Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas 2017

Christmas Eve we were able have all of our family together except for Skyleer and Alyssia.  The full time missionaries also joined us for dinner.

We had a wonderful meal of Chicken and Dumplings, tamales, (our traditional Christmas Eve foods) as well as taquitos, bean dip, pico de gallo, guacamole,  and a relish tray.  (We had to get something healthy in there:)

Instead of eating in the dining room as we always do, I set up two extra tables just off our kitchen table.  With the missionaries and the little kids it would have been a little tight fitting everyone in the dining room.  I set the tables with my Christmas dishes and it looks really nice!

The missionaries gave us a nice Christmas message about being "letting our light so shine" before leaving for their next appointment. 

After cleaning up dinner we gathered around the piano to sing Christmas hymns. (at my request:)  Singing around the piano is one of my favorite things to do and we do not do it nearly enough as far as I'm concerned:)  

Then with the help of the mothers we dressed the little children up in their Nativity costumes.  While Brach read Luke 2 the children were able to play their parts.  It actually went better than expected.  My expectations were not very high with our littles all being very little!  Haivyn had taken off her costume at least three times before we even began.  Just after getting a picture Henry took his off because he was hot.  And it went from there!  But, we got through it all without anyone getting hurt so in my mind that is a success!!

Henry was a shepherd, Scout was an angel, Rafe was Joseph,  Haivyn was Mary.....and little Merik was baby Jesus.  Charlie was not given a costume but he was just as cute as all the others!!!

After the Nativity reading we gathered two boxes of food to drop off to a couple of neighbors.  Rick and I stayed home with a couple of the children while two vehicles left to deliver the food.  We used to all go in one vehicle and the boys had a fun time ringing the doorbell and running.  Now our family has grown so much that we can't do it in one vehicle anymore.  I'm glad this tradition is still in force even though we've had to change it up a bit.  

While the kids were delivering food,  Rick and I tried to organize the presents from under the tree.  I had to find all of the christmas jammies.  That proved a little harder than I thought but we finally got it all figured out.  

Group pictures by the tree.......

After pictures the children all opened their gifts from grandma and grandpa.  The kids were so excited!  What a fun and crazy time!

I was hoping to be able to end our party early so that our children could get home early to prepare their own Christmas.  They didn't get left until 11:00!!  They all had long nights!!!!

The next morning we woke up after eight!  So nice to sleep in on Christmas morning!  
Rick, Gary and I gathered around the Christmas tree and took turns opening our gifts.  It was really nice.  One of the special gifts that Rick made for me was a binder filled with Christmas messages and testimonies of some of our friends in Mbale.  It was very special to me!

After opening presents we had a BIG breakfast.  Skylar and Sarah and the boys plus John and Kaitlyn and their kids came to eat with us.  I had made the Pioneer Woman's baked french toast and WOW!  it was good!  We also had ham, sausage, eggs, breakfast potatoes, and fruit.  I love a nice big breakfast!

After breakfast we got to visit all of the kids at their own homes (well, S&S are just downstairs but it's their home for now:) and our grandkids got to show us what Santa had brought them! 

It was a very laid back day after that.  Just what was needed after a busy week of tending kids and preparing for Christmas Day.

It was a Very Merry Christmas!!!!!!

Tending Henry and Charles

Last week we tended Henry and Charles for a week while Skylar and Sarah went on a Mexican Riviera Cruise with the whole Rigby family.  They rented a 15 passenger van and left Friday afternoon on the 15th and got back Saturday night the 23rd.  

Rick and I had a fun time with the boys.  They sure kept us BUSY the whole time.  The saying, "It's a good thing we have our kids when we are young" came into my head many times during the week:)  My energy level isn't near what it used to be, and little children are always on the go!  We tried to do something extra fun each day to get out of the house and make some memories.   

Here are some of the fun things that we did......

On Monday we went to the WVC Rec Center to swim in the indoor pool.  While the water wasn't quite as warm as we were hoping the boys enjoyed being in the water.

The Rec Center also had a fun play area for kids.  Henry had a fun time using his imagination in all of the different rooms.  He loved the kitchen.....

Afterwards we went to Chic Fil A at Henry's request.  Their chicken is so delish!

It was so cute to see how much Charlie loved the Chic Fil A sauce.  He had been sick and wasn't interested in eating much on Saturday and Sunday so we were thrilled that something looked good to him.  That sauce did the trick!  He would dip his chicken on his own and eat in little bites.

That evening was Rafe's pre school Christmas program so we got to go see him perform his cute little Christmas songs.  Afterward, Santa came to visit and Henry got to sit on his lap!

Charlie did too.  That only lasted about three seconds when his little lip started to quiver and a good cry was coming on.  I quickly rescued him from some serious trauma:)

The next day Rick took Henry to "work" with him while I kept Charles at home with me.  We pretty much stayed inside all day except for a quick jaunt outside down the lane in the wagon.  Henry got the better end of the deal because grandpa took him to "Old MacDonald's" (as Henry calls it) for lunch and then to the mall to see Santa (again:) and to play at the arcade!  I couldn't download Rick's pictures so there is just this one of Charlie for this day.

Wednesday we went downtown hoping to go to the Children's Museum before my temple shift began.  We were running late so the museum didn't happen until the next day but we did get to eat at KFC and face time with Skylar and Sarah.  Henry was excited to talk to his mom and dad!

While I left for my temple shift Rick took the kids shopping.  Henry got to choose a fun present for all of the grandkids to keep at grandpa's house.  Of course, it was star Wars related!  He helped grandpa wrap it up and promised to keep it a secret from the other kids.

I got home in time to get the kids bathed and ready for the night.

Thursday we decided to go to the museum since we weren't able to the day before.  This place was really cool!  It is located in the Gateway and is FULL of fun things for children to do.  We were there for an hour and a half and only saw about 1/10 of the place.  I think it would be fun to take all of the grandkids and just let them spend the whole day there playing.

Friday was Chuck E Cheese day!  We had a salad and pizza bar for lunch but Henry wasnt too interested in eating with all of those fun arcade games around!  We did finally get him to eat a bit but the games were the fun part!

Charlie had fallen asleep on the way into SLC so he missed out on some of the fun.
He eventually woke up just before it was time to leave and was able to ride a few rides with Henry.

That night we tended Rafe and Scout while Brach and Kendra went on a Christmas outing with the Boman family.  It was pretty crazy with all of them but after having dinner and baths we settled down with a movie.  The kids wanted to watch Narnia and it was so cute seeing them get ready for the battle scene.  Each had their own horse and were ready to fight the white witch and help to save Narnia.

The whole week Rick and I had been sleeping in separate beds.  Him with Charlie in the guest room and me with Henry in our bed.  (Except for the very first night when he was sick in bed with strep.)  This was our routine each night.  It worked out ok and both kids actually slept pretty well.  

Skylar and Sarah arrived home on Saturday night and they were so happy to get back to their boys.  We were happy as well that they were home safe:)  

It was a fun filled week!

Monday, December 18, 2017

More Holiday Happenings

Our holiday season has been a full one!  A new tradition that started this year is a baking day with my littles!  These four are all old enough to help out in the kitchen.  

Don't they look cute in their aprons??

Don't let their cuteness fool you!  It was a crazy afternoon with, at times, out of control kids!  I don't know if the excitement of the season was getting to them or what, but boy were they a handful!  Between wrestling,  running around the house at full speed screaming at the top of their lungs, to fighting over dolls, to decorating cookies, to stripping down to their undies and escaping outside......it was an afternoon full.  Actually it was only a couple of hours but it felt like a FUL afternoon!  We got by with only hour crying fits, three time outs, and one ice pack!

Even though things got a little crazy we made a fun memory and yes, I will do it again next year! 

Henry did not let his reindeer brownie sit for long.

Rae's turned out just right!

It was cute to see how the reindeer turned out.  Some had one eye and others had one antler but they all enjoyed eating them!

Next was snowman cookies.  The kids got to roll their sought into balls and make their own snowmen.  After they're baked they got to decorate them as they liked!

How can you not just love these adorable faces????!!!!

That night after all of the decorating festivities with the kids, we had our Phelps Family adult party held at Trent and Kathy's home.  Their was a plethora of food and visiting.  We were missing three couples....... Brent and Lar because they were in Mexico, DeeAnn and Darrell because were working in the temple and Ken and Robin because of Robbie's health.

We enjoyed playing the white elephant game and afterwards watched a Hallmark Christmas show.  I fell asleep a couple of times through the movie (which is totally NOT a surprise) but woke up to see the happy ending.  It is a wonderful time to get together with this great group of people!

This is the only picture of the night.  Karen got a shot of all of the guys!
Trent, Brad, Dennis, Hal, Larry, and Rick,

The next day was our Phelps family Christmas party.  It was held at Ken and Rob's church up in Bountiful.  We had a wonderful turnout of about one hundred and fifty I think the final count was.  The cultural hall was full and it was super fun to visit with a bunch of my nieces and nephews and to see their growing families!  

The turkey and ham and fixing were awesome!!
Also, we had a wonderful program with music and stories.  Henry, Rafe, Scout and Haivyn each told a Christmas joke:)
Henry:  Why do elves go to school?  To learn the elfabet!
Rafe:  Where do Santa's reindeer like to have lunch?  The Deery Queen!
Haivyn:  What do snowmen eat for breakfast?  Frosted Flakes!

Santa came at the end of the party and all of the little ones got to tell their Christmas wishes.
I only got pictures of Haivyn and Merik.....aren't they adorable!!!

This last Thursday night Rick and I had a wonderful date night.  We have been planning this getaway for about two months.  We checked into a nice room at the downtown Marriott and then off we went for an evening full of activities.  I had been wanting for weeks to get over to the JSMB to the donations vending machines that were showcased on lds.org. I knew I wanted to donate a goat to someone in a third world country.  Knowing how much the Ugandans love their goat meat, I thought this would be a real treat for someone.  Well, I found out that the goats were not being given for the meat  but for their milk and cheese.  That's ok though!  However it helps is wonderful!  milk and cheese will last longer than one meal:)  We also donated two chickens!  I love what the church did with these machines.  The lines have been really long with people wanting to donate!

The tree at the JSMB was so beautiful!  We loved listening to a couple of different choirs sing Christmas tunes from the mezzanine level.

       We stopped by the Macy's candy window.  They did not disappoint!

Next we picked up our car and drove to the east side for a wonderful dinner at The Five Alls!

       We love eating and drinking from the pewter dishes!

We had a window seat and had a beautiful view of the sunset!
We love this place so much!
The food and atmosphere is primo!!

Last of all we got to go to the Kurt Bestor concert!  He featured on of our favorite artists, Jenny Oaks Baker.  It was a wonderful concert with beautiful christmas music.  I love this tradition!

               Getting a signed cd from Jenny!

On our way back to the Marriott we stopped in the Gallivant Center for a picture with the lights!

Unfortunately, Rick was sick this whole day.  He had a sore throat.  By morning he knew it was strep.   I took him to the instacare and yup, Strep!  We had a fun day of Christmas shopping and a movie planned but this new development put a halt to that.  We parted ways.  He left for home and I did some shopping on my own.  The good thing though was that I found three new dresses and two new skirts.  I shouldn't have splurged on myself but......I sure did!!  Merry Christmas to me!!

To finish our holiday happenings we got to attend the Tooele County Messiah concert last night.  It was held at Tooele HS this year and I'm not gonna lie,  I wept through a lot of it.  This music to me is so stirring!  The sopranos were amazing! The other soloist did great too, but the sopranos were my favorite!!

While there is still a week until Christmas our parties and concerts are rolling to an end.  

We are watching Henry Clyde and Charles Rick while Skylar and Sarah are on a vacation with the Rigbys. ( Mexican Riviera cruise)  That will be it's own post eventually.

We have loved old our old tradition and beginning new ones throughout this holiday season.  It has been so joyous to me to be home enjoying family and friends this year.  Like the song says, "There's no place like home for the holidays"!!