Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy Birthday to Frank!

It's Frank's birthday and he's 51.
Holy cow, that's old.

I made him a homemade german chocolate cake.
That's his favorite kind
and I made one for his big 50th birthday surprise party in Oregon.
It was one of the best tasting cakes I've ever made
even though it's time consuming.
So to prove my true love and devotion
I made it again this year.

*pats herself on the back*
Before adding the chocolate frosting

After the frosting

 We had a low key day.
Frank likes quiet get togethers more than big parties
so it was just the family.

 I forgot to buy candles!
So we had to improvise with candles I had on hand...not the perfect cake candles, that's for sure.

Frank's big gift?

 A blendtec blender!
He loves to make milkshakes and complains about my blender
every time he uses it.

So now he's all set.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas 2014

Our first Christmas in our new home in Utah!
Kaylee's first Christmas ever!

Everyone came we had a full house.
It loved it.

We had the traditional opening of Pajamas on Christmas Eve
along with reading the story of the birth of Christ in Luke.

I remember telling everyone to get in their jammies for a picture...
but no picture exists.
So either they ignored me or I forgot to take the picture.
Either scenario is completely likely.
And I have no memory of what actually happened.
Which perhaps means I am the one that forgot...

The only thing that was really different about this Christmas
was the way Christmas morning went down.

We decided to wait for the babies to wake up naturally
so they would be in a good mood for present opening.
But these girls sleep in!

So the rest of us woke up, got showered and dressed
and drove to Annette's house for breakfast 
before we opened any gifts.

Breakfast was old tradition from our Pennsylvania days
that has been duplicated here in Utah.

By about 10 or so we were home
and the boys were getting sort of antsy
so we did end up waking Isabelle up after all.

 We really enjoyed our morning together.
Opening our gifts and watching Isabelle open hers.

She was sleepy at first but got the hang of it pretty quickly.

Frank's big gift:
A GoPro camera!

Frank surprised me with a new bike!
Totally unexpected but I'm happy about it.
I love to ride so once it warms up a bit, I'll be happy to give it a go.

It will be my first time riding with clip on shoes, however.
So I hope I don't kill myself.

Ryan got a bunch of clothes

Kaylee enjoyed the paper!

Grandma and Grandaddy were super generous with all of us!
Everyone loves Christmas money.

Austin got everything on his list!
But of course, his list included things like
a tarp, a compass and a knife.
crazy kid 

 Carter got a unicycle!

And Amber got a double stroller.
(but no picture of her opening it...I am not the photographer I once was)

Later in the day Dion came over to take our family picture.
(THANKS so so much!)

We chatted a bit.
I think seeing everyone together in one room
talking and enjoying being together is 
my favorite thing in the world.

It began to snow just as we went out for pictures.
So the pictures are perfectly, wonderfully Christmassy.

Even the test shots are awesome.

It was, however, nap time.

A few couples shots:

The rest of the day was just relaxing.

Sunday, December 28, 2014


With everyone's work schedules, 
I had a hard time finding a time to do the annual gingerbread houses.

We finally decided on 
Tuesday, December 23rd
at 9:30 PM

Yes, 9:30 PM

That meant that we kept Isabelle up past her bedtime so that she could participate.

Which also meant she wasn't always super happy...

I tried to think of someone to invite
But Carter would not have it.
It is a tradition that we have always done with our good MA friends the Petersons
(and the Mattinsons in recent years)
and as far as he was concerned, if those families couldn't come,
no one could.

So it was just us.
But since everyone is home, it was still a decent crowd
and a lot of baking.

As Amber and I worked to be all creative and make our houses cute

Amber's house

Debbie's house

we couldn't help but laugh at the boys houses.

We noticed that they had all put some sort of FACE on their houses.
Since when is a face a normal thing to put on a gingerbread house?

Frank went one step further and put a rear end...
with "poop" coming out.

Ryan wasn't feeling well so he didn't participate.
I should have taken a picture of him laying on the couch!

Here are the finished creations:

We had a good evening together even with the late start time.