Monthly Archives: December 2013

Christmas 2013

Raine’s nativity drawing

Christmas was extremely basic this year. Four months ago, our lives were really thrown out of balance and we are still trying to find a new normal. I feel like I’m always behind, that I can’t catch up, and I am exhausted from trying! DJ has always done a lot around our house and it has been a hard adjustment to have him around only half as much as he used to be. It has also been a big adjustment for me to have a kindergartner. I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly is sucking up all my time — I always thought I would have more time when the kids started school full time, but it is definitely not working out that way.

Because of all this discombobulation: we only got about half of our Christmas decorations put up; we didn’t go anywhere or do anything special; presents were minimal; we didn’t take around plates of goodies to our neighbors; we didn’t get out to look at Christmas lights; and the list goes on. We took care of the things that absolutely had to be taken care of and the few “extras” we managed to eek out were just a bonus.

Christmas day was a blessed day of family time . . . FINALLY!! We didn’t have to do anything, so we didn’t. Carter was the first one awake so he woke up Raine, then we all sat around the tree and opened presents.

{No, it’s not your glasses, ALL of the pictures are out of focus! I’m not sure what happened. The camera must’ve had a little too much eggnog!}


Raine forgot to put out her stocking, so Santa decided to hide the presents and left her a note stating that she would have to find them. (They turned out to be in her sock drawer, of course!) Good thing he didn’t just put the presents back in his sleigh because Raine really liked the electric toothbrush that he left!



Carter did a good job picking out a present for Raine! He went to the craft store (even though “it’s stinky”) and picked out Barbie scrapbook paper (making sure Barbie was modest first) and iridescent gel pens. This kid knows what his sister likes!


Breakfast was Belgium waffles with fresh fruit.


Then it was time to play with the new toys.



Raine sang into that microphone all day long . . . I think it’s safe to say that she liked it!


The afternoon was perfect for playing outside.


Last year we had snow on Christmas so Raine kept waiting for it to come this year, too. I finally convinced her that you can have Christmas without snow.



There was a lot of jumping going on, I think they were excited!




A bubble bath was the perfect way to end the day. “Ho! Ho! Ho!”


Pre-Christmas photo dump

Dec 2: Decorating the tree


Only the lower four feet had ornaments!


Dec 15: Christmas clothes




Dec 19: Throwing airplanes into the tree


Dec 19: Arlington Christkindl Market marionette show. After the show, the kids were invited up to the stage to see one of the puppets up-close. Raine and Carter preferred to hang back — they remembered how creepy those puppets look when you are too close!


Raine met up with her school friend, Drew. They made puppets together before the show.


Dec 20: Raine’s class Christmas party.





This was not a “holiday” party like you are forced to have in public schools these days, this was a bona fide “Christmas” party. For the gift exchange, each child brought a wrapped book and they passed the gifts around the circle each time they heard the name “Jesus” in the nativity story.


Dec 21: Breakfast with Santa. We were iced out on our original date. Fortunately, we were able to reschedule and have a very fun time.




While waiting to see Santa, the kids got to write letters to the missionaries serving from our ward.


They also got to make crafts to take home. (Fortunately, I purchased WAY more crafts than we had kids because we had a very chatty Santa this year! Each child made two or three ornaments while they waited.)


My cute little friend Adrian wanted to take a photo of me with my camera, since I was taking photos of everyone else. Carter wasn’t too thrilled about being in it with me!

20131221_2898_CM 20131221_2897_Adrian

Dec 22: Sunday afternoons can get a little silly around here while we wait for Daddy to get home.



There is always at least one re-enactment of primary.


At some point during December, Carter became obsessed with Superman. Fortunately, we had a shirt and cape in the dress-up bucket.


Dec 23: Raking leaves for our secret Santa sister in the ward.


After filling ten yard bags with mulched leaves, we had only de-leafed about 3/4 of her front yard! We were hoping to at least clear the front so the young men would only have to deal with the back when they finally got around to her, but we severely underestimated the number of bags we would need. (And we didn’t want to stick around too long and risk being caught in the act!)


Dec 24: We were able to perform some service that helped us get into the Christmas spirit when we found out that a family in the ward was without electricity and low on food. We packed up some supplies, wrapped a few toys that were lingering in the corners of my closet, and picked up some pizzas for them. It makes you realize just how much you have when you spend a little time in someone’s barren apartment, deep in the ghetto, on Christmas Eve. Our kids were able to personally experience what everyone always talks about at Christmas time . . . helping those in need.

Christmas Eve: making gingerbread houses while watching Mr. Kruger’s Christmas.



Then we snuggled up on the couch and watched The Polar Express, projected on the wall. Soon enough we were all warm in our beds, waiting for Santa to come.

Kindergarten field trip

Thursday, Raine and I went on a field trip with her kindergarten class. Raine was so disappointed that I couldn’t attend her last field trip . . . there was no way I could miss this one!


Our first stop was the Casa Manana Theater, where we watched “Frosty the Snowman.”


Raine and her good friend Mayla, waiting for the play to start.


Our next stop was the west campus of Temple Christian. We ate lunch there, then continued on to a nursing home. The kids sang Christmas carols to the residents, then gave them goodie bags and pictures they had colored.

“Away in a Manger” (Raine is over on the left side of the group, in the back, wearing a pink jacket)

“Jingle Bells”

This trip was a fun opportunity to meet the people that Raine spends so much time with. Now when she tells me stories about her day, I have a better understanding of who and what she is talking about. It is also fun to get a visual reminder of what a good kid Raine is!

Shorts and snow days

Tuesday and Wednesday it was 80 degrees outside.





Thursday morning we woke up to temps in the 30’s, and wind-chills in the 20’s. By late afternoon, the freezing rain was starting to fall. Friday, we had our first snow-day!

Daddy finally made good on his promise to take Raine tubing . . . in the driveway! He tied a rope to one of the handles of his vintage sno-tube so he could keep her from flying out into the street. Then he used the rope to pull her back up the driveway before sending her down again.


Carter wasn’t so sure about this tubing business at first. He preferred to just slip and slide around on his feet.


I convinced him to ride with me.


Then he was hooked.


By the time we came inside, two of our neighbors were “sledding” down their driveways too. It was great!