Thursday, January 8, 2015

Christmas 2014

Despite being extraordinarily busy this Christmas season, with moving and all, we were able to fit in lots of fun. It just made for an extremely crazy, whirlwind of a time!

We took our customary trip to Journey of Bethlehem where the Seventh Adventist Church puts on an AMAZING realistic journey to Bethlehem following the Christmas story and ending in finding Baby Jesus.

Lydia was excited to begin our journey, despite her Uncle Kenny slamming Ammon's head into her face in the van on the way over. What you don't see is the giant goose egg on her check that turned into a hardcore black eye for the next couple of weeks.

Ammon was obsessed with the soldiers and the bad king and talked about them for weeks. I don't know that he was very impressed with baby Jesus, considering he just asked questions about the nearby animals as everyone else was trying to feel the spirit while we stared at the baby and a beautiful song was performed.

We went and saw the Botanical Garden lights, which are usually pretty fantastic. However, they seem to get smaller each year and I don't know how many more years we'll be making the trip.

Unfortunately, we were hit with a TERRIBLE stomach flu just before Christmas break. Poor Lydia had to miss multiple school, church, and family parties until she recovered. Ammon and I also had our fair share of missing out on activities, but Lydia had it the worst. She was devastated to miss her FIRST pajama day at school, her FIRST assembly at school, and sitting on Santa's lap at the Ward Christmas party.

Ammon, however, was able to go to the ward party and he made an adorable Rudolph, although he more people-watched than sang - as is customary.

He was also able to sit on Santa's lap.

My dad played Santa this year and the second Ammon heard him speak, before we had even hit the line, Ammon turned to me and said, "Mom! Grandpa Nils is Santa!"  I just ignored him and waited for him to actually sit on Santa's lap. It. Was. Hilarious. Ammon just sat and stared at Santa's with a GIANT grin on his face, like he wanted to reveal Santa's secret and was thrilled to know such a secret, but would just smile about it as a co-conspirator. Hahaha, he did ask for legos and smile for a picture too.

As we left the church, Ammon asked me why Grandpa Nils was Santa and I explained the usual, Santa's too busy making toys at the North Pole so he has helpers here who help him. Ammon asked if the North Pole was far away and I said yes and that was that.....until Brigham came up to me later and asked if Ammon talking about north, south, east, west, the north pole, and Grandpa Nils was anything meaningful to me. Hilarious.

A week before Christmas, I was finally able to finish decorating our Christmas tree. I had it set up, but because it's pre-lit, a section of lights in the middle of tree were out. I spent hours trying to figure out which dumb little light was causing all the others to quit working, to no avail. Finally realizing that by time I got around to getting new lights from the store, Christmas would be over, so I just strung up different colored lights in the section that wasn't working. I though it would look terrible, but it was just a little weird, and my kids were ecstatic they could finally decorate the Christmas tree for Christmas. And that's all that matters.

Naked, it does look pretty silly, but with all the trim on it, the tree looks much better.

The kids really loved decorating the tree. I was surprised how much they enjoyed it, and they still ask daily if they can touch the ornaments.

I love having a Christmas tree brightening up the house! Next year I'll get some white lights to match, so we can avoid our candy stripe in the middle.

Christmas Eve we had our normal reenactment of the Christmas Story. It was really special this year, and the Spirit was strong. We weren't sure why exactly it was so meaningful this year, but we all agreed we felt touched.

Because I'm the oldest, I always narrate. Scott and Polyana, who came from Utah for the holidays, played Mary and Joseph, with Lydia and Kayleen as shepherds. Brigham was the angel Gabriel and a wiseman along with Kenny and Ryan.

Ammon played King Herod and was excited to announce to everyone that he was a bad king. His "throne" was next to my dad on the couch and this tiny king next to my giant father was quite amusing to me.

Christmas night the kids slept over at my parents on the floor of Uncle Kenny's room, while Brigham and I opted to spend the night in our own bed, a half a mile away. Lydia had been asking all sorts of questions about Santa, and was pretty concerned about Santa not knowing where to deliver presents if we were going to have Christmas at the grandparent's but sleeping at our house. So we let them sleep over with their aunts and uncles (and my parents have a chimney, so that took care of that question too) and they were excited about the sleepover.

Brigham and I arrived around 7:30 the next morning and found everyone waiting upstairs for the signal to come down to look at stockings. Waiting for Dad to give the go-ahead is one of the funnest parts of Christmas.

The kids discovered their big present that Santa brought and loved going through their stockings.

Ammon got his very own bike and Lydia got a Littlest Pet Shop set.

We then always eat breakfast before we return to open presents, one-by-one together, so we can see what everyone else is getting.

I'd say we were spoiled once again, and my kids froze over with all the Frozen merchandise they scored. Good thing they are obsessed, it made for a happy time. Ironic thing is, we don't even own the movie!

We spent the rest of the day tinkering with our new toys, playing games, and eating goodies. In fact, I think we spent the next week doing such activities. It was wonderful.

I really reflected this Christmas on the Baby Jesus. Maybe it's just because I'm constantly baby hungry, or maybe it's just a personal desire to really seek to find a spiritual investment in Christmas this year, but I found myself pondering Mary and the miracle of Christ's birth. I am in awe, and so grateful for both. I listened to the song A Baby Changes Everything by Faith Hill over and over again. I really felt it's lyrics talking about how that one baby changed everything for that innocent mother, for the world, and for me. And I can say that I celebrated with my whole heart this Christmas for that miraculous, wonderful, inspiring event. I'm blessed beyond measure.

Merry Christmas everyone, and may you too feel the blessing of Christ's birth in your lives.


  1. what a great xmas! i hope to have a family big enough to reenact the xmas story- i love that so much! and your kids are so big!! lydia is so beautiful!

  2. Merry Christmas. It sounds like it was the best. Miss you guys!

  3. Oh how I miss you!! Love your tree, cracked up at Ammon's discovery of dad as Santa, and enjoyed getting filled in on everything else!