This year The Wife and I were feeling in a particularly festive mood. There have been a lot of Christmasy goings-on, so we decided to participate in several of them. A lot of these are thanks to Julie's planning and research on local events, so well done, Wife.
After Thanksgiving was good and over it was time to get the tree. My friend Mike recommended we get one at Costco, which his family had done in recent years to some satisfaction. So we did! And we also bought a membership while we were at it. (We did Sam's Club for a couple of years, decided to give Costco a try this time, which is good because CHICKEN BAKE.)
|Step 1: Hope it looks okay when you unbundle it|
|Step 2: Unbundle it and heave a sigh of relief (and rotate it until you find the best angle)|
|Step 3: Put lights on, and buy more to compensate for its massive size|
|Step 4: Etc. etc.! We called it Thorin. You know, from Les Miserables (as Julie likes to say).|
|Our lights and snowflakes. We are the most festive place in the complex!|
|Julie made some of these for her mama. They look so pretty and wintry.|
|She made a little fleet of these for her other family, and they look so charming. Now and then she is fairly craftsy.|
Julie saw a notice on a website for local Christmas events that this handbell choir was doing a free show in the Provo Library, so we invited Mom and Dad to join us for it, and it was very fun and festive. They played a variety of Christmas tunes, and there was even a sing-along portion. And it's apparently a very popular event, as it was completely full, after having turned away many people from their first performance!
• Ward choir Christmas program
I was made choir director just a couple of months ago, so I had a very short time to get a choir and a few pieces together for our contribution to the Christmas program, and it turned out really nice! (I was glad that I wasn't responsible for an entire program of pieces like last year, what with the limited time to put it together and all, and it was nice to have a variety of pieces in the program too.)
• First Presidency Christmas Devotional
We watched it, and it was nice, and as usual, the choir was my favorite part, ha ha.
• Alfie Boe with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Speaking of the choir, we always love going to the MoTab's Christmas concerts, but when rumors started circulating that ALFIE BOE (you know, Alfie Boe...) was going to be the guest singer, we were like MUST GO, and then Belinda was ever so nice to get us tickets, and we went! It's always a good show, and this year was no exception, and Alfie was one of our favorite guest stars ever!
|Theeeere we go. We took the train all the way up! It took FOREVER, but I didn't have to worry about weather or traffic or parking, and then I could finish my book instead of concentrating on driving.|
|Wheeee, Alfieeeee! And yes, Wife, Bring Him Home IS on the program!!! (He's the only person who really makes her like that song.)|
The next weekend we redeemed a great LivingSocial deal that Julie gave me for my birthday (you know, nine months earlier... and just a few days before it expired... we know how to take advantage of those things). This English-themed bed & breakfast in Salt Lake City turned out be quite charming. It was a renovated old house with lots of British decor, with breakfast specially prepared and served either in our room or at the dining table (we had it both ways, since we stayed two nights) with the very nice lady working there that night. On Saturday we walked down to Temple Square to look at the lights and do lots of shopping, and saw The Hobbit at the Gateway theater (more thoughts on that... maybe it should have its own blogpost...), and in general enjoyed being cozy during the lovely snowstorms.
|Oh, Bag End.|
|Welcome welcome, won't you come in?|
|If I had realized how cold it was going to be I would have brought my heavier coat. And some gloves. And a hat.|
|Kuv yog Hmoob.|
|Julie insisted the silky robe was for the lady, but it was just so comfortable! I decided to wear it anyway (mostly because she wanted the terry cloth one).|
|Taking a little photo tour of London.|
|What a nice tub! But, erm, the bathroom had no door. (That li'l curtain doesn't count.) Just because?...|
|Reading a little Dickens by the fireplace.|
|Us and Dobson (?). This guy is really creepy to encounter in the dark of night when you're trying to find your way around an unfamiliar old house.|
• Grandmother's Christmas party
She had it! It was fun.
• Christmas River Cruise
Like we did for Halloween, we found a Groupon for this little (freezing) cruise down the Provo River. It didn't have pirates like it did in October, but it did have Santa Claus rowing a canoe and Christmas Shoes (a.k.a. one of the worst Christmas songs ever) playing along the shore. It didn't have as many lights as we expected, or had been led to believe, but it was still festive and fun.
• The Nutcracker
We went to see this last year, performed by the Utah Regional Ballet at the Covey Center in Provo, and enjoyed it so much that we decided to go again, and invited Mom and Dad so they could share in the fun. It's always a festive show, and it's so great to hear a live orchestra play those awesome songs.
• Watching fun Christmas movies and reading Christmas books
We actually watched a few Christmas (or Christmasy) movies this year! Some of them were good (While You Were Sleeping, Muppet Christmas Carol, Home Alone), others not quite as good (The Nutcracker Prince, One Magic Christmas, neither of which hold up very well seeing them again after all these years), and I also read some seasonal books (a couple versions of Dickens's classic A Christmas Carol, and two spin-off stories about Marley, one that was not so good and one that was great).
• Timpanogos Symphony Orchestra's Christmas concert
We went to see Cami's orchestra's Christmas concert, with guest solo violinist Jenny Oaks Baker, and it was really fun and interesting. She had some very unique arrangements of well-known Christmas carols, and she played them all right!
And then it was Christmas for certain. And it was soooo snowy! We decided that instead of going to Missouri this year (just sooooo expensive! Though we were sad not to see Julie's family), we would just hunker down and enjoy a Christmas in our little home, which was very nice. We had the usual family shenanigans (fondue at Cami's on Christmas Eve, gathering at Mom and Dad's on Christmas Day, boys-against-girls puzzle competitions, pajamas for the kids, etc. etc.), and Julie and I really enjoyed our last Christmas with just the two of us...
|For herrr! I C U, Wif!|
|Hurrah, piano music drifting through the house at last!|
|She REALLY likes this flavor of Ramen... And it's pretty much unavailable except online. Well, you have a year's supply of it now, Wife! (Ha, more like a couple months, the way she loves it.)|
|It always ends up looking like a lot of presents under the tree after all.|
|And as a stroke of genius on the part of your truly, The Wife was given her very own Settlers, a family favorite that we can now play right at home! (This was one I was somehow able to keep a complete secret.)|
|She likes it.|
|Ummmm, how well does this girl know me?!? I ask you.|
We attended the annual Barrett side Christmas party at the Frisbys', where Julie presented her MOST scrumptious orange chocolate cake. It was some kind of spectacular.
|Her first bundt cake, and it was perfect!|
|Mmmm... we were so glad there were just a few slices leftover for us to take home.|
• Les Miserables
Then there was a lot of snow and icy roads and this happened:
|But really, it's a good thing that barrier was there or I would have slid right off the cliff.|
(Originally this was a category more vaguely titled FOOD, but this bird deserves its very own recognition.) Julie won a turkey in a drawing at work, and it's been a goal of hers for quite some time to roast a chicken of some sort, so this was the perfect opportunity. So she roasted it up and we ate it and IT WAS (surely!) THE MOST DELICIOUS TURKEY EVER!!! I know I'm not being disloyal to my mother for her many years of delicious turkey preparing by saying that The Wife's first turkey was a resounding success. We ate SO SO much of it all by ourselves and kept thinking that we maybe should have invited people over to eat it with us and then were just like, nvrmnd and kept eating it. It was just... so perfectly cooked. And I carved it! And we finally were able to put our electric carving knife (which I forget we even had) to great use.
• New Year's Eve in Park City
And then as a nice little P.S. to the whole season, I had weeks before bought tickets to see Kristin Chenoweth in concert in Park City on New Year's Eve, so we thought we would make an event of it by getting a room at the Homestead and staying up there for the night.
this), and it was nice to stay up late watching The Twilight Zone/House Hunters marathons on TV until we kissed at midnight and promptly thereafter fell asleep.
|Like we do.|
|Photo tour of our room!|
|Just conducting a little business.|
|A hide-a-bed!!! OMGoodness.|
|We heard those icicles falling occasionally during the night. That would hurt.|
And then the New Year's Baby came after all! Even though we weren't home to receive him until later that day.