My, oh my. Is it really January 6th already? At least we finally got the tree taken down and the decorations put away. My living room looks a little bare and gloomy, but sometimes a bit of normalcy isn't such a bad thing.
We had the merriest and happiest of Holidays-- and you're in for a very, very long post. So, in case you're inclined to just skip the whole thing (can't say that I really blame you), I do have to direct your attention to my groovy bro getting his groove on here. It's a can't miss.
First of all, I just love this jolly little sugarplum and his chubby, smiley face. He's just a roley poley mini Santa!
When I left you last, it was just a few days before Christmas and I was waiting for my big, juicy present-- the van. Yes, we got it, and yes, it's as big and juicy as we had hoped. We love our Sienna, actually-- it's a lovely Utah red (more on that later!)-- and it is oh-so comfy to drive. I especially love the auxiliary plug where I can listen to my iPod or the portable DVD player on the stereo system. The boys love all of the space and Chris and I love not being able to hear them fight as loudly as before. So, all in all, a good thing.
We actually have a couple of funny car-related stories, but since Chris tells them better than I can and I don't want to take the time to type them all out, you're going to just have to ask us about them.
On Christmas Eve, Chris had an early deadline, so we were able to load up our new transport and head to Salt Lake just after 5:30. We arrived at Chris's parents' just in time for a delicious smorgasbord and Christmas jammies. Andy and Amanda were there with Tyler and Lizzy as well. Marilyn picked the perfect pj's this year-- "Ho Ho Ho" sleepers for the kids, and Ute Perfect Season shirts and plaid flannel pants (with a drum and feather logo to boot!) for the adults. My collector-of-all-things-Utah hubs couldn't have been happier!
Of all the Hansen cousins, Tyler and our boys are the most physically similar. Only two of these cute little guys are brothers, but all three look like they are! It's so fun to get them together!
Five little cousins, all in a row. Cuteness, cuteness.
My family, red from head to toe.
And the all of it!
Marilyn's tree is just beautiful. I took a couple of pictures with different settings and this one is my favorite.
Andy and Amanda spent the rest of the night with her parents, so after they left, our boys and Grammuh made Christmas cookies and letters for Santa. Tom's was so cute-- it didn't say anything about what he wanted, just pointed out that he had a really big gift under the tree that he was excited about. Oh, and can Santa drink Strawberry milk?
Right before bed, Gramps and Gramm read funny Christmas stories that had the boys giggling with delight. It was the perfect way to end Christmas Eve.
And the next morning, not too early...
We all received great gifts this year. More fun than the presents was just being able to sit around together and enjoy one another's company. Gary shared a neat Gospel message, and Marilyn made delicious food. It was a really nice day, with only a few whiney kid moments. There was one partially serious threat to "take all of this stuff back and give it to someone who will appreciate it", which was met with, "No, mom! That's not what I meant! I meant that this is the best Christmas ever!". Whew. Good thing we cleared that up.
Marilyn gave the cousins the cutest Christmas outfits, so of course, we had to take more pictures. I love taking the boys to church in their matching clothes-- I'm taking advantage now while they're too young to tell me not to dress them alike.
The day after Christmas, we went back home and Chris went back to work. It had snowed a lot in Logan and my wonderful neighbors shoveled our driveway-- so very kind. One of my goals this next year is to be a better neighbor!
We had a somewhat restful weekend catching up on laundry and building a snow cave. Then, on Tuesday after I finished work, we packed up again and headed North-- this time to Idaho Falls. We arrived late on Tuesday evening, then slept in on New Years Eve. The boys actually spent the whole day in their pj's-- one of the great perks of being on vacation.
This has to be one of my favorite pictures of Thomas and his cousins, Dallis and Hadley. Thomas is a favorite of most of his cousins, and as you can see, he is enjoying the attention, even while trying to escape.
It was freezing in Idaho, but that didn't stop my dad and the kids and dads from getting out in the snow. Little girl snow gear is so cute-- I love Hads's "princess" snow hat!
The kids tried to make snow angels, but it was so cold that the snow was a lot more solid than they expected. My parents' little dog could run on top of the snow.
Since we didn't spend Christmas with the DeArtons, we opened our presents to and from each other on New Years Eve. Ann-Michelle got all of the cousins these adorable hats. Gord's has to be my favorite-- it suits him so well!
It's nearly impossible to get a picture of all of the kids looking cute at the same time, but we got pretty close!
My mom made the boys the most adorable Utah Utes fleece pj's-- so far, I've only managed to get a good picture of Gordon in them. Neil's is a baby bag, which is perfect for a cuddly little Ute-fan in the making.
New Year's Eve was filled with everything you can expect from a DeArton party: lots of food, lots of games, lots of laughter, a few screaming kids, and a party that lasts into the wee hours of the morning. Hopefully we didn't completely overwhelm Caitlan's friend, Doug. He looks pretty comfortable in that Dalmuti hat, though.
Our weekend included several games of Risk (Jake championed yet again), Scrabble and Super Scrabble (Chris, of course), Dalmuti, and Carcassone, plus some shopping, movies, and eating enough cream cheese-filled foods to make those resolutions sound halfway appealing. Here are a few random, but fun, pics:
Friday night, for the Sugar Bowl, Chris, Jake, Todd Freed, my dad, Allison, the boys (for the first 15 minutes) and I went over to the seminary building. My parents don't have cable, so my dad set up a big white wall and the projector so that we could watch the game on a "big screen". It was awesome-- especially after I took Thomas and Gordon back to my mom's! It was so fun to cheer for the Utes as they pounded Alabama, and all from comfy seminary office chairs! We had pizza and fancy root beer, and I don't think Chris could have enjoyed the game more if he were there in person. Thanks Dad!! It was the perfect way to wrap up our Holidays!