Huge Holiday Post

We stayed at home and hosted Thanksgiving this year. 
Samuel had his holiday concert and then we went to Arizona for Christmas!

Daniel is prepping the bird. 
The recipe online said that turkeys cook in half the time when you brine them. 
I didn't believe it and kept it cooking. Poor Turkey was a little charred, but still tasted good! 

We invited the Elders and some good friends over. There was soo much food! Thanks to Katie for the delicious pie too!
(I used paper and plastic-ware this year, was totally worth it.)

We ate Thanksgiving dinner over and over for about a week. 
I love leftovers, but after a week, we were ready to be done. :)

Relaxing after dinner, waiting for pie.

This is our version of an advent calendar to start Christmas off right. 
The kids loved it.

Samuel got the tree out and was excited to decorate.

Sophie tried to eat some of the ornaments.

This is the fun we had at Samuel's Holiday Concert. 
We sit way up in the rafters so the noise from the kids won't bother anyone.

We had a great time listening, singing along and dancing a little to the music.

Our efforts at a group picture.

Sophie checking out the program

Ethan is growing up so fast. 

Ethan always asks for stories and Daniel is so patient and is great at coming up with fun stuff on a moment's notice.  He's telling him a story while the next band comes on.

Sneaky face

Samuel and his friend from band

Samuel up close!

Here's the church christmas party with Santa. 
Ethan was too shy to ask Santa for what he wanted. I told him I would go with him, but when I looked up Santa was leaving. So Ethan and I ran after him, hand in hand, and caught him just before he left. Ethan whispered what he wanted for Christmas, and that he was a good boy most of the time. Mission completed.

I remember running around the gym at church parties when I was young, 
and it's fun to see my own kids running around with their friends. 

Sophie loves playing chase

Christmas at Grandma's

Nap #1

I really envy people who can sleep anywhere. 

Ethan did great with the activity bag I prepared. 
I'm loving Pinterest's ideas.

Daniel took over driving in the wee hours of the morning when I just couldn't stay awake, 
and got us safely to grandma's house.
He's such a stud.

Nap #2. 
We used the hat to block out the passing car lights. 
Worked like a charm.

He finally conked out!

Next time we are bringing more blankets in the car.
Samuel was so desperate he stole Sophie's, which used to be Ethan's.

We arrived!! 
Ethan playing golf with Papa.

Nap #3
It finally caught up with him after a few hours of playing.

Daniel brought him inside, but Ethan didn't even wake up.

Christmas morning!

We opened our stockings and one present before church.


Still a little groggy.

We got home from church and opened presents right away.

Ethan helping Sophie

His face is red from jumping up and down right before the picture.
"It's what I always wanted!!"

I put together Sophie's tricycle.
Daniel had to take a picture cuz I got so into it.

Sophie loved it.

It makes noises and flashes lights.

After presents we went to Grandma Marjie's house to talk to Uncle Nathan on Skype.

Hi Uncle Nathan!

Ethan showed him his Christmas present.

Ethan asked over and over again for more "Arnold Piggie stories," which are Papa Ed's specialty, 
and papa happily obliged.

We played lots of games at grandma's house.

On our way to the Zoo!!

They had camels to ride!

And lots of statues to climb on. 

We had lunch

If samuel was a turtle he'd look like this.

Ethan rubbed his bum after this pictures from all the bumps.

Samuel made a new friend.

These Elephant statues were life-sized!

Samuel climbed all the way on top!

Aunt Kris came over that night.

Sophie got a stroller and crib for her baby for Christmas, and loved playing with them!
Thanks Grandma!

Singing with Grandma

We all sang carols together.

At the Park!!

Swinging with Papa - she makes awesome faces!

Big guy in a little slide

Ethan loves playing in the sand.

Papa Ed and Sophie

She loved the park! "Squeeeeel!"

Watching the other kids playing

"Let me out!"

Going down the slide. 

Walking home

With all the fun, we had some down-time too.
Thanks to my friend Dani for the christmas book. It was a lot of fun!

We played Settlers of Catan a bunch of times after the little ones went to bed.
Loved it!

Ethan got his first Legos set for Christmas.
I wasn't sure if he was old enough to get into them, but I was wrong.
When the house was too quiet I would go looking for him and find him like this.
Thanks grandma!!

Lot's of building.

We got ready to play tennis with Papa

Eating Sushi with Papa

Gingerbread trains!

Sophie's first time. It was a lot like Ethan's first time, she basically just ate the candy.

She got really scared of the sticky green frosting. 
She tried to give it back to Daniel.

One of the finished products.

Kisses goodnight.

wrestling with Papa

Tickle monster!

Daniel and I officially adopted Samuel in October, 2011 and we were planning on getting sealed in the San Antonio temple in March. But we saw an opportunity to do it while we were in Arizona in order to have more family at the sealing. So we called our wonderful bishop who made a few calls for us and we were able to be sealed on Saturday morning, December 31, 2011.

Daniel and the kids played Who's Who on the drive there. 

Sunrise as we were driving.

So excited!

While we were in Arizona we met some wonderful people, the Edwards family. They were able to come to the temple for the sealing, along with Grandma and Papa Ed, Aunt Kris and Grandma Marjie. I'm really glad we did it in Mesa because the temple there has more facilities to help the kids. They have a youth room with toys and things to keep them occupied. It went very smoothly.

Ethan is our stubborn child and wouldn't stay still for the pictures. 
I'm hoping it's just a phase. 

Grandma and Sophie outside the temple. 

Anyone who knows me, knows I really like fireworks. The sparkly lights and making things explode, it's just fun. So we went out back to celebrate the new year. 

Sophie was a little scared but other than that we all had a great time!

She's a cuddler

One of my favorites. 
Sophie LOVED playing the piano with Aunt Kris.

Clapping afterwards. 

She was so content and played very nicely. 
I think we might have another pianist in the family. :) 

Aunt Kris brought her bells and we played Christmas songs.

First day of driving back home.

Second day of driving home, after staying at a hotel in Las Cruces, where Samuel left his duffle bag with all his clothes in it. We have called them and hopefully they will send it back to us like they said they would. 

Ice Cream stop.

About ready to crash towards the end of the evening. 
We got home around 10pm and it took a few days to recover, but we LOVE going to Grandma's house! 
Ethan was asking to go back almost as soon as we left. :) 

Daniel and I also celebrated our 5 year anniversary while we were in Arizona. We put the kids to bed then went to dinner at Fogo de Chao, (after helping an old lady put her groceries in her car across the parking lot at Walgreens), then we got some anniversary gifts - two pairs of Chaco's, and finished the night off with a late movie. 
It feels like a big mile-stone for me to be married for 5 years. My family moved around a bit during my younger years, from Alaska to Montana, to Idaho, and back to Alaska, and then when I reached middle school it seemed like my life was divided into short segments of time:
3 years of middle school
4 years of high school
took me 5 years to complete college

Now that I've passed that 5 year mark in my marriage, it feels like what it should be, a life-long and eternal commitment, not just another segment of my life to complete. I'm so thrilled that I get to spend eternity with Daniel. We've reached 5 years and we still love each other, we still appreciate each other and love to be together. I love that he is my husband and the father of my children.

Our lives are still divided into segments:
this spring Daniel will finish his Master's in Elec. Engineering, and then we will hopefully begin 4 years of his PhD. 
Within that 4-year time, Samuel will graduate high school and return home from his mission
I would like to do a Master's program part time within that 4 years as well. 
And when that is complete we will be able to settle someplace more permanently, with good schools for the little ones, maybe buy a house with cash, Daniel will be done with school, and Samuel will be an adult and into college life. 

Our long-term dream is to buy a bed and breakfast in Alaska and be there in the summers to run it as a family. Then we'll come back to the lower-48 each fall when Daniel will teach, and the kids will get back into school. That's our dream. 

We'll see how it goes. Here's to another 5 years!!


Em said...

gorgeous pic of you!!! loved all of the sleeping pics and jealous of the camel ride.

Peterson Update said...

Hi Sweetheart, Daniel, Samuel, Ethan and Sophie...great blog, excellent pictures of family and especially of the kids...grand kids, that is, during the 2011 holidays. Thanks for sharing your blog and pictures Sounds like you all had a great time and visit with Grampa and Gramma. Give the kids a hug and a kiss from us. I love you. Dad