Chunk the First - School let out a full week before Christmas, which is just how I like it. I'd rather have more time with the kids before Christmas rather than after, even though it forces me to have more things accomplished earlier since I won't have hardly any alone time once the kids are out of school. Fine by me - I like to have a few days together to really enjoy the holiday spirit. We had a lovely week before Christmas - not only did we attend Star Wars, but we went to the annual Christmas singing party our friends the Bucherts throw every year. It's so divine - signing has got to be just about my favorite part of Christmas and I don't get much of a chance to do it. This was our fourth year going and I really look forward to gathering around the piano while we sing together, no matter how I struggle to hang on to that alto part. I also got to go see my friend Becky play in her neighborhood's performance of the Messiah. I was grateful to sneak out on a Sunday night and do that. And we had lots of other fun with friends, going on Christmas light scavenger hunts, watching every Christmas movie we could think of....well, that's not quite true. We draw the line at Ernest Saves Christmas. The youth in our church had a caroling night that was a lot of fun - although I spent most of it hosting a viewing of Home Alone for the younger siblings who didn't want to brave the cold.
Finally Christmas Eve arrived. We were lucky enough to enjoy a formal breakfast with the Bucherts for the second year running - once again we made heaps of delicious food, gathered in the Buchert's beautiful home and listened to the King's College Christmas Eve Broadcast. Those boys make it sound like the very angels are accompanying our meal. I just love this time we get to spend together. After breakfast when we left we fell into a bit of a lull - most years we try to spend the day doing something active, especially sledding or something. However, as we left the Buchert's, we found that no one really wanted to go - it was quite sunny and we suspected that many of our favorite sledding hills would be quite icy or perhaps even grassy. Instead we headed home and the girls played in the back yard for a while.
The day even began to drag until I decided that I had to be very brave and do one of those things that you just HAVE to do at Christmas, no matter how big of a mess it makes. Yes, it's true. I called the girls in and we made sugar cookies. Not my favorite. But I can't deny that putting on new Christmas aprons, playing some happy sing-along Christmas Carols and making cookies with my daughters was a great way to spend Christmas Eve. We had a lot of fun, and finished up just in time for my parents to come over and join our quiet evening.
We had decided to hold our annual Waffles and Wassail evening on Christmas Eve itself - there wasn't another good night to do it, and we couldn't think of anything else we'd rather do on Christmas Eve. So we whipped up our waffles, plus I had made an egg casserole just so there was something with protein on the menu. Mom and Dad came over and we made a few more cookies, enjoyed our breakfasty-feast, and watched the wonderful Muppets do A Christmas Carol in that special way that only the Muppets can. And then it was off to bed.
Luckily I had managed to get all the wrapping done a few days before Christmas - there is, for some reason, almost nothing more depressing to me about my Christmas preparations than wrapping presents on Christmas Eve, knowing that they will have less than 24 hours to stay wrapped up in their beautiful paper. It exhausts me to even think about it. So happily, the wrapping was all done, and Troy and I were able to enjoy a calm Christmas Eve with a movie and some egg nog.
On Christmas morning, as Troy and I were snuggled lazily in bed and the kids, one by one, made their way upstairs to begin the pestering process we were horrified to learn that Cap had been awake since 2 am. I guess being an official teenager hasn't put a dent in his Christmas excitement. Happily he didn't start bugging us until 6 and I think he may have even stayed out of the living room, though I kind of like the image of him sneaking in for a peek in the wee hours of the night.
There were many wonderful surprises this year - an over-abundance of legos and action figures for Cap, lots of clothing and new clogs for Bitty and Skippidy was thrilled by her little pile of Shopkins and baking equipment. I can't deny, however, that the gift of the year was this purple fleece kitty cat that Skippidy had made in her sewing class for Skippidy. Bitty was really nervous about giving it to her, and was really hoping that she'd love it. She was not disappointed. Skippidy not only went totally berserk with adoration but she even started crying she was so happy. She named her new kitty Hope, and snuggles with her every night. I also received a gift from Bitty's sewing classes - this darling little pouch for all of my purple pens. It was made all of purple fabric and has a snap-shut top made by inserting measuring tape (the metal kind) into the seam. She was so thoughtful and was absolutely glowing after seeing how happy her gifts made us. Great morning.
This is Skippidy right after she opened a cookbook by her favorite YouTuber, Ro of Nerdy Nummies.
She went insane with joy!
|And here is Skippidy in tears because she was so moved by Bitty's gift to her|
|I gave Troy a book of our blog - just year 2....I have a long way to go to catch up!|
|For breakfast I made Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls....they were wickedly delicious. Absolutely sinful. |
Can I have more?
Once the presents were opened, the kids set to playing while I set to cooking and cleaning because Christmas Chunk the First was over, and it was time for....
Chunk the Second - Bring on the relatives! I spent much of Christmas day preparing for family get togethers. I was so happy because not only had Peter and Sheri and kids decided to come up north on Christmas Day itself, but Adam and Whitley had made the treacherous journey from Bainbridge Island to Whit's parents' home in Woodland, Utah. They thought it would be fun to have a snowy mountain Christmas, and I'm sure there was a lot that was fun about it, despite the fact that they had multiple driving delays due to weather, they couldn't drive to the house due to no snowplows...and basically seemed to face serious obstacles all along the way. I'm still really glad they came. And on Christmas Evening every single member of our Romney family met up at Margaret's house to enjoy a feast of Mexican food - all the favorite traditional stuff we have loved eating together in years past, like posole, pulled pork, great salsas and guac, and of course fried sopes. We weren't sure we were all going to fit into Margaret's house (and all I could think of was better your house than mine!) but somehow we were comfortable and cozy. (I'm sure it was the Ghost of Christmas Present showering us with his blessings.) We ate, we talked and laughed, and we had one MASSIVE gift exchange that was just really really fun. I made Margaret a hat I'm really proud of, Whitley gave me a really neat framed piece of art that looks like a quilt square - and it just so happened that it matched perfectly a quilt of my great-grandmother's that Margaret had but couldn't find a place for, so I came away with an antique quilt as well as art to go with it. Troy got an awesome UofU sweatshirt and Cap got a Star Wars t-shirt that he pretty much hasn't taken off since he got it. Bitty got a great movie, Totoro, with a stuffy to go with it, and all of Skippidy's dreams came true when she opened up a chocolate pen. Yes, that's right. A pen that writes with chocolate.
I was so grateful for that evening, and it kicked off several days of family time, mostly with Peter and Sheri. My parents joined us for as many outings and meals and activities as they could. It was a hard week for my dad since mom's care centers were closed for the holidays. It kind of wore him out. We were happy to have lots of Oma and Apa time. The Romneys and the Preslars had lots of fun outings - our favorite probably being a big excursion downtown to see the new Church History Museum, visit the candy windows at Macy's and see the lights at Temple Square. I have some advice. The lights at Temple Square are AMAZING and should not be missed at Christmas time. But go AFTER Christmas. That way you won't feel like you're in some type of holiday mosh-pit about to get trampled by hoards of families out for both shopping and blood. Seriously. It was so peaceful and beautiful. And very very cold. So we didn't stay long, just enough to take in the sights, snap some pictures and get out of there. Fun evening.
|Oh the piles of coats - they were intimidating and numerous!|
Chunk the Third....
Which involved puking. Much puking. We were all sick for days. (Kids with the pukes, Troy and I both were fighting off colds.) Even over New Years and our anniversary. I'm not going to include many details. I'll just say that for our anniversary, we left our somewhat miserable kids home for an hour to go grab a quick dinner at Porcupine Grill and marvel that 18 years have gone by. We don't feel old enough to have been married for that long, but I suppose that feeling will only intensify as the years go by. EIGHTEEN?? Our marriage has reached adulthood!
I love you, Troy.
New Year's Eve was very quiet - Troy stayed home with a sick Bitty (she was the tail-end of the puking train) and they watched Lord of the Rings while Cap, Skippidy and I went to the ward building to hang out and chat and eat appetizers with other families from the neighborhood. It was really fun, but pretty mellow, which was just what we needed after that marathon. Cap stayed up late with friends to ring in the New Year while I sat at home, alone at the couch, everyone else tucked in and sound asleep, enjoying the Christmas lights for a few more hours before the holidays really came to a close.