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 rehearsal...one 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:
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).
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:
I love when Dave puts on his party face.
Max got asked to MORP coming up next month:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
And then it was off...off 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!