We have kept very busy this past month...but who hasn't? David and I finished our fall semester with excellent grades...I got an A in all my classes...I am the most proud of the A in Statistics! Yay me!! We are glad that David's 16 units and my 9 are behind us. Now we look forward to David's next 16 and my 10 for the Spring.
After we finished the fall semester we were able to focus on Christmas. We started the celebrations by holding our own, very unreverent, nativity on Monday, December 16th for Family Home Evening. It was great to share this story with the kids. There are so many things for me to teach them and time is so short. We really enjoyed acting out the nativity!
Throughout that last week of the kids' school we were able to go to all the children's holiday parties and to Faith and Hyrum's choir concert. It was very fun. Then on the Friday night before Christmas we were surprised by 3 wonderful ladies from the zoo. They brought with them 4 huge garbage bags full of presents for the whole family. In addition they brought us all a present to open that night, a sweatshirt for us all, and bags of toys for each of the kids. They all got some little zoo animals and the girls got a necklace and the boys a keychain. Nephi got the cutest stuffed dog! There was also an large envelope filled with a one-year zoo pass for the entire family, 4 family passes to the discovery museum, 4 family passes to a variety of museums throughout Sacramento, and a large gift card to Safeway! AMAZING!!! We had been a little concerned about Christmas...we had a Santa gift for all kids, but not much else. It was a blessing and we so appreciated it! We used our zoo pass for the first time on Tuesday, December 30th. I have a lot of pictures that I will upload all of those to Facebook in the next few days!
Then on the Tuesday before Christmas we went over to Grandma and Grandpa Morgan's house where we ate the most wonderful dinner, ham and cheesy potatoes, and wrapped some presents for a family that we had bought Christmas for. The kids loved playing with their cousins! Then guess who showed up....Santa Claus!! Apparently Grandma and Grandpa in their infinite wisdom had sent a letter to him letting him know we would all be there with most of the grandkids present (Natahlie and Skylar were in Idaho) and wondered if Santa could possibly come and visit. Let me tell you, Grandma and Grandpa were referred to as the "best grandparents ever" in my car on the way home!! Santa was a hit...but when isn't he? He read the kids a story and then proceeded to hand out a present for each child there. It was wonderful! The kids were perfectly spoiled and this will be a Christmas that they won't soon forget!
Christmas Eve was spent cleaning, because Santa can't bring toys to a messy house, and baking bread for friends. We took the kids to McDonald's for a fun dinner and followed that by delivering cookies and bread and caroling to some of our loved friends. We got home and the kids exchanged the gifts that they got for eachother (gotta love the 99cent store). After that they went to bed and fell asleep quickly thanks to some of Gloria's melatonin! As soon as they were asleep, David and I were ready for bed, but the fun for us was just beginning!!
We started wrapping presents around 8:30 or 9. Faith got up and, since she discovered the "truth" last year, became an elf. She got to help wrap presents and watch us set up all but her own gifts. She didn't even try to peek at hers, in fact when I told her that I was assembling her things, she said, "Okay. I won't look. I don't want to see what I got yet!" It was so cute and sooo Faith!! Then the migraine struck! It was a doozy. Poor David had to finish up everything while I layed on the floor and then finally just gave up the fight and went to bed. Dave showed up in bed after 2 am. What a great dad...He even remembered that Santa needed cookies and milk and that Santa usually leaves the kids a note. I was very impressed and so grateful that he didn't forget those two important things that I had missed!!
The kids were told the night before that they were not allowed to wake us up before 6 am!! So, at 4:30am in comes Vilate to tell us that they were awake and that they had "accidently" woken up Nephi. Oh was I mad!!! I got Nephi and he came to bed with us for a while. Once he was back to sleep I moved him back to his crib and then went to the kids and told them that they had to go in the girls room and shut the door. I threatened that if they woke up another kid, I would take their presents all away. They were quiet and came in at 6 asking us to get up...we responded with, "Are you kidding? You owe us and we aren't getting up until at least 6:30!" They of course sulked away and showed up again at 6:30 on the nose and at that point I realized it was useless! I gave up and got up. By 7 we had David up and we went to see the kids loot in the Living Room! They had a marvelous Christmas morning full of presents. Faith got an MP3 player, Hyrum got Heelies (skate shoes - that I found at a thrift store for $3), Vilate got an easel, Helaman got the Star Wars trilogy on DVD, Gloria got barbies and clothes for them and Nephi ended up with blocks. Those are the Santa presents. They each got gifts from the zoo which included clothes, cool socks, stuffed animals and toys. Grandma and Grandpa Cox had sent presents from Utah...the most coveted were the BYU shirts that they got for Faith and Hyrum...even Dave was wishing one was for him!! The kids also got lots of books from us. It was great. But I think that the biggest hit was the last present they opened. We had purposely wrapped up part of it and wrote on the paper that it had to be opened last. The kids were a little interested and when all the presents had been opened, they got the last one down and Gloria got the privilage of opening it. It was full of 11 Playstation 2 games. Then we told them to look in the entertainment center and there was loud screaming and hollering! The kids were so thrilled. You see a good friend of ours, John from David's days at Raleys, offered to sell it to us last year. Well, we decided last year that we had spent enough on Christmas and that it wasn't necessary. As this Christmas was approaching and we didn't have much, David and I went to John and asked if he was still willing to part with his PS2 and how much would he like for it. John, much to our surprise, stated that if it was a present for our kids there would be no charge and that he just wanted them to enjoy it! The kids really like John and Gloria is especially a fan...everytime we go to Raleys, she hunts him down and gives him a big hug!!
--side story -- when Dave first started at Raley's Gloria had just gotten tubes in her ears and was deathly afraid of men because of the way the doctors took her from David. John made it his mission to win her over. It took a lot of persistance on his part and much patience. Within a few months he owned her and she had him wrapped around her finger. It has been a wonderful relationship!
--back to Christmas--Later on Christmas day Grandma and Grandpa Morgan showed up with cash for the kids and adults and an Emergency Essentials Sanitation kit complete with a toilet! The kids thought it was really cool and kinda gross at the same time. My dad said that this is the first year he has ever given anyone a toilet for Christmas!! We were able to give my parents some notepads that we had made for them with each of their 20 grandchildren's self portrait on it. It turned out really nice!! With Grandma and Grandpa came Aunt Kelli. Kelli and Grandma Eve had gone in together on a great gift for the kids...a white mouse named Freddie.
---another side story here---We had originally purchased a hampster. Okay, I am not a huge animal lover, but I thought a hampster would be a good pet for our family. So, I went and got a Winter White Dwarf Hampster from Petsmart. We got the hampster to Kelli's house about 5 days before Christmas so that it could get used to it's new home. Kelli called me the second day saying that the hampster was hissing at her. Who has ever heard of a hissing hampster? I thought she was crazy and totally over reacting...until I saw it. Holy smokes!!! This hampster was evil! I walked by the cage and it jumped at the cage wall hissing at me and baring it's teeth. That would have been the worst thing for Vilate to see. So, I immediately called Petsmart and the next day, Christmas Eve, Kelli and I headed there to return the possessed hampster for something a little safer. The cashier recommended a mouse and we immediately fell in love! Freddie was so sweet. I held him and he seemed much more pleasant!! We took him to Kelli's and he seemed very happy in his new home!
---back to Christmas Day---So, when Kelli came with my parents we brought down Freddie and the kids were thrilled to have their own pet!! Following the visit with my parents and sister, Aunt Traci and Uncle Dan showed up. The kids loved showing off their loot yet again!
We finished the day with a wonderful dinner of ham and cheesy potatoes. The kids love dinner on Christmas because we use the nice plates and they get to drink Martinelli's Sparkling Cider in real glass goblets. They love to do "cheers" as they refer to toasts. It is hilarious!!
So, that was our Christmas celebration! Sorry it took so long to post! I hope that you all enjoyed your celebration of the Savior's birth as much as my family did!