Friday, December 30, 2011

The long Christmas Post

We started out our Christmas festivities with our annual Christ-Centered Christmas Dinner.  I hesitate to post pictures of our dinner because we kind of like the element of surprise and posting pictures will ruin the surprise for future families we might have come.  However, we realized this year that perhaps it's better to let the family we are inviting know what the dinner is all about before they get to our house.  So, I'm posting pictures.  We always have such a hard time choosing a family because there are always so many families to choose from.  We really are so lucky to be blessed with the best friends, all of which are such wonderful examples to us.  But we can only invite one.  This year in particular was hard because since Laila's death, we have been overwhelmed with the service from those around us.  We chose a family this year that has been such a good example to us.  This family has a little boy with some disabilities and we have been so impressed with the love they have for each other and the way they support each other.  The mother quietly takes care of her family and never complains when her husband has to leave out of the country for work (which is often).  As I've watched her serve her family I've wondered how she finds the time to serve those outside of her family but she does all the time.  We've been impressed with their devotion to the church and how they just quietly do their callings.  We have been served numerous times by them in the last few months.  Their children have become friends with my boys and the boys are always happy when they get to spend time with them.  Honestly, I could go on and on about the Christ-like example of this wonderful family, but all I really need to say is that their example has strengthened us and helped us want to be better through their example.  We wanted to make the night special so we set the table with pictures of Jesus displayed and the boys made stars to put at the top of each plate as their place cards.  We also made some ornaments with pictures of Jesus and on the back wrote reasons we feel they are a good example to us.  It was a good night and we are grateful to have such great friends.  

We were planning on leaving for Utah on Thursday but on Wed. morning I got a call from Mike saying that it was supposed to start snowing Wed. night and would I be ready to leave in a few hours so we could miss the snow?  We packed frantically and left by 2:30.  We stopped half way to sleep for the night because Mike had gotten up at 3:30 that morning to go shooting with some co-workers and was worried he would be too tired to drive the entire way.  The next day we went to a family party in Salt Lake.  It was a great night.  We had a huge spread of food, a program, a little treat for the kids to make, and a game.  This is only seven of the siblings and their families.  We are missing four siblings and their combined 11 children.  The party would have been even better if they were there with us.
The game.
Ammon singing his solo for our program
Part of the family
These pictures are out of order but I don't want to bother with it.  So, this actually happened after Christmas.  We had a birthday party for one of the cousins.  The boys loved it.  They had a cool buffet of pizza and pasta and salad with slushies and ice cream.  Then we all got to play in the play place that had bumper cars, go-carts, mini-golf, laser-tag, bowling, and arcade games.  It was so much fun.  We were so glad we got to go and celebrate Jake turning 6!

Mike's tongue is freaking long...

Christmas Eve was a nice, quiet day.  I had wanted to take the boys to see the lights at Temple Square on this trip but there was never a good night.  The only night that could have worked was Christmas Eve.  I thought that since it was the 24th, and Laila had passed away on the 24th, that perhaps it would be a good thing for us to go to Temple Square that night and think about her and how we are together as a family.  Mike thought it would make the day way too rushed and that Temple Square would be too crowded.  So, after a few tears on my part we decided to stay home.  I think it was probably a good idea because we were able to spend time with the boys playing games and making cookies for Santa.  Then that night we had a wonderful dinner with my parents and three of my siblings.  After dinner we put out food for the reindeer and then we had the boys open a present.  Because Christmas Eve will always fall on the 24th, we thought that every Christmas Eve we would open a present of a spiritual nature--something to help us remember Laila and that she is hoping for us to make it as a family to be with her.  So we had key chains made with her picture on it and we all opened them up.  This way the boys can put them on their backpacks and have a constant reminder of her when they are away from home.

Christmas Day was nice.  We opened up presents before church and then later had our traditional pizza dinner with my sister and her family.  Most of the other siblings had Christmas with their other family so we didn't see many of them that day.  We did get to open presents with my younger sister and her husband though and my other younger siblings, Katy and Ammon.  

Will's reaction after finding out Santa brought them a trampoline in Colorado.
Eli likes his Razor.

The Christmas tree and all the presents Christmas Eve night.
The two boys show off their presents.  

It was a great day and I think everyone was pleased with their gifts.  Other activities on this trip included a visit from one of my best friends and a trip to Salt Lake to play with my brother Adam and his family for a few hours.  Mike also took the boys up to Salt Lake one day to play with their other cousins.  My brother Jess and his family was sick most of the trip so we only got to see them briefly.  My Dad's birthday is the day after Christmas so we took him out for dinner while my sister watched the boys.  Also, Grandpa had new baby pigeons born while we were there so the boys loved going out with him and seeing the baby birds.  And finally, I got my hair done by my talented sister.  It's a nice brownish redish color with blonde highlights.  All in all, it was a great trip and nice to see family.  It's been about six years since we have been to Utah for Christmas so it was nice for the boys to see their Clark cousins and spend Christmas with Grandma and Grandpa Clark.


Jess and Jen said...

I am glad you guys came, but really am bummed that we were sick and didn't get to see you guys much! At least you guys didn't get sick this time too! -Jen

Kristi, Liezl, Quincy, Ava, and Josh said...

What a fun trip. I am so glad you got to go. I love the key chain present. What a good idea.

chelsey said...

It was great to see you all again! And I'm glad you were able to stay long enough for Jake's bday party. Thanks for coming!

I'm glad your xmas dinner went well for you. Every year I think we should be doing something like that too, but never seem to get my act together. Go figure. This was a fun holiday visit!

Gillian Mohlman said...

Christmas was so fun! Thanks for coming out!!!!