Eliza had us laughing all through Advent as each day the girls took turns opening a window on our Advent calendar. The calendar had a candy behind each window or door. Eliza creatively came up with the word “Candulator” for the Calendar. It’s like a calculator (we attribute her knowledge of this tool to her Dad the accountant) but it bears candy, and sounds sort of like calendar, right? A Candulator! Perfect! I had trouble correcting her because I thought it rather clever.
I’m beginning to think the title for our blog is more appropriate than we initially planned. There’s never any telling where we’ve been because I’m such a delinquent blogger! We’re striving for normalcy, routine, and the predictable rhythm of life in a new place but the best analogy I can wield for ourselves is this: We can hear the music – it’s got a great tune – and we’re trying to dance, but we’re still a bit off-beat! Like the little kid in your dance class that was always a couple steps behind because they couldn’t quite get the rhythm! That’s us! I think we’ll get on beat eventually, but it’s requiring time.
Christmas Day 2008 was a winter wonderland for us in Salt Lake. It was breathtaking to look out the window. I had forgotten how gorgeous it is when the world is covered in untouched snow. The holidays were wonderful for us in many ways. Dinners with family, the magic of anticipating Santa Claus with our girls, watching them open their gifts, sledding, an opportunity for service on Christmas Eve. We loved it all.
Above is Eliza on Christmas Eve in her new pajamas. The Christmas Eve Elf found our new house this year! And secretly delivered pajamas while we were at Grandma’s! Amazing!
Christmas Morning! I included a picture of each of the girls with their favorite gifts. Here is Eliza with her “jumping zebra” (top of her list this year as expressed to Santa). Notice she has already donned her second favorite gift – her new dress-ups.
Ali with her bracelets. Ali loves jewlery! A true girl! By the time the girls had emptied their stockings (and all the girls had bracelets), she had usurped everyone’s jewelry and wouldn’t take it off – the entire day!
Everywhere we go, Ali finds something, a bracelet, a blue teething ring, or the circular moon toy Lori gave us, to slide onto her wrist. What flair!
I also have to point out the Russel’s Marshmallow Santa (in green wrapper) that Ali is clutching in her left hand. You will notice Sami clinging to hers in the photo below. For some reason, they wouldn’t let go of these shiny treats all morning! Only to open a gift here and there and then I’d find them suffocating that poor marshmallow Santa again as they squeezed, twisted, and grabbed the shimmering goodie over and over. By lunch time, I threw the Santas away figuring they were no longer edible (at least without a considerable gooey mess). Must have been the shiny wrapper that enamored them so!
Samantha with her Panda that makes noises, opens it eyes, and falls asleep after you leave him alone for a minute or so. She loves pandas. And this one has been a favorite!
Here we are with all of the Arveseth Clan at Jim and Renae’s home. Notice the towering pile of presents and Eliza with her cousin Abbi. It took them only minutes to find the dress-ups. We had a great time with Doug’s family, eating, laughing, and sharing gifts.
The 26th was family day with the Keddingtons. This was the biggest snow day of the week. We had to pile all the girls into Doug’s Pathfinder that morning (in regular seat belts) to motor through the unplowed streets up to my parents’ home. We weren’t sure the Odyssey would make it in the snow. This is truly a town of 4-wheel drive necessity! But we made it up my parents’ street no problem in the Pathfinder – just in time for a waffle breakfast, and playtime in the snow.
The girls are standing up to their knees in the snow. Just prior to this Doug and Uncle Will had taken Eliza and her cousin Lizzie on a bobsled run all the way to the bottom of the street!
The Saturday after Christmas, my sister and some of her friends planned a small reunion Breakfast for all the girls we grew up with in the neighborhood. It was a great chance to visit, catch up, and see old friends.
A few days later we took the girls to Temple Square (Salt Lake LDS Temple Grounds). Every year the LDS Church saturates the temple grounds in light. I think it is one of the most beautiful Christmas sights in the world. Our pictures definitely don’t do the experience justice. Above is Eliza in front of the life-size nativity.
Miss Karen – please note if you’re reading this – that Eliza still loves to wear the hat you knitted her!
Hard to believe, another Christmas has come and gone. Already the stores are full of Valentine candy. When I think back on the memories, I am grateful most of all for the love we feel for and from those around us. I believe that to connect deeply with each other is what God intends this life to be about. He also intends for us to know Him.
So I loved the Phillips quote my friend Kara shared with us about Christmas (read blog post for Christmas day). It sums up my feelings about Christ and the way He can enter our lives. Christmas is truly a glorious celebration of the grand reach of His redemption and the power of His love.