Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas '09

Christmas Eve was a blast. We got together with my family for our traditional Christmas Eve party.

The kids acted out the Nativity story the best they could. Did you know Luigi was a part of the Nativity story? I didn't either until that night.:) McKenzie was the angel telling Mary (Lana) that she was going to have a baby.

Bill was a good sport and played the part of Joseph. Here he is with Mary on the long journey around the island, finding that there is "no room at the inn."

Mike and Isaak enjoyed the show.

So did Andy and Danika...until it was time for Danika to play the adorable baby Jesus.

And Tai was also a good sport, and played a shepherd. She is obviously very excited about the news the angel, Kailie, had to share with her!

Then all gathered around Mary and the baby and sang a couple of Christmas songs.

What a cute baby, don't you think?!

Next it was time for some rip-roaring fun with the traditional pinata!

Every child got a turn to whack it, from the youngest, beginning with baby Danika... the oldest. It finally ended with Aunt Brookie and uncle Mike finishing it off!!!

Rylee surprised everyone with some Christmas songs she had learned on the piano.

And Grandma took a turn sliding down the stairs in a sleeping bag, just to prove she is still cool. A bunch of kids joined her at the bottom, probably to make sure she didn't break a hip or something.;)

The festivities continued as the kids decorated sugar cookies for Santa. That's always a fun mess.
Brielle, cutie pie.

Rylee decorating hers ever so carefully.

Lana and Kailie, still inseparable.

McKenzie, probably trying to make sure the sprinkles at aunt Hilary's house aren't poisoned.

Isaak doing what the little ones do best when they decorate cookies.

And Kate attempting to be neat about the decorating.

Mike, Jordan, Nikole, and Andrew being entertained by the Wii and hot fudge brownies! YUM!
Time for Grandma's traditional Christmas Pie. This tradition is so much fun. Everyone grabs a string and pulls on the count of three. Then you get to open a present that is attached at the end of the string. It is definitely a favorite tradition. Thanks again for doing this, Mom.

Then we all opened our Christmas Eve gifts, A.K.A. pajamas. We hung out for a little bit. Rylee, of course wouldn't leave Andrew alone. Do you think she missed him just a little bit?

We asked all of the kids to pose for a picture in their new Christmas jammies. This is the best we could get. Hey, you get nine kids to all look at the camera at the same time at 10:00 on Christmas Eve.

Kate snuggling with Sara. She was definitely getting tired.

The girls were tracking Santa on the computer and were definitely starting to panic. They were anxious to get into bed before Santa got too close to us.

Jordan, Rylee, and Nikole posing for a darling picture.

Before the night was completely finished, Grandpa read a couple of Christmas stories to Hayden. Hayden loved it. Thanks Dad!

Andrew did some magic tricks for Rylee and Lana. They ate it up and were amazed!

Sara and Lana were both laughing hysterically at Andrew's tricks.

The kids all got to open one more gift on Christmas Eve. These were from Jordan and Nikole. They all got a book that goes with a stuffed animal. They were so excited. Thank you so much, Jordan and Nikole!

Lana thanking her super cool aunt and uncle.

The kids were finally able to crash at about midnight, and were so tired. Rylee was the only one who had a hard time going to sleep. She couldn't finally relax and go to sleep until about 1:30.
Time to rest and get ready for Christmas morning and the craziness that brings!!!
Christmas Day was wonderful. The kids loved their gifts and were so cute opening them.

We spent the day as a family, playing with the new toys and games. We had a visit from my parents and Andrew. The kids laughed a lot and had so much fun all day.
We were even able to have the Elders over for a turkey dinner that evening. These elders were so much fun to have in our home. They were fun to talk to and very sweet to the kids.

At the end of the day, we all put on pajamas, blew up a big air mattress, and watched "Night at the Museum 2" as a family. It was a perfect end to a perfect day. It couldn't have been a better Christmas.
By the end of the week, after all of our get-togethers and late nights, we all felt like this:

We hope you all had a fantastic Christmas, and that your New Year is wonderful! We are so grateful for the birth of our Savior and for the special time of year it brings to celebrate with those we love so much. We love you all!

Andrew Is Home!!!

My little brother, Andrew, came home from his mission last Tuesday. What a fantastic Christmas present that was for my whole family! Andrew left on his mission just a couple of months before my other brother, Jordan, came home from his. So we hadn't been together as a whole family for almost four years.
Jordan and Andrew, finally able to see each other after four long years.
Andrew with his two best friends, Aaron and Josh. It was so fun that they came to the airport!

A few random pictures that I couldn't help taking. The kids were all so adorable and so excited!

It was a fantastic reunion! The whole big bunch of us went to the airport to swarm and overwhelm Andrew with attention.:)

That evening, we all had a good time together at my parents' house.
Andrew quickly turned into Uncle Jungle Gym:

Uncle Mike even had to get in on the action. It was just like old times. It was so much fun!

Kate loved Nikole and kissed her about a million times with her sticky face. Luckily, Nikole is a good sport and didn't seem to mind.

The kids couldn't get enough of their uncle, Andrew, and he seemed to eat them up as well. Every time one of his nieces or nephews would hug him, he would hug them tight and say, "That's what I'm talking about." It was very sweet.

You gotta love ping-pong with all the kids!

I love how much these kids all love their cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.

It was a fantastic night full of laughs and good memories. We love having Andrew home, and the whole family together again. It's been a long wait.