If you’re new around these parts, this monthly series is an exercise in brevity as I try (but not very hard) to summarize each day of our month in one sentence. (Also, I’ve been taking a picture of my daughter–and now my son, too–every day since they were born, and this is a GREAT place for me to share several of those photos!). Although I’ve almost always included the photo at the top of its corresponding day, the daily captions of what we did and the photos often do not match. (Just to clarify!)

Thanks to the wonderful Rebecca Jo for the post idea!

Note: There are some affiliate links below, which help support To Love and To Learn. As always, I only promote products I personally use (and love) or that I would honestly purchase for myself.

Saturday 12/1 – It was my extended family’s annual Christmas party on this day, where we enjoyed our traditional spread of various soups and carbs and played a raucously hilarious version of Never Have I Ever (which included a candy bar swap twist). A great evening!

Sunday 12/2 – I spent the majority of the third hour of church out in the hall with the baby, who just did not want to stop screaming.

Monday 12/3 – We had some plans to go out on some neighbor visits in the evening, but with the snowstorm that swept through, we were lucky to get out to the dentist (me) and the store earlier in the day before holing ourselves up in the house.

Tuesday 12/4 – The baby had been sleeping so terribly at night and crying so much that we finally took him to the doctor on this day to see if he had an ear infection. While he didn’t have that, he did have a bad sore throat, so at the doctor’s suggestion we picked up some ibuprofen in addition to the Tylenol we already had and cycled through the two, which resulted in much better sleep for us all (and in Thias finally taking some naps during the day, too!).

Wednesday 12/5 – In the evening, Matt and I were able to go to his annual work Christmas party (this year held at the local Elements restaurant, complete with white elephant gift exchange after) thanks to his parents being gracious enough to make the hour drive up to watch the kids.

Other than some of the measuring, Raven made this batch of muffins almost entirely by herself (just with me directing what to do). It ended up being kind of a great counting lesson, complete with counting out five chocolate chips for the top of each one.

Thursday 12/6 – I’d been trying to convince Raven ever since we moved into our house with its fully-fenced backyard to go out and play more, but she was always reticent to go out alone. On this day, she requested that I bundle her up in her snow gear so she could “dig [aka, shovel] the back sidewalk,” and she ended up doing the whole thing by herself (and did a pretty impressive job, too) and playing outside for a long stretch of time. Victory!

In which Raven wears every swimsuit she’s ever owned and insists on getting in the frame with her brother.

Friday 12/7 – Matt and I realized it had been ages since we’d busted out any of our games, so we brought out Carcassonne and turned on some old episodes of The Office and had ourselves a little date night in.

Matt reading this gigantic edition of The Little Engine That Could that we got from my mom. It’s super hard to find now, but she got it for a great deal! We’re planning to display it on gallery shelves in the kids’ bedroom.

Saturday 12/8 – We went over to the Owens’ apartment in the afternoon to celebrate their oldest boy’s second birthday (who is one of Raven’s favorite little friends) with them and our friend Andrew. Love our monthly friend get-togethers! (And I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again—we LOVE that our friends are seriously fabulous cooks, too! The butternut squash mac and cheese they’d made was seriously yummy.)

Sunday 12/9 – I had a rehearsal for a musical number I’d be singing as part of a 3-part women’s trio the following Sunday. Earlier at church, Matt and I found out which Primary class we’ll be covering next year, and let’s just say…we were maybe sorta singing hallelujah (as it seems that this group next year will be, ahem, much more well-behaved than our current group).

Monday 12/10 – For family night, we made “prayer pretzels” (just homemade pretzels in the traditional shape, as it’s believed that pretzels were created by a monk who was trying to create a bread that looked like arms folded in prayer).

Tuesday 12/11 – In a spontaneous twist on our original plans, Matt got off work 2 1/2 hours early so he could join the kids and me when we drove an hour south to my sister’s house to decorate cookies with my sister’s family and my mom. We’re loving this more recent Christmas tradition of my mom’s!

Wednesday 12/12 – Ugh, we had serious issues with the dog that was staying with us on this day. (I’ll give you a hint: it involved poop. Lots of poop. Inside the house.) Yuck.

Thursday 12/13 – Matt took on bedtime alone so that I could make my weekly trip to the temple this night.

Friday 12/14 – Matt used the last of his vacation time to take off the majority of this day, and we took full advantage of it by going to Herm’s for lunch (where our meal ended up being comp’ed because of an error with the ordering on their end) and then out to Hardware Ranch to ride in a “sleigh” pulled by horses out to the middle of where hundreds of elk were grazing on the hay provided by the conservation area. We finished it up with hot chocolate at home. All in all, a wonderful day!

Saturday 12/15 – We decided to start a fun new tradition where “Muvvy the Elf” leaves a special Christmas present of a new movie under the tree that can be opened early. Since Raven had never seen Peter Pan, we had her open that one and all watched it together. Methinks this should be a yearly thing!

Sunday 12/16 – I sang in a trio this day at church with two other women, which meant that it was the third year in a row I’ve sung in church around Christmas (the last two years were duets with Matt of O Holy Night).

Monday 12/17 – For Family Night, we made Chex Muddy Buddies to portion out as gifts for the kids in our Primary class, which we ended up eating a LOT of, ha ha. Good thing we’d made waaaay more than we needed!

Tuesday 12/18 – I finished up the very last of my Christmas shopping on this day while Raven was at preschool.

Wednesday 12/19 – Mathias had his 6-month doctor’s appointment, where we learned he continues to go strong at the 2nd percentile for weight (and about the 3rd for height, so…at least he’s well-proportioned). He also handled his shots MUCH better than at previous appointments, which was nice for all of us (!).

Raven “reading” to Mathias: a daily occurrence around here

Thursday 12/20 – We had a spontaneous play date with my friend Katie and her boys in the morning, which gave me a good chance to chat with another adult and our kids a good chance to run off some energy.

Friday 12/21 – Raven had a fun Christmas party at her preschool on this day (where she decorated a sugar cone to look like a Christmas tree and made us an ornament that should have come with a warning that it would make me tear up and almost lose it when I read the tag…too sweet!).

Saturday 12/22 – One of the gifts we’d scored during a white elephant gift exchange was a gift certificate to a local bakery/cafe, so we ended up taking a little trip out there for lunch on this day. It ended up being a pretty busy day, as Matt made his weekly temple trip, and I had a photo shoot I did in the morning. Oh, and we also popped some corn and watched Elf as a family (with about a million and one interruptions, as Raven wanted every last detail explained to her). Fun stuff!

We also said goodbye to the dog on this day (because she was going to be staying with Matt’s parents and then going back to his grandpa Christmas Eve). Everyone was sad but me.

Sunday 12/23 – Church was only an hour long on this day, and I participated in the music program as a member of the choir and as an organist on one of the pieces. Immediately after, we all headed down to my mom and stepdad’s place for our traditional family Christmas party with all my siblings. As I’d been having back problems for weeks, my sister (who’s a licensed massage therapist) worked on it while we all reminisced about Christmases past. We had a lot of fun learning things about each other we didn’t know and remembering a lot that we’d forgotten!

Monday 12/24 – Early in the morning, we went over to my in-laws’ place for their Christmas party (with all of Matt’s siblings and families), which consisted of a breakfast feast and lots of exchanging of gifts. (I was especially stoked that my mother-in-law had finished the elephant painting I’d commissioned her to do for our kids’ room! I can’t wait to post pics once we get it hung up!). After that, we went to Matt’s extended family’s Christmas party (on his dad’s side), which involved more food, a white elephant gift exchange (where Matt and I lucked out again and scored one of his mom’s original paintings that she’d put in), and a pinata for the kids. After all was said and done, we drove back home, where we spent the first Christmas Eve of our marriage actually sleeping at our own place (after making a batch of cookies to put some out for Santa, of course).

Tuesday 12/25 – Our first Christmas morning spent in our own place! (In years past, we’d always just celebrate Christmas on a different day, such as the Saturday before, and then stay over on Christmas Eve night with one of our our parents). Raven’s at the age when she wanted to open EVERYONE’S presents, so we had to help her exercise a little patience and control, but overall, it was a fun day. Raven’s big gifts were a Melissa and Doug deluxe art easel (which has ended up being about the smartest purchase we’ve ever gotten her) with a huge variety of art supplies to go with it and a “Pet Vet Set” (also Melissa and Doug). Mathias got a dump truck, lots of toys to chew on, and several books. Matt’s big gift was a power pruner so we can stop borrowing our neighbor’s, and Matt surprised me big-time by buying the guitar from my brother that I had borrowed for a couple years from my sister (the original owner) and had learned to play on. After we had our special Christmas breakfast of cinnamon rolls, bacon, and eggs, we headed back down to our folks’ houses in Bountiful for yet more family fun. A really packed day, but a great Christmas!

Wednesday 12/26 – Days after holidays are always a bit challenging, but I wore the kids out by taking them to two stores in the morning, so they actually both took naps at the same time in the afternoon, which kept my sanity intact.

Thursday 12/27 – Finally, a much-needed day where we just stayed home and did nothing! And Raven actually took a nap AGAIN, so it felt a bit like a vacation!

Friday 12/28 – In the morning, had a doctor’s appointment about some worries I had about my liver and back and then in the afternoon, I got a bunch of tests done at the hospital (including an ultrasound). (For the record: the ultrasound looked normal, but my blood work was abnormal on some liver enzymes, so…we shall see what further testing shows.) My mom and stepdad took our kids for us later so that Matt and I could go to the temple together that night (along with his parents and brother/sister-in-law). Fun story: we ended up having a fourth couple join us for sealings, whom we all happened to know from totally different parts of our life. Small world!

Saturday 12/29 – Every year since we’ve been married, we’ve driven three hours south to the Christmas party put on by my step-grandma. This year was the last time she decided to hold it, so it was extra special to see everyone and to hear her give some thoughts to the whole family on what she thought were the most important things in life.

Sunday 12/30 – Our last time teaching our CTR 6 Primary class, and Raven’s last time going to nursery! We also made the baby blessing of our friends’ new baby (though we had to jet out literally right after it finished).

Monday 12/31 – I ended up needing to take the kids in to the doctor in the morning because Mathias was pretty sick (all of us were sick, but the baby was running a fever too, which was worrying me). He ended up having an ear infection, so we put him on some antibiotics and he already seemed to be feeling a lot better. Matt ended up only having to work a half day too, so we enjoyed extra family time together. Super fun fact: Matt and I weren’t planning on staying up until midnight but we ended up being awake anyway thanks to the baby screaming for about a half hour at that time. Happy new year to us! Ha ha.

Whew—that wears me out just reading about it! Luckily January is usually a pretty slow month over here, which we’ll be needing to recuperate. How was your December?

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