The Christmas season always seems to rush by. Each year I learn something new I will do differently for the next year. We always try to purchase our family/sibling gifts early and get them mailed off so that there is little stress with the season.
That gives us more time and engird to focus on teaching our girls the true meaning of Christmas.
In years past we've reached daily scriptures, watched daily videos and talked constantly about what we celebrate during Christmas. The birth of Christ. I love the theme "Light the World" the ran for the 2nd year over Christmas. It's about sharing the light of Christ by doing service for others.
We're trying to teach our girls that service should be a constant in their lives. We enjoyed the daily prompts given through the short 1-2 minute clips about how we could help those around us that day. The girls really enjoyed helping us accomplish our tasks of service.
We went to the Washington D.C. temple lights display with the Haley's.
That's always fun! Because of a work commitment, we weren't able to see the musical performance that night but we saw the beautiful creches from around the world on display and of course, was able to walk around outside and see the colorful lights.
We ran into our friends the Jerrots, who have a son named Logan as well. Turns out, both Logans are friends at their school! So crazy we were able to make that connection at the temple!
I loved the jammies we had this year. The girls loved wearing them as much as they could.
We ran to the National Christmas tree lighting by The White House but stopped on the National Mall to snap this cute picture of the girls before racing over. It's was a long winter but thankfully on this night, it was pretty mild. The girls were too short to see any of the lighting so I switched off holding them, which killed my back, so we left after about 45 minutes. Cool experience, but I'd rather watch on T.V. ha!
Christmas time always reminds me of the amazing lights my parents put on their home every year. Same pattern every year and after 30 years in that house, my parents have several copy cats in the neighborhood :)
The girls and I helped set up for the Ward Christmas party, which was a Carnival theme this year.
I think the Nativity is the most important part! Even when you use make shift costumes that include princess costumes, a fox, frog and an elephant costume ;)
We really love going to the neighborhood Tree lighting ceremony. "Miracle on 23rd Street." The Lindon Resource Building puts on a tree lighting ceremony and Santa comes via firetruck. Haha! We see the nicest Santa and the girls tell him what they would like for Christmas (it's been American girl dolls for the past 2 years!) and then it's off to wait for face painting.
These girls and their face paint. Man, do they LOVE it! They will wait for an hour and 45 minutes to get it done. Seriously! That's commitment!
We didn't get much snow this winter, maybe one really good sledding day (and that was in March!) which was sad for Taryn. She loves the snow. I hate driving in it so the less snow we get the better!
Amanda and Brad Glenn came down from Boston while driving through town to see family. We love meeting up at Cafe Rio with them! We also met up at the Botanic Gardens Train exhibit, which is our yearly tradition! This year are kids went ahead with friends so we didn't get any photos (seems weird!) but we all met up at Cafe Rio for good food.
These fun girls! And Haddie's silly pose!
Can you tell that all the sight seeing (including the Capitol Christmas Tree) really wore our kids out? Haddie didn't even make it for the 20 minute drive home.
Usually in December, we take our date night money and put it towards gifts and family activities.
We were able to sneak in a showing of the new Star Wars movie, "The Last Jedi" which was awesome!!! Thanks to the Williams who swapped babysitting with us!
One of my favorite Christmas traditions I was able to be apart of was not even my tradition! This is a Murphy tradition (Lynne's side of the family) of making homemade candy each Christmas. We've been recipients of these amazing chocolates for years. This year Lynne invited me "behind the scenes" to learn all about the candy making process.
They have the process down!!
Years and years of making the same recipes, knowing which order to make which, dipping each flavor in a specific way, leaving it with a signature mark (sprinkles, pecans, peanut dust etc..)
That is true love right there. Candy made from the heart. I think my favorite part was learning about the origin of this tradition which includes Mrs. Russell Stover herself, teaching an ancestor of Lynne's how to make these candies. Yes- this is how amazing it all is! What a wonderful experience for me to be apart of.
We had many family adventures around the area, discovering bits of the Christmas Spirit.
Union Station had a train display and I loved these wreaths hanging everywhere.
And yes, that pose is ALLLLL Haddie ;)
Going to see the National Christmas Tree was the coolest "tree lighting" experience! It lights up every night and music is played along with the color changing lights. We even went to the Gaylord Hotel to see their tree lighting but loved National Harbor's way more. Maybe because it was less crowded and our girls were dancing to the music instead of trying to see the shows while we held them above the crowds at the hotel.
Seeing the Library of Congress Christmas tree was a new thing for us this year. We loved that the ornaments on the tree were different books. It is such a beautiful building. It helped that no one was in D.C. that December 24th day. We found fantastic parking, got into the Library of Congress without a fuss, and had no wait for lunch at We The Pizza.
That's my kind of tourist day!
Another date night squeezed into the mix. This one was curtesy of Seth Melling coming to stay with us for a week while he transitioned to his new job- training. We couldn't pass it up! Texas Jacks was amazing! Seriously- such great food and I would go back in a heart beat!
The Smith Family Tradition of making Christmas Tree Bread continues.
Taryn was my special helper this year and I loved watching her take great care in making it.
I hope our girls grow up knowing how much family means and how traditions keep families rooted in what matters most. Time together!
Another tradition- but on the Scott side, is cookie decorating.
I think we did pretty good!!!!
Well we must have recovered from our trauma of the 2013 Gingerbread house fiasco, because here we are again, completeling another ginger bread house. I thought we swore those off? Hahah!!
Turns out our girls really enjoy taking a side of the house and making it their own with frosting and LOTS of candies. They did a great job and took a lot of pride in their work.
Another tradition of tossing pennies onto the National Christmas tree! The girls REALLY like this one!
Bringing back an oldie. A few years ago we happen to be in Arizona for Jayden's farewell right after Christmas. Tyson's mom still had this advent calendar hanging up. Tyson starting talking about all the memories he had of putting on the ornaments and having to take turns with his siblings. Janis walked right over to the wall and said, "Here! Take it! One less thing for me to put back in storage!" Tyson LOVES pulling this out each year and helping the girls remember whose turn it is to put on the ornament. I love this little piece of family history and I don't even want to try and fix the little ornament that Bandit, Tyson's dog, chewed up! Haha!
This nativity set gets rearranged multiple times a day. We learned that Taryn takes it very seriously to make sure all the pieces are in the right spot by the end of the night. There were a few times leading up to Christmas that Taryn got mad at Hadleigh for "messing up the Nativity!"
I first ordered these jammies for the girls in November0 I was so excited! When Tyson saw them he asked if we could get matching ones too! So here we are, a family in our matching Christmas jammies- all Tyson's idea. It's the best! Maybe we should have made this our Christmas card?! Haha!
Christmas day came and presents were opened. We used the stomp rocket that day! And it may have been used to help extract Taryn's loose tooth.
The girls got their American girl dolls, which they love with all their hearts.
They also got special dolls from Grandma Smith. She gifted each granddaughter a doll she had from when she was little.
Her mother (Grandma Johnson) was a seamstress and would makes the special clothes for the dolls. They are absolutely adorable and our girls really enjoy playing with them. They are quick to say, "Be careful, they are breakable" to their friends when they come over to play.
We enjoy making the Christmas season about serving those around us, helping us be more like Jesus Christ.