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Each day with the nativity advent calendar that we have the kids pull out a strip of paper that tells them a special Christmas activity to do for the day. We stole this idea from a friend but it was a major hit. A lot of the days were learning Christmas songs, reading Christmas stories, baking Christmas treats, etc, but it gave my kids a lot to look forward to every morning when they would rush to the advent calendar. The trips to Tilden, the Temple, and meeting Santa were all fun activities pulled out of the calendar. Here are a smattering of the other activities we have been up to.

Christmas Tea Party:
Big time hit! A little cocoa in our cocomotion, everyone in dress up, fancy tea party dishes, and we had a great afternoon.
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We made Christmas ornaments:
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We baked sugar cookies:
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We had a shopping day! This had a ton of build up to it. I wanted my kids to buy presents for each other, but they have no money, so the whole month, they could do a special job and get an “x” and 5 x’s earned them a dollar. The jobs were pretty easy, but wow, they were motivated to help me. I am going to have to figure our some sort of similar system for regular life, because I loved having helpful kids.
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You can see that Olivia did amazing! And usually Peter does not respond to reward gimmicks, but he did to this one. The day for shopping came and they took their stack of one dollar bills to target and we split up and they chose gifts for their siblings and it was so cute to see how they thought about what to get each other. Spencer less so since he is only 13 months! He just honestly was in love with the toy aisle at Target. What a very fun outing!

And I have to get some photos off my phone for the other activities, so that will have to wait for another night. Peace out friends!

Meeting Santa!

Our Primary at Church arranged for a wonderful Santa night for the children. They came into the church, put their name on a list and then got to go into a magical room with endless donuts and milk to wait for their turn to see Santa. Super amazing, right! When it was our turn, the kids were excited. Livvy had a chance to sit on Santa’s lap at Tilden and ask for a toy Christmas tree, but Peter and Spence wouldn’t try it. But this time they were all gung-ho for it. At least at first.

Livvy was so cute and again asked for a toy Christmas tree. This request came a little bit out of left field, usually it is 100% focus on Disney things, but luckily I had some elves to help me figure out some options.
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Peter got way nervous and was a bit suspicious of this Santa fellow, but we really wanted a pirate ship, so he gave it a go.
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And Spence, well, you’ll see.
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Spence recovered nicely once he was back in my arms, but who know what he wants for Christmas!

The first weekend in December I bundled up my kids and we went to Tilden and The Temple. This was an activity with the YW and it was so much fun. I don’t have many pictures of the Merry go round at Tilden, but it is gorgeous, all lit up and decorated for Christmas, with a huge Christmas village. They even had a Santa there and a mini-reindeer. The merry go round is surrounded with all these beautiful trees decorated in hand made ornaments that you can buy. If I wasn’t trying to keep three kids from breaking something, I definitely would have looked closer and bought something because the ornaments were so pretty. First, off, I have to give a big shout-out to the YW at our church. At these youth activities I am usually there with all three kids who are usually acting all hyper and weird and the YW are always so helpful and sweet with my kids. On this night, they wanted to carry my kids around, load and unload them into the car, take them around to see neat things, and just make them laugh and smile. Such a blessing.
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And then we went to see the lights at the Oakland temple. Here is a photos of me and the YW pres with our laurels (the 16-18 girls). We are missing two of the girls, but at least I have a documented photo. I love these young ladies so much!
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Bryant finished up work and met us at the temple, so we go a fam shot, sort of.
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We ate hot cocoa and fresh chocolate chip cookies and the headed back to the warm car and home!

My kids are at such a fun age and this month has been so full of excitement and adventures! I thought I would share some highlights of what we have been up to.

December 1st, our elves came back from the North Pole, bringing a delicious breakfast and treats. The donuts and candy for breakfast were a huge hit!
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Then came jobs and exploring:
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Then later that afternoon we went ice skating. I do love ice skating and it was so much fun to teach Livvy and Peter and not too hard. Peter just went with the flow and learned to just let me steer his feet between mine, and Livvy actually learned to skate her feet along.
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Spence was concerned that he was not out on the ice having fun, but soon, buddy, soon!

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Then we had to get the tree ready!
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And put the star on top!
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So happy to GO!

Do you need a smile today? I know I do-I just can’t think about the tragedy in CT without looking at my own children and tearing up. So, to pick up my spirits yesterday Spence gave me something. Spence finally put it all together and started walking! He has been taking little steps for a while, but, oh boy, he is excited to be able to get around! You can tell in his happy laugh that he is loving walking!

Okay, so time is flying by! Less than two weeks to Christmas! But we have been busy and I have to make a record of it before it is all forgotten. So the last week of October we went to SoCal for a fun vacation and met up with my fam from Utah. We did a couple beach days, a couple Disney days and had the most fantastic time. Bryant had a conference for the second half of the week, so he maybe had less fun— I don’t think tax law conferences have a remote possibility of being more fun then Disney right!

We started the day off going right to Cars Land which was a hit. If you don’t know, Peter is kookoo for Cars, and that place is so just like radiator springs that he was in heaven.
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That afternoon Granny and Pop, Sarah and I and the two princesses got to go to the princess lunch! It was a dream come true.
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The next day was beach all day and Halloween all night. You might be curious if Bat-Pooh-Sheriff made a return appearance and no, sadly, but regular Winnie-Batman did come, along with Princess Belle once again.
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The next day, back to Disney. Holy Smokes, I love Peter! I mean, look at that suspicion! He knows that he does not need to be swooning over a Cinderella lady!
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Same thing happened with Aurora! Kendell on the other hand did swoon, just to be close to Aurora!
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The second day at Disney, I was without Bryant and a bit worried about keeping all my kids content and not lost, but my parents totally helped a ton, and Nate too, so it ended up being so fun!

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So, yes, there have been a million pictures in this post so far, but hold on, because there is more to cover. First off, Livvy is tall enough to do a lot of rides, and there were no lines so she did Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain Railroad with me! I can’t believe she is that big. And it was awesome to have lots of other fam there to trade off in the stroller line with.

So, the perfect Disney moment happened to us! One of those times we were waiting with the stroller kids and we saw Cinderella walking in front of the castle with no line around her, so we dashed over. Livvy jumped out of her stroller to run over faster and she really did lose one of her shoes in the stroller as she jumped. So Cinderella notices and says in a high Cinderella voice “Oh, did you lose one of your shoes too?” And Livvy looked down and realized that she had and realized that this was Cinderella asking the question of the lost shoe and Livvy became very serious and quietly said, “Yes.” And then Cinderella took her back to the stroller and bent down and placed her shoe on Livvy’s foot. Livvy was speechless for one rare moments in her life! Cinderella had just placed her lost shoe back on her foot. How awesome is that?
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And me and my sister and a bunch of our kids!
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I miss Disneyland already! And I miss family! Someone come visit me!

Yesterday we celebrated Spence turning one! He had so much fun just observing how hyper and excited his siblings were for his birthday. Every time Spence would open a present Peter would say, “Oh great, my favorite.” We can just hope Spence has a chance to actually play with his own toys.
First item on the agenda for the birthday boy: his own Super Spence birthday crown! I was so surprised that he kept it on!


Then presents



The chocolate cake time!






Cute baby boy! Who is not quite such a baby anymore.

Some fun things about Spencer these days:

He says mama, dad, Pee (Peter), and la (maybe Livvy). He also says salsa, bath, ball and lots of vroomy noises when he plays with trucks and cars. There is this painting that hangs above the chair where I rock him to sleep. When he is resisting falling asleep he often sits up, points at the painting and says “that” with utter seriousness like he is an art appraiser noting some great work of art. He has done it dozens of times and I always crack up and play with him for a bit because it is so cute.

He crawls back and forth across the whole house so fast, climbs anything, and loves being outside. He is a lost soul when his brother and sister aren’t around to entertain him! He is so sweet and curious and an amazing blessing for our family!

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