Christmas in Utah

Greetings! We’re back from a fabulous Christmas in Utah with Jamie’s family. This is the first time all his siblings have been together in years and it was a cause for rejoicing (so was our dump of snow on Christmas Day, the ultimate present). Shockingly, I didn’t take many pictures and for the big mom fail, didn’t take even one as we opened our presents. The good news is we’ll all be together again for an official family reunion at YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park in February.

A few highlights:

*Lots of downtime, including Apples to Apples marathons and PBS Masterpiece’s Sherlock (we’re hooked after season 1).

*Food. Too much of it. Jamie’s mom Linda stuffed us to the brim, plus she is her ward’s Relief Society President, which means everyone and their dog brought holiday treats to her. And us.

*Food Con’t. Jamie’s parents treated us to a fabulous Christmas Eve Brunch at Grand America, followed by family pictures and touring the swanky hotel’s holiday window displays and life-sized gingerbread house.

Gingerbread House

*Edible cousins. Shamefully, I didn’t take enough pictures of the twins because my camera was directed at 11-month-old Darby the entire time. And who could blame me? Check him out delighting in the bouncy castle/ball pit Uncle Chris bought them.

*Temple Square. Really, is there any place on earth more magical and spiritual at Christmastime than thousands of lights on 35 acres? Our hot chocolate at Joseph Smith Memorial Building was pretty magical, too.

Hot chocolate warm-up

*BYU. We called it a recruiting trip because we’re trying to expose the kids to our Alma Mater. We went to the Norman Rockwell exhibit at the BYU Museum of Art, bought them BYU shirts, ate at the Creamery and had a lot of fun checking out the campus.

*Presents. This was the first year I found Christmas shopping depressing because the kids are mostly out of the toy phase and want technology (though I remain adamant about no phones before high school). Plus, our recent trip to Disneyland was our main present so our budget was tight and Santa was limited to giving them Brandon Mull books and games. Bode got a cool video drone from my parents and had a blast with a remote control helicopter from Jamie’s parents. Hadley got clothes, lots of drawing tools, arts, crafts and movies. I bought Jamie a new ice cream maker (it’s his obsession) while he purchased Big Agnes sleeping bags and pads for both of us.

But the ultimate present of all presents I gave to the man who hates to share his food? The Freeloader Fork, which expands up to two feet to give me easier access to his food across the table.

He obviously loved it.

What a blessed Christmas 2015 we had surrounded by family as we celebrated the birth of the Savior. We’re going to a New Year’s Eve party at the Carrolls tonight to ring in the New Year. I’m not sure what the future holds but I feel the winds of change blowing through for 2016. May it be a soft breeze and not a tornado.

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