Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Washington DC Temple Lights

Another tradition to improvise ...
Each year we go to Temple Square in Salt Lake City to see the beautiful lights, seriously amazing. Well, this year we felt the drive would be to much for the kids to handle so we opted for the Washington DC Temple Lights and we were not disappointed. It's not quite as big as the Salt Lake festivities, but it was beautiful and we were able to warm up in the visitor's center and look at a Nativity exhibit of nativities from around the world. The kids loved looking for any from places that either their dad or an uncle had served their mission in. We found almost every country and will be doing this again!

Christmas Decor

I got a little nostalgic while decorating this year. With each box I opened it brought me back to this time last year when I was packing up my entire house to move across the country. It reminded me of my friend, Luci, helping me put away a few things. It reminded me of our old house and neighborhood. As I took things out and tried to find a new place for them, I pictured where they were in my old house and I got a little teary. But I would not trade this last year for anything, we have learned so much, enjoyed so much, seen and visited so much, met so many great people and have loved every minute of it. 
One day I will be decorating in a new place and remembering where we are at now. 

 I have to admit that as we were packing the trailer last year my Christmas trees and Ryan's golf clubs were the last things to put in the trailer. Only, there was no room at all! So they were left behind. I mourned my trees as I am sure Ryan mourned his clubs. But I shouldn't have fussed and whined, because I ended up with an even nicer tree, and Ryan still has no clubs - perhaps his birthday. 

Annapolis Parade of Lights

Every year my hometown has a parade of lights down main street in town to celebrate Christmas. Several businesses, churches and individuals put together floats that feature everything from the nativity to Santa. It is a fun tradition that I miss. So this year, when I heard that Annapolis does something similar - only with boats on the harbor in lieu of logging trucks and tractors down main street - we decided that we needed to go. So we headed to Annapolis with our good friends the Sorensen's and took in the sights. It was great. It didn't last very long, we had hot cocoa, it was a beautiful drive and is definitely a place I want to get back to as soon as possible! A charming town!

As you can see, Tate sampled the hot cocoa, and enjoyed it, as did his face. 

Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting

We met Ryan at work for the Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting. It was neat to be there and we had a great spot to see from, that is until the Occupy protestors decided to march right in front of us! UGH! The kids were a little confused at the people walking right in front of them and shouting, all they wanted to see was the Christmas tree. But they left shortly after the lighting, climbed back on to their charted bus and headed to their cozy warm hotel room and room service. I hope they didn't get to chilled in their efforts. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Advents

I love Christmas Advent Calendars and traditions. 
Last year my aunt Keli introduced us to a tradition that they do each year and I immediately loved it. They wrap up 24 Christmas books and open one each night before Christmas. Seeing as my mom has given us at least one Christmas book each year, as well as our aunt Cindy sending the kids Christmas books each year, we had well over 24 books, so we started wrapping. The kids took turns choosing a book to unwrap and we read them together nightly. We often forgot our candy advent calendar over the month, but we always did our books and it was by far our favorite thing to do together as a family. We will continue to do this each year and we absolutely love it. 

 The first book we unwrapped was "A Porcupine in a Pine Tree" - this is the book my mom sent to us last year and I think it is my favorite Christmas book right now. It reminds me of home, and the kids loved reading about Canada and getting a kick out of the illustrations, all you Canadians out there will love this book! I suggest you get a copy right now!

This is our candy and activity advent calendar. We fill the tin canisters with treats, slips of paper with things to do on them and we enjoy doing this as well, it sure beats the chocolate ones you buy at the dollar store!

McCall turns 3

McCall requested a pink and chocolate cake for her birthday. So I looked all over Pinterest - they have all the answers! I found this cake that looked so beautiful and yummy and it had chocolate with pink peppermint layers inside and a pink peppermint marshmallow icing. It was gorgeous, and mine turned out like this ...
 So now we know that cakes are not my thing ... but she was still in love with her cake. 
 Until it actually came time to eat it, sing Happy Birthday, etc. Then her little world fell apart.
I'm not sure why, it could have been a number of things, perhaps her sock was twisted, or her lip balm wasn't screwed on just right, or someone dared speak to her when she was not prepared for it. Whatever the reason, McCall had a giant melt down right before we sang her happy birthday, throughout the dishing of the cake, etc. While all our guests were so kind to her and tried to cheer her up I ignored her in exasperation. I don't understand the moodiness and utter melt downs that occur on at least a daily basis. I need a manual to go with the XX chromosome, I was not prepared for this. 
 But not to worry, the gifts were brought out and the girl cheered immediately with the knowledge that she was to have presents. Clothes, costumes, dolls and most importantly, lip balm. 

 What a difference just a few minutes can make. 
She may not know this yet, but her goals for the next year are to be able to control her emotions, stop the fits and incessant whining. Any suggestions you have for helping her with this are welcome!
Three will be a good year for this girl. She is already getting so big and so very much fun. While the melt downs, alligator tears and whining drive me absolutely batty - the little girly things melt my heart. The constant application of lip balm, the sitting with little legs crossed, the "you look beautiful today Mom" comments, the crafting and "cooking" and playing house make up for it. 
We love this little girl and are so grateful she is part of the family. 

National Harbor ICE

We kicked off the Holiday season with a trip to National Harbor to see the ICE sculptures. This year it was Merry Madagascar and we absolutely loved it! Everything was made out of ice and it was very impressive. The ice sculptures were huge and the slides were so much fun. 

 It was a little chilly inside the ice tents so they were good enough to lend us these beautiful blue coats, which made sliding down the slides so much better as well. This is a tradition that we will continue.
 Being 9 is so cool, just ask these two!

At the end of the Merry Madagascar portion there was a nativity scene all carved out of ice and it was beautiful! I loved how it brought the spirit of Christmas to our family, top that off with hot cocoa, Krispy Kreme doughnuts and watching Merry Madagascar on the way home and it was quite the way to spend the day!