Monday, January 28, 2013

The goose is getting fat...

Once all of the shopping and parties and neighbor gifts and performances were over, it was so fun to just relax and enjoy Christmas with our family.

Christmas Eve is Trevor's birthday, and admittedly, I don't always make it an awesome day for him.  But this year I was a rock star.  I surprised him by organizing a pick up basketball game with some of his friends at our church in the morning.  While he was gone, I got some teenage boys in the ward to come over and help assemble the ping pong table I had sneakily bought for him and hid in the basement!  Some side notes: Huge thanks to my awesome neighbors, Harold and Stephanie, for helping me get the ping pong table from the seller to said basement hiding spot!  Also, I should mention that Trevor is really into ping pong.  He has been playing during his lunch hour at work for the last year-and-a-half and is getting way too good.  He recently beat me while playing left-handed.  Anyway, Trevor was very surprised and happy about both basketball and the ping pong table, and said he felt spoiled, which he deserved. :)

Christmas Eve evening we spent with my family:
 Benson and Topher (love his hair!)

Acting out the nativity
  Mary: Gimme that!

This wise man brought hot wheels.

 The birthday boy with his oreo "cake"

 The newlyweds!

 I love this one!

Our first Christmas morning with just our little family was so much fun!  We were all spoiled!  Really, I'm thinking about scaling it back a little next year.

Not too messy for an "after" picture!  We were good about putting the wrapping paper in a garbage bag.

Christmas afternoon with my family again:
 Dress-ups from Grandma!
 Trucks from Grandma!  Or "brrm brrms," according to Benson. 

We felt so, so blessed this Christmas, especially because of our wonderful family, friends, and neighbors.  We love you and appreciate you all very much!

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

I really, really love the Christmas season!  We put up our Christmas decorations a few days before Thanksgiving...don't worry, I scolded myself a little bit.  But I loved it.  And I love listening to Christmas music.  I don't usually love listening to music (did anyone know that about me?  It's true.  I like silence.), but almost every Christmas song is fun and uplifting, and they all bring back good memories of Christmas, and I can almost always sing along (I do like that...).  Really, the only drawback to the Christmas season can be summed up in a quote I saw on facebook: "Phew!  It's December!  Oh wait, I'm a musician."  December is busy for everyone, but add in a bunch of performances and it gets ridiculous.  I sang with a 7-woman acapella group during December this year, and even though it made my life crazy, it was so, so much fun!

Here we are after a performance at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building on Temple Square.  Highlights of the season:  laughing so much during rehearsals, singing for grateful hospital patients, Jill making hilarious comments (the pitches!), Kate's high kick, hearing the audience laughter during "Calorie Christmas" and trying to keep a straight face, and having family and friends support me at performances.  I really enjoyed singing a different genre of music than I'm used to.  It was fun to loosen up and become more confident as a soloist as well.

Besides being busy with my performances, we also:

enjoyed Cassie's Christmas dance recital

took cheesy pictures of our little brother

posed by the Christmas tree

"worked out" to mom's prenatal exercise video (This was so funny...she was wearing her "exercise" clothes and she was trying so hard to do all the exercises correctly.  Don't worry, I got a video for future posterity.)

checked out the presents under the Christmas tree

and of course, spent time with family.

More to come about the rest of the season.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Wuv and Mawwiage pt. 2

On to the wedding!  Let's begin by saying that this was one of the more adventurous weeks of our lives.  And it all started with hurricane Sandy.  My brother Thom and his family live on the east coast, and the storm seriously impeded their progress in coming to the wedding.  They were scheduled to fly in on Wednesday (Halloween!  They were going to come trick-or-treating with us and everything!  I was so excited...), but the storm hit on Monday night, and on Tuesday morning they discovered that their basement was flooded and their power was out.  And the airports were closed and their flights were cancelled.  Miraculously, they were able to clean their basement and schedule flights for Thursday morning.  It was so fun to have all of the cousins together!

 Visiting the neighbor's goats, or "ghosties," as James liked to call them.  He was a big fan!
 Playing at the park
 This picture warms my heart.  Cassie rarely gets to see these cousins, but they just clicked right away and had so much fun together.
 James meeting the twins
 All 8 cousins together!
Playing dress-up

Friday was family pictures and the reception.  The girls were so, so excited to wear pretty dresses and were over the moon about holding flowers!  I only snapped a few pictures before the reception, then I just enjoyed the evening and ate and talked to old friends and neighbors.  It was so much fun.

All together!  Sorry it's low quality, I need to get the actual files.
 Lexi, Cassie, and Lucy
 Benson, Andrew, and James
 My older brothers, Vaughn and Thom
 Thom and Trev
Thom and Sarah

After the reception, the excitement really began.  Benson threw up all over himself and his carseat on the drive home.  Thanks to some very kind hotel receptionists, we got it mostly cleaned up.  It was a fun smell to deal with until we thoroughly cleaned it.  We found out the next morning that James had also had a rough night with lots of throwing up.  Luckily, Benson seemed to be fine the next morning, and we left Benson and James with a babysitter and were able to go to the sealing.  Both Sarah and Christie had to leave right after the sealing to rescue their babysitters, but I'm so glad we were all together in the temple.  It was beautiful and so joyful.
 The happy couple!
 Cassie with Uncle Robert
 Trevor, Thom, and my dad, Dave
 The special few in our family who made it all the way to the post-sealing pictures. (We also had tons of extended family and friends there for pictures.)


 My cousin Derek flew from Boston to come to the wedding.  We were really close to his family growing up and he and Robert stayed close through college.
Bubba and me

After the wedding, all the adults got together for a luncheon.  Lots of people shared memories of Robert and Renae.  I was really impressed by how much love Robert and Renae have for each other, and it was so sweet to hear about all the love and admiration others have for both of them.  Unfortunately, my weekend got even more exciting a few hours after the luncheon, confirming my suspicion that I am allergic to broccoli. Suffice it to say I spent  my evening kneeling over the toilet and wasn't much of a host to Derek, who was staying at our house.

Anyway, despite all the added adventures, the weekend was glorious!  I loved spending time with Thom and Sarah's family, and I loved the wedding festivities and the chance to see so many family members and friends.  Too bad I have to wait until one of my nieces or nephews is old enough for the next wedding!

Wuv and Mawwiage pt. 1

My "little" brother Robert got married to an amazing girl in November!  I got to host a bridal shower for her in October (a dream of mine one year in the making...remember this post?) and I wanted to get the pictures up to show my sister-in-law, Sarah.  Here they are, 3 months later!  I'm trying to catch up, okay?

Beautiful Renae!  It was a kitchen shower, so we each gave her one (or two...or three) of our favorite recipes and a gift to help her make our recipe.  We have a lot of family members that live out-of-state, so some aunts and cousins emailed a recipe for her.

 Aunt Christine and my sister-in-law, Christie, who organized the shower with me

Aunt Nancy and cousins Heather and Kristy 

Cousin Kathy and my mom, Ilene 
Sorry, no close-ups of Melanie, Rachel, or me.

Kristy made this cute apron for Renae, and Renae texted me a picture of Robert wearing it that night. :) 

We decorated a little with fall colors with tissue paper balls and fresh flowers.

 Talking and listening was the best part of the shower!  We answered a few trivia questions about our family to help Renae get to know everyone better, but I think we all learned something new about our family that day!  Renae told us the story of how she and Robert met and started dating, which was both hilarious and touching.  I am so glad they found each other!