Wednesday, December 26, 2007

It was a Merry Christmas to all & to all a GREAT night!

Here are some pictures from our Christmas celebrations.

We had a scrumptious Christmas Eve brunch with the Tafts--orange juice, fresh pineapple, breakfast casserole, and homemade danish. I'm gaining weight just talking about it!

Since the family was all going to be together, we waited to celebrate Carson's birthday until the 24th (he turned one on the 22nd). He was a little leary of the sticky chocolate frosting, but it didn't take him long to figure out that good stuff awaited him!
He made a gooey mess of himself (and the counter, and the floor, and the highchair!) He loved it when we sang "Happy Birthday"--our singing must have been a big joke, because he sure was laughing! Poor Carson! My sympathy to anyone that has a "holiday birthday". After exploring all our options, I think we've agreed that next year we will celebrate it early, as in the 1st week of December. It's just too hard to squeeze one more "party" that close to Christmas.

Then we went home and had our own little Christmas Eve together as a family. We feasted on ham, rainbow jello, funeral potatoes, and lots of hors d'eouvres & sweets. We opened up new pajamas and scriptures (with names on them and marking crayons! That was a big hit!).

We read a story about what it was like for the Nephites at the time of Christ's birth.
Then we read about it in the Book of Mormon. We opened up our newest nativity piece, the Angel, with another outstanding letter from Grandma Dixie.

Finally, we decorated some gingerbread cookies (thanks, Grandma) for Santa and sang some Christmas carols as we sat around the staircase.
(Carson's favorite was when we sang "Jingle Bells" with a giant raspberry sound at the end--you know...where you stick your tongue on and make an obnoxious noise!).

Then we did our best to fall asleep because we knew Santa wouldn't come until then!

In the morning, we found he'd left us with some fabulous surprises! Halle got that Princess Cash register she'd be talking about for weeks
and Wyatt got his very own Thomas the Train "tontuter" (computer).
Carson was excited about his musical table. It's fun to stand up to and has lots of noisy buttons to push! Hope's stocking took an unusual form this year, as Santa left her a beautiful new trash can! She'd been complaining about the old one for a while now (see the dramatic "before & after" pix)--there's not enough room underneath the kitchen sink and storing it in the pantry was too far away too be convenient when cooking. Besides, who wants to stink up their pantry!

So Santa surprised her with a tall white wooden one. It looks so classy and clean! Thanks, "Santa"!

Brett got some fun stuff in his stocking, but his big gift this year came from Hope (I'll be posting about that soon).

Hope was super excited about her gifts from her parents--a table to scrapbook on and a CANsolidator! She's wanted one for a while and thank heavens Mom is observant and remembered Hope expressing her wishes one time at Wal-Mart. 'Can't wait to organize that pantry!
On both sides of our family we do a sibling gift-exchange. Ashlee & Bret and Bill & Laurie had our name this year. Their gifts were both so wonderful! Ashlee & Bret gave us a neat bowl with vinyl lettering that said "The Taft Family Bowl of Fun" (cute, or what?) filled with ingredients to Brett's favorite snack: Mom's Caramel Popcorn. We also got an air popper and three new games to play. Coincidentally, Ash's gift went hand-in-hand with Bill & Laurie's! They gave us some fun items for Family Home Evening (a cute treat plate, a book of an entire year's worth of FHE ideas, & computer software with FHE helps) and a gift certificate to our favorite breakfast place: Cracker Barrel!

All in all, Santa and our friends & family were very good to us this year. Too generous and we are grateful for the wonderful, thoughtful things given to us. Thank you!
Brett and Halle and Wyatt spent the morning assembling a 100-piece princess puzzle. The kids had never done one with that many pieces before, plus it was heart-shaped, so it was a fun challenge for them. Brett's great at doing things like that with the kids. As a dad, he is very hands-on and proactive. I'm grateful for that!

That afternoon, Grandpa John & Grandma Dixie, Uncle Tanner, and Aunt Heidi came over so we could exchange gifts with each other. Here are some highlights from that visit:

Dixie gave Hope a wonderful compilation of Dixie's favorite recipes.
It was a huge binder, organized and color-coded.
All pages in protective sheets.

It must have taken hours and hours to print it & assemble. Thanks, Mom!

We went in with Grandma and Grandpa to buy Wyatt his first set of Golf Clubs (I don't know who was more excited...Grandpa John, Brett, or Wyatt!). Wyatt looked so cute swinging the club. We found out they are a little big, so we'll exchange them for a better size. Wyatt can't wait to go out on the greens with the big boys!
Later that night, we went over to their house for yummy treats & 7-layer dip, with a competitive round of Phase 10. (Brett was the lucky winner of the evening and will never let us live it down!)

We feel blessed to have created more wonderful memories together as a family. We missed having Grandma & Grandpa K. with us this year. In 2006, we were extra-lucky enough to have them visit during most of the month of December. Having them with us Christmas Eve & Morning just added one more special element to the holiday. Maybe they'll consider coming again to our house next year?

Now, we are really looking forward to spending the upcoming weekend in Vernal with Grandpa & Grandma K. We're taking our snowsuits, because they have even more snow than we do! New Years will be unique for us: we've rented a Red Canyon Lodge cabin with Hope's sister, Fawn & her family. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we won't have any trouble driving up the mountain! We'd love to hear about your Christmas! Post a comment or send us an email!

P.S. One MISHAP worth noting: I bought Wyatt a puzzle (he's a puzzle maniac) and never noticed until Christmas morning that the center piece was MISSING! Can you believe that? Which is worst: that the piece is missing in the first place, or that I was dense enough to buy it anyway???


Annie said...

I'm glad you had such a wonderful Christmas!

lindsay taft said...

Looks like Christmas Eve and morning were a hit w/ the kids! I still was bummed we didn't get to spend Christmas Eve together, though, but the brunch was fun. Carson's reaction to the cake was CLASSIC! What a cutie!

Josh and Kristen said...

Sounds like you had a great Christmas. Josh and I will be at Red Canyon Lodge for New Years too!! How cool!

Barton Family said...

It looks like you guys had an eventful and fab Christmas! I love your new garbage can. Maybe I'll ask Santa for one next year!

"The democracy will cease to exist when you TAKE AWAY from those who are willing to work AND GIVE to those who would not."

Thomas Jefferson