Friday, January 03, 2014

Christmas Season 2013

This Christmas season was a busy one, like every year.  We made sure to have our house all ready for Christmas before leaving town for Thanksgiving.  That always makes it nice to come home to your own cozy place all decked out for the holidays.

Eating under 400 twinkle lights is so fun! #kidsloveittoo
The boys helped me pick out some new ornaments for the tree.  We went with reds, greens, browns, and golds.  Some of the ornaments have glitter too. 

Tyler made me the biggest ornament ever at school:

And on the back of the ornament is his autographed picture.

Our church Christmas party was very nice.  
Brian is the only one that would let me take a picture of him with Santa. 

Each Christmas, I try to give my Grandma Hallstrom a gift that is family related.  This year, I decided to gather all the family's contact info, birthday and anniversary dates, etc.  I bought this desktop calendar, put a neon colored circle sticker on the special dates, and labeled all of the birthdays and anniversaries of all of her kids, grandkids, and great grandkids.  I also typed up the list of the special dates, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.  And then, I bought her an address book and wrote all of the info in there for her (names written in pen, and the rest of the info in pencil).  Grandma lost her address book awhile ago and I knew she would really appreciate these time consuming gifts.  Gathering all of this info and putting it all together in these different formats took me about a week after all of the kids went to bed.  A couple of days after I finished the projects, I called Grandma up and asked her if I could come over and visit.  I decided to pick up our favorite Cafe Rio dish to share, Sweet Pork Salad.  Grandma was delighted.  I told her it was Spoil Grandma Day.  

Thanks to the whole Hallstrom family for helping me collect your contact info for Grandma! She loved her gifts... Family bday/anniversary calendar, and new address book.

One evening, we surprised our kids by giving them each a pass that said "Admit One on The Van Express.  PJs required upon entrance."  We all got our PJs on, got in the van, turned on our Christmas tunes, delivered some Christmas goodies to neighbors/friends, and Sam took us on a Christmas light tour of the town.  The scene above was bigger than it looks and was one of our favorites.  We even spotted 5 white tailed deer when we were near the mountains!

The boys spent most of their Christmas break sleeping on their bedroom floor.  They just LOVE their new sleeping bags from their NY grandparents!
Katie's Christmas wishes were to get her cast off and to be able to walk again.

On December 18th, Sam took Katie to the doctor.  
She had an X-ray taken.
The doctor said he was amazed with how well her two bones healed 
and that she would not need a walking boot!

The doctor still sent her home in her cast.
He had us take her cast off for a couple hours for the next 4 days 
and have her put pressure on her left leg.  
After those 4 days were up, we were told to not put her cast on her anymore 
and it was time to practice walking.  

Great news! Katie went to the Dr yesterday and she will not need a walking boot! We're suppose to take the cast off for a couple hours a day and help Katie walk. Then on Saturday or Sunday, we can throw the cast away! So exciting that our girl will be walking on Christmas!

Katie was timid for the first week about walking.  Katie preferred Sam helping her.  It's been a little over two weeks since her cast has been off and Katie is no longer nervous about walking.  She likes to walk around the block twice these days!  We are SO grateful that Katie's leg has completely healed!  Her Christmas wishes came true!  She has one more doctor appointment on the 15th, and hopefully that will close that lovely chapter of her life.  
I can't forget to mention this about Katie learning to walk again.  
One night when she was feeling scared she said, "Jesus will help me walk again!"  
Oh the faith of a little child… so humbling!

This Christmas was a special one for the youngest member of our family.  
It was Julia's First Christmas!
As you can see, she loved the Christmas lights.  
Some nights, Julia would get the luxury of lying on the floor under the tree 
without her siblings smothering her. 
Some other quick shots of Julia to document her first Christmas!
My kids didn't want to watch any other Christmas movies besides The Polar Express.  
They sure love that movie.  

Introducing baby to the Santa Tracker website!  Julia doesn't care one bit because she doesn't understand the whole Santa thing.  The boys loved tracking Santa's path on Christmas Eve.
Our backyard on Christmas Eve.  Yep, we had a white Christmas.
The kids sure were spoiled this Christmas!  Brian burst into our room on Christmas morning with an unexpected exclamation: "Tyler just THREW UP!"  Not the kind of greeting we wanted that morning. Poor Tyler had a 24 hour bug that wiped him right out.  He dozed off after opening his gifts.  Tyler loves his new Beyblade Warriors.  Brian loves his remote control truck and his new game, Racko.  Katie loves her magnetic paper dolls and her Mega Blocks princess castle.  And Julia loves her new jungle themed mega saucer.  I made Sam a nice calendar from Shutterfly he hung up at work.  One of my favorite gifts I receive every year is not having to do any cooking in the kitchen on Christmas Day.  Sam takes over for me.  We had homemade egg casserole and orange juice for breakfast and an amazing turkey dinner.  We enjoyed staying home and enjoying each other's company this Christmas.  I enjoy reflecting on all of our Christmases.

Oh, I must mention another one of my favorite gifts I bought for myself.  I downloaded this app on my phone called GrooveBook.  For $2.99, I had 100 of my iPhone photos printed and shipped to me! It's like a 4 x6" flip-book of my favorite iPhone photos.   What I love about GrooveBook is the perforated edges.  I just tore out one photo at a time and started creating 5 scrapbooks that day… one for each of the kids and a family scrapbook.  I also have a few prints I want to mail to some family and friends.  I can't wait for my second GrooveBook to arrive!  If you want to try GrooveBook for FREE, download the FREE app HERE, follow the sign up instructions, enter promo code WATD2 at checkout, and begin reviewing and uploading photos.

I also got these for Christmas.  I've been looking for these chalk markers for awhile and finally found them at Michael's Craft Store.  They are really fun to write with on mirrors and chalkboards.  All it takes is a damp cloth to wipe it off when you're done.
On Dec. 28th, we went to Orem for a day and a half.  On our way down, we stopped in Midvale to visit my sister, Laura and her husband, Brant.  We visited them in their apartment for a few minutes and then we went to Chick Fil-A for lunch.  It was fun to see them and catch up a bit.
At Sam's parents' home, we visited with Laura, her boyfriend, Josh, Staci, Kyle, their two dogs, Bella and Bauer, Rosanne, Rafa, and their two girls, Zoey and Sadie.  Carolyn threw a family party that started at 6pm.  More family came from the Salt Lake area for that: Uncle Ed and Aunt Fay, Aunt Deanne, Susie and her husband, Liz and her husband, Mike and Kim.  We shared a nice meal and had a gift exchange.  It was a nice evening.  The next morning, we went to church with Sam's parents, Laura, Josh, and Staci.  The kids had fun playing downstairs after church, and we headed home about 4:30pm.

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