A Massive Photo Summary of Most of December

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Until I really discovered blogging, I was an avid journaler. And by “avid,” what I really mean to say is that I at least HAD a current journal at every stage of my life and wrote in it anywhere from a dozen times a year to almost daily. As anyone who’s ever tried to keep a personal journal can attest, once you get off the wagon of writing in it daily, it becomes harder and harder to work up the motivation to write in it again because you know you have a ton of “catch-up” to play, which is a bit mentally draining. What would usually happen with me and my journal would be that I would either do a massive dump (where some pretty big life events only got recorded as succinct bullet points in a huge catch-up entry), or I would just pretend like the last several months didn’t happen and just start afresh.

Today I’m choosing the former option.

I’m sure I should have done the 2014 holidays more justice by doing each of these events as its own post, but you do what you mentally can do, and this is about all I’ve got after making this tired body stay up until midnight last night to ring in the new year. (In case you were wondering about how fabulous our New Year’s Eve was, we spent it here at home, sipping sparkling cider and eating homemade orange rolls while playing one of our favorite card games (Hand & Foot) and watching one of our new movies from Christmas (Hundred Foot Journey).

We party hard here at the Meidell home.

But now, in about one minute and 42 seconds, I give you a run-down of what went down last month:

 

1. The extended family Christmas party on my side near the beginning of the month.

This party was a little hard for me this year—it was the first time we’d brought together the entire extended family since my grandma’s passing in April, and the yearly party just didn’t seem the same without her. My aunts and mom did kind of theme the whole party around her though, which felt right—instead of us bringing white elephants from our own homes, they had wrapped up various odds and ends of my grandma’s that we swapped.

We also took back our ornaments from “The Grandpa Tree” (below) that we had given to my grandma immediately following my grandpa’s death over ten years ago. He had died just a couple weeks before Christmas and she didn’t have the energy to put up a tree, so we bought her a little one and each put on an ornament that represented us or some memory we had with our grandpa. She’d put it up every Christmas since, so it was pretty hard to take it all apart and take back the ornaments. I think everyone was trying not to cry. (I know I was.)

The grandkids also got a big surprise–my grandma had left each of us some money in her will, which is why Matt and I were able to take our spontaneous vacation down to Kanab/Arizona this last week. When I received the money, I thought for awhile about what I wanted to spend it on. I knew I could use it to get something I really wanted but wouldn’t have the money for right now (like a camera lens or a nicer t.v.), but using the money to buy ourselves more stuff just didn’t seem right. My grandma was all about family and spending time with us, so I know she’d be happy we spent the money to create memories.

 

To help lighten the sadness of missing my grandma, we incorporated something new into the festivities—“Minute to Win It” games that ended up being hilarious to play (and watch). Even though my team lost pretty dismally, I still had a blast.

A picture of me in all my pregnant glory. I felt pretty huge then, but now, just 4 weeks later, I feel like I’ve doubled in size. So it goes.

2. Mormon Tabernacle Christmas Concert & Lights on Temple Square (two different nights)

 

I’ve talked before about our tradition of going to see the MoTab Christmas Concert, so I won’t be too wordy here. This year it was fun because the Muppets were among the guests asked to perform, as well as the guy that plays Prince Hans on Frozen.  It was the first time Matt didn’t fall asleep during the concert. It was also the last time Matt’s dad would be in the Christmas program, as he is reaching the mandatory retirement age of 60 that the Choir has in place.

 

 

A week after the concert, we tried to meet up with my dad (who was in town) and some of my siblings at Temple Square, but it didn’t exactly work out. Matt and I still enjoyed walking around and listening to some of the local high school choirs perform, though.

(We did end up spending time with my dad later, but unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of that.)

 

3. Our annual “special dinner” right before we celebrate Christmas with just the two of us.

I’ve talked before about how Matt and I always have our Christmas a few days early (since we’re always with our families on the actual holiday and live a bit too far away to want to try and do both in the same day). The night before we do our stockings and gifts to each other, we always do a special dinner of some kind.

This year, I tried my hand out at a Christmas ham for the first time, and we invited our good friends over for dinner and games. It’s exactly the way I like to spend the holidays–good food, good company, and plenty of game-playing.

4. Our early Christmas morning (three days before the actual holiday).

5. The extended family party on Matt’s side, which always includes an attempt at the Nativity with all the great-grandkids, a white elephant gift exchange, and a LOT of food.

 

Important things to note:

*I have realized, through looking at these pictures, that our new camera lens is not quite as great indoors as it is outside. Therefore, I apologize for the not-so-great quality on most of these pics.

*We didn’t have my mother-in-law take any pictures of just Matt and me (like I’ve done in years past for sending out a Christmas card). I’m actually pretty sad about this one. (About not getting the pictures taken, I mean—the card is usually more stress than it’s worth for me.)

*Now that I’m (almost) caught up, hopefully my blog posts will get a little more interesting. I want to try and find a happy medium between how I was blogging initially (at least 4-5 times a week) to how I’m blogging now (5 times a month if I’m lucky). Maybe that will be part of my resolutions for 2015, eh?

Anywho, happy new year! And congratulations if you actually made it to the end of this post.

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