Friday, December 31, 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Day

On Christmas day we stayed home in the morning to enjoy some family time by ourselves. Emme woke up around 8 AM (merry Christmas to us!) and we followed her down the hall with the camera to capture her reaction. It was less than satisfying, ha ha. But once we showed her the stocking full of chocolate and how to rip open the presents, she was totally into it.

Here's the shot of our presents & stockings. Incidentally, you might notice that there are no decorations on the lower half of the tree, except for the picture frame with a photo of Chris and I in it. Emme couldn't resist the temptation, so after much tribulation, all decorations were moved to the top half of the tree in early December. The picture frame exception remains, because Emme loves to point at it during the day and say "dada!"

Chris got a tie rack & a cool soda holder in his stocking, and Emme got some cute finger puppets and a leash. (Don't judge me, lol!) I got some fun tights, some slippers and a bath fizzer.

Emme also got lots of books this year -- which we love! Emme is bringing me books all day long and backing into my lap with her little bum for me to read to her. So these are much appreciated by all! (Thanks, Aunt Lynnie, for the cute Reindeer book!)

{Emme getting into the unwrapping}

Santa brought Emme a Fisher Price Say Please Tea Set, which happens to have great reviews and is listed on the "most played with toys" list for her age group. It is a huge hit! She's still playing with it! When Grandma and Grandpa came to our house a day later, we all sat down and Emme "poured" us tea and drank it. She seriously loves this thing. Go, Santa.

Emme's got this "ooooh" face that she does every time she opens a gift. It's so cute and funny. Like she's totally into it, and excited about everything she's opening. Chris and I thought it was a hoot.

{A cool bath toy I bought for Emme's birthday but ended up giving her for Christmas. (And incidentally, the price has doubled since I bought it. Weird.}

{More books!}

The grand finale of Emme's presents was a Handy Manny quad-powered four-wheeler! It only took her half a day to get the hang of it. Now she hops on and pushes the button to cruise around and it surprises everyone in the room. So funny! (Santa got this one for $30 bucks after Thanksgiving, down from nearly $100. Another score for Santa.) They had a princess version of this toy at the North Pole, but, Santa happens to have the same feelings about unisex toys as I do. Sweet!

{Her face isn't technically dirty in this photo -- it's chocolate. She was so into her stocking candy that we had to pry a fully wrapped chocolate foil bell from her steel jaws and put the candy out of her reach, ha ha.}

This is the only family picture we got on Christmas day this year. We're in pj's, but oh well. I love it.

I gave Chris a sausage/cheese/cracker gift basket (because he loves them), and Chris surprised me with a Dyson! Our vacuum is dying a slow death, so it was perfect timing.

The other Christmas gift I got from Chris was even better. Better than a Dyson, you say? Yes, better than a Dyson.

There was an envelope on the tree with my name, and inside was a letter offering Chris a full time managerial position with his company in Salt Lake! For those of you who don't know, Chris has been in a manager training program for the last 8 or so months, with the understanding that come January 1st, he could be placed full time anywhere. (It was beginning to look like either Layton, Tooele or Santaquin. Yikes.) I didn't even know that Chris had interviewed for this position, so it was a complete surprise. The best Christmas gift, ever!

Later in the day we headed to the Spencers for Christmas brunch. We always have sushi, ham, Kathryn's famous potato salad, Aunt Lynnie's seven layer dip, asparagus ham rolls, relish trays, cheese ball & crackers, and other yummy hors'd'oeuvres. It was delicious. Emme was partial to dad's soda.

The Flanagans stopped by and brought Harley, their cute puppy, with whom Emme has a love-hate relationship. They both rile each other up like crazy! They did pretty well today until the very end, when Emme must have pushed Harley over the edge because she began nipping at her heels.

After brunch we got to open our presents from Grandma & Grandpa Spencer, and the Peacocks. I got some new popover pans, a new fancy rolling pin, Eclipse on Blu Ray DVD, and some new pj pants from Victoria's Secret. Plus some spending money & gift cards. My fave!

Chris got new garments (hallelujah) and a 5-year subscription to the Ensign from Stan & Kathryn. (All things he picked out himself. Go, Chris.)

Emme got a cute velour hoodie set with a blinged out Minnie Mouse on it from Aunt Lynnie. So cute!
She got a cute princess loufa & soap set from Scott, which she kept shoving onto my lap for me to open because she loved it so much!

Grandma & Grandpa Peacock gave her a cute sweater outfit.

And more books! We can't get enough!

Notice the splotches on Emme's face? I think I gave her some potato salad or some cheesecake. This is what her face looks like nowadays when she eats dairy. It's better than it used to be, but the reaction is still there.

Emme also got a set of picture-book scriptures (is that what they're called?) that I asked Grandma Spencer to give her. We held our very first family home evening this week with them and it was so fun! (Preston was so intrigued by these.)

Emme loves snuggling with Grandpa.

Grandma Spencer gave Emme a giant Mickey Mouse doll that she loves. It's bigger than her! She drags it around everywhere, and carries it from room to room at home. She just loves Mickey.

{Giving Mickey hugs.}

Emme's major award from Grandma & Grandpa Spencer was a Radio Flyer wagon! I'm so excited about this one, and Emme loves climbing in and out of things. She's in love with it already -- I can't wait for warm weather!

Grandpa put the wagon together while Preston & Emme played in it.

{I heart this picture.}

Later that night we had dinner with the Paces at Daniel & Julie's house. I brought my camera with us but we were so beat that I never even pulled it out. So you'll have to take my word for it.

We had a yummy steak dinner, and lava cakes for dessert. In between courses, we watched some old home movies that all the kids transferred from tape to DVD for my parents for Christmas this year.

Then Chris & Emme and I opened our gifts from Grandma & Grandpa Pace. Emme got the Little People farm, a magna doodle (both on the "most played with" list!), and some cute new boots. Chris and I got some new tupperware mixing bowls, some new LED outdoor Christmas lights, the Cathedral Game (love this!), President Monson's new biography, and a gift card.

It was a wonderful day with family & friends, and such a fun time for our own little growing family. I never dreamed it could be so much fun to watch the world through a toddler's eyes. We feel so, so blessed to have such wonderful family and friends, and to have the knowledge of the gospel in our lives. We are so thankful for the Savior and for this time of year.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Eve

We spent Christmas Eve with my side of the family this year. My mom hosted the traditional Norwegian Christmas Eve party for over 70 people this year! Wowser. It was a complete madhouse, but so much fun.

Before the party began, we did our gift of the heart exchange with my siblings & parents. Chris got an awesome set of etched Utah glasses from Nate, and I got a neat photography book & gift card from Daniel. (The more I read it, the more my list of photography"needs" grows. Oy.) All of my siblings got together and transferred all of our old home movies onto DVD for Christmas. It truly was a gift of the heart, and a gift of time! But they loved it and we had such a good time getting to watch all of our old videos as we worked.

We started the evening by hanging out and chatting, and reading the Christmas Story from the bible, as always. This was the first year my sweet Grandpa was not there to read it to us, and he was missed.

Then we headed towards the good stuff -- the food. It's a meal we only get once a year, with fun Norwegian dishes and it was thoroughly enjoyed ( most everyone except the in-laws.) :)

Emme hung out with Stu for a little while. That little girl's got him wrapped around her finger! He just about melted when she grabbed his hand to walk down the hall to his room -- and I got his reaction on camera! Adorable. What a cute pair.

I love this little sequence of Emme, as she's peering around the corner in Stu's room, and then sees me. It's the reaction I get everytime she sees me -- she breaks into a smile and comes running towards me with her arms outspread -- and it makes me melt!

After dinner we had dessert. We have a fun tradition of passing bowls of rice pudding around the table while singing Christmas carols. When the song ends, you eat the dish in front of you and if you find the hidden almond in your dessert, you get a prize! It's very competitive -- especially with the older grandchildren -- and very fun.

After dessert it was time for Santa (who brings presents on Christmas Eve in Norway) to drop presents for the children on the porch. Here is the proof of the mad-house-ish-ness. I'm not kidding.

All the little kids gathered around and waited for their present to be announced, one by one. Look at those intense faces!

Jamers & Miyo really got into the presents this year. It was so fun to watch everyone open their gifts.

While we opened gifts, Emme kept making her way from Chris and I clear across the room to Grandma, because she knows Grandma is a sucker for her and will pick her up. She went back and forth two or three times, it was very cute.

Finally it was Emme's turn! Emme's got the whole unwrapping thing down pat. She loves opening gifts, and she LOVED the books she got from Santa. (One had a ducky on the front and she went completely nuts pointing at it and saying "ducky" over and over again!)

After presents we had dessert again (those Norwegians sure know how to eat!) and visited some more. We put Emme down to sleep in her pack & play for a while and were able to help clean up & visit with my parents after everyone left. It was a wonderful Christmas Eve!