Thursday, December 26, 2013

a merry insta-Christmas

This Christmas season, we...

packed...
and packed some more...
 
made time in-between packing to write letters to Santa...   
 
remembered the reason for the season thanks to these two :)
were surprised by snowfall in Salem...
and made the most of it by sliding down the street in storage totes (couldn't find the video, sorry. It's on FB!)

found joy in the simple things, like a block tower taller than Talmage...
slept on our mattresses on the floor...
watched movies on a different mattress in the living room...
had a little too much fun with aforementioned mattresses... 
video
got stressed...perhaps because we were sleeping on mattresses?
said one last goodbye to our apartment by posing in front of our eccentric neighbor lady's lights...
MOVED!

celebrated our five year anniversary with seafood and cookies...

settled in...
had a small pre-Christmas with just our little family...
discovered the fun of drawing easels...
and a tiny little stroller...
drove seven hours to Idaho, crossing over snowy mountain ranges...
video
to get to this place.
We played with cousin Emma, the sweetest little chubber...
and sat around staring at the Christmas tree we never got to have this year...
played in more fuller, softer, and wonderful snow...
(and ate some, too)
went tubing in the cow pasture, where we were nearly trampled by cattle (don't worry the kids only got to ride around the house..)...
saw Christmas lights in Caldwell that were oh so beautiful as they always are...
got surprised by Santa & his sweetie, to which Charlotte was both mortified/shocked/and possibly happy to see?
played some more with that darling babe...
visited Aunt Julianne in Meridian and her sweet family...
the best of all being my dear ol' Grandpa Judkins :)
took the tradition pic of kiddos in front of the tree in their Christmas jammies!
went to the movies on Christmas Eve to see Frozen...
 
and then back the next day (Christmas) as per tradition.
woke up on Christmas morning to see our kid's faces light up with excitement! Always the best part of any holiday. This year it was particularly tender. We've been through a lot, but we have our family to remind us why we stay happy anyway. We just love them.

MERRY CHRISTMAS from our family!

The Dennetts



oh, and T got a buttload of Legos. This isn't even all of them.

I guess it's time I start wearing slippers around the house. ouch.

Monday, December 9, 2013

busy body

If I don't write now I probably won't until after Christmas. Life is just SO busy!

This whole last week I basically lived at the Stake Center- setting up the children's rooms for the Nativity Celebration put on by our stake. My co-chair was so on top of things and she was so wonderful to work with. Amazingly we got it all done in a few days, and after that we were there every day & night coordinating volunteers and supervising. It was a LOT of work, but so worth it!

It went like this: At the entrance children dressed up in costumes- there were animal ones, shepherd's robes and crooks, and simple robes. Then they entered into "Nazareth" which represented Mary & Joseph's home. There they played in the wheat tent and in Joseph's woodworking shop. The middle of the room was where they did a craft and played with all of the hands-on activities. They then walked past the Roman centurion into "Bethlehem" where they could swaddle babies in the stable and lay them in a manger. There was also a cozy spot with pillows, books, and a play nativity. They ended their journey next door in the "Shepherd's Room"- the most important room. Here they sat, in the hills of Judea, and listened to the shepherd's story of how he witnessed the Savior's birth. The room was kept dark and the walls were lined with painted panels of hills, stars, and sheep.

Of course, the main event was in the gym. The stake ended up with over 300 donated nativities for these three nights for all the public to come and see. There was a Life of Christ presentation in which actors/actresses played the roles of people that knew the Savior (his mother, a boy who washed his feet, Roman solider, etc.) They spoke to us about how Christ impacted their lives and the kind of person he was. It was so touching.

The only unfortunate part of it all is that we had to close the event for one night due to the snow and icy roads. By some kind of freak weather conditions, the roads were terribly dangerous on Friday and there were accidents ALL over town. I was glad to take the time and be with my family but pretty bummed that there would be no Children's Room that day. The next day the doors opened again and we commenced the activities until 5 pm. I planned on staying until everything was cleaned up, imagining that I'd be there until midnight or later. By some miracle it only took a few hours, so Nicole (co-chair) and I went out to celebrate (after we picked up diapers for our kids that we had to neglect all week, ha). We had chowder and salad and McGrath's Fish House. It was the perfect ending! :)

And now, I'm just trying to get the rest of the things checked off my to-do list before we leave for Idaho. Like finish our cards and send them, go visiting teaching, and oh- carry out a Relief Society activity this Thursday--all the while getting ready to move next week. I'm kind of excited for the activity...it will be a nice break from the packing. It's actually a dinner & Christmas devotional for all the sisters. We will be plating their food and serving them while they listen to musical numbers and a few speakers. Somewhere in there I'll be singing a French carol with a few others. It's been over 5 years since I spoke any French, so it's kind of fun going over pronunciation again as we rehearse.

Sometimes I wonder why the Lord is keeping me so busy, but to be honest I'm loving it. I love feeling like I've contributed to something greater. I love feeling strengthened as I take on more and more. I love being able to serve others, especially during this season. I love being witness to the kindness and generosity of others... this world has so much good in it, despite the evil that exists.


And I am so excited to go to Idaho for Christmas week and spend time with family! It will be MUCH needed. Hopefully Jonathan and I can get away for a bit to celebrate our anniversary (since we'll be moving on that day).

For the sake of having pictures on this post so it's not totally boring- here are some of my favorites from our Christmas and snow photoshoots!
































Happy Holidays! Stay warm :)