Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas 2014

Being the traditionalist that I am, this Christmas was pretty much like all the rest.  One major difference, however, was that Grandma and Grandpa Hatch celebrated with us for the first time ever!  We missed Grandma and Grandpa Seely, who celebrated with Great Grandma Burke in California, but we had a great holiday. 

Grandma and Grandpa Seely arrived on Saturday to watch Alyssa compete in a practice meet.  They went to church with us the next day and Grandma even sang in the choir with me.  They flew to California on Monday morning.

Here is our family the Sunday before Christmas:

Grandma and Grandpa Hatch arrived on Tuesday.  On Wednesday, Christmas Eve, it was time to get the festivities started.  Eating crazy amounts of food is always part of celebrating Christmas.  Here is our Christmas Eve spread:

Natalie requested her favorite: boneless buffalo wings.

The kids have fun with our Italian soda tradition.

 Look at these happy Christmas faces:

Natalie couldn't wait to open her Christmas pajamas.

Then it was on to our Nativity program.

 Once the children were nestled all snug in their beds, Santa came.

At 5:00 a.m., Jon startled me awake by saying, "Tara, what is that?!" As I came to, I could indeed hear "O Little Town of Bethlehem" blaring through the house.  After a few seconds I recognized it to be our Nativity music that had spontaneously and inexplicably turned on.  Remember the ghost in our house?  This was our ghost of Christmas morning, I guess.  By the time Jon could get to it to turn it off, it had moved on to "Away in a Manger."

Grandpa later said that when he heard the music, he just assumed that's how we woke the house up for Christmas morning.  Oh no, Grandpa, we're sleepers at our house!  We make no habit of playing music at 5:00 a.m.!  We thankfully all went back to sleep--except for Grandpa--and it was at least 9:00 before the kids stirred.  We had our usual Christmas breakfast and then could hold Natalie back from the presents no longer.

The Childers family gave Grandpa heads for his toothbrush.  He says these replacements should last him until he dies.

Grandma got a neck massager:

Mittens from Great Grandma:

Grandma Hatch made BYU pajama pants for all of her grandkids.

I got two of the exact same puzzle.  Oh I do love puzzles!

Grandpa got new belts from Sarah and then promptly took his old one off, demonstrating that it is split down the middle and he may have actually admitted that he needed a new one--something he doesn't do very often.

Caleb had asked for cash so I made him a money tree.  He loved it!

We all enjoyed reading the reunion book that Lucy made for everyone:

We went to the movies and then finished our day with a traditional Christmas dinner.

Then I declared that I was officially done baking and cooking and went to work on my new Christmas puzzles.

It was a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

The drive to Thanksgiving is nine hours long.  We'd only made it 20 minutes down the road before we had to stop.  

A sizable speeding ticket wasn't the best way to begin our trek, but it was, thankfully, our only hiccup.  The four mountain passes were crossed with ease and we plowed straight through, only stopping once (after the ticket) to fill up. 

The next morning, Thanksgiving Day, started with the Turkey Trot, of course.

Christopher is my annual running buddy.  None of the kids joined us this year.  

Instead, they were doing things like building a snowman or writing up plays for the Turkey Bowl. 

The Turkey Bowl participants also signed a "Turkey Bowl Compact," written by Jonas, committing themselves to good sportsmanship.  

But before any footballs could be hiked, a feast was to be consumed.  Just look at my plateful of beautiful food:

Jonas and Caleb waiting for the prayer:

Due to icy roads, the Lynn family did not make it down from Canada in time for dinner.  Here are the rest of the cousins ready to dig in:

After all bellies were filled, the kids hurried outside.  Three cousins had matching Columbia jackets.  Two of them were practicing their smolder while posing for this picture:

This year's Turkey Bowl was played at Carroll College.  I think the boys had fun.

At least the winners were happy.

Watching my kids adore their cousins is without question my favorite part of our gathering-for-Thanksgiving tradition.  They love each other so much, they can scarcely stand to sit in separate chairs.

See what I mean?  Just look at all of this chair-sharing:

The weather had been unusually warm on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.  But on Saturday, the temperature plummeted and a rather fierce storm blew in buckets of snow.

The girls tried to play in the snow but only lasted ten minutes in the sub-freezing winter wonderland.

We decided weather like that called for a trip to Starbucks.  We were stunned to hear that our cousins had never been.  Guess they don't have them on every street corner like we do at home.

Goodbyes are always hard.  The Johnson's were the first to leave.  Some of the remaining cousins went out on the porch to give them a send-off.

We later tried to go to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the BYU/Cal game but the placed was filled beyond capacity with a much-too-long wait.  We had to just listen to it on the radio instead.  These two super fans celebrated the win.  (Look at the girls in the background.  Sadie's even plugging her ears. :) )

It was a Thanksgiving much like all the others before it.  Simply wonderful.