Friday, March 21, 2014

Christmas 2013

Sunday evening before Christmas, we had our special Christmas party with the Grubers. We had a festive dinner, of course, and then did our gift exchange. Charlie was really excited about a toy plane from Grandma and Grandpa Gruber, and a set of hot wheels tracks and cars from the Tuttles. Jason and I were really surprised when we opened our gift from his parents...they gave us a large amount of cash to go towards our Disneyland trip we have been trying to do for a really long time! We couldn’t believe it. All of the sudden, our trip actually seemed possible and we knew we could finally make it happen. We were thrilled (and we cashed in on the Disneyland trip in February...that post to come later….once I make it to February)!

That night, after we got home and put Charlie to bed, we finally wrapped up our presents. We didn’t want to have too many wrapped presents under the tree tempting Charlie to rip them open during the season, so we waited until the evening before we left for the holiday. Jason and I also exchanged all of our gifts to each other (except for one each) so we wouldn’t have to do that in front of my family. It was really fun being able to do some present opening early and privately!

Monday night, we headed to my parents. We were there from Monday night to Saturday night. We really jammed the week full of fun and leisurely things. Monday night, as planned, we had a family Age of Empires game. As always, it took awhile to set up and to figure out how to get the network working, but thanks to the patience and efforts of Tyson, we were able to figure it out and get it working. We had a blast. That game is definitely addicting. And, thanks to a couple weeks of practice, Jason and I were able to surprise everyone with our skills. Also impressive was Bryan’s skills. He actually did pretty well...totally unexpected. After the game, we stayed up even later and watched Elf. We had to get in at least one Christmas movie before the season was over!

Love seeing Charlie in this candy cane onesie

I do want to take a minute and say that we were "well-prepped" for this Christmas holiday with the Arbons. What I mean by that is Bryan had every little thing planned out and detailed for us. He spent a lot of time making many Google Docs and sharing them with us. Some of the outlines included parking spots, shopping lists, chores lists, a description of those chores and what the abbreviations stood for, etc. I wish I could adequately explain to you the amazement that Jason and I felt upon reading and looking over these documents. It was hilarious and impressive at the same time! I'm sure my mom was loving it!

Tuesday was Christmas Eve. As I mentioned before, this Christmas my parents wanted us to focus on service (with the 12 Days of Service idea). This focus was also put in place since our Christmas was going to a little bit different this year….we had already received our Christmas gifts from my parents and Santa….the Disney cruise back in July. So for our final act of service we had the sister missionaries over for breakfast Christmas Eve morning. The siblings took on the responsibility of making breakfast: we made cinnamon rolls and an egg casserole. Everything was really tasty, and I could tell the sisters really appreciated us having them over. It was especially nice for us, because it almost felt like Kimberly was with us as a sister missionary. We hope Kimberly was treated well over Christmas Eve as well.

Oh, and we also had one of Kimberly's friends over for breakfast, too....Brooke.

Our typical Arbon Christmas Eve routine was a little different this year since we had the missionaries over. We didn’t take a blanket to the hospital, much to the relief of the siblings….but we did still go see a movie. We went and saw Saving Mr. Banks at Jordan Commons. It was really good! Disney always does such an amazing job. We have been on a Disney kick lately...with the cruise over the summer, all of the Disney movies that Charlie likes to watch, and our Disneyland trip in the near future. Oh, Disney! We love you! Anyways, with it being Christmas Eve we decided we needed to take Charlie to the movies with us. This was his first movie theater experience. Yes, I realize it is not the ideal kind of movie to keep a toddler entertained, but he stayed glued to my lap for the first whole hour. We are lucky he loves watching TV, and I am sure he was captivated by the big screen. For the rest of the movie it was kind of up and down with him. We took turns trying to entertain him, walking him outside, in the hallway of the theater, and up and down the stairs. It was getting more difficult near the end, but we made it!

Next up, was the Arbon Christmas Party at my grandparents house. We had dinner, a white elephant exchange, and a short and sweet Christmas program. An Arbon Christmas just isn’t complete without the party at Grandma and Grandpa’s.

It was kind of late once we got home from the party, but we still wanted to wake Charlie up so he could participate in the fun pajama opening and pictures. As usual, we took lots and lots of pictures. After pictures and putting Charlie down, we had fun playing and introducing the celebrity game that we learned over Thanksgiving. There are always lots of laughs! Such a great game.

Waking up a baby for presents

Thanks Grandma and Grandpa for the adorable Christmas pajamas! So soft and comfy!

A tired boy...zoned looking at the Christmas tree

But he was a trooper and loved playing in the wrapping paper.

With Sister Arbon

Christmas morning, much to my displeasure, we followed tradition and still woke up at 6 AM. This seemed absurd since there was to be no expectation from Santa Claus (except for Charlie...and he likes to wake up at 8:30 AM). However, I couldn’t win the debate and we all woke up at 6. We went to my parents room, as is tradition, and instead of doing the Jesus box, we talked about the service that we had done in December and how we felt about it and what we had learned. After the discussion, we woke up Charlie and headed to the basement. We loved seeing Charlie find his presents from Santa, and were surprised to see a few items for us as well. He is such a kind fellow! After seeing what Santa brought, we opened our Christmas cereal and had breakfast

Headed downstairs

Breakfast time Christmas morning
Next up, talking to Sister Arbon! We are so lucky nowadays, being able to Skype with the missionaries. We had some technical difficulties at the beginning, but we were finally able to see and talk to her on the big projector and on one of the computers. It was so great to see her. She is just loving her mission. You can just feel her energy and her spirit in her letters, and especially getting to see her on Skype. She was emotional talking with us, missing us, and really expressing how much she took family for granted. She couldn’t wait to be back with us and spending more time with us. She will be back before we know it, but in the meantime, she is doing an awesome job and is growing and learning so much!

Once we said goodbye to Kim, it was time to open the presents under the tree. We were all a little confused by the number of presents under the tree. There were presents to and from the siblings and to Mom and Dad, but why were there so many more presents under the tree? We quickly realized that most of the gifts were items that Mom picked out from Grandma and Grandpa Rich. They were special hand me down items such as an ironing board or holiday decoration. It was fun to see who would get what item and if we recognized or remembered it.

Later that day, the sister missionaries came again, this time to Skype with their families. My parents offered to have them come to do that. We gave them their privacy and enjoyed some of the new games that my parents got for Christmas (like Cashflow, the India version of Ticket to Ride, What Did You Say?, and Farkle). These games pretty much consumed the next few days of the holiday. We also played more Age of Empires and the celebrity game. And we played Telestrations. When we weren’t playing games or eating, we were watching movies like Monsters University, Man of Steel, and The Host. The days are just one big blur because we just hung out together doing whatever we wanted. I don’t think I even saw the light of day those few days. We were just so consumed by the games and movies...and tons and tons of good food! I wouldn't have it any other way!

Cashflow...very fun and frustrating! Make sure you have a big chunk of time to put into the game.

This is the kind of attention you get as the only grand-baby

On Saturday, we were planning on leaving in the afternoon, but word came that Marc, Danny, and John were coming over to play some Age of Empires. So we stayed later so we could play with them. We put Charlie to bed, and after the game was over, we got him up and drove home.

Man, what a very fun, different, and memorable Christmas! Thanks, Mom and Dad, for everything you did to make it such a fun Christmas! Thanks for the amazing Disney cruise over the summer, and for the fun montage you created in memory of the trip. It was fun to watch and relive all of the fun moments!

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