Here's the 2nd Half of December 2013.
A good portion of my family came from the other side of the country to make our Christmas extra special this year; the Gariety's came from New Mexico, my parents and brother Nathan traveled from California, my brother Reed came from Idaho, and sister Melanie came from Utah. It was organized chaos and tons of fun! Everyone was super great about the sleeping conditions (all kids under the age of 16 on the FLOOR) and it was a party from sun-up to sun-down.
Christmas Eve is Brandon's birthday, (He's now 31...YIKES) so we celebrated with ice cream pie and the tradition of singing BOTH versions of Happy Birthday. :)
Later, we braved the freezing temperatures and did a little caroling, then read the story of Jesus' birth while the grandkids acted out the nativity.
Jemma was Mary, Sean was Joseph and Emmy was the baby Jesus. :)
The whole crew front to back, left to right: Sydney as the angel, Hayden, Carter and Gavin as shepherds, Daphne as a wise woman :), Jemma as Marry, Dallin as a wise man and Sean as Joseph. Such cute kids!
Afterwards, it was on to making our forts to hide from Santa on Christmas morning! (Most exciting part of Christmas...seriously.)
Above: Carter in his fort.
Below: Daphne and Jemma.
Hayden and Gavin.
Santa came around 6:15, and we successfully hid from him while he delivered this years gifts for the kids. Gavin ended up hiding with me instead of with Hayden and he was a constant stream of whispers the ENTIRE time. I was sure Santa was going to run out...I guess it's a good thing he's hard of hearing!
Anyway! Santa out-did himself this year. He brought both the Gariety and Reed families a trip to Orlando Florida to visit Universal Studios for 3 days! He brought chocolate frogs and every flavor beans from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and a letter explaining the gift.
Above: The kids with their Harry Potter treats.
Below: Santa's letter.
Our family name exchange this year was a little different than in the past. A friend of mine did this with her family and I thought it was genius, so we copied. :) The gifts had to be homemade! I had high hopes for this to be really cool, but I think we all waited too long to get started...I guess on the up side, it won't be hard to out-do next time around. ;)
I had Brandon and (copied my sister Sharee) by making him a monthly date coupon - she made a REALLY cool one for husband...in my defense, I had planned to made him a skinny black tie. He had been talking about how much he wanted one for a really long time, but then I found one for a STEAL at tjmax, so I bought it instead. :/ Brandon had Carter and made him paper airplanes, Jemma had Gavin and made him a picture book (which she actually still needs to finish), Carter had me and made me a nature collection (with Jemma's help) and Gavin had Jemma and made her a bracelet with her name on it. We didn't include Emmy this time around...maybe next year.
So, as you can see above, Carter and Gavin got skateboards for Christmas. Weeellll...Gavin totally face planted on the sidewalk outside and skinned up one side of his face. Ouch! After he got bandaged up, he zonked on the couch and slept through Christmas dinner. Poor kiddo. He is so super accident prone! What were we thinking getting him a dang skateboard!!!
Above: Enjoying Christmas dinner. :)
Left to right: Dad, Mom, Dallin, Reed (my brother), Arthur (brother-in-law) Sharee (sister), Nathan (brother), Melanie (sister), and Brandon.
Below: Still enjoying dinner - Melanie just swapped me so I could be in the photo. :)
So, I don't know why I didn't take more pictures after Christmas of all the kids just playing and having fun together...I guess things were just busy. But I did manage to snap a photo of Jemma and Daphne performing their concert of "Frozen" songs. :) So super cute! Should have video taped it!!!
We were fortunate enough to have all of our family still here to be part of Jemma's baptism day. My parents (Nona and Papa) gave the talks, all the grandkids sang "If the Savior Stood Beside Me" per request of Jemma, and Brandon performed the baptism.
I made Jemma's dress, but it NEVER would have gotten finished if I hadn't had my wonderful mother and sister Sharee helping pin and press as I stitched. Thanks again you two!!! You ladies are my heroes!
Jemma was very specific about what she wanted - it had to be COMFORTABLE - so, no elastic in the sleeves, and she wanted a square neck, umpire waist and a pink ribbon. Check, check, check, and check. :)
It was such a beautifully emotional morning! Brandon and I were both crying when she entered the font to be baptized - it was hard to believe (still is actually) that our little Jemma was already 8 years old and choosing to be baptized. We are so pleased with the way Jemma is trying to live her life - especially as she continues to try to be like her Savior!
What a wonderful December it has been!