Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Day 2011

We awakened early (6:30 am) on Christmas morning. Church began at 9 am and we needed time to get ready and finish presents. The morning was magical! Look at these faces!!
Showing off their Santa presents
Laura snuck coal into Daddy's stocking
Coloring on the new easel
The girls with gifts
Sacrament meeting was wonderful. My friend Danyelle and her family were in charge of the meeting and it made me cry! The music and spirit made Christmas!! And the girls all wore the new skirts I made them for Christmas.
After the meeting, Jason's folks came over for Christmas brunch. They opened their presents and we opened gifts from them. Then I tried out my new crepe maker that my mom got me - spinach, eggs, cheese, mushrooms and breakfast meats made savory ones; strawberries, bananas, nutella, whipped cream made sweet ones. Oh, I'm a fan!
Then Jason installed the best present of Christmas - swings in the basement!! The girls have spent the entire week in them. We purchased the hardware ahead of time (all 300 lb rated) and we installed them in the floor joist! They are so so so fun!
video
The girls hung out with their grandparents and played with their presents. It was a wonderful, calm, fun time!
In the afternoon, we went to my parents house. My mom took over the whole meal and it was heaven to relax and hang out with them and my brother's family!
It was a perfect Christmas!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Harry Potter Christmas Eve

Since we went to Julborg at Ikea, we went with an imaginary theme for Christmas Eve this year: Harry Potter. We had finished reading the first book all together on the 22nd. Then we watched the movie the same day all in preparation. I got a lot of my ideas and all the printables from HERE. The table turned out awesome.
After many late nights in a row, we started early! We began with presents for and from my parents - they know us so well that everything was perfect!! We kept up our tradition of giving them stockings and they kept up their tradition of giving us a table - a new one for the living room. It was a great diversion for the kids to play with their new toys while I finished up cooking.
The menu came from THIS BOOK. We started with Onion Soup (purchased from Costco) served in individual crocks. The main meal was a standing rib roast, yorkshire pudding, carrots, peas, and butterbeer (pints of cream soda). We had nibbles of bertie botts every flavor beans (jelly bellys) that Jason distributed and decorated for me while I sewed one night. The treacle tart was the best and what we sang "Happy Birthday" to Jesus over. We used true imported "treacle" or golden syrup and it was amazing served warm with vanilla ice cream.
We also did the nativity. Mary duties were split: Sara was "great with child" and Laura "pondered". Jason will forever be Joseph, my dad played the Shepherd, Eliza and I were angels, and my mom was the narrator.
The girls wore new jammies and actually went to sleep by 7:15. It was a perfect night and definitely the best part of Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Fitz Family Christmas Party

I hosted the Christmas Party for my family this year at my house on the 23rd. Most of the food was brought in and it was super casual. But, it was super fun. Especially dessert: a chocolate fountain brought by my brother Steve and his wife Jen.
Skype was a highlight again and we had it working perfectly this year. So fun!
The girls were adorable for the night and we had a wonderful time!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Card 2011

In case it didn't come to you via snail mail, Merry Christmas from our family.  The card:

The letter:

Dear Family and Friends,

This year finds us growing, happy, and blessed.  We keep our blog updated at http://grow-along.blogspot.com and that is where to find pictures and news on all of us particularly the girls as they change so quickly.  Here are the highlights:

Laura is 8 years old and in third grade.  She is busy with voice, dance, acting, and piano lessons.  She chose to be baptized this year and won her school’s grade 1-3 spelling bee.

Sara is 4 years old and in preschool.  She takes ballet and loves to play on the computer. 

Eliza is 2 years old and very busy.  She loves to dance, read books, color, eat popsicles, drink hot chocolate, and play with sisters.

Our favorite family times are our vacations mostly to Disneyland.  We also love riding bikes, reading Harry Potter books, taking pictures, laughing, and trying new restaurants.

We hope this letter finds you all happy, healthy and blessed as well.  We consider all of you to be a blessing in our lives.

Merry Christmas!!
Jason, Melinda, Laura, Sara and Eliza Randall

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Snow Much Fun

It's freezing here and nearly Christmas, but there's no snow. So, we decided to make our own today.
We had a great time creating snowflakes and hanging them as part of the Christmas decor. I thought it would look like last year, but Laura really got into it this year. So, I attached them all to ribbon with straight pins and love the personality they put into the house. I have kids and feel the decor should reflect that and Laura is so proud of the work she did to contribute.
Laura also contributed to this decor in the bathroom. She loves to help and be invested in things I'm doing.  And yes, we decorated in the bathroom.
I also had my mom help me with a little extra decor while she was here today! Things feel more ready for the parties now.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gratitude: Candlelighting 2011

Jason's Mom hosted her annual Candlelighting Ceremony this past Friday and we had a lovely time. She made Mexican Chicken Salad, ala Cafe Rio. I brought the dessert - makings for ice cream sundaes. They weren't as well received as I had hoped; apparently half the family is on some sort of diet. But, we have all enjoyed the leftovers at our house.
I decided to come to the "thankful" part of the event more prepared this year. I have such a hard time getting my thoughts together with trying to keep the little girls good during all the talking in the dark. I decided that Jason and I have always given each other Top Tens and it was my 10th anniversary of Christmas with his family, so I had the little girls and myself each write down the top things we are grateful for from this year. I think I'll include them here. (I forgot my good camera, so the other pictures in the post are from Laura's performance day.)


Eliza's List
1.  Barbie movies
2.  Hot chocolate and popcicles
3.  Sisters
4.  Disneyland
5.  Mom and Dad
6.  Coloring
7.  Music Makers - dancing and playing
8.  Grandma and Grandpa
9.  Dress ups
10.  DVD player in the car
Sara's List
1.  Jesus
2.  Sisters
3.  God
4.  Mom and Dad
5.  Ballet lessons
6.  Heaven
7.  Coloring
8.  Being able to go to Disneyland
9.  ABC Mouse / Computer games
10.  Long-sleeved shirts: to be nice and warm
Laura's List
1.  Talents and lessons
2.  Family
3.  Friends
4.  Disneyland with family
5.  House - somewhere to live
6.  Heavenly Father
7.  Food
8.  Clothes
9.  Braces
10.  Cars - that we don't have to walk everywhere
Melinda's List
1.  A lovely home that's (mostly) warm in the winter and cool in the summer
2.  Jason working so hard that I can stay home with the girls
3.  All the friends and family that helped me while I recovered from surgery this year
4.  Healthy, brilliant, perfect kids that love me back
5.  My stable and happy marriage
6.  The opportunities I've had to keep learning this year: books, cooking, photography, etc.
7.  My faith and the memories of spiritual experiences I've had that keep my faith strong
8.  Disneyland with the family: the memories and bonds we build there
9.  Successful surgery: improved health and the promise of continued improvement
10. Nightly routine: hugs and reading with the girls, my nightly time with Jason or date night at home

Julborg: Ikea

We went to the Christmas Celebration at IKEA this year: Julborg. It was a lot of fun to sample the foods and learn of the Christmas traditions in Sweden. The girls were great and tried lots of new foods! They really enjoyed the kids craft as well. (The pictures are not great because I brought only my pocket-cam for the event.)
Since we went to this party, I think I am forgoing my cultural Christmas Eve this year. Instead, we are going to do Harry Potter - the girls and I have been reading the books at night.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Laura's Singing Performance: Christmas 2011

Laura had her first formal singing performance today. She was amazing! I couldn't get the video camera to work well, but go click on the video and listen to that angel voice as you read the post.
Laura Singing
Laura and her teacher Christy
She smiled the whole time, was expressive, and her eyes just twinkled. Laura had absolutely no fear. Oh, and have I mentioned that she was perfectly on pitch?! I wasn't aware how difficult that is for someone her age, but after watching the performance I realized that she is truly amazing; it's not just my biased mom opinion of her.
video
Her practicing paid off again and she blew all of our socks off! Well, and she made me cry...

Sara's Ballet Performance: Christmas 2011

Adorable Sara had her first ballet performance this last week. She hasn't been taking very long and was incredibly nervous about the whole thing. But, she was absolutely adorable.
She wholeheartedly participated in every bit of the performance. She loved showing off to both of us.
Sara also shows some serious natural ability; she is flexible, has turnout, has rhythm, and LOVES to dance.
She did the same little performance that Laura did at this age and was wonderful!
video