Sunday, January 15, 2017

End of the Year Clean Up

After a week of relaxing and mess making, we decided New Year's Eve was the perfect time to clean up and freshen up, just in time for the New Year. It took the entire morning and most of the afternoon, but our home is now spick and span (or at least as good as it gets with our messy bunch living in it)! It always feels so refreshing to put away the Christmas decorations and wipe down perfectly empty surfaces. I almost don't want to put anything back on them. I think I feel the same way about myself this time of year. It's a chance to clean myself up, take a deep breath, and start a fresh new year. Whatever messes may have happened over the last 365 days don't matter. 2017 is a blank slate and I can't wait to work hard and turn it into something amazing.

But on a less philosophical note, a clean house is pretty darn amazing, too.

Except for this room, which was too pretty to take down just yet.

Sledding with Grandpa

With all the glorious snow that came on Christmas, we decided to spend an afternoon at Grandma and Grandpa Pendleton's sledding on their golf course. We have a nice little hill in our backyard that had seen a lot of sledding that week, but it was nice to get out to a bigger, more open hill and let loose! Isabelle was not so sure at first...

... but quickly warmed up and loved it!

Even Sawyer tried some independent sledding and was as daring as anyone come the end of the day!

It was one of those perfect memories that I will treasure forever. Just an afternoon spent with my favorite people, doing something we all love and enjoy in the beautiful world we live in.

Don't let this picture fool you, Logan loved it as much as anyone. He also loved waiting at the bottom to throw snowballs at anyone coming down the hill. Sigh. Boys.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Friends Day

The week after Christmas was pure bliss. Jeff's office was closed, which means he took real time off for the first time in a year! Every morning we slept in, stayed in pjs till the afternoon, and did whatever we wanted. The snow made it hard to get out, so we used it as an excuse to stay in. It was wonderful.

By the end of the week, though, I had some work I wanted to get done and thought it might be nice to have some friends over to entertain the kids while I did it. We started making phone calls and before I knew it, we had six friends over in addition to our four. Ten kids can make quite a racket! Needless to say, I didn't get a lick of work done, but I really didn't care. Everyone was so happy and my house was already a wreck, so none of their creative play bothered me. At one point I couldn't even hold a conversation over the talking, singing, background music, and laughter. It was a turning point for me. It was the first time I have had a houseful of kids where I genuinely loved it. I am looking forward to the next several years when playdates are less work and more fun!

The White Christmas of 2016

Christmas morning dawned cold and snowy. It was the first big snowfall of a record-breaking winter, and the perfect exclamation point to start our morning.

I think the minutes right before coming down the stairs are my very favorite part of Christmas. The anticipation, the excitement, the faith that something magical is waiting just around the corner... I can't get enough of it! Most years I make them wait there just a little longer than is necessary so I can soak it in.

Santa spoiled us big time this year. I think he felt bad that we weren't on a cruise with our family like we had thought we might be and overcompensated in gifts. Everyone was ecstatic as they opened their loot.

This is my favorite face of Christmas and it's all over... wait for it... nail polish.

Santa got extra sneaky with Logan, and wrapped his Nintendo 2DS in an oversized box stuffed with toilet paper. Logan immediately started thinking of ways to use the toilet paper, but I confiscated it before things got out of hand. We have long told Logan that we will not buy him a DS, so he went the only route he could think of and asked Santa. That rascal.

Isabelle had asked Santa for a Frozen castle for her Barbies. He must have had a shortage of Frozen castles and brought her a Cinderella castle instead, which Izzy loved just as much. Once it was built it was a good 2 feet taller than she is!

Sawyer scored a set of remote control "Caterpillars." These have been a fun toy for everybody in the days since. Savannah's Santa gift is in the foreground- a hospital set for her American Girls dolls, just what she asked for.

By the time we got through Santa gifts and stockings, it was time for church. We quickly ate breakfast and cleaned up and barely made it in time, thanks to the snow making for terrible road conditions. Jeff and I sang in the choir, so our kids spent the whole time on the bench with our neighbors, the Binghams. Merry Christmas, friends! The program was 90% music, with a short talk at the end by a counselor in our bishopric, comparing the Nephites' anticipation of the Savior's birth to our anticipation of his second coming. It was a beautiful program.

After church, we finished assembling the Santa toys and then resumed gift opening. I don't ever try to speed up this part of Christmas, and we managed to drag it out well into the afternoon. Spoiling kids is so much fun!

Mixed into the afternoon gifts were the presents the kids bought for each other. I loved how excited they were to see their secret person open their carefully purchased and wrapped gift. And the thank you hugs afterwards... priceless.

Note: Logan is mysteriously absent from all these afternoon pictures. The explanation is actually pretty straightforward: once he had his DS in his hands, it did not leave them for several days. Not even Santa's family gift of an Xbox drew him away until later in the week.

Christmas Card 2016 - From Our Screens to Yours

TO: Our friends and family
SUBJECT: Christmas letter

Dearest loved ones,

Although modern technology has put instant communication at our fingertips, we sometimes struggle to feel connected in this big and crazy world. We hope this card brings us a little closer and helps you know how much we love and cherish you.

2016 was a year of changes for our family. We began with a big move back to Utah in January, our 4th move in 4 years. We are happily situated in Springville, and hope to stay put for a while (relatively speaking;)!

Jeff took a new position at Imagine Learning (hence the move) and is busier than ever as part of the executive team. He just hit platinum levels once again for Delta and Marriott thanks to almost weekly business trips. Carly began teaching statistics at BYU again this fall, and is thrilled to be back at her old stomping grounds. Logan has discovered martial arts, robotics, and Pokemon Go this year, making him one happy 10-year-old. Savannah (8) was baptized in July and is our social butterfly, making friends faster than we can keep track of them. Isabelle (5) started Kindergarten and adores everything about it, especially Science Wednesday and center time. Sawyer is growing like a weed and towers over all the other 3-year-olds at nursery and day care. His accomplishments this year include making us a crib- and diaper-free house. #fistbump

This season always causes us to reflect on how blessed we are to call you our friends, even though we are far from many of you. We miss you dearly and wish you all the best. May the spirit of Christ be with you this Christmas!

the Pendletons