Wednesday, December 25, 2013

"...and to all a good night."

Well, it's officially Christmas Eve and I am just now getting to take pictures of our Christmas decorations (for those of you that were asking) so...sorry about that. The good news is that Santa has already come! So now you can see all the goods! James is pooped so he's already asleep and I want to be too because it's REALLY late and we are getting up nice and early this might be a little short.

First, I should tell you about the rest of our Christmas Eve. I flew home (well, I guess to the new home because home really is wherever James is, but whenever I say "home," it will always mean California) to Florida this morning and that was really hard emotionally. Christmas Eve is always such an amazing night in our house. Hot chocolate, Christmas movies, sleeping squished up next to my sisters in my bed (yes, they all sleep with me!) I didn't go to sleep last night since I was packing and trying to console my poor mama. But my dad woke up and took me early this morning. I hate rushed goodbyes, especially with my dad. I slept a huge chunk of the way to the airport and I was so mad at myself for it. It's the only time I get Ashley-dad talks and he was so tired that I should've been talking to him while I had the chance. Ugh!! And then when we got there, I was late because I had forgotten to take out cash the day before so I had to make a stop at the bank. So anyway, after many many tearful goodbyes--the worst part of my trip--I flew home to my sweetheart, which made it a little better.

I was also really scared because so many flights had been delayed from the crazy weather & it being Christmas Eve. I knew how much it meant to James that he spend Christmas Eve at the big get-together his family has every year (that he's missed for 3 years now-mission & college) so I was so scared I wasn't going to make it. But Heavenly Father answered my prayers and I arrived right on time!

So after that, we went straight to his parents' house. And I have to say, after you're really sad from leaving your family, it is the greatest thing ever to come back to your other family and be immediately surrounded with love & big hugs. BEST. FEELING. EVER. After that, I got back into the Christmas spirit. Their party was awesome!! I was so stuffed from all the delicious food and it was awesome to know almost every person that walked through the door! There was games, so much food & desserts, and of course chatting. It was a really nice Christmas Eve and we stayed pretty late because we enjoyed ourselves so much.

So now we're home and exhausted. But I couldn't resist showing off our holiday cheer. So here it is!

Please don't mind the ghetto hooks. We don't have a fireplace. Haha Mine is the left, James's is the right.
This is most of all we could do this year. But we'll be adding more & more decorations each year!
J-O-Y jars my Mom made us last year.
They change every holiday! How talented is she?!
This was supposed to be all on one big
serving tray, but we couldn't find one this year. Boo.

LOVE getting these!! I'm missing my other cute sister's because it got left at my parents. Kill me. So sorry sissy!
So there it is. We didn't go too crazy, and our house isn't even all the way set up yet, so for this year, it will have to do. I am so so excited for James to open his presents tomorrow. Stay tuned to see how I scored major wife points!! Merry Christmas everyone! We love you!......zzzzzz......

Thursday, December 12, 2013

christmas cards & cones.

Alright. Fess up. You love the holidays like that camel loves Hump Day.

I won't even try to hide it - I looove the holidays!! I think it really is a pretty magical time of year. And I've been trying to make sure we were able to decorate and celebrate to the fullest, even with our meager budgets. Isn't that what all the most touching Christmas stories are created with?

The first thing on my to-do list was Christmas cards. It is a tradition I have always loved, (one that is sadly slowly dying off) and one that I plan on doing every year for the rest of our lives. We tried to get a little creative this year, since we're living in Florida now and let's be honest, there is no such thing as a "winter" here. [Our family thinks I'm a whiner I'm sure, but it's just not Christmas is you can't wear a big ole jacket!] So we had a little fun with our Christmas card pictures this year...


Thank goodness my sister-in-law is the puppet master of a camera. She is incredibly talented and we're always so so thankful when she says she will take a photo for us! [In fact, feel free to check out her amazing blog!] After that was crossed off, we had other things to focus on, like our tree, but I'll save that for it's own post because I'm pretty proud of how that little number came out.

I have also been called to serve in the Primary as the "Faith in God Activity Coordinator." Basically, I get to plan all the activities for the cutest, most fun girls in primary, the 8-11 year olds! So for our first activity, since it was so close to Christmas, I had the girls decorate Christmas trees out of ice cream cones & candy. They LOVED it!! They were so cute about how professional or how silly they wanted them to look and their eyes bulged out of their heads when they saw all the candy laid out to decorate with and snack on (sorry parents!) When I took these pictures, two of the girls had gone to the bathroom together and I didn't get a chance to take any more. :( But how awesome are they!?

Yes, that bottom left one is mine. Theirs were way more fun!!
Then I read them this story I found called "Teach The Children." I wasn't a HUGE fan of it for kids, because it's long and some parts are a little over their heads, but nevertheless, they participated! It's a story about how a child catches Santa on Christmas Eve and he's putting ornaments on the tree, and after each one, he says "Teach the children that [this] symbolizes [that]."  It is supposed to show children to teach other children that Christmas is more than presents & greed & fast-paced. I had the girls make bracelets and for every symbol read in the story, I told them to pick a bead out of this box of them (that a sweet lady in the Relief Society donated) that represented that symbol.

We used twine and tiiiiny beads, so the activity didn't work that well, but they tried and they got the point so that was all that mattered to me! I'd say a pretty successful first activity!

So just know that Christmas is slowly but surely starting to make its way into the Anderson home and we can't wait to show you everything else we have in store! YAY for the holidays!!