Ya, it's late. Sorry...I enjoyed my vacation WAY too much. I have no other excuse for not posting very much except that I literally "checked out" and just wasted oodles of time in Utah! :)
Christmas this year was WAY different than normal. Normally we all go to my parent's house and sleep over...then run down the stairs, open presents, etc., etc. This year, however, we decided to do Christmas in Utah since Brian's parents and sister are there, and the girls' dad just moved there.
So, since it was already going to be different, we decided to start our own traditions as to how the Brian and Christy Pethel Family do Christmas. First, we decided to open all our gifts to each other on Sunday night so that we wouldn't have to cart all their presents up there and back. Second, each person decided on something they thought would make the evening enjoyable and meaningful. So...here's how it went...
First, Brian got home Saturday December 20 from Germany.
On Sunday December 21, we had a beautiful dinner together as a family and then started a new way of celebrating....
Xanthe had us all read the Nativity Story from the scriptures while she placed each part of the nativity out as it was read. It was very sweet having us read the story together. We have read it so much in church and seen it in the movies. But reading it together as a family was just much different.
And then Xoe wrapped this box that we could take the lid on and off. She asked us all to write all the things that we were thankful for on little pieces of paper. When we were finished, I was pleasantly surprised that there were so many things people were thankful for. The box was almost full.
I was pretty impressed at the ideas the girls came up with as traditions. I'll be honest, I was a little afraid they would just fall back into the "open-one-present-on-Christmas-Eve"-type tradition. But they surprised me and came up with some very nice traditions for our little family.
Then we opened presents!!!! Here's how I did presents this year. I wrapped all of Xanthe's in one wrapping paper, and all of Xoe's in another. But I didn't tell them which one was theirs until I handed them an envelope with their type of wrapping paper in there.
I also then wrote numbers on each package (can you see them above?) so as they were opening their presents, their sister had to open the same one that had the same number. That way they were opening their presents together that were similar. They loved it. (And I realized as I was marking them with numbers...when I got to #4, that if I kept doing it in order, they would know how many presents they got and I didn't want to hear that whine at all this year. So, I started making up random numbers, like 263, and 4,362. They thought that was fun too.)
And by the way, please don't look at my sad excuse for Christmas Tree decorations. As most of you know, I used to decorate corporate Christmas trees every year...and I'm just SOOOO burnt out. I just let the girls put on whatever they wanted and I was totally cool with that.
Brian's presents were also in another wrapping paper. Can you see them all stacked up in the green paper with white writing in the background?
...Let the presents begin!
...This was their big present (picture below) of the season. And of course, Brian ordered it and had it arrive BEFORE he left for Germany a month before so that we were sure it would be here and he could try it out...in enough time to be able to order a new one if this didn't work. Talk about planning. Ya, he's just like that. Jealous? hehe.
...Spencer's first attempt at opening gifts. He kinda just stared at them, but had fun too.
Baby's First Christmas...Grandma Schultz gave him this hat and Muno doll. How cute is that! He wore it A LOT in Utah.
...Ahhhh, just what I was looking for...footed pajamas for older kids. The girls have been asking me for them for forever and I almost considered making them one time. (That idea quickly faded). But leave it up to Walmart, and only at Christmastime, to make Hannah Montana and High School Musical footed pajamas.
...Below is Ruth's (I mean, Ollie's) present to Xoe. Just as Ruth predicted, she was in LOVE. Especially with the shoes. Then of course to have a skirt that matches just made it even better. Like I said, she was in love. Of course, leave it up to Ruth to know JUST what to get her. :)
Well, this was our Christmas. We spent all day Monday, December 22, packing up (well, that's what I did...the girls spent their first day of Winter Break playing the Wii)...
And then left Tuesday, December 23 to drive the REALLY REALLY long drive to Utah. :) (It's long to me at least).