Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Morning

There is something magical about waking up on Christmas morning and seeing all the presents under the glowing tree.
So, when I woke up at 6am to the sound of a loud thump, that I quickly recognized as Jessica jumping off the top bunk in her room, I just smiled to myself and rolled over into my cozy bed. We were up late, as usual, and I was still so sleepy. I layed there for a few minutes and listened to sound of little feet running up and down the stairs.

Jessica will sleep until noon if we let her. She must have set her alarm. I finally pulled myself out of bed to check on them. The door was closed in the girls room, but the light was on and I could hear the excitement coming from the other side. They must have remembered the rule I set the year before- no waking up mom until the sun comes up! (I had a nursing baby!) I didn't open the door, excited that I might be able to steal a few extra minutes of sleep.

I climbed back in bed and remember when I was their age, sneaking downstairs on Christmas morning with my big sister. Soon, I heard giggles again and more feet on the stairs. I was pretty sure I heard wrapping paper this time. I crawled back out of bed and found the girls in the middle of the presents, trying to sort out which ones were for them. I laughed at the sight. It made me feel like a kid again. They put the presents back where they were. It was still too early to wake everyone up, but I let them break the rules and see what was in their stockings.

I went back upstairs once again and climbed into my warm bed. I couldn't sleep. I was excited too. It was so fun to see the girls so excited and acting just like I did with my sister. It gave me a small glimpse into the future and a hope that they may someday be each other's best friend. They were creating memories that they will always have.

It made me grateful for the friendships that I have with my sisters. They have each been there for me at different times in my life. They are not just my sisters, they are my friends.

When I knew I couldn't really fall back asleep, I rolled out of bed and went downstairs. I turned on the Christmas music and the oven for the cinnamon rolls. I asked the girls where Austin was. They said they tried to wake him up earlier, but he knew he couldn't open any presents until we were awake, so he went back to sleep. He is growing up way too fast for me!

Soon everyone was awake.
Danale and Justin had spent the night. It was so fun to celebrate Christmas with them and Colton!Every year, I have taken the kids out to buy gifts for each other. This year, I had them work to earn "Christmas Money". They could earn $1 every 15 minutes they worked around the house or helped with the baby. They didn't have to work and they didn't have to buy each person gift. There wasn't any rules attached to it other than it had to be spent on someone other than themselves.

When Jessica had earned $6, she asked if I would take her to Target to go Christmas shopping. She was really disappointed when she saw that a webkins was $15! She felt like she had worked so hard and she couldn't buy what she wanted. I thought it was a good lesson for her. She was finally starting to see the value of money and time. She decided not to buy anything and wanted to go home and earn more money.

I was so proud of all of the kids and how hard they worked for each other. I think it made them a little nicer to each other when they saw their brother or sister working to buy them a Christmas present. Austin bought Lauren a pink dragon webkins for Christmas. It had been at the top of every Christmas list she made! Austin was so excited to see her open it!

Jason bought me a new camera! I can't wait to learn all about it! We were all pretty excited when Ashlyn opened her own cell phone! It makes noise and feels like a real phone! I hope it keeps her from chewing on ours!Austin's reaction was great when he saw his basketball hoop. "Are you kidding me! Thanks!" as he threw his arms around me. Priceless...The babies loved his basketball! Colton would let out the cutest belly laugh when Austin would bounce it.

This is how our house looked after we had opened all the gifts...

I'm a little behind on adding my pictures to our Family Photo Albums, but check back in a few weeks if you want to see more pictures. I should have them all updated soon! I hope you all had a Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve Traditions

Several years ago, as we were all getting married and dividing our time with our in-laws for the holidays, my mom decided to celebrate Christmas a day early so we could all be together. Now, each year on December 23rd, we all gather at her house for Christmas Eve.

Instead of doing a big dinner, we have lots of yummy finger foods and desserts. Here is Stephen and Jason helping me finish frosting my sugar cookies before we left for my parent's house.

Austin and AshlynJeff, Rick and Jason
Ashlyn and Tara
Grandma, Jason, Colton, Justin, Danale, Stephen

My parent's neighborhood has turned into Christmas tree lane! Each year we go on a "sleigh" ride to look at all the lights and sing Christmas carols. This year, the horse driver (I don't know what else to call him), had surgery and wasn't able to take us. My mom found some guys with a truck and a flat bed trailer who were offering rides and giving the proceeds to a charity. We decided it was the next best thing.Jessica, Bill, Ashlyn, Skyler, Stephen Austin, Tara, Ashlyn, JasonChris, Jessica, Grandpa (Bill), Ashlyn
Santa was at one of the houses in the neighborhood, so we stopped for a visit.
Skyler, Santa, Lauren, Sequoia Santa and Jessica
Ashlyn wasn't too sure about Santa!Jason, Ashlyn and Santa
Another Christmas Eve tradition, is having the kids act out the Christmas story. I'm hoping Jen got some better pictures than I did!

Sequoia and Lauren as Angels, Wes as Joseph, and Jessica as Mary
Jessica as Mary

The kids were funny this year. Wes and Jessica gave each other a hard time and teased about being married to each other. When Garrett showed up as a wise man, he and Wes greeted each other with "knuckles"!
Grandpa and Grandma enjoying the program
Danale and Ashlyn

I love the holidays!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Party

Every year, my sister hosts a Christmas party at her house. Jen and Jeff
We eat yummy food and visit with our friends, Jason and Tara Rickards
but the highlight of the night is always the white elephant gift exchange! Each year, the gifts get more creative and we seem to laugh even harder than the year before! This year was no exception! We had several doctors in the group who had access to some pretty funny stuff.
Jason was the second person to open a gift. It even came with a poem! We all died laughing! My kids read this from time to time, so I'll just leave it at that! By the end of the night, our cheeks hurt from smiling!

Christine (laughing) and Talli and Jeremy showing off their "hot" pants and duraflame log.

We had so much fun! Thanks Jen for another great Christmas Party!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Book Club

Book Club was at my house this month. I love having people over!

We usually do lunch and visit before we discuss the book. It has been foggy and cold so I decided to make my mom's potato soup and serve it in sourdough bread bowls. Yum! I ordered the bread bowls and made my yummy sugar cookies the day before. When I brought the bread bowls home the next day, I noticed they weren't cut! I called the bakery to see if they had given me the wrong order. They said there wasn't a note on the order and they weren't sure if they were supposed to cut them or not. Yikes! I only had a half an hour and I wasn't done with the soup!

Jason was working from home and offered to help. I didn't even have to ask! Love him!
Jason Rickards to the rescue
I had also decided to make some Christmas Wassail. I had just made some the week before for our Relief Society progressive dinner and it was SO good. I put all the spices together in the morning to simmer and was going to add the juice right before everyone came. The spices are pretty chunky and have to come out before you add the juices. Well, I wasn't thinking because I was thrown off by the bread bowls not being ready and I strained all my spices that had been simmering all morning, right down the drain!
My mom came early and offered to finish up the soup while I remade the wassail. It was kind of funny how crazy it was because I felt totally ready all morning. I put the potatoes in the oven at 8am! I was totally prepared! Now here we were 15 minutes before, still making soup, cutting bread bowls and trying to make wassail that really should simmer for a few hours. (It never really did turn out.)
My mom finishing up the soup (It starts in a pan and goes to a pot. It really is soup!)
We actually were just finishing up when the first person came! Not bad timing!
Jason finished the bread bowls, the soup was yummy...and the company was fantastic! Thanks mom and Jason for saving me! And thanks to my book group for another fun get together!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

School Program

This year, Lauren was the only one who had a Christmas program at school. They stop after 3rd grade. I can't believe Jessica and Austin are so grown up already! Here is Lauren all ready to go. We went to Lauren's favorite fast food restaurant, Panda Express, for dinner before the show. Ashlyn loves vegetables! If you put a cookie and a piece of broccoli in front of her, she will always grab the broccoli! She grabbed this broccoli spear off of my plate and was so excited!

At the school program, they sang a couple of really cute songs and recited a poem. Lauren loves to sing! She is always singing around the house. Needless to say, she did a really good job. It was cute to see her standing up on the stage scanning through the audience to find us. When she did, her eyes lit up and she smiled really big. She couldn't help sending us a quick wave!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Lights

I wanted to add this post before Christmas has come and gone. Any of you that put up Christmas lights, know that it is an event! One of the things I love about Jason is his attention to detail. Here he is clipping each light so it would hang straight! JessicaWe had to put the ladder on the roof to get to the second story. I was wearing my boots with a 2 inch heel when Jason asked me to climb out the window and hold the ladder while he climbed up! I took one step on the roof and decided I was better off with bare feet!The kids goofed off outside and watched us on the roof. Lauren still adores Ashlyn! I thought it might wear off, but Lauren still loves being close to her baby sister. Jessica loved having free reign of the cameraAnother funny thing about Jason, is that whenever he is about to do a project, he puts on his pajama pants! It is really cute! He has several pairs and loves to work in them.I loved Ashlyn's reaction to the lights!

It is a lot of work, but I love how it looks when it is all done! I forgot to take a picture of the finished project. Maybe I will tonight. I think it would be fun to have pictures of my house as a kid all decorated for Christmas. My mom just let me borrow two big tubs of old pictures. Maybe I can find some in there! That would be fun!