Not surprisingly, December was a busy month, made even crazier by the fact that we were preparing to close on our new house and move. Despite the fact that we wouldn't be home for the holidays, I still insisted on getting a live Christmas tree. Jason and I picked up this lovely fatty from Smith's Marketplace after a full five minutes of deliberation. The kids were delighted to wake up and discover that the Christmas tree fairy had visited overnight. Huge as it was, our tree actually seemed kind of short with our eleven foot ceilings, so we picked up some extra crates from the headstone business around the corner to lift it up. Guess that's what happens when you live down the street from a cemetery.
Our little man Eli's looking mighty spruced up.
Despite some major protests from my OCD side, Annika helped me decorate. Apparently snowmen ornaments like to congregate.
Ready for the holiday season to begin!
We definitely scaled back on the decorating since we were preparing to turn around and box everything up. Even so, a bit of garland and a couple bows went a long way to help our cute little rental on O Street feel like home.
Cozy as can be. I just love coming home to a lit house where I can peer in the windows at all the chaos happening inside. Annie's impromptu dance parties can be overwhelmingly noisy from the inside, but are picture perfect from without.
My favorite noisemakers.
And a second photo, taken from closer up. Just for the record, in this photo Eli is 7, Talia is 10, Brooklyn is nearly 12, and Annika is pushing 4.
While all sorts of great things happened in December, one of our favorites was having Uncle Justin come to visit for his first interview at Primary Children's hospital. (Spoiler alert: they absolutely loved him and invited him for a second interview. However, Phoenix, Cincinnati, and Denver all loved him as well, so he's got lots of great options.)
The kids came up with all sorts of great reasons to live in Salt Lake...but no pressure. (Wink, wink.)
Other fun events: ornament painting at the Leonardo...
admiring the cute gingerbread houses at the annual holiday party for ASSIST...
...and visiting Santa after Kara's concert with the Avenues Community Choir.
The kids got to see Santa again at our 27th ward breakfast party.
Even though we hadn't moved in yet, the bishop for the 27th East ward invited us to join them for their Christmas breakfast as well, but we figured there were only so many pancakes we could eat in one day.
While Christ's nativity was certainly our focus in December, we celebrated some other world festivities as well. The city library threw an amazing Diwali celebration with traditional Indian dances, great Indian food, and...
...henna hand painting!
Eli enjoyed getting his hand decorated just as much as the girls.
As this was our first Christmas in Salt Lake, we felt pretty blessed to live just a mile away from the lights at Temple Square. The nativity displays there likewise took us around the globe. Here we have the holy family in Japan...
...and my personal favorite, New Zealand, complete with a kiwi bird.
Of course, the most special sight is certainly the temple. This picture will always hold a special place in my heart. Talia joined me for an evening run, and we arrived at Temple Square just seconds before all the lights turned on.
True confessions: I love having children who are willing to go on adventures with me, running or otherwise, and I love living in a neighborhood that's perfect for adventures.
This little gal truly is a gem.
Pinch me, quick. Do we really live up the street from such beauty?
Speaking of adventures, on the spur of the moment we tried to get standby tickets to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Christmas concert that evening. Wish I could say we were lucky enough to get in, but we at least got to enjoy a remarkable evening out.
No matter how crazy life may be, the temple makes everything peaceful and calm...