Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Christmas 2013

Week 2 of our two week long adventure.

So, we spent a week in AZ. Came back Saturday night, late. I did laundry and repacked all day Sunday. Then Monday we left for Utah.

Long story short, because of some scary health scares, we decided to all get together for Christmas this year and all stay under one roof. All James' brothers and their families were there (minus 1 brother and his sister who couldn't make it), his mom and dad, Grandpa and Aunt. We rented a cabin in Eden, UT which was about 4.5 hours from us.

That morning before we left, James was finishing loading the car and Ellie was in the "I might try to walk" stance. I had my phone handy so I quickly turned the video camera on. You can see her little mind turning, trying to figure out which foot to move. She has taken a few steps prior to this (or so it's been reported) but it was fun for me to catch her doing this.

Anyways, since we weren't driving through Ellie's nap time I was little worried about how she'd do in the car. I got out my old portable DVD player/case and we set it up so she could watch Yo Gabba Gabba. Let me tell you, it was AMAZING! She did so good! I'm sure she would have done good without it, but it was so nice to have!

We had made it to the bottom of the Mountain (Ogden) before everyone else was done grocery shopping in the city 40min away. We thought, no problem, we'll stop at this random Library and hang out for a little bit. We waited a LONG time!! Ellie did good though, given the wait. It is definitely hard to communicate and coordinate with such a large family. Thankfully, when we did head up the mountain she fell back asleep and got a 2nd nap in.  

So Eden is up the mountain from Ogden. So far up we hardly had any cell phone reception. But it sure was pretty driving up to the cabin. James said, "If someone asks where we are we can say, 'In a picture.'" Haha. 
  Here is the Cabin. It was called Moose Lodge. Becky and I did a lot of looking, A LOT, and this was the one that met our families needs for size and price. We were slightly skeptical, but it turned out to be just perfect. The owners were great and they had the place not only decorated with the moose theme but they also decorated for Christmas making it feel very homey.

We arrived the 23rd so the next day was Christmas Eve. Most everyone went out to town for some last minute things, shopping, etc.

Here is Ellie in her Christmas Eve outfit.

James and I have talked a lot about what we want Christmas to look like in our family. I read a few blogs of women who make sure their family knows that Christmas is about Christ and not just about presents. We also think this is important. The common rule of thumb they follow for gifts is;
Something you Want
Something you Need
Something to Wear
Something to Read
and a Surprise.
Ellie is still too little to understand everything about Christmas but I wanted to keep the amount of gifts she received, from us, at a reasonable level. She was blessed to get many other toys from family though.

On Christmas Eve, Ellie opened up her Christmas Eve Pajamas. I love her face in the 2nd picture.
3rd picture-dead tired! 

Once all the kiddos were finally asleep, Santa's Helpers went to work setting up the gifts. Becky lives about 40 min from the cabin so many presents were stored there (like those GINORMOUS stuffed animals). So Peter and Thomas went and got all those presents late that night.

I recorded a lot of Christmas morning on the video camera and I was worried I didn't take enough pictures. But once I up loaded them I did take quite a few.
Ellie and I were the first up everyday. Some days though, after about an hour, James would switch with me and I'd get a little more sleep. I told everyone that they better get up early because I'm not waiting around until 10 to open presents. Ha. We made a deal that by 8am waking people up was fair game. Everyone was up by 8 though.
So anyways, I wanted to get Ellie's reaction to the tree and presents and as I was recording James and Ellie come down the stairs, James slipped a little and fell on his butt. I turned off the camera (regret that now) and ran to HER aide. It scared me because I didn't see really what happened just heard the crash. I was holding Ellie (I don't even think she had any idea what had happened) and James goes, "I'm fine, don't worry." Mean of me, I know. BUT they are both fine. He knocked off the vintage snow shoe from the wall, but it was safely rehung later.
Ellie was pretty excited when she saw those stuffed animals. They weren't for her, but seeing her excited was cute anyways. She even tried digging into some of the boy's presents right away haha. 

Since day one, Ellie really took a liking to her cousins. She had ZERO fear. She went right up to them. Played with them. She wanted to be in the action almost all the time.
I love these pictures of Ellie just being with the "big kids."

Paul and Eva didn't come until 2 days after Christmas and Richard wasn't able to make it so the picture below is missing 2 cousins. But here are the kids in their Christmas Pajamas.
This is the first picture I have of Felicity and seeing her cry makes me so sad. She had been fighting a sickness for a few days and was just feeling so miserable. It was obvious she was not acting like herself at all. Thankfully, towards the end of the week she made a great turn around and was able to have some fun with Ellie but it was so sad to watch. I don't like seeing babies sick, but who does?

James' mom bought a Children's Book about Jesus' Birth and James read that to everyone. Great Grandpa also set out a light-up Christus which caught the attention of the kids pretty quickly. We also sang Happy Birthday to Jesus. Being apart of these traditions are fun. I love that James and I are able to take parts of our own families traditions growing up and combine them to make family traditions with our own kids.
Next were stockings. In Ellie's stocking was; bubbles, baby doll, koosh ball and finger puppets. In James' stocking was candy and gag gifts. I made him a bearded hat and I also got him a whoopee cushion and bottle glasses with a nose and mustache. I also included Ellie's present to daddy which were hand stamped metal collar stays that read "I love Dadda" "<3 Ellie 2013." In my stocking; lots of candy, eye liner (I was specific) and a set of 2 rings.

Opening presents with so many people was slightly chaotic. I feel like it went too fast. I wanted to see what other people were getting, but I also wanted to focus on Ellie and James too. It was hard. But Ellie also got from us a Kaleidoscope Camera (Surprise), Books (Want/Read), Tickle Monster book (Read). There wasn't really anything Ellie "needed" to fulfill the Christmas gift outline but she loves books so we got her a few more to add to her collection.

Ellie also got some great stuff from her Aunt Becky (on behalf of Grandma and Grandpa). She got the Yo Gabba Gabba TY beanie baby set, which was PRICELESS to see her open. I don't know what it is about those characters but Becky and Peter were right on with getting her those. She also got a Dr. Kit, VTech toy camera, Magnadoodle, and a Bear Laptop.
We also did Secret Santa's this year and Becky and Peter had James and me. Becky knows my love for Ellen and got us Ellen's Headsup Game and gave me License Plate cover. So fun!

Becky took this next picture. Makes me laugh!!

Ellie LOVED playing with her cousins the rest of the day. It was too cute to look over and see her playing with them and them playing with her. Melts my heart and makes me wish we were all closer!

Thanks to Kristen for taking our Christmas 2013 picture.

Felicity got an activity table for Christmas which was such a great gift to have at the cabin. It kept those girls occupied for a long time. Oh, I haven't mentioned. Felicity and Ellie are 3 months apart. Ellie is older. While Felicity was still not feeling good that night, the pictures below are the first time the girls were really interacting (other than playing with that sword-ha). But picture number one was our first attempt I think. I'm sure Ellie hurt her feelings. But we put them back at the table and if you see, Felicity is playing with one of the toys on the table and Ellie reaches over and takes over. So funny how kids think. Out of ALL the different little things on that table she has to play with the one Felicity is touching. Or maybe she's just showing her how to do it? Funny though. I don't think I even noticed until looking through these pictures.
So obviously Becky and I planned to have the girls match for Christmas. Since Felicity was feeling so icky we waited a few days to get cute pictures of the girls together. They were adorable though!!
Here was another matching outfit day. Kohls messed up Becky's order and in the end she got two of the same outfit and kindly gave us the other one. We loved matching the girls. 

Felicity getting payback on Ellie for hogging the table. Oh wait, Ellie has her walker now too. Cousin love.

Ellie putting on a show for Grandma.

Becky and I both look hideous in the picture below. Well, she looks fine, but she doesn't think so and I definitely don't. Eva looked great but I couldn't leave her head in, that would look funny so I cropped us out so you can see the babies. Here are the 3 newest babies in our family. Ellie 12 month, Felicity 9 months, Carlie 3 months. Richard got married and gained a new daughter too. In just one year the girls outnumbered the boys. 7 girls and 3 boys. Before, there were 3 boys and 3 girls. Crazy.

SO much more went on that I don't have pictures to document.
-James and I made a trip to IKEA, which I was so excited about, but they didn't have either of the 2 big things we went for.
-We attempted to see the Salt Lake Temple lights but by the time we got there it was past Ellie's bed time and FREEZING so we left.
-The older kids played in the snow.
-David and Tara took care of overseeing all the meals. They did awesome.
-Great Grandpa burned onto DVDs old Super8 videos of back in the day.
-Grandpa and Aunt Cherie had to leave early because Grandpa got really sick (he is doing much better now).
-of 23 people who stayed at the Cabin, 18 people at one point or another got a 24 hour bug. I escaped it. Probably because I walked around with the Lysol can the entire time. James felt icky one day but didn't get it as bad as others. Ellie didn't get it until the day after we got back. I HATE vomit and cleaning it up is even worse. I swore if our kids were ever throwing up James would have to take over. But Ellie was sick, I cleaned up after her 8 different times and I was fine. It is totally different when it's your own kid. By the 2nd or 3rd person to get sick at the cabin though, I was waking up every morning with horrible anxiety worried about getting sick myself, but thankfully never did. I did get mastitis the next day after Ellie was sick though, which I never had before. But it went away quickly once on antibiotics.

Two long crazy weeks. It was fun seeing my family in AZ and to have everyone in James' family meet up in UT. But it's also nice to be back home doing our own thing, sleeping in our own bed, etc.

I miss everyone though! Love you guys. Do it again in 2040? Kidding.

*The pictures above are a combination of pictures that Becky and I both took

1 comment:

  1. It looks like you have a cookie monster in your house so hide them from Ellie! JK. I really enjoyed looking over our Christmas time we had together again. Thanks for taking such wonderful Pictures! Love Mom/.