Sunday, January 16, 2011

Holiday happenings

I decided to do a quick recap of december and all the activities of the month. It was a wonderful holiday season. The best part was spending Christmas with family. We enjoyed the opportunity to together and enjoy the festivites.

I'm sorry the picture is so dark but it's all I have from Lexi's 1st band concert. The 1st of many, I'm sure. She plays the bassoon.

One of our favorite things to do is attend a live nativity/reenactment of the Savior's birth at a local Christian church. You actually walk through the different areas as if you are part of the people journeying to Bethlehem at the time of the Savior's birth. Jordan and Paige in the area where they made crafts.

Lexi got to pet the miniature donkey

Those representing Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.

Taylor turned 19. This a tradition we have to take a picture with the kids holding up the number of fingers/toes to show how old they are. This along with the gifts they receive. Taylor is almost out of appendages to use.

Paige at her band concert. She is in the honor band this year playing percussion.

This is the snow scene at my parent's house. We have had this up throughout the years but the past several it was not taken out because it had outgrown the available space. this past year my parents added on to their family room and this bay window area was built especially with the snow scene in mind. It was fun to have it out and remember the past years.

Our family on Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve is time for a big party with extended family and friends. There are many traditions we have had through the years and we all look forward to them. Christmas Day is just family and the chaos. This year was a switch to having the festivities in the new family room. It is more accomodating for the amount of people and allowing everyone to be together without sitting on each other.

1st part of the Christmas Eve program. All the kids that have not graduated from high school get to the do Rudolph. This is with the antlers and red noses. Taylor and Jordan were glad they are finally old enough to be a spectator

Another activity is the dice game. We take two dice and put them in pie pans. Everyone sits in a circle and we have a pile of inexpensive wrapped presents in the middle of the circle. We pass the pie pans around, each person rolling the dice. There are several pie pans going around. When you get a double you get to take a present. You can't open it and you have to keep it in front of you. When the presents are gone the timer starts and you can steal from each other. When the timer goes off you get to open the presents. Then the bartering begins. There is candy, gum, $1.00 spot stuff. Don't know how it got started but everyone loves it. It can get kind of wild when the stealing starts.

To wrap up the evening is the nativity reenactment. The kids all get parts and the story of Christ's birth is read from the bible. At appropriate times the characters come in. We also sing the Christmas carols along with the story. It is a time to reflect on the purpose of the season. We are running out of baby Jesus'

This year the kids added another element to the evening. They formed the cousin's choir. All week before Christmas there were rehearsals. There were speaking parts as well as solos. Despite the bickering the kids pulled this together without adult help. It was a beautiful program they dedicated to grandma. She loved to have the kids sing to her when she was in the hospital bed. It was a great way to end the evening.

Christmas morning-the kids with their stockings. We are pretty orchestrated in our celebration. No reckless out of control hoopla here. It's funny because the older cousins get the younger one fully indoctrinated quickly and they know what is suppose to be happening. I guess that is one more indication that my mother trained us all well.

After the stockings we go and check out what Santa brought. The Torbit kids got a couple of games for WII and some accessories. We were very blessed this year but the most gratifying was being together. There were tears shed as we missed my mom, but knew she was with us in spirit.

One of the things my mom picked out for the grandkids before she passed away were these robes and pajama pants. These are 8 of the 9 granddaughters. My 20 year old niece was okay with not having matching jammies, but we got a shot with Papa and the girls.

When we returned to Houston the girls were messing around one day and made their own Lady Gaga inspired outfits out of packing wrap. Pretty good designs.

The celebration we were all waiting for-New Year's Eve fireworks. Here's the ammo (and that wasn't even everything)

Taylor-one of the pyro's. that is a grin of pure excitement. Hard to do for Taylor but he was loving it!!!

Some of the spectators

Welcome 2011

New York, New York

WARNING-lot's of vacation pictures included

The beginning of December Ken's boss scheduled a trip to New York City. Ken has talked about taking me but the timing was never right and finally all the stars aligned and I got to go with him. I have never been to New York and we had a great time. The two most prominent things that stand out are the endless walking and the cold but it was a blast.

The city was all decked out for the holidays and many beautiful things to see. This was in Rockafeller plaza. These gigantic ornaments were on a reflecting pond and the lighted trees around them. I know I look like a spaz, I had to wear glasses because of a eye infection and obviously the name of the game was warmth. The high was low 30's there. We even broke down and bought the handwarmer packets you put in your gloves. I was looking for a body wrap style.

It was Santa's turn on the Coca Cola sign in Times square

The giant light tree on the side of the Macy's building

All the lighted trees. Couldn't tell you where this was exactly.

We stayed in Secaucus, NJ (doesn't that make you just want to add the jersey twang)? The first night we had a rental car because we needed to take the copilot to Newark to fly home. Since we had the transportation I wanted to see Carlo's Bake shop-you TLC watchers know this is the place Cake Boss is filmed. The next morning we turned in the car and depended on public transportation. We would take the bus in from the hotel through the Lincoln tunnel and from there either walk or ride the subway (1st time). We got pretty good at figuring out the schedule and how to go from one line to the other. I put lots of miles on my feet in three days, but we saw many of the tourist sites.

Times Square

St Patrick's cathedral-gorgeous architecture inside and out.
Swarokovski crystal covered snowflake in Rockafeller plaza. The skating rink was lots smaller than I thought it would be.

One of my favorites-we went and saw the Rockettes in the Christmas spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. Unbelievable!!! Loved the performers as well as the beautiful Art Deco architecture and interiors

This was a picture to show the masses of humanity on the streets. It was interesting to see how many people come to New York. I guess the holidays really add to the numbers. After seeing this I can't imagine what New Year's is like.

Riding the subway

The great Lady Liberty. Don't let the sun fool you. It was so cold out there, especially with the breeze coming off the water. Unfortunately we were the last boat out of the day and were not able to go to Ellis Island also. We said it's a reason for a return trip.

We went all over the financial district. Checked out the New York Stock Exchange. It was interesting the building for the treasury did not have any markings/signs on the outside of the building

work going on at Ground Zero. There isn't a place to really see anything but we peeked through the chainlink fence.

Had to check out Grand Central Station.

The Manhattan Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints temple. We went on Sat. morning. A refuge in the chaos.

We didn't go shopping really but had to see Macy's

Ken and I at the top of the Empire State building. We got to see 4 wedding proposals that night. I guess not the most original idea but a spectacular view.

Our tribute to the season, we even tried chestnuts roasted over a open fire. Don't know what the fuss is about. Kind of bland and very mealy.

We had a great time, I also enjoyed a carousel ride in Central Park and pastrami sandwich at Carnegie Deli. I told Ken I want to go back when the weather is a bit more temperate.