Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Fun

I've been so busy posting family pictures and spiritual thoughts that I left out all the holiday fun we've been up to this month.  Now I just have to throw it all together into one big long post. 

Caroline sat on Santa's lap.
And didn't even cry.

Enjoyed a Christmas breakfast at church.
The kids sang with the primary,

Whitney sang a solo,
Brandon played a couple of piano songs,
and I sang a duet with Kelly.
We love Christmas music.

Went to the Festival of Lights downtown.
Missed the tree lighting because I thought it was
five blocks away.  It was actually right across the street
from where we parked.  Oops.

Went to the Nutcracker with Whitney.
We loved it.
Except the theater was hot.

Andrew and B went to the Longhorns-Tarheels basketball game.
Brandon has become a huge Texas fan.
They missed most of the first half because traffic was horrendous.
But the game was intense and Texas won.
Hook 'em Horns!

Pajama Day at school where Whit watched 
Polar Express and was chosen by Santa 
to get a sleigh bell.

The kids helped me bake Christmas goodies.

And watched to make sure they weren't overdone.

Annual Christmas Cookie Exchange with my preschool friends.
Except we exchanged white elephant gifts instead of cookies this year.

Another flag football game for the boys.

Andrew gets less sore each time they play.
And he LOVES it.

Brandon gets to be all-time center.

 There are risks involved when you play football with
people three to four times your size.

But they are risks B is willing to take.

Care Bear had fun watching the game.

Made gingerbread houses as a family.

Brandon, Caroline (ate hers before pics could be taken), Whitney,
Andrew's homage to the Lakers championship, and mine. 

Yummy Christmas Eve dinner of shrimp and artichokes.
Served separately.

Christmas Eve family pic.

Read the nativity from Luke before bed.

And then... Christmas Day!
I love being a mom on Christmas morning.
SO fun to watch the kids reactions.
Brandon got a little helicopter.
Now Andrew wants one.

Caroline loves this little tutu skirt.

Whitney can't wait to use her Easy Bake oven.
(I didn't realize we needed a 100 watt light bulb.  D'oh!)

All of us are enjoying our big family gift:
a Wii!

Ate a scrumptious brunch with our friends.
Then played Curses, a hilarious board game
for people who don't take themselves seriously.

Had a super fun night with the Peos who were on their way to Florida.
Five little girls had a blast playing with PlayDoh.

It was a short visit, but we loved it.

And to top it all off, we ended up having a White Christmas!
And this time it was enough to cancel church.
It was even enough for Brandon, Andrew, and I built a snow fort.
Our snow endurance isn't very long, so this is as far as we got.
Not a whole lot of shelter, but it looks cool.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Giving

During the First Presidency Christmas Devotional earlier this month, President Monson mentioned that he reads "The Mansion" by Henry Van Dyke every Christmas.  I'd never heard of it or ready anything by Van Dyke.  I was intrigued.  So I hopped online to reserve a copy.  But our library doesn't carry it.  Boo.  But they did have several other books by Van Dyke.  So I reserved a few of them.  I loved one of them (Story of the Other Wise Man).  Two of them were kind of boring to me (The Spirit of Christmas and The Van Dyke Book).  And one of them(The First Christmas Tree and Other Stories) contained a wonderful little essay called "Christmas Giving and Christmas Living."  I loved it.

Van Dyke talks about Christ as a gift giver.  He says:

"The great gift of Jesus to the world was himself.  He lived with and for men and women.  He kept back nothing.  In every particular and personal gift that he made to certain people there was something of himself that made it precious.

"When he gave bread and fish to the hungry multitude...the people were refreshed and strengthened by the sense of Jesus' personal care for their welfare as much as the food that he bestowed upon them.

"The gifts of healing that he conferred upon many different kinds of sufferers were, in every case, evidences that Jesus was willing to give something of himself...Jesus thought before he gave, because he desired to satisfy the deepest need, because in fact he gave something of himself in every gift.  All true Christmas-giving ought to be after this pattern. 

"Not that it must all be solemn and serious.  For the most part it deals with little wants, little joys, little tokens of friendly feeling.  But the feeling must be more than the token; otherwise the gift does not really belong to Christmas.

"It takes time and effort and unselfish expenditure of strength to make gifts in this way.  But it is the only way that fits the season."

When I think of the true meaning of Christmas gifts, I think of the supreme gift of the Father to give us His Son.  And I think of Christ's selfless gift of sacrificing His life for us.  But I hadn't thought of the gifts the Savior gave throughout His life.  And I appreciated this new perspective on Christmas giving.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Card Photo Rejects

So...I shared the photos I loved.  Here are the ones that were not sent out in any Christmas card.  And for good reason.  Enjoy the outtakes of our photo shoot. 

Love Caroline's face.

We've been asking him to take his finger
out of his nose for nine years now.
Still hasn't worked.

Don't get any ideas, Caroline.

I forgot to put on my happy face.
 I apparently wasn't amused.

He's visionary.

Andrew looks great in this one.
But he's the only one.

How B-train wears his head bands.

Look at those manly faces!

They can break stuff!

We tried a couple of family jumping shots.
Go, Andrew.

We need some training to improve our verticals.

Oh, but watch out for me when I go solo.

And also Brandon...
when he gets thrown by his dad.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Family pictures 2010

Living up to my reputation as a cheapskate, I swapped family-picture taking with Shelley this year rather than pay a photographer.  I was thrilled with the results. (Thanks, Shelley!)  And they were free!  When I started printing copies, it made me long for a DSLR, though.  I tried to enlarge one to 11x14 for the wall.  It was grainy.  You can definitely tell it was taken with a point and shoot.  Dang.

Here are some of my favorites.

I LOVE Andrew's Siberian husky eyes.

Brandon has a REAL smile.

One happy little girl.

My fave family shot.

Walking into the sunset....

I like a good standing shot where you can see
just how much taller Andrew is than Caroline.

Cute smiles.

Sweet Whitney.

Pure joy.
Bottle it.

Two happy girls.

My two favorite boys.

We're comin to getcha.

Five of us all in a row.
 I love the way annual photos capture our little family at this moment in time:  Andrew still looking hot, as always.  My discovery of (and close relationship with) the flat iron.  Brandon's face slimming into such a mature boy.  Whitney's permanent incisors coming in.  Caroline's adorable little blond braids.  
Makes me wonder what next year's photo will look like.  Will I find my first gray hair?  How much closer will Brandon be to my height?  Will Care Bear still be a blondie?  Only time will tell.