Thursday, February 18, 2016

White Christmas

I was SO excited to have a white Christmas this year! We had the perfect snowfall Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to make me completely content hanging out inside, in pajamas most of the day.
I know everyone says this, but Christmas just continues to get more magical having a little guy to share it with. It's so fun to discover these things for the first time and learn about the magic of the season. He clearly didn't grasp the concept, but loved all of the sparkly lights, the fun music, and cool decorations, especially Mor Mor and Grandpa's village display.
Christmas Eve we spent the early afternoon prepping our Christmas Eve dinner and cleaning up the house and ourselves. Everything turned out super yummy and right on schedule so everything was hot! I have to give a little bit of the timing credit to myself - I made a conscious effort to time it right and it actually worked!
While we were finishing up we had White Christmas (one of my favorite movies) playing in the background. I was so proud of my boys for enjoying it! haha

cheesy Christmas outfits - I couldn't resist. Carter's sweater was Brad's when he was little!
Carter opening a gift from Mor Mor and Grandpa - he LOVES to help Mor Mor clean
It was so fun setting up Christmas this year - especially with the tool set!
Christmas morning was a blast and Carter enjoyed helping everyone open their presents. He was spoiled this year with tools, balls, books, and puzzles. He's really grasping the idea of puzzles and loving it! I feel so proud as I watch him do his puzzles and browse through his books!

Carter helping the men shovel
Christmas was so much fun, sharing and celebrating with the family. We had some unfortunate drama that threw off the night and caused a bit of heartache, but through prayer and focusing on the positive, we were able to enjoy the company of those that were there and pray for those that weren't. We are hoping our family will start growing some more sooner than later so Carter can have some siblings and cousins to share these memories with on this side! 
I am so grateful for this time of year and the special effort we make to spend time together, give, and serve one another. I pray every year that I will be able to continue to improve every year as I try to help our family focus on the true meaning of Christmas. 

A few days later we had the chance to get together with my high school friends and their little families. It was so fun to see everyone! It's so great to see how much our crew has grown over the years!

Early Christmas in AZ

We went down to AZ for a few days before Christmas. Even when it's my family's year for Christmas we still like to make a trip down to AZ sometime during the holiday to spend time with AZ family and friends. Since Brad's family was going to be in NY after Christmas we went before to celebrate and have an early Christmas with them.
First things first, on our way down to Arizona Brad received an email from BYU letting him know he had been accepted to their full time MBA program!!!!!!! We were SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited to get this news! Brad and I both REALLY wanted him to get into BYU. We are so grateful and humbled by the opportunity we will have this next fall to be a part of the BYUMBA community. We will be moving down to Provo in the Summer to fully embrace the life and culture of the grad student families. This will be such an exciting change for us!

this is Brad's excited face - so full of expression ha
Carter and Lizzie had a lot of fun waking up to each other every day and actually played really well together throughout the week. They are like brother and sister: best friends and worst enemies. But they had minimal fighting that week - I'm guess because the toys were in a neutral location - no "mine" going on. 
We had fun hanging out around the house with family, visiting with friends, and carrying on our traditions of the season. 
matching jammies getting ready to meet Santa
for some reason I really love this one...
Lizzie clearly has stranger danger - Carter seemed quite comfortable up there
in front of the tree with Grammy & Papa
it's exhausting be so cute - roaming around Bass Pro Shop
Christmas Sunday snap shots:

cannot get these two to hold still haha

Mesa Temple Lights:

Early Christmas Eve:

ninja turtle pajamas - Brad's childhood favorite
the boys all got Nerf guns for Christmas - a war definitely broke out that night
We had a great week, filled with more laughter than my cheeks or abs could handle. It was fun getting to know Clara's future fiance better and have everyone be together. We enjoyed weather where I could go out to the car barefoot and not freeze - it was perfect weather! Of course we made a trip to Last Chance and got some steals there as well. I enjoyed spending some time with my girl friends, unfortunately I didn't snap any pics. 
We were spoiled for Christmas and ate really well all week long. 
The best Christmas gift I received from my Marsh family is this beautiful piece of art:

I literally started bawling when I opened it. I have been eyeing this piece for years! My mother in law and I share a great appreciation for this artist and her insights. This one is called "A woman waiting for her house to grow" This clearly has a lot of sentimental meaning to me, as we continue to wait for the opportunity to be selected for adoption. It proudly sits on my mantle and will stay there for as long as we are here. It makes my heart so happy and I feel like it depicts my feelings so well!


The month of December was filled with classic traditions and new memories too! December is always such a fun month and always seems to fly by way too fast. I always try to make the goal to have Christmas shopping done before December so I can do a better job of focusing on making memories as a family and focusing on the true reason for the season.
We started off with our tradition of dinner and Festival of Trees with the Foxes. It's so fun! Carter slept through most of it last  year so it was fun to see his reaction to so much more of it this year.

Some Favorites:

This year we went to Temple Square with Ron, Hannah, and Lizzie. Apparently we had the same idea as everyone else - I have NEVER seen it as packed as it was that night! So we didn't really walk around too much, but we enjoyed a yummy Kneaders dinner and window shopping at City Creek.

Also, clearly we shop together, and have a lot of the same taste haha we are matching almost from head to toe, stroller and bag. And I was so close to wearing my Hunter boots too. 

Carter is getting more and more entertaining every day. Here are some fun snap shots of his latest favorites and funny moments:

his territory when mom & dad are making the bed
his favorite place to snuggle his "baby"
so proud he climbed from the couch to the window seat
getting a kick out of his own chocolate covered Oreo face
his own light to turn "non"
helping daddy polish his shoes
not so sure about the snow
aftermath of a painting project for birthmom, Courtney
he discovered "selfie mode"
And some of my favorites of our Christmas decorations this year. We got a new, bigger tree this year. Unfortunately the budget didn't allow me to "fill" my tree, so we improvised and made more of my childhood tree with our childhood ornaments gifted and homemade. It was fun to have a whimsical, more sentimental tree. Although it may seem pathetic, I'm proud of myself for letting go of my Martha Stewart blood and embracing the magic of childhood Christmas decor.

Also, I got to throw a little baby brunch for a dear friend to celebrate her little boy on the way. I went with the mustache theme and ran with it! It was so fun and turned out pretty cute!

I also got to meet up with my BYU sisters again, always a treat this holiday season!!!