Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Christmas Hotel

Jeremy loves to take our family up to the Tenaya Lodge a few days before Christmas each year. It gets us away from the craziness and forces us to relax and slow down a bit so we can enjoy being together. The kids have lovingly renamed it the "Christmas Hotel" because this place is totally decked out for the season. There is an enormous decorated real evergreen tree in the lobby - always the first thing that greets us when we arrive. That thing is probably 30 feet tall. Santa comes out in the evening, there are gingerbread houses everywhere, and to top it off there is even a hot chocolate bar for everyone to enjoy.

This year we went up with Matt & Aimee, the Bodens and Karen & Doug. It was fun to have other kids to play with. They all had a great time in the swimming pool and hot tub.

We woke in the morning to see a gentle snow falling outside our window. So beautiful. It was the perfect addition to the holiday season.

Here's a fun slideshow from our adventures - my favorites are of Jeremy and Matt attacking their dad in the snow.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Dinner at the Durans 2008

After a lovely Christmas day we headed over to my parent's house for the evening. They always do it up right. Their traditional Christmas dinner is prime rib. And mmm-mmm was it good! It roasted most of the day and was so tender and juicy by the time dinner was served.

That's actually ham in this picture, but check out dad's shirt. It's Ralphie from The Christmas Story!

There's the prime rib - mom was guarding it from the samplers that kept walking by.

Check out Amy's cute red maternity top. I like Samuel's sympathy pregnant belly he's showing off here.

After dinner we opened presents. Jackson was totally into the gifts - he was a pro after learning how to open presents that morning.

And what's a Christmas party without a GORILLA?!
This was dad's big gift. I don't know what the fascination is with the gorilla suit, but it was #1 on his list this year. Needless to say, our kids had no idea what was coming. As grandpa rounded the corner in his new "suit" Lizzie started screaming, Jackson dove for cover and started crying and Trevor and Logan waited for the punchline. Grandpa took of his mask and that alleviated some of the terror, but it wasn't until he was back into his regular clothes that the kids stopped clinging to us. It was all pretty hilarious if I do say so myself.

After presents we did dessert. Boy we eat a lot of sweets during the holidays! There's my favorite again - Cherry Cream Pie!

Trevor likes it too - look at that enthusiasm!

That's my Grandma Dee Dee.

These two are engaged at last - since Thanksgiving actually. This is their "engaged" Christmas together - awww... how sweet!

Thanks to Mom and Dad for another great Christmas. I know I've said it before, but just being together really is the best part of it all. And maybe that gorilla suit...

Monday, December 29, 2008

DFCP 2008*

We get together every year with my dad's side of the family. My dad's sister, Cynthia, and her family even own a real Mexican food restaurant. They brought the delicious tamales for our dinner. Mmmmm....they were gooood...tamales...

Dinner is always first, followed by a crazy gift exchange game, then dessert, and always some music. Uncle James came strait from work and made sure to bring his guitar.

The food was delicious. My favorite was the shrimp cocktail by Fred and Lisa. It was soooo good! And my mom's cherry cream pie. That one has been a favorite since I was a little girl.

Fred and Lisa gave Grandma the most thoughtful gift. You've seen those digital picture frames. They loaded this frame with over 200 pictures. They spent tons of time collecting and scanning old family pictures. We sat there for probably an hour just scrolling through all of them and revisiting so many memories. It was fun to watch the styles change over the span of decades and also to remember old pets and friends.

Cynthia (front row Left) so desperately wanted a family picture. It's been 2 years since they've all been together. Alex just got home from his mission a couple of months ago so they were super happy to all be together again for the holidays. From L to R back row first: Alex, Francisco, Alyssa, Tyler, Cynthia and Ariana

From L to R. Fred, James and my dad Louie. The 3 brothers.

It's nights like these that I live for during the Christmas season. Family. Food. and Fun. So many good times and memories. Can't wait till next year!

*My mom likes to make the anagrams for these family parties - note the title of this post "DFCP". Duran Family Christmas Party

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Eve Cousin Picture

Every year the kids open a new pair of pj's on Christmas Eve. (Thank you WalMart for $4 day-after-Thanksgiving deals!!!) They love sleeping in a fresh pair of jammies on this special night.

After they're all dressed we head over to the Christopherson's for one final bit of chaos before they settle into their beds for a long winter's nap.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Morning

The kids did not get up super early - about 6AM. We were both grateful for that considering the late night we usually have the night before Christmas... They were also up several times that night (Jeremy can tell you more about that - I didn't hear a thing!) just to "check" if Santa had come. They really just want to catch a glimpse of him in our house.

Trevor wrote a letter to Santa this year. First time he's ever done that. He asked for a spy gear something or other and guess what?! Santa sent him a letter back! (I just love those postal workers. They have their own "Santa Letter" they send out to any kid that mails a letter to the North Pole. It had a handwritten signature and everything!) And guess what else? Santa delivered.

Logan asked for a drum this year. I know, I know. Why did we do this to ourselves? It's all about the Christmas morning magic.

Lizzie also wrote a letter to Santa. Remember this? When mommy would not purchase these dollies at the store she decided she'd ask Santa to bring them instead. And he did!

Jackson did not get up until about 8:30. It was great. He got enough sleep and we got to open presents in peace. When he did finally get up he was not interested in opening gifts until he realized there was something cool inside. Can you guess? TRAINS of course! He got about 20 new little train pieces with tracks and was in hog heaven the rest of the day.

I've been drooling over this Willow Tree Nativity set for awhile. I was stoked to find it waiting for me! That's my "are-you-seriously-taking-my-picture-after-I-just-woke-up" face.

Here's what daddy looked like most of the morning. He loves to Flip! Until he opened his big gift....

...a fancy schmancy back-packing water purifier! I was impressed that it came with about 15 different instruction manuals all in different languages.

This next picture may be a little fuzzy, but let me tell you about the tradition that goes along with it. I don't know when it started, but one year Jeremy decided to get a little silly with the gift tags. He would put inside jokes on all the labels. Like this one, it says, "To: Onion Soup (I LOVE LOVE French Onion Soup) From: Corn Chowder (Jeremy's favorite is Mimi's Cafe Corn Chowder)". Was that funny to anyone else? Or just me? Guess you had to be there...

It was probably the best Christmas morning we've ever had. Jeremy piped Mormon Tabernacle Choir music through the house, we gorged ourselves with hot chocolate, cinnamon rolls, ham bakes, chips and dip, cider, sugar sodas, IBC Rootbeer, Chile Verde nachos, candy, candy and more candy, and had a lovely time being together.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Whose jammies are those?

Lizzie was told to go get dressed for bed. Like a good girl she went to her drawer and pulled out these babies. I almost fell over laughing! They're a little short don't you think?

Somehow she worked her way into Jackson's size 2 pj's. This is what happens when all the kids get the same pajamas for Christmas!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The true meaning of Christmas...

Here's the Nativity production from our Boggs Family Christmas Breakfast. I like the sheeps best.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Yuletide fun

Here's a little silliness from our Boggs Family Breakfast yesterday. Thank you to Stephanie for recording all of it! We were rolling!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Wards

Thanks to Robb we have a beautiful family portrait for Christmas this year. He's got the magic touch to make us look just right. I wish we always looked this good! We wish you a lovely holiday season. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Free CD from Oprah!

And this is why I love Oprah! Free CD! Click here to download.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

At least twice a day

Our little Jackson has a HUGE fascination with trains right now. He obsesses over them, he dreams about them and he is not happy unless he is clutching one in his hand.

He was introduced to this movie, The Polar Express, this year and cannot get enough of it! He watches it at least twice a day - I know, we shouldn't let him do that, but hey, it's Christmas right?

So consequently there are continuous songs running through my mind every day.

"Hot! Hot! Oooh we got it. Hot chocolate!"

"Putting up the Christmas tree with friends who come around..."

We all know Jackson's favorite Christmas movie... what's yours?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dance Santa Baby, Dance!

Lizzie danced in her first dance recital EVER! She has been taking classes this last semester and finally the recital came. Here she is just before the show. Does she look excited or what?!
Check out her cute rosy cheeks and lipstick. Her first make-up in public. She was thrilled!

Here's her class complete with the ONLY boy that danced in the entire show and her sweet teacher.
These kids were the youngest to perform and got the biggest applause of the day. They really were the cutest group up there.
This is what Lizzie looked like through the whole thing: body facing front, head turned to watch her teacher standing at the side of the stage.
Jeremy captured most of her performance, but the video camera died just before the end. You still get the idea...

Special thanks to all the grandparents that came out to support our sweet girl. We didn't get any pictures of the grandpas, but they were there too!
Proud parents (Notice the single pink rose she has clutched in her hand - she was more excited to get flowers than anything else. Is she a real girl or what?)
We promised Lizzie a little treat after she finished her show. We hopped in the car, she turns to me, and says, "Mommy! Can we go to In-N-Out?!" I sneak a glance towards Jeremy and he hides his grin. Hmmmm. I wonder who prompted her to ask for that???
I have a small confession to make... This day is one I've been waiting for since I don't know when, but I always knew that I wanted to watch my little girl perform on stage. I'm not the crazy stage mom by any means - so don't get me wrong. This girl definitely chooses what SHE wants to do. In fact she's decided she wants to try gymnastics next. Bye, bye, dance. Sniff, sniff. This may have been her only dance recital ever. Who knows. All I know is - I'm happy. One of my wishes came true! My beautiful girl shared her talents with the world. Maybe every mom longs for this moment or maybe it's just me, but this day was special for her and for ME.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Programs 2008

Logan and Trevor did some great performances last week. Here's a sample from their shows.

Here are some of the fans...

Grampa Louie came to both performances in his uniform. I love the surprised looks from people in the crowd when they see him. It takes a second for them to realize that he's just there to watch the show.

Trevor had a great time up there this year. He was totally into the music and dancing - that's my boy!

Logie Man

Trevor handsome

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Other Tree

I love our real Noble Fir family tree. But there is another tree in the house that is also close to my heart. This baby stands 12 feet tall and towers over the front room. Sadly, she is artificial, but a beauty none-the-less. Jeremy "loves" putting it together every year, but the great hubby that he is does it all - even the tippy top while teetering on a rickety old ladder.

I had grand visions of a "music tree" this year - complete with homemade treble clef and black eighth note felt ornaments while bursting with plumes of black feathers. Don't worry - I didn't get any further than the music ribbon. My decorating canteen was overflowing at that point. So I used an idea we'd used before, but the colors worked. I had a pile of black framed photos in the bedroom and those worked as a great substitute for the ornaments I failed to make.

These awesome fleur de lis were a great ebay find. They were 6 inch wood cut outs that I sprayed black, added a gold ribbon hanger, and dusted with gold glitter. Beautiful! One more to add to the favorites list this year.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Electric Parade

The Clovis Christmas Electric Parade happens each year on the first weekend in December. As you may remember, my family, the Durans ARE parade people. We love to watch people. It's in our blood. The Wards, however, ARE NOT. Jeremy agreed to go again because he knows how much the kids love it. What a great guy. He tried desperately to recruit some of his family members and some friends. The only ones he could convince were the Edwardsons - minus Rick.

Caralee & Lucas,
Timmy, some of Caralee's friends, Gramma Boggs, my parents,

Marcos & Melody,
Jordan & Stephanie,
and Mica were all there. Everyone that came had a great time.

The parade got started a little late so the kids had to entertain themselves. They were all "dared" by Jeremy to run out into the middle of the street to do a little dance for 30 seconds. They were hesitant at first, but quickly caught on that it was fun to play in the street - they never EVER get to do that! So while they were entertained the adults got to visit for awhile. We froze our buns off, but had a fun time being with everyone. By the end of the night Jeremy had decided that we need to be IN THE PARADE next year. He already has his dad working on a float plan. Stay tuned and see if we actually do it...

I want to know if there are any more parade people out there or if we're just weird with our people watching. Are you a parade person?