Friday, December 30, 2011

Some Skiing Fun

We have been doing our best to fit in a couple of ski days over this Christmas break. When we couldn't make it happen during the day, Shawn and I decided to make a date night out of it. I'd never been night skiing before, but I really liked it. There were no crowds. We could find runs with almost no one else on them, and the cold (which I was most worried about) wasn't that bad either. This is definitely a repeat activity - for date night or with the older kids. (There's still that bedtime thing to work with with the younger ones.) More snow would be nice though. A few of those runs are still a little rough on the skis.Shawn also managed to get up to Snowbird to ski with our friend, George. (I got to stay home with our continually sick children. It's been a rough break as far as that goes.) It was a beautiful ski day, and started out well....
...but unfortunately ended like this.
Not to worry, though. It wasn't a torn meniscus as we feared. Just a strain that should heal in not too long with a bit of physical therapy. Poor George. Every time he skis with Shawn something happens to cut the day short. Last time it was a broken binding on Shawn's ski, and this time, a knee injury (also on Shawn.) Here's to more snow and more skiing!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Handmade for Christmas

It's not often that I go the hand-made route for gifts. First of all, I'm just not that crafty. Most sewing projects leave me gritting my teeth and trying not to swear at my sewing machine, or throw things. (I'd like to say the machine is the problem, but it's much more likely that I'm the problem. My machine and I have gotten on a little better in our past couple of meetings, so maybe there's still hope.) Then of course, there's the whole time crunch thing I run into. By the time I get around to whatever project, I've run out of time to actually complete it. However, this time, I was thinking way in advance, and managed to pull it all together in time for Christmas.

These are the waitress kits I made for 2 of my nieces and for my two younger girls. (I have to admit, I got the idea from my friend Eliza. Her sister-in-law gave this to her girls as a gift last year.) My girls love playing restaurant, taking our orders and delivering the food (pretend or real), so I hoped it would be a hit. When I found the owl fabric, I thought it would make a cute apron. It just so happened that when I went to Target looking for some sort of tray, I found the owl plates and decided they would work perfectly. Each apron has a pocket just the right size for holding a pencil and a restaurant check book. And of course, you can't play restaurant without menus, so I included 2 of those - well laminated - as well.
And then, since I was on a roll and had planned in advance, I dug into my fabric scraps and pulled out felt pieces to make some felt food to go with it. I made each of the girls eggs, pancakes and bacon:
and bowtie pasta with red sauce. (Both of these meals, were of course, listed on the menus.)
I have to admit, that was the most fun I've had playing with food in a long time. The felt food was so easy and fast. I think next time I can find a little spare time, I'll whip up some more. Here are my nieces taking orders at our family party.
It was a little tricky keeping it a secret from my girls. Obviously they saw me working on them, but I just told them I was making them for their cousins, and surprised them with their own sets on Christmas.
It was really a fun project. And clearly, since I was able to do it, then you know it was also a fairly easy one. Now we have to see if this leads to any more sewing projects for me in the future. (Don't hold your breath, though.)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Eve 2011

The first part of Christmas Eve day was fairly low key - cleaning up the ski stuff from the day before and cleaning up the house and maybe running a few last minute errands. Unfortunately, poor Amelia woke up not feeling well and spent the day in bed as we went to our various festivities. I think she was completely exhausted and a fever was her body's way of saying she needed some rest.

In the afternoon, our first stop was at my Grandpa Backman's house to celebrate with all of my Mom's family. We visited for a little bit while everyone was eating, but had to move on to our next stop before they got to the nativity and presents.
We made a quick stop at home to check on Amelia and to pick up presents and then headed over to Grandma Cathy's for Christmas Eve dinner.

Samantha is being well trained in the art of making ebelskivers. I hope that this will serve us well one day soon since neither Shawn or I have ever actually made ebelskivers ourselves. (We do have a lovely pan but it is waiting to be seasoned.)

We are sitting patiently at the table waiting to gorge ourselves.
I laugh every time I see this picture because it looks like Jonas has eaten himself sick, but really, it's just a bad photo, he had barely gotten started.
That's more like it. (There were more foods available but Jonas, as usual, stuck to just the basics.)
More cooking.
Ah, ebelskiver perfection.
After getting sufficiently full, we moved onto the next phase of the evening - more present opening. Generally, Cathy goes with some sort of theme so it is fun to see what it will be each year. Everyone has nice, big boxes.

And we each wait patiently until it is our turn.

What could it be?

Oh, there's a little hint on that box I'm holding...

Of course, we give presents, too.
Peter, offering his present opening services once again.

So, what is it that we all went home with? A brand new pair of Uggs for each of us. We will all have toasty warm toes for the rest of the winter!We didn't stay too long since Amelia was at home alone, so we headed home to wrap up Christmas eve there. We had to wake Amelia up to open a present. I felt so bad, but knew she would be upset to miss out.
Everyone is excited to open one last present before going to bed.

And the Christmas pajamas are on and everyone is ready for bed. (Well, at least Shawn and I were ready for everyone to go to bed.)

Seriously, how many pictures does it take to get just one where everyone looks decent? (Apparently more than we were willing to take.)

And finally, one last sleep before the big day.

A Very Judy Christmas

Shawn put the annual December 23rd Marsh Family Christmas celebration on the calendar in those words: "A Very Judy Christmas." When Jonas saw it, he moaned and said, "Ohhhh, do I have to go to that play?" Only if you want to celebrate Christmas with your family, I guess. It made us laugh.

It was a little tight to rush back from skiing, get almost everyone somewhat presentable and head downtown, but we made it - only a little bit late. It didn't help that trying to park downtown near Temple Square at Christmas time is already a bit of a nightmare. We ended up parking quite a bit farther away than we intended to and made quite a spectacle carrying folding chairs and bags of presents with kids trailing behind us. Oh well, we're used to the whole spectacle thing.

Once we got there, of course, the first order of business was finding cousins to hang out with. I love this picture of Samantha and Joey. (By the way, in our rush to get out the door, I forgot my camera, so all photos in this post are courtesy, once again, of Michelle. Good thing she was more prepared than I was.)
Peter had to hang with the girls since Rob and Michelle weren't kind enough to supply him with a same-aged cousin. (Matt and Anne either for that matter. He's kind of on his own.)

All the kids were spread around the place at different tables since the main table just isn't big enough to accommodate everyone.

Silly girls.
Peter was at a table with cousins Clara and Charlie. It was fun to have them in town for a few days, too.
Dinner prep is underway with all of the kids sitting ready and waiting for the grub.

This picture looks like Shawn was giving a big speech or something, but I think I would have remembered if he did, so I think he was just standing there.
And the great gathering around the table begins...

A few of the attendees:
My Grandpa Backman and Grandma Janet (They always get a special invite.)
My brother Dan with his hideous "Brigham beard" and his wife, Lisa.
My brother Jake with two of his fans.

My brother Rob (looking his best) with his wife, Michelle.
(And a slightly more tame picture of the two of them.)
My brother Matt, with his wife Anne, and baby, Colin.
I guess we missed a picture of my parents and of course my brother Joe and my brother Rich and his family weren't there. Still a full house.

The kids all love Uncle Dan. (It may have something to do with the fact that he usually has some sort of candy in his pockets for them, but I could be wrong.)
No get together with these boys would be complete without at least some time spent staring at a gameboy or ipod or something.
Apparently there was enough space and leisure time for a little light reading.
A little time spent chatting before listening to my Dad's words of wisdom and watching a couple of videos he wanted us to see.

As always, the view is spectacular.

And finally, it was time to open presents.
No one gets to open presents without help in this crowd.

I just love how all of the kids gather around to see every present that is opened - whether it will interest them or not.

Even Peter got lots of help.

For a kid who talks non-stop about going to the zoo and seeing the animals, an elephant fur-real pet is just the right thing. He loves it.

Samantha had a pretty good idea what her present was and couldn't wait to tear into it.

Yes, just the thing she was hoping for - Hermione's wand.
She began practicing her spells right away.

Duffy was pretty excited about her Tangled doll, as well.

These are the waitress "kits" I made for my nieces. My girls were begging for them, too. I think the girls seemed to like them since they were busy taking everyone's orders for the rest of the evening.

Ellie and Amelia got some American Girl clothes and magic hair detangler. (Something our dolls are in great need of.)

More order taking.

Peter, once again showing his willingness to step in and help in a time of need. We gave Joey Snape's wand, so of course there were wizarding duels taking place almost immediately. (We had to put a quick kabosh on unforgivable curses.)
Shawn and Michelle were clearly having a fun time.
It ended up being a very late evening and our kids were all exhausted, but it was so nice to spend time with family enjoying the Christmas spirit.