Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day 13: Zoo Lights

The boys love animals more than almost anything (parents included). Marisa loves Christmas lights more than almost anything. So it was pretty much a win-win from the get go:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Days 9, 10, 11, 12

Okay, so to catch everyone up on the nightly events, here's what we did the last half of last week:

Day 9: Introduced the boys to How the Grinch stole Christmas

Day 10: A long line to see Santa at the South Towne Mall:

Day 11: Making Christmas ornaments at Grandma Linda's house

Day 12: Christmas concert sing-a-long at our local LDS stake center.

Day 8: Nativity in the Glen

Just a handful of blocks from our home, there's one night of the Christmas season that we'll make sure to never miss again. The Nativity in the Glen is a collaborative effort, put together jointly by the First Baptist Church, Wasatch Presbyterian Church, St. Ambrose and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Churches, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Bonneville Stake.

These four church groups come together to create a live nativity that is wonderfully spiritual, complete with live animals (including camel), a beautiful manger scene, and an impressive cast of well-robed volunteers. Here are a few photos from our memorable evening:
The boys decided they wanted to dress up and go back in time to the nativity

We were lucky enough to have two great family friends come along with us, Amber (Sammy's Primary Teacher) and Jasmine (former Jibe employee)

Oliver is wondering why that shepherd has hockey gloves on

Dave and Jasmine and Oliver and Oliver's cup of hot chocolate

The boys were so excited to see the baby Jesus. Oliver was especially excited to see the donkey that they had parked next door

Day 7: Delivery of Living Christmas Ornaments

With the soon-to-be arrival of Eliot, we decided to take an easier route with this year's neighborhood Christmas gift. With the invaluable assistance of my talented mother-in-law, we crafted Air Plant Christmas Ornaments. Take one glass Christmas Ornament (supposedly they were on sale recently at Michael's), and some "air" moss and plants (purchased at Cactus and Tropicals) and here's what you get basically:

Day 6: Miracle at 2600

Ever since we started this crazy advent calendar idea a week ago, Oliver has been begging to "ride a horsey." It began the Family Home Evening before last when he saw the horse-drawn carriages in front of Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City (another must hit during the advent extravaganza).

Well, his ride finally came at Miracle at 2600, a festive one-night only event in Bountiful. Here's the exciting footage:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day 5: First Presidency Christmas Devotional

What's not to love about an apostle of the Lord extensively quoting Dr. Seuss and the Grinch during a Christmas devotional? You can catch the full Christmas message featuring a living prophet, two apostles, and multiple breathtaking numbers by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir by clicking here. 

Did the boys sit still through the entire devotional? Does peanut butter go well with white pepper? They did make it through most of the closing song and prayer, I'll give them that.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Day 4: Santa Claws at PetSmart

Noah can't keep his eyes open such is his excitement for Benny

It was hard to hide the disappointment the boys felt in discovering "Santa Claws"
was not the crustacean cousin they had been hoping to see.
For more info on taking your pooch or kitty or even fishie to the Santa Claws Photo Event (a fundraiser for local animal shelters and PetSmart), go to

Day 3: Live Nativities & Small Boys, Do They Realy Mix?

On the third day of Christmas my three boys gave to me (cue the music in your head) ... a live nay-ee-tiv-vi-ah-tee.

I will now profess to just about understand why people enjoy producing live nativities with small children. My current conclusions on the matter are as follow:
  • Kids dressed up as shepherds, angels, and wise men remind us of the true spirit of the Christmas season. Adults dressed up just remind us of community theater or Halloween.  
  • Costume expenses are cheaper since the actors are 1/2 to 1/3 the size of the adult versions. 
  • The drama of working with the actors during rehearsals can be managed with a healthy dose of suckers and, if necessary, time-outs.
  • Kids are cute when they mess up their cues on stage. Adults just look awkward, then ashamed, then sometimes downright angry.
  • Joseph and Mary were probably closer to my kids age when they starred in the actual live version.
  • Can you really go wrong with farm animals (either real or fake) and small children? If only puppies had been mentioned in the gospels, then you really would have a tour de force.
All that being said, I'm still left wondering "Is it safe to place a long stick with a crook in the hands of my two-year-old and expect him to act like a shepherd?" The only people he really sees holding long stick-like objects are the Jedi and dragon slayers (he's got older brothers, it's my only excuse). At best, he might pretend the cane is a guitar (yes, he's seen School of Rock... my fault) or a really big gun (no, he's not seen Dirty Harry, I'm not that bad).

Luckily, no one was injured in the production of this live nativity with the boys.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Second Day: Old World Market

Anyone who is familiar with myself or Marisa knows we're crazy about Europe. Crazy like pretend we were thirteen-year-olds and Europe was the Jonas brothers kinda crazy. So you can imagine my reaction when I learned the Gateway Mall was hosting the first annual European-esque Christmas Market thru December 4th. I didn't squeal... excitedly squeaked would be a more accurate description.

So following the boys' big live nativity practice (they're performing tomorrow night for the ward Christmas extravaganza), we headed off to the Old World Christmas Market. The atmosphere was quite fun and reminiscent of a European Christmas market, complete with fine chocolate, loads of jewelry, furs,  and at least one stand dedicated to Russian dolls. Following a rousing stroll of the stands (the boys only knocked a few non-fragile things off the tables), we feasted on shortbread, danishes, fresh cider and hot chocolate. Total cost of the evening: $17.50.

Here are a couple poor phone pics from the night's outing:

The First Day of Christmas: Talking Trees

So today I was visited by a sweet little tweet while sitting at my desk. It mentioned how fun it might be to create an "event advent calendar" as opposed to settling for the cheap chocolate and cardboard variety.

"Well," I thought, "We are having a baby somewhere in the middle of the month, but why not give it a go for as much of the season as possible." No sooner had I mentioned my goal freshly shot from the hip, then my dear coworker Cheryl pointed me in the direction of this fine event, located at the end of an unsuspecting cul-de-sac in Murray, Utah:

Needless to say, the kids had a blast and especially appreciated the bubble blower and talking trees. We liked that they got such a kick out of it and it didn't cost a dime more than the gas to drive there.

Marty's website will provide you with all the information you need, including address (click here for Google Map), hours, parking instructions, and tutorials in case you ever want to set up your own Christmas miracle.

NOTE: Not all posts will be this radical. Not all events will be this elaborate. However, at very least you might get some ideas of cool things to do around Salt Lake City this Christmas season.