Sunday, January 31, 2010

December 2009: New Year's Eve Rockband

We celebrated New Year's Eve with a little Rockband. The boys loved that it was their turn to play, no having to beg some adult to give them their instrument. Their favorite songs to play were "Eye of the Tiger" and "Baby Won't You Drive My Car". Eyan was hilarious singing that Beatles song. "And Bebe I love you. Beep Beep ..Beep Beep Yeah!" Tate sings the intro beats to "Eye of the Tiger" all the time, its hilarious. Owen tore it up on the drums. My Dad and Mom joined us, of course, since its their game. And Mike really got into it. Lovin' his Mick Jagger stance. It was fun to try the hard level on the guitar since we had it on the "no fail" mode for the kids. I had so much fun rockin' these photos out!

Of course we celebrated New Year's Eve east coast time:-). We then headed over to Panda Express to bring home for a celebratory meal. Owen took some photos with his new digital camera (unfortunately little brother Tate erased them :-<) Lookin' forward to 2010!!!

December 2009: Christmas Morning At Grandma's

I love that my family lives so close that we can all be together on Christmas Morning as well. I love seeing the kids in their p.js. as well as the adults, even the men look forward to their new Christmas p.j.s. Most of mine are huge since this is my 4th Christmas being pregnant. I have to say that this year's p.j.s are super soft and happen to be the first animal print item in my closet.
I definitely look like I was up til 3:00am:-) Our cute little family.
The exchanging of gifts is so fun to watch.
Some of the faves this year:
Jesse's Laker's Snuggie from Liz, Tate's Mickey book from Grandma, Owen & Eyan's rolling backpacks from Savvy and Jack, Owen's Erector Set picked out by a very excited Grandpa, and of course Owen's favorite-books from Grandma. He was so disappointed earlier even after getting a digital camera, that we didn't get him any books this year. This kid has sooo many books, but he just plows through them.
This year I had fun making gifts for the cousins again: a tool belt for Davis and a jedi robe for Jackson:-)

December 2009: Christmas Morning - Just Us

I love the excitement of Christmas morning that comes with having little kids. Although Mom was tired after a long night:-), I was happy to be up. As per tradition, have to have the Christmas music playing and the video camera in one arm and the still camera in the other, before the kids can come down oldest to youngest. The scene: Beautiful sunny California Christmas morning, presents under the decorated tree-the kids did a great job of helping this year, baby Jesus in his soft manger from the boys' good deed straws, Santa and reindeer's nearly empty plate and mug, Santa's thank you note, and stockings full of fun surprises. My favorite new Christmas decoration this year was Eyan's present to me of an ornament of his hand print. I absolutely love it!

One by one Owen, Eyan, and Tate came down to see the sight, first noticing their unwrapped presents from Santa: O a kid digital camera, E an Iron Chef costume, and T a Mac truck. A marble run, legos, legos, and more legos, as well as a Darth Vader costume from Mom & Dad were also big hits:-)

Look at how cute this card is from Owen, a Santa made from his handprint:-)
Grandpa and Grammy Johnson's presents to the boys were also wrapped under the tree. For O, an I-Dog to plug in Daddy's I-Pod to listen to while cleaning his room (I'm ready to try anything). For E, a set of electronic drumsticks. For T, a Geo-Trax Lightning McQueen. Thank you Grammy and Grandpa - you knew just what we wanted ;-).

Monday, January 04, 2010

December 2009: The Polar Express

As a family we had intentions of traveling to the Grand Canyon for a Polar Express Train Ride during the Christmas season. It would have been so much fun, but it just didn't work out. Instead we created our own version of the Polar Express for the kids right here in Southern California. I loved how my sister put it, it really was MAGICAL.

Each year my mom buys matching pajamas for all grandkids to open on Christmas Eve. After they changed into their pjs, my mom in her animated and singing elf hat, announced to the kids that something special was about to happen. They had to listen carefully. My brother had downloaded a perfect train whistle sound and played very loudly out front on my mom's I-pod speakers. The kids weren't sure what was happening for awhile. Uncle Josh came out decked out in a conductor's uniform and passed out a special ticket to each of the kids. We quickly put on their coats, hats, and gloves as they raced out to the front yard.

My sister had borrowed a flat bed trailer from a friend and we had it decorated with garlands, lights, red&white striped ribbons, and sparkling snowflakes. As they boarded the train, Conductor Uncle Josh punched their ticket and gave them their special word.

"All Aboard" Mr. Conductor called out as all the kids were loaded onto the train and off we pulled to the North Pole, the chilly air as we went down the street sure gave a good California impression. On the train my mom had hot chocolate and cookies for each of the kids. As we chugged along the kids ate and listened to the soundtrack from the movie "The Polar Express", it was at that moment that the night became magical for me. The kids were smiling adorned with their hot chocolate mustaches and in anticipation of where we were going.

We pulled up to the North Pole and saw that Santa and his helper Auntie Liz were there to greet us. He greeted us with a jolly "Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas". He was very friendly and natural with the kids:-). Each of them received a special Christmas bell and a candy cane. I don't think I've ever seen a child more happy than my little nephew Jackson upon hearing that he would receive a bell. Even my wary Tate who had never wanted to see Santa before was won over by the magic of the Polar Express and sat on Santa's knee along side his big brother Owen. Savvy, however, was not enchanted by Santa's charm:-)

Upon returning back to Grandma and Grandpa's house we entered into a reverent scene of the Nativity with Joseph, Mary, and a baby Jesus there to greet us. Uncle Lukie and Aunt Kelly told the story of the Nativity and invited the children each to participate. It was a beautiful way to end our Christmas Eve with the celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

December 2009: Layton Family Christmas

This past year has been a rough one for my mother's family, actually I think its been tough on every family I have talked to. I think everyone was looking forward to 2010. Well my poor grandpa, my darling gramps, has had a very rough year, in and out of hospitals and assisted living homes since the beginning of the summer. It has been very difficult to watch him age so drastically this year as well as to see my poor grandma feel so lost without him. I have witnessed some tender moments exchanged between a loving daughter, my mommy, and her childlike father. I will never forget being there with her in hospital as she brushed his teeth, read him scriptures, and lovingly embraced her daddy.

This year we spent our family Christmas at his assisted living home. My mom and her siblings did a great job of decorating it and making it feel festive and inviting. We ate super yummy tamales (in past years we have made our own) in some flavors I had never had but that were so tasty, spinach and cream cheese, strawberry and cream cheese, and pineapple.

This photos are difficult for me to see, but I feel that they are very important to share. These last couple of years I remember hearing my grandfather speak of his love for his family so frequently. It is this wonderful family: my mother, my Aunt Kelly, my Uncle Steve, my Uncle Dave, and my grandma that have been by his side almost daily through these past many months of difficulty. I know if he could express it himself, he would wrap his arms around each one and thank them with all his heart. I love you grandpa. Love your Sweet Bree.


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