A Grand Christmas and End to the Year

And suddenly it is December, and the madness marches on. I need a break. I need to catch my breath. I need a coma. No offense to anyone in a coma.

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We ran a quick errand at the outlets. They kids wanted their picture taken in front of the huge Christmas tree.

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Brinlee performed at Festival of Trees.

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Her group did lots of stretches before. I love their little costumes.

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Performing is her favorite part.

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Another tree to pose in front of.

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While Brinlee was backstage waiting to go on, we walked around and looked at the trees. Lots of Frozen trees.

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Terrible shots with my phone camera. It was taking pretty good pictures. Now, they are all blurry.

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It turns out Brinlee’s cousins, Sierra and Emma, were performing there too!

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So cute!

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Brinlee loves dance. After each season I ask if she had fun and if she wants to do it again. She keeps saying yes.

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Daisy loves it too. Next year she will be old enough for team.

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Daisy had her dress rehearsal.

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She looks like baby Farrah Fawcett with that hair and make up.

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As cute as she is, I hate seeing her this way. Way too grown up. Stay my little girl for so much longer!

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Women across the world would kill for that platinum hair.

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Georgia looking cute at breakfast.

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Daisy loves avocado.

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It is like chocolate to her.

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Brinlee and Sawyer had a recital the day of the candy houses at Grandma’s, so we did them at our house after church the next day. Georgia just ate her ingredients.

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We pulled out all that old, nasty halloween candy.

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That did not deter them from eating it.

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Gummy bears aren’t supposed to be rock hard. I know for a fact those had been open for a year and a half.

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This picture of Brinlee is a glimpse into the beautiful woman she will be some day. She looks so much older here. Look at those beautiful blue eyes!

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And here are their creations.

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That’s not a tongue, it’s laffy taffy.

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Sawyer’s has an attic.

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Caisen’s has multiple rooms.

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Kimball’s comes with a slide.

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Brinlee’s has a moat.

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Daisy appears to have two.

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Daisy’s recital was on a different night than Sawyer’s and Brinlee’s. Adam was in San Francisco. She also had a performance at preschool before that.

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As soon as I yelled, “Everyone get in the car!!”, Caisen started vomiting all over the carpet in the family room. He ran from one corner to the next, spraying as he went. So Daisy missed her performances. I couldn’t leave him home because Adam was gone. I couldn’t take him anywhere because I had no idea why he was puking or there would be MORE. There was. Staying home was a good call.

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When I texted Miss Kim about what had happened, she told us to come to the studio the next night. She came, turned on all the lights and music, sat in the front row and led her through the routine with Daisy up on stage by herself.

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Her audience was her family and Miss Kim! How kind was that? Miss Kim LOVES her some Daisy.

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Daisy wasn’t at all shy about being alone on stage either. She was so cute.

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Thanks Miss Kim! You made her week!

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We had grandma’s annual Christmas pageant.

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Angels?

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Elven angel. Check out those poor bent ears!

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Caisen lost a tooth and the other followed on Christmas morning.

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Those aren’t suckers. They are for playing the pipe bell things.

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Caisen was a shepherd this year.

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So was Sawyer. Kimball was a wise man.

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My silly boys.

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It looks like Daisy is taking a bite out of Georgia’s halo. It is a possibility.

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My angelic girls

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Cast and crew.

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For Christmas this year, Adam didn’t want me to stress. It is the most stressful time for me with all the family parties, the gifts, the planning, the dinners, neighbor gifts, etc., so we said no to all but one family party, and everything else we could. This year Adam decided we’d stay at a hotel, eat room service, find a wonderful Christmas dinner buffet, lounge and relax as a family.

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Christmas Eve we went downtown and met Grandma and Grandpa for dinner at Brio at City Creek. Georgia liked the mashed potatoes.

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We walked around City Creek looking at the window displays.

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These were all at Macy’s, I think.

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Then we went to temple square to see the lights. The weather wasn’t as cold as it often is.

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Certainly chilly, but not bad.

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Grandma and Grandpa with the monkeys.

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After that we checked in at the Grand America Hotel.

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The next morning someone left a stocking on our door filled with candy, playing cards, popcorn, fruit, etc.

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Inside there were other stockings and presents to enjoy. We’ve started doing trips for birthdays and Christmas instead of many presents. Last year we went on a ski trip. The year before that we went to Jackson Hole. We thought about going skiing again this year, but it hasn’t really snowed. Nothing to ski on.

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This year we went to The Grand America.

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The suite was beautiful.

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The kids always get a book or two for Christmas.

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There is this whole series of Daisy Duck books that are out of print, but I found them all second hand several years ago and bought them. Daisy gets one for each birthday and Christmas.

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Room service! Breakfast is served. I like it.

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We even got a little snow.

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I’m an eggs benedict addict. Any kind, anywhere. Even on gluten free toast.

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Custom orders, all around.

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They each got a Disney movie in their stocking. Since my kids didn’t know who any of the princesses were when they went to Disneyland, we thought they could see some movies.

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Well, they know who Stinkerbell is.

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Georgia started collecting movies.

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She got a new big girl bath towel, an adorable new doll, a shopping cart, a pull toy owl.

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The big kids got Legos and a table and chairs set in their rooms at home to build them on.

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Adam got a present. Do you have any idea how hard it is to shop for this man? The only things he wants are really expensive and I wouldn’t dare pick them out for him.

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This year I got him a nice ski coat. He kept insisting his old one was fine, but it wasn’t a good one (you don’t need a good coat in Georgia), and the zippers were always stuck.

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We ordered room service for lunch and watched some of our new movies.

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When Georgia woke up from her nap, we went on a scavenger hunt in the hotel. This was organized by the hotel, so we didn’t just take it upon ourselves to wander the halls.

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Everywhere we went we heard the Michael Buble song Daisy did her dance routine to, so naturally, everywhere we went, Daisy did her dance routine. She is doing it right here.

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The courtyard was beautiful with a smattering of snow.

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Another blurry picture. That’s us, if you can’t tell.

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This is an actual gingerbread house built by the kitchen staff. I talked to one of the girls who helped build it.

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Just wow.

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I didn’t tell the kids it was real or they would have wanted to sample it.

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Lots of beautiful trees. This one is just my style and color.

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There were so many beautiful window displays.

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And trees.

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Then we went to Christmas dinner, and then things went downhill. I had called down to confirm our reservation. They had us down for the wrong day and the wrong number of people. The hostess tried to give me a hard time, and I wasn’t having it.

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When I made the reservation, I specifically asked if there would be anything I could eat. I found out in October that I’m allergic to gluten and dairy. She assured me there would be, and if not, the chef would prepare something for me. She had noted it on our reservation. When we got there they had no intention of accommodating me. I had to talk to three different people, escalating each time before I was brought some undercooked chicken thighs that tasted like burned oil because they were cooked at too high a heat with the wrong oil. I got some undercooked veggies in the same condition. That was it. No dessert, nothing. Merry Christmas dinner. And they charged me the full price for the buffet I didn’t have.

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Everyone else enjoyed their meals though, especially the chocolate fountain.

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Chocolate vampires.

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I had terrible food poisoning after that, so the next day we packed up and came home two days early. There were other disappointing things about our stay as well. We had plans to take the kids swimming in the pool, go to the movies, etc., but I was too sick to go.

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Georgia wanted to go in my suitcase.

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This is the beautiful view of the courtyard from our room.

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That wasn’t the only trouble we had with the food. The night we got there, I was starving again, so we ordered room service. I specifically asked about gluten and dairy, so I ordered the roast with NO GRAVY. When they delivered it, the whole plate was smothered in gravy. We called down, and an hour later when my new order hadn’t come up, we called down again. That is when they said the gravy had no gluten in it, so they put it on anyway. Well that would have been worthy a mention when I ordered, when it was delivered, when I called down to report the error, or any time immediately after, not an hour later when it was ice cold. Cold beef and gravy and mashed potatoes is no bueno. By this time it was 11:30, and I just went to bed hungry.

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Another weird problem was I smashed my knuckles on the bathroom door handles, and so did several of my kids. They were French doors, but the handles were so close together that if you pulled them shut your knuckles got stuck between the handle and the edge of the other door. It hurt so bad! It scraped the skin right off my fingers. I knew it would be hard to explain, so I took a picture.

The final problem is that even though we were in a suite, it was too much to expect six young, excited kids to be quiet in a hotel room surrounded by people in other rooms who want to sleep. We thought the movies would be enough to entertain them, but it wasn’t. Everything is closed on Christmas, so we couldn’t take them anywhere.

We had hoped this might be a tradition, but I think they are too young for it. Lounging comes with a little more age. They wanted to open their Legos, but I didn’t want to lose pieces. Maybe I should have let them. That would have been a quiet activity too. Usually the TV turns them into lifeless zombies, but not that day. Oh well, live and learn.

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Brinlee is also a wild sleeper. How she gets her hair like this, I will never know.

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Some mornings are worse than others. This one was pretty bad.

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Maybe she and Daisy stay up at night ratting each other’s hair.

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The girls got matching Frozen nightgowns and journals. Daisy wants to match Brinlee with everything, right down to the underwear.

Sadly, this was probably the worst year of my life. There was some joy, but a lot of sadness and loss as well. I had a lot of health problems, my milk dried up suddenly and I lost my only chance to breastfeed, I suddenly lost two friends who were in their prime of lives, Sawyer nearly died, Daisy had (unsuccessful) surgery, my health problems got worse, and other small things that added up to death by a thousand cuts. I’m not sorry to see the end of this year. Somehow, I’ve decided that by the changing of the calendar, the bad things have to be over, because my heart won’t take anymore.

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