Monday, January 13, 2014


I wanted to make sure we took December easy this year because I didn't want to get overwhelmed and sick right before the baby was born.
I usually start decorating our house for Christmas either the week before Thanksgiving (if we're going out of town) or the day after.  Amy and Jeff helped us carry up our decorations when they were visiting for Thanksgiving and on December 1st we started the decorating fun. 
Caden really had a lot of fun putting ornaments up on our little tree.

Nativity ornaments
Our Christmas tree corner

We've always had a mantle to hang our stockings so I wan't sure what we would do this year.  Austin had the genius idea to hang them on the window ledge. 
I was bummed we wouldn't have lights up in our house (one of my favorite parts of Christmas but our baby tree is too tiny for them).  I already had some pre-lighted garland that we've never had a spot for and Austin found a way to hang them. I think it was my favorite decoration this year.

My other favorite part of Christmas is the nativities.  I have been given quite a few over the years (its tradition for Austin to give me one every year) but I didn't have room for them all this year.  We got most of them up though.

This is our Christmas card display that Austin came up with our first year we were married.  It's starting to get too small for all the cards we get.  We might have to do something different next year.
Caden has had fun with Santa this year.  He doesn't really understand what exactly Santa does but he recognizes him and knows what he says.  I bought these window clings a few year ago and Caden loved playing with them.

Caden and I had fun making a few Christmas crafts during the month as well.  He painted these gingerbread men for his grandparents.

We also colored some place mats and used them throughout the month.

Caden also painted some popsicle sticks for a frame ornament for mom and dad (this boy loves painting).

Caden liked this little Santa magnet and would tell us what Santa says in his deep Santa voice:
"Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas!"
I wasn't sure if I was going to make Christmas goodies this year, but how can you not. 
This is what Austin brought to work.
Before we moved to Chicago one family told us it had only snowed a couple times the year before.  That definitely isn't the case this year.  At the beginning of December it had already snowed 2 or 3 times and we got a lot more snow before the New Year.
Caden and I liked looking at the white outside but for Austin, who parks a few blocks from our house, it was pretty miserable.

Caden and I enjoyed a few fun activities outside the house during the month. 
We had our Ward Christmas Party (that we also helped decorate for).

We drove out to Ikea to get some Christmas gifts and enjoyed a little lunch date.

There was also a Bass Pro shop near Ikea so I thought we could stop and get a free picture with Santa.  I didn't know if Caden would be willing to sit on his lap and take a picture so I asked him if he wanted to go see Santa or not.  He said yes and was very excited to go to "Santa's House".  We stood in line (which wasn't too long) and Caden had fun looking for Santa.  When it was finally our turn Caden was suddenly shy and wouldn't sit on Santa's lap.  Santa even gave him some jingle bells to hold but he wasn't interested in mom walking away, so this was the best we got.
Santa wasn't having a very smiley day and apparently I thought if I smiled big Caden might smile too.
Caden did enjoy his candy cane and looking at all the Christmas displays, like this train.

There was even a place to sit and color, and we know how much this boy loves to color!

The month was also filled with Christmas goodies and packages from loved ones.
We didn't get a family picture on Christmas Sunday but we snapped a few in the elevator on the way to the car.
This boy was not too thrilled.  He just wanted his dad.

At the end of the month there was a fairly warm day ( I think it was in the mid 40's) so we decided to head to the Lincoln Park Zoo lights.  Everyone else had the same idea as us and the traffic was bumper to bumper.  Austin ended up dropping us off and driving around while I took Caden out to see the lights.  So much for a family activity.  We learned from our experience and have a plan set up if we want to try to go another year.

Austin was on call New Years Eve and New Years day.  We didn't stay up late (although Caden had a hard time sleeping the night before and was almost up until midnight).  I happened to wake up around midnight on New Years Eve and snapped this awesome picture. 
Thankfully Austin had a very quiet call day and was able to be home most of the day (we attribute it to how cold and snowy it was).
 We're looking forward to new experiences in a new year!


This was our second Christmas at our own home.  We continued our second annual Christmas Eve tradition of steak dinner.
Christmas gifts by the glow of lights.

Caden slept in, which allowed us to sleep in too.  Once we all got ready we went to see what Santa brought.


Caden took his time looking at each item and made use of each one right away.

Lining up mom's cookie cutters on her leg.  Why not?
Once we sufficiently explored our stockings we sat down for a traditional cinnamon roll Christmas breakfast.  I used a new cinnamon roll recipe this year and it was so yummy!!

We were spoiled once again by family. 

Austin couldn't find the tape so he improvised with his medical tape.  

Caden placing the ornaments Olivia made us on the tree.

Car rug from Nana and Grandpa Burnett

Chalk board from Grandma and Grandpa Fisher

Balls from Aunt Amber and Uncle Matt

We all got new slippers for Christmas
Caden is really into super heroes right now and just loves the batman shirt his cousin Lincoln picked out.
Even the baby got some gifts:
From Aunt Amber and Uncle Matt

Other gifts for Caden included Curious George from Santa, a Yoda from Dad, Curious George books and a table and chairs from Nana and Grandpa Burnett, an ABC Book of Mormon book from Aunt Amy and Uncle Jeff, ornaments from Uncle Jacob and heat packs from Mom.

Austin and I got some Date Night kits from Amy and Jeff, the traditional calender from Mom and Dad as well as The Portable Patriot and we each got some heat packs as well.  Austin gave me his traditional nativity.  This one came with a book of Christ centered traditions.  I'm excited to start some of them next year.  My parents gave me a statue of a mother and baby and Caden gave us a popsicle stick frame ornament.  Austin got a Darth Vadar to go with Caden's Yoda, some Adidas cologne and a date ideas jar (organized by how much time he might have on a given night). 
We were also given cash by many family members.  One of the things we plan on doing with it is to buy a year pass to the children's museum here in Chicago.  We can't wait to go use it for the first time!

Austin's big gift to me was a letter.  We are always talking about Elder Nelson and wondering how his experience was going through residency.  We always talk about writing him and asking him about it.  I told Austin that's all I wanted for Christmas this year was a letter to Elder Nelson and he did it!!
What a great husband I have!!
Nana and Grandpa Burnett sent us a package of Christmas goodies that we received on New Years Eve.  It was just what we all wanted.  Caden got this fun tool set that he loved playing with right away.

The baby got a new outfit
and Austin got a heater fan.  Austin told me how he wanted a little heater for the bathroom literally 10 minutes before we opened up the package.  It was pretty awesome timing.

All the goodies from Nana and Grandpa Burnett
We had a wonderful day as a family.
Thank you everyone for your generosity!
We love you!