Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells

December has been a very fun and full month for us! I love how there are so many fun things to do around the holidays....especially with the freezing cold temperatures. Sometimes it feels like we have to be forced out of our house and into the cold!

We started off the month by going to John's work party. It was very nice with delicious food and awesome prizes (of course we didn't win anything). We had not gone on a date in a while so it was REALLY nice to go out with my man!! We traded babysitting with two other couples this month so we actually got to go on TWO dates this month! We've really missed this! Babysitters here have been hard to come by. Everyone in our ward are the same age as us with young families. There is one family with teenagers but it seems like you have to fight for them...and I'm not so much into stealing other peoples babysitters!
St. Nick came!!!!! I love this day (December 5th) because it's a small dose of Christmas morning. It just gets me ALL excited! John actually surprised me with a few new things in my shoes (I usually fill my own)!
We took a small roadtrip. We decided to go to the temple in Palmyra New York (that is OUR temple). It's still 3 hours away...man do we look forward to living closer to the temple. Of course we brought the kiddos...because there was no where else for them to go. It was a REALLY long day for them. We tried to make it fun but spending 6 hours in the car is a long time for them. It was really cold so we couldn't spend too much time out of the car or the Visitors Center or we would be popsicles.

While John was in the temple, the kids and I visited the Hill Cumorah. This is where Joseph Smith was lead by Angel Moroni and he found the golden plates in the mountain side. It was really pretty and very fun to be there. I am SO excited to go back in the Spring/Summer when the weather is nice.
We decided that it was as good a time as any to check out the Sacred Grove and I am so glad that we did. It is not very busy in the winter so we had most of the place to ourselves. I hear it is PACKED in the summer so I'm glad we went...even in the snow! This is a part the Smith's farm. The kids loved it!
The Smith's Frame Home. It was such a step up from their first home that is on the property. I have small memories of being here with my family when I was a kid. It was great to bring my kids to have the same memories as I did.
What would Christmas be without decorating Sugar Cookies? We didn't do Ginger Bread Houses this year...no one seemed to notice!
These cookies were YUMMY! Thick and chewy!
Our little "Rugby Player"! We sure do spend A LOT of time in our house right now. It really is so much work to get everyone bundled up and to go out into the dreary...blah....weather. I have really missed the sunshine (we did have one sunny day this month) and am already REALLY ready for winter to be over. There are people here who really don't mind the weather. I just can't get into it. I want green grass and I would love to be able to go to the grocery store without trudging through snow or melted snow and mud and sand. I love our house and it's a good thing.
This is Talon. In my bed. This has been a nightly occurrence. The only reason he is allowed in my bed is because he pays me with random, sweet kisses occasionally in the middle of the night and he is such a sweet cuddler. BUT, John and I both sleep so much better when he actually makes it through the night in his own bed. I think he is ready to be out of his crib. I remember that when Isabella was getting really hard to get to sleep and stay asleep, as soon as we switched her to a bed, she slept all night. Maybe that will work with Talon. I think we'll be getting him a bed this week!!
These pictures are awful...blurry, crooked, table in the way....but they are the only pictures that I took with all three together on Christmas Eve or Christmas! I hate when I do that! We had a really fun Christmas Eve! We had grand plans of eating and playing with another family in our ward this night but their newborn baby ended up getting really sick and needed to recover, so we had to come up with a back-up plan. We started out the morning with a delicious...sit down breakfast. My favorite! Then we went to the movies with all three kids (a first!!!) to see the Legend of The Guardian Owls. We were one of two families in the movie! I thought it would be packed...but we enjoyed having all the space we needed. Talon does not watch TV or movies...so after he was really rambunctious for the first twenty minutes...John was able to snuggle him up and he fell asleep for the rest of the movie. The girls of course LOVE going to the  movies.
After the movies we took the kids to a Restaurant. We went to Olive Garden, and AGAIN, we were surprised at how EMPTY it was. We had a quiet, relaxing, completely civilized meal with all three of our kids. They were GREAT! It was a lot of fun and the kids all got their tummies full! By the time that we left the restaurant, it was picking up and there were people everywhere. We beat the crunch!
We came home, made cookies for all of our neighbors and went caroling! It was a highlight of our Christmas (this was our second round of Caroling!!) Then we had the kids each take turns reading (or reciting) a few scriptures...this was Talon's turn. He always does so great. He repeats every word John says (again...let me remind you that he is not a talker yet!) Some of the words he repeats sound SO close to the real word...other's...not so much. BUT he tries and does such a good job! We've been trying to read the Book Of Mormon this way for the past few months and the kids really love it.
Our stockings were PACKED full this year! It was a good stocking year for us! When we are all finished having babies, I plan on buying matching stockings and getting our names monogrammed on them. BUT until then...we've got a little of this and a little of that!
Yeah for presents!!! Christmas morning we heard the kids at 7:30 (they knew they could get into their stockings before we were up). We totally could have let them enjoy their stockings for a while before we got up but we were too excited! We woke up Talon (easy to do since he was sleeping pushed up against my face) and headed out to see what Santa had brought us! The girls favorite gifts are their Pillow Pets! Talons is probably this:
Talon and JOHN love this new hoop! They play everyday together! The rest of the day was spent with the kids in their jammies (John and I actually got ready for the day). Playing with toys, eating candy, playing new DS games and Explorer Games. Most of my afternoon was spent cooking dinner...
Our ham...fall off the bone....goodness.
Homemade Lionhouse Rolls.
Cheesy and Crunchy Potatoes
Sparkling Grape Juice
I had more things planned for our meal but I tuckered out. My kids kept coming in complaining to me about what we were having for dinner...so I finally decided that if John and I were the only ones eating then I wasn't making ANY MORE FOOD! They of course loved the rolls. They all eventually decided that the ham was good and ate some, but Hailey HATES potatoes. She wouldn't even go near them. Isabella is still a good sport and tried everything. Talon is the worst eater out of them all. He did eat quite his share of the ham though. He loves meat! We had cinnamon rolls for dessert and those were a hit!
John got a sled for Christmas. After the girls were in bed (and Talon should have been) John and him went out for a late night sled! We have the tiniest of hills in our front yard. Talon LOVED it. Giggled SO loud! John froze to death.
John has gone out everyday since Christmas with the kids and pulled them super fast on this sled. One day we'll have to actually bring it to one of the hills for a really sledding experience.
And....those are open backed slippers in his feet!

I really, really missed being with family this year. Erie just seems like such a secluded place. It is REALLY easy to feel alone in this town. I think that next year, we may be doing anything necessary to spend the Holidays with people we love!
Thank you for all of your wonderful Christmas cards. We look at them daily and think about all of the memories that we share with you. We are all worlds apart but at this time I can still feel the love that is shared with one another. We have many things to be grateful for and are so thankful for this Season of beautiful music, gorgeous decorations, and sparkly lights!!!


Chablis said...

What a fun family you are!! Oh, I feel like crying right now because I miss you!!
Your dinner looks to DIE for delicious!
I wanted to get one of those bball hoops for Henry but we couldn't find any. :(
You're looking gorgeous as ever...I hope you're happy!

p.s. Scott had a great idea! Next September there is a marathon in Dayton Ohio. That is roughly half way between our homes. Tell John to train for the marathon and he and Scott can run it together. We could have a fun weekend together!

Stowell Family Blog said...

Darling pics, Katrina! You guys are so fun.

Jones said...

sounds like a really really fun family time! I am especially envious of the food! If you get a spare moment could you email me the recipes for the following: sugar cookies, lion house rolls, those potatoes and that ham you made!! Seriously my mouth was DROOLING!

I can't believe John was out in that snow in a short sleeve shirt!! it's so cold here in FL, it reminds me of Provo and I keep expecting it to snow (cause if it was this cold in UT, it snowed!)

Merry Christmas!! and thanks for the card...I am determined to send out cards next Christmas!!

Anna said...

What a fun December and Christmas! You always do such fun things--your kids will have such fun holiday memories! (And you too, I hope :)I wish we were with you this Christmas. Missing you!

Rob and Andra Mahoney said...

What great pictures!!! I loved them so much! You have such a fun family!!!