Sunday, December 28, 2014

All that was Christmas!

Our church Christmas party was awesome. Each year, they come up with the best, most creative theme. This year was "A Charles Dickens Christmas." We had poppers that were stuffed with candy and crowns to wear for dinner. Bangers and mash were had by all and to finish it off, bread pudding. And that's just the food part. They set up stations for the children to enjoy before dinner. The Printing press where they could make Christmas cards, Ball Room where they danced to Christmas music, Caroling room -singing Christmas songs after being taught how to do it with an English accent and a Bake Shop where they made christmas cookies. They is a lady who made all these awesome top hats for each kids. Last year she made vests for each kid during our Cowboy Christmas. I'm telling ya- this isn't your normal Christmas party. It's WAY better!! :)

A visit to the D.C. Temple lights is always special. Tyson works about 15 minutes away from the temple in Maryland so we brought pizza with us to have dinner with him before we headed out to see the lights. Our favorite part is seeing all the nativities from around the world that are on loan for the Christmas season. It's amazing! We love to see the Temple! :)

Tyson and the International Tree- we thought it was pretty fitting ;)

Ok- this made us laugh. One of the sister missionaries asked if we wanted our family picture taken. So she took a BUNCH of photos- so great! But they were all blurry like this. Hahahah! Oh well…..

Our apartment complex asked Santa and Mrs. Claus to make a special stop to our clubhouse the Saturday before Christmas. It was the best, most personal experience we have ever had with Santa (and Mrs. Claus!) We were in a small room with about 15 other kids. Santa called each child up by name (thanks to a bluetooth device hidden away) which added to the magic of it all. Taryn asked Santa for a Pinkie Pie My Little Pony. She had been looking forward to sitting on Santa's lap and waited ever so patiently as she was the 3rd to last to be called up to his knee. Hadleigh could have done without Santa.  But it made for a good laugh! (we're so mean!) Santa read a Christmas book to the children, made it snow a bit, and had a little magic show too. It really was a great Santa visit!

Right when we walked into the gates, there was a women who came up to us and said, "I have tickets for the trains that we are not going to use. Do you want them?" Uh….yes please!!!! We hadn't planned on doing any "extra" thing but when you are offered free tickets (worth $12) you take it! It wasn't a super cold night either- actually we were rather warm after a bit in our winter coats. We're grateful for the warmer December weather that we've had. 55 degrees is pretty much perfect for an East Coast Christmas!

I was baking baking baking! This was my first Christmas season in years that I had an oven I could rely on (or an oven at all!) I have been looking forward to this ever since we moved in last March! 

Christmas Tree Bread was amongst some of the goodies I made this year. I only make 1-2 batches a year (each batch makes two breads) so I learn something new each year when attempting to make it. This year, I perfected the softness of the bread. Next year, I am focusing all on the appearance. I think I figured out what I need to do to make the tree look even better! I'm making notes each year and hopefully I will be as good as Tyson's siblings and mother when I make it next year -I can dream, can't I! :)

Christmas morning we played with our toys, ate our Sausage Breakfast casserole with orange juice, and  skyped with family. 

 Taryn played her favorite Christmas song for us and even sang along too :) Hadleigh thought she could use some help reaching those high notes! We enjoyed dinner with my sister Brittany & Seth (and Seth's Mom & step-dad) on Christmas Day

And my favorite part of this past week was being able to spend so much time as a family. Tyson had a shortened work week and so did I. It made for lots a quality time together!!!

We are grateful for the Christ child who was born to save us all. We're grateful for a special time of year that we can join with others in celebrating his birth, not to forget throughout the year the special gift Heavenly Father gave to us by sending His son to Earth so He could provide a way for us to return to live with our Heavenly Father again. 

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