Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Christmas Eve

So I'm going to try to catch up for the last week.  Christmas Eve is a big deal.  We always host, and we had about 24 this year--family and friends.  It is a lot of fun.  We always have lots of yummy food--3 kinds of soup, rolls, and lots of yummy sides with my famous Christmas Eve rice pudding which I only make once a year on Christmas Eve.  It is to-die-for.  Here is a look at our day. . . 
Christmas Eve afternoon we always go next door to our neighbors for gifts and then the kids play a little concert for them.  The kids usually always play the piano, but this year Miss O and Miss E also did a brass number which was quite impressive :)

Then later that night at our house we have another concert.  We started with the youngest kid and went to the oldest who wanted to play a Christmas song that we could sing to.  This year we had violins, piano, guitar, and the girls' brass number.  It was a pretty impressive concert.  Lots of singing--I love Christmas music!!

Mr J takes his piano very seriously :)

We had poems read--we love our sister missionaries!

and then the highlight of the evening--the Nativity play.  Mary and Joseph heading to Bethlehem.

Ben reading the story from the Bible.

Our whole cast this year--Wise men/women on the left, shepards on right, and love the sheep lower right :)

Then everyone leaves and my kids get to open one gift--new pajamas.  The girls felt like dancing after they got theirs :)

And then it was off to bed for visions of sugar plums to dance in their heads and wait for Santa to come. . .

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

2013 last Daily December 25--Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from all of us orange-nosed reindeer to you!!!
We will see you next year!!!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2013 Daily December 24--Christmas Eve

Our Christmas Eve is very predictable.  We do the same wonderful things every year.  These pictures are from last year.  I always host Christmas Eve with lots of family and dear friends.
The kids all play Christmas pieces on the piano. 

We sing lots and lots of songs--some with the piano and some with our handbells.

My dad reads The Christmas Story and we re-enact it.  A huge highlight of the night.

Of course we have really good food that we eat all night too :)

We also track Santa on Norad here.

Then everyone opens new pajamas, we make a plate of cookies for Santa, and then off to bed with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads!

Merry Christmas!!!

Monday, December 23, 2013

2013 Daily December 23--16 candles

Sweet Sixteen
From 6 to 


And what an amazing young woman she is! 

Miss A is so thoughtful
so sensitive to others and their feelings
she is very dedicated
a very hard worker
she cares
she loves
she has a beautiful singing voice
plays the piano amazingly
has a strong faith
she believes and lives her life accordingly
super smart

she very seldom cleans her room, but other than that she is pretty much perfect :)

Happy Birthday Miss A!!!  How lucky we are to have you in our family! 

We love you!!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

2013 Daily December 22--our bedroom tree

I love Christmas trees.  The last 3 years Ben and I have put one up in our bedroom.
It is just a small one.  Miss O strings popcorn for it every year.  It makes it look so pretty.  We put all the ornaments the kids have made on this tree.  

Looking at it makes me happy and sad.

They have grown so much!

Where does the time go?

You can tell they have had the same teachers over the years with the similar ornaments they make which I just love!

What a doll--when did she get so grown up?

So cute!

This was kindergarten and she will be 16 tomorrow!!!!  When did that happen?

Joy truly is what they have given me.
and Ben even has an ornament I made circa 1988 on there :)  Love Christmas memories!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

2013 Daily December 21--our nativity sets

I like to document the things we do and also the things we have.  I think it is always fun to look back and say, "Oh yeah, I remember that!"  This year I wanted to document and record our nativity sets.  The focus of Christmas is and should be Christ, and I try to decorate with that in mind.  There is a nativity set in each bedroom and in all the major rooms of the house.  Here is our collection. . .
This one is in our entryway.  It is the first thing you see when you come in our front door. My mom got this for me one Christmas.

This fun playmobil set my sister gave to us years ago.  It is in the family room.

This set is also in the family room on the fireplace mantel.  It is just a simple set I got at Wal-mart several years ago.

This is my favorite, very special set.  It is in the living room in the window seat next to the tree.  I got it at Costco 2 years ago.  I had been eyeing it every Christmas for the last 8 years when they bring out their Christmas stuff and was finally able to get it.  The detail is amazing.  It is so beautiful.

This beautiful set my in-laws brought us from South Africa.  It is also in the living room.

This old Avon set is in the girls' room.  My DeeDee and Grum had this set from when I was a kid. I used to play with it at their house.  I just happen to be there for Christmas one year when my kids were little and DeeDee said--"look through all the toys and see if you can find that nativity set and your kids can have it."  What a treasure!  

This Fisher Price Little People set is Miss A's.  She got it from my in-laws one year for her birthday when she was little.  It is a favorite also.

This set I got at Target a few years ago on their after Christmas sale.  This set is in Mr J's room.  

And this set is in my bedroom on the mantel over my fireplace.  I got it at a local store several years ago.

Fun to document. Fun to remember.

Friday, December 20, 2013

2013 Daily December 20--The Christmas letter

Every year I send out a Christmas letter and picture.  Here is this year's edition

Dear Family and Friends,  
We hope this Christmas season finds you and yours healthy and well.  We are doing great.  It has been a year of firsts and change for us.  First time being band parents, first time being basketball parents, and Ben had a job change.  We are still in our same town, same house—come see us!  We weren’t looking for the job change, but it fell into our laps, and we felt it would be good.  Ben is now the Director of Rehab Services at the brand new Hospital.  Being in a brand new facility is very nice, and he enjoys his work and co-workers.  It has been and continues to be a challenge and a good change.  Here is what everyone else has been up to this year along with their favorite books of the year. 

Ben—new job, got to move his department to the new hospital, teaching early morning seminary, playing the piano in the Primary at church, seldom if ever makes the bed, favorite book:  Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

Jen—trying to keep everyone’s schedules straight and get to all the different ball games and events, Young Woman’s president at church, school volunteer, doesn’t like to make the bed, blogger extraordinaire J www.bluejeansmomma.blogspot.com and favorite books:  The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter series by Susan Wittig Albert and The Seven Miracles that Saved America by Christ and Ted Stewart.

Miss A—almost 16!!, sophomore, driving our big old green mini-van to school, track star, cross country star, piano, Singers, loves writing, all A’s student, never makes her bed, favorite book:  The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen.

Miss O—13, 8th grader, band student extraordinaire—High School marching band, performance band, 2 jazz bands and regular middle school band!  Plays the mellophone, French horn, trumpet, piano, and guitar,  track star—broke school record for mile, volleyball, basketball, super reader, all A’s, very good cook, never picks up her clothes or makes her bed, favorite book:  Divergent by Veronica Roth

Miss E—11, 6th grader, band lover—plays trombone, also plays piano, super reader, loves middle school, all A’s, loves to be with friends, very good cook, loved seeing the Broadway musical Wicked, this summer:  swim team, play, tennis, theater, art and basketball camps, never makes her bed, favorite book:  Divergent by Veronica Roth

Mr J—8, 3rd grade, got baptized into our church this year, cub scouts, this summer: swimming lessons, theater, science and basketball camps, loved seeing the Broadway musical Wicked, sometimes remembers to make his bed, favorite book:  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

We hope you enjoy this season.  We are so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for Christ’s birth, life, atonement and resurrection.  He is our Savior—the Savior of the world who loves us, and we love Him.  May you feel of His matchless love this season and all year. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

2013 Daily December 19--Christmas programs

I do have 4 kids so I guess it should come as no surprise that I had 4 Christmas programs.  It was nice when they were all in one school or not even in school, but not anymore.  So here is a look at our Christmas program season. . .
Mr J is our lone elementary kid.  This grade got to play the recorders.  So fun!

And sing.

He is a good singer and looked so sharp in his suit and tie!

And then there was Middle School band. . .

In that above picture there are 85 kids (7th/8th grade) on that stage.  Miss E was in there somewhere, and Ben was able to catch a peek of her here.  She plays the trombone.

And Miss O playing her French horn.

And then they was middle school jazz band 2

Miss O plays the trumpet there

And then middle school Jazz Band 1 with Miss O on the piano

She was awesome on that!

And then there was high school choir

Miss A does that.

And the high school top sing/dance choir.  Miss A in the middle

The girls did a cute number

And then she had a cute dance partner for the rest of the program.  Fun stuff!

Love Christmas programs--even in 4's :)