Christmas 2014!

Oh sweet Christmastime, you've come and gone. This is our first year on record that we spent Christmas Eve and Morn at our own house. And it was calm, lazy and wonderful. Oh, and it was white. While Santa was making his deliveries, we got dumped on. It was rather perfect and magical.

Earlier that week we headed up to my parents' house for some family Christmas festivities. It was complete with treasure hunts, games and coloring, movies, cousins slumbering together, a nativity play, visiting with my Grandpa Salvesen and the opening of presents from Nana & Pompa. And we ate like kings! Homemade chicken noodle soup for one dinner one night and cheesy potatoes and ham for another. Hmmmm HMM! It was so good. On our way back home we made a stop at Phil's Grandpa Shorten's house and had lunch with him. What a blessing it is to be close enough to family to spend the holidays with them, yet spend it in the comfort of our own home too.

The next day was Christmas Eve and Autumn and her family joined us for dinner, jammies, and our traditional Christmas Eve viewing of the The Muppet's Christmas Carol. Before bed we read "The Other Wiseman" and the Christmas Story from the Bible. Then, for once, Santa was all ready to go, so Phil and I snuggled by the fire and watched Elf while visions of surgar plums danced in our kids' heads. I really, really liked that part.

And then Ryder and Penny woke up at 4 am.

We held them off with a movie until 6:30 (when Hazel woke up). Phenomonally, they both weren't huge wrecks the whole day. A Christmas miracle, I tell ya. We opened gifts and ate cinnamon rolls for breakfast. We stayed in our jammies until it was time to go to lunch at my sisters's where we ate some more delicious food and chilled out. I've decided I'm a big fan of "chilling out" on Christmas Day.

And there you have it, folks. Another great year for the books where we hopefully made our kiddos happy and taught them a little more about the light and love of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Now...a few notes to remember for next year:

-Do service-minded activities as a family throughout the year so I'm not feeling guilty that I (unlike everyone else on Instagram) isn't doing some awesome service project in the month of December.
I spent a lot of time feeling guilty about this. And confused. Confused if I was feeling guilty because I wasn't doing more family-oriented service activities/projects...or guilty because I was comparing myself. The whole thing was on my nerves. I was on my own nerves. Which productivly resulted in me doing a big, fat nothing.

So along with everything else I've tacked onto January's to-do list, is my new resolve to work harder to help my kids experience service throughout the whole year. Sounds pretty easy, right?

-I was more prepared this year in some ways and less prepared in someways. All I know is that the more prepared I can be--the more I'm thanking myself in the end.

-I didn't do any handmade gifts this year. Or the last couple for that matter. I miss that. Not saying that I'll do them next year...just saying I miss that...:)

-I really loved the whole white Christmas thing. If we could just order another one of those for next year, that would be great--thanks.

-I would also like to remember to share my testimony of the Savior more. And my love and appreciation for all the loving, fantastic wonderful people in my life (which I'm fairly certain that if you're reading--that includes you!) I'm pretty sure that first thing stopped me from doing this thing, and I hate that. But again, thankfully, it's not something I have to wait a whole year to rectify.

-I think instead of trying to make EVERY day of December special I'm thinking of limiting it to just the week before or the twelve easy of Christmas or something. With my efforts this year I got burned out. What do you do in your homes to make December special, but simple?

-I need to remember to watch the Christmas movie classics a bit earlier next year. Select, then prioritze. This is important stuff people. A week is not enough time to fit in all the Christmas movie classics you wish you had been taking the whole month to enjoy because you were too busy getting pulled into the cheesy Hallmark movies (I mean, a couple (few) of these are obviously totally acceptable) or perhaps took a brief stint binge-watching (before coming to your senses) a teenage drama on Netflix...(dumb, dumb, dumb) live and learn!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from our family to yours!