Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Merry Christmas! {December and then some...}

Holy cow. December has been a crazy month for us... not overly stressful, but definitely packed full! We were pretty much finished with our Christmas shopping by Thanksgiving, so there wasn't much of the hustle-bustle-materialism-craziness, but we sure filled our month with lots of fun activities. Here is a recap of what we've been up to this month... and how very merry our Christmas was. Enjoy the bazillion pics!

To start the month off right, we went down to Temple Square in SLC to see the lights. Brrr, was it cold! It was beautiful too, though, so we survived.

I think both James and Derek have slightly funky smiles in this picture, but DANG they look alike! Handsome times two. What strapping men I have in my life!
We also got a tree {a live one, actually a pretty gorgeous one- though we never photographed it 'til it was nearly dead... oops} and decorated it. James decided he needed one of his own, so here he is. He put all the ornaments on himself, and boy- was he proud! :)
I love how he put them all on the very tippy-edge of the branches. Cute boy.
We not only dreamed of a white Christmas, but we got one! The majority of the snow came a week or so before Christmas, but it stayed and stayed. Here are my handsome boys shoveling the snow. Check out the adoring/admiring look James has on his face. Daddy is my hero, too. :)
James actually did a great job helping! Look at that snow he's shoveled. Way to go, Jamesie!
We made and ate way, way, way too much junky food... but that's part of the holiday season, right? :) I'm going to get gestational diabetes, I just know it. Here is James {and Bonnie- in the background} helping to make some scrumptious doughnuts. It was a fun family activity. I recommend it.
This is James sitting on Santa's lap. We went to see him at the mall this year {the first year we've attempted anything like this}, and it was actually really cool! James wasn't scared or even really hesitant. Who's afraid of a nice grandpa-man who gives you presents, really?

James had an especially great holiday thanks to the crazy Anderson bunch we call family. Here he is with some of his cousins {Claire on the "horsie" with him, Brynn jumping into the pic}.
Grandma has been staying at "our" house for a while now, and James has been loving every minute of it! The night of the cousin-sleep-over, Grandma helped the kids all build gingerbread houses. They assembled them around old milk cartons, which was ingenious! James had a blast.
Along the same family-overdose lines, here are a few pics of James being oh-so-spoiled and never-once-neglected thanks to fantastic aunts and uncles.

We made tons of treats just before Christmas- many of which we gave away to friends, many of which we still have sitting on the counters. James loves to cook {which I love} and helped a ton. His favorite part, I think, was hammering the candy canes for the popcorn treats and the peppermint meringues. It was the perfect job for him. Hammering + James = Love.
On Christmas Eve-Eve, we had a family party {hellooooo, cheese fountain!} at Shawn and Mindy's. After the kids went to bed, we adults had lots of fun. Santa's elves are lookin' pretty fine nowadays, don't you think? :) Seriously, I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.
Christmas Eve. Santa got gingerbread man cookies and eggnog. What a lucky Santa he is!
And the bribery must have paid off, because he left us some pretty sweet stuff! Here is James' stocking and his "big truck" from Santa.
James was thrilled about his presents and LOVED his gifts from Santa. It's always nice to see that you really do know your kid's taste, and it's wonderful to have presents be a hit. Bart and Katie made a little video of James coming out on Christmas morning-- seeing what Santa brought him for the first time. It's pretty cute. Check it out.
And here is {most of} the Anderson clan Christmas day, in front of our massive feast. What a happy family!
Christmas day - and Christmas season altogether - was wonderful this year! We had lots of fun and made lots of great memories. Thank you to family and friends who aided in all of that. We love you all and hope this Christmas was equally fabulous for you.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving... at long last!

Yeah. It's December. I haven't posted in a bazillion years. I'm a slacker. I know this, and yet I'm only slightly sorry that it's taken me so long to post. Things have been crazy around here, fun but still crazy, and I'm only now starting to recover. Holidays are that way, I think. {And just think- in couple weeks we get to do it all again! We'll just hope for more fun less crazy.}

My dad and his wife came up to visit us the earlier part of Thanksgiving week. That was absolutely fun, though the manic shopping (I wanted to send NM-gifts home with them instead of shipping them, hence the fun but crazy go, go, go) and house-cleaning prior to that was anything but. {Sh... don't tell Derek, but I actually used their visit as a well-needed excuse. The house needed a good "spring" cleaning. Now everything's so fresh and clean and organized - as much as it can be - and ready for holiday guests. So maybe the cleaning wasn't fun, but for me- it was refreshing.} They stayed Sunday through Tuesday, so just for a few days, but it was wonderful to see them. James always surprises me how quickly he attaches himself to my family, especially considering how (not) often we see them. They were all BFFs within 10 minutes. :) While they were here, we mostly just hung out. We also cooked and ate some yummy food, played with James, read lots of books (Sorry/thanks, Polly!) and went to New Moon {swoon} on a "double date" of sorts. Good, good times.

Once they left, we had a few days just to ourselves... our little family. We lounged, did nothing particularly thrilling, then celebrated Thanksgiving Day.

*Side Note: While trying to teach James about Thanksgiving, we did a little FHE of sorts and pulled up pictures online of pilgrims, "Indians," etc. I told what I hoped to be a toddler-sized version of the Thanksgiving story, and we learned the following song (thank you, Google!):

Little pilgrim dressed in grey
On that first Thanksgiving Day
Little Indian dressed in brown
Came to visit Plymouth Town
They both came to eat and pray
On that first Thanksgiving Day

Kinda cute, no? I thought so. And so did James. He picked up on it really quickly. Songs and books totally do it for him. That's my boy! :)

Anyway, our Thanksgiving was pretty great. We got up normally then got started on some of the food-prep. James helped me put the rolls in the muffin tins (Go, Rhodes Rolls!) so they could defrost/rise. He's such a helper. He really did them all! Sad, but his culinary skills make me so proud. :)

Then we woke Daddy up and had him help with the other parts. Derek and I (more Derek, really) prepped the turkey. We mostly winged it... rubbed it with poultry seasoning, some fresh herbs, onion and apple (to coordinate with the stuffing's flavors) and then threw it in an oven bag.

We watched the Macey's Thanksgiving Day Parade while we waited for the rolls and cooked the turkey. I love watching the parade. It's absolutely a fond memory from my childhood and something (albeit fairly meaningless) that I hope to continue with my kiddos.

When the turkey was getting closer to done, we prepared and cooked the remaining parts of the meal: homemade stuffing, yams, "squeaky" beans, cranberry sauce, olives, mashed potatoes and gravy. Here are some pics of my boys in the kitchen. (James mostly helped by staying out of the way at this point... and, you know, by eating a pear.)

Then- when everything was done (miraculously at the same approximate time... and not ruined/burned/etc), we ate. Mmm... Here's the dished up meal- Derek's, that is; mine had cranberry sauce and olives! :) We also had pie (lemon meringue- we're not traditional apparently), though it was store-bought and therefore not pictured.

After dinner we just chilled. We all took very nice, long naps. Then I think maybe we watched a movie all together. I can't even remember, to be honest. It must not have been that eventful. But it was a fantastic evening... a fantastic day. It was really fun to do something big with just our little family. This Thanksgiving/holiday season, I'm especially thankful for them- all three of them- and that we can be together, for now and forever.

Happy {Belated} Thanksgiving! xo