December 29, 2009

Picture A Christmas

Truly Christmas was the most wonderful time of the year as we gathered with family and created new memories through time honored traditions. Once again, the events surrounding this year's holiday made it the happiest season of all.

The Park Family Christmas Party

Two days before Christmas, we got together with all of Jason's family at his parents' home for food, gift exchanges, and a musical program. It was a great way to kick off the celebrations (not to mention, all of the over-eating). Brevin and Spencer had performed the song Picture a Christmas with the rest of the primary in sacrament meeting and so they shared it with the family that night.

Christmas Eve Dinner

I prepared a special turkey dinner with all of the trimmings on Christmas Eve. (By the way, Garrett loves turkey.) We even brought out the china and silverware for the occasion. Certainly we felt to be grateful for all that we have as we looked upon our expansive spread of delightful foods.

Christmas Eve Traditions

The boys were anxious to help clean up after dinner so they could open their new pajamas. We all sang Happy Birthday to Jesus before we forced cupcakes upon our already full bellies. One of the cupcakes was left for Santa with a cup of hot chocolate and some carrots for the reindeer. After singing a few carols of Silent Night and Away in a Manger to the boys, they were fast asleep by 8:30 p.m. (I credit the turkey).

Christmas Morning

Everyone slept in until 7:30 a.m. (a Christmas gift of sorts to Mom) before we were all drawn into the room to see what gifts were received. We enjoyed breakfast burritos before opening the gifts under the tree. Jason got a Nintendo Wii for Christmas, so I'm sure there's no doubt about how the majority of our day was spent.

The Funk, Gilliland, & Page Family Christmas Party

The day after Christmas, we traveled to St. George for more family festivities where an abundance of food was consumed, gifts were exchanged, and we had an awesome "Grab Bag."

Family Dodgeball

Clark started a bit of a tradition last year at Thanksgiving with a family dodgeball game. With concern for life and limb, Jason and I opted to be spectators rather than participants. I mean, look at how fierce Clark competes in this game (he's even wearing a t-shirt with the definition of dodgeball on it, for heaven's sake)! Besides, we were so sore from playing boxing on the Wii that I don't think I could grab a dodgeball, let alone throw it. It was hilarious to watch the rounds which were played by all the young children. Even when they tried to sneak forward to gain an advantage in the start of the games, the boys lost several times to the girls. Man, we had a great time!
This post authored by Amber

December 22, 2009

A Visit to Temple Square

On the final Saturday before Christmas, we gathered the boys, dressed in our warmest outerwear, and braved the inversion and crowds to get a glimpse of the best Christmas lights display around.  The trip to Temple Square never dissapoints.  The boys love the ride on the Trax commuter rail, Jason and I love eating at the Lion House, and the lights are spectacular no matter how many times you've seen them.  And what I love best about this annual tradition is the fact that Brevin and Spencer look forward to seeing the Christus (or as they refer to it, the Jesus statue) most of all.

This post authored by Amber

Sing Choirs of Angels

Brevin has been a part of an after-school choir and rehearsing over the past month and a half. They prepared songs for a Christmas concert that was performed for the entire school in an assembly and then for parents in the evening. It was highly entertaining to watch the children sing songs like Feliz Navidad, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, and Silent Night (they even learned sign language for that one). However, I think the favorite piece of all the children was this one:

Here are a few more pictures from the evening:

It was a bit of a challenge for these first-graders to sit through the older grades' performances:

Here's a sample of the basic choreography for a musical concert:

We learned from the first grade Thanksgiving performance that we needed to come early to secure a decent seat on the front row.  Jason was at the school an hour before the concert saving seats for the rest of the family.  But who needs seats, when you can just lie on the floor?

This post authored by Amber

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

I've taken several pictures of activities that seem to define this time of year for our family.  Here are just a few:

Spencer made this gingerbread house at preschool.  It lasted only three minutes after this picture was taken.

Here is a rough-draft of a letter to Santa written by Brevin (edited by his teacher). I love how Brevin spells Zhu-Zhu pet.

Christmastime wouldn't be complete without spending a few minutes in front of Grandpa Park's train.  It is a replica of the train from the movie The Polar Express and it's a dandy.

Each of our children have three Christmas drawers at Grandma and Grandpa Park's house where they get to chose a number to receive a gift. Brevin is showing off his new word search book and pencils.

The Christmas cards keep coming in... 

...and we sent our "newspapers" out.

I purchased a bunch boxes for an order with my cupcake business and didn't end up using them, so I made a few cupcakes to give to the boys' school and primary teachers.  The greeting is "Mele Kalikimaka" because the cupcakes are chocolate coconut...delicious!

This post authored by Amber

December 17, 2009

While I was growing up, I distinctly remember that one of my favorite elements of Christmastime was the decorations. Now that I'm older, and primarily responsible for getting said decorations in their place and keeping them from the clutches of a nineteen month-old baby, I've had to reconsider. But then, on a whim, I started to take photographs of our decorations so our family would have a visual reminder of how we celebrated...and I got a bit sentimental.
There's the manger with the baby Jesus that we fill with straw throughout the month as we serve others and do good deeds. Jason, his brother, and father cut the wood for forty-something of them so I could give them as a gift to all my young women.

A pre-lit Christmas tree has taken the place of live ones we'd cut down in Heber valley. The decorations are slowly phasing out from glass balls to shatterproof ornaments (and I have given up dreams of trendy turquoise and baby blues for traditional reds and golds that will hopefully last through the years). It is circled at the base by a train that fell victim to Garrett's curiosity and which no longer works. It is now only for looks and for me to put back the tracks from time to time after Garrett tears them apart.

We put a tree in the room of the older boys whereupon we can place handcrafted ornament creations that have come to us courtesy of many preschool and grade school art projects. It is also home to the wooden, toll-painted ornaments that Jason and I made with the help of my sister-in-law when we were newlyweds and couldn't really afford to buy any.

A collection of crèches sit atop the nightstand along with the hand-stitched manger scene that another sister-in-law made for us. I cannot even begin to guess how many glue sticks I went through to make the forty-something popsicle stick nativities (there again for my young women). We also have a manger scene made from origami by my brother-in-law. It is awesome!

I suppose I can see why I liked Christmas decorations so much as a child. They all have personal and significant meaning in their origin, and they all add a touch of nostalgia to the holidays.

This post authored by Amber

Big Hollow Park

This is our favorite spot to take in a few spills and thrills while sledding.  When the weather was ripe for such an activity, my children were at my heels begging to go, so I worked feverishly to ready three snow tubes for the season's inaugural run.  We invited some friends along and had a great time.

For more great sledding pictures at the same location, go here.  Oh and this picture is my all-time favorite.

This post authored by Amber

December 9, 2009

"My Kid Brother Looked Like a Tick About to Pop"

It has been snowing continuously here for the past three days, and it is like Heaven!  Of course, we have to appropriately "christen" the first significant snowfall of the year by taking plenty of photographs to document the occasion.  (Can I just say that Garrett's snow gear really cracks me up!)

At Brevin's request, Jason buried him in the snow while shoveling the driveway:


Spencer was accidentally pushed down by Brevin and was crying and storming off into the house.  When I informed him that I didn't have a picture of him yet, he momentarily obliged by flashing a winning smile before going back to his sobs in the refuge of a warm home:

Garrett just wanted to ride the trike and push the play lawn mower around.  I guess he's got his seasons a bit mixed up:

And while the snow has created the most beautiful scene outside my house, the inside is a wreck with snow clothes, gloves, hats, and soggy boots littering my entryway.  I love it!

This post authored by Amber