Monday, January 12, 2015

Christmastime is Here: Part Activities

A few of my favorite Christmas activities this year, mostly unpictured.

This isn't a Christmas activity, but it is pictured and is dang cute! We had Reed's first-ever parent-teacher conference. He is doing great in school, both academically and socially. I was a little teary at the thought of how fast he is growing up!

1. Caroling
Have I mentioned that Ryan is a Bear Den leader in the Cub Scouts? He is. I'm the Primary President, if you wondered how he got that calling ;) Anyway, the cubs were going caroling, so we decided to bring our whole family along! Unfortunately, the assisted living center we went to had accidentally double booked Cub Scout Packs, and the other group had just left, meaning most of the residents had packed it in and called it a night. Fortunately, there was a little group of cute ladies still in the lounge who were more than happy to listen to us! One lady was in love with Lila (who isn't), but Lila didn't share the same interest, ha. We had a good time and it was one of the activities I really wanted to do, because I wanted to participate in a few service activities as a family.

2. WSRP Party
Maybe this shouldn't be noteworthy, but I must say that Ryan's boss has fantastic taste in restaurants. We want to the Rib and Chop (I think). It's a high-end butcher shop on the bottom floor and a upscale restaurant on the top floor. They do wonderful things with meat. Also of note was that this night was the hardest time I have ever had finding a babysitter, ever. I'd lined up one friend two weeks early, then the week of she ended up going out of town. All my other go-tos are in my ward, and our ward party was the same night--so they were out. I asked two cousins who were both unavailable. I asked a friend (who I think was kind of annoyed that I asked) but she was unavailable. We asked one of Ryan's former co-workers and they were unavailable. I even posted in a facebook group asking for suggestions. Finally, we double-upped on Ryan's new coworker's babysitter, who happened to be another coworker's daughter. Phew.

3. Ward RS Party
Normally I wouldn't include this, but I wasn't going to go (it was smack in the middle of my craziest of December weeks) but I got asked to accompany someone for a song so went. And I'm so glad I did. The program was beautiful. One of our sister missionaries (Sister Roper) sang "Breath of Heaven" and her voice so beautiful and the song so touching I was just bawling when it was over. I only want to hear her voice singing that song now--she's better than the original! Anyway, the party was a really nice opportunity to feel the spirit of Christmas amidst the craziness of December.

4. Live Nativity
We tried to go to the live nativity last year but didn't even come close to making it in--we didn't go nearly early enough. So this year I made sure we went SUPER early because I really wanted to see the nativity and really wanted the kids to see the nativity. We were plenty early and easily made it in. The nativity is put on by an LDS stake here in Vegas and we were super impressed by how well they did! There were so many people, live animals, legit costumes--the production was fantastic. And I loved being able to watch the story of Christ's birth with my little family. Lila and Asher were both enthralled by the angels that appeared at the top of the building that backed the nativity scene--they really were quite cool. Reed was sitting with Ryan and told me after that he loved everything. After the nativity, we went to the Creche display inside. The kids all loved looking at the various nativity sets and choosing their favorites (which changed with every new set we saw). The nativity was one of my favorite things we did!

5. Magical Forest
Ryan did a CPE course at Opportunity Village. OV provides jobs, classes, and life skills training for people with various disabilities with various severity levels. He was really impressed by OV and actually wants to take his scouts there. Anyway, after the CPE course they gave him two free tickets to the Magical Forest so we of course had to go! The forest is outside and is a winding display of decorated trees that various people or companies in the city decorate. Some are fun, some are beautiful, and some are super creative. There are also rides (which we didn't do) and live entertainment. After looking at all the trees, the boys were excited to find a real firetruck with real firemen that we got to climb aboard! We also got to climb onto a real ambulance. We ended our tour by listening to a local high school orchestra perform. We had a fun night!

You couldn't see us in this picture anyway (crazy back lighting), so I made our shadows even darker. I kind of like it!

6. Happy birthday to me!
I honestly wasn't expecting much on my birthday, since the month was so crazy, but we ended up having a great day! We started the day with my favorite of favorite foods, donuts. And not any donuts--Glazier's donuts, which I truly think are the best donuts I have ever had. Next we went to a free swap a girl in my ward organized. We'd taken our good-sized goodwill pile to her the night before and she had organized all the donations. That morning we went to the swap and got to take home anything we wanted--for free! You know how I love free. We got some awesome stuff that we actually needed: fill for bean bags, a Radio Flyer pink and purple trike for Lila, church shirts in the next few sizes for the boys, a huge painting in the colors we're redoing our room in, an awesome book and transformer for the boys, and a variety of clothing items for me. It was fun! Next I got to open my gifts! Ryan got me a trip to Portland (in two weeks!) the boys each made me a picture, and "Lila" got me hiking boots! My first ever pair. I wore them for the first time last week and was in heaven. We were going to go sledding next--Ryan and I had even sorted out snow gear for everyone--but found out as we were shopping for a sled that there wasn't enough snow. The boys were super bummed, but we saved the day by going to see The Polar Express on the big screen at the library. After that we used a groupon voucher at our favorite local food place (Rambo's Grill) and had a late dinner/lunch. Then we went to Smith's to redeem a free cookie + apple coupon the boys had from the children's museum. We also bought popcorn and mnms, which we enjoyed that night for dinner as we watched Star Wars Episode II. Phew! It was quite a day.

(Ryan is making the face Reed generally makes when I ask him to smile for a picture. Reed was smiling in reaction to Ryan haha!)

 Sprinkles for A + L, fritter for Reed and a fritter + creme filled for Ryan and I to share!

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