The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Note: I’ll update this post with photos once I get any. It’s been so sad not having our beautiful DSLR Nikon, and we didn’t really take any videos so this Christmas may depend on photos everyone else took.

We visited our family in California and almost went Airsofting with them if we had known to bring all our gear! It was so nice to see my beloved Grandmother, cousins, family, and even my best friend who was in town for Christmas from Japan who I had not seen for at least two years and visiting with her family who are the sweetest ever. How wonderful that the holidays brings us together like that. I think the highlights were surprising my oldest siblings with our early arrival (my brother Wilee wouldn’t let us in because he thought we were lying!), making breakfast with my oldest siblings and grandma, having everyone meet Lily and instantly loving her (she took to Wade immediately), cooking with Dad and Mom like old times but now they actually let me do the important things like shape the carrots into stars and prep the shrimp, eating at Tito’s Tacos in Los Angeles with Amanda, watching The Hobbit on a real date, getting excited about the new house tour and the movie clips of Lily with Amanda’s family, finding our favorite Aloe Vera drink in the 99 cent store (normally they are much more expensive and can only be found in the health food stores), seeing my Mom at her work, laughing so hard I almost wet myself playing Apples to Apples Pictionary with the kids and my cousins, seeing my gorgeous best friend wear red lipstick again and hearing her funny stories about being overseas, sitting in church with our family on Christmas sunday, hearing a talk by one of my other best friends from back home who hasn’t changed at all, eating even after a food coma every day! While in California, Lily showed us her new trick—saying “No” while nodding her head. It’s been a good 16 months without her knowing that word. I hope she doesn’t start saying it all the time…
To beat the blizzard, we left a little earlier than we had expected, but it’s a good thing we did because we arrived at home just in time for the danger to pass. We didn’t even get to really unpack before gathering things together for the Lloyd side of Christmas! Everyone was in town, and we didn’t want to miss anything! On Christmas Eve, everyone opened their first present—their Christmas pajamas! And this year, Lily got a pair of cute pink and grey animal print thermals with a matching bow, and I was so happy Jeremy got me a robe. The tree was gorgeous, presents were everywhere, the stockings looked awesome, the food was divine, and the company was even better. We must have played card games and “Things” for hours while snacking on the spoils of our stockings! On Christmas morning, once everyone woke up they opened their gift that Santa left for them the night before. Jeremy got a new wallet, which he was really happy about because his old one was basically trashed from being in construction and weatherization. The kids were so ecstatic about all of their presents and they all got some exciting toys! Lily got all the things we couldn’t pry her off of in the toy store, like one of those popping push toys and a little Minnie Mouse car she rides that makes sounds and music. Jeremy spoiled me with a gorgeous white standing mirror, a beautiful dress and some cardigans that I needed, and Taylor Swift’s new album RED just to name a few. Everyone almost cried when we each opened a framed photo of Jeremy’s Mom with their late father; it’s been almost six years now and we all missed him and how he always made Christmas so special, so it was nice to remember him when everyone was together again.
My in-laws always make fun of Jeremy and I going over-the-top and making them look bad with our presents to each other because last year I got him a laptop and the year before that he got me a gorgeous camera. So of course, this year we didn’t want to disappoint, haha! This year, Pinterest has been the best thing ever! I started collecting ideas that we could do here locally or try, and many of them became very good date ideas or family outings. Then I found this idea about giving a year of dates that are all pre-planned and pre-paid, and thought that it would be a much more meaningful gift than a new tv or a new iPad that he’ll use for all of 30 minutes, and this way both of us could enjoy it throughout the whole year. Plus, we could even have an adventure. I spent a good month planning out dates and activities, finding the perfect stationary that I wanted to print each date on, and finding the perfect way to present it. I ended up putting them in pretty matching envelopes labeled with the month, stacking them together with a letter that explained the concept to him, printed his name on the back of the letter so it doubled as a gift tag, and wrapped the stack with a pretty red bow. Later on I found the perfect sized box to protect it, so I wrapped that, too. When he opened it, he read the letter that explained it all, but I don’t think he really understood how awesome this gift was at first (maybe he thought it was like those love coupons that he never cashed in), so I had him open a couple. First he opened “the big one” where two Taylor Swift RED concert tickets fell out of the envelope and he read that we were going road tripping to Texas! That got him way excited. Then I had him open January where we go to this awesome Aviary where he can birdwatch to his heart’s content and hand-feed a pelican, his favorite bird. I think both he and the family approved for this year’s big gift. I was so excited about it that I asked him later if he wanted to open more envelopes, and he wanted to be surprised each month. 
We played all day, enjoyed the gorgeous white Christmas that came to Utah this year, and had a blast just being together. We ended up watching The Hobbit again in theaters with the Lloyds because Les Miserables was sold out everywhere! What a great way to spend Christmas vacation.

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