Our Family

Our Family

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Third Christmas

We got lots of yummy stuff from Santa.
And he ate lots of the peanut butter cookies that Kendall and the kids made the night before.
We ate some delicious cinnamon and orange rolls to tide us over until the fantastic omelets that are tradition to have Christmas morning at Kendall's family's house.
And we got to spend the day with Uncle Aaron...
and Uncle Scott...
Grandpa Reed has been growing out his beard just for Christmas. It's more salt than pepper now! But he still didn't fool the kids.
And of course, the lovely Grandma Kim. Can you even believe this woman has 11 grandkids already?
The kids found the stash from Santa right away, and Avri read the letter that Santa left. He decided to leave most of our Christmas presents at our house, because he knew that we wouldn't have room for them in the van.
But he still left everyone some treats, their own juice bottle...
a couple of new movies to watch on the way home...
and a game to play!
After the Santa gifts we opened our gifts from Grandma and Grandpa. Rigdon really enjoyed opening presents - his AND everyone else's.
Sadie was very excited about her new clothes that she got. She is 100% girl.
Talmage got some awesome shoes that light up that he has been enjoying. But I think that the real highlight was the superhero cape that Grandma made for him. It is reversible with Batman on one side and Superman on the other side.
Here is the Batman side, complete with mask.
Avri made out like a bandit as well, getting some darling clothes both for home and school.
A little later in the morning one of Kendall's other sisters came with her kids and we got to watch them open their gifts and give them their wands as well. The kids were all so excited about their wands that they immediately started running around the house all together practicing incantations. :)
This is one of our little nieces, Baubbi, who is only 2 months younger than Rigdon, but this was the first time that we had the chance to meet her. She is SOOO tiny and looks even more so next to our tank of a son.
Kendall's sister Amber, her husband Cody, and their kids Ricky, Cali, and Baubbi. It was such a nice sunny Christmas morning, and warm enough that we didn't have to wear coats even!

Temple Square

On Christmas Eve I really wanted to take the kids to see Temple Square in Salt Lake City with all of their Christmas lights and Nativity displays. We opened our Christmas Eve gifts, which were homemade hats and scarves for the whole family, and we bundled up to head North.We parked about a half mile from Temple Square and rode the train the rest of the way, which was one of the kids' favorite parts of the entire night. My brother and his wife and my sister also came with us. It was great to spend some time with them and so nice to have extra adult hands to help with the kids, since Temple Square was packed.Right outside the gates to Temple Square there was a bagpipe player who absolutely loved our yellow hats. He said they made him "feel all warm like sunshine." So we took our picture with him.
The Temple was beautiful, as always. And the lights were fabulous. Even though it was very cold, it was a wonderful way to get into the true feeling of Christmas.
We haven't used our camera very much at night, so we ended up playing with the settings quite a bit and some of our pictures are a little interesting, but we did get some beautiful shots.
I think this was my favorite Nativity that they had displayed. It was in the middle of this big reflective pool of water with these beautiful glowing candles floating on top of the water. It was so peaceful.
They had these beautiful metal lanterns displayed all over that had Christmas scenes depicted on them. I told Kendall I want him to make me some to line my driveway. ;)
Ammon had brought his tripod for his camera, so he set it up and we all actually got into a picture together. We were pretty frozen by this point, but still smiling.
We also watched the narrated Nativity that they have and it was quite beautiful as well. It was really hard to get pictures of though, so I don't have any great ones.
Being here really felt like home. I have so many memories of being on Temple Square. In fact the first date that Kendall took me on was around Christmas time up at Temple Square. It felt a little like deja vu, but so many things have changed since then. In the past 12 years we have been married for 8 1/2 years, moved 3 times, and had 4 beautiful children. But Temple Square will always be a place of beauty, peace and good memories for me.

Christmas Part 2

Here is our second Christmas celebration. Christmas Eve was the day that we were able to get together with Kendall's sister and let the kids all exchange gifts with each other. Here we have Talmage, Sadie, Hali, Avri, Kendall and Rigdon all ready to open gifts.
On the other couch we have the other adults in the family: Scott, Kennessa with sleeping Natalia, Grandpa Reed, Great Grandma Powell, Grandma Kim with baby Ethan, Aaron and Josh.
Sweet sleeping girl...
We decided to have all the kids make gifts for each other. Avri and Talmage worked with Kendall to make Harry Potter wands for each of the cousins over a year old. They were each very unique, but unfortunately we never managed to get pictures of them. Kendall's sister Kennessa helped her kids make some really cute gifts. The girls both got some adorable flower hair clips, which they clip to anything and everything that they wear, not just in their hair.Kennessa also made an awesome Batman mask for Talmage. He just happened to be wearing a Batman shirt when he opened it! He felt like a real super hero!
Rigdon got some soft bean bags to throw around, which is one of his very favorite past times. Here he is with his brand new wand tucked away and throwing his new bean bags.
What good time we had, and the kids had a blast playing with their cousins again.

A Frigid Mistake

We left Illinois on the Thursday before Christmas, right after Kendall got home from work. We left about 2:30 in the afternoon. The kids were so excited to get to Utah that they got into the van about an hour before we left. :) So we started our very long journey. The weather worked out quite nicely (which I spent about a month stressing about) and we didn't have to make any stops until about 6:30 or 7:00 when we stopped at McDonald's to let the kids play and have some dinner. Then we got back in the car and got ready for bed and settled in for a long night of driving.

The trip was going exactly according to plan until about 3:00 am. We had made it through Illinois, Iowa and all of Nebraska and were into Wyoming at this point. This is always the scariest part of the trip in the winter because it is SOOO cold, always windy, no cell coverage, and the gas stations are few and far between. But when we passed one gas station we still had about a quarter of a tank of gas and we didn't want to stop and wake all of the kids up. So we figured we would wait until the next station. Little did we know the next station wasn't for quite a few miles. So we drove, and drove, the gas light came on, the needle dropped below empty, still driving...

I knew that if we ran out of gas we would all about freeze to death in our car waiting for daylight and someone to stop and help us. So the prayers started. I know that the Lord basically pushed us to the next gas station - the only one in miles. We got off the freeway and found the station, only to find out that it was closed. The pumps actually did accept credit cards, but there was a gate that was padlocked, keeping our van about 50 feet away from the pump. Kendall walked all around the station looking for an empty gas can or something that we could use to put gas in to get to to the van. Keep in mind it is only 10 degrees outside and we didn't have coats or gloves or anything. The largest container that he could find was a Gatorade bottle. :( So he started filling the bottle and running the gas, one Gatorade bottle at a time to the van to pour it into the tank. I Felt really bad that I wasn't doing anything so I went in search for another container. All I could find was a 12 oz Sobe bottle, but that was better than nothing. So between the two of us we ran back and forth, over and over again trying to get enough gas into the van to at least get us to the next gas station. I was literally colder than I have ever been in my life, and I was convulsing as I tried to pour the gas into the tank. After about half an hour of this we had about 1 1/2 gallons in the tank and we decided it would probably be enough to get us to the next station. I would have loved to have watched the security cameras the next morning. When Kendall got into the van his fingers were white from frost bite and we hear from the back seat Talmage's little voice, "Mommy, what are you doing?" What do you reply to that?

Needless to say, we learned our lesson. Fill up when your tank is about half way! Especially in Wyoming!! The rest of the trip went smoothly and we even made the trip in record time! The last time we drove this was when Rigdon was 8 days old and it took us 24 hours on the road with all of the stops that we had to make. This time we managed to make it in 18 hours!! We got all the way to Lehi (only 5 minutes from Kendall's parents' house) when both girls started puking in the back seat. I guess they either both get car sick, or else Sadie can't handle the sound of someone puking right behind her. haha. So we had a big mess or clean up when we got there.

We pulled in about 8:30 in the morning, which was a few hours earlier than we had expected; so we all had a chance to get bathed and even take naps before the family reunion that we had that night. We got to spend a lot of time with Uncle Aaron, who left to go on his mission right about the time Sadie was born. So Talmage and Avri were basically babies the last time they saw him.
We also got to meet Melissa, the kids' soon-to-be aunt. She is such a doll and we all just love her and can't wait for their wedding in May!
Then that night we went to the Family Reunion. The kids didn't hardly remember Great Grandma Brady, but it was a good reunion with lots of family that we haven't seen in years! The girls still had their curlers in at this point, but I promise I took them out before the party started.
See? Curlers all out.
We had a delicious dinner, karaoke, and a white elephant gift exchange.

It was so good to see so many cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents and be able to catch up with them a little bit. We were really glad that all the planets aligned in order for us to leave one day earlier than our original plan so that we could make it to the reunion.