'Tis the season to get together with friends and eat their delicious food. Jodi hosted this awesome Holiday Date night in which we had good laughs as we played Minute to Win It games. These are some of my dearest friends here that have become like sisters to me.
From Left to Right: Kim, Jodi, Jan, Me, Beca, Aly
Can you believe this is a CAKE??? It tasted just as good as it looked.
Cami's first dance recital
We recently had this conversation:
Bryn: I don't like Cami.
Me: Why? Cami is a sweet heart
Cami: Ya, I'm a sweet hawt
Kennan: How can you resist her cuteness?
That's how I feel about Cami too, I can't resist her cuteness. It was so fun to see her dancing away in her recital. She was adorable and ate up every second of it.
Her teacher, Mrs. Nanci, runs a studio out of her home so she doesn't charge much and she does a fabulous job. The last song as all the dancers were on stage they were all surprised when Santa unexpectedly come onto the stage to join them. It was a fun moment to see all the kids light up.
Alyssa had her second set of tubes put in. This time they took out her adnoids too which the ENT said were blocking 60% of her Eustacian tubes. I'm hopeful that this set will do the trick.
This is Barbie and Ken in their dream car. Cami absolutely adores her friend Grant. In fact she told me that she wants to marry him when "I am big like a mommy and he is big like a daddy".
OFF TO UTAH
Derrick and I had a bet about how many times I would get commentary from other travelers such as "You sure have your hands full" and "Are you traveling alone?" Not to mention the looks I got from people. I lost track of such responses. But to be honest, I don't know why people are so terrified of traveling on planes with kids. I have to admit, mine were awesome. This was the first time flying to Utah with a layover. Usually it's just a short two and a half hour flight and we are there. This time that was just the first flight, then we had a layover and another long flight. I was so proud of my kids for being patient and good during this whole process. We flew out on the 17th of Dec and stayed until Jan 5th. Derrick couldn't take that much time off so he flew out alone from the 20th-28th.
On the way there a sweet lady behind us who was traveling alone, but also had five kids, was so kind and helpful. She gave the kids gum and even bought them skittles during our layover. The only issue I had was that Alyssa was a lap rider, which meant she had to sit on my lap for most of the flight. Luckily she is good at sitting on my lap and generally happy to just be with me. However, I hadn't anticipated how uncomfortable it would be as my 6 months pregnant belly is taking up most of my lap space. Alyssa and the baby fought for place on my lap most the way.
We were so thrilled to get snow in Utah. Well, the kids were, I've seen enough of it to last a lifetime and don't really miss it.
Sledding at Rachel's house
Daybreak has the most perfect hills for sledding.
Grandma gave Alyssa her own ride down the street in the sled since she couldn't go sledding with the big kids.
Santa Clause Visit
I wish I had a video of the surprise on the kid's faces when we got a knock on the door one night and opened it to see Santa with a bag of gifts. Santa always knows exactly what the kids want and spoiled them with fun toys.
Kennan was quite cynical of Santa and said, "If you are the real Santa, then who is my best friend?" Luckily Santa still let him keep his nerf gun.
Brynlee was thrilled with the makeup kit that Santa brought her.
The funniest moment of the night was when Santa handed Cami her gift and she looked at the name tag on it exclaiming, "This isn't for me, my name starts with a C, not a K." But when she saw the Elsa doll inside she didn't care about the spelling, she loves her new doll.
This is about as close as Alyssa would get to Santa. She clung to her daddy's neck the whole time.
Santa and Luke
Santa and Noah
Santa brought "Rambo" a lump of coal
The adults started a new tradition this year that was really cool. On Christmas Eve, after the kids were all in bed we did our gift exchange among the siblings and our gifts to the parents. It was cool to do this without the chaos and distractions from the kids. When Devin gave his gift to his mom it was a really special moment and left many of us in tears. After opening the gifts we went upstairs and watched the video slideshow I made everyone with old family pictures set to music. What a magical night it was.
This was the first Christmas in years that Brett and Maureen had all their kids and grand-kids home for Christmas, so they went all out. Their tree display was quite impressive. They decorated three trees, one for each of their sons. This picture doesn't do justice to the beautiful details of the trees.
Above is the sum total of the gifts we bought for our kids this year. We knew they would get spoiled from grandma and grandpa, and we were sure right!
Maureen does the most amazing job with stocking stuffers. At the bottom of my stocking was a set of REAL pearl earrings. I've never had real pearls before and I absolutely cherish them.
Alyssa's favorite gift was this singing lady bug rocker. She has spent hours playing with it.
Ginger Bread House Decorating
I was glad each child had their own adult helping them with this project. The kids really enjoyed it.
Emily was great helping Kennan. He was really proud of his masterpiece.
Meanwhile Bradan attempted diaper duty with Noah. Him and Emily are going to be awesome parents one day, they are both so good with children and babies.
Did someone put Devin in Time Out? I can't imagine why he would want to sit out in the freezing cold on his own accord.
Now, Everyone attack Bradan...
Now go attack grandpa...
Everyone pile in the back of Grandpa's pick-up truck. It's time to get the kids out of the house and go to the park to use their energy there.
Brett and Maureen's close friends gave them an awesome Prime Rib Roast steak. I'm not a huge steak fan, but this really was the best I've ever had. Unfortunately Maureen came down with a terrible sickness during this time, which confined her to her bed for two days straight. Luckily Nicole and Emily took on the dinner responsibilities and they did an awesome job. One of the best parts of being at Grandma's house is the food. I especially appreciated it this trip since I was eating for two and didn't have to worry about all the weight I would gain from such indulgences.
Allred Family Pictures
Back to Salt Lake City
Of course Alyssa is smiling for this picture, Grandma Cahill is feeding her icecream. The picture above is the view out of Grandma and Grandpa's family room window.
Noon Years Eve party 2015
Rachel's awesome family-friendly community hosted a Noon Years Eve party for all the families and kids. I think this idea is phenomenal because who wants to keep their kids up til midnight? This way the kids still get to celebrate New Years Eve without having to deal with post-holiday crankiness from sleep deprivation. There was tons of delicious food including all-you-can-eat Chick-fila. And they had an array of fun kids activities such as animal balloons, dancing, crafts, photo booth, and games in which they won lots of cool free prizes. They counted down until the clock struck noon at which time there was a balloon drop. I think having a "Noon Years Eve Party" will have to become part of our family traditions, because my life-long goal is to never stay up until midnight.
Leah and Kate
Rachel and Dax
Above the toddlers are anxiously awaiting the balloon drop as the countdown begins.
It took most the three week trip, but finally shy little Alyssa finally warmed up to my sisters, Ariel and Abby.
Meanwhile...back at Mom's house...
some things never change...
The Bachelor and Bachelorette...Just waitin' to start datin'.
The BIG belly comparison
Leah is 5 weeks ahead of me with her pregnancy. We spent a lot of time together doing nothing during this visit, which was exactly what we wanted to do.
Classic Fun Center
A trip to Utah just wouldn't be complete without a trip bouncing, skating, and the ball pit at Classic. This is one of my kid's favorite places in Utah.
This is Rachel's handsome little Lincoln
Bethany has an awesome haircut. This picture doesn't do it justice. But she rocks it and it is no happy-valley-mommy-cut.
The kids with Great Grandma and Grandpa Cahill
The kids with Oma
Some of the Cousins (we are missing Rebekah's brood)
The worst part about going home is packing up. We had traveled using Southwest airlines, so we each got two free checked in baggage. I had brought four large empty suitcases and we barely had enough room to pack all our Christmas treasures.
Below I'm quite sure Miriam must of been texting Rachel saying, "I can hardly stand Sarah's crap all over my room. I can't wait until she leaves and I can reclaim my room." Miriam was so sweet to give up her room and her bed for so long.
First real Haircuts
As soon as we got home Derrick and Kennan were desperate for haircuts. So I cut the girls as well. This is literally Brynlee and Cami's first real haircuts. I've trimmed Brynlee's bangs before, but have never cut the rest. And scissors had never touched Cami's hair, and she is almost four years old. My girl's hair grows painfully slow. Brynlee was quite resistant and cried over the couple inches that I cut off, which i was secretly happy about. I don't want her to want short hair.
What else have we been up to since returning home from Utah?...
My very favorite Christmas present is this double sided waffle iron. In the first week of being home we ate waffles 6 times. It is so cool cause it cooks waffles on both sides so I can do them twice as fast. Every mom needs one of these.
When Alyssa had her follow up ENT appt. Derrick was working right across the hall from her ENT's office, doing EMG's, so he snuck over for her appointment. This was a super rare treat. Derrick virtually never gets to attend Dr. appointments with me. In fact, don't ask him the name of their pediatrician. He looked so handsome in the new clothes and lanyard that his parents gave him for Christmas.
Goodbye 2014, Here is what is on the docket for 2015:
I've been able to potty train all my other kids (who are all two years apart) before the new baby comes, but we will soon find out if Alyssa cooperates with my timeline. I only have two months to get her potty trained and avoid the expensive cost of having two kids in diapers. She turns two the first part of March and the baby is due the end of March.