I LOVED having the Christmas feel in my home! I wasn't sure if we should put up the tree since we would be gone for Christmas but so glad we did! It was a fun change and feel in the house!
So I know this is a little late...it's already been a month since Christmas but as I ALWAYS say...better late then never! Although my Christmas night post was a little depressing...we really did have a GREAT Christmas. My favorite part about the holidays is all the time spent with friends and family. There is always somewhere to be and people to see...and not just anybody, AMAZING people that we love so much!
We kicked off our Christmas holiday with Jake and Heidi's annual ugly sweater party which is always a great time filled with lots of laughs. You gotta love these parties cuz you come looking ugly and you still feel great! ;) We always do a white elephant exchange and I can't share all the presents that are brought cuz they are not always g-rated but it is funny. Zach and I had 4 white elephant parties this year and we really put a lot of thought into this. We get pretty creative together and by far had the craziest present this year...a nasty white mouse...yes it was real and quite disgusting. We had to do it at 3 parties cuz it was so good. 2 were back to back so we used the same mouse...the person that got it didn't want it...don't know why! ;) Obviously we had to get a new one in AZ for the family party. The best was at Jake and Heidi's cuz it got a little crazy. We had cut slits in a clear Tupperware to put it in. The lid was pretty bendy though so we wondered if it could get out but took the chance. We wrapped newspaper around the Tupperware. Luckily, everyone left their presents outside on the porch so that no one knew who brought which present. Right before we were about to start Zach went out to check on the mouse. He came back in and told me he didn't think it was there. So I went out and shook it a little and it felt pretty empty. I carefully undid the paper afraid it was gonna jump on me or something and it was GONE! We were like oh crap now what?! I look down at the presents and there it is...just sitting on top of somebody else's present. I'm not sure what they do to those things at the pet stores but they seriously just sit there and let you grab them. Both Zach and I were too grossed out to touch it so we came in and got Travis to put it back in. By this point we were laughing so hard and everybody knew something was up. Zach taped up the holes and it was all good until our present started moving. Then everybody knew for sure it was something alive. Julissa was the brave one though and she still picked it. I still don't know why she didn't want it though! The next couple parties we made sure it was more secure!
Thanks for the fun...our friends are the greatest! Never a dull moment!
Don't we look hot!
The next night we had a Christmas pajama party with Zach's mom's side of the family. There is ALWAYS great food with them and of course great company too! ;) We did another white elephant exchange and poor aunt Becky got the mouse. It freaked her out she dropped it right back in the bag. I got some sexy lingerie that Zach made me put on right away! ;) We played some fun games and just had a great time!
Becky's awesome reaction...mouse dropped back in bag. (in the Tupperware of course)
Anyone wanna borrow these babies?!
Zach's cousin Brock and I tearing it up! (There is a cutie orange between us that we are trying to drop in the basket without letting it drop.)
Zach and his cousin Holly were partners.
Our team lost...not happy about it!
Dakota snuggling with Aunt Lindsay and Uncle Ryan
Our little fam
Before we left to AZ we had a little party with Zach's immediate family since we would be in AZ Christmas day. Zach's parents spoiled Dakota rotten. They gave him more presents then his parents and Santa combined. ;) They are so cute to him and love him so much!
Dakota and Poppy...check out his sweet new jammies!
He liked his little doggy stocking that grammy and poppy had for him
Got a cool Santa light toy
Just being cute and I ALWAYS love that smile!!
Got this SUPER soft pillow/blanket that is the cutest cow. LOVED it!
Gettin some attention from Uncle Ry and Dad. Never lacks attention when we are at the Friedli household! He is lucky to be so loved by so many!
Practicing his standing with Poppy. I can't believe how tall he is getting.
Snuggling with Aunt Jenny! (Who we found out is pregnant with her first!! Couldn't be more excited for her. She is an amazing aunt so I know she will be an even more amazing mommy!)
Checking out his rad Buzz, Woody, and Jessie bubble bath that he loves to knock off the ledge in the bath tub with daddy cheering him on.
We left for AZ 2 days before Christmas. My cute dad drove up with my brother in law Riley(he was coming up to get some hay) just to help us drive down. Since Zach obviously can't drive I appreciated it SO much! 13 hours driving by yourself is pretty rough and since this was our first real road trip with Dakota since the accident I was a little nervous to see how it would go. He did so great though and I actually really enjoyed it. My dad hardly let me drive at all so I got to take a nap and read. I never get to be the passenger anymore so the 13 hour drive was actually really relaxing for me...even on the way back.
Zach and Dakota playing on the IPAD. Look at how packed our car is! We seriously packed it to the max. Luckily Zach is a GREAT packer...seriously he has skills. Even my dad said..."A blind man can pack way better then he could." ;)
Christmas morning was pretty chill. Since all my siblings besides my brother have a few kids they all did their own thing with their kids so it was pretty laid back with my parents, brother, and his wife Heather. Santa still found us in AZ and so we opened our stockings and then went to church. Most people with kids probably had a hard time with church on Christmas day...trying to pry their kids away from presents to go sit still at church...I really enjoyed it. It was fun to go and focus on our Saviour and the whole reason we celebrate this day. It forced you to really think about Christ, his life, his love, his sacrifice, his example on this special day.
Late afternoon is when everyone showed up for dinner, kids present exchange, and adult white elephant exchange. My sister Dawn's sweet mother in law came with her and I felt so bad because she got the mouse. She had a great reaction but she is way too sweet of a person to get it. Our other present was freaking hilarious. 2 years ago when we put my mom's 60th surprise birthday party together, my oldest sister Shana had brought a box of frames from her house to put some of my mom's pics in. As we were going through them I found this picture just hanging out in the box of her husband. It was taken when they were first married, he was standing in some hotel with room service on the table, no shirt on and jeans, holding a fork with a piece of steak on it. So this picture is probably 13-14 years old...so he has changed a little bit...still a sexy guy just a little older now. ;) Anyways, I blew it up poster size and had written at the bottom...hungry for your love. His face was priceless and no one could stop laughing! It was great. He was a great sport about it which is why I love him! I'm a little nervous for the next one though in case he wants to get me back for that! It was fair game though and you gotta give me some props for hanging on to the picture for 2 whole years just for that! (I won't embarrass him by posting it on my blog for everyone to see...just know...it was GOOD!)
Checking out what Santa brought him
Daddy helped him open it. Of course Santa knew he loves to watch movies.
Got a new light up toothbrush and Buzz & Woody toothpaste
Nana & Papa got him a puppet.
Snuggling with Daddy
Our little family Christmas day
Nana & Papa also got all the kids books so we were checkin it out. Wheels on the Bus
The rest of our trip was such a blast. Dakota and I stayed til the 2nd but Zach flew home on the 27th. The weather was AMAZING!!! So, Dakota got to ride the horses, ride the tractor, go for walks, go to the zoo with cousins, and just hang out outside. We had to soak it up while we could. I had a blast with my sisters, as always! Makes me miss and appreciate them at the same time! Each one of them is different and amazing in their own way and add so much to my life. It was fun to spend that much time at my parents. I spent New Years Eve just with them. I even got them to stay up past midnight which is not like them at all! We watched The Help together and my dad even busted out some sparkling cider at midnight. They are the best ever and I loved every minute of our time together! It was fun having my brother Ty and Heather stay at my parents with us. Me and my brother are only 15 months apart so we spent our whole childhood around each other...whether we liked it or not. I like him better now then when we are little ;)... although he still tries to pick on me. ;) He is great and his wife is so fun and perfect for him!
All the cousins loved Dakota's IPAD and he was a good cousin to share. Playing with Andrew.
Reading stories with Nana and cousin Evan before bed.
Helping Nana & Papa pick up the hay bails on the tractor. I'm sure it was harder with him trying to drive but they were so sweet to take him with.
We went to the most awesomest Zoo. You were able to get SO close to the animals and they were all up and moving for the most part. I loved it because we were close enough where Dakota could really see them pretty good. And of course the weather was perfect which made it even better. Gotta love AZ in the winter!
On our way! They were all hooked to the movie so I had to take their pic. Too funny!
This turtle was humongous!
Dakota loved these fish. He was totally smiling and laughing at them. I know this is a horrible pic (most ones that I take are) but it was a sweet moment!
Evan, Aunt Dawn, Lane, Trai, Aunt Annie, Sutton, and Peyton touching the Sting Rays. They were brave! I was too chicken!
Look at all of them!
Noah & Aunt Katie
Paige, Logan, & Shea...also very brave!
Kota and Mommy...with sharks above our head!
Who doesn't love the monkeys!?
Andrew snuggling in with Avery.
Checkin out the monkeys
Horrible pic...but ALL the cousins together! It's hard to get them all in there. Check out the alligator behind them.
This jaguar was right above your head. I could seriously reach up and touch the fence it was that close!
Trai, Dakota and me. The little lion cubs are right behind us...close!
One of my most favorite things that we got to do was to make the 6 hour round trip drive down to St. David to see my grandpa. My grandma still drives around a lot so we got to see her at my parents but my grandpa never leaves town, so if we wanted to see him we had to make a point of it. It was SO good to see him. He is still so witty and funny he still makes me laugh. He has such a sincere love for all of his family and it did my heart good to get to hug and kiss him, hold his hand, and talk with him. Even though he and my grandma have not been around Dakota much since we live so far away, they still love him so much, always ask about him, and pray for him every day. They are both so great and my life is so blessed to have them both in it!
I love how Dakota is looking at him in the picture
We also faced our fears and went down to the Maricopa County Hospital where we spent our 3 long weeks before being shipped to Primary Children's. I was hoping to be able to see some of the doctors that we loved but they weren't there. We got to see one of our favorite nurses and a couple others that we had for a little bit. It was such a great hospital, with great staff and doctors that made that horrible time as best as it could possibly be for us. It was definitely a weird feeling walking down those halls again and my heart ached for the children and families that were in there. The best part about it was I found out about the little 3 year old girl named Fernanda that was next to Dakota's room days before we left to Utah. She had a horrible strain of Meningitis that almost took her life. I asked them how things turned out for her and her family. Unfortunately, she lost both of her legs from it but besides that she is doing great. That still sounds horrible but Meningitis could cause a lot worse things so I was so happy to hear mentally she is doing great. She just got some prosthetic legs and is starting to learn to walk with them. So happy to hear!!! Thank you for all that prayed for her.
Even though we were there for 10 days the time flew by so quickly! When it came time to leave it was like panic trying to get things in before it was too late. I could have stayed a lot longer if Zach wasn't home waiting for us. We missed him too! Lucky for me, my sister Annie was so sweet and drove back with me. I got to keep her for 5 days and we did a lot of fun work to the house. I have a brand new room (pics to come) that I LOVE and we had so much fun doing it together. If she didn't have 3 kids and a husband waiting at home for her I could have stolen her and kept her here forever. When she left then it was back to reality for me. It was so fun and I'm already counting the days to go back at the end of February to run Ragnar with my sisters.