Now that a full month has passed since Christmas, it seems like it may be time to blog about it. Why, oh why, do I let myself go SO far behind? Do I even remember what happened at Christmas?! Enough of my woe. Here's what I remember.
0. The origin of Ti-bis. "Ti-bis" is the way Lila pronounces "Christmas." We all spent the weeks before and after Christmas asking her things like, "When does Santa come?" And "What are all those presents for?" just so we could hear her say "ti-bis." It's awesome.
1. We went to California! We usually go up early in December and come home not too long after Christmas, but this year Justin was playing a show we didn't want to miss, so we went up late and came home late. Going up late was a little weird for me because I usually save all my wrapping until we're at our holiday destination--otherwise the wrapping just gets torn/smashed/uglier looking whilst we drive. So this year I wrapped all my presents on Dec. 23rd (!!!), which was weird! Justin's show was Dec. 30th, and everyone knows that one place you do not want to be on Dec. 31st is I-15 between LA and Vegas, so we waited all the way until Jan. 1 to come home. Coming home with so few days between vacation and back to real life wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, though, and I loved being with family for New Year's Eve.
2. Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve is a big event in the Hambly family. Every year, everyone from Ryan's family who is in town gets together with everyone in his uncle's whole family who is in town and has a big party. We always eat large amounts of really, really good food and generally do some kind of talent show or game or something enjoyable. This year, we split into teams and made reindeer antlers out of balloons shoved into nylons. The kids wearing the antlers then had to duel to pop an additional balloon tied on to their opponents' ankle. The reindeer games were quite entertaining. We also had a toilet paper snowman person contest. My kids all ended up being the snowmen for their teams and were so cute! Lila held SO still and was such a good sport. Asher may or may not have been able to breathe while in snowman form.
In addition to the team games, we had two individual games: a redneck pinata for the kids and an unwrapping game for the adults. For the adult game, a present was wrapped in layers of wrapping paper. Each layer had an instruction on it for someone to pass the present to. I ended up opening the last layer (woot!) and walked away with a target gift card and a set of mugs!
After the games (there's still more!) we did a live nativity. Reed was a
choir member narrator. He drew the choir member part and was pretty disappointed, but luckily I had a part he was excited about, so we traded. Asher was a wise man. Lila was the second Mary. She kept trying to STEAL baby Jesus until someone smartly grabber her a baby of her own to hold. She then stood cuddling with Grandpa/Joseph. You get away with things like that when you're the youngest grandchild.
The nativity was so cute, and after it was done, we sang (per tradition) "the violin sings" song and 12 Days of Christmas, led by Aunt Sue. She is amazing and I actually got a little teary when we were all singing together. We finished the night with dessert, then headed home and tucked the kids (except Lila. I'm mean.) all into one room. I think it took them a while to get to sleep.
3. Christmas Morning. We woke up Christmas morning to kids practically bursting through the doors. So of course, we made them stay in a a few extra minutes and pretended to open their presents :) When they came out, there were many exclamations of glee as they went through their gifts from Santa and their stockings. Presents under the tree were passed out and we spent a long, happy time opening gifts! I think Lila said, "I WANTED THIS!" after literally every present she opened. The boys each got a few new Lego sets, which they were over the moon about, along with other crafts and games. I think my favorite thing Lila got was a diaper bag for Bitty Baby with a new darling outfit and tiny good! She was most excited about her Minnie shoppy cart, which she has been oggling at Target for months on end.
After presents, we had a tasty breakfast before Justin's and Janelle's families had to head over the their in-law's houses. Our children had an enjoyable day trying out many of their new toys!
4. Clue. Reed got the game Clue for Christmas--and, surprisingly, it became an early favorite amongst the cousins! We played many, many rounds of Clue in the week we were in California! Some of us took the games quite seriously and came to the table armed with paper and pencils to take notes on the case and try to solve the mystery before the others. I personally loved that Reed and Asher were big enough to play and that the game was interesting enough that the big kids wanted to play, too. I joined in on several rounds of the game myself and had quite a fun time!
5. Death March, Part 2. While we were in Lake Tahoe during our Hambly Family reunion, we went on a hike that was almost immediately dubbed "The Death March." In a somewhat hilarious twist of fate, we found ourselves in the middle of another Death March during this trip! We went on a hike that was supposed to be family friendly. And the hike was, in fact, quite friendly, until we came to a muddy portion. This mud wasn't just a minor inconvenience. It only stretched 30 or so feet, but it was deep and wet and sticky. To one side of the mud was a deepish ditch with a creek at the bottom. To the other side was a do-able hill--but the hill was also covered in the mud. We were trying to sneak along the cliff-side when Greer just decided to go for it. She took two steps into the mud. On her third step, her shoe stayed behind! With her fourth step, her other shoe was a goner! Her shoes weren't even visible, but after a little digging, she found them. She slogged through the mud to the clear path. Steve went along the edge with some difficulty, but managed to get to her. And now that part of our group was on the other side of the mud, we realized we couldn't just turn around. We searched the hillside for a way around the mud with no luck. A girl walking her dog came upon the mud and we tried to warn her, but she didn't believe us, pausing and waiting until a runner came, also didn't listen to us, and got stuck in the mud for a minute before making it through with shoes that weren't quite what they used to be. Eventually, Ryan came up with the idea to gather the biggest sticks and branches we could find. We made a chain and passed them down the line to put into the mud to give our feet something to catch traction with. It took some doing, but eventually everyone made it through the mud.Poor Greer finished the hike barefoot!
After the mud, we thought we were past the Death March portion of the hike. Then we came to a fork in the path. The way to go seemed quite clear--man-made steps that led up and up and up and up. But at the top of allllllll those steps was an empty field, not anywhere near where we'd needed to be. Ironically, Janelle and Steve had done this hike before and had made the same mistake! We went back down the stairs, then took the other fork--which also led up a steep path, this one without stairs.
Finally, we made it to the end of the hike--which was a couple hundred feet down the road from our cars, ha. The bigger cousins made a chair with their arms and carried Greer the last little bit.
And just like that, we survived another Hambly Death March.
6. The tall girls. Instead of figuring out which older girl cousin was which (there are 4 of them who were with us at Christmas and they all happen to be blonde), Lila just referred to them all as "the tall girls." She'd come up to me and say, "Mommy, you know those tall girls? One of them helped me get a dolly!" I didn't hear her actually refer to them by name even once!
7. Justin's Show.
Justin was playing at The Viper Room on December 30, and we definitely wanted to stay long enough to see his show! The "tall girls" babysat for us and I'm pretty sure all the cousins had a fantastic time while all the parents and grandparents were at Justin's show! As we were headed out the door, I had my purse in hand when Ryan told me he could put my phone in his pocket so I didn't have to worry about my purse. That sounded like a plan to me, so I ran and put my purse back in the house. We went to dinner, then drove all the way downtown. We walked up to the door and realized a problem. Without my ID, I couldn't get into The Viper Room. Sweet. Luckily, the door guy was really nice and when Ryan's dad asked if we could have someone text a picture of my ID, the door guy said that could work. Luckily, the tall girls (Kamdyn, namely), were able to take and text a picture for me and I made it in to the show! The show itself was awesome! Justin did a great job and we had so much fun watching him perform! We also happen to love his music, which is a plus. The kids are also all pretty pumped to have an uncle on iTunes (look him up! Pigmanlion on iTunes and Spotify.) After the show, we went out to Diddy Riese for ice cream cookie sandwiches, which is never a bad idea.
Grandma had the week off after Christmas, so we got to spend a lot of time with her. One day, we went bowling together! We don't go bowling often--in fact, the last time we went bowling was almost a full year ago--but the kids LOVE it. Their turns couldn't come often enough and they loved watching the scores to see who was leading at all times. Ryan and I also bowled and I almost beat him for the first time, ever. We were on the last frame and I was down a bit. Then I bowled a spare (!!!) and all I needed to do was knock one more pin over. I failed to knock one more pin over. Sad day for me.
9. Star Wars. One of the boys' Christmas gifts was tickets to see Star Wars VII. Ryan and I saw Star Wars the weekend it came out while we were in St. George. We wanted to preview the movie to see if we thought it would be okay for the boys to see--it is rated PG13 and we generally don't let them watch PG13s. We were super duper sneaky and told them we thought it was too scary and that they'd need to wait until they were older to see it. They took the news pretty well but were definitely disappointed.
On Christmas morning, they unwrapped Star Wars shirts with a note telling them we were going to go see the movie. They were kind of confused at first, but when we explained that we had been keeping it a secret before they finally understood and were SO excited! They loved the movie and had a fun time going out to the movies together. Grandma and Grandpa joined us for the movie and spoiled the boys with their own treat/popcorn/drink boxes!
10. Graham Cracker Houses and Sugar Cookies. Even though we'd made graham cracker houses twice already, we thought that building houses with cousins could be quite fun--and it was! While we built our houses, Janelle made sugar cookie dough. The kids helped cut the cookies in shifts, and finished their houses while the cookies baked. Once the cookies were cooled, Janelle made runny royal icing so we could try our hand at making pretty cookies. They were so fun to make and were even quite tasty!
11. New Year's Eve. We've spent our last few New Year's Eves alone, so it was nice to have some company this year! The kids spent a large portion of their evening playing WiiU with their cousins--we seriously didn't even see them for long periods of time that day! We also played a rousing round of Clue. And, of course, we ate really good food in really large quantities. When we were ready for our kids to go to bed, we watched the fake countdown for kids on Netflix and toasted the New Year. After they went to bed, we settled in to a movie, then rallied at midnight to drink some sparkling cider. Ryan actually went to bed before midnight, which is atypical for any of his nights when we are in California, so missed out on the cider.
The next morning, we packed up and hit the road! We had such a great trip.
Reed the snowman.
The nativity! Notice the two Marys.
The day we got home, we had things to get done and errands to run--so we all wore track suits! We are so cool.