Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Christmas started with "Christmas Sunday."  I love the Sunday before Christmas.  The program at church is always wonderful- lots of beautiful Christmas music sung that is usually most of or all of the program.  

This year, Ben and I were both asked to speak as part of the Christmas program.  I am usually very stressed and nervous for church talks, but for whatever reason I wasn't as much this go around which surprised me, since it was the Christmas program and all.  Maybe I was too busy with everything else to have time to be stressed, and when we were asked to speak, the Bishopric member assured us that these talks should be no more than about 3 minutes each- we were to keep it short and simple. 

I would always much rather enjoy the words of others at church, especially for the Christmas program, but preparing my simple talk and researching on my topic of Mary and Joseph and their role as parents of the Savior was really beneficial to me and the spirit of Christmas.  It was probably just what I needed after a busy month.  And listening to the talk Ben prepared was my favorite part of the meeting.  His talk was beautiful, reverent and very insightful.

After church, we had our annual "quick family photo shoot" in front of the tree.  I had fun buying coordinating outfits for the kids.  The twins were in need of another dress, Mitch needed a new tie and Livy already had a coordinating dress color for our color scheme.

My four girls!

Being a twin would seriously be so fun.  I get envious watching these two playing together all the time and seeing the special bond they have that no two siblings besides twins could ever share.

Ben got creative.  The kids thought it was so fun!

Family shot!

Our lone boy and his sweet side kick!

Olivia was pretty terrified, but it still made for a cute shot.

Ahh, there it is again- babies and Christmas trees.  2 of my favorite things, especially when they are both mine!

The Monday before Christmas (the 23rd), the kids got letters in the mail from Santa.  The letters were so cute and it totally made the kids' day.

Uncle Nick flew in later that night for a short visit (just over 12 hours) before heading to Tri-Cities for Christmas.  This was his first time meeting our Lu Lu.

I finally got the stockings hung that day too.  With no mantle in our house, it makes it tricky to find a spot to hang seven stockings. 

Christmas Eve was a busy but fun day.  The kids helped me make sugar cookies.

Olivia was a sweetheart and so patient with us that day.  She napped on and off all day.

We invited some friends in our ward to eat Christmas Eve dinner with us.  We do our big dinner on Christmas Eve so that we don't have to do any work on Christmas Day.  Unfortunately, our oven decided to have problems that day and ruined the rolls I had made and almost ruined my funeral potatoes.  The ham was safely cooking in Ben's Trager and luckily the potatoes ended up cooked all right in there as well.  Nothing like having your oven go out when you are entertaining... Awkward!  Luckily the Winkler's are fabulous people and never complained once.  We had such a fun evening visiting with them.

After dinner, the kids opened up the Christmas Eve package.

Boy was this little man excited to see Despicable Me 2 in there!

There was also a pair of new pajamas for everyone! 

The kids and Ben watched the movie in the theater room while I cleaned up the hurricane that was our kitchen.  It took me almost the entire length of the movie to get it clean!  It ended up being a later night for the kids than we thought, but they had a good time and loved the movie.

Right before bed Mitch remembered the magic reindeer food that he made at school.  (His teacher is seriously the best.  He comes home with the neatest arts and crafts things from school that I've ever seen).

The card reads:

Magic Reindeer Food
Make a wish and close your eyes tight.
Then sprinkle outside on Christmas Eve night.
As Santa's reindeer fly and roam,
This will guide them to your home.

He ran outside to sprinkle the reindeer food all over our lawn.

When sprinkling wasn't enough, he threw handfuls of it upwards.

In the hustle and bustle of the evening (and with dinner being late due to the broken oven and everything taking longer to finish), our night was rushed and we didn't get a lot of our usual Christmas Eve stuff done.  The kids did have time to decorate cookies for Santa, but we forgot to write him a note and forgot to get a picture of all the kids with said forgotten note and the plate of cookies.  Oh well.


Everyone was up bright and early on Christmas morning- we heard scuffling outside our door just before 6:00 a.m.

We took our traditional picture on the stairs.  Livy was still asleep and missed out.

The filled stockings and all the gifts still wrapped.  The calm before the storm.

They were excited and ready!

The twins found that Santa had left them a robe.  They were so excited!

They have been wanting one for awhile.  They want to be just like big sister Chloe!

This man loves himself a good pair of Crocs.  A new pair was a need as his old pair was literally in shreds.

Ben's parents gave us this beautiful tower of a delicious assortment of chocolates. 

She didn't get her "real live bunny" but this girl finally got her other most wanted Christmas wish...

An American girl doll.  Saige looks a lot like Chloe- freckles and beautiful red hair.

This year, for the first time ever, Ben and I decided to pick out one gift for each twin that wasn't matching.  They have very distinct personalities that are really shining through these days with their interests and hobbies. 

Lexi got Melty Beads.  She did these at a friend's house last year and loved them.  She sat and beaded for quite a long time.  She loves little craft projects.

We found the perfect girl for our Leah girl.  For the past month or two, she has been carrying around a box of toy cars that we have and playing with them all over the house.  We found this Hot Wheelse loop track (with more cars) that we knew she'd love.  And she did!

Our Ninja Turtle boy needed a new lunch box!

Chloe helped me pick out Garth Brooks' new CD set for Ben.  He's a long time Garth Brooks fan and was excited to hear earlier in the month that Garth had come out with a whole new collection of songs.

Mitch got a whoopie cushion in his stocking and had a grand old time with it.  I caught him putting it under Olivia's chair and setting it off and telling her, "Oh, Olivia!  Disgusting!"  That's my son!

This year was the first year we had an official Sibling Gift Exchange.  We took the kids shopping and helped them pick out a gift for the sibling they had and helped them stay within the allotted budget for the gift.  They had so much fun with this and were so thoughtful in their choosing process.

They were all very grateful receivers of their gifts too. 

Olivia woke up part way through our gift opening.  Chloe was more than happy to go and get her.

For only being 3 months, this sweet girl got spoiled by both sets of grandparents and some great-grandparents.

Her new stocking.  Santa brought her some new binkies and some hair bows.

Mitch was so excited to come downstairs and find a big box wrapped in a garbage bag with a big note with HIS name on it.  He was so anxious to open it.

A hoop shoot game!

The aftermath of gift opening.  It got much worse as the day went on and toys were opened fully and their boxes added to the garbage pile.

Olivia needed a nap after the exhaustion of watching us all open gifts.

My darn oven was still not working, so our traditional breakfast cake for Jesus's birthday had to be cooked on the Trager grill.  It wasn't quite the same but was the best we could do. Happy Birthday Jesus!

The rest of our day was spent assembling and playing with our new loot.

Chloe hardly put Saige down the entire day.  She had so much fun styling her hair and changing her clothes.

Chloe is quite the creative hair artist.  She comes up with some pretty cute hair do's to do on her own hair, so it was fun to try them out on her doll.

She Face Timed with Grandma Blakeslee later in the day to show her Saige and all the fancy hair do's.

Ben (with a little help from an impatient Mitchell) set up the hoopshoots in the basement.

Those proved to be hours of fun over the Christmas break.

Leah loved her car track.

Santa brought Mitch a new remote control helicopter, as the one that he just gotten for his birthday only 2 months ago had a defect in it and broke just a few weeks after his special day. 

Daddy sat down and beaded with Lexi.

Olivia with her Olivia gifts from us.  The Olivia pig is plush and her tummy opens into a cute little book.  And my kids already love the Olivia book series, so I was glad to find a set of 10 all in one hard cover.  9 of the stories we had never read.

Chloe read her the book on the doll.

Olivia loves Olivia! :)

We ended the day watching one of the new movies we had received for Christmas in the theater room. 

The month leading up to Christmas is so busy.  Christmas is a lot of work to put on as a mom, but so worth it.  Christmas Day always goes by much too quickly.  I always go to bed on Christmas night feeling a little sad.  It's such a fun and special family day and having it end so quickly, with all of its magic and happiness and family togetherness is always sad.  We had such a wonderful day!  Merry Christmas!  We can't wait to celebrate you again next year!


neilandamanda said...

Your staircase is perfect for Christmas morning pictures! Everyone needs one for great pictures. I love that Leah loves cars. Send her here, we have about a million she could play with. And robes....are there anything better?!
Glad the kids loved their presents. And my favorite was Mitch and the whoopie cushion. I could totally imagine him having fun with it.