Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Wrap Up

This was the first year that we have celebrated Christmas at the townhouse.  It was the first year since buying our home in Arizona over 20 years ago that we have been away from that home during Christmas.  It was a traveling Christmas for part of the family and the first time for others to wake up on Christmas morning in their own bed.  As a family expands and grows, adjustments are made but we are still family and we are grateful for any time together.

Eric's family was traveling to Washington state to be with Susan's family.  Luckily for us, they made an overnight stop Friday night with us as their drive north would require two full days of driving.  On their night with us, we invited the Utah families and had an early Christmas ham dinner.  The grand kids shared a table. . .

with baby Opal near by in her special chair.

Their parents and grandparents dined at their own table as well.

Ah, looks like Opal decided to join us.

I love this big round table.  It encourages great all inclusive conversation.

The next morning brought a great surprise for the Arizona kids.  Falling snow!

Julianna was beyond charmed and happy.

Brother Toby

Sister Heather

and biggest brother, TJ.  I fixed them a ham and eggs breakfast before they ventured on north on snowy roads.

Saturday was our annual doughnut day.  The Utah families gathered for some kitchen time.

 We mixed up, rolled out, cut, and fried several dozen doughnuts.

Opal spent more time in the baby chair for grandma has phobias about babies on the loose when there is hot oil in the house.

We also glaze the doughnuts in our special maple glaze.  You can find our recipes here.

Everybody helps but it is still a several hour project.

And left over holes make for fun "play" dough.

The doughnuts are bagged up and then delivered to friends and neighbors.

A warm doughnut on a day such as this is a wonderful thing.

On Sunday, we left early for Salt Lake City and the Liberty LDS Ward with our overnight guest in tow.  Oscar had spent the night with us so that his parents could deliver their doughnuts and do other things in preparation for Christmas.  Now we were going to church to listen to Nate and Nichelle sing in their ward choir.

It was a lovely Christmas program and the over 100 year old chapel built in 1908 with its stained glass windows was a fitting place to ponder on the Savior and His mission.

Christmas Eve we gathered once again for our traditional chimichanga dinner and nativity reenactment.  This year we had three boys and a baby girl to help us with the nativity.  The costumes were still in Arizona and so we did something different.  The boys presented a puppet show with the larger size felt nativity that I had purchased last year.  We gathered all the pieces on the ottoman and as Grandpa Glen read Luke 2, the boys moved the characters to our "stage."

They did a great job first moving the holy family to the inn. . .

and then to the stable.

The shepherds and sheep were visited by the angels. . .

and then were joined in welcoming the new baby by the wise men.

I love it when a child sets up a nativity scene.  All the figures are nestled around the baby Jesus in a circle of love, not spaced out to be seen by the viewer.

This is the way it still looks, just like this, because I love it so.

Then it was time for cousins to open their gifts from the cousin exchange and a few from grandpa.

Fun times!

They really enjoyed the looping car track.

Baby Opal is walking now but has taken her time, just like her mother did.

I love her smile!

The track was a great success.

As was the catapult.

Christmas morning, Glen and I were on the road.  First stop, the Ranes home in Lehi where we were served a yummy breakfast.

It was a beautiful sun shiny day.  So welcome after a very cold and snowy Utah December.

The aftermath, a very organized aftermath.

Henry's favorite thing from Santa was his marble run.  Opal was soon put to bed for a nap.  You know, marbles!

Then we went on to Salt Lake City where we found the aftermath had already been cleaned up and most toys moved to the basement.

Oscar was loving his new pajamas and playing Candy Land with his dad.

Nichelle told me not to post this picture on the Internet, but I couldn't resist.  That is her new telephone protector and notice that they have matching eye glasses.  We loved their cozy wood fire.

We then returned to quiet Provo where we enjoyed naps, communicating by phone with the other three families, and working on two puzzles, one for me and the other for Glen.  Mine is much harder!

This morning I prepared navy bean and ham soup, cornbread, and a salad for a lunch with Glen's sisters Wylene and Peggy.  I planned to get a picture of them before they left but forgot.  We had a great visit and they talked about the Christmas times of their childhood and Glen shared that this year on his birthday he will be the same age his father was at his death.  Sobering thoughts but joyful memories.

Tomorrow I will put away the townhouse Christmas decor and pack for an Arizona New Year.  More grand kid visits await me and another doughnut day is planned.  Glen will be taking down Christmas lights but I will not be putting away inside Christmas decor for this year I left it all packed away.

So family time changes but any place that includes family is home.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from my home to yours!  I hope that your Christmas holidays will be a time with family including hugs, kisses, and expressions of love and appreciation.  Those are the best gifts, both to give and to receive.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Some Dr. Seuss

Oscar may be studying the listed life lessons from Dr. Seuss in his "The Cat in the Hat" playbill.

I like this one, "Today I shall behave, as if this is the day I will be remembered."  I'm not sure that Thing 1 and Thing 2 behaved all that well in the play today.

(Special note:  Today a tender mercy was found in that playbill.  The list of donors through 2013 was listed and included this name, G. Ray Jensen.  I almost felt like Glen's brother was there with us and now we knew that he not only supported the Draper Community Theater, but this one as well.  It is still hard to believe that he is gone.)

Oscar, his parents, and his grandparents find the play to be most delightful.

Oscar loves this book and he giggled and helped fill in lines of dialogue and really enjoyed himself.  The empty seat was mine.

This is how the stage looked prior to start time.

This is how it looked at the end as the Cat in the Hat returned with his cleaning machine.  I borrowed this picture, but isn't it incredible how true to the book they were able to dress the stage.

The Salt Lake Acting Company produces a professional play for children each year.  I'm just sad that we have missed "Click, Clack, Moo, Cows that Type"  and "How I Became a Pirate" in past years. This company will definitely be on my radar in the future.

It was so fun to spend time with my youngest son and his cute family today.  Thank you for including us Nate and Nichelle.  Good times!