One of our favorite traditions is to drive through the Festival of Lights in Spanish Fork. We meet for dinner and then bundle up and pile into the back of a truck. Even though it is in December, we have been lucky most years to have pretty mild weather...not so this year. As we finished eating and headed to the lights, the wind started howling and it was blowing sleet sideways. It seemed kind of crazy to get out of our warm cars and straight into the cold, but Jami brought hot chocolate, and the kids were excited about the adventure, so we climbed in and started the drive. Gavin and Luke immediately started singing Christmas carols so we all of course joined in despite our frozen faces. Despite Ada's pleas, we took a second lap and had plenty of time to enjoy all of the displays. Ruby spent most of her time huddled on Tim's lap with her eyes watering from the wind, but Luke was up on the box of the truck where the view was best, grinning from ear to ear. As we left the park, he once again started singing Jingle Bells and his entire face was lit up with pure Christmas joy. The pictures I took that night are terrible - bad lighting, blurry, and covered faces - the conditions were not ideal for photography. Despite their poor quality, I love these pictures because of the memory they will always hold of our windy night at the lights.
Since Erika moved to Seattle, we have all really missed her - especially Tim. We were able to work our schedules so that he could spend a few days with her. He had a great time seeing the areas where she lives and works. It has been too long time since the two have gone on adventures and had a chance to take so many selfies together. The rest of us were jealous, but so glad for the time they had.
Giant redwood from Snoqualmie area
The Space Needle
Tim's parents were so helpful and let the kids stay with them for two of the days so that I could go to work. As always, the kids had a fabulous time and were a little sad to leave. I love that my kids get these opportunities to make so many memories with their grandparents.
These kids are pretty much pros at Christmas trees. Grandma loves the way they decorated the tree so much that she says she is going to leave it that way all year.
Luke and grandpa spent a lot of time building this race car.
Cinderella in the making...
Luke is such a sweet boy. After we talked through our plans for the time while Tim was gone, he became very concerned at the thought of me being home for two nights on my own. After worrying about it for a bit, he suddenly brightened and said that he would let me sleep with his friends so that I would not be lonely. The morning before he left for grandma's house, he brought several of his stuffed animals into our room and put them in the bed. Each time he talked to me he asked if they were helping me to not feel lonely. I couldn't help snapping a picture to make him happy.
After picking Tim up from the airport, we stopped at Thanksgiving Point with plans to visit the reindeer. Unfortunately, they are in a new location this year and not available during the day, so we passed some time with a visit to the dinosaur museum.
Sunday night we had the Whitesides Christmas party. Tim's parents work so hard to make sure that everyone is well fed and that we have an enjoyable time together.
The talent show was fun, both Luke and Brycen chose to particimate. Brycen is amazing on the piano and I love when we have a chance to see him perform. Luke surprised us when he said that he had a talent - he planned to play the piano and sing Jingle Bells (his holiday specialty). He got a little embarrassed when he realized that he didn't know how to play the song, but I loved his willingness to try.
Humoring grandma with the chimes
This little angel was the star of the nativity play.
This year the kids did a gift exchange and Luke and Ruby had the best time shopping and picking out gifts for their cousins. Luke chose a Star Wars toy for Blake and Ruby picked out a makeup bag with Hello Kitty body wash for Abby. They loved giving away their presents and were both thrilled with the presents they received - Nic gave Luke a Lego Captain America kit and Hannah brought a Minnie Mouse for Ruby. They both came home very happy with their new toys.