Wrapping Up December + Elf on the Shelf Mishap

Probably the coolest hairdo I have ever done on Eva!

Eva wrote this letter with the help of her babysitter on night. Needless to say, we have addressed all of the issues this note presented and we have made the proper revisions. I’m pretty sure our babysitter added that last sentence as a hint to someone other than Santa.

Finn wouldn’t have anything to do with Santa this year. “I scared Santa,” he keeps telling me. I’m pretty sure he means, I’m scare OF Santa. I persuaded Eva into thinking she wants a karaoke machine and a mermaid tail instead of all the other insane things listed above.

One night, we drove around Lehi to see all the lights in the neighborhoods. It was so fun! We brought popcorn, sang songs, and only yelled at the kids for being crazy 50% of the time! At one point TJ actually said, “OKAY, NO MORE QUESTIONS!” Eva replied, “Should we play the quiet game?” haha! 

We had TJ’s old buddies from high school and their families over for Family Home Evening to make gingerbread houses. I was proud of my royal icing that actually worked this year! I had a surprising amount of fun building this house!

We attended a surprise party for our friend in the neighborhood. This family has been some of our closest friends in the ward and they always know how to throw a good party… this time was no exception! There was a DJ and a photobooth!

In addition to mailing out our Christmas cards, I assembled and mailed out my sister’s Christmas cards who lives out of the country. One night, TJ worked really late, so I turned on a Christmas movie and made an evening out of it! 

We ended up doing Elf on the Shelf this year… but it was kind of by accident? It was such a strange situation. I had considered doing it, but then I was too cheap to buy the elf so I thought I’d just not to it after all. Well, rewind one year to when I bought these two plush elves with my kids’ names on them which I had prepared to put in their stockings. Unfortunately, I hid it so well I forgot to put them in the stockings and didn’t see it until about November of 2017, so I decided to use them for this year’s stockings. I was cleaning out that shelf again in December and Eva happened to see it, of course, and asked me what they were. I was thrown off guard and literally had no idea what to say. I ended up, foolishly, saying, “Ohhhhh uhhhh I think those are elves on the shelves?” She told me they weren’t because they clearly didn’t look like the originals. So, I was at a loss, and thought maybe I’d just give them to my kids instead on Christmas. BUT THEN (this story is so long, sorry!) one day, wouldn’t you know it, Eva got them down from the shelf and decided that they actually WERE Elves on the Shelves and that they WERE magical…. So, I was forced into doing Elf on the Shelf after all. So here we are. It hasn’t been too bad though. We have kept it really simple, just moved it a bit every day and then occasionally will have the elves bring a book or treat. De

Ugly Christmas Sweater Party

We went to an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party last weekend and this was our little number we put together. Our gifts that we brought were an oven mitt (The Office, anyone?) and then coasters that I made out of the host’s funny childhood photo. I laugh whenever I think about it.


We heard over and over from people that Luminaria was amazing and worth the cost, so we finally decided to check it out for ourselves. We loved it. It was freezing, but I felt like we were bundled up enough! It was just so unique, unlike any light show I had ever seen before. They had so many different sections, the candy cane smelled like candy canes, the flower part smelled like flowers, there were reindeer, games for kids, lights put to music, a beautiful display in the statues of Christ area, and even luminaries. We had a blast and are so glad we went this year!

Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

We lucked out this year and won tickets for the MoTab Christmas concert! We have been several times, but this time was definitely my favorite because the Broadway singer Sutton Foster and narrator Hugh Bonneville (The Earl of Grantham!) were both just incredible.

Afterwards we met up with our friends and tried to find a place to eat a treat, but literally nothing was open past ten! We finally found a cute little ice cream spot, unfortunately it was dairy free. Turns out I really like my ice cream with dairy hahaha! But the company was still great, thanks for coming, Holly & Dan!

Alpine Live Nativity

I was able to buy tickets from a friend last minute to see the Live Nativity up in Alpine. It was incredibly impressive. They had this huge barn made up to look like Bethlehem, there were the three kings talking about their gifts, angels singing, lots of Roman soldiers, live animals including camels, and a beautiful nativity in another barn with a real baby. It was such great way to kick December off!

The Nutcracker

We took our girls to see The Nutcracker put on by a dance company in Draper. It would have been our third annual show but last year, Eva got pink eye and so we didn’t get to go! But we had a great time this year and love that it’s part of our holiday tradition!

Christmas Craft Exchange

My friend Holly and I threw a Christmas Craft Exchange with the ladies in my neighborhood. As always, I was amazed at everyone’s creativity! So many cute gifts!

I made this garland for the exchange.



We went to Arizona for Thanksgiving to visit my brother and his wife. My parents flew in, along with my uncle and aunt, and my other uncle who I hadn’t seen in about fifteen years. It was so great to see everyone and spend a few days in the sunny weather!

Thanks for having us, Sam & Ashley! 

Rest stop on the way down there!

Unfortunately, the first night we were there, both kids threw up through the night and the last night we were there, TJ threw up in the night. One of the reasons we left a little early was because I was so worried I would get it and just wanted to be home before it started. But I never did!

Dinner was delicious and the table looked beautiful!

Great weather!

Going topside at the park

We spent lots of time outside.

My Uncle Jeff! I cried when we saw him because it had been so long!

My dad with his two brothers. My other uncle has been very sick so it was such a miracle to get to be with him and see him so healthy! We love you, Uncle Tim!

In the evening, Sam would bring out the TV for us to have a movie night in the stars. They sure know how to throw a party.

My little monkey

Delicious burgers  My hotdog man

Eva overcame her fear of dogs (at least of the three dogs at their house) and LOVED walking them each day.

Movie night!

Eva loves her Nana!

Game night was hilarious!

Thanksgiving dinner outside 

Eva got a birthday present from her aunt and uncle!

Testing out the new toy

My cute parents

Uncle Sam all dressed up

Half of the fam

Got to see my BFF Ashley who was also in town visiting her in-laws! She is expecting two boys!!! I’m over-the-moon excited for her!

Halloween Parties

TJ’s parents threw a cousin Halloween party for the kids. They decorated sugar cookies, had a dance-off, watched a few Halloween shows, and did a few little crafts together.

Holly and I dressed up as Mario and Luigi for our class.
The kids were pirates for Halloween. I thought they were pretty cute! 

TJ was a Banky painting. It was all TJ’s idea… but so clever! I dressed up as the mysterious Banksy, so I wore all black and carried around a bottle of spray paint.

Finn is always scowling at someone. But the Halloween party at church was great! They had lots of games for the kids and then a chili cook-off. I won Most Unique Chili (which TJ said was like the sweet spirit award haha!) but hey, I love it. I put cinnamon in the chili… it’s a Cincinnati secret.

Trick or treating with all of the neighbors was the best. We started early because it was going to be a cold night. It was fun running around with everyone and seeing those cute kids run from house to house. Finn was NOT into it, wouldn’t really even wear his costume or get out of the stroller. Maybe next year.

I got to help in Eva’s class for her Halloween party. I’m so grateful that I can help in her class from time to time. What a sweet treat!

Jazz Games

TJ works as a Graphic Designer for Vivint and the Jazz play at the Vivint Arena in SLC, so because of that, we get a lot of free tickets to games and events. We’ve lucked out even more this year because TJ designed the HomeCourt space ( see some of the photos below) for Vivint in the arena so he has had to go even more than usual to make sure everything is in order. Each time has been such a blast, usually we get free dinner there in the Toyota Club and the seats are great. One time, in fact, we were on the literal first row. The tickets said they were $3K a piece… holy cow! It was incredible/nerve-wracking/amazing. I was so worried I would somehow trip or spill something and ruin the game. So, I did not move the entire game! During half time, everyone left around me and when the Jazz came back to warm up, I was the only one there and I felt like they were putting on a show for me. I even got to throw a ball back to one of the players! My heart was racing, I was so star struck! Haha!

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