Merry Christmas!

We made it! This was the best Christmas I think we have ever had. We didn't leave our house for the first time ever. My mom & stepdad came over late morning to hang out and open presents. Then my brother came that evening for dinner then he & I stayed up way too late playing our old school Nintendo.

This little family is my world. Some days that feels so overwhelming as they rely on just me for everything. But most of the time it fills my entire soul with joy. Look at them!

 I have never had a baby enjoy Christmas as much as Vanessa did this year. She loved opening the presents and scooting around looking for more. She was such a doll.
 Elise & Uncle Bryan selfies

I say that this was the best Christmas, but Jared came down with a nasty influenza flu that evening and slowly gave it to the rest of us. So we were all down and out for the rest of the break when we were supposed to be in the mountains relaxing and skiing. I haven't been that sick in a long time. It was the full on aches, fever and chills for days and days on end. We rang in the New Year fast asleep with a humidifier going and meds on the nightstand. But it came with lots of snuggles.


Christmas Eve

I love that we get to spend Christmas Eve with so much family. I love that my kids are close to cousins and look up to the older ones so much.

Elise got to be Mary in the Nativity this year. She was thrilled--obviously. Grey was a wiseman. I didn't get a picture unfortunately because that gold-wrap turban was hilarious. Cole was supposed to be a shepherd but disappeared to a closet to escape the performance. We found him afterwards. He is a kid with his own will.
 Aunt Pam got the younger cousins matching PJ's. Cutest thing ever. They adore their cousins.
 Best friends
 With the older cousins
 The group--we are missing Tyler on his mission. He will be back for next Christmas but Josh will be gone.


Christmas Season Traditions

I love, love, love the Christmas season and I always overdo. And I always burn out and barely make it to the end. But it is so much fun!

We went to the Littleton Tree Lighting which is really fun. Santa comes down the main street and lights the trees and lamps as he goes and then he lights the giant Christmas tree at the end of the block. It is fairly quick and easy with kids which is always a good thing.

We brought back our traditional Christmas tree-cutting adventure in the forest. It was definitely an adventure. We wandered for hours and this was the best tree we could find. I couldn't get it out of the house fast enough after Christmas. But I also loved having our own little Charlie Brown Christmas tree that had a story behind it. I did have tree envy for those luscious, thick green trees. And my neighbor totally laughed at it when she saw it. Oh well. Great memories. :)

I love Christmas baking and sugar cookies are a lot of fun with the kids--and delicious. Cole spent most the time secretly (and not-so-secretly) eating balls of dough.

The kids (except Grey) got to sit on Santa's lap at a birthday party. So perfect since we had no time or days left to go see him anywhere else. Cole was scared, nervous and really excited. I was surprised he sat on his lap. Elise believes in Santa with all of her heart even though we don't really focus on him at all. And even though Grey keeps telling her he isn't real. She wants to believe. It is really sweet. 

We made Sugar Cube Houses this year instead of gingerbread. I thought it would be fun to try something new. They loved getting creative with the sugar cubes and then eating the decorative candy as well.

The traditional matching church clothes. It is my favorite. I only do it once--sometimes twice a year. I am going to keep doing it until they beg me to stop. ;)
 We had our annual Christmas caroling party with Jared's parents. Our group is getting gigantic. This is one of my favorite things all season. I love singing the Christmas songs and eating all of the yummy soups.
 We started a new tradition this year--Cookies for Cops. There have been a lot of bad things going on with police officers and I found a tiny way to say thank you. I took the lead for the Littleton Police Dept and collected cookies and treats for every officer and staff to have 2-3 each. It was an insane amount and I was so happy to do something for them.

I think I wore the kids out too...


Dance Recital

Another dance season has come to an end. We gave Elise a choice between dance and gymnastics for spring and she wanted to switch over to gymnastics. She actually begged to do both but we just don't have the time--and I don't have the energy to have her in both. So she finished up her dance season with a recital in a tiny room that was hot, crowded and standing-room only. Thank goodness she was the second dance because we booked it out of there as soon as possible. She has improved so much and I am amazed at how comfortable she has become performing.

This video is HORRIBLE quality. It is only so Elise can come back here and watch it. She is the one on the far left.


Happy Birthday Hubby

Poor Jared has his birthday right in the middle of the hustle & bustle of the season. I always try to make it special for him and honestly he doesn't care. He really just likes when I make him yummy food. :) So I made his favorite--a wedge salad, ribs & mashed potatoes with a cherry chip cake for dessert. He requested that for every year going forward. We are so lucky to have him. He is a wonderful dad and an amazing husband. He takes great care of his family and everyone else around him. And we only put three candles on his cake since he is in his last year of his 30's. AAAH!


Dads & Doughnuts

This was too cute with Elise to not remember. Her school has a "Dads & Doughnuts" day where the dads come, read a story together and eat doughnuts. She had been looking forward to it for a month. She was so excited for her date. Then after almost an hour of Jared being there, it was time to go. She started crying and was heartbroken that he was leaving. I guess she didn't think about the special date being over. When I went to pick her up, I asked her how it was and she said, "Its so sad. I can't talk about it." Then she started bawling and ran to her room. This went on for days. Anytime we mentioned it, she would get so sad and cry. Elise is so sweet and she adores her daddy.

At happier times before the date was over...


Sweet Grey

Grey woke up after a night of snowfall and came into my room while I was still half asleep. He told me he wanted to go shovel our neighbor's driveway for her. She works at the kids' school and is the nicest lady. I love the moments when I see my kids being so loving and kind-hearted. Grey has such a sweet heart and really cares about other people. He takes after his daddy. I hope that he will keep that part of him strong forever.


Girl's Dillon Weekend

I LOVE that my in-laws and all the husbands recognize the need to get away sometimes. My mother-in-law takes us up to the condo in Dillon 1-2 times a year for a long weekend. It is always so amazing. I ended up leaving early this time because I just get anxiety being away from home with babies that young. But this is the last time I will have a nursing baby to take with me.

We ate lots, had pedicures, played Nertz and talked a lot. So refreshing.



Just before Halloween we got together with our neighbors and carved pumpkins. Cooper lives across the street and up a couple houses and Alex lives on the other side of the circle. Elise kind of loves being the only girl at these things--Grey hates it. I missed most of it because I put Vanessa in her bumbo which in turn encouraged her to have a massive blow out.

School parties:
It was honestly really nice to break up the parties and not have to stay at one party for the entire time. :) They were really cute, but I don't think Grey cared too much if I was there and I felt in the way most of the time. But I love seeing my kiddos in their classrooms and with friends.

 We went trick-or-treating with a group from our ward that live nearby. Elise changed from Cinderella to Snow White, Grey was a Lacrosse player, Cole a spider and Vanessa a ladybug. Grey wouldn't tell me what he was going to be for Halloween. He wanted to create it all on his own. I thought that was awesome--and I was pleased with what it turned out to be and not something totally strange. Cole has been begging to be a spider for months so I got creative and made him the best spider I could with my limited talents.
 Part of the group
 And this girl because it makes me smile.