leading up to that big day.

It seems like every year our "Elf on the Shelf" gets a little slower at moving around.  (More on Elf on the Shelf back HERE.)

You see, he is older than old. 

That's why he stays put most of the time.

But just like last year, Claire wrote a little note to kick that guy into gear.
(apparently she didn't get the memo from last year that his name is actually not Buddy, but whatever.)

The next morning (after some teenager responsibilities were defined), that elf of ours was found here:

Clinging to this note:

Claire zipped her lips on the calling him "old" thing after that.

But she still didn't get her calendar.  

I guess he is mean and old.  Ha!

We read our Christmas stories at night whenever we could.

The girls had their big whiz-bang Christmas choir performance.  Here they are off to their six hour dress rehearsal:
For reals it was a looooooonnnnnng dress of two.

But so worth it and the actual concert was so great.  This is quite an amazing organization they have been a part of.  It's called EVMCO and I talked much more about it after their last performance back in the middle of these posts HERE and HERE, and the link for the organization is HERE.

Here's a little snippet of the Messiah (which I adore with all my heart so even though Lucy was doing all kinds of acrobatics and kept trying to talk to me, I was crying while videoing it was so beautiful).

See all those girls up in the balconies too...SO many people in this thing!

More about why I love the Messiah so very much back HERE.

This was Claire's age group song:
Can you see her kind of in the middle up there with her mouth open wide?

I couldn't believe these kids could sing this song so well.

And here's Grace in the top middle:

Check out how wide that Claire opens that mouth of hers (front row).
Love it.

It was totally sold out (all four performances in this huge auditorium) so Dave and I had to split up and sit in different parts of the auditorium with different kids.  No way was he sticking around for pictures after:)
...which meant he missed out on Dairy Queen too, darn it all!

Christmas card stuffing:

Some of our favorite friends from the ward (church congregation we went to before we thought we were moving...) held their annual Christmas party with so many dear friends we miss so much and don't get to see as often as we would really, really like.

I wish I had more than just this picture I took as we were walking out at the end:
We laughed until our cheeks hurt so bad.

I love when Dave puts on his party face.

Max got asked to MORP coming up next month:
(more on that soon...)

I got to go help with Lucy's holiday party at school.  Elle and I whipped up this "Pin-the-tail-on-Rudolph" game lickety-split right in the nick of time before it started.
The kids loved it all.
I love being in the schools and all these house-building-shenanigans have put a damper on that this year.

Elle and her friends have been struggling to find fun stuff to do lately.  They just hang at people's houses and haven't been doing much.

Sooooo, I decided to help her find something fun to do and merge some friends together.  We threw an "Ugly Sweater White Elephant" party.

At first it was going to be with boys and girls but that would make it more like 75 guests so we decided to keep in low key and drama-free and only invite girls.

It was so fun to see all the girls who could make it amidst all the other holiday stuff going on.
This "cheese" poster was one of the favorite white elephant gifts.

Claire and Lu got to go with Dave early one day to school to have doughnuts with Santa.

Everyone in our family was on a sugar-high all month from little culprits like this that snuck into practically every other second:

After my request for my kids to sing in the church Christmas choir with me didn't work, I resorted to telling them it was the only thing I wanted for Christmas.

And really, it was.

It was one of my favorite ever Christmas gifts.

And I think they liked it too.

Christmas music is so beautiful, and even more so when you have your teenagers standing singing and feeling the spirit of it all with you.

We had our annual Christmas talent show and white-elephant gift exchange with all of Dave's in-town family.

These four cousins are attached at the hip and put on a great impromptu number together.

I don't know that they can realize at this point how very lucky they are to have each other.

White elephant gift exchange:

...followed by a trip to see the temple lights.
Lucy wasn't with us since she got to stay and have her annual Christmas "Nana sleepover," which she had talked about for weeks leading up to it.

The other kids got to have Nana parties too, but I have no pictures of them..

So grateful for that Nana and all she does for these kids!

Lucy made us a Braille Christmas card:

I love that she knows how to do that.

My dear friend from England sent her traditional Christmas gifts to the kids.
Thank you Sarah!!

After that we were off to Mexico.  (Much more about our service project there back HERE.)

We wrapped that up with a little beach horseback ride.

Max took up a little photography while we were there:
Love it.

We got back to greet Dave's sister and husband with their six kids who stayed with us the next week (which I already wrote a little bit about).

On New Years Day the kids decided to spice things up by taking my "Polar Bear Dip" challenge seriously.

It completely knocked their breath out, crazy kids!

And then it was to a brand new year.

And to the grindstone of school and all that darn extracurricular stuff.  But boy howdy was that break from school and schedules fun while it lasted!


  1. SOOO glad to see this. It was not quite as good as being there, but almost! Thanks for taking the time to keep us updated!

  2. I'm in the first EVMCO video clip of the Messiah! I was on the balcony singing :) It really is such an amazing organization to be a part of, and I'm glad your girls are in it! Happy to see you enjoyed the concert, too! :)

  3. I served my mission as a tour guide in the Arizona Temple visitor center in Mesa. The pictures with all the Christmas lights brought back so many memories of serving there in that beautiful place. I loved that time in my life. Your kids seem pretty gosh darn cool. Thanks for your posts.


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