out with the old, in with the new

On New Year's Eve, we went over to a friend's house to celebrate with the kids.

Drake helped me make chocolate covered pretzels for the occasion.

This was my part of the tray.

This was Drake's.

We had a good time playing with our friends' Wii, as did the kids.

And what kid doesn't like a good excuse to hit something.

And not only be allowed to hit...

...but highly encouraged to do so.

This piƱata was very well made.

It took quite a few swings and pokes before they were able to reap the benefits of their hard work, but they enjoyed it nonetheless.

After our countdown with the kids, at about 7:30, we stayed a little longer to play and hang out, then took our kids home and put them to bed.  We put in a movie, paused it for the countdown on TV, then finished the movie and went to bed.  Happy New Year!

The next slew of pictures are just small glimpses from our everyday life during 2008, to show that not everything that happens in our family has to be a "big event" for it to be remembered.

Adios 2008.

6 years, 3 kids, and counting...

Six years ago, on December 27, I made one of the best decisions of my life.

I married this guy.

And I'm so glad I did.

We love to laugh.

We love each other.

We like to eat.

And we like to dance.

I love doing anything with my sweet hubby.

I'm thankful he picked me.

And we were thrilled when Drake joined us.

And then Graham came down from heaven too.

And Avery didn't want to miss out on our earthly fun, so she joined the crew.

Thanks for six wonderful years.

I love you Shad.


Just a few days after getting home from Arizona we headed North to spend Christmas with Shad's family.

But before I show pictures from that, here's a re-cap of the Christmas stuff during the weeks leading up to Christmas, in no particular order, 'cause that would take too long.

When we got home from sunny Arizona, we found beautiful snow everywhere.

The boys had a good time decorating our tree.

We hung Christmas lights up in the kids' room, and one night, after we'd put the kids to bed, I went to check on them, and found both boys out of their beds and on the floor, enjoying one another and the lights.

Drake found much joy in building structures for his dog and the nativity figurines.

Drake and Graham loved this train.  It was big enough to circle the entire tree.

 I liked it because I got it for cheap.

One night we spent with the families of all the preschool kids.  The picture on this video isn't very good, but you can still hear how amazing we were at the chimes (homemade by one of the dads).

Our ward had an activity that involved a "Journey of Bethlehem" which ended with a live nativity scene.

The primary kids sang songs.

And, of course, Santa came to visit.

At the library one day, the boys got to make "gingerbread" houses.  They thoroughly enjoyed the bounty of candy available to them, not to mention the frosting.

Just before Christmas, I finally gave our boys haircuts.  It had been a while.  So here is Graham's before (he can't wait):

I really loved the GQ wing-look.

And after.

Here's Drake's hair before.

He's ecstatic too.

And after.

The boys love to play hide and seek.  They sometimes just go and hide without my knowing.  Only after it's been quiet in our home for a few minutes do I realize something is up and I should probably start looking for them.

I decided to let Drake wrap his own presents for others this year, without hovering over him.  

And not get after him for "wasting" so much wrapping paper.

He was very focused and precise in his work.

He was so proud that he wrapped everything all by himself.  And I was still able to salvage some pieces of wrapping paper.

We made sugar cookies to take around to a few people.

Always fun.

Christmas Eve, we headed to Shad's parents.  His grandma, his parents, and all of his siblings and their families (if applicable) were there, so it was a house full of fun.  With eleven adults and nine kids, there were plenty of presents to go around.  This was in their nice, recently-finished basement.

That night we did the traditional Christmas Eve stuff with his family.

Which always involves singing...

...and often a talent show.

This was one of the finer productions. ;)

The nativity story is read from the scriptures...

 ...while the grandkids get to place the figurines in the nativity set.

Growing up in my home, we always got to open one gift on Christmas Eve, usually from one of the grandparents.  So we let our kids do the same.

Avery got to wear her "First Christmas" pajamas given to her by one of my friends.  This picture was taken Christmas morning, the very first day that she actually sat up completely on her own for longer than just a few seconds---and she's sat up great ever since.

This is the anticipation of Christmas morning.

They can't wait.  They're always so serious too.

Amber read a book to help hold them off until everyone was ready.

Graham was more interested in helping Avery with her gifts than he was opening his own.

Cute tights.

We got a white Christmas, and the kids took full advantage of it.  Here, they made their own slide to the back door.

Here, Graham watches from the inside.

And sweet Avery was so proud to be able to sit up on her own.  She loved it.

So she sat up a lot that day.

I just love her chubbiness (and no photoshopping in this picture, for real).

Amber and Haeli sang in church that Sunday after.  Avery enjoyed their rehearsal.

Puzzles were popular.

Spencer is just cute (and now has a new little brother!)

McKenzee is Avery's only girl cousin on the Johnson side, so they're buds (as much as a 9-year old and an infant can be).

One of the days, Drake spent a good deal of time transforming this cardboard box...

...into a house (with a little help here and there).

He also made a table to go inside.

And a chair.

Works great!

We had a great time.
And I'm glad I got this post up before the next Christmas.

Merry Christmas.