Monday, February 29, 2016


Christmas morning is the best, especially with kids!  They did good and slept in until 7.  We gathered on John and I's bed, said prayers, then John turned the Christmas tree lights on.  I love how you can see their excitement in these pictures....SO excited.  We kept tradition and lined up youngest to oldest (although Remmy got passed up quickly by B and J) and ran in to see what Santa had left us.

Jake got a train table from Santa.  He loved it and has had fun building it different ways.  The only problem with it is that he has a little sister that likes to tear down his work, which he gets super frustrated about.

going through their stockings

some pictures are blurry because kids wouldn't hold still :)

Remmy was just happy to unwrap things.  She kept "ooing" and "ahhing" and opened half of John's stocking for him.  She got a shopping cart and that vacuum from Santa.  They are from Pottery Barn and both super cute.

Brooklyn's present from Santa this year was an art easel.  It came with all the supplies - paper, paint, paintbrushes, chalk, dry erase markers.  She loved it and got to work right away making different art projects.  The only problem with her gift too though, is that she has a little sister.  She usually only plays with it during nap time :)

Remmy was really excited that Santa didn't eat all the cookies we left out for him and finished them for him.  She also dropped the cookie plate 5 minutes later and broke it.

John made our traditional eggs benedict (his family's tradition growing up that we've made our own now) and they were delicious!  We hung out all day in our pajamas as a family, playing with our new toys.  A few friends came over later for dinner and games.  It was a great day!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Christmas Eve

We had a great Christmas Eve.  We had some friends over for an early dinner (Quirls and Jeppesens) around 4 so families could still do their own thing that night.  We ate yummy food and visited and the kids played.

Everyone left around 6:30.  We let the kids open new matching (of course) pajamas from us.  Then we read and acted out the nativity.

Brooklyn and Jake loved getting cookies and milk out for Santa.  I bought that new Santa plate just a few days before which I thought was so cute (Remmy broke it the next morning..sounds about right).

Once the kids were in bed and fast asleep, John and I got to work!  I had already done a majority of it - wrapping, stockings were put together.  We just had to get everything out and set up Jake's train table.  It was fairly easy to put together.  The hardest part was setting up the actual track.  But we finished before 10 p.m. and watched a Christmas movie together.

I loved walking in to this scene - so magical!

Monday, February 22, 2016

North Pole Experience

Part of our Christmas this year was doing the North Pole Experience.  It is similar to the Polar Express, but you actually go to the North Pole through a portal.  This is in Flagstaff, about an hour and a half from us.

We didn't tell the kids we were going, just told them that we had to go for a long drive that was taking us to a fun surprise.  We went on a Friday night (so John could come) and I booked a hotel that night in Flagstaff.  The kids LOVED the hotel.  I think it might have been their first time in a hotel...can't remember...but they thought it was the coolest thing ever.  We checked in to the hotel first, still not telling them what we were doing, changed the kids into their pajamas, and headed to Little America where the trolley would take us through the portal to the North Pole.

so excited!

There was snow in Flagstaff which was fun for these Arizona kids!  It was barely snowing when we got there and Brooklyn and Jake were trying to catch the flakes in their mouths.  

waiting at Little America for the trolley (they knew at this point what we were doing) 

We got on a trolley (bus) that took about 15 minutes to get to the North Pole. They did a good job of the "portal" experience.  The lights turned off on the bus, they had a video showing of us going through a portal, the bus driver was swerving on purpose.  Elves greeted us when we got there and had the kids knock on Santa's workshop door.

The first room was neat.  It was tons of old school toys displayed, things I remember from my childhood.  

They got to help build toys with Santa's elves.  They dressed teddy bears, loaded toy guns with bullets, and practiced shooting them too to make sure they worked.  All the elves (workers) were really cute with them and made the the whole experience.  

They loaded toys on a belt to be put on Santa's sleigh in this room.  

Cookies and milk with Mrs. Clause in her kitchen. 

graduated from elf school 

wrote letters to Santa and hand delivered them 

Santa's sleigh all loaded up 

And last but not least, sitting on the big guys lap.  Brooklyn and Jake went right up to him and handed him their lists and told them what they wanted.  Remmy didn't cry, but wouldn't let me put her down.  John was taking the pictures.

They had a fire outside that we enjoyed while we waited for everyone in our group to be done.  It was such a fun weekend as a family.  They kids loved it - worth every penny!  We went back to the hotel and went to bed.  The kids slept well and were so excited about the continental breakfast the next morning.  We hit a blizzard on the drive home (crazy to think of a blizzard in Arizona!), but made it home safely.

Friday, February 19, 2016

December randoms [part two]

I helped Brooklyn and Jake make blessing bags in preschool.  They were bags full with a water bottle, wash cloth, oatmeal, applesauce, socks, gum, etc. to give to homeless people we saw.  Right after we did them, we saw our first guy on the way home.  Jake was so excited to hand it to him and said excitedly "Merry Christmas guy!"  It was a proud mom moment.

Remmy loves being outside and loves the swings.  I love her!  She is happy, crazy, and so full of personality.

showing off her tricks on the bar

Brooklyn's turn to hand out a blessing bag.  I felt bad with this one actually.  She thought the guy had it but he didn't and so it dropped.  He was in a wheelchair and had a hard time picking it up.  Sorry sir!

Jake and Remmy have fun (mostly) in the mornings together when Brooklyn is at preschool. They love playing outside, doing puzzles, and playing dress up.

Jake has gotten SO much better at his balance bike.  We gave it to him for his birthday last year and for such a long time he was so bad (that was probably my fault because I never took him out to practice in the 110+ weather).  But after a little practice he is getting so good and I'll even let him ride it all the way to the park because he can make it without me having to carry the bike.

Remmy and Tayvri splashing in the puddles on the basketball court at the park.

We did our gingerbread house on December 23rd.  My friend Kandas gave me this gingerbread house and I love it.  It is her family's tradition, but it's made out of plywood.  You make the icing, buy the candy, and decorate.  And the best part is when you're done with it, you soak it in hot water and all the icing and candy falls off.  Then it is all ready to go for next year.  I want to make family members one for Christmas this year.

Brooklyn and Jake were really in to it.  They each did a side.  Remmy was interested in just eating the candy.

Brooklyn's side.

Jake's side.