December was obviously a busy, beautiful, family-filled month! There are so many pictures to share and memories made!
The month started with Conner earning his Life rank in Boy Scouts, he also earned the most merit badges that night. Grateful I have a husband who has a testimony of scouting and pushes Conner along in this effort.
Dave’s work party was also the first weekend of December. In the 4 years Dave has been with Adobe they have tried different venues and activities for their Christmas party. This year we were excited because it was closer to home at the Natural History Museum on the U campus. Dave had some concerns over parking for that many people, but we trusted they had worked out any kinks and headed out. We arrived to Wakara Way about 30 minutes after the start time and as quickly as we turned onto the road, Dave turned us right back around. The street was jam-packed and not moving. We later found out it took at least 45 minutes to park, 45 minutes to coat check and then another 45 minutes to get food so we made the right choice in not attending. Instead we went out to dinner and enjoyed being together, just the two of us — definitely a better way to spend the evening!
One of the first and best parts of the Christmas season is getting a Christmas tree! This year I had the best time decorating. Even though this was our 2nd Christmas in this house, I didn’t really get to decorate last year since Dave and I were leaving on our trip down under right after Christmas. I had the best time decking the hall this year! And we even had 3 Christmas trees up — 2 real, 1 fake.
We also always participate in as many service opportunities as we can during December. One that we have done for a few years is to make food kits for students who are in Title 1 schools. We provide all the food they will need over the Christmas break. My kids love picking out cereals, crackers, granola bars, and everything else for these kids. It is a great reminder to them of how blessed they are.
I’ve been trying to have to kids help me more around the house, as a possible perfectionist and control-freak, it is hard for me to have things take longer or not be up to my level :-). But I know this is the only way they will learn to work so I’m getting better. Audra could not have been more excited to cut beans for dinner. Seriously, she was thrilled and told everyone! She is a great little su chef.
One of the highlights of December was our trip to the North Pole via the Polar Express, thanks to G&G Tanner. The kids loved every minute; from the singing, to the cookies & hot chocolate, to Santa’s visit. It really was a fun 5+ hour 🙂 family activity!
This year, Dave and I were asked to be on the Ward Christmas Party committee. Dave managed to have a work conference that weekend, so it was me & the kiddos one of which was throwing up. Luckily, I had Conner’s help and we survived the breakfast. Cute little Logan played the part of Joseph in the very short nativity we did – thanks to Conner for getting him dressed.
And then the snow came! And came! And came! The first snow of the season was so heavy and so wet it created quite a mess. Not only did it take Dave hours to plow the driveway, but we lost many, many branches from our trees :(. The kids were beyond excited! The day after the big storm our school district started school 2 hours late; we opted to let everyone have an early Christmas present and stay home from school. They spent the day in the snow and loved every second!
As is tradition, we took a family picture in front of the Christmas tree! And that reminded Dave that he owns a nice camera so he proceeded to snap a few more pics of the kids!
Christmas break from school started awfully early, in my opinion 😉 and we started the break at the dentist. I mean why not? This was Eli’s 2nd visit to the dentist and the last one was quite dramatic…..me holding him while 3 hygenists held his arms so the dentist could glance in his mouth. He assured me that this time he was not going to cry and would sit all by himself. He did great . . . . until she started using the “buzzer” to clean his teeth, then it was all over. Maybe next time….
And finally the chocolate countdown calendars were empty, which meant it was Christmas Eve! The kids were so excited to make their gingerbread houses at G&G Tanner’s. We also had a visit from “Nephi” who told us about the Savior’s birth in the Americas and then the kids got to open their first present: their new p.j.s and their ornament. They were all excited about their ornaments and it was fun to see the boys in all striped p.j.s. After we left the grandparents, it was time to put out cookies for Santa and then try to calm down enough to go to bed so Santa could come.
And boy did Santa come; actually this year Santa brought each of the kids their stocking goodies and ONE gift. I had called him and asked him to simplify this year, so they each had their gift from Santa, a few from Mom & Dad and one from the sibling who drew their name. I really liked that it was simpler this year. We have so much and certainly don’t need more.
Plus, we kind of had a big surprise…..After a scavenger hunt written by Dave, we all found ourselves in our boots and coats headed out to the shop to find Dave’s favorite gift. Looking forward to lots of fun family times in this thing.
Just when we thought the surprises were over, the last clue in the scavenger hunt was included with the Ranger and instructed us to all pile in and drive over to the neighbors as a surprise for Mom awaited (what the???). I didn’t get a picture that morning, but here is what we found (can’t wait for it to warm up so I can scoot-scoot around town):
It was a really nice, relaxing Christmas! And we still had a week until school started, so G&G Mac headed on up and stayed with us for the week. We took them to see Star Wars (it was the second time for us), played lots of games, did some shopping, hung out and had a nice time together. Since Dave had nearly 2 weeks off from work, he also tackled a project that we’ve been dreading since we moved in: painting the boys bedroom. It’s a big room with lots of angles, things to paint around. It took him 2 days but looks a.m.a.z.i.n.g – he did a phenomenal job (and I of course have no pictures). It is so nice to continue to make this place ours.
To end the year, Conner had a party on the 30th. He had a bunch of cute friends over (no girls, yet) and G&G were troopers and stayed up so they could party in the basement. Dave was finally done painting on the 31st so he joined us for a fun dinner, games, and a night of watching “Twilight Zone” before an amazing neighborhood fireworks show started. I’m happy to say I made it to 12. And it was fun to have Dave’s parents here to ring in the New Year because last year we were with them in New Zealand ringing in the New Year — maybe it will become a tradition!
2015 was a truly wonderful year. I feel beyond blessed. I know Heavenly Father is aware of me and my family and has provided us opportunities to grow and has also blessed us to be able to give so much. Yes, 2015 was good to the McNamee Fam and speaking of which, the mcnameefam blog will see some changes in 2016, so stay tuned!