Happy New Year!

Happy New Years everyone! It has been FOREVER since I've blogged about our family! Sorry! This holiday season was probably the busiest we have ever had! Some things had to slide until the New Year and one of those things was my blog! Next Christmas I'm determined to start everything earlier & plan better! I think I always say that but never do!! I really will next time! It was all worth it but it definitely was a crazy, busy time!

Our holiday was wonderful, filled with many memories & events. We were so blessed to be able to be with so many members of our family. Love them all so much!!

I really love Christmas time. I LOVE getting in touch with old friends as well as new friends & family members & giving & receiving Christmas cards with family updates & pictures. I love getting the home decorated for Christmas & planning & attending Christmas activities & gift giving. I love planning Christmas for my family & feeling of their excitement & anticipaton. I love the stories, thoughts & reminders of the birth of our Savior & of His life & realizing again how blessed I am to have the gospel in my life. Christmas time is a busy time but is also so magical & wonderful. I love to share this holiday with those we love!

The Christmas magic really began with Santa visiting Jake's preschool. Jake was so thrilled to sit on his lap & tell him what he wanted--a remote control car. Santa was so fun & kind. Jake still treasures the picture Santa gave all the children. This was such a fun day!

Christmas morning...Loren was so excited to find High School Musical treasures. She got an MP3 player to rock out to all the songs. Car rides will never be the same!
Lindsey asked Santa for a new bike! It was so cute, all the kids wrote letters to Santa & taped them on the fireplace, every day we'd see the letters placed a little differently on the fire place. The were proud of their work & so excited for Christmas. Lindsey wrote two letters. One letter thanking Santa for the presents last year & a new letter asking for a new bike & petshops.

Allison loved her new baby
and all the STARBURSTS she could get her hands on! She calls them "nanny" for candy. Lindsey thinks it's so funny that Allison loves candy so much and so she sneaks it to her when I'm not looking. Ahhh! Besides the addiction ,Allie loves to suck on things and then throw them anywhere she likes--this includes all fruit and vegetables (she especially likes to nibble on carrots & spit it out or bananas). I've found many slimey surprises! If I can catch her quick enough I can convince her to chew it a little more or throw it in the garbage (which she calls "garby"). Running, while yelling out "garby!" & then getting to open the lid & watch the item fall into the hole is her favorite thing to do these days! Oh, except jumping on the tramp. She is really getting good at it. Lindsey is currently teaching her to do better somersaults too & to "stick it!" Yes, gymnastics is a big thing around our house. We won't be surprised if little Allie does gymnastics too...

Jake's remote control car. Go Santa! Looks pretty excited about it? Oh yeah! BJ would have died for remote control like this as a kid!

We definitely had a High School Musical, Hannah Montana, Petshop Christmas. The girls were in heaven.

Even after getting the kids to rally up the starbursts SEVERAL times that morning, Allie just kept finding them!!!

So easy to please with new jammies!

and Elmo of course! :) Elmo was BJ's best friend too while I was in UT (kidsless!). I better back up. We found out about some family events we didn't want to miss with BJ's family so instead of following our original plan to drive up to Northern Cali late Christmas morning we held a family council & decided to write to Santa and ask if he would please come early this year. Then Lindsey piped in and said, "why don't we ask Santa to come tonight!" (this was Dec. 21st I might add). BJ thought that was the best idea he had ever heard. I was feeling the guilt of course knowing that we'd be there with all the cousins Christmas morning & wondering how our kids would handle watching their cousins open everything in front of them. We thought of taking all the gifts from us up on our trip, but in the end...we just did it all! We've brought Christmas with us before & swore we'd never do it again! So, Santa came after all & after "Christmas" was unwrapped we headed for breakfast at Eggs n Things. A fun treat...that made our Christmas very relaxing. BJ votes we do it early every year! Anyways, after one of the busiest Sunday's ever we piled in the car immediately after Church & made the drive to arrive at BJ's Dad's house 4 hrs later at a house full of all his siblings & their families. The first event of our our trip. My camera was out of battery but it was such a great afternoon & to be with everyone there. The only downfall was the allergic reactions all of our kids had from the animals. All our kids are So allergic to cats & dogs!

Lindsey lost her front tooth...& then lost her other front tooth & loved chanting the words, "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!"

Okay, I can't remember if I posted this picture before but this was before Christmas and I was gone. BJ was "watching" the kids. Well, I guess he dozed off & Allison roamed up to the bathroom, climbed into the sink & fell asleep! I've seen her climb into the sink before...such a classic picture...nice one BJ. :)

Christmas morning at the cousins! What a cute group! We were amazed at how great our kids did watching their cousins open all of their gifts. When asked later about it they all agreed that it really wasn't that bad...especially because they got presents from Grandpa & Tammy & then from Grandma & then from Aunt Brookie. They still had presents to open! Not bad!! :)

It was so fun to be there this time for BJ's Dad's party, the Christmas Eve festivities & Secret Santa Exchange among the siblings, spouses & Gma, then Christmas Day and then to top it off- to be there for BJ's Sister's 40th birthday party at BJ's Restaurant. All of BJ's siblings, except one brother who lives in Oregon made it there with their significant other as well as both of his parents. It was a fun night! Great food, tons of laughs! I sat there & realized that in about 10 years I"ll be 40 & Loren will be 18! Yikes! Her 8 yrs has flown by. I hope the next 10 will be a little slower! Wow.
Bj's sister Shannon. Look at that crown! BJ's brother Lane (the brother in Oregon who couldn't make it that night) made this crown out of silver pipe cleaners. Yeah! The creative juices in this family are amazing. Do you see the "S" in the center for "Shannon"? Seriously! :)

So, after all the festivities in Northern California BJ sent me to UT for the weekend so I could be there for my sister Natalie's baby's blessing, KIDSLESS. Something I haven't done since my Grandma's funeral a few years ago. It was so relaxing & so fun to hang with my family for a few days. I got to play "Auntie" for once. After some Cafe Rio, shopping, fun movies & family time I was so relaxed! How grateful I am to have been able to be there for my sister. BJ, stayed in N.Cali with all the kids & drove home after his brother Darren's baby boy was blessed on Sunday. This was my first time away from Allison for more than a night & BJ was a little nervous...but Elmo & milk saved the day. Anytime she'd say, "Mommy" he would say "Elmo" or "Milk" & she was fine. Success!!!
Here are my parents, my sister Natalie & little Ellie. So cute! Me & Ellie.

What do you know, after the blessing & sacrament mtg was over I stood up to leave with my family & saw my friend Monica, one of my best high school buddies, sitting in the back. She & her husband are living in India right now, so I was so excited to see her! What are the chances! They were there visiting for Christmas. This was her husband Bart's family's ward & they had decided to go last minute. I ran into two other guys I knew in high school too. Always happens when you visit UT! Fun times.

Well, to finish up the longest blog ever I wanted to share what I have spent every spare second of Dec. working on, a digital scrapbook for my Mom (& for me & all of my siblings & anyone else in my family who wants it). This is the reason that this holiday season was probably the busiest ever. I was scrambling to get as much of this project done as possible. It took lot's of time, & I was learning how to use photoshop in the process. Photoshop is so fun! One of my favorite things I was able to do was use the "lasso" tool & preserve my Grandmother's writing by cropping out my Grandmother's writing from her original scrapbook & then play it with it & insert it into my book. I can honestly say I'll probably completely convert to digital scrapbooking. Something I thought I'd never do. I've always LOVED to scrapbook, ever since highschool. How wonderful it was to know that I could print off several copies of my work instead of manually putting together several copies to all who wanted this. These pages aren't in order but here are some of the pages I did & presented to my Mom when I got to UT. I've been wanting to do this for a very long time & it is still a work in progress but it has been so rewarding for me. I have loved talking with my grandparents, getting their childhood memories, & memories of their courtship & first years of marriage. To know these stories & to have these pictures are just priceless to me. I had scanned these pictures in UT last summer...all of them being 2in. by 3 in. pictures. I wanted to scan them at a high enough resolution to blow them up & then digitally scrapbook their history & then the life of my Mom. My grandparents came to America from Holland & their story is so amazing. My mom was the first born & was born in California. THey lived all over the world & had so many experiences. I'm excited to document it & have it for my family.
Before our trip to N. Cali I hadn't even gotten to the pictures of my Mom yet so every spare second I had there, I worked on about 4 more pages. I got about 15 done...and have much more to go! So! I'm thrilled that it has been started & now that my mom is in on it I am excited to get her early memories & continue building on this book. I plan to continue with the pictures I have & then build as I get a hold of more pictures. My Mom was so surprised & loved it. Later, when my Grandparents saw it after I had already left they couldn't believe the clarity & to be able to see their pictures so much bigger & edited (thanks to my brother Connor). They loved it & want their own copy. It was SO worth it. SO rewarding! I'm excited to continue the project at a much slower pace :) Here are some of the pages! They are all 12x12 pages. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season & a Happy New Year!

Courtship pictures. They knew eachother from childhood.

Picture taken just after being married.

Their voyage to America. Finally together!

engaged...but my Gpa had to go back to America to save money for my Gma's voyage. They were apart for a year & were married by Proxy.

Honeymoon & actual letter my Gpa wrote my Gma's father about his plans for the future & his love for my Gma.

Their first pictures in America, newly married. They lived in a little trailor right next to Compton College.

My mom was born.

Fun pictures of her as a baby.

These pictures were all so tiny & even a little blurry! It's amazing what you can do!

Good night!!!!


Melissa said...

Megan, I LOVE the scrapbook pages! What a priceless treasure they are for your family! It was so fun to read about your holidays, and I LOVED the picture of Ali in the sink! That is so funny!

Angel said...

Welcome back to the world of blogging Megan! Your scrapbook turned out so well! I think that it is great that you took the time to do that for your family. I am sure that they will treasure it forever. BTW, that picture of Ali in the sink is HILARIOUS!

Michelle A. said...

That picture of Allison is priceless - what a cutey! I love all your pictures and so glad you had so much fun family time! That digital scrapbook is beatiful. Take care and hope you are well :)

Lindsay said...

Megan- you are a sweetheart! How amazing that is of you to make that scrapbook! What a treasuer- and it looks like you are a pro already!! The pic of Ali is THE BEST!! Miss you- I am working on getting those pics to you! Welcome back to blogland!!

Miss Erika said...

I am so impressed. I love these pages. They are beautiful. It inspires me to pull out my stuff and start again!

I wish I had known you were coming to Utah, I would love to see you again... it seems like it has been forever. Well, someday, right?

mockingbirdjc@yahoo.com said...

Megan, what a thoughtful daughter and granddaughter you are! I just can't imagine your mom and grandparents appreciation and love at receiving this!

Wow photoshop really did a good job! This is unbelievable quality, too! And the ability to move the graphics around is so cool! I love this!

By the way, my son Zach has a hard time sleeping and I always wondered why he won't just fall asleep at the drop of a hat! I'm very impressed!

heidikins said...

Your pages gave me goosebumps! Absolutely fantastic! I love this story and I'm glad ya'll had a great Christmas.


Amy & Aaron said...

Can I just tell you how much I love the picture of Lindsey with her new bicycle? I'm sorry but Loren's position and face is priceless. I just flashed back to Loren's birthday when she had the pink scooter every one else was dying to try!
Beautiful scrapbook pages! And the picture with Ali in the sink! Could she be any cuter?!

Laura said...

What a great blog entry! No wonder Dec. was so busy. To answer your question we are moving down the hill. There just weren't any kids at our end of the street to play with. We built a house in a new development...an area with lots of kids. We didn't think our current house would sell in time, so it really is a blessing. When are you in UT again? We'd love to see you. I can't believe how big all of the kids are getting!

Christensen Family said...

Your digital scrapbook is amazing! Those pages are beautiful, and what a work of art and love for your whole family! I laughed about your comment about saying every Christmas that you'll start earlier and plan better...it was so familiar, I do the same thing! So fun to catch up again. That picture of Allison in the sink is priceless. It would be fun to see you again next time you are in town, we should just plan a big lunch/playdate at the old park...

Gina said...

Wow!! The digital scrapbook is amazing!! What a great idea for your family history you are starting. It's sounds like a good time to start too -you can still ask questions, get information. I loved the colors and style you've chosen. Good Job! I'm sure your years of scrapbooking came in handy. Looks like you found another talent!! I'm sure your whole family appreciates all the time you've put ito it! The fact that you only have to do the page once, yet you can copy it for everyone, makes it all worth it! One of those prize posessions!!

Brandon & Sara said...

Looks like you had a great Christmas and was able to get a lot done! That picture of Allie in the sink is priceless! SO CUTE! And that is so neat you are doing that scrapbook! I am impressed! Good to see you guys are doing well!

ohbrooke said...

Ok - you aren't giving that picture of allison in the sink enough credit. I was laughing so hard, I was crying. I have ordered an 11x14 print. I LOVE IT!!!!

katie and kaden said...

hey megan!! i'm glad you found me on this! you're family is growing up so fast. it's good to see you are all doing well!

CaLM RAPIDS said...

Hey Megan,
Love to see your beautiful family! Glad I found your blog! Your pictures are so fun! Sleeping in the sink is great! I have a picture of Erin asleep on the toilet--don't think we'll post that one! :)

Tamar and Trevor said...

Your kids are beautiful! The pace of your life always amazes me. You are such an amazing mom. I have been thinking about trying out digital scraping and you are an inspiration, the pages are beautiful! Give me a call sometime when you can. Love ya!