This is it....my one and only picture of anything Christmas....it's a picture of Ashley's class Christmas party off my phone. Of course she isn't even in it because she's in the "don't take my picture stage". Nobody is looking at me because she is also in a "mom you're so embarrassing stage" and asking her classmates to pose for a picture would constitute embarrassment.
Why don't I have any other pictures? My camera was lost or possibly stolen at Knotts over the break. We've already cut our losses and bought a new camera but all the pictures for the last few weeks are gone.
So this will be a post with a lot of imagination, some borrowed facebook photos and a few from our old backup camera.
The Sunday before Christmas I got to sing in the choir and Taylor and Ashley played a duet at church. (It was one of Ashley's recital songs) I loved it, and a lot of people enjoyed them playing together! :)
Christmas Eve day Jeff was busy at work and we spent the day getting ready for Christmas including baking all day for my food assignment and me taking the kids to Target to let them buy presents for each other. We had a dollar limit...but I found out quickly that our limit wouldn't go far. I gave each person a reusable shopping bag to hide their presents in while they shopped. I had to redirect a couple of them from what they were planning to buy but a "joke" gift still ended up in the mix.
There is now a rule that there are no "joke gifts in the future" :0/
Christmas morning the kids were excited to open their presents (imagine happy faces here).
Taylor couldn't even hide his surprise when he got an acoustic guitar even though he knew about the rock climbing shoes he was getting. Ashley liked her kit to build forts, her new crimping iron and purse. Jacob like his exploders gun (that he's been shooting everyone with) and his building set.
I was happy that I bought them all shoes (which they needed) and clothes including sweatshirt jackets and everyone seemed to like what they got. Score! That was my best Christmas present ;)
Their favorite Christmas present was the trampoline. We tried to make it a surprise but they pretty much knew about it...so they tried to act surprised. Over the break they hung out together on the trampoline a lot. One day Ashley and Jacob were on it for like 3 hours!
We couldn't enjoy the morning long because it was time to pack up and head up to Palmdale for Christmas with Jeff's family. It was nice to see all the family and even Jeff's Grandma from North Carolina was out.
(Imagine a big family picture here)
It's always loud and crazy and fun when the family gets together. When it was time to open presents I sat there and it hit me. "I'm tired" I thought. It had been over a month of craziness and preparing and busyness. Cards and cookies, presents and events. Trying not to forget people and prepare everything for everyone and for some reason I feel the need to have most of my gifts have some kind of homemade element to them. (I'm thinking I might need to rethink this) and now I was tired. We ended up leaving at 4:30 while everyone else stayed to visit and play games.
That night we went to be early and I realized I was starting to feel sick. Achy and chills and the beginnings of a cold was ignored the next day as we spent the day cleaning and preparing for the Oleson's to visit. We were excited that they were willing to drive all the way to California for a family visit!
Thursday I ran over to the park to meet up with a friend down from Oregon. The visit was short but sweet. I had to put the turkey in for our big dinner and Joel and Virginia were only an hour away so I had to visit quick.
(Imagine a nice picture of Sharla Allen, Penny Smith and I)
I got home to start the turkey and the Oleson's arrived and enjoyed the new trampoline with the kids and visited while I cooked. I love that people can sit at the counter now while I'm cooking so I'm not alone in the kitchen! We visited while the kids played and then Angela and Robert came by on their way back from San Diego to eat with us.
(Imagine Robert, Angela, Ian, Joel, Virginia, Scott, Jared, Dean, Jeff, me, Jacob and Ashley in a nice picture around our Christmas dinner)
Taylor was out at Magic Mountain with friends trying to get one more use out of his pass. They missed dinner but he didn't stay too late because he said it was cold and the lines were really long.
After dinner was done and Angela and Robert were heading home we got the kids settled and then the adults went to see Les Miserables.
Great movie. I enjoyed it because we've seen the stage version a couple of times and this was an intimate look at the characters and you really got a sense for what they were feeling.
I talked to some who had never seen the play and I think that the play version is a little lighter and more fun. I enjoyed both but I think you don't get the full experience unless you've seen the stage version too.
The next day Jeff went to the office and Joel worked on his laptop most of the day while the kids hung out, Virginia and I did a little shopping and we basically had a relaxing day. (Great with me because I was tired and congested). That night we got the boys ready and they went to the LDS pre-New Year's Eve Scandia dance. Scandia is a little local amusement park and for $10 they got to go on all the rides, they had a dance and even fireworks at the end.
Since you had to be 14 to go we took the younger kids to dinner at a great local Thai place and then went over to Sky Zone trampoline park.
This is the only picture I have of our trip off of Joel's phone...didn't know Jeff could play basketball so well ;)
The next day we went to Knott's Berry Farm. We had a coupon that was going to expire and when I found out Joel and Virginia had never brought the kids there and were interested I helped them pre-buy tickets. So Saturday was the day for Knotts. The car was packed because we were going to drive straight up to Camarillo after to stay a few days with Angela and Robert.
We got to Knotts and it was pouring rain! We were warned that most of the rides were closed and would stay that way unless it dried out. We braved the pouring rain for a few hours doing what we could. My idea was to go to the ice skating show which was inside but it didn't start for 3 1/2 hours so instead we went on the mine ride and the train ride. Crazy but the windows are permanently open on the train so they only blocked the rain some...Dean is wearing a Santa Hat that Joel picked up on clearance on our way into the park (hee hee).
After a while the rain stopped and the rides started opening! We went on two rides and I could tell that Jeff and Taylor were having a hard time. Jeff was feverish the night before and Taylor said he woke up with a stomach ache that morning so I encouraged them to lay down in the car for a couple of hours.
While they went to the car Joel took the big kids on the big rides...
Virginia and I took Ashley and Dean all over Camp Snoopy. The great thing was because of the rain the lines were really short for a Saturday! They got to ride everything 2 hours and then we headed over to the stunt show to meet up with everyone else.
When we got there Jeff texted and said they weren't going to come back in the park because Taylor was now throwing up.
We ended up staying about another 1/2 hour and then watching one last show and then called it a day. During that time Virginia and Jacob were cold and done for the day too and headed back to the cars. Scott was looking for a partner to ride one last roller coaster with. I agreed to go on Montezuma's Revenge with him. I think that was one of my favorite parts of the day was hanging out riding rides with my nephews. I loved going on the rides with Dean when he needed an adult to go with him and I loved sitting next to Jared when he got the courage to go on Silver Bullet.
We headed over to eat dinner together but Taylor was really sick by this point, and Jeff wasn't feeling good either so we cancelled our trip to Angela and Roberts and headed home instead of going up to Camarillo with the Oleson's. I came home to unpack the bags we were frantically packing just a few hours before.
It was a fun day (for some of us) even thought it wasn't quite what we expected.
That night our whole family went to bed early and just slept and slept. Everyone had been run down and in various stages of illness so it was good to just have a sick day and stay home to recover. I was the only one who made it out of the house to go to sacrament meeting the next day. After Sunday all of us except Taylor started feeling a lot better.
So now it's New Year's Eve day and we have no plans but are feeling better. We were still quarantined from the rest of the family because we didn't want to get Robert sick since he's on chemo right now so we had to come up with other plans.
We decided last minute to go up to Mountain High and do some tubing.
We busted out all our snow clothes (that we barely ever get to use) and bundled up and drove to Wrightwood.
Taylor stayed home to rest but the rest of us got to spend some time in the snow on inter-tubes.
The down side was everyone else had the same idea it seemed so the lines were long.
The upside was it was a very safe, fun way to ride the inter-tubes and I got to hold onto Ashley's tube the whole time and we could ride together.
The moving sidewalk also made it easy to get back up to the top.
We only rode down a few times before we ate lunch and it started getting late and cold.
We tried making last minute New Year's Eve plans to do somthing that night but everyone else was either sick or with family already. So we were resigned to doing nothing when we got a text from a couple in the ward asking us if we wanted to hit a quick, early dinner at least. Yeah, we were up for it. Another friend came too and brought her baby even though her husband was out in LA with his family. So our thrown together group had a nice dinner at BJ's and then Jeff and I rented a couple of movies and went home to hang out with the kids.
Jacob was the only one of us that had big plans. He was out at the church New Year's Eve dance partying. I'm glad he got to go. He got home about 1:20 and the rest of us were on the couch watching movies.
Happy New Year.
The next day we got to drive out to meet Joel and Virginia and the family as they were heading up to Utah. Jared spotted a Famous Dave's at our meeting spot so we hit a quick lunch there.
I'm thinking we need to go back there again! Yum.
Saying good-bye to the Olesons! Glad you got to come for a visit, we'll miss you!
The rest of the break we tried to do the homework that was put off. Ashley and I had to work on her Science Project and Jacob spent most of Friday jumping on the trampoline trying to avoid his homework.
I took Taylor to his rock climbing gym once and we went to Sycamore canyon once with the dog and he got to rock climb some (though he said the rocks really aren't big enough)
I don't know if you can see him but he found this rock that looked like it split in 1/2 and he's trying to climb up the middle of it. I just kept thinking about snakes!
On the last day or so Taylor started on his mouse trap/rubber band car which ended up being kind of a fiasco so I'll save that story for the next post...
Oh for all those friends that sent their cards a little after Christmas...you have made the cut. All the Christmas stuff is put away so your's are the only cards that are on our fridge! Love it!
Hope everyone else had a great Christmas!