Okay, these pictures are not all in order, but it is late, and I am too tired to switch it around! I didn't want to forget the two crazy weeks leading up to Christmas. Looking back on it, I have a few thoughts.
A. It seems so long ago.
B. It went by too fast.
C. The month of December is like a crazy Marathon for Moms.
I have only run one marathon, but looking back on the Marathon, it seems so fun and ideal, but in the midst of it, it was really hard. The last 6.2 miles are REALLY hard and take everything you've got! The last days/hours leading up to Christmas are like that last 6.2 miles. Sometimes you are sick, you are exhausted, but you keep going! This is what you have been training for…the shopping, the sweat, the tears…this is what it all comes down to. When you cross the finish line (Christmas Morning) you are so glad you did it, but you just want to lay down and sleep and not do it again anytime soon.
After all six kids having the stomach flu, one after the other, I finally fell victim. I was trying to take a nap here because I felt it coming on and mistakenly thought I might be able to avoid it. I was so tired I crawled in bed with my scarf and all. I was almost relieved that I did finally get it, because my worst nightmare would be to get it on Christmas Eve (That has happened to me TWICE).
The only bummer was it hit right when we had our Primary Christmas Party, so I missed it. :( I was supposed to help run the party. Ryan was really great and took the kids for me.
Luke and Cousin, Austin. (Visiting from AZ)
I had Ryan take the camera so he could get pictures of the kids with Santa. I think he got a little carried away talking and forgot to get the Santa Pictures. I had to give him props for snapping these though...
The kids wore their PJ's and the Bishopric served breakfast…yum!
Annie and Keisha
Santa gave each child a little bag of nuts, an orange, and some candy. They loved it.
Devouring their treats at the kitchen table.
Thanks for taking us to the party, Dad! I sure love you!
Okay, back up in time a week now. Back to the Milligan Family Christmas Party…the Garza's arrived from Arizona and we were all excited. I am not even sure what we were doing here, but we had to get a picture with the Adams Sisters and all our daughters. Heidi called it, #sistersinthehood
Friday Night, all the cousins swam at the local Marriott where most of the family was staying. I think we scared ALL the other guests away.
Ryan and Sam chatting, or I should say YELLING, because this room was SO loud with screaming kids, that you could be yelling at the top of your lungs and just might not be heard.
Kacey and Robin. I think Robin is giggling about our out of control kids.
Fun in the hot tub.
except for two children. Who can guess who doesn't belong to the family? Leave a comment and if you get it right I will send you a new kitchen aid or an iPod. You pick. Just kidding. You are reading the wrong blog, honey. I had to give the ONE random family that braved all these crazy kids to come to the hotel pool some credit. I felt really bad for them.
Who did I NOT feel bad for? The adults that were talking in this room and enjoying hot chocolate and donuts. It was SO quiet. :)
The kids would run outside (and it was FREEZING) and get snow to bring in the pool. I think the hotel staff really loved us.
London and Sophie…brrrrrrrr!
Jump forward to Sunday…I took this picture of my Mom's Stained Glass Decor that she made back in the day to post on Instagram after I saw some new Stained Glass that my cousin Julie had made. I want to learn how to do it so bad! I just love it.
These were the decorations from my youth and I love them. I have that nativity memorized. Each piece is so familiar and it represents all the feelings I had for Christmas as a child. So if you feel an urge to throw out all your Christmas Decor, because it is not trendy or the newest rage, DON'T DO IT! It will probably come back, and I think there is something to having some decorations that have years of memories with them. You can't go buy those at a new boutique. (Although I do like to do that too!)
The little cousins chatting and sharing tips on bracelet making at Grandma's House.
Austin and Annie after Church
And I already mentioned what happened in the week to follow. My couch usually looked like some version of this- kids in various stages of the illness, with bowls strategically placed around the house.
One night after coming home from a late trip to the store (for crackers and more soda) I tried to capture the beautiful night. The moon was full and the Christmas tree was glowing inside the windows. It looked so cozy and warm inside. However, the picture didn't quite turn out. It is a good memory though, of the quite moments a mist the chaos.
You have to be grateful for things like this…a child ASKING to do dishes to help out. (Yes, my dishwasher broke this month. No, it is still not fixed. Yes, we had to hand wash of the entire holiday season. Yes, I am grateful for modern appliances more than ever!)
I made MANY batches of Caramels. I really like doing that sort of thing, but since we were sick, I could not make them that whole week. (Who wants food from the sick house?) That meant lots of last minute deliveries right before Christmas. I promise that I will NEVER do that again. It made for a rushed and stressful last few miles of the marathon, even if it is something I love to do.
The kids opened the window to air out the kitchen, and Daisy was so kind to stop by and say hello.
I found this on my iPod. It was the day before Christmas Eve. Why do I take a picture of the chores I left on the wipe board? JUST in case someone woke up first and erased it all. (I learn from experience.)
Did they ALL get done? Almost, not perfectly, but MOST of the kids did the chores they picked. I told them it was their Christmas Gift to me. Believe it or not, in our house this is not some big weekly clean. It is more like every other day. Usually though, if I leave in the morning to go somewhere for a large chunk of time, by the time I get home I am WAY behind and the house is a bomb. It was WONDERFUl to have them all pitch in and help a mom out!
And finally, the days leading up to Christmas looked like this…
The ground was white, the sky was white, and all the trees were covered in hoar frost. It was a dreamy winter wonderland.