Friday, January 31, 2014

January Randomness

My catch-all post for January.  We discovered the joy of the planetarium.  So much so that we became members for this year.  The dome theater and the things we've been learning are amazing!
We had some serious indoor fun.  We slid down the stairs and read lots of books.
video
We did tons of dress-up and acting out of Say Yes to the Dress and Something Borrowed Something New.  Yes, we love watching bride shows all crammed in my bed on Thursday evenings - it's our "snuggly time".  Eliza also dresses up as Minnie Mouse, princesses, and Jedis.
We made yummy treats like cookies and bread.  Also we discovered a delicious new Indian restaurant that has become everyone's favorite.
 We built snowmen, watched Frozen and sang lots of songs.  And I shoveled the driveway an awfully lot.
 Laura represented her class at the school Geography Bee and did great competing against Jr High students.
She also won her class spelling bee and would've represented her class there had the teacher told us the date when we asked or even told us it was happening when we sent the email saying she was staying home with strep. So sad!!
I also got to take my adorable nephew's mission pictures.  It feels so crazy that he has his call even though he's still in HS.  He's wonderful and fantastic (Sara adores him more than anything) and we are so proud that he'll be serving in Frankfurt Germany.  Love you, Joseph!!
We made the best of a cold and dreary month!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Newbery-ness

We love books around here!  It borders on obsession.  This year I got to be part of the Utah Mock Newbery - thanks for the invite Danyelle.  It was an amazing morning to discuss books with an educated and passionate group of women.  You can read the organizer's summary in the comments (scroll down to DaNae) HERE.  The results were (since it's hard to read on my grainy phone photo) after only one vote: The Thing About Luck for the medalist, and Counting by 7s and If You Want to See a Whale for honors.
Then the morning that the awards were announced, the girls asked to get up early and watch them live right along with me.  We snuggled in my room and had a great time cheering.  The girls were so excited.  I sent them to school with some "Berry" treats and a press release of the awards to share with their classes.  I was thrilled that the Newbery winner is young enough that all the girls can follow along.  The excitement was so much that I'm now reading Flora and Ulysses aloud to everyone and we are laughing and enjoying ourselves greatly!
Hooray for Books!

Friday, January 10, 2014

New Year's Eve 2013 to 2014

We had our amazing game night friends Dave and Summer over for New Year's Eve.  They are so much fun and are just great with our girls!  We had a yummy dinner of salmon, played games, tried out the new hot cocoa maker (I found it on a great sale), had ice cream sundaes, and rang in the New Year at midnight EST.
Thanks for joining us, Summer and Dave!  Happy New Year!

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Christmas Card and Neighbor Gifts 2013

We got our Christmas Cards done wonderfully early this year.  The card was like this:
Our letter we sent with the card is as follows:
Christmas 2013

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 of our year:

Jason changed jobs within the finance programming world and now works for Goldman Sachs in downtown Salt Lake City.  He loves weekly game nights, Jazz games, and spending time with his girls.

Melinda is the head taxi-cab driver, book reader, homework helper, chef, seamstress, and is still obsessively clean.  She loves doing costumes for many of Laura’s plays, participating in a Children’s Literature group, and cheering for the Utah Jazz.

Laura is 10 years old and in fifth grade.  She is busy with voice, dance, acting, and piano lessons.  She is constantly performing in plays and vocal events, loves to read, and gets amazing grades. 

If you want to watch Laura act and sing, you can catch her in a leading role at the Echo Theater in downtown Provo on Th, Fri, Sat, and Mon from Dec 5 – 21 in a wonderful and family friendly play This Is Christmas.  To buy tickets and get directions go to http://www.theechotheatre.com/

Sara is 6 years old and is in first grade.  She made the dance team at her studio, dances hours each week and has gotten really good.  She is super flexible, coordinated, and fearless.  Sara also started piano lessons and is doing great in school. 

Eliza is 4 years old and in preschool.  She takes dance, and sings and dances everywhere.  She still begins each morning with hot chocolate and will only wear skirts.  She does “performances” daily, has begun to read, and loves everything Disney.

Our favorite family times are our vacations – Disneyland, St. George, Bear Lake, and the desert of California this year.  We love watching movies together, trying new restaurants, cooking, crafting, and throwing big parties.

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


For neighbor gifts this year we repeated the Scotch and Soda.  I'm thinking of making it a tradition; it's something everyone can use, right?!

Christmas Day 2013

Surprisingly, Laura is the one who awakened us at 6:01 Christmas morning.  The girls were utterly adorable and relished the gifts.  Santa brought each girl the item they requested: Eliza got a Kindle Fire, Sara got a Kindle Fire, and Laura got a sewing machine.  They received some toys, design kits, clothes, books, and movies.  They were so grateful and sweet.  It was a precious morning.
Jason's folks came by for our traditional Christmas breakfast.  We had french toast casserole, breakfast meats, and juice.  We gave them their gifts and stockings and they gave their gifts to the girls as well.  They left quickly as they both were hurting - J's dad from the chemo and his mom from her shoulder surgery.  I'm glad we got to share some of our Christmas with them despite their ailments.
The girls played, got dressed, and read their new books while Jason and I napped.  Our friends Dave and Summer stopped by and we played a fun new game with them - Sleeping Queens and the little girls loved their card holders.  We finished up the day at my folks' house for dinner.
It was a great day!  Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Extended Family Christmas Parties

I love getting together with family for Christmas.  We had the candlelighting with Jason's family and desperately missed having his sister Keri's family there with us.  I forgot the camera for this one as we had to leave church early while bringing food to make it to this party.  I thought I had saved our gratitude lists on the computer, but I can't seem to find them.  Well, they aren't that much different from last year except that Sara's included dancing and being flexible.  I love stability!!

We had my family party with the $5-ish gift exchange at Steve's house this year.  We laughed and chatted for hours!  To be surrounded by such love and kindness at Christmastime is precious.  Makayla adored the skirt I made for her and it made my night to watch her prance and twirl in it.  Jason and I adored catching up with everyone.  But, one of the my favorite things to watch is my kids interacting with their cousins.  It is so amazing to me how wonderful my siblings' big kids are to my little ones.  I am so thrilled to have such remarkable examples of kindness and spirituality for my children to admire.  I hope my kids turn out as wonderfully as my siblings kids have done.
Christmas day, my mom had us all over to her house for a yummy dinner.  I love this time.  Everyone is sleepy and cozy and just plain content to be with one another.  Eliza had to wear her princess attire.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Christmas Eve 2013

I love Christmas Eve!  Christmas day may be all about presents and Santa, but Christmas Eve is all mine!  I choose to spend it reveling in family, Christ, and delicious food.

This year we selected France for our Christmas Eve country.  We had a basic turkey dinner with wild rice, croissants, and hericot vert.  Nice and simple for Mommy.  Our cake, so we could sing Happy Birthday to Jesus, was a Buche de Noel that I ordered from here - gotta enjoy those perks of Jason working downtown.  It was amazing!  We also did a cheese plate and grapes right before bed.  That was my favorite part of the night!  Then Santa got Petit Ecolier cookies as did we.  Oh, I love the food on Christmas Eve.
The girls opened presents from my folks and Eliza got her favorite present of the year: Rapunzel hair. We kept up the tradition of giving parents stockings in addition to their gift.  Jason and I got a firepit; and now that the air is finally clear (lots of red burn days) we are excited to set it up and roast marshmallows.
We learned that the French were the first to do nativity sets in their home.  So we looked at ours and then acted out the nativity.
Eliza got to be Mary for the first time and she relished the honor.  Jason shall forever be Joseph, Mom was the narrator, Dad a shepherd, and I got to be an angel with my bigger angel girls. Laura knew almost the entire angelic script from singing with the Ward Choir this Christmas - I was impressed.
Another French tradition is to light candles and put them in the window as a representation that we would have room in our home (for Mary and Joseph) and keep room in our hearts for Christ.  This was a particularly tender moment and I'm planning on incorporating these candles in our Christmas decor from now on to remind us of what we learned this Christmas Eve.
Following that lesson on Christ, we gave the girls their pictures of Christ that they selected for themselves when they met Liz Lemon Swindle.  We took the time and hung them in their rooms.  They love them and show them to me regularly.
Of course the girls got new Christmas Jammies to wear to bed.  They were matching fleece Minnie Mouse that I purchased more than 3 months earlier.  They love them.

We sang Christmas Carols, hugged, ate lots, learned, and had a truly magical night!