Tuesday, December 30, 2014

So...12 Days of Christmas Past::2006

Live Nativity::Christmas 2006::San Jose, CA
In 2006 we were back to San Jose for Christmas.  I was large with child, expecting Second Daughter a few months later.  Christmas Eve we got together with family (that's Brother In-Law in the background and Cousin as Joseph) and did a living nativity.  We did not do that in my family when I was a kid so it was really fun for me to watch!
First Daughter was Mary, Husband was the donkey, and First Daughter's first doll (cabbage patch) was Baby Jesus - you can see her (him) in the purple crib (manger) in the lower right corner.
Christmas "shopping" was easy that year.  First Daughter was very excited about certain things and had very simple expectations.  I ended up wrapping some of her favorite toys, and her favorite movie (Wizard of Oz) so she could open them on Christmas morning and get excited.  She didn't have any expectation for new toys so she was so excited.  It actually was the best.
But we weren't complete cheapskates that year - we did buy her new stuff too.  She was into princesses so she got a couple dress up dresses and shoes, a crown and play jewelry.  We just multiplied her stash of presents by wrapping already owned gifts :)
That is the only memory I have of that Christmas.  My pregnant brain must have forgotten everything else :)
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So...12 Days of Christmas Past::2005

First Daughter::Christmas Eve 2005::Orem, UT
Christmas 2005 was our first Christmas alone, in our own apartment in Orem, UT, just the three of us.  It was different, much more quiet, but wonderful.  It was the beginning of creating many of our own family traditions.
1::Christmas jammies - both Husband & I had this tradition in our families growing up, but this was the first year that we bought them for our own little family and for our own sweet daughter.
2::Christmas bear - this tradition kind of created itself and it started this Christmas with First Daughter.  First Daughter's nickname has always been "Bear," so I was so excited to get her a Christmas bear for her first Christmas.  Husband's family had a tradition that they each had a Christmas character (Husband's was Santa) and they had a stuffed animal/pillow with that character and then got ornaments that went along with it.  Getting the Christmas bear was my attempt to keep that tradition continuing, but it ended up just turning into Christmas bears for all the kids on their first Christmas.  The bears have the year embroidered on their paw so we can always remember when their first Christmas was.
3::Baum's Christmas trees - we bought our Christmas tree that year at Baum's, a local tree lot that was recommended to us by a friend.  We bought our tree there every year since.  (Actually, this was our first year not getting our tree there - it was kinda strange - especially since I am definitely a creature of habit/tradition).
4::Christmas book - we get a family Christmas book every year.
5::Christmas movie - we also get a Christmas movie.
6::Christmas card - this was our first official Christmas card.  Well...I think we sent out Christmas cards that first year after we got married...but this was our first take-a-family-picture-for-a-Christmas-card experience.  It made us feel like real grownups :)
Having a baby made Christmas morning a little different.  First Daughter had no anticipation waiting to see what Santa left her, and she was a champion sleeper, so we didn't get up until after 9 or so (which was normal for her).  We had a wonderfully relaxing morning opening the few presents that we had.
Family memories are the best, and the first memories of our sweet little family feel magical.
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So...12 Days of Christmas Past::2004

Well...I know I don't really need to say the obvious, but blogging doesn't seem to be my strong suit these days...my attempt to do the 12 Days of Christmas Past leading up to Christmas obviously didn't happen...BUT - I've never been good at letting a "goal" stay unfinished/open ended, so I'm just gonna do it anyway, even though Christmas is over.  Hopefully I get through them before the next holiday comes around...well, New Years doesn't count cause that's, like, tomorrow...or the next day...
Christmas Eve with Husband's side of the family::San Jose::2004
Christmas 2004 was with Husband's family in San Jose, CA.  I was pregnant with First Daughter and we had just found out she was a girl days before we arrived.  We brought a video (yes, it was a VHS) of the ultrasound with us so that everyone could watch and see if they could guess the gender.  Of course nobody could because ultrasounds don't really look like anything.  We thought it was such a clever way to reveal the gender, but looking back it was a little silly :)
This was my first time being somewhere relatively warm for Christmas.  It was different, but fun.  It was my first Christmas not being with my own family.  But being there felt like home, as it always did, and we had a wonderful Christmas.

Mother In-Law got us all matching jammies.  The sweatshirts were GDI (Husband's dad's company) sweatshirts, and I still wear it to this day.  I love that sweatshirt. 

All of Husband's family was there except one of his younger brothers who was serving a LDS mission in Washington at the time.

Christmas Eve dinner was at Husband's aunt's house who also lives in San Jose.

It was my first Christmas experiencing the traditional Christmas Brunch that Husband's extended family does every year.  It was fun and yummy and it's a tradition that we still look forward to every year.  We have one out here in Utah with his family members that live here.

I remember that we were there for a really long time.  Perhaps the whole two weeks of our winter break?  We watched lots and lots of movies, and I learned how to knit. 

My memories of that Christmas are pretty sporadic, but I do remember it being wonderful.  I have always loved being with Husband's family.  I am a very lucky woman to have married into such an amazing family. 

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

So...12 Days of Christmas Past::2003

Brother & Sister In-Law::Christmas::Boston::2003
Sadly, I don't have very many pictures (two, to be exact) of our Christmas in 2003.
I actually don't even have any of Husband and I :(
But those were the days before we owned a digital camera, so we 1) didn't take very many pictures, and 2) have probably lost a lot of the pictures we actually have.  In fact, this picture may have even been taken with a disposable camera (remember those???)
Christmas in 2003 was at my parents' home in Needham, MA.  It was our first Christmas as a married couple, and the first Christmas for my brother and sister in-law (shown in the picture) as a married couple too.  We both were married in 2003 - them in May (right?) and us in October.  Christmas that year we all gathered together in MA.  This is the last (and only) Christmas we have all spent together.
My mom got us all Christmas jammies like she did when we were kids.  It was fun :)  My other brother and sister in-law had just had their second baby only three weeks before.  Now that I'm a mom, I understand how amazing, and probably difficult, that was for them.  My sister was living there with her family and she had one daughter that was 1 1/2.  My younger brother was 13, but didn't look like it - only months before he was mistaken to be my fiancĂ© :) 
I can hardly remember our family like this.  It really seems like a lifetime ago.  All of our families have grown so much - sister::2 kids, brother::5 kids, brother::6 kids, me::5 kids, brother::married - we've dispersed across the country, and have had many different life experiences. 
Our extended family was so new at this Christmas.  We were still getting to know each other and still trying to adjust to our new family members - four of us got married in three years, and Husband and I had just been married 1 1/2 months before this Christmas.  Everything was still new. 
Thinking back to this time and our family experiences through the years since, I wish that I had done better to connect with my in-laws and establish a better foundation for our relationships.  11 years later we could all be a lot more close than we are.  We could have loved and tried to understand each other better as we made different life decisions and had different experiences and trials.  But - we were all very young when we got mashed together in one big family, and I can't speak for everyone but I sure know that I have learned a whole lot and grown up a lot in those 11 years.  Back then I really didn't know much and was really still a kid and was pretty selfish.  I have learned a lot (and am still learning) about family relationships and how to love and accept people for who they are no matter what.  Sometimes I think I am doing this, but I have learned that actions/words can be interpreted very differently by different people and family relationships are the most sensitive and the most important relationships.  And I am learning how to say sorry and how to forgive.
Family is all about showing love - no matter what - and forgiving each other for being imperfect - and being there for each other no matter how far away you live and no matter how long its been since you last saw or spoke to each other.  Family is family.  Always.
I love my family so much.
It has been a very long time since we've celebrated Christmas with anyone in my family, and every year I miss them.  All of them. 
This year my parents will be here with us and we are very excited about that.
And thanks to online shopping and Facetime, we can feel a little closer to the rest of the family even though we are thousands of miles apart.
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Saturday, December 13, 2014

So...12 Days of Christmas Past::2002

Me & Husband::Boston::2002

This year marks 12 years of Christmases together, Husband and I.  This first one, we weren't engaged yet, but we were a short 1 1/2 months later.

That Christmas marked the end of a long 7 months living apart from each other.  We dated for 4 months, I went home to Boston for the summer, he went home to San Jose for the fall semester, then we were reunited in Boston for Christmas and headed back to Provo together.

This was a very interesting/trying time in my life and in our relationship.  I knew that I was in love with Husband and wanted to spend the rest of my life and eternity with him, but not everyone was as enthusiastic as we were about the idea.  That fall semester, I knew that we were getting close to getting engaged and was desperately seeking a confirmation that marrying him was the right thing to do.  I knew I wanted it to be the right thing, but I wanted some divine confirmation.  That holiday season - Thanksgiving with his family and Christmas with mine - was when I received my answer.

It wasn't anything grand and glorious or even really that obvious.  It was just a peaceful feeling of being at home when I was with him.  Even though I didn't have a whole lot of support from my family, I knew that it was right because I felt that he was now my family and I couldn't imagine a life without him.

This picture was taken in downtown Boston.  Our whole family went into the city together on the T.  Mom made matching red fleece scarves for all of us.  Husband had given me that winter hat for Christmas (and the Harry Potter box set!!)  I don't exactly remember what we did in the city - probably went out to eat and probably shopped - but I do remember it being ridiculously cold.  And I remember not caring one bit because I was so happy to be reunited with my man and having fun holding his hand and strolling through the city. 

My other memory of that Christmas was staying up late with Husband, cuddling on my parents' living room love seat, looking at a Christmas version of an "I Spy" book.  We did the entire book, which I think is the only time in my life that I've completed one of those books in one sitting.  It was easy because I loved every second with him, especially being close to him, and I was so happy to be with him again.  It really didn't matter what we did as long as we were together.

I loved the end of that trip because we didn't have to say goodbye to each other.  We got to fly back to Utah together!  We had had our fair share of weepy goodbyes at airports that year, and I loved that this visit didn't end the same.  In fact, we didn't ever have to say goodbye again because we were engaged the following February and married the October after that, without any time apart in between.

I don't remember many details about that Christmas.  I really only remember all the excitement, anticipation, and twitterpated-ness I felt that year being so in love with my husband-to-be.  This picture brings back some hard memories, but mostly the wonderful, giddy feelings and memories. 

I love being in love with Husband.
He's my favorite.

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

So...Let Me Catch You Up

So...obviously I haven't been doing a whole lot of blogging lately.
But a whole lot has been going on.
In August the kiddos started school.
First Daughter - 4th, Second Daughter - 2nd, Third Daughter - Kindergarten.
They love school and are doing great. 
In September I celebrated my 31st birthday.
I went out to breakfast with a bunch of friends, had lunch with my sister in-law, and had Red Mango with my family for dinner.  It was perfect!  I felt very loved and loved all the yummy food and wonderful people.
We completed another busy soccer season.
We were lucky to have beautiful weather throughout the season.  I sure love watching my kiddos run around that soccer field.
A new daily activity for us is to go watch the trains.  Son#1 absolutely loves trains and we have found a few spots where we can get an up close view of the trains going by.  It really is a highlight to our days.
The girls are taking piano lessons from me this year.
I was really nervous about how that would go, but luckily it is going amazingly!  So much better than I expected.  We really enjoy the one-on-one time together, and they all are doing really well practicing and progressing.  This is the first year for Third Daughter and she is doing great!
At the end of September, Husband and I broke away for a couple nights to go to CA for one of Husband's friend's wedding.  We were able to go to the temple with his family that lives out there and that was wonderful.  Even though it was a very quick trip, it was very nice to be kid free for a little while and enjoy family and friends (and beautiful CA weather) together.
The day we got back from CA was the Ogden Temple dedication.
It was a special day for First Daughter because she is now old enough to attend the dedication.  I really loved going with her and our cousin Andrea.
We have been having the most amazing weather, and the most amazing sunsets and sunrises!
I really love the view every night and can't help but take pictures.  I send them to my mom because she loves clouds. :)
Speaking of beautiful weather, the kids have been spending most of their afternoons outside with friends.  First Daughter loves to ride her ripstick and the others love to ride their bikes.  This weather won't last for much longer, so we're soaking it all up while we can.
 We really love fall.  Son#1 has discovered leaf piles and he just loves to lay in them.
Two weeks ago I ran my fifth half marathon.  It was the Pink Series half in Park City.  The weather was perfect and the scenery was beautiful.  As for the course - not my favorite.  It was pretty hard.  But the company was fantastic.  I have loved training with these ladies and so proud of how our little team did!
This fall park season has been really fun for Son#2.  He can climb up the stairs, walk around the park, and he loves going down slides.  Playing at the park is one of my favorite things to do with my family.
Last Saturday Husband and I celebrated our 11th anniversary.  Things didn't exactly go as planned, but we were able to spend the evening together anyway and that's all that matters.  We spent some time talking about what we love about our marriage.  It really made me so grateful looking back on our life together, how we've grown, and what makes our marriage so incredible.  I love this guys more than ever and still feel like he is my greatest blessing ever.  I stand by that statement.
And last but not least...
Third Daughter lost her first tooth!  And as a matter of fact, she lost her second one just today!  She was so excited to get a visit from the tooth fairy, even though our tooth fairy is pretty forgetful and almost always doesn't come the first night.  Oh well...we forgive her :)
Well, now I've pretty much caught you up on all that's going on around here.
Life feels pretty good.
I am loving being mom to these kids and wife to my husband.
Which is good, because I spend a whole lot of time doing those two things :)
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So...Two More Kid Dates

For Third Daughter's kid date in September she chose Chuck-E-Cheese - of course!
It was such a blast being there with just her.  She couldn't believe that all the token were just for her!  Although, she was very sweet and shared with us.  She would hand us a token or two and tell us which game we could play.  It was very thoughtful of her. 
It was so fun to watch her move from game to game, totally independent and in child-gaming heaven.  Her favorites were playing air hockey with mom, and playing ski-ball with both mom and dad.  She also won over 200 tickets so she got some pretty sweet prizes. 
The absolute best part of the night was when she said, "this is the best night of my life!"
These kid dates are truly the best.

Last night we took First Daughter on a date to a local corn maze.  It was kind of spooky going through that corn maze in the dark.  I'm not gonna lie - I was pretty nervous.  I kept thinking that people (or animals) were going to jump out of the corn.  It was too quiet, too dark, and we were too alone.  But thankfully Husband was the navigator and got us safely out.  First Daughter thought the whole thing was hilarious and kept trying to spook me.  It worked.
We also got to do zombie paintball!  It was so fun and so hilarious!  I couldn't stop laughing.  It was perfect for First Daughter's age.  We rode in the back of a tractor, through the farm, and shot florescent glow-in-the-dark paint at lots of targets and goofy "zombies" (really just kids covered with padding - not very zombie-esque) that would run at us and get shot down.  We thought that would be a pretty fun job. 
And of course we ended the night with a treat - blizzards. 
First Daughter was in heaven.
We had so much fun with her.  She is an amazing kid and really makes us laugh.
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