Celebrating the 4th

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2015 Colonial Fest Declaration 1

Here in Provo the 4th of July is quite the event. Most everywhere we have lived celebrating the 4th meant watching fireworks – that’s it. Here people celebrate the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th of July and more. We pick and choose our events and this year we decided to go to the Colonial Festival the morning of the 3rd.

2015 July Colonial Fest Dress 1

As a native Virginian I wasn’t expecting much from a colonial festival in Utah but it was better than I expected. They had all the makings of a colonial village, the reenactors, the stocks, etc. They were just missing the actual colonial buildings and used tents instead but underneath the shady trees it was still good. Someday I will get my kids to Williamsburg but this was good for a few hours and they really enjoyed it.

2015 Colonia Fest Dress 2

Kaitlyn really liked this Colonial dress it was too bad we couldn’t take it home. We explored the different “shops” including the candle maker, the Tinsmith, the printing press, the apothecary, and Kaityln and Sam enjoyed the school. Abby had no interest in colonial school. She said at at almost 12, if she lived back then, she probably wouldn’t have been in school anymore anyway- and she might be right.

2015 July Colonial Fest Tinsmith Abby

2015 Colonial Fest TinSmith Shop

2015 Colonial Fest School 1

2015 Colonial Fest School 3

2015 Colonial Fest School Sam 2

2015 Colonial Fest School 2

2015 Colonial Fest School Kaitlyn 1

2015 Colonial Fest Printing Press 1

For some reason Kaitlyn was obsessed with the printing press. She wouldn’t leave this guy alone and kept wanting to press everything. Sam also tried carrying buckets of water. A chore he struggled with. Maybe this will give him a greater appreciation of indoor plumbing.

2015 Colonial Fest Sam Carrying Water

And of course there is the stocks.

2015 Colonial Fest Stocks 1

2015 Colonial Fest Stocks 2

When it started getting really hot and we had seen enough of the Colonial Festival, we left for home and a break. That evening we went out again to the Rooftop Concert downtown. Abby really wanted a #ProvoRocks t-shirt. Provo t-shirts are all the rage around here lately and they are available at the concerts.

Downtown we found more than just the Rooftop Concerts. The whole city was in party mode and the streets were shut down. Besides the Rooftop Concert, there was a carnival, tons and tons of booths, food vendors, another band playing, and thousands of people wandering around, then there were all the people camped out on University Avenue for the parade the next morning. Our kids begged to camp out too but we said no.

2015 July Downtown Carnival

We wandered around for awhile but didn’t find the t-shirts. They had long been handed out long before we got there. Next month we learned we have to get there really early for the shirts. We did listen to a little of The Moth and the Flame. We would have stayed longer but we were already planning to get up at 5:30 a.m. just to get a good spot on the parade route. I know- 5:30 in the morning for a parade? But there are all these people already camped out. These Provoans are crazy and I guess we are one of them now.

I didn’t take many pictures that night but here is Kaitlyn in front of a mural downtown. I think this mural is random and I wonder why it is there in the first place.

2015 July Kaitlyn Dolphin Mural

Then there was the Grand Parade the morning of the 4th. We did get there by 6:30 and found a good spot. People were still asleep that had been camping out around us. Getting there early we also managed to get lots of Provo swag and #ProvoForPresident t-shirts which also were fun.

2015 July Parade Abby 1

Yes that is Harriet Tubman on a skateboard. We also got George Washington on a bicycle. I learned last year that the parade party starts really early. There is a hot air balloon festival (that didn’t go up this year because of wind), a 5k running down University Ave., music and people dancing in the streets, giveaways, and a pre-parade. All before the actual parade begins.

2015 Parade Sam 2

2015 July Parade 2

2015 July Parade Sam 1

We got Provo water guns too which Mike kept loaded and ready.

2015 July Parade Water Guns

2015 July Parade Street Dancing 1

2015 July Parade Street Dancing 2

Scott and Elizabeth joined us too.

2015 July Parade Everyone

And we saw storm troopers, a very patriotic Darth Vador (I never thought Darth Vador was patriotic), and Boba or Jengo Fett (I can’t tell the difference but Sam can).

2015 July Parade Darth Vador

2015 July Parade Storm Troopers

2015 July Parade Fett

After the parade we went home for a NAP because otherwise I knew I wouldn’t have enough energy to keep going and we still had the “Cul-De-Sac of Fire!” All of our neighbors get together for fireworks and food in the street. It was a bit (a lot) chaotic (and dangerous) at times. All I had was my camera so my photos didn’t turn our too well but you get the idea.

2015 July 4 Fireworks 2

2015 July 4 Fireworks 1

The kids just lined up for sparklers. Here were just some of the discarded boxes. Our neighbor had a blowtorch out and just kept the sparklers coming. I’m somewhat amazed no one went to the hospital.

2015 July 4 Fireworks 3

2015 July 4 Fireworks 4

The big aerial fireworks came out later that evening and they were launched until about 11 pm when we wandered into a neighbors backyard and watched the real Stadium of Fire fireworks which were being launched a few blocks away.

And then we were totally exhausted. I think it took me and Mike at least a day to recover from the late nights, early mornings, and all the partying.

Here’s to Independence Day and Provo sure knows how to celebrate.

Also- if you are noticing that Abby is in less and less photos it’s because she has decided she doesn’t like being photographed and runs away when I have out a camera. That’s fine. Sometimes I catch her sometimes I don’t. She was there and she had a great time running around with the other kids her age.

Summer Summary So Far

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2015 June Swim Lessons Kaitlyn 1

I don’t know what I was thinking, but I scheduled a lot of stuff for June. We have been running almost nonstop from one activity to the next. While June was jam packed, I had almost nothing on the calendar for July. Now that July has just started, that is changing quickly.

Besides loads of baseball games, Sam and Kaitlyn have been attending summer school all month in the mornings, spending time at the Boys and Girls Club on some afternoons, and taking swim lessons in the evenings (when there wasn’t baseball games). We also have been going to the local water park at least once a week. 

2015 June Swim Lessons Kaitlyn 2

Abby has been getting up every morning Monday through Friday and going to swim team practice. It has been great for her. She was nervous about joining swim team but she loves it now. She isn’t the most competitive swimmer but she likes to go swim, she has met new friends, and she likes getting up every morning in the summer and going somewhere. We carpool with a couple of other kids on the street and she likes that too.

She swam in her first swim meet this month. She is in the middle in the picture below. She was swimming in a 200 meter medley relay and doing the backstroke.

2015 June Swim Meet Abby 2

On this particular busy Saturday we picked her up from the swim meet and immediately went a couple of blocks to downtown Provo where the Utah Valley marathon was ending. The kids were signed up for a Fun Run 1K. Abby was also signed up but we let her off the hook since she just had been in a swim meet.

2015 June Kids 1K race 1

2015 June Kids 1K race 2

2015 June Kids 1K race 4

Po Panda was getting them all excited to run. Poor guy had to be stifling in the heat. Kaitlyn was once again thrilled to get a new medal when it was all over and then they got Creamies to cool off. Good deal. We signed up for this months ago because the Marathon organizers awarded money to the schools with the most kids signed up to run. The whole thing was free including the shirts and food so why not.

2015 June Kids 1K race 5

2015 June Kids 1K eating creamies

After the race we jumped in the car and went to Park City for the afternoon. I’ll post those pictures another time.

The third week of June Abby headed off to Camp Big Springs for a week. Camp Big Springs is for all 5th graders in the school district and it’s located up Provo Canyon. Her school went with a few other schools that week. All I got was a picture when we dropped her off where they were meeting to head up to camp. They were throwing all the sleeping bags and other luggage into big trucks. The school buses took the kids up almost all the way. They make them walk about 2 miles into camp.

2015 June 5th Grade Camp Abby 1

Abby got into the same tent as most of her friends. Her 5th grade teacher was there too but she was in the staff tent. They slept in old Army tents on wood platforms so there were about 20 kids in a tent. The camp is rustic. There are no showers and no flushing toilets. After 5 days Abby said she had so much fun but she really wanted a shower.

2015 June 5th Grade Camp Abby 2

Even though she took her camera she didn’t take any pictures. She said she was too busy. And I’m sure she was. They had science lessons, looked at bugs, went on a 5 mile hike up the mountain, climbed through the stream, and there was a zipline. Every night they sat around a bonfire, sang camp songs, ate smores, and put on skits.

I wish I took a picture of her when we picked her up. She was laying in the grass on all her stuff. She was dirty, sunburned and exhausted. In the car she told us she is no longer afraid of port-a-potties. She also told us about the rat that got into her tent, giant ants, the great taste of the spring water there, and all the butterflies everywhere. Sounds like a perfect camp experience. Well it might have been perfect if there were showers and toilets.

Sam was so jealous of Abby all week. Finally Mike agreed to camp with him in the backyard. We didn’t feel too bad for him since he gets to go to Camp Big Springs in two more years.

2015 June Backyard campout

2015 June Sam relaxing

My Boys and Baseball

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2015 Sam Baseball 7 Sam has been playing Little League since early May. It has been a long season and Sam’s team played really well. Since Mike has had more time lately he and Sam have been practicing and playing baseball almost every day. It paid off because Sam improved and overall his team turned out to be the best in his division. 2015 June Sam Baseball 2 Mike helped coach the team and went to almost every game as well. I think these two have had a good time with baseball this year. The game also seemed to get more serious than in the past especially as they continued to win games. 2015 June Sam Baseball Mike 1 2015 Sam Baseball Mike 2 Since Sam’s team had the most wins in the division, they continued onto the city tournament but they also have a automatic spot in the state tournament in July. The other division in Provo had some good teams too so as of last week they have been out of that tournament. I asked Sam when he got home from their last game if he was disappointed they were out of the city tournament. He had mixed emotions. Of course he wanted to win but he seemed relieved to be done with baseball for awhile. They were playing 2-3 games a week, some double-headers, plus practices and he was tired. Plus it has been getting really hot lately.

I have a lot of baseball photos. I just think these kids are so cute in their baseball uniforms playing the game.

2015 Sam Baseball dugout 1

2015 Sam Baseball 8

2015 Sam Baseball 13

2015 Sam Baseball 11 Safe

2015 Sam Baseball 6

2015 June Sam Baseball 1

2015 Sam Baseball 12

State tournament is mid July. We will see how long this team makes it.

May Rained Out

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2015 May Color Run Sam 1

May is always so busy with all the end-of-year school events. We spent the entire month keeping up with fun runs, field trips, field days, class presentations, and the annual Dance Festival on the last day of school. We did all of this except this year it was all in the rain (almost- those class presentations were indoors thank goodness). We had an incredibly wet May to make up for the dry winter I suppose. It rained every Friday for sure and I know that because we always had something on Friday that it rained on.

So here is the recap of May and many of the end of year activities- I wasn’t at them all or photographed everything because with all three kids it was just too much. At the beginning of the month we went to the school Color Run. It was already postponed because of rain in April so they held it anyway even though it was pouring down rain. The chalk didn’t really go all over in the air but certainly stuck to the kids. They were so wet and cold but tried to be good sports about it.

2015 May Color Run Sam 2

2015 May Color Run Kaitlyn 1

That wasn’t the only running in the rain. The older grades at their school do Track and Field events instead of Field Day. Both Abby and Sam went to Provo High to have events on their track. Once again it was pouring rain the entire time. I told Sam to wear a poncho while he waited for his events, but he didn’t. When I went to pick him up right before the end it had just stopped raining and he was waiting to finish his 50 meter dash. Here is how he looked:

2015 May Track Sam 2

2015 May Track Sam 1

He was soaked and freezing. Abby was there too also wet and waiting to run but she refused to let me take her picture. Sam wrapped up in a car blanket and sat in the van as soon as he was done running. Poor kid- but he should have worn that poncho.

Kaitlyn had Field Day with Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd graders a week later and it was moved inside because it was raining again. Fortunately there was enough space because there are a couple of gyms and some common areas but there were also events in the hallways.

I volunteered for a few field trips in May. One reason there are so many field trips is because they are right across the street from BYU and teachers take advantage of the museums on campus. The kids regularly walk across the street onto campus. Here Kaitlyn and I were walking with her class to the Bean Museum.

2015 May Kaitlyn Bean Museum

All the kids go to the Bean Museum every year. Personally, it’s not my favorite but Kaitlyn seemed to like it- the first time. She’ll probably hate it by 6th grade. It rained while we were inside but fortunately not on us while we walked back and forth to school.

2015 May Kaitlyn Bean Museum 2

Kaitlyn also got to go to the Natural History Museum at Thanksgiving Point. Sam had some really fun field trips to swim at the Rec Center and bowl at the BYU Student Center.

Over Memorial Day Weekend the pools opened, but it was raining yet again. So we swam indoors at the Provo Rec Center.

2015 May Memorial Day Swim 2

Finally, there was the Dance Festival on the last day of school. We were all nervous looking at the big grey clouds rolling in and hoping it wouldn’t rain on this too.

2015 May Dance Festival Kaitlyn 1

2015 May Dance Festival Kaitlyn 2

It was lightly sprinkling when Kaitlyn was dancing her Chinese ribbon dance. But by the time Sam was dancing the Polynesian Stick Dance it starting coming down.

2015 May Dance Festival Sam 3

2015 May Dance Festival Sam 5

2015 May Dance Festival Sam 4

But it was pouring when Abby started her dance.

2015 May Dance Festival Abby 1

Can you see her back there? Well the video is better. You can see her dancing out there in the rain.

They let the lower grades that had already performed back into the school just before the 5th graders danced. Kaitlyn walked by us with her class. She was so happy to go inside.

2015 May Dance Festival Kaitlyn carrying chair

After Abby finished we all went inside and said goodbye to all the great teachers. Right after the Dance Festival ended the sun came out and it finally felt like summer.

2015 May Abby Teacher

Abby didn’t really say goodbye. She is going with her class and teacher to Camp Big Springs (the 5th grade summer camp) and they leave tomorrow! She is so excited.

Sam was sadder to say goodbye to his teachers. His Chinese teacher Mrs. Yang was so great and really pushed him this year to improve. Now he is one of the best speakers in his Chinese class. She is moving up to teach 6th graders next year so he could get her back again.

2015 May Sam Chinese Teacher

Mrs. Mattinson was great too.

2015 May Sam English Teacher

Kaitlyn was also sad to leave her teachers. Her teachers have been exceptional this year helping Kaitlyn with some challenges she faced in class.

2015 May Kaitlyn Chinese Teacher

2015 May Kaitlyn English Teacher

Have I mentioned our kids don’t like being out of school? They don’t. They love school. So the last day of school is full of mixed emotions and sadness for these kids. But we celebrated the beginning of summer by going to In-and-Out Burger for lunch. We made it a tradition. We weren’t the only ones from the school there.

2015 May Last Day Eat Out

We are now 2 weeks into summer and have been so busy. But I’ll post about that next time.

A Year of Masterpieces

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2015 Art Show Overall 2

We are just a week away from the last day of school. May is chock full of activities and end-of-year events. One of them we really like is the Annual Art Show. In art class the kids each learn about a famous artist and then do a type of art modeled after that artist. They save everything until the end of the year and pick several of their pieces to display in the art show.

2015 Art Show Overall 1

The kids walk around and show us what they have done and sometimes tell us about the artist they have learned about. Kaitlyn was very excited to show us her version of Waterlilies by Monet.

2015 Art Show Kaitlyn 6

Here are some other things that she worked on this year:

2015 Art Show Kailtyn 1

2015 Art Show Kaitlyn 2

It’s a sculpture of Y Mountain. Can you spot the Y? I also got to be in her art class on the day they learned about Jackson Pollock and did their own splatter painting. Kaitlyn contributed a lot of that green.

2015 Art Show Kaitlyn 5

2015 Art Show Kaitlyn 4

Sam’s class learned a lot about Native Americans so they made totem poles.

2015 Art Show Sam 1

2015 Art Show Sam 4

2015 Art Show Sam 2

2015 Art Show Sam 3

2015 Art Show Sam 5

Abby wouldn’t pose for any pictures with her artwork so I only got one picture of her. Then I took pictures of her art. She had more than the other kids.

2015 Art Show Abby 1

Here is a portrait of her teacher:

2015 Art Show Abby 4

2015 Art Show Abby 2

2015 Art Show Abby 7

2015 Art Show Abby 5

2015 Art Show Abby 6

Since the art show they have been busy with field trips, presentations, track and field, field day, etc. They have also been practicing for the Dance Festival on the last day of school which is coming right up.

We are going to have a low-key Memorial Day weekend (it’s cool and rainy anyway) and get ready for the last week of school.

Spring Soccer

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2015 Kaitlyn Soccer 8

Kaitlyn played soccer again this year. She improved a lot from last year and we noticed that she is really fast. Kaitlyn got onto a team with a lot of girls from her school so she had a good time with her friends on the team. Here were some highlights from the season.

2015 Kaitlyn Soccer 3

2015 Kaitlyn Soccer 2

Sometimes it was hard to wait on the sidelines to get into the game.

2015 Kaitlyn Soccer 6

2015 Kaitlyn Soccer 1

2015 Kaitlyn Soccer 4

2015 Kaitlyn Soccer 5

2015 Kaitlyn Soccer 7

The best part was the metal she got after the last game. She was so excited to get her metal and certificate. She wears it around the house and she is also telling us she wants to play again in the fall.

2015 Kaitlyn Soccer 9

Red Rock Hiking

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2015 April Red Rock Hike 3

Over Spring Break we took our annual trip to St. George but it was short this year. We had other things to do before we could go so we only spent a few days down there visiting Grandma and Grandpa W. I decided to focus on three things: Swimming, shopping, and hiking. So that’s what we did.

For our hike we found a great website called Hike St. George that gives great information about hikes in the area. We wanted to go to Johnson’s Canyon and see Johnson’s Arch near Snow Canyon State Park. That plan was changed when we got there and found out the trail was closed because turtles are mating this time of year (we think that’s why). You could make an appointment to go with a Ranger but we didn’t do that so we started on the trail but took the fork toward Scout Cave instead. Here’s a shot toward Johnson’s Canyon where we wanted to go.

2015 April Red Rock Hike 5

2014 April Red Rock Hike

2015 April Red Rock Hike 2

2015 April Red Rock Hike 4

This is a good time of year to hike in St. George because it’s not too hot yet. There were also cactus flowering everywhere. And Sam was interested in the lava fields we walked through.

2015 April Red Rock Hike Flowers

2015 April Red Rock Hike Sam 2

2015 April Red Rock Hike Sam 1

We never actually made it to Scout Cave. Our little group was too hot and tired to make it that far. We did hike down to the wash where there was shade (and a watering hole for Boo) where we had a snack and rested before heading back the way we came.

2015 April Red Rock Hike Boo 1

2015 April Red Rock Hike Sam and Boo

2015 April Red Rock Hike Grandpa and Abby 1

2015 April Red Rock HIke Trees

2015 April Red Rock Hike Abby 1

2015 April Red Rock Hike Kaitlyn 1

2015 April Red Rock Hike Kaitlyn 2

2015 April Red Rock Hike

I would still like to make it to Johnson’s Arch someday. It’s just going to take a bit more planning next time.

Introducing Lucy

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2015 Mar Abby Lucy 1 smThis is long overdue and I promised Mom (hi Mom!) that I would post these pictures of Abby dressed as Lucille Ball. That promise was a good motivator because I have a lot of blogging to catch up with.

At our kids elementary school the 5th graders always have a wax museum. The theme was American Heros and after getting a list of suggestions Abby chose Lucille Ball- which fits her so well. A neighbor suggested she be Helen Keller and I said, “Abby is much more a Lucille Ball than a Helen Keller.”

2015 Mar Abby Lucy 2 sm

2015 Mar Abby Lucy back sm

To prepare for her assignment she had to write a 2 minute biography on Lucy which she then memorized and had to give to anyone who came up to her table and pushed a (paper) button. She did this all day long. They first did this during school for the entire rest of the school, then she did it in the evening for family and others who came. She said after the first couple of hours she tried to tell people her button was out of order but the teachers didn’t let her get away with that too much. We also watched a lot of old I Love Lucy episodes on You Tube. It’s amazing how timeless her humor is. Abby loved them.

2015 Mar Abby Lucy 3 sm

We were lucky to find pieces to the costume from family and neighbors. I sewed the apron (that was an accomplishment for me with rusty sewing skills), and I learned how to do her hair from a You Tube video. We found temporary dye that would wash out after one wash but it wasn’t as red as we liked. The real bright red was just not to be found in a temporary dye. I suspect it isn’t popular. I used at least 100 bobby pins and we put her hair up using pin curls which she slept on. We were happy with the results.

2015 Mar Abby Lucy giving talk sm

2015 Mar Abby Lucy hair 1

2015 Mar Abby Lucy hair back 2

It was a lot of work but she had a lot of fun. Her friends were fun too. I had to snap a picture of them all together. These girls have become such good friends this year.

2015 Mar Wax Museum Friends Abby

From left to right- Julie Andrews, Judy Garland, Judy Blume, Lucy, Audrey Hepburn, and Annie Oakley.

Sam is already thinking about who he wants to be when he gets to 5th grade. He has a couple of years to decide.

The February That Felt Like May

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2015 Feb Kaitlyn climbing tree 1 smThere has been no snowman building around here. In fact since December, we haven’t seen any snow except up on the mountains. While most of the country has been in the deep freeze, our February has been warm! We’ve had many days in the 60 degree range and our garden thought is was warm too and started coming to life. We are not used to seeing things grow here in February.

2015 Feb Sam in Tree 2 smWith no snow and warm weather Kaitlyn has been climbing the trees in our backyard and convinced Sam to join her. Sam had fun but Kaitlyn seemed to find her place. There have been a few afternoons I have looked outside and seen her sitting in a tree.

2015 Feb Kaitlyn climbing tree 2 sm

2015 Feb Sam in Tree

Sam and Abby have been playing basketball since the start of January. I haven’t yet taken pictures of Abby but here is Sam playing a couple of weeks ago. His season just ended last Saturday but Abby has one more game. Sam likes basketball but he is more excited for baseball season to begin in May.

2014 Feb Sam Basketball 1

2014 Feb Sam Basketball 3

2014 Feb Sam Basketball 2

The kids got discount tickets to a Jazz game as part of the Jr. Jazz program so Mike took Abby and Sam and Scott and Elizabeth joined them too. They rode the Frontrunner train to Salt Lake and Sam entertained himself taking some selfies.

2015 Feb Dad and Sam Selfie 2

2015 Feb Dad and Sam Selfie on the train

2015 Feb Jazz  GameI hear they had nosebleed seats but they did get to watch the Jazz beat the Portland Trailblazers.

Abby also did a little ice skating this month. Her class has pen pals from a school in Taiwan. To our surprise a group of those students came all the way to visit her class in Provo. Her class got to walk over to the ice skating rink to skate with the pen pals. I got to chaperone. With our crazy warm weather the walk was pleasant.

2015 Feb Skating 2

2015 Feb Abby Skating 1

Now Abby is asking for ice skating lessons. We’ll see….

Then there was Valentines Day. We did our traditional Valentine making activity but I was sick in bed so I didn’t make any Valentines or take any pictures of the mess. I did get out of bed to take pictures of the table in the morning. We always leave our Valentines, chocolates and small gifts out on the table early in the morning.

2015 Valentines Table 1

2015 Valentines Table Kaitlyn

2015 Valentines Table Sam

2015 Valentines Boo

Kaitlyn made sure even Boo got a Valentine. I think Boo just looked at it and wondered why this stuff was in his bed. I loved my roses in the dining room. I think I need flowers in there more often.

2015 Valentines RosesNow that February is over winter has decided to make a comeback. We are expecting snow tomorrow. Now I just need to figure out where I put those new snow boots.

White Christmas

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2014 Christmas morning snowing

On Christmas morning we woke up to this snow. It was beautiful and very Christmassy. I was glad I didn’t have to drive in it but felt bad for some family members who did just to get to our house that morning.

On Christmas Eve we had our big dinner with Grandma and Grandpa K and Uncle Scott and Aunt Elizabeth. We ate by candlelight (per Sam’s request), we followed Santa all evening with Santa Tracker and the kids became more anxious and excited the closer he got to Utah. When Santa is on the East Coast, they know they have to go to bed.  Before bed we watched a video about the Nativity, talked about Jesus, and the kids each opened one present- mostly pajamas.

I didn’t take any pictures on Christmas Eve, I don’t know what I was thinking except that it’s hard to take pictures when you’re trying to get a dinner on the table and have everything ready for Christmas. I did take one after the kids went to bed. Sam said to me that he wanted to leave a note for Santa that he could use our bathroom if he needed to. Then (this is the best part) the kids cleaned the bathroom for Santa! I had to take a picture of Sam’s note:

2014 Cookies for Santa 1

2014 Cookies for Santa 2

Christmas morning I took a couple of photos of what Santa left before the kids came upstairs and saw everything. Then while we waited for Grandma and Grandpa and Scott and Elizabeth to arrive, they went through their stockings and enjoyed their Santa presents.

2014 Christmas morning presents for kids 1

2014 Christmas morning Kaitlyns Santa gifts 1

The mantle clips I bought did hold up the heavy stockings but Santa left them down because we didn’t want the fabric loops to tear. The kids don’t care where their stockings are, just that they are full.

2014 Christmas morning stockings 1

2013 Christmas morning kids with santa gifts 1

2014 Christmas morning going through stockings 1

2014 Christmas morning going through stockings kaitlyn

2014 Christmas morning going through stockings 2

After everyone arrived we ate breakfast and started opening all the gifts under the tree. We always drag it out by starting with the youngest and rotating through. The grown-ups tend to run out of stuff to open much more quickly so then we just watch the kids.

2014 Christmas morning Kaitlyn 1

Abby sewed this pillow for Kaitlyn all by herself. We were all so impressed with her skills. We have to thank an amazing primary teacher for teaching her to sew since her mother’s sewing machine hasn’t been used in a couple of years.

2014 Christmas morning Abby and Sam 2 Batman alarm clock

The Lego Batman alarm clock was a hit. Sam even started carrying it around for awhile.

2014 Christmas morning Abby 1

2014 Christmas morning Abby and Sam 1

She wasn’t just excited to get a box of Pop Tarts, it had a Google Play card attached to the box. I have no idea what Sam was doing.

2014 Christmas morning Scott and Elizabeth 1

Everyone knows Scott and Elizabeth like to cook which must explain why they got two copies of The Joy of Cooking. We gave Grandma and Grandpa a framed picture of our kids with their cousins they don’t often see from Maryland.

2014 Christmas morning Grandma and Grandpa Kraczek 2

2014 Christmas morning Kaitlyn 2

2014 Christmas morning Mike 1

2014 Christmas morning Sam 1

Grandma and Grandpa gave Kaitlyn and Abby some beautiful bead necklaces from Africa. Then Abby gave Sam some toilet paper.

2014 Christmas morning Kaitlyn 3 with necklace

2014 Christmas morning Sam and Abby with TP

The final gift the kids opened was “the big box in the corner” they were excited about. It was a new gaming PC. We decided on this over updating our gaming system. That way they have a reliable computer for gaming but also school and other projects. And we purposely got them a desktop so they couldn’t carry it around.

2014 Christmas morning Abby and Sam 3 PC

After opening presents we relaxed, ate leftovers and lots and lots of chocolate, cookies, candy, and nuts. We also chatted online to other family members all over the country.

2014 Christmas morning online chatting

It was a wonderful Christmas day. By that evening I started cleaning up the house and getting ready for our trip to St. George the next day to do more Christmas things with the other side of the family.

But that’s another post- or two. We feel very blessed and grateful for all we have and are able to do to celebrate Christmas and enjoy the time with our families.

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