Christmas Break!

Merry Christmas!!! And Happy New Year!!! We had such an amazing Christmas break this year. First of all, it was over two weeks long! The kids got out 10 days before Christmas, which if you ask me, is truly the way to do it. I love that we were able to really get in the Christmas spirit with lots of family time before Christmas came and went. And to be honest, I love having my kids out of school! I love the lazy mornings and just being together. We had so much fun doing some of our traditional things, like riding the Christmas/nativity train (I love that it focuses on Jesus Christ), driving through Christmas lights, making gingerbread houses, attending a family Christmas party, staying up late watching Christmas movies, making cookies for our neighbors, and we even did a few new things this year, too! This year was especially fun, because my parents came into town instead of flying all my single siblings home, which meant we got to do a lot of stuff with them this year, along with Steve's family, which made it all the more special. I also love how Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday, as it really helped center the holiday on our Savior. I love this time of year and I feel like each year it just gets more and more fun deciding how we want to make the holiday meaningful and special for own family. It was wonderful!!!

 With a small space, and Rosie girl being quite the explorer (read: destructive), we bagged getting a real Christmas tree this year and instead put up these two small fake Christmas trees that I normally put in the kids' bedrooms. It was perfect, and the kids thought it was so cool that we had TWO Christmas trees :) 

When the kids do an act of kindness throughout the month, they get to put one up on the tree!

I love the cozy feeling of a home decorated for Christmas

Christmas/Nativity train -  Grandma joined us!

Vinny asked for Heelies

When Santa asked what he wanted, Hans responded, "I don't know" :)

I can't remember what Jayne asked for but it was either a gizmo watch, heelies, or an American girl doll

Frank asked for "an Alexa" (echo dot) 

And Rose, well, she nailed us a 5 for 5 when it comes to our babies hating Santa, ha!

Writing notes to the missionaries 

Vinny's sweet note :)

Love this crew!

Christmas lights! The kids were loving stick their head out of the sunroof and the windows

Rose was mesmerized 

This year we went to the Victorian Christmas Celebration at the Provo Pioneer Village. It's a little village you can walk through to see what life was like for the pioneers in the early days of Provo, all the way back in 1849! It contains original structures built by the pioneers during that time, along with a variety of artifacts and other things to see and do. What's special during Christmas is that it is all decorated, they have actors there who tell you about the time, they sing Christmas carols, provide hot chocolate and cookies, hand out free candy canes at the general store, and then you can even visit "Father Christmas"! It is all very charming and I think it will be a new tradition for us each year. 

We met up with our friends the Christensons and my sister and her kids too!

Always a treat to get to spend time with this friend

Father Christmas was so sweet and he even handed out these fancy decorated Christmas lollipops for the kids after they sat on his lap. 

I couldn't get over Hans and his sweet interaction

When he saw Rose, I told him she wouldn't want to sit on his lap, so he insisted I sit on his lap with her, haha

The kids and their lollies!

One of the most exciting things that happened over Christmas break was my brother Ryan receiving his mission call to Cambodia!!! 

The funniest thing about it was that when we all went around guessing where he would get called, Jayne guessed Cambodia! Our bishop's son is there, and so it's the person that she first thought of when thinking of places to go on a mission. You should have seen her reaction. She was so excited to have guessed right! lol

Another highlight of Christmas break was having my sister Lauren come to visit us for nearly a week with her kids! It was the best!

Love these two sweetest sisters 

I love hosting family over, and having 7 of my 9 siblings here in Provo was heaven! 

Steve got tickets to take the fam to Top Golf over Christmas break. Hans went with my sister and her little boys so it was just the three older and Rose, who was pretty good about chilling in her stroller most of the time. It was fun and they are excited to go back. 


We missed the lighting of the river woods this year since it was raining/snowing and frigid temps the night they did it, so we opted to come back on a more mild evening when my sis was in town and ride the free train ride. 

They had some cute gingerbread houses on display from the various shops. Williams Sonoma was the cutest, no surprise there. 

Victoria's Secret took a close second

The gang!

Gingerbread house making at Grandmas is always a treat!

Not the greatest picture but we had a fun little afternoon making snowflakes at Crystal's

And we had our first snowfall! The kids couldn't wait to play in it. Sadly, we have had hardly any snow this year! My kids love to play hours and hours in it, so I'm hoping we can get some good snow here soon. 

This baby gave us another 5 for 5 with all the kids wearing the green gumbie snow suit!!!

We celebrated Steve with a family lunch at Tucanos. Nothing super noteworthy here other than Rose is cute and getting so big! 

She tried to sneak off with an ornament on the tree while we were leaving. Her mischievous little smile here cracks me up. 

We also saw Jumanji for Steve's bday. Taylor met up with us and gave Steve's his "bday gift"... who doesn't have a crush on Steve? Amiright?? ;)  

We got there pretty early so we made the kids kill time (and all their wiggles) doing races and competitions before the show. I'll have to try and post some of the video. It was pretty funny. 

Nativity at the Porter Family Christmas party! Rose was baby Jesus last year, and this year she was an angel with Jayne. Vinny a wise man, Frank a sheep, and Hans refused to participate. 

Rose is a little dance machine and loves to shake her thing to any and all type of music, even atypical dance music like "silent night" - it was funny and cute 

My snuggle bud during the nativity 

We love getting together with cousins!

Steve and the boys played some games of basketball after the party. It was funny to see them all get so into it. The cutest was watching Frankie get into it. I'll have to post his videos. He kept forgetting to dribble, but was really good at shooting and trying to block people. 

Me and my Jaynie girl 

Sugar cookie time! This picture was seconds before Rose destroyed one of our cookies :)

We used this recipe  and they were delicious, especially when slathered with 2 inch high frosting from the kids ;) 

Christmas Eve family photo. I think the sun was a little bright 

This girl is crazy at church now and really keeps us on our toes during the entire length of Sacrament. I'm grateful I got called as a nursery leader because now I get to take her in there with me!!!

This was my first year hosting a Christmas Eve dinner! It ended up being so fun and I really enjoyed doing it. My parents didn't get into town until midnight on Christmas eve, so I hosted so all my single siblings who live out here could have somewhere to go. We did it up at the cabin and it was so nice to have lots of extra space and room to hang out, cook, eat, etc. We had homemade wassail, cream cheese/pepper jelly, and spinach artichoke dip for appetizers. Then for dinner we had spoon beef roast, creamy scalloped potatoes, homemade rolls, yam/apple casserole, asparagus, green beans, Christmas punch, and of course, layered jello! 

After dinner we got in our christmas jammies! And then we gathered in the great room where my brother read the story of Jesus Christ's birth and we sang hymns and Christmas songs. After that, we read the kids another Christmas story and then finished off with dessert and games!

For dessert we had hot chocolate, and peppermint pie with hot fudge 

I gave my bros a little white elephant gift of "Bitcoin" - a company they talk about nonstop!

Christmas morning! The kids were so excited as we jingled them out of bed. Jayne said she even saw Santa outside with his reindeer in the middle of the night, and that he winked at her! 

Rosie girl would have been thrilled receiving nothing more than her yogurt melts 

The kids were so darling watching each other and helping each other open gifts 

I sure love these kids a whole whole lot! 

Later that morning, Steve's family came up for a big Christmas brunch! Rose was being so snuggly with Aunt Kate. 

We got our fill of snow up at the cabin! The kids loved going sledding.

The next day my parents and some of my siblings came up to hang out, play games, and go sledding again! 

Beautiful sunset view in Provo

For New Years Eve, we went up to the cabin to celebrate Gramma Middie's bday. Kate brought up sparkly eyeshadow that she shared with Jayne and Hans wanted a lightning bolt on his cheek! 

Matching matchy!

Um, who is this grown up beauty?!?!

After dinner, we drove down to my sister's place to ring in the new year with my family. My dad bought some intense fireworks that he lit off with all the kids and they were loving it!!

We counted down to the NYC ball drop 

Jayne wasn't really having that much fun at all, unfortunately ;)

Sweet sleepy Hans was a good sport and after we celebrated the "new year" he walked over to me and said "mom, i'm ready to go to bed"

I got lucky to have Hans be my first kiss of the new year! (sorry steve;) 

We drove back up to the cabin to sleep (and Steve stayed up with the 3 oldest until midnight!). It was a sleepy next day for all of us. When I went in to grab Rose as we were ready to leave, she wouldn't move or flinch even as I took off her blanket and stuffed dog. Is she not the sweetest sleeping angel or what? 

We wrapped up our last day of Christmas break spending the afternoon with my niece Ivanna!!! We missed her so much. It was so fun to see her and Javi and Susie, especially as parents - they are the best mom and dad! We wish they lived closer and did our best to convince them to move back to Provo. 

She is seriously the sweetest, most mild tempered and happy baby girl.

I haven't been on my instagram in months, but for kicks I did the best of 2017 generator and it was so fun to see what popped up. I would definitely agree that it captured all the people I care most about (especially those 5 kiddos smack dab there in the middle!). And adding Miss Rose to our family was the best highlight of the past year, for sure. 

Hope you all had a lovely holiday break!