And then there were 4...

And then there were 4...

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas in Vegas

This year for Christmas we were trying to see as many people as we could in a pretty short amount of time.  Our trip back to the states is likely our last one before we move back and therefore warrants a visit to everyone.  Since TJ was going to be here a little over two weeks we figured we would spend one of those weeks in Overton with the Finlayson's and then fly up to Portland and see the Papenfuss' for the remaining week. to Vegas we flew.

Upon our arrival in Vegas I realized how thankful I was that the family lived in Overton and our actual stay in Vegas only consisted of a brief drive out of there.  I feel like I had to cover my boys eyes as we drove past the strip on the freeway.  Crazy place; definitely not suitable for children.  Luckily our drive was quick and the playing with family commenced as soon as we walked in the door.  The Houston kids were all at Grandmas house since Kellie and Tyson were at the hospital after delivering Triston at a mere 3 1/2 lbs.  The house was chaotic, loud, and full of energy...but we wouldn't have had it any other way.  Dominik immediately picked up where he left off with his cousins and they had a blast. 

On Friday we picked up TJ from the airport after his long flight in from Okinawa, and our families month and a half separation.  Having the family complete again was so special.  Parker immediately took to TJ despite TJ's concern that he forgot all about him.  Dominik was elated to be with his daddy again...and I was so glad to have help with the kids again :)

The rest of the trip was pretty low key and fun.  We all hung around the house, rode the ATV's and motorcycles, ate lots of yummy foods, and spent some quality time with family.  Our last two days in Overton were actually spent in Vegas at my parents condo just off the strip.  Luckily Vegas is still warm enough to swim, because the condo had 4 awesome pools that we couldn't keep the kids out of.  TJ and I bought a few Christmas presents for our nieces and nephews and we even had a little Christmas morning the day that we left.

Spending time with family is one thing, but spending time with family that is as awesome as ours is something quite magical.  I'm so blessed that I married into such an amazing family, and I'm so grateful that we were able to spend the time with them this Christmas season!!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Rocking the Advent

In years past we have always done the fun advent calendar.  Anything from the little dollar calendars with the cheap chocolates, to a full on activity calendar with an array of Christmas inspired activities.  Dominik has always enjoyed himself, and in some way or another each advent calendar has instilled a little Christmas spirit in our home.  Well this year, I think I finally nailed it.  I purchased an advent garland calendar from Deseret Book that has 24 baggies attached.  Inside of each little baggie I put 2 pieces of chocolate, a scripture and question about Jesus' birth, and some sort of Christmas activity.  Dominik loved all the activities, and the scriptures helped to focus our nightly scripture study on the true meaning of Christmas. Granted there are a few kinks in the system I need to work out, the idea itself is definitely a tradition I plan on continuing each year!!

Our Christmas activities included an array of small and large activities; activities at home, field trips, crafts, themed dinners, decorating, service oriented, spiritual and so forth.  Each activity brought Christmas into our home (well, Grandma and Grandpa's home), and Christ into our hearts.  I loved it!!

Here are some of the activities: