Friday, December 28, 2007

Oh, and by the way...

This little dude's name is GRAHAM, not Marcus! Apparently "Marcus" was chosen in haste, and now Graham has been dubbed his real name. He sure is a sweet little bug-- and that newborn baby smell... ugh, let's just say that I had a hard time not gobbling him up!

Christmas 2007!

Well, here we are-- another Christmas has come and gone. Yesterday, I listened to Christmas music as I unpacked from our trip, and felt a little sad that it's just about time to put it away until next year. We really had the most wonderful holiday this year-- maybe even the best ever! I really hate to do a "travel log", but we managed to pack so much into just a few days, that I'm not really sure how else to share our adventures. If you're bored, just skip to the slide show at the end! :)

Our celebrations started on Saturday morning, when we packed up the car and drove down to Salt Lake City. We met Chris's parents for lunch at Kyoto, our favorite Japanese restaurant. It was delicious, our boys were actually well-behaved, and it was the perfect way to kick off a fun weekend. Afterward, we went over to the Hansen's where we met up with Jon and Emily. We opened some great gifts-- our favorite was a painting by Jon!-- and had a great time just hanging out and watching movies. On Sunday, we went to church with Gramm and Gramp and there met Chris's older sister, Heidi and her family. It was funny to watch Gordon react to four more cousins to compete with-- he claimed a spot on Grammuh's lap and gave his best mean dinosaur look to everyone else!

After church, the kids got changed and went outside with Chris to build a huge snowman. Everyone else was dressed in their heavy winter gear, but Chris wore only a tee-shirt and gloves. Nice. Mike Crosby, Chris's best friend from high school, came over and helped a bit, then he and Chris caught up for a bit. It was fun to see Mike, but we missed Kristine and the kids!

Sunday was a glorious day for food. Emily made some amazing dips (and you know I love dips) for appetizers, then Marilyn presented a beautiful and delicious dinner of cornish game hens. YUM! Maybe I have a new Christmas dinner favorite? After dinner, we unwrapped the rest of our presents-- adorable "Peanuts" themed jammies were a hit (I'm the Little Red-Haired Girl) and our bratty six-year-old told his kind Grammuh, "Next year, don't get me any clothes." Sigh.

On Christmas eve morning, Gramm made us a delicious waffle brunch, then the kids all played together in their new matching outfits. They looked so cute!! I loved cuddling with baby Garrett-- he is just a little sweet pea-- and Thomas was thrilled to follow Sophie and Audrey everywhere they went. Even Gordon and David got along well! We also had a chance to talk to Andy and Amanda in Wisconsin via the web cam. They're such a great little family-- we missed them!

After lots of pictures and good-byes, we hit the road to Idaho Falls for the rest of our Christmas break. Although the pass in Malad was a little snowy, it wasn't until we were about 25 miles outside of Idaho Falls that the weather really caught up with us. It was insane, and I was so glad that Chris was such a cautious driver. We saw way too many cars in the median!

We arrived safely in IF at my parents' house and started to appreciate an incredibly white Christmas from the nice viewpoint of their cozy living room. When the Freeds and Flatlands arrived, we had all five sisters, two parents, three spouses, and six grandkids at my parents' house! Baby Graham was home (yay!), and I was delighted that Ann-Michelle let me snuggle with him for so long. Mmmm, he smelled so good!

We had a tasty chicken dinner, played some games, then enjoyed a darling Nativity presentation by the kids as my dad read Luke 2. Little Graham made the perfect newborn Jesus! Afterward, we opened our second set of Christmas jammies and cool slippers from Ann-M. We took more pictures, of course, then set out some goodies for Santa and sent the kids to bed!

Chris received a Deluxe Scrabble game from my parents as a belated birthday gift, so we made very good use of it during the whole weekend. Chris and the Todds worked on coming up with the highest-possible scoring word, theoretically following all of the rules, and ended up with bureaucratizing, which gave them a whopping 1254 points. Apparently the highest possible word scores somewhere in the 1700's, but they were still pretty proud of themselves.

On Christmas morning, we woke up to all sorts of crazy joy! Santa had indeed visited the DeArton home, and left some pretty great gifts. Thomas was thrilled about his remote control car, and Gordon could not be happier about his dinosaurs. It was really fun to see all of the presents under the tree. I think we each got a pretty modest amount of gifts, but because there were sixteen of us, the stacks of gifts seemed mountainous! My mom even had to block the presents off with a gate so that the pets didn't get into them!

The favorite gift of the day had to be Tom's Robosapien. I had first seen this awesome toy at Sherrie's, when her boys could hardly contain their excitement when showing me their new Christmas gift a couple of years ago. When Tom mentioned that one of his school friends had one as well, I knew it would be the perfect present. My parents bought it for him and all of us, including the adults, were taken with it!

One of the highlights of Christmas Day was getting to speak to my brother, Jake, who is currently serving an LDS mission in Vladivostok, Russia. Jake sounded awesome, especially when he practiced his Russian with Todd Freed, who also served in Russia. It was so great to talk to him-- he'll be home on January 19th and I can't wait to see him!

On Christmas evening, Chris and I made some of our favorite party foods-- cream-cheese stuffed tomatoes, little pigs-in-a-blanket, and a cheese and fruit platter-- as appetizers, then enjoyed a tasty ham dinner complete with my mom's incredible rolls. YUM!!

Afterward, we put our worn-out kids to bed, then spent the evening playing games. Our gift to the family was a game called "The Great Dalmuti", similar to "Kings, Queens and Peons", or "Scum". Players sit in order of rank, and my friend Karin gave me the great idea to get funny hats to signify which rank each player is. Caitlan and I picked out thirteen hilarious hats at Zurchers when I was in Provo-- everything ranging from a crown, party beads, and a red feather boa for the Great Dalumuti, to a funny chicken hat for the lowest peon. The game is really fun and I think everyone had a really great time!

I really felt like we made the most of every moment this Christmas. I loved that we were able to spend time with both of our families and that our kids have such adorable cousins! It was so great to be with my family again on Christmas Day. Chris and I were also surprised to realize that this was our first Christmas in Idaho Falls (since my parents moved to Washington for seven years, then back to Idaho) since our first Christmas as a married couple! WOW! It was a perfect and memorable vacation and I couldn't have asked for better people to spend it with.

Friday, December 21, 2007

My Christmas Gifts to You

My dear blogging friends, although most of you have received a bit of postal Christmas cheer from me, I thought I'd leave you with a couple of little gifts before I head out for the holidays. We'll be gone until the 27th, so I will probably not post anything before then. So, until next week, good tidings to you!

Gift #1: Christmas Caramels

1 cup butter
2 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup light-colored corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Line an 8X8 or 9X9 pan with foil and butter the bottom and sides well. These are sticky, so too much butter is a good thing.
Melt butter over low heat in a large saucepan. Add brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk and corn syrup, and mix together well. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until the mixture boils. Reduce heat to medium, stirring frequently. Boil for 10-15 minutes until mixture reaches the firm-ball stage, or 248 degrees.
Remove saucepan from heat, stir in vanilla. Pour the caramel into the prepared pan and let cool. When mixture has cooled, use a buttered knife to cut into 1 inch squares. Wrap squares in wax paper. Makes about 2 lbs (64 pieces).

My tips: Getting the candy to the right stage of firmness is the trickiest part. If you undercook it, your caramels will be very soft, but overcooking it will turn them into brittle. I begin doing the water test at ten minutes, then go from there. This year's batch turned out beautifully and it cooked for just under 12 minutes. Cutting a strip of wax paper into thirds produces the perfect-sized candy wrapper!

Gift #2: Paper Boxes

Unless you're a procrastinator, this little demo probably won't be too helpful for Christmas-- but Valentine's Day is right around the corner!

If you make any paper boxes, I'd love to see your pictures!

Gift #3: More Vanity from ME!

Okay, so maybe this isn't a gift, per se, but I still thought you might enjoy a little look back into the ghosts of our Christmases past. This is our tenth Christmas together, so certainly a cause for celebration!

We wish you the merriest of holidays! Peace and God Bless!

Gift Tags

Oh my goodness, I can hardly get over my own cleverness with that title... ah, the fun. Anyway, Shannon tagged me a little while ago, and it's been such a busy week that I'm just now getting to it!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper-- and it must be Christmas wrapping paper. Chris tried to get away with wrapping things in blue birthday paper, what the heck?

2. Real tree or Artificial? Real-- I like everything about a real tree. I like the getting, the putting up, the smell, even the pine needles don't bother me. One year in Washington (I think Christmas '04), we went up into the mountains and cut down our own tree. It was so fun and festive, I think we're going to try to do it again next year.

3. When do you put up the tree? As soon as we can after Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take the tree down? Usually New Year's day, or shortly thereafter.

5. Favorite gift received as a child? I loved my American Girl, Kirsten, and that one doll with the roller skates-- what was her name? I also still remember how thrilled I was to get a navy blue leather jacket when I was in high school.

6. Do you have a nativity scene? We have one little tiny one-- the size of those miniature tree ornaments-- that we bought the first year we were married. I really need to get another one that people can actually see.

7. Hardest person to buy for? My in-laws, although I think I did pretty well this year.

8. Easiest to buy for? My kids. They usually tell me what they want in August.

9. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards? Mail, for heaven's sake. Don't even get me started on e-mail Christmas cards.

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I usually love all of my presents, but I am not always crazy about the homemade treats that people bring over, especially when I can't tell what it is. I realize that people may be thinking the same thing about my treats, but I do try to make them look pretty.

11. Favorite Christmas Movie? "Scrooge"-- it's a good'un.

12. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No, but I have returned a few.

13. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? These are really more holiday treats, since we make them any time between Thanksgiving and New Year, but I LOVE party foods, namely our cream cheese stuffed tomatoes, Chris's stuffed mushrooms, Honeybaked Ham, and Muddy Buddies. Oooh, I'm going to post some recipes today!

14. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear on the tree, colored on the house.

15. Favorite Christmas song? "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" (especially the one by Frakie Valley and the Four Seasons), Carol of the Bells, and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas". My favorite Christmas songs to sing at church are "Come, All Ye Faithful" and "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"

16. Travel at Christmas or stay home? We've never spent a Christmas at home. This year we'll be in Salt Lake with Chris's family tomorrow through the 24th, then in Idaho Falls with mine the 24-27th.

17. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes, and I especially love Vixen. She's a saucy little deer.

18. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Jammies on Christmas Eve, everything else Christmas morning.

19. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Grumpy people and people feeling like they have to apologize before eating something. It's Christmas, people, eat up! That's what New Year's Resolutions are for!!

20. Favorite ornament theme or color? I love that our tree doesn't have a theme and that all of our ornaments are really cool and personal, but I have to admit that I'm always attracted to those blue and silver trees at the tree festivals. They just look so wintery!

21. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Honeybaked Ham or Turkey. I also love to eat the rolls-- gotta get those carbs in there!

22. What do you want for Christmas this year? Hmmm... I don't know... I asked for a deep fryer so I can make perfect Won Tons, and a creme brulee set. If Oprah's reading this, I'd like a new car, a Mac, and lots and lot of cash. Wait, I just remembered, my real Christmas wish is that my Mom and Dad would update their blogs a little more often! Ha!

MERRY CHRISTMAS, All! If you want to/have time to do this one, I'd love to see what you have to say!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Marcus Jacob

Introducing the newest member of my extended family: Marcus Jacob Freed, son of Todd and my sister, Ann-Michelle! We can't wait to meet Marcus in a few days when we go to Idaho Falls for Christmas!

Click here for pictures and a post from his proud dad!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Creative Juices Go Here!

In case you can't tell by my monthly blog headers, I've become a big fan of digital scrapbooking. I still love my paper stuff, but the more I digi-scrap, the more I love it! In the digital scrapbooking world, designers (the people who create the paper, elements, etc) put out "calls" for people to apply for their creative teams. A member of a creative team gets all of her (or his, I suppose) supplies from that designer for free and in return, creates pages (or layouts) to post on digital scrapping sites as a form of advertising. Since I'm pretty green to this world, I hadn't applied for any creative teams-- frankly, I felt really intimidated when I saw some of the amazing work that the creative teams produce. But, a few weeks ago, a designer that I really like posted a call for creative team members, so I thought, "why not?" and I applied. Well, (drumroll).... I was invited to join the MandaBean Creative Team! I am so excited!

I made this page today with a darling kit called Darling Deery:

Monday, December 17, 2007

A little Getaway

Thanks to Chris for watching the boys so I could get away this weekend! I had my own personal girl's weekend! I drove down to Orem on Saturday morning and went to lunch with Shannon at a little restaurant called Rumbi. I had never eaten there before and it was delicious! It was so fun to catch up with Shannon, too! (Thanks Adam for watching your little guy so we could have a girl's lunch-- next time we'll invite you!)

Next, I headed over to Wyview to meet my sister, Caitlan, who is a freshman at BYU. Caitlan is awesome and we had a really fun weekend together. Our first stop was Zurcher's, a party shop that made me start thinking about all sorts of parties I want to have! We found some hysterically awesome stuff-- man, I am laughing just thinking about it! We thought these holiday sunglasses were especially appropriate:

Our shopping spree continued at Wal-Mart, where we got in and out as quickly as possible. That place drives me nuts! The sunset was really cool, so Caitlan posed on some Wal-Mart shopping carts so we could get a good shot. We also tried IceBreakers Dragon Fruit gum, which is totally disgusting.

Next we headed to the BYU bookstore and Caitlan showed me some of the new stuff on campus. It is amazing how much it has changed in ten years! I bought a couple of non-BYU-themed Christmas gifts and Caitlan bought a book on kissing. The checker (Alex?) was really excited about Caitlan's purchase, and I still think she should try to set up a little practice session with him. Ha!

We decided to eat dinner at a tasty Japanese place. No, I didn't have sushi, but my tempura veggies were fabulous. Caitlan, brave girl, actually enjoyed her raw fish-- it was pretty, I admit.

After dinner, we went to the BYU v. Pepperdine basketball game, where we sent my poor hubby pictures of us in BYU gear via our cell phones. He really loved that. I should note that although I did wear one of Caitlan's BYU tee shirts and I clapped along with the band, I did refuse to do the Cougar roll.

In more cell phone fun, I laughed while Caitlan flirted via text message with a guy she has a crush on. I am a little too old to understand the whole texting thing, but it was funny to watch them send and receive messages. During the game, I also educated Caitlan on the existance of Mark Wahlberg and Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.

Elise: Is he related to Mark Wahlberg?
Caitlan: Who is that?
E: What?! You don't know who Mark Wahlberg is?! Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch?!?
C: Huh?
E: You know, "Good Vibrations"? Mid-nineties stuff...
C: I was like, six.
E: Oh, yeah. Well.

When the game ended, we went to Baskin-Robbins, the very place where Chris and I went on our first date. I think I may have even ordered the same thing. Aw.

Caitlan had a headache, so she went to bed kind of early, but I stayed up with her cute roommates and gave them dating advice. Yes, it was solicited, I promise! I slept on their couch and went to church with Caitlan and her roommates the next day, then drove home to Logan. It was such a fun weekend-- thanks Caitlan!

This isn't really my news to post, but since many of you know my other sister Ann-Michelle, I have to tell you that she had her baby on Sunday! Ann-M was expecting her 4th girl and guess what-- she had a boy! The ultrasound tech was wrong, and the Freed girls now have a cute little brother! CONGRATS, Freeds!!

Au Chocolat

Just because this event happened last week doesn't mean that it wasn't fun! If you've stalked any of my friends' blogs, you'll know that Christy, Holly and I had a fun little chocolate-making afternoon that I am just now blogging about. Despite my slowness, we did have a blast! Each of us brought our own recipe to Holly's house-- I brought the peanut butter balls-- yummy.

Christy made these tasty "Symphony Chocolate Balls" (check her blog for the recipe), and Holly made Frango Mints. So delish! As Holly put it, I suffered a bit from a "chocolate hangover", but I like those kind! :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

O Tannenbaum

I really like the word Tannenbaum-- it's one of those fun German words we get to throw around at Christmastime. I found some interesting tidbits about "O Tannenbaum" online, particularly the most common English translations of the song. My favorite was this one:

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Thy candles shine out brightly!
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Thy candles shine out brightly!
Each bough doth hold its tiny light,
That makes each toy to sparkle bright.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Thy candles shine out brightly!

One of my favorite holiday traditions is getting out our ornaments to decorate the tree. We get a new ornament every year, usually one that reminds us of a fun place we visited or a cherished memory. We also buy a new ornament for each boy and they each get one from each grandmother. We have a whole bunch of ornaments that say "Thomas" on them-- and the "Gordon"s are growing! If you do the math, we get a minimum of seven new ornaments each year, and usually a couple more random ones from visiting teachers or boss's wives.

Despite our large number of ornaments, each one has a story. This year, I'm working on taking pictures of each ornament and scrapbooking the story for our Christmas scrapbook. We'll give the boys their ornaments when they have their own families, but I always want to remember when and why we got each special one.

Here are some of my favorites this year:

This sweet little Nativity Egg was purchased for me at Ten Thousand Villages by Chris for my first Mother's Day. Actually, this is not the original egg. The first egg was used as a slingshot in a moment of goofing off, and it was destroyed when it hit something hard. I was so sad to lose it, and so worried that they wouldn't have any more since their inventory changes frequently. But, lucky for me, when we went to Ten Thousand Villages in Sugarhouse one 4th of July, they had one Nativity Egg left-- and now it's mine.

This cool guitar is actually Thomas's. He picked it out at Restoration Harware from a plethora of other cool musical instrument ornaments. I remember pressuring him to get something more classical, like a piano, or at the very least, an acoustic guitar. But no, he liked this white electric guitar and now I can't imagine our tree without it.

Thomas made this adorably sweet angel in his first pre-school class. I love it because the picture is hilarious and the glitter has been applied with the most precious three-year-old care, but also because it reminds me of how much I loved his pre-school. We lived in Lake Stevens, WA at the time, and I remember clearly the day I visited the school to see if I wanted to enroll Thomas. It was absolutely the most perfect pre-school I could have imagined: guinea pigs, a bike path with different textured concrete, an entire wall made out of chalkboard, a room dedicated to art-- it was amazing. The school turned out to be every bit as wonderful as we hoped, and seeing this angel always makes me smile.

This year's ornament was purchased in a cute little shop in Kailua-Kona, HI, while Chris and I were there with his parents this year. We loved this ornament because it was handmade in Hawaii, has a bunch of cool Hawaiian pictures, but still looks Christmas-y. Our vacation was so fun and I love the memories this ornament will always bring me.

Our tree has been up and beautiful since November 30th, and I just love the Christmas cheer it brings into our home!

Monday, December 10, 2007

All is bright

Just a quick little post to share my gratitude for all of my blessings, especially for my family. Today, my sweet niece, Lizzy, underwent open-heart surgery-- a scary thing, especially for a tiny little baby. She is doing well, and I feel so grateful for the capable doctors and nurses who cared for her, and for the evolution of modern medicine. When we get to meet little Lizzy in person, she'll be healthy and strong!

Her great parents, Andy (Chris's brother) and Amanda, have been posting updates here. We love you guys!

Where the love light gleams

On Saturday morning, our cute friend Holly Mitchell came over to take some family pictures of us. Holly is starting a new photography business and is building her portfolio. She took some really great photographs of a family with well-behaved children, so I thought I would be nice and give her some experience with the other kind of chilren-- the ones who won't hold still, especially when you get a camera out! Despite my rotten boys, Holly actually got some great pictures of us. And, to tell you the truth, the more I look at the not-so-perfect pictures, the more I like them. After all, this is what we're really like!

Gordon's "Mean Dinosaur" face

This picture turned out to be one of my favorites. The boys are having a complete meltdown, and I love the unspoken words between Chris and me. I'm going to frame it!

Holly actually babysat for us on Friday night while Chris and I went to my work Christmas party, so we owe her big time. Lucky for us, she doesn't have kids yet! :) Thanks again, Holly!!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

It's Christmas Time in the City

On Thursday evening, the boys and I went down to Salt Lake to meet up with Dave, Ashley and Jaxon Rogers at Temple Square. Ashley and I were Taylor 1200 girls back in the day and I loved being able to see her while she was here in Utah. We definitely need to schedule time to get together more often!

We met at Temple Square where the boys could run around and see the lights. Gord was more interested in the frequent Trax Train that rumbles by the square every few minutes than he was in the lights, but oh well. He did look awfully cute all bundled up!

I couldn't get a picture of all three boys at Temple Square-- it was just too much fun to run and run. But afterward, we went to McDonalds (a favorite of boys ages 20 months to 6 years), and I managed to get them all together.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

I'm gettin' nothin' for Christmas

'cuz I ain't been nothin' but bad!

Photo by Holly Mitchell

Friday, December 07, 2007

Dashing through the snow

Whew, it's been a crazy week! Do I say that too much? Probably! Well, the good news is that some changes are coming in the Hansen family life, which will hopefully equate to slowing things down a bit and breathing a little deeper. Just thinking about taking a deep breath feels relaxing, doesn't it?

Not that I mind staying busy with fun things! It's the running to and fro between the fun things and the grocery shopping that I could do without! :)

Anyway, last Saturday, we went down to Salt Lake (where it was snowing like crazy!) to meet up with Adam, Shannon and cute Collin for a tasty lunch at TGI Fridays and a trip to the aquarium. It was so fun to hang out with these guys-- Collin is a hoot and is one of the cutest little boys ever!

Regretably, I only took a few shots at the aquarium. The boys were having so much fun running around that I didn't want to interrupt to take pictures. Plus, truth be told, I was suffering from a little bit of camera envy-- Shannon is an actual photographer (her stuff rocks-- check out Shannon Petersen Photography) and her camera puts my battered point-and-shoot to shame! I think Santa's got me pretty well covered, but maybe the Late Winter Fairy will consider my request for a new camera? I've got my eye on this one. What, you've never heard of the Late Winter Fairy?

Hopefully Shannon got a few more pictures than I did!

One of the best things about the aquarium are the touch pools. The boys loved having a hands-on experience. I, on the other hand, prefer to keep mine clean and dry!

Chris was not afraid of grabbing the stingrays by the tail-- until he saw the sign that said not to, of course. Oops!

Petersens, we had a great time with you!

Sadly, our day was cut short when Thomas began complaining about what would turn into a three-day migraine and fever. We had been planning to visit Grammuh and Grampuh while we were in town, but had to head home to take care of Tom. We're so sad that we missed you! Luckily, we'll be back in just a couple of weeks for holiday celebrations with cousins and cousins!

Since we were home so early, I decided to head out to do a little Christmas shopping in Logan. What a nightmare! It was snowing, and all of Logan's crazies (and probably Franklin County, ID's, too) were out and about. I didn't really find anything fantastic and I was nearly hit by a car, so the whole ordeal reaffirmed my belief in online shopping.

To save the night, Christy and I decided to go to Logan's new movie theatre and see Enchanted-- one of the cutest and most fun movies I have seen in a long time! I loved, loved, loved it-- it's one I'll definitely buy when it comes out. Go and see it-- it is such a fun movie! Thanks for a fun girls night, Christy!

I have some more updates from this week, so you may even hear from me again today. Oh what fun...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

A Few of my Favorite Things

Things that make December a lovely month:

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime

It's been a hectic couple of days-- Thomas has been sick and extra, extra whiney, and Gordon has been exhibiting as much of the "terrible" of the terrible twos as he possibly can. Fortunately, today Thomas was finally feeling better and tomorrow he will head back to school, so I'm hoping our lives will regain some normalcy and that no one else gets sick. So far, so good.

Anyway, I'm just now posting about our Christmastime kickoff adventures from Friday last. As you know, we purchased a grand little tree and I was certainly feeling the Christmas spirit. On Friday evening, the boys and I put on some Christmas tunes and got right to work on our Gingerbread House. I bought the kit at Michael's (some year I will make real gingerbread, but not this year), and the boys and I all decorated together. I think our little house looks good enough to eat!

Chris came home for dinner, then I unwrapped all of our ornaments to hang on our tree. Getting the ornaments out is one of my favorite holiday happenings-- we have such great ornaments! Chris and I get a new ornament each year, usually one that recreates a memory we made during the year. The boys also get one each from us and each of their grandparents. I'll post on some of my favorites later.

This year, Gordy was the chosen hanger of our first ornament-- our sweet Santa.

Such good-looking boys I have! You can see my paper snowflakes on the window in the background-- Chris made one and I made a bunch of intricate snowflakes this year. I really had a good time making them-- I have some fantastically sharp scissors that were perfect for cutting small shapes into my folded paper. It's actually kind of theraputic!

Speaking of snow, it's been an interesting winter in Logan so far. On Friday evening, it snowed a little, then a lot on Saturday, nothing on Sunday or Monday, then today it was warm enough to nearly melt it all. Apparently the "White Christmas" thing is still up in the air.

The boys were pretty excited about the snow, so Chris gave them each snowballs to eat or throw. Tom looks like he is contemplating which route to go...