And then there were 4...

And then there were 4...

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Years to all...and to all a Goodnight!

Maybe it's because I am now in my late 20's, but man it's difficult to stay up to midnight!  Holy cow!  What a great night it was though!  Since we spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family this year, we figured we might as well make it a trifecta and stay for New Years as well.

It is tradition in my family to do Chinese food for New Years. My mom makes her amazing sweet'n'sour chicken and I make Sushi.  We usually throw in a few appetizers like gyoza's and egg rolls, and sometimes the "healthy" foods like an oriental chicken salad.  My mom bought a new deep fryer, so in honor of breaking it in we decided to throw out the healthy food and make everything we could that could be fried.  We fried the chicken, the gyozas, the egg rolls, and even the sushi.  It was a pretty awesome meal, but after letting the meal sit for about an hour I have decided that my New Years resolution needs to be "going on a diet!"  TJ made some homemade root bear for our toast, and we sealed the meal in with some root beer floats (made with IBC root beer and Bryers ice cream).  YUM!!!

After dinner we played Telestrations which is a game loaned to us from Jana and Andy.  My family has never been too artistically inclined, so they were a bit skeptical at first about a game that is centered around drawings.  It was a hilarious game, which is mostly because of Curtis' ridiculous renditions of what he thought he was supposed to be drawing. 

New Years was a very fun way to say so long to 2011.  It was a good year for our family.  We had a lot of ups and just a few downs.  We grew closer together, and more importantly grew closer to our father in heaven.  2012 has a lot in store for us, but we look forward to it with an optimistic attitude.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Very Merry Christmas

I can honestly say that in 26 years of life, this was by far my favorite Christmas!  I don't think that it can be attributed to just one thing, but rather, a plethora of things.  Some of the things that made it perfect were having TJ home for two full weeks, the opportunity to spend time with family and friends, getting to go to church and hear the choirs sing beautiful Christmas songs, having Dominik be old enough to participate in Christmas traditions, and soooo much more. 

The festivities started Christmas eve at ten in the morning.  We (by "we" I mean Brandi and I) decided that for Christmas my dad would LOVE the garage cleaned out and organized.  My parents are not hoarders by any means, but 6 people living in a house for 20 years can accrue quite a bit of "stuff."  While most would look at cleaning out the garage as an awful task, it was actually a lot of fun getting to work together.  Granted we had our "discussions," but we got the job done in three hours and my dad loved it!

After we cleaned the garage we put the babies down for naps and finished up our last minute Christmas preparations.  Once the babies were done with their naps we headed out to McGrath's Fish House for a delicious dinner.  We did this last year and had so much fun, we decided to do it again.  With two babies, eating out is definitely not the option of choice, but it definitely beats cooking and cleaning at home; especially when you get to do it all over again on Christmas night.  The food was delicious, the conversation was even better, the babies did GREAT, and we had no dishes to do afterwards! 

After dinner we went home and threw the babies in the bath.  Tyson and I have bath pictures together when we were babies, so it's only fitting that we would have pictures of Dominik and Brooklyn bathing together too.  They just love each other, so it's so stinking cute getting to see them interact, especially when there it a lot of water :)

Once the babies were done bathing, we put them down for a very silent night.  Finally!!!  My family traditions opening up sibling presents on Christmas eve, so that's just what we did.  TJ and I got Chase and Curtis new black Vans, Tyson got new Nike Frees, Brandi got a new decorative pillow and some homemade coasters (made by Chase), TJ got gloves and an alarm clock, and I got an I-pod charger and a hair clip.  The gifts were all so thoughtful and everyone loved them.  After presents we headed straight to bed to await the presents from Santa :)

Christmas morning started at about 8 o'clock.  We were all very anxious to see what Santa brought us, so we headed downstairs and all sat around the Christmas tree.  What a great Christmas it was!  Santa was very good to us!  He brought TJ and I a new blue ray DVD player with surround sound and some new clothes (my favorite).  Dominik got a sweet leather recliner and a lot of toys.  There was a lot of presents to go around and everyone was very grateful for all the thought that went into the gift giving. 

After we opened presents we ate a delicious breakfast of cinnamon roll waffles, scrambled omelets, and orange juice.  The breakfast was far too delicious to scarf it down, but unfortunately we were a bit behind schedule so we had to cut it a little short. 

Church was amazing. I may be a bit biased, but as the bishops daughter I think that Sunnyside ward had the most amazing meeting.  It was the perfect combination of songs and talks and the spirit was so strong.  I can't imagine a better way to celebrate the birth of our Savior than to go to church and feel the spirit.  The only thing that would have made it better was if Tyson, Brandi, and Brooklyn were there.

The rest of Christmas was pretty fabulous.  We spent the afternoon resting and relaxing and getting ready for the dinner.  Well mom and I got ready for dinner, the boys were playing with Christmas presents.  The dinner consisted of ham, baked potatoes, squash, salad, and asparagus.  It was simply scrumptious and the perfect way to end the perfect Christmas.

Building Traditions...Making Memories

So this is the first year that TJ and I have began to really establish our own family traditions apart from the traditions that we were apart of with our own families.  This is the first year that Dominik could actually participate in the traditions and while we don't think he will have much memory of what we did, we figure it's never too early to start.  Since TJ had the Friday after Thanksgiving off, we got a jump start on the festivities. 

We started off by decorating our house.  This has been a tradition since we bought our house, but we like to go post-holiday shopping and but more stuff, so this is the first year that everything has came together very nicely!  TJ did an awesome job decorating the outside along with our next door neighbor Jeff.  We were told that we have the most beautiful house in the neighborhood by a very notable Christmas critique (our family friends and neighbors 5 year old son Noah).  While TJ was decorating the outside, Dominik and I were working our magic on the inside.  We played Christmas music and had a blast; definitely a tradition  that will continue!

One thing that my family did growing up that I LOVED was the advent calendar.  Dominik's still too young to do the advent calendar with a service/scripture element, but he definitely picked up on the idea of the candy.  He would always remind us when it was time to get the candy out of the choo-choo, and loved the idea that it was a reoccurring thing.  I loved it growing up, and it makes me happy to see that Dominik loves it just as much.

Once the house was decorated we were in the mood to do some holiday baking.  Since TJ was still in school, Dominik and I headed over to Grandma's house along with Aunt Brandi and Cousin Brooklyn.  We each brought our 3 favorite Christmas goodies ingredients and put them all together to create the world's greatest Christmas goodies plate EVER!  I'm not just saying that either, multiple people made that very comment :)  What better time than Christmas time to join together with family and make delicious goodies.  Good times; good times!!!

Last year TJ and I went to Zoo lights last year with Dominik, my parents and brothers, and the Adairs; however, it was FREEZING cold and we thought that the train was the main event.  We ended up waiting in line for almost two hours and most of the lights were broken.  This year we still really wanted to go, but we opted out of the train ride.  We met up with our good friends the Gunter's and enjoyed the lights and animals at the zoo.  Dominiks favorite was the lights in the shape of birds and the real elephants.  While it was a very cold night, we still had a blast! As long as were in Oregon for Christmas, Zoo lights is on our list for traditions!

Since I did holiday baking with my mom and Brandi, I wanted to do it with TJ and Dominik too. Dominik is still a bit young to do major baking, but decorating sugar cookies was just the ticket.  He actually got really into it and when I held out a handful of sprinkles for him to sprinkle on the frosted cookies I said "sprinkle, sprinkle, sprinkle." He responded with "peetew, peetew, peetew."  It was so stinking cute.  TJ put a dollop of frosting on his nose and once he realized it was there he thought it was soooo funny.  Decorating cookies was almost as fun as eating them...

These are just a few traditions that TJ and I want to have as we being our family.  We are excited about Christmas in Maryland next year, and look forward to all the different aspects of Christmas that we can participate in.