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December 2015 - Christmas in Indiana

Merry Christmas!

We hit the road a couple of days after Granny's funeral to make the trek to Indiana for Christmas. The  kids did great the whole way.  I think it was harder on the adults!  We left at 4am and the first 8 hours were really bad due to wind and snow.  I-70 was closed unless you had chains and we were only a couple of hours in when we passed a sign saying I-80 was closed due to an avalanche warning.  Kyle screamed "Noooo!" and woke up the kids :).  We were so relieved to have Wyoming behind us!!  And we were very glad to have been driving an SUV with all-wheel-drive instead of our Toyota Matrix.  We got a new Mazda CX-9 only a week before the trip so that we can fit baby #3.

We pounded out 14 hours the first day and then stopped for the night in Nebraska before continuing for another 10ish hours the next day.  The kids thought that sleeping in a hotel was amazing.  The weather on the drive home was clear and wonderful. although Tyler did poop his pants in Kickapoo, IL!  Luckily they had a dirty gas station for me to clean him off in :).

Tyler did start crying at one point in the car and we asked what was wrong.  His response: "I can't see my legs!!"  (it was dark out and he was obviously very tired)

It was so nice to be surrounded by family and to have so much time with cousins.  We kind of went house to house during our stay from December 23-January 1.

Some of the highlights:

Making gingerbread houses and have Christmas Eve at Grandma and Grandpa's house with Brendan and Whitney's family.  Alexa and I made a Gingerbread Castle--an idea she got from her Nutcracker book--and Kyle and Tyler made Sauron's tower complete with a rice krispie dragon.  Then the cousins acted out the nativity together with Alexa as Mary, Jeffrey as Joseph, Tyler and Caleb as wise men, Carra as an angel, and Chase as a sheep.

Mom and Dad rented a lodge where we all stayed for 2 nights as a big happy family.  It was complete with a petting zoo / mini working farm and a pond where Jason taught Alexa to fish.  I loved it because we were all together in the same place!  We even got to play a big game of Scum and did Reverse Charades with the gang.

Acting for reverse Charades:

The kids got to go bowling and ice skating for the first time in their life.

Kyle and I got to do sealings at the new Indianapolis Temple.

And the kids (Tyler especially) had lots of light saber battles with cousins.

We had some other great laughs during the trip, including one night playing Scattegories with Mom and Dad.  For a tropical place starting with the letter 'P' Dad put Poland.  And for a dairy product starting with the letter 'P' he put plants.  For a weapon starting with the letter 'T' Mom put tambourine.  I'm starting to worry about their sanity.

We had lots of fun nativity performances this month besides the one on Christmas Eve.  Also, Kyle was talking at dinner about what he had just read in the scriptures and started reading a verse "And it came to pass..."  Alexa said that she had a scripture to share too, and we said to wait until Daddy was done.  Then she did THIS.  And our jaws dropped.  We both looked at each other and asked if the other one had been practicing with her.  Nope.  So we asked her how she learned this on her own.  She said she just read the book over and over again.  We have a nativity story book with Marmie and Grandpa reading the story and she listened to it enough that she memorized it.

Right after we recorded this she said she knew more and then shared "And there were shepherds abiding in the field keeping watch over their flock by night.  And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them and shone round about them and they were so afraid.  And the angel said fear not, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.  In the City of David shall be Christ the Lord!!!"  That girl never ceases to amaze me.  She was so proud to share it with us.

The cousins performed a hilarious Nativity for Granny while she was home on hospice care.  Tyler was an adorable Joseph, Alexa was an angel continuously declaring "good news!", Kyle was the star shining brightly, Quinn was a sheep, and Kenzie was Mary with the closest thing to a baby we could find at Granny's house--Mr. Potato Head wrapped in a blanket.

To end, here are some other December highlights:

Alexa performing at the Christmas recital for her preschool.  They sang a couple of songs in English and a couple in Spanish.  Grandma and Grandpa Sweeny even came to watch.

Getting to see Santa Claus twice!  Alexa asked for makeup and Tyler asked for an orange for Christmas.  Santa said he might have to wait until Alexa was older to get her makeup and he pulled an orange out of a basket next to him for Tyler right there on the spot.

Taking Alexa to see The Nutcracker at Capitol Theater.  It really helped that she knew the story from our Nutcracker book.  Otherwise, I think she might have been a little too young for the no-dialogue two-hour performance.  She loved going down to see the orchestra during intermission.

I was honored and surprised to win the "Legacy" award at our company Christmas Party this year.  Here's the video they put together and showed at the party when they presented it.  They faked me out and interviewed me for our CFO so that I thought I knew who the winner was!


  1. The Thrive Legacy award video made me cry. I am so amazed by you. You are my superhero and I love you! <3 Anne


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