On the Elf soundtrack, there is a classic version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." It is sung by Eddy Arnold. Carly became obsessed with this song. We listened to it over and over. "I want Santa Coming to Town sung by the boy!" she would say every time we got in the car. I was incredibly happy when we arrived in Idaho and that song was no longer easily accessible, though it was adorable to hear her sing along and learn all the words.
Our Christmas vacation in Idaho was nothing short of wonderful, as it always seems to be. Our first days were lazy recovery/play days, before my brothers and wives joined the party. From then on out it was lots of food and lots of fun.
-Crazy train headed into the airport. We seriously look insane. And to think I used to hate flying alone.
-We got to play with and open presents from Aunt Jenny and Uncle Christian when we landed in the Salt Lake airport. So fun to see them, if only for a short time.
-Exploring Mimi and Grandpa's house. So much space!
-Resting, recovering, adjusting to the timezone change.
-Sasha makes himself at home on my lap at Michael and Camie's house in Utah.
-Chris sinks his teeth into his first Crown Burger after the light at Temple Square.
-Carly passed out on the way home from Salt Lake City.
-Fluffy head and little hands watching the snow.
-Q making eyes at her daddy on the way to lunch.
-Jason and the biggest burrito ever. I heart El Herradero.
-John likes Costco samples.
-Cousins decorating Mimi's tree.
-Visiting great Grandma and Grandpa T.
-John laying a big juicy one on Mimi.
-Carly's first CTR ring (gotta love a place where the Distribution Center is in the mall!)
-My 24601 shirt Santa put in my stocking. #teamvaljean
Christmas Eve finally arrived!
-Sisters with matching outfits. I love those sparkly deer.
-Christmas Eve breakfast and the best omelette I've ever had. Elmer's for the win.
-Q eating cookies for lunch (hey, its Christmas!).
-Carly rolling cheeseballs in crushed nuts like a boss.
-Making fruit loop candy canes with auntie Addie.
-Sisters in matching pajamas.
-Listening to the Polar Express, a family Christmas Eve tradition.
-Signs so Santa knows where to put our presents. Carly wrote her letters all by herself.
-Cookies and GF fudge for Santa. Carrots for the reindeer. We left one cookie behind with a bite taken out of it. Christmas morning Carly brought me the plate and said, "Look! Santa ate the cookies!"
[The C Family on Christmas Eve.]
On Christmas morning everyone "slept in". It was lovely. I woke up before any of my kids. Granted, I was extremely excited; not for me, but for Carly. I was also very nervous. Carly had been talking about this Barbie house non-stop for weeks. I am just not ready for her to have Barbies, and I'm not sure I'll ever want her to have them, though I'm sure I will lose that battle eventually. But my mom and I found these little princess castles that came with the little princesses and thought they would be a good substitute. I was genuinely worried that her little innocent 3-year-old heart would be disappointed. But, what do you know, she loves her princesses, and we've already spent a lot of time sitting at her little table hosting princess parties, doing princess dances, singing at princess concerts, and rescuing everyone from all sorts of trouble.
We are abundantly blessed, and Carly was so "loved" last year that we had more presents than any of us knew what to do with. We tried to limit everything a little more this year, but our kids still came out with quite the haul, despite the fact that Chris and I got them 1 thing each (well, we got Carly 3 . . . oops). We ended up packing a big box for my parents to ship. It really is unbelievable, how wonderful our families are and how much love and generosity they show our kids.
-Santa saw the signs, and placed presents appropriately.
-Santa brought John a set of little Tonka trucks. They are adorable. I showed them to him when we came into the room, then sat him on the floor. He contorted his little body around to look back at the trucks, like "Are those mine?!" He was quite happy with them. Mommy, however, is not a huge fan of their sirens, and will be taking the batteries out of all of them. Party pooper.
-My three little pigs on Christmas morning.
-Q and Car checking out their presents. Carly's stocking was overflowing; she probably would have been perfectly happy to stop there.
-Carly and her princess "neighborhood".
-I went for a beautiful yet torturous run on Christmas afternoon. At the end I ran up my parents hill for the view, and walked back down.
-Santa surprised every couple with an iPad mini. Mine is named Minnie and has a red case. She is adorable.
Our fun-packed and lazy days on Christmas vacation came to an end entirely too quickly. We just love going out to Idaho. What a blessing to have family I love so much, that even 7 years after moving out of the house, I still can't say goodbye without tears. And this year I shared my tears, as Carly wailed after being dropped off at the airport, "But I don't want Grandpa to leave me! I want to go back to Mimi's house!" Luckily our flight home was significantly more enjoyable than the flight there, with a working movie player, babies who both slept a little, a better time of day, and best of all, an empty seat in our row. It was a festivus miracle.
-Hugging cousin Shayla goodbye.
-Mimi is a jungle gym.
-Tears at the airport drop-off.
-Hugs on the airplane.
-Miss Independent looking out at the lights.
It is so hard to leave, and yet when we walked through our doors at 11 pm on Friday night, I was so happy to be home. Even Carly, who had been whining about going back to Mimi's house and even threw an all-out tantrum in the airport parking lot about not wanting to go home, walked into the living room and twirled and said with a smile, "Its so nice to be back at my home!"
How lucky are we, to love so many places so much?
It was a very Merry Christmas.
Here's to a Happy New Year.