Saturday, December 29, 2007

Wonderful White Christmas

This Christmas felt like a magical dream; a soft, powdery Utah snow fell on Christmas Eve, we had our first Christmas snuggled in our cozy home, and we were surrounded by loved ones and family.

Tad and Lisa were able to approach their Christmas preparations with muscles kneaded to supple, stress-free perfection after their anniversary celebration of a couple's massage. The Japanese spa was a perfect zen experience involving a steam room, a warming room, scented lotions, and some serious pampering. So Santa was especially jolly this year.

Of course the kids had weeks of Christmas preparation that we won't recount in too much detail. Suffice it to say that they made the cutest Family Home Evening Joseph and Mary (with Crosby playing a restless sheep/donkey) we've ever seen and they positively stuffed themselves with various treats dropped off by neighbors and loved ones.

The true festivities kicked off on Christmas Eve at Grandma May's house with a wonderful dinner and our traditional celebration. We read the special Christmas book that Tad and his siblings grew up reading each year, sang some Christmas carols, and opened one present each. Tad even got the fire going to bring the special warmth we so enjoyed.

Magically, Emerson and Stella somehow even avoided the usual Christmas morning overload grumpies. They both slept really late, waking so hungry that they actually enjoyed a big breakfast before tearing into the gifts. Emerson's first priority was opening Crosby's gifts. Over the weeks, Emerson had been closely monitoring the status of each family member's stocking and immediately noticed a giant bone Santa had brought in Crosby's. Grandma May joined us for the gluttonous gift-opening, a truly ridiculous bestowal of presents on two kids we can't help but spoil. Then we leisurely headed over to Grandma and Grandpa Baker's house for a delicious feast, some excellent visiting with family, and even more gift opening. In the final analysis, the toy tally was too great to recount in total, so we'll just mention a couple of highlights. Stella received the first "girl" toys in our house -- three baby dolls, a purse, and a grocery cart with groceries. Emerson raked in a lot of loot -- a roaring/walking dinosaur, two remote-controlled tarantulas, and a giant train set.

We thoroughly enjoyed all of the updates we received from our friends and loved ones over the holidays. So many of you are doing such amazing things and raising such beautiful families. We feel so blessed to know you and hope you have enjoyed the spirit of the Lord this season as we have.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

After a parched fall, we've really gotten pummeled with some great snow storms this December. It's crazy to shovel the walks at our own house and we're loving building snowmen and various nefarious snow creatures in our own back yard as Crosby, the ultimate snow dog, bounds like a deer through the snow drifts.
One of our favorite snow activities, however, has been taking Crosby to "Dog Mountain," Emerson and Stella's name for Tanner Park's off-leash area. It is truly magical to walk down a tunnel of snow-covered branches as our kids giggle in delight at Crosby and his canine friends bolting back and forth.
Another truly special event was bringing our first Christmas tree home to our own house. At the tree lot, Emerson was the consummate professional, critiquing and evaluating each specimen until we found the perfect tree. And amazingly, we actually got the perfect tree for once! It looks just beautiful, but it has also actually stayed alive really well. And, as you can see, the kids had a lot of fun decorating it (something they continue to re-do each day).
Tonight Tad and Lisa celebrate their seventh anniversary with what we're calling "Japanese Night." Lisa's parents are taking Emerson and Stella overnight (something the kids CAN'T WAIT for) while Tad and Lisa head out for some delectable delights at Kyoto Japanese restaurant. Then we'll engage in the truly indulgent as we partake in our first real massage, an HOUR-LONG couple's massage at Kura Door Japanese spa. It'll be interesting to see if we can really handle such pampering.
We hope all of you have a peaceful and beautiful Christmas with your loved ones!