...and they all lived happily ever after...

...and they all lived happily ever after...

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas DeMoux: The recap

This past week has been a great one.  It is always fun to celebrate a holiday and doing fun things with fabulous people makes it even better.

Our week started with Aubrey's final musical theater performance of the season.  The group she is in is wonderful and every year I'm grateful that she gets to be a part of it.

This year, Aubs got to share the stage with her uncle Joel for a couple of songs (at this family performance they always invite group alumni to come onstage and perform a couple of pieces).  It was fun to watch Aubrey and fun to see my baby brother up there too.

We have a December born child and he gathered a few friends to indulge in a dollar theater movie to celebrate his advancing age.  They watched the new Ninja Turtles movie and Josh just loved it so much (that may have been said with a smidge of sarcasm).

We had a family party with my extended family and got to celebrate the season with more people we love.  My mom decided to include a talent show in this year's festivities so the kids got to show off their mad skills.

Santa also made an appearance at our party.  Even our oldest kidlets took a moment to sit on his knee (even though they are getting a bit big for knee sitting anymore).

Christmas Eve I finally got around to wrapping the presents that I bought before December even showed up (I am great at early Christmas shopping, I am horrible at early Christmas wrapping) so I spent a couple of hours locked in my bedroom with only a pair of scissors and a huge roll of paper for company (ok, Josh did come help some).

That night, after dinner, we dressed up for a family presentation of the nativity.  Then we read Luke 2 and spent some time talking about our Savior -- His life, His birth, His death, His example.  I was pretty proud of the kids for putting their excitement on hold for a bit so that we could remember why we really celebrate in the first place.

And then we tried something new.

Every year we give the kids new pajamas on Christmas Eve and most years they whine about how it is a lame present and can't they open something different for a change.

So this year I complied.  They got a Christmas Eve gift...it was socks and underwear.  

They were surprised!

But then they all complained that they didn't get pajamas so we headed out to our carport for a fun new piece of our celebration.  We took turns beating a piniata to a pulp (and that thing was pretty tough so it took some work).  

Inside was candy (of course) and also a pair of pajamas for everyone.  They were surprised again -- and please with pajamas this time.  Ha ha!  I guess I got the last laugh.

Christmas morning the kids came up to our room at 7:00 (there is a penalty of 5 minutes waiting for each minute before 7 they come into our room so they are pretty good about holding off until then).  After family prayer we headed out to see goodies from Santa and open presents from each other.  It was a really really great morning.

To add to the thrill, we also got our first measurable snow fall of the season so the kids got to break out the boots and spend some time enjoying the white stuff.  

All in all, it was a beautiful holdiay spend with they best people that I know.  We laughed (a lot) and teased and smiled and fought a bit and laughed some more (and we spent an inordinate amount of time cleaning up....ugh, all the cleaning up).  But over all we just enjoyed each other and enjoyed the wonder of the season as it spread over us.  It was a really great week.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Our kids get all musical....

So, this week my jr high kids participated in a couple of nights worth of musical performances.

Aubrey was in the cadet band playing the flute and also sang in the show choir.

Bryce played the piano in the orchestra and also the jazz band.

I think they did a great job and I loved being able to watch the culmination of their hours of hard work.  I feel very grateful for wonderful music teachers and a well supported program in their school.

Great job, kiddos!

(The two best performances are the last two, the jazz band and the show choir...I bet you will love them!)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Who's the man -- Me or the Tree

That's right, I am the boss of the tree lights in this house!

I told you yesterday that yet another section of lights has blown out on our tree, so I tore off the nasty, newest, broken string of lights and I replaced them with my last spare set of white lights.  They aren't the same brand as the others, but, hey, they're what I have on hand.

You can't even tell the difference, right?

Um, yeah.

I showed you rotten, rebellious Christmas tree!!!

(As a side note, I'm pretty sure when this season is over I will just strip the tree naked and hopefully find some LED lights on clearance and I will just re-string the whole thing and pretend like none of  this angry little exchange between me and the fir never even happened.)


**UPDATE**  After posting this I went upstairs to calls from my oldest son and found that yet another string of lights has blown.  Oh, it's on now!  This tree WILL!! be lit and sparkling for Christmas!  It may not be pretty, but it will be sparkling!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas tree: the saga continues

Do you see that?

It isn't super obvious from this picture, but there is yet another dead string of lights on my stupid, fat, Christmas tree.

The Pine Demon strikes again!

That's right, I am now officially a certifiable Grinch about this tree and I take this as a declaration of war.

Oh, I will best him.  

This monster of boughs and twinkle will be fully lit and spreading Christmas joy whether the tree is willing to cooperate or not!  I will not lose this battle.

(p.s. I really do not like that tree.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Temple Square fun!

Last night our family packed up for family home evening and headed to downtown Salt Lake to explore the lights on temple square (maybe it wasn't family "home" evening since we weren't exactly at home).

Anyway, the weather was less frigid than it has been other years, but we still bundled up and drove ourselves to the city.

After scoring a fabulous (and, luckily, free) parking spot, we walked to the temple grounds for some sparkly, brightly lit, sweet, holiday fun!

Of course, as always, the lights were amazing.

We did stop to get warm in a couple of the visitor centers (and got to chat about some of the history of these amazing buildings).

And we got a little quirky as we went...which happens to us.  It's just part of who we are.

It really was a wonderful family outing.  My favorite thing is when we get to spend time together building memories that will tuck themselves away in the kid's minds hopefully laying a foundation of happiness and strength together that they can pull from forever after.  I really do adore these people.

Then we drove home (stopping for ice cream on the way back, of course, thanks to some Wendy's coupons).  What a great night.

At home, we found a box on the porch from some anonymous friends with goodies for the fam.  We really are blessed with the very best people in our life.  

The beauty and wonder and kindness all around us reminds us over and over of the reason that we celebrate this holiday.  I am forever grateful for the birth and life and example of my Savior, Jesus Christ, and I hope to be more and more like Him each day.  What a precious gift He has given us.

This night was a perfect way for our family to focus a little more fully on what really makes a Merry Christmas!  (and I wish the very same for your and your family)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

That's it! I officially hate my Christmas tree!

This is my Christmas tree.
See how he stands there with his lights and his ornaments all "Look at me, I'm so pretty.  I'm so special, everyone gaze upon my beauty."  

Rotten twerp.

Now, don't go taking his side before I even get started.  He may look sweet, but it is only a facade.  On the inside, he is the DEVIL!!!

This is his third Christmas season with our family.  We bought him brand new and brought him home and have given him a good life.  But is he grateful?  NO!

One night, a few days ago, my children came to me with sad, droopy faces to tell me that our tree had a spot with no lights.  Now, this supposedly (ha ha) pre-lit tree has lights strung strategically throughout its limbs so it is brightly lit from every angle....except upon inspection I found a huge gaping absence of lights.  Right there in the middle.  

See, centri-fied light absence.
 Huh.  That's weird.  So I jiggled the strand a little (sometimes a loose light can pop back into place that way).  No dice.  Needs more attention, I looked more closely.  

That's when I discovered that every single light on that strand now touted a dark shadow around its middle.  Every single light on the strand had blown.  I swear I could hear the tree start to chuckle as I worked.

Ok, I am nothing if not problem-solvy so I started in on the issue.  I deftly (HA!) stripped the lights from that section of the tree carefully unwinding them from each branch until I had detached them completely from the tree.  Yup, sure are all blown.  Weird.

Well, there wasn't much to do but to re-install another set of lights to replace the broken set.  Ok,  I can do that.  

I set to work.  That's when the tree decided on its next practical joke.  While I was in the shed getting out a new strand of lights the tree intentionally blew an entire other string of bulbs.  I came back inside to yet another dead section.  

The plot thickens.

This time the tree was gulping back its laughter.  But I could hear the tittering.  Oh, there was tittering...and it was coming from my verdant companion.  Stupid tree!

Fine.  I'll do another set.

Take them off (I have the plastic branch scratches all over my arms to show for it).  Meander new lights on empty branches.  Stand back and admire the beauty.  Aaaah.  Job well done.

But that is when Mr. Living Room Shrub hatched the next phase of his diabolical plot.  

TWICE more.  That's right, TWICE more over the next two days my friendly, lovely "Christmas Tree" plugged its nose and blew -- hard -- popping two more full strands of light.  So I got to repeat the "fun" of this lights and branches together time two more times.  Also, I got to take a trip to the store for two more strings of twinkle lights because I quickly ran out or spares.  This time I bought the fancy, warm, LED lights that supposedly last longer and use less energy and DON'T BLOW UP WHEN THEY ARE TURNED ON STRING BY STRING WHEN EGGED ON BY THEIR GREEN, FIR TREE MASTER!!!

Like I said, my tree is the devil.  The Devil.

Since we had apparently become mortal enemies (what I ever did to him I will never know) I chose to approach my tree and attempt to mend fences.  I think after a couple candid conversations we may be on the road to emotional recovery.  The relationship may survive; that remains to be seen.

The ball is in his court.

But he does look nice...for now.

Friday, December 5, 2014

A nativity evening

Last night our stake put on a fabulous Christmas activity.

So we packed up most of the crew (one was at Nutcracker dress rehearsal and one was at basketball practice...but four out of six isn't too bad) and headed out for some fun.  We also brought around my mom and two of my nephews just to add some spice to the adventure.

There were four rooms with displays of different kinds of nativity scenes.  There were beautiful ones, there were sweet ones, there were creative ones.  Some sparkled, some spun -- it was so much fun to see them all.

This one was my favorite.  The picture does not do it justice, it is incredible.  Maybe someday.

The stake also had coloring and activity pages for the kids and an ornament they could make as well as treats (heaven forbid there be a church sponsored activity that did not involve treats -- the idea is completely unacceptable!).

Because of the absence of milk, Ellie opted to dip her chocolate chip cookie in water.  Um, soggy yuck, but ok, little girl.

My favorite part was the manger scene set on the stage.  To the side a couple of sweet and adorable ladies helped clothe family members in appropriate attire and then the family could pose as part of a live nativity.   

Of course, we made Josh dress as the sheep (seriously, when there is an adult sized sheep costume available is there really any other option).  I really do adore that man; he is always such a good sport when we tease him (and I will leave out the part where I accidentally had him put the sheep costume on backward at first and the cute, little tail was placed in an interesting spot on his front...don't worry, we fixed it!).

After a couple of wardrobe adjustments we did all manage to get together for a nice picture.  What a fun activity and a really memorable night.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

This one's for you, Kathy

The other day I put up a post where I mentioned that I had looked at my 7th grade picture only to realize that my daughter does in fact look like me to some degree and my good friend, Kathy, asked for proof of that statement.

So, here you go Kathy-Jo.

It's slow in coming, but here is 7th grade Aubrey and 7th grade me sharing the same blog space.

(Logan told me, on seeing this lovely memory of me, that I look just the same as I did in 7th grade.  He said something like, "Wow, Mom, you looked just like a mom back then too."  Hmmmm, thanks, I think.)

Aubrey, of course, is much more lovely than I have ever been, but there is something of me in her looks after all.  I really do love that girl.  She is absolutely beautiful, inside and out.  I don't know what I did to manage to score her as my daughter, but I am really thankful she is mine.

Also, for your viewing pleasure, here is the 7th grade version of Josh.  

What a cutie pie!

And for your continued enjoyment, Josh in 9th grade...

bet you a dollar I would have had a crush on him if I had known him back then.  (FYI, I still have a crush on him now so it really isn't much of a stretch to imagine that.)  Yearbooks can be fun!

Monday, December 1, 2014

DeMoux family advent calendar

As it is the first day of December, today we started our family advent calendar.

Sometimes we have those little cardboard calendars from the store with a paper cupboard to open each day hiding a cute little chocolate inside, but this year we went with something different.

Welcome to the DeMoux Christmas Countdown!

This little lady is nothing particularly fancy.  I just laid out a long strand of plastic wrap, set a pile of 6 goodies in a line of 24 piles along the plastic, wrapped them inside, and tied ribbon between each of the treats creating an extended string of yumminess.  Then, I attached a pre-printed activity idea to each of the ribbons.  These included things like reading a story together, making marshmallow snowmen, creating treats out of birdseed to hang in the tree, singing carols to neighbors, and making paper snowflakes ( FYI the Santa sack below our festive strand holds the makings for crafts that we will do as we go along...I wanted everything together so I wasn't scrambling to find needed paper, cards, marshmallows or glue each day).  

Each day in December, as my children get home from school, we will unwrap one section of candy and perform the activity written on the paper slip.  Hopefully it will be some fun time together as a family and a little something sweet to look forward to each day for my sweethearts.

After all, it really is the most wonderful time of the year.

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