I'm behind and feeling the pressure of being behind. Phew. And because I'm really not sure I could give a day-by-day, blow-by-blow account of Christmas, I'll give a top ten instead.
1. We left Vegas right after Reed got out of school on Friday. He was uber pumped because not only had he gotten a ton of stuff from school (little goodie bags from friends and gift from his teacher) he had also been selected as one of a handful of kids in his class who got to go pass of the alphabet crown with Mr. Paquette, the principal. Mr. Paquette tests each kindergartner on their letter names and sounds and, if they pass, they get a cool crown and their picture gets put up at school! Reed was in the first group in his class to get to pass off the crown.
2. One of the days we were in California, we decided to take a trip to Travel Town. We went just last year, but figured that Lila didn't remember it and Reed and Asher are impressed enough by trains to like it again! Also, it's free, so, well, free. We had a really fun time at Travel Town and got to do something cool we didn't get to do last time: one of the trains is in the process of being restored on the inside and on the weekends, you can take a free tour of the train! The train is a sleeper train, so you can see the tiny little compartments with fold down sinks (what!) and toilets that double as chairs once a cushion is on top. You fold the "mattress" out from the wall and it literally takes the entire room. Anyone over six feet would be totally uncomfortable. I'd be fine. We also got to see the dining car and learn some really interesting facts: the tables have a lip on the edge so plates don't slide off, the chairs have a special rack underneath to serve as a hat-holder, and the chairs are quite heavy so they don't slide around.
(I don't know what Lila was so mad about taking a picture, but she just couldn't get over it.)
This is the face of a railroad man.
3. We always love going to church in Grandma's ward because she teaches Reed's class! Asher would have gone to her class this year, too (there isn't a sunbeam class in her ward and she teaches CTR 4-5), but he was only feeling well enough for sacrament meeting. The poor baby FELL ASLEEP ON MY LAP during sacrament meeting and was snoring so loudly that people around us were looking around to see what the noise was. I took him out in the hallway, though I was sure he would wake up in the transfer, and was shocked when he not only stayed asleep but slept through the rest of the meeting! Reed stayed at church with Grandma and Grandpa (he really, really loves her class) and Ryan and I took Asher and Lila home.
4. Janelle's ward YM/YW were going to see the temple lights one night, so we decided to go, too--as did Kent and Ruth and Justin and Janelle. The LA temple is gigantic and the lights did not disappoint. We were quite happy the temple had lights to see because apparently only 10ish temples worldwide do Christmas lights and Las Vegas is not among them! The lights were beautiful.
5. A trip to California isn't complete without a trip to The Hat for a pastrami dip. #truth
6. We always get together with the S Hamblys for Christmas Eve and this year we did one of my favorite activities to date: made people into Christmas trees! We split up into two groups and were given crepe paper and construction paper--then we went to town! My favorite trees were--everyone! Pictured are Kent, Declan (mostly because of his face in the picture, ha), my own group's tree, and Jared + Maverick. Maverick sat on Jared's shoulders as the star. He was so excited to be the star on top that when he was done he went and stored the star pieces in his room to keep them safe! So cute. We also did the traditional talent show (for kids only this year, thank goodness). Lila made a few animal noises (cow, monkey, elephant, and Santa for good measure) and Reed and Asher did two combos: first, they sang Christmas Bells, then they did dance moves to Boom, Clap!
7. One day, Grandpa, his sons, and the oldest kids all went to tour the Fender Guitar Factory. Unfortunately, the factory was closed! But they had driven long and weren't going to go home without doing something--so they went to the Sriracha factory instead! As it turned out, the sriracha factory was a fun tour for everyone and they all enjoyed themselves. And they came back blinged out in sriracha shirts, so that was definitely a win.
8. Christmas morning (obviously, right?)
Alllllllll the kids (except Lila) (sorry Lila) slept in the toy room together. I'm not sure when exactly they fell asleep or how exactly we got them in there, but it happened. In the morning, I took Lila downstairs at the appointed hour and she headed straight for her Minnie beanbag and toy car and yelled, "Mi mee!!!!!!!!!!!!" (Minnie). She was so pumped. Then we opened the door and let the masses descend upon Christmas. And man were they excited. They all took some time to check out their Santa stuff and go through the stockings before we opened the wrapped presents one by one. Lila got a new outfit and several dress ups. Each time she opened something new to put on, she'd immediately start pulling off the other clothes she was wearing so she could try on the new item. She loved opening presents and was a total pro at doing it! Reed had gotten a small slinky from one of his school friends, so when he found a bigger slinky in his stocking he was crazy pumped and told us, "I got a legit size slinky!!!" Asher was very excited to receive three of his very own lego sets, more than even Bubba.
Eating dinner with the Hamblys is always awesome, not only because of the food--which is amazing--but because it is just so much fun to talk as a family. We literally sit for an hour or more after dinner just telling stories and laughing and having a great time. Dinner time is time I would be really, really sad to miss out on.
10. Cousin time
The boys had the most fantastic time playing with their cousins. They have one cousin who is their age (Calum) and the three of them are finally old enough to really go off just the three of them and play. The rest of the cousins are older than them but are so good about playing with them! They always make sure Reed and Asher have a good time and I love that. Lila was also less shy than usual (unless the whole group was over) and had fun playing with the kids, too. Going to California for a week is kind of like having a babysitter for a week.
10b. Not dying on the way home
We planned to drive to St. George on the morning of the 26th. Then, remembering how great it was to drive to Legoland at night we decided to drive to St. George on Christmas night, after dinner. We decided this around 3 p.m. We got away later than planned (see list item 9), but Ryan assured me that he was totally awake and could stay awake the entire drive home. I was quite tired and told him that I was not going to be able to stay awake, no chance, no how. Around 1.5 hours into our trip, Ryan was clearly not really up to driving, so I took the wheel. I put in the only book on CD we had (Encyclopedia Brown), and listened to the boy detective solve crimes all the way. Staying awake was a miracle, but we made it!