Friday, January 27, 2017

A Merry and a Happy 2016/7

Quick, before it's February!

We did have a great Christmas and here's a little rundown of the funtimes leading up to the Day.

In the months before, it should be noted, I was participating again in a fun local choir, and then when I went to my sister's orchestra concert and saw that they were teaming up with a different local choir to do John Rutter's Gloria, I was like, oh hey, I should go to that!  And then I was like... oh hey, I should BE in that.  So I looked them up and joined my third concurrent singing group (if you count ward choir, which I do) just so I could check this little number off my list:
Helloooooo, there.  It's been a while.
Yes, it was glorious, and yes, I am so glad to have sung JR's Requiem, Magnificat and now Gloria.  It was great to sing with the TSO again, even though scheduling conflicts prevented my sister from participating this time (though she could attend in the audience, which was fun!) and even besides the Gloria it was a reaaaaally great program of orchestral and choral music (Rutter AND Wilberg AND Silvestri AND Anderson AND Handel in the same concert??).

That did of course take up a lot of time in the evenings (thaaaaaank you Wiiiiiiife) and led to a few scheduling conflicts but I enjoyed it so I'm really glad I was able to sing in both.  Ah, the life of a musician at Christmastime.

Then it was winter!  We went on a cool drive-through lights show in Provo (thanks, KSL Deals) and listened to a lot of Christmas music and enjoyed delivering treats to neighbors.  We also have had a lot of snow this year so I put the little humans to work.

Earning their keep at last!
The we had our ward adult Christmas party, including a talent portion, for which I engaged the services of Dad and Brok to sing Star Bright.  My limited guitar skillz were more than adequate and I'm so glad, after hearing my mom and sisters sing together so beautifully for so many years, that we boys have had the chance to do the same a few times.
I only messed up the words once.  I don't think anyone noticed.
We took the kids to see a live Nativity at the mall, which was fun and interesting and featured free cider and rolls and live local choirs, including one gospel group that were so into those Handel selections.  The animals were present pretty early on but the human portions took a little time getting there, but when they did we had a great time and the kids were into it and it's always great to have more opportunities to talk about the reason for the season.
Live Nativity!  With a camel and everything!
There was no shortage of festive wear and appropriating decor at the house:
Li'l reindeers love eggy breadies.
And then when we found out about the Yule Ball happening at a nearby event center (that is literally a castle) we had to go!  We teamed up with one of my oldest friends from junior high and her new beau and picked up some nachos supreme beforehand and then headed up for all the fun times, including dancing, (terrible) trivia, animals, (literally) snacks and cheeses, fairly good HP-themed beverages, fun photo opportunities, and a Horcrux hunt (we found them all, sorry, Big V).  If they do this again next year I think we might feel like going again.
Though this time we'll bring our wands (which I remembered until it was time to go).  WHY OH WHY did I forget our wands?  I'm a bit ashamed about it.
See??  A castle!!!  It was made for this kind of event.  And also apparently wedding receptions and probably proms and such.  But especially this.
The week before Christmas we had our 3rd Annual Primary Christmas Concert, which is always a good time.
This is one of my favorite new traditions.
And then our Temple Square appearance concluded all my Christmas choiring (except if you count the ward choir program on the day, which I do).  I carpooled with Mom and Dad.
They are so nice and good to support all my musical endeavors for all these years, including schlepping all the way up to SLC and sticking around past their bedtime (especially since they were my ride).
We had tree struggles this year since our usual outlet of Costco sold out much earlier than expected, but our Lowe's backup was all right, though it never quite stood up straight.  But we bought some new all-silver decorations (and will need new lights next year, bah, don't ask) and called the result Fleur Delacour.
Redecorated just in time for the big day, and ambiance enjoyed by Sir Waffles.
Then we had Christmas Day!  Of course it started out bright and early with our church meeting with the adjusted holiday schedule.  I must confess that I was preeeeetty miffed when I heard about it (it's hard enough to get toddlers ready and out the door by 9 on a regular day, let alone an hour earlier on Christmas morning!) but it worked out fine, mostly because:
This is what happens when your stake decides your ward's meeting at 8 am. *facepalm*  Get dressed super quick and scurry scurry scurry down the stairs!
And then we had our program and I sang O Holy Night and Santa Claus apparently came while we were gone and took down those sheets and a lovely gifting was had by all.
See, he did come after all.
And how!  Super Kitty and Baby Dolly with all the trimmings!
Yayyyy for us.  I'm glad that for now Santa still remembers the parents in this house.
And it was such a nice day overall and we had the usual Eve and Day traditions and were so glad dearest youngest sister and fam are back in town so they can participate.
Who needs to take a family picture??  But really, it would have been nice to take one, but this will have to do.
But really church is a great place to be on Christmas Day, early AM and all.  We took time to watch the Nativity video (thank you, YouTube) and Mickey's Christmas Carol and have been making efforts to really instill in these little ones the importance of that Night and that Star and that Baby and they are really starting to get it, which is so touching.  How grateful we all must be.

And then here's the P.S. you've all been waiting for.  The New Year's Baby continues to grace us with a nighttime visit.
Don't laugh about the sock bouquet or the wedged-in Malt-O Meal, we were both really excited about them.
And then it's always hard to head back to work after a nice long break, but it was nice to be driving again under this banner:
Thanks to all the conspirators who aided Santa in delivering this hidden in my whale-shaped butter dish (don't laugh about that either, I'm so glad to have one with a handle, you have no idea).
And that's it for now!  It felt busier than last year but still really pleasant and nice and memorable.  A lot of people keep hating on 2016 and it's true there were some really awful things for a long time but overall I thought it was a good year and ended in a much better place than I ever thought possible all things considered, so I'm looking forward to 2017 with cautious enthusiasm.  I'm trying to limit negative things in my life (and hopefully be less of a negative thing in others' lives) and focus on what's really important.  There's so much to be thankful for and to look forward to, so that's what I'm trying to do.