Friday, January 1, 2010

So Much Fun in December = Lots of Photos and a Really Long Post!

Happy 2010 to all my family and friends! May the new year bring you happiness and wonderful memories. I have many, many photos of our December activities. I really did whittle it down, but it is still makes a long blog post. (I will try to email others that I didn't include here to you, my family.)

Deseo un prospero año nuevo para toda mi familia y todos mis amigos. Tengo muchas fotos que yo tomé en diciembre. Tengo otras que no incluí en mi sitio hoy, pero tengo planes de enviar más a ustedes muy pronto, mi familia querida.

Alexander is in Band III and loves playing the trombone. It's fun to hear him practice, but even more fun to see him play in the band and hear the songs with all the intruments. We went to his Christmas concert at the junior high. Unfortunately, our seats didn't afford a good view of Alexander, but I did get this picture.

We had a December family birthday party for Sabrina and my mom. Celebramos el cumpleaños de Sabrina y de mi mama.

This is my brother Jared and his two boys, Avshalom and Itai. El es mi hermano Jared y sus dos hijos.

Aileah, my sister Heather's daughter, is the newest member of our family. Isn't she a cutie? Aileah es la hija de mi hermana Heather y es el miembro mas nuevo de nuestra familia. ¿No es ella lindisima?
Don't you love baby toes?

We have a lot of people in our ward (church) who have been affected by the current economic conditions. I know that many people all over have been affected, but that didn't stop people from being generous. I am grateful for being able to see some of that generosity. People in other wards in our stake donated gifts for people in our ward. Since Robin is the bishop, our home was the drop-off site so I was able to receive most of the gifts myself and pile them up. It really humbled me to see some of the kind people who donated. I know some of them and know that many of them are not "rich". Some of them have even struggled somewhat themselves recently. But they sacrificed so that a child could receive a gift this Christmas. This photo shows a very small portion of what was donated.
Hay muchas personas en nuestro barrio (la iglesia) que estan afectado por la situacion economica y no tenia dinero para regalos para sus hijos. Otras personas en la iglesia donaron regalos para estos niños. Me humilló a ver que la gente que donó no era "rica", sino que quiso ayudar a un niño disfrutar la navidad. Esta foto es solo una parte de lo que donaron.
One of my children's favorite parts of Christmas is playing Santa to a family. We always choose a family to buy gifts for, wrap them, leave them at the door, ring the bell and quickly leave, hopefully undetected. The kids get such a kick out of it. They started asking in October who we were going to shop for this year. Mis hijos disfrutan mucho de la Navidad. Uno de sus aspectos preferidos es cuando compramos regalitos para una familia que no saben que vamos a hacer. Compramos los regalos, los dejamos en la puerta, soñamos el timbre y corrimos, esperando hacer todo desapercibido.

One year we chose a family who lived half a block away. We didn't want our little Alex and Elisa to know who the gifts were for so they didn't accidentally let them know it was us. We drove around for twenty minutes before returning to their home. The kids were so turned around that they had no idea where we were.

This year we got to take the gifts to the family we chose and then three other families who had received donated items. The elder's quorum and high priest presidents took most of the gifts, but we were able to take these last minute drop-offs ourselves. Here are the kids in the van, ready for the undercover operation. Alex might be taking it a little too seriously. Hehe
Alex, Elisa y Sabrina estan listos a dejar a los regalos para 4 familias en sus puertas.
For Christmas Eve this year, we just stayed at home with a nice roast and yummy sides. We open one gift on Christmas Eve, but only after... putting on our silly socks. It's a tradition I started just a few years ago. We each buy a pair of silly socks (could be Christmas socks, stripes, fuzzy, anything) and wear them on Christmas Eve while we open the one gift each. We also wear them Christmas day.

This year while shopping, Alex didn't find anything he liked. He asked, "Why do we have to do this anyway?" I tried to explain how traditions bind us together and they're supposed to be fun, but my teenager didn't care. He asked if he HAD to wear some. I was so sad. I didn't want to make him join us. I wanted him to enjoy it. But he told me I could just pick a pair of socks for him because he didn't like any. It is true that there aren't as many choices for boys as girls. As I was in the car, pulling up to the store to buy socks for him, wondering what I should do, a thought came to my mind. Go to the fabric store and buy some Oriental iron-ons, then iron them on a plain pair of socks. Alex is into all things Japanese right now (the language, martial arts, swords, history...). So I ran to the fabric store. This was the only Japanese-ish iron on I could find. He seemed happy with them so all went well in the end. We'll start looking for some socks for him early this year so he's not ironing silly socks Christmas Eve morning.
A new tradition we have is finding the pickle. In Sabrina's class, all the kids had the chance to share some of their family's Christmas traditions. I went and helped Sabrina share ours, including the silly socks. A different day, one of her friends introduced their German tradition of the pickle in the Christmas tree. Have you heard of it? I never had. From what I understand, someone hides the pickle in the tree and the kids have to search for it on Christmas morning. In her friend's family, it is Santa who hides it when he brings the gifts and fills the stockings. Her friend gave everyone a pickle cut out of foam (a less smelly alternative) so they could do it at their house. Sabrina really wanted to and I thought it'd be fun to do since my ancestors on my father's side come from Germany and we don't have any German traditions.
We told the kids that they had to go down all together and find the pickle on the tree before they could wake us up. Can you spot the pickle? Alex found it pretty quickly on Christmas morning so he got to open one of his gifts first. Robin thought it was way too quick and that next year Santa should hide it somewhere in the HOUSE, not on the tree, so they can look for that before they wake us up. Needless to say, we always sit at the top of the stairs waiting and waiting for him to get up before going down to run to our stockings and see what Santa brought.
After opening gifts at our house, we ate breakfast and headed over to my mom and dad's house to open more gifts. Four of my brothers and sisters and their families were there. My sister Tiffany and her husband live in Georgia so they weren't with us. Most of my photos were of all the kids. I have to remember to take more of the adults next time, especially my Dad since I didn't get any pictures of him.

Sabrina is trying to learn how to crochet from Grandma Stella.

As if this post wasn't long enough, I'm adding our New Year's Eve to it. My brother Jared, his wife Debbie and their boys came over for lunch. We enjoyed having a rare visit.

Here's Avi doing some serious thinking about something.
At night on New Year's Eve, we went to our friends house to hang out. Thanks, Sherami, Pablo and Harrison for a great time! Sherami had quite the spread of good food. She was even nice enough to include fresh vegetables and rolls since I had told her they were a tradition on New Year's Eve when I was living with my parents. We had nice conversation and fun games. We sure miss them living closer to us.

Harrison was so ready to play with Sabrina when we arrived. He asked her to sit at the little table with him. For some reason, even though she has always played well with him (and other boys who are her friends), she felt akward sitting there. She said, "This feels like a date with us sitting here." The rest of us were at the big table. Funny little girl.
Harrison loves to have his picture taken, but when I tried to take this photo of them all sitting together, Alex and Elisa covered their faces. So he joined in and covered his face too.

We played a silly games called Curses!
You had to do funny things like..."Every time you read a card, first say, 'I pity the fool!" or Robin's card, "When speaking to someone, first tell them what wrestling move you'd use against them" or something like that. Sherami was describing an operation while clenching her teeth when she talked.
Alex had to talk with his tongue between his teeth and then had to start using fake sign language.
Pablo had to howl every time someone clapped and was really good at noticing every time someone would. No tricking him! He was a good sport and howled every time, even though we'd clap just to make him do it again.
Elisa had to do all sorts of things with her hands and ended up having to stay in this position throughout the game.
Isn't Harrison adorable???

He was awake and playing the whole time we were there. We eventually left because Elisa told me she was tired and wanted to go to bed. Within minutes of getting into the car, the girls were zonked! What a fun way to end 2009!


  1. So much going on! Great pictures of everyone too. Where did you get the curses game? Someone was telling me about that recently.

  2. It's not ours. Our friends had it. Pablo works for a toy store and got it there. I had never heard of it before.

  3. I love your pictures and the fact that your Holidays were so FUN for your kids. How sweet that grandma is teaching her granddaughter to crochet. Not an easy task. I am trying to teach my 9 yr old. Difficult.

    I love the kid bands in schools. They don't always sound the best but you get a chance to watch your kid develop with an instrument. My kids were always in choir by assignment then they grew to love it. You and your children are lucky to see the service and charity of others first hand. I'm sure you see first hand how good our Heavenly Father can be through the service of his children.

    What a fun post!


  4. What a sweet family you have. And I know your kiddos will benefit from seeing all the service...we personally like to doorbell ditch--we drop a plate of goodies, ring the doorbell and run. It's so much fun!

  5. Wow, that was a lot to post. You got it done. Yeah! I always feel better when I get the photos blogged!
    Happy New year!

  6. Love all the pics! Glad we got to share part of the holiday with you! We love you all. Hope 2010 is the best year yet for you all!

  7. Hooray for family, pictures, and fun!
    I'm glad you had a great month.

  8. It was so fun to have you guys here! I haven't laughed that hard in a long time! And thanks for humoring Harrison with all the pics. What a stink! He looks so exhausted in those pics, but not nearly as exhausted as the girls in the car. LOL! We love you guys and miss spending time with you. Let's do it again soon!

  9. Lots of great pictures, and then there are the ones that include my ugly mug! I love that you have become the woman, the mother, the wife that you have. The kids are so great, too. They're really great kids! Happy New Year! Love you!

  10. Hey-you guys attend a Spanish ward? How AWESOME! I was called to be the Relief Society prez in a small Spanish branch here almost a year ago. (it's a long story) I love the people and their faith. I am not fluent in Spanish but I feel the influence of the Lord in my word helping me to communicate. And I'm learning more.


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