Ski Day

We finally have enough snow in the mountains to take advantage of the skiing. Jared took Grey up for the first day of the season. Grey especially liked the flags for practicing his turns, getting a tiny bit of air on the bumps and the french fries dipped in ranch.


Quick Getaway

I surprised Jared with a night at the Hyatt Regency downtown. It was sort of a combined birthday and Christmas gift. Thanks to our incredible friends, we left the house at 3pm and didn't come home until lunchtime the next day. When we first got to the hotel, we crashed in the room not able to move for a few hours. Then we wandered Barnes & Noble to pick out a couple of books, went to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and settled in for the evening. I fell asleep before 10pm and didn't wake up until after 8. Yes, I have been tired. When we woke up instead of rushing to care for kids, we read in bed for a couple hours, worked out and then grabbed lunch before heading home.  It was a perfect recharge. I think we need to do that more often.

The view from our room


White Christmas

We woke up to the perfect dusting of beautiful white snow outside. Grey had woken up throwing up again in the middle of the night so we didn't get out of bed until 7. I put the cinnamon rolls in the oven and we slowly worked through stockings and gifts. Grey would unwrap a gift slowly then walk over to throw the paper away then back to look at what he got. He is his mother's child.

I got a label maker from my sis. She knows me too well! I got right to work on labeling.

Dogs opening their gifts

And the kids

We missed my mom & stepdad so much this year but they were able to skype us from Santiago at least.

Later in the day we went over to my dad's for a delicious dinner and even more gifts. We were spoiled this year. Even Siena was feeling fancy.

 The kids piled on Uncle Bryan to watch The Polar Express
 Isabella got a Barbie Escalade from Santa this year. My kids were jealous. They sat in there for hours listening to the radio and driving it forward and backward in the living room.

Elise passed out with her new princess dolls. It had been a long, fun-filled week!
Until next year's festivities...


Christmas Eve

The annual Wandry Christmas Eve celebration was amazing as always. We didn't have Thanksgiving this year together so we took our family photo this day.

The whole group--we have changed a lot in the past few years

Ken, Jodie, Tyler, Josh, Derek & Megan

Cindy, Brooklynn, Beau & Bella

 Jason, Pam, Ryan, Addie & Colin

Jared, Christina, Greyden, Elise & Cole (they were tired of pictures)

Addie, Brooklynn, Megan & grumpy Elise in their matching dresses

The only picture I got from the nativity was Elise wrapped in swaddling clothes. She really wanted to be Baby Jesus, so Grandma Jo ran upstairs and cut up a sheet to swaddle her in.

 Opening Christmas Eve PJ's--thank you Aunt Pam!

 Elise & Addie dancing in their new PJ's
 Elise was pretty excited about the twin babies with bunk beds and rocking horses



This was one of my favorite Christmas experiences ever. It was imperfect because I threw it together very last minute and I was exhausted because Grey had been throwing up the entire night before. But it is an experience I will always hold close to my heart. It was supposed to be our whole family but with Grey being sick, I just took Elise. I invited some ward & family members to join us and was touched by the amount of people who came. We went to a very humble nursing care facility in downtown Denver to sing Christmas carols and pass out candy canes and hugs. My eyes filled with tears on a few occasions. I loved having the chance to sing about Jesus Christ's birth to some people who tend to be forgotten and have little or no family and friends at all. A lot of them were not mentally lucid, but they did their best to sing along and one was even drumming to the beat. I was overcome with the recognition that these men and women are children of God and grateful to be able to share His love with them.


Ward Christmas Breakfast

Our ward does a delicious breakfast every year with a special visit from Santa. We have a tiny ward so we get spoiled.

This is most of our primary

I got to be Santa's Helper and I found out one second before so I was clueless

Cole was not having it

Elise was a less nervous because she wanted a goody bag

Grey was fine although he told me before that he doesn't like sitting on Santa's lap because he is a stranger. How can I argue with that?

Later that day we went to a friend's amazing cookie exchange party with a very authentic Santa. Mrs. Claus was there too.


Scripture Power!

Grey has been very excited lately to read to us out of the scriptures. He loves it! One night I told Grey and Elise to brush teeth and get in PJ's while I put Cole down. I came back to Elise's room and Grey was reading scriptures to her. Pretty much melted my heart. Don't mind his nakedness--he likes to sleep in underwear.

Long Awaited Nutcracker

Elise has been asking to go see The Nutcracker ballet pretty much since she has been able to talk. I worried that she was still too young at three but she batted her eyes and smiled with that cute little dimple. So I sat her down on youtube to watch a full-length Nutcracker ballet to test it out. She loved it! I bought the two of us tickets hoping that she would first of all last through it and secondly enjoy it. She was perfect!! It was so much fun to enjoy something girly with her. We painted nails and got on our Christmas dresses. Elise requested a ballerina bun with a princess crown. I love having a daughter. This will definitely be a yearly tradition.

We met my dad, Mona and Isabella for lunch at Panera. She threw a fit about holding my hand and I really hoped I hadn't made a mistake taking her.

All was fine once she saw the ballerina sculptures and the huge, beautiful theatre.

We got there a little early and she stole the program from me and flipped through it until the start.

A Shy Ballerina

Elise is our little ballerina. She dances through the store, she flashes dance poses when she is eating and she walks on her tippy toes everywhere. Her dance studio had an in-class performance and I was so excited to see her. Apparently I have passed on my shyness to my daughter. It was so sad. The way she is in the beginning of the video is how she was for the first 40 minutes. After a few times crying on my lap and me bribing her with a lollipop, she finally did a little something. I can't watch without cracking up. I peek in all the time and she is never shy in class so I was surprised it was so hard for her.


Happy Kwanzaa!

Grey's politically correct "holiday" concert was the cutest thing EVER! They covered Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and Christmas (well only the songs about santa). Grey didn't tell me that he would be introducing one of the songs because he said he wanted to surprise me. But then of course I missed it on the video. I was surprised and so proud of him. After the concert, we went to his classroom for a fun little party. I have been very pleasantly surprised with his school considering it is a city public school. It has been fabulous!

And a couple videos--it is hard to tell but Grey is in the back row third from the left.


Lights, lights, lights!

Jared's birthday fell on a Sunday this year in addition to it being the ward Christmas program in which I sang a duet in the choir and in a trio. I was slightly preoccupied. And Jared didn't get home from church until almost 4. So I made him some yummy birthday brownies with frosting because I was missing ingredients for a cake and had him open his presents. Grey wrapped up some money for him. Whenever I ask Grey what he wants to give daddy, his answer is always money!

We had some yummy dinner, sang to Jared, climbed in our pajamas and drove around town looking at Christmas lights. We started in downtown Littleton and made our way around to some pretty awesome displays. There was one they really wanted to get out and see so we quickly got out in our PJ's and no coats to look at the display. Looking at lights is one of my favorite things about the holidays.


Holding them close

Even though I don't personally know anyone affected by the Newtown shooting, it has shaken me in a way I will never forget. As many others, I watched the news coming in throughout the day and ached as I wept for those affected. I about jumped in the car to go pick up Grey from his kindergarten class but I knew he would want to ride the bus with his friends. Instead I watched the clock tick by all day with a knot in my stomach. I tried to distract myself by making my mom's caramel popcorn with Elise. 
My heart raced and I sobbed as I watched his bus pull up and quickly held him close. The following week as I watched his kindergarten holiday program and then went to Grey's classroom for a party, my eyes filled with tears. Every one of those rambunctious & silly children represent the sweet, loving and innocent children who were violently taken from this earth too soon.
I know there is a plan and I know those children and teachers are in a much, much better place. But it is hard to not feel overwhelmed as I recognize the evil that is so rampant in this world. I try hard to not judge others and to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but there really are terrible people who do utterly evil acts. I am just thankful to have the gospel at the center of my life and the knowledge that God is over all. He is the one in control. I wish I could protect their innocent little hearts from this world forever yet I recognize it is not part of the Lord's plan. I am grateful that I can at least make a difference in my home with my children by showing them the good in this world even when we may feel like the evil is too much. I have made a conscious effort to stop and snuggle my kids more, read an extra story or two and sing songs at bedtime. I choose to play a game with them and let the dishes sit for a few more minutes. I choose to teach them about Jesus Christ and a loving Father in Heaven. I still pray for the victims daily.  I wish I could do something for them. The pain they are dealing with is unimaginable but I know Heavenly Father will wrap his arms around them. For now I am going to squeeze my little ones again. We like to snuggle around here if you can't tell.