Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chelsea and Darren's Winter Wedding

We had an amazing but busy Christmas vacation. My youngest sister Chelsea got married just a few days after Christmas. Darren’s parents arrived several days early and stayed a few days at my parent’s house. On the day before they got married Darren’s mother surprised us girls with pearls.

Chelsea and Darren decided to separate the wedding festivities by having the wedding dinner the night before. We spent most of the day setting up the church and preparing the food. My parents are rock stars and like most of our family weddings made an awesome meal of Mexican fajitas, Spanish rice, and chips with guacamole and queso. The weather was horrible making traffic a nightmare for those attending the dinner. Needless to say the dinner started an hour late but the turn out of friends and family was amazing (so good that we had to set up more tables and chairs). While the family cleaned up, Chelsea and Darren returned to my parents and made their own wedding cake. Impressive, I know.

The next morning was cold and snowy. Chelsea and Darren chose to be sealed for time and all eternity in the Draper, Utah temple. This sealing would be the first time that my whole family would be together in the temple (all 8 kids, their spouses, and my parents). Tina and Ben were suppose to fly in from Missouri the night before, but none of us had heard from them and wondered if they would make it to the temple on time. They also had the assignment of picking up the flowers. Luckily their flight arrived the night before and they slipped inside of the sealing room with time to spare. My mom and dad’s faces glowed with pride (the righteous kind of pride). It must have been an amazing feeling for them to look out and see each of their kids in the house of the Lord. I look forward to this day in my own family. The sealing was amazing. I still can’t believe that Chelsea is married! It was definitely cold, wet, and snowy outside, so the wedding pictures couldn’t go faster. Chelsea and Darren were champs and stayed a little longer to take some couple pictures around the temple.

After a few good shots, we all got in our cars and headed toward American Fork. Since the whole family was in town and no one knew when the next time we would all be together would be, it was decided we would get family pictures out there. One of my Dad’s elementary school photographers took them for us. After that we went home to attend to the last minute details for the reception. The reception was amazing and beautiful. The refreshments were divine. Who doesn’t love a variety of freshly baked, hot cinnamon rolls, hot cider and hot chocolate, and fruit. All of which are my favorites. Everything turned out picture perfect. I love these kinds of events because I get to see so many people that I normally would not see including the Cramers, a family I use to baby sit for. The best part was knowing that Chelsea and Darren were so happy.

At the end of the night when everything was cleaned up we returned to my parent’s house, everyone but Chelsea and Darren, and did our sibling exchange of presents since we had all been gone for Christmas. Jill and Brian had us and gave us a book of some of our wedding pictures and our engagement/wedding story. I love it. My favorite part of the gifts was how sad Ethan was that he didn’t have a gift to open. Tina luckily had something for him. It was a lump of coal. He definitely wasn’t crying any more, but he wasn’t sure what to make of it. This holiday season has been fun, but I am ready for a rest. Thanks family for the great time.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Our Sweet Nettie Grows Up

Nettie celebrates her birthday on December 28th. Each year we always hear how her birthday is too close to Christmas. This year, I felt like Nettie had a fantastic birthday, or at least I enjoyed all of the festivities. It was a time of family togetherness. On her birthday, the siblings all went out to dinner at Brick Oven in Provo, while my parents watched the grandkids at home. There is nothing I love more than spending time with my family. We always have such a great time together. People are amazed that we all get along and would choose to be together whenever possible.

Nettie thanks for being the best sister anyone could ever want. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Arizona and Utah Baby Showers for Michelle

While we were in Arizona, Andrew’s mom threw me a baby shower. We had so much fun playing games and eating lots of yummy food. A large portion of Andrew’s extended family was able to make it and we missed all those who were out of town or sick. We ate some good food that Andrew helped prepare, and taste, as you can see, along with playing a few fun games.

One of the games was a matching game. If you found the match, you got a candy bar that represented the match. For example, if you got the match for girl’s name, you got a Baby Ruth candy bar. I wish I could remember them all. We also played the classic guess the type of baby food in the jar game. We all had a lot of fun. It was fun getting to know Andrew’s extended family members better and know I will make good use of all the gifts. Thanks Liz and everyone else for making it so special.

I have also been spoiled with a few other baby showers in Utah. Unfortunately I have no pictures of them, but believe me they were great. I loved seeing so many of my friends and family members get together and have time to enjoy their company. Thanks to everyone for all of your love and support. Drew and I have been showered with so many wonderful gifts. We are so excited to use everything. Thanks!!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas in Gilbert, AZ

It was time to get out of the cold and test out our new CR-V with a road trip down to Arizona for Christmas. As mentioned in the Thanksgiving post, we hope to be able to rotate as much as possible the holidays between mine and Michelle's families while we still can. We headed down after I got off of work Tuesday afternoon. The weather wasn't looking very good and we hoped to get off as soon as we could finish getting things together. My sister's friend Steve was traveling with us so as soon as he got to our house we were off. Michelle hates to drive in the snow so I took the first shift. The weather got slightly better as we got out of Salt Lake and Provo, but had its moments on and off as we headed toward Beaver. We saw several accidents off the side of the road and that made Michelle nervous. There are two main routes to get home and just under 200 miles into the trip you have to decide which way to take. Because of the weather we decided that through Vegas was probably the safer way. I think we made the right choice. We made a dinner break in St. George and decided that rather than staying the night in a hotel we would just push on through and get into Gilbert in the early morning. Michelle took over driving for a few hours so I could rest a while, Michelle is nice like that, and then I finished the trip and took us into Gilbert around three in the morning.

Early afternoon on Wednesday my sister Rachael received her endowment in the Mesa, Arizona temple. She had been thinking about doing it for a while and finally decided she was ready. Everyone in my family was able to attend except for my sister Becky who had just had a baby a few days earlier. It had been a while since I had been to the Mesa temple and it was even better sharing it with Rachael for her first time. Afterwards we all went out to Joe's Real BBQ. I loved it.

On Christmas Eve we spent time at the park with my nieces and nephews and at night we had our traditional get together with my Father's side of the family at my cousin Nicole's house. We always have ham, which my Dad usually provides, along with an assortment of foods and soups. After the food we have the kids dress up and act out the Nativity Story. My sister Emily was put in charge of the show and asked if I would sing a verse of Oh Holy Night to set the mood and then Michelle and I could play Mary and Joseph at the beginning because Michelle was with child. After our minute of fame the little one took over the part. In fact there were two other Mary's during the production. It is always a picture moment and reminds me of when I was younger and Papa, my father's father now passed away, would read the story while we all acted it out. At the end of the evening the kids always get a paper bag full of little treats and toys. Mita, my Dad's mother, still alive at age 96, would give us paper sacks when we were little and they would always have money, a bar of soap, and a little pack of tissue in them. It seems a little odd to me know, but as a kid it was something I always looked forward too. Before we left we made sure to get a family picture with Mita.

Christmas morning has changed a little since I was a kid, but it basically is the same. We got up and opened our stockings. The contents are usually candy and then little wrapped presents. When I was a kid I would always get batteries, a roll of film for my camera, and pens or pencils. This year both Michelle and I got shaving gel and razors. Don't worry Michelle's were for her legs not her face. Once some of my other family members came over we opened presents and then had our traditional butterscotch pull-aparts, scrambled eggs, bacon, and orange juice breakfast. Later on in the day my sister Christin and her family came over and we watched them open up their presents and then we hung out the rest of the afternoon and evening.

On Saturday my Mom helped put together a baby shower for Michelle, details on that in the next post, and then the rest of the day we just relaxed and spent more time with family before leaving bright and early Sunday morning. We had a great time with my family and we wish we had more time, but both Michelle and I had to work the next day. The weather on the way back was much better and we ended up taking our usual route home.