Dec 31, 2018

2019, Here we Come!

I love Christmas and pretty much everything about the holiday season; the lights, the food, the gifts... you get the idea. But when it's over, it's over. I have been known to take out the tree after dark on the 25th, so it came as quite a surprise to my children when I insisted that this year we would be leaving the tree in until New Year's Eve.

That's because my cute little Twizlet (and her mommy and daddy, of course) have been in New Jersey with the other side of the family since December 23rd and we didn't get a chance to share Christmas with them before they left. I couldn't possibly put things away until they were home and had a chance to open their gifts.

Twizlet has gotten to be a pretty good gift-opener and she tore through her paper much quicker than the other babies did. She opened up books first and we had to read each one before she would move on. She felt the same way about the puzzle she got from Crafty.

Jet lag is so hard on little girls!
 She loved the little dishes, but I think her favorite gift might have been the sleeping bag shaped like a moose. She even gave it a kiss on the nose when she first opened it up!

Teach and Twiz also opened their gifts with much gratitude. Then we shared our first FHE with the new Come Follow Me curriculum. I love that we are going to spend more time developing a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, our Savior.

After that the kids played games while I did several haircuts. I cut Twiz's hair for the first time. It was a little scary since he has "black" hair, but he seemed pleased with the results. Then I cut Twizlet's bangs, Curly's hair, Crafty's hair, and Dog Walker's hair before retiring to the shower.

It was a fun and productive evening, but I'm thinking I will be tired tomorrow. There are always so many things that need to be finished up by the end of the year. 2019, here we come!

Dec 29, 2018

Mama's Jewelry Has the Perfect Gift

What do you think about this posting every other day plan? It was weird at first, but it's been a nice break through the holidays. I prefer posting every day though so I don't get confused. Besides, sometimes I have really important stuff I need to tell you. Like the fact that all 5 of my youngest kids are staying with Princess and The Frog tonight... or even more exciting, Mama's Jewelry has asked me to partner with them again right before my birthday so I can get another amazingly unique necklace or maybe even a pair of earrings. I haven't decided yet.

These are fun!

I know Christmas is over, but they will honor their sale price of an extra 10% off if you enter USFAMILYBLOG10 when prompted for a promo code on their website. You'll be surprised to find that their prices are already pretty low and definitely affordable for that special birthday coming up. It's also the perfect time to pick up something for your Valentine while you are shopping.

I love that Mama's Jewelry is a family-owned business because for me it is all about family. They are also one of the few places that still has great customer service and they even offer a lifetime warranty!

Last time I got the Tree of Life, but what do you think about these called the Swirl? So many choices...
...and I've got all the time in the world.

Dec 27, 2018

Christmas Day 2018

Now that I have had a day to recover, I'm excited to tell you about our Christmas day. It started later than usual with the kids finally convincing my sweetie and me to drag ourselves out of bed just after 8:00. (You think that's late, but Grandpa didn't emerge until about 10:00! He barely missed the festivities - but not breakfast - and managed to witness one of my favorite holiday traditions, the Christmas morning nap.)

+I slept for about 3 hours! I hadn't realized I was so tired, but I was hardly missed since the kids were spoiled as usual and they had plenty to keep them occupied. Crafty and Drama Queen both enjoyed the benefits of being an adult and receiving all of the "grown-up gifts" as well as some clothes and goodies.

My turn to play Santa...
 Sport received clothes and a new basketball as well as a hard drive for his computer. Scout and Baby Doll both got clothes and sewing machines (I guess it's time...) and Curly got a cool robotics kit, a Broncos football, and clothes, including a new puffer coat.
A real studio jacket for Baby Doll!

We left the giant gifts in the middle of the room to be opened later (we are pretty good at driving the kids nuts once a year), but they eventually proved to be a soccer table that has kept the kids pretty busy including a tournament today.

Princess and The Frog showed up with Tadpole about 4:00 and they opened their gifts, played games, and helped make dinner.

Beauty and The Beast brought Little Warrior to open his gifts about the time Dog Walker and Puppy Lover got back from visiting with her parents.

Bossy and Gamer and their kids came in, and Drama Queen and Baby Doll headed out to pick up Prima Donna. Then except for Teach, Twizlett, and Twiz, we were all here. (They are in New Jersey visiting with his folks.)

My sweetie made us an amazing Prime Rib dinner and many hands got the food to the table, eaten, and then cleaned back up. After the last of the gifts were opened, the kids drifted away and my sweetie and I went upstairs to watch TV while the kids hung back to play with the soccer table and some other games.

It was a magical Christmas (not without drama), but happy none-the-less.  Thank goodness we all have the Savior, repentance, and forgiveness.

I hope things worked out at your house too.

Merry Christmas!!

Dec 25, 2018

Christmas Eve

It's been a long time since I have had all my wrapping and prepping finished before Christmas Eve and I really should do it every year. I love being able to spend time with the kids making memories like our impromptu volleyball game this afternoon at the church.

Or Sport's sudden decision to dress up as Santa for his final deliveries.

And Crafty made the cutest little (albeit reluctant) elf...

We had lots of time for Drama Queen's sweet devotional and then opening the first gifts of Christmas which for us are always pajamas.

The kids watched a Christmas movie while the Dog Walker made cookies for Santa. A quick peek after the jolly old elf's visit reminded us how blessed we are with abundance and love.

Merry Christmas, everyone!
May all your days be merry and bright. 💝

Dec 23, 2018

Christmas Adam Observed

Christmas Adam happens to come on a Sunday this year, but that didn't stop us from coining a new phrase, Christmas Adam Observed. That way, we could still plan some fun activities with the kids. Drama Queen wanted to go to the zoo, so in spite of the inch of new snow, we headed out this morning. It actually turned out to be lovely and sunny at the zoo although pretty cold in the shade.

Our adventure included my sweetie and me, Drama Queen, Crafty, Sport, Scout, Curly, and Baby Doll. We wandered around the zoo for a couple of hours, riding the carousel, climbing on the statues, and even visiting the reptile house (an activity I normally avoid).

We left about 1:30 and took off on the second activity, a trip to Fat Cats Bowling Alley. My sweetie found out several days ago that none of the little kids had ever been bowling before, so we had to rectify that situation (besides, that made it easy to play our outing for today...) Teach, Twiz, and Twizlet met us at the bowling alley and we shared 2 lanes for 90 minutes; I could have sworn I had taken pictures there, but when I looked through my phone, I could not find even one. I guess I was too busy giving bowling lessons to take them.

This one Scout took is the only one I have. We said goodbye to Teach's family as they are heading for New Jersey on Sunday and we won't get to see them until nearly the new year. I'm glad they get to spend time with family there, but we sure miss them when they are gone. But I digress...

We arrived back at the house at 4:30 with 2 hours to eat dinner, grab some groceries, make a couple of deliveries, and leave for our final activity, The Forgotten Carols. I just love that show and I bought the tickets over Black Friday, so they were only $11 each. The kids were pretty excited! No pictures of the actual show, but I did snap a selfie of the girls in the hallway while our guys were in the restroom.

We got home late and sent the kids off to bed. Tomorrow we only have an hour of church and then some of us are planning to do a little visiting. for actual Christmas Adam. The clock is ticking down and it is almost Christmas... ready or not!

Dec 22, 2018

The Dozen Christmas Party

A few years ago, Drama Queen decided to take upon herself the task of planning and executing a Christmas party for just our 12 children, their spouses and kids (and of course, Grandpa!). Her thinking was that this party would grow bigger and bigger each year so we should just start out with it at the church... oh, and since we are at the church, we can use the stage... let's put on a play!

It didn't take her long to realize that a real play would be almost impossible, but she could choose a theme and we could do some sort of show. So this year she chose The Muppets' Christmas Carol. If you are not familiar with this award-winning production (the kids give it a thumbs-up, anyway), it is the retelling of a Christmas Carol, Kermit the Frog style. Michael Caine plays Scrooge, but I'm pretty sure my sweetie did just as good of a job in the lead role.

It is so much fun to watch him be an actor! I have always known that he is an amazing storyteller, but I had no idea he could also turn his words into magic on the stage. But wait, I am getting ahead of myself. First we had dinner, spaghetti and meatballs. The kids each contributed something to the meal. The favorite were Princess's sugar cookies and a decorating station. While we ate, Drama Queen shared with us the video she had made of 2018. Such cute pictures!

Then it was our version of a Muppets' Christmas Carol. After that, we were a little rushed trying to open gifts and clean up before the decorating crew came in at 9:00 for tomorrow's party. The kids would have liked more basketball and possibly some dodgeball. I would have liked that too as well as some Christmas carols, but maybe we can squeeze all that in next year...

... and a play...

Dec 20, 2018

Zoolights At Hogle Zoo

If you read my blog every day, you might think that all we do is play...

Tonight my sweetie took us all down to Hogle Zoo so we could see the Zoolights. This is an activity that looked fun, but one that we had never had the opportunity to do. This year we discovered that our Zoo passes also included free admission for our immediate family, so we wanted to make sure we made time in our crazy schedules to get there.

As it turned out, most of our kids felt like they couldn't get away, so we filled our car with me, my sweetie, Twizlet, Curly, and Baby Doll. For December, the evening was pretty warm and clear, so we packed the wagon for Twizlet (partly because her parents forgot to bring us shoes today and the only ones we had were the flip-flops...).

The parking lot was more than half-full when we got there and the crowds had just barely gone in, but after a short wait, we were inside and the crowds seemed to fade away. The zoo is large and tonight it was full of lights. My favorite were the ones that were non-traditional with the wireframes and the fabric stretched over them. They looked almost real is the half-darkness. I liked the lion the best, but Twizlet's favorite was the eagle.

We walked the entire path, enjoying the animals, a couple of carousel rides, and a quick visit with Santa. Curly loved watching the artisan carving a huge block of ice with a chainsaw. Strangely, we didn't see one single live animal, they were all safely tucked into their beds, snoozing away while the crowds gawked at animals with much less life in them.

We had a great time and the kids are certain we need to plan a trip back next year.

Dec 19, 2018

Christmas Carole Singalong 2018

We had so much fun yesterday taking the family downtown to participate in the Christmas Carole Singalong. We left the house a few minutes later than we planned and we stopped for gas. That caught us in traffic, so instead of getting to the Vivint Center at 5:50, we made it just after the doors opened at 6:00.

Thankfully, my little brother of the famous Utah's Adventure Family, was there a bit quicker and he got us all seats on the 7th row! You can't get much closer than that! Since the show didn't start until 7:00, we spent the hour taking selfies and eating popcorn until the arena was nearly filled.

The show was mostly about us singing Christmas carols, but the Bonner Family did perform several numbers as well. Such amazing voices!

The highlight of the evening was our dear friend and neighbor, Santa, visiting this huge crowd. He did a fantastic job!

No, not this Santa!

When the show was over, we drifted back to the free parking lot and then drove around Temple Square on our way home. So many adventures, so little time...

Dec 18, 2018

Extended Family Christmas Party

On Sunday evening, we had our extended family Christmas party. I'm not 100% sure how many people we had, but it was somewhere close to 60.

Little Warrior didn't like the crowd much.
We served up a baked potato bar and after everyone had eaten their fill, we decorated sugar cookies supplied by Princess. She made over 200 cookies all by herself, well, not quite all by herself, Tadpole helped too. They were so yummy!

Lots of decorating going on.

Once cookies were finished, we were surprised by a special visitor all dressed in red.

Some of the kids were really excited and happy to sit on Santa's lap.

Scout's been good all year??
We hear it all the time, Curly's such a great kid.
Skittles didn't seem to mind as long as he got his gift.
Of course Baby Doll loves Santa, she's always a good girl.
  Some, not so much, and they required their mamas to help.

Twizlet gives the best Stink Eye!
Even you, Little Warrior?
After presenting each child with a small gift, Santa packed up his sack and headed off.

Tadpole is pretty stoic...
Bye, Santa!!

I whipped 4 gallons of ice cream into eggnog shakes and after exchanging gifts, the family all drifted off to their own homes. My sweetie put away his Santa suit for yet another year, and we cleaned up the mess. I ate way too many sugar cookies.

Then we had our own Christmas singalong with Prima Donna on lead vocals. I miss having her beautiful voice around us.

Hope your evening was just as merry and bright...