|Singing Jingle Bells around our Christmas tree in their Sunday outfits.|
I have to say that I have such a wonderful neighborhood and received so many delicious treats from people I just met at our neighborhood party. I spent time crafting some really fun stuff, including candy trees, Christmas tree boxes filled with different kinds of fudge, cinnamon ornaments and my favorite, candy canes. I threw a party with a bunch of new friends and family where I taught everyone how to make the candy canes and fudge. It was so fun and I finally did the party right and set out a food table for everyone with snacks, drinks, and delicious breads, desserts AND food for all the 20 kids who were running around my house. I didn't have one kid come up to me and ask me for anything all day long. It was miraculously relaxing and enjoyable! Clementine was so darling and stuck with us the whole time, rolling out cinnamon dough and trying to stamp them out with cookie cutters.
I also hosted three other Christmas parties all in one week. The Thursday night before Christmas I had my dad, step-mom and step sister over for a Christmas Eve type party where we all opened our presents to each other. We had such a fun time eating and letting the kids play. My dad randomly came up to visit because he had to have a revision on his deviated septum surgery he had a few months ago so it all worked out to get together that Thursday.
Then the next day on Friday I hosted Justin's siblings Christmas party where I roasted the entire giant Costco pork loin in the most delicious Meyer lemon/caper/roasted garlic maranade that it was soaking in for days. It was so delicious. I have also been making crusty bread in my dutch oven and made two perfectly crusty loaves for the evening's festivities. We had so much delicious food to eat and the kids had so much fun. After trading presents we were supposed to do the Nativity recreation, but the promised costumes hadn't actually been delivered yet because the company shipped them out a day late(even though on their website they guarantee everything) and I almost cried when I announced that the costumes didn't arrive. I went upstairs to get the standard towels and belts we always use for the Nativity and started wrapping all the kids like burritos when the doorbell rang and the UPS delivery truck delivered our costumes not a moment too soon!! It was truly a Christmas miracle! We had wings and a halo for Henry, a Mary and Joseph costume. Three shepherds crooks for Joseph and the two shepherds, three crowns for the wise men and two fluffy lamb costumes. It couldn't have been more adorable! Aunt Courtney was the donkey and Bea got to ride on her back while Colton led her into the room by the fire. Clementine and Eli were shepherds trying to herd Lincoln and Violette in the field while Henry came in as the angel and had his lines almost memorized. He was so cute! Then they came to see Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus, played by our very own new baby boy cousin, Grant. It was great to finally have a boy for the baby Jesus and not one of my girls. haha. The wise men were played by my Justin, Uncle Caleb and Uncle Kirk. They had sheets and my furs on over their shoulders and looked more like gangsters than wise men. I laughed so hard! They came and presented their gifts to the baby Jesus and we were done! My camera was out of battery and I was the narrator so I have to collect some photos from my family. It was really sweet. Bea was such a sweet little mother Mary and sat there so quietly and pet the little baby's head so softly. She had a sweet little smile on her face as she rode the donkey into where she lay the baby. She just might be an actress some day.
|You can see all my home made ornaments on my tree. I really love my tree.|
Finally, I hosted the actual Christmas eve party with my mom, step dad, and my cousins, Ben, Kate and Margie and my aunt and uncle, Kris and Tim. We had the most delicious 7 fish dinner. I was in charge of the lobster so I got 5 lobster tails and cooked them a la French Laundry(5 star Michelin rated restaurant) and poached them, cracked them out of their shells and finished cooking them off in a vat of butter and then poured a Meyer lemon(can you tell I love Meyer lemons?) and shallot burre blanc sauce over the top. It was spectacular! We had steamed crab legs, oysters Rockefeller, creamed and pickled herring, shrimp, anchovies, and clam chowder. Could I love a meal more? No, I could not. I LOVE FISH! The fishier the better. We also did a recreation of the Nativity but didn't have a baby young enough to play the baby Jesus so we had Bea put a baby doll in her shirt and Henry ripped it out of her shirt, held it up in the air like a prize trophy and slammed it down into the cradle. Everyone had a good laugh at that and Henry loved the attention. I think we got that one on film so maybe I'll post some of that when I get that back. Well, it was a lovely night.
Sunday was pretty crazy. I had to sing a solo, play in a mandolin quartet and sing in the choir for Sacrament meeting and then tell a story and sing a song in Relief Society. I ended up not singing in Relief Society because of time constraints but I was glad. My voice was shot by that point. I told the story of how I was mugged on the way to see the Messiah sing in they do every year in the Stake Center in Manhattan and how it was just so powerful to me to feel to low and then have such a spiritual high right after that. It was such a testimony to me how the atonement of Christ really works and how real the power of faith and forgiveness is. The spirit was so strong that day.
Christmas was probably the best we've had in years. Henry woke us up at 7:15 telling him that Santa brought him a giant table with "bumps" all over it for putting Legos on. I groggily said, "Henry, don't you remember I told you I was building something for you all these weeks? I made you that table, silly!". He stood back for a second and said breathily, "Oooohhh, yeaaaa..." Then he leaned over and gave me a sweet hug saying, "Thank you mom". What a way to start Christmas. My mom and step father stayed overnight so they could see the morning festivities. My mom sewed the girls the most adorable Angelina Ballerina skirts for ballet play complete with home made ears and three different tutus. She also made the cutest robes for all the girls with giant bows kind of like the old fashioned kinds. I can't believe she went to all that trouble! The girls loved their present and spent the entire morning dancing around in their costumes. Most everything else was just little toys that I need because all the toys we have, have lost parts and they don't work properly, so now they have some fun ball toys and my little pony stuff. Henry got mostly books and one Lego set to go with his table. The kids loved their stocking stuff. I love buying things for stockings:) I love being Santa. The kids were so good and happy the whole morning. We didn't have any bratty complaining or selfish behavior. To top it all off, we had a huge snowfall on Christmas eve and we all went skiing all afternoon! After the most delicious pancake, bacon, sausage, egg, juice and fruit breakfast made by my step father, the breakfast master, we took the three older kids up and were amazed that Bea could go down the green circle run all by herself and Clemmie could ski down the bunny hill unassisted! She laughed the whole way down and hardly fell. We met our friends, the Stensons up there and went on a few runs together. I have to say that I am actually having more fun watching the girls ski on the bunny hill than I thought I would. I don't even mind staying there and running up and down. We came home to my favorite home made rolls made by my mom, (who can't even eat them anymore. Darn gluten) and ham and finished off the day with a relaxing evening amidst all the giant mess of my house. I didn't even care though. lol. What a perfect ending to a busy Christmas season. At the end of the day, I finally sat down and just relaxed for the first time since Thanksgiving. That felt so wonderful.
On the 26th I recorded a secret recording for Justin's family that's soon to be revealed. It took all day in Provo and I can't wait to hear how it turned out.
This is one of the first Christmas' that I haven't been pregnant or have had a newborn since Henry was born and I can't even believe how much I loved being so capable to do so many things. I really enjoyed myself and loved participating in everyone's parties, actually giving something to neighbors for once, singing in church, going skiing with my darling family, and being hormone fluctuation free!
|On the Lover's Walk in Cinque Terre this summer.|
The most important thing about today is probably that it's my 10th anniversary! I have been married for 10 years. Those years seemed long at times, but I can't believe I'm this old. I still feel like I'm 21 and that those years went by really fast. It's strange that when you want to grow up, time goes by so slowly, but when you want to stay young, time flies by! I think time has flown by mostly because I have been having such a fulfilling life and that's all thanks to my hard working, darling husband who I love very much. He is finally back from living at the hospital and I and the kids have someone else to lean on! I am so much happier being married to him now. haha! I admit it was a struggle for these past 9 years, but it was all worth it baby! I love you. Here's to 10 years and four darling children.
Happy 2013 everyone! Next year is going to be a grand adventure for sure!