Friday, March 21, 2014

December to remember

The normal December frenzy got even busier when we found an amazing deal on redoing our countertops and cabinets in the kitchen and ended up redoing it the week before Christmas.  As I look back, we don't have all that many pictures from the busy time before Christmas. We did our best to maintain our traditions of reading Christmas stories by the tree, finding opportunities to serve and most importantly, spending time with friends and family. 

Carter turned 9!  He shares an exact birthday with his friend, Aniston. We've known their family for a long time--the kids even had a combined 4th birthday party with their Primary friends :).  Aniston was having a party on their birthday and Carter really wanted to go so he saw The Hobbit in IMAX/3D with Danny and Boppie (John) and then made it to Aniston's party.  Aniston's mom was sweet enough to include Carter on the cake and he was a happy boy with his new Minecraft gear and Dell tablet! 

We have a tradition of making gingerbread houses with our dear friends the Agrelius'.  The night we planned ended up being the night our kitchen was demoed and Eric was coming up to knock down part of the counter we were lowering.  We had pizza and still had a great time--that's what true friendship is like:)

We made it to Knott's once to enjoy the Christmas fun and William watching the gun show fed his infatuation with all things guns.

Claire had a recital for her Let's Play Music Class.  It was downtown at the library so we took the chance to walk through the Mission Inn and have lunch with the family who came at Simple Simon's.  It was really fun that Jake was still in town and that he was able to come watch too! 

Christmas Eve at the Todd house was wonderful as always!  The theme this year was "Christmas in Bethlehem."  We wore Biblical attire and ate amazing Middle Eastern food.  It was really warm so the Biblical attire didn't last long but we did get some photos first. 

I did feel like Mary being "great with child."

My favorite part is always the cousin gift exchange.  We rotate who buys for who but the joy they show as they are giving is so sweet.  Here's sweet Tate giving Carter his gift.

Nana always comes up with fun and inventive games to play.  This year, there was a race to make reindeer horns:

Christmas day we enjoyed the morning at my grandparents and then had our parents and my grandparents over for dinner. It was a wonderful day but apparently I didn't take any pictures.  Here are my cute parents when they took us out downtown a few days before Christmas. 

And, me and my man from the same evening.

The day after Christmas we took advantage of the spring like weather and hiked our favorite local mountain (Rubidoux) with our friends, the Biglers.  They are new to Riverside and it is always fun to spend time with friends in nature. 

After all that fun, we still had more excitement as we met all the Carters in Central California for the Carter Christmas extravangza.  We rented a house in Arroyo Grande, just south of SLO, where Jake, Amy & Elyse live.  It definitely didn't feel like Christmas with the weather but going to the beach the weekend after Christmas was pretty cool!

Rob & Chloe

Cute cousins collecting eggs at the house we rented

Adding our gum to Bubblegum Alley in SLO...gross but a must-do when in town

The gang on the beach

Pretty tree at the house

Amy & Elyse

Having children to share Christmas memories and traditions with makes the month all the more special.  We are abundantly blessed and this time of year is wonderful to reflect on those blessings. 

2013 came and went too quickly (a sign of my age, I guess).  Here's to an amazing 2014!!

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