There’s been a flurry of Christmas hoopla going on around here.
Lucy made sure we put gingerbread-house-making right on the top of our Christmas-to-do list:

Our annual ward Christmas party was in the morning as per tradition at my friend’s house:

Complete with Santa:

 (right before a soccer tournament)

(My lone believer right up there.  Holding on to that as long as possible!)

Grace got to go to an amazing Christmas singing concert (MCO) with friends.  

I’m kinda jealous I’ve got to admit…I heard it was amazing!

We have LOVED following along on the 25 days in 25 ways service opportunities.  Here’s my instagram post when the prompt was to share a favorite scripture.  I had found this one from 1 John 2:10 and I fell in love:

Been feeling that light in so many ways this season…right intermixed in stress and craziness, but it’s there.

We had our Young Women party complete with ugly sweaters:

 …and a gift exchange:

We made our way to Boston and soaked in all the Christmas beauty there:

Including “make way for ducklings” decked out with the cutest hand-knitted beanies:

We went caroling with neighbors:

Our “old” elf on the shelf got some new energy this year (with help from some older elves in our family).

(more on that old guy back HERE.)

ELLE CAME HOME from her island!!!

 And despite Lucy’s face in these pics, she is over-the-moon about that little fact.

Which means our house gets filled up more until late into the night with all these great kids we have missed:

We have ready stories under the tree approximately three times.

Serious slackers this year but hey, at least we’re trying.

Christmas cards are always a crazy fiasco around here.

I wish I had more pics of all the parties the kids have been at…so many things going on around here, but here’s at least Claire’s ugly sweater party.

 Here was the white elephant gift she got there:

 …my favorite pic of the month 🙂

Dave was “the innkeeper” for a great primary thing they did at church…here he is getting ready:

We had our annual talent show with all of Dave’s family.  Lucy was so proud to play her piano pieces:

 The girls, in searching their souls for talents, (ha!) recited Helaman 5:12:

Talents followed by the annual gift exchange.

Almost tears this year, but everyone held out strong.  We came out with a win!

My favorite part was when one cousin had pity on Lucy and “stole” her Nerf gun so she could pick something new.  And Lucy shared that new gift with her cousin who ended up with something she didn’t want.

(Of course Lu ended up with the M&Ms…)

This is Nana with the grandkids she had her traditional “Nana sleepover” with:

Oh man I love that woman.  And how those children adore her too.  Hopefully I’ll get more pictures of that soon…

More Elf-moving wonders:

My parents arrived!  They are staying with us for Christmas and we’re so excited!  Loved hearing some Christmas duets the other night…

And Grammie is helping with the lack of stories under the tree around here:

 We treated my parents to “A Christmas Carol” which I loved.

 Lucy had read a shortened version of Scrooge before we left so she was so excited…until she wasn’t.  Because tiredness hits that girl hard sometimes!

 She perked up at the end though when she got to meet Scrooge himself though!

 Early-morning scriptures with Grandfather:

Lucy worked long and hard on thank you notes for all her teachers:

All the big kids went to the “Nana & Papa Teen party” last night (I’ll get pictures at some point…) so we got Lu all to ourselves.

Of course we played scum with her at her request 🙂  She was eating up being with all those adults!
BUT one of our biggest parts of Christmas prep is getting ready for the Children for Children Concert coming up tonight!  More on what we’re doing this year back HERE.
Here are the kids making big plans:
We are so excited to share pictures and stories about the kids we will be helping with everyone who is sharing talents tonight.  I will share more on the blog tomorrow.  A couple weeks ago I got to be part of a conference call with the camp director over there and she shared some things that made my heart yearn to do more.  To be more.  To be more grateful for what we have.  To open my heart to others more than ever.  There are so many people in that camp just wishing for HOPE.
We are hoping to give at least a part of that to them as we raise money tonight.  
If you missed the blog post in that last post about the refugees, here they are again:

Thank you so much for everyone who has donated to this very worthy cause.  I love that that 100% of what is raised goes directly to help those in need.  AND will be matched.  

Here’s the link for donations if you want to join in tonight!


  1. Love seeing what we missed! We also loved being on the conference call with the wonderful well-trained woman named Lisa who is giving her life to organizing the refugees in the camps in Greece! She says that what these people need most is hope. The money raised through this and several other sources will provide that! The nice part is that 100% of the money goes straight to the hands of this trusted friend who will use it wisely!

  2. I have been following your blog for a while now and just wanted to thank you for sharing these glimpses into your family life. It's very inspiring to me especially since I am a relatively new mother. Hope you all have a wonderfully Merry Christmas and peaceful ringing in of the new year! P.S. I love your living room couch! May I ask where it came from?

  3. Your family rocks! 🙂 may I ask you which piano methods your children use? Or can you recommend a good one, for teenagers and young adults as well? Thank you so much, the happiness and joy of your blog enlightens every reader!

    1. Hi Sara, we have had three different teachers each with different methods so I don't have much good advice on that one. I know there are some great methods out there, we just haven't stuck to one specifically.

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