O.K.....um...where do I start. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, our 5th Anniversary, our rockin' awesome Idaho trip, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, ect. YIKES!!!
I think that is all going to be too much to blog, and too much for you all to read, so I will just summarize. Warning..even the summary is lengthy, but still entertaining...to me anyway.
1. I worked out in the morning while Ben was at work, and was so proud of myself for getting to the gym on Christmas Eve..go me!
2. The evening was spent with great friends and we ate great food. Mike and Mel and Tyler were so nice to let us crash their home and curb the homesickness that always ails me on Christmas Eve. We ate yummy food, had a blast talking and just had a fun time. We have the best neighbors/friends ever! We love hanging out with them. They rock our socks!
3. We came home and we all opened our Christmas Eve gift....new p.j.'s!!! Of course, the kids pajamas match..so cute! That tradition is one of my favorites!
4. We all settled down for a fun Christmas movie until the kiddos fell asleep. Soon after, Santa made his trip to our home.
1. My first Christmas EVER sleeping past 6:00am. Weird!
2. We woke up when the kids woke up and had a family prayer to thank the Lord for our Saviour Jesus Christ and all of the many many blessings He has brought into our lives, most importantly, the atonement.
3. After the prayer we let the kids and the dog go down the stairs and soak in all the glory that Santa and the family provided. Mary was so shocked with the sight that she literally froze in place and didn't say a word. It was hilarious. Sam immediately ran to the train table that was sitting out in the room and began playing.
4. We had a wonderful morning full of gifts, love, sugar cereal(very rare) and gratitude for our Savior.
5. In the afternooon, we brought some Christmas gifts to those in need.
6. Then we rented Lost and settled down for an evening of family together time and movies.
It was a wonderful Christmas for the Maynards.
Sam on his favorite Christmas gift
Mary with some stuff Santa brought her.
Dec. 26th, our 5th Anniversary....
1. This year it was Ben's turn to plan..and he did very well!
2. In August, we went on trip to the Bahamas, so we named that our official 5 year Anniversary celebration, but we still had to do something on the actual day..right??
3. We began the day at the gym working out. Rock on!
4. We then rushed home and began taking down all of the Christmas decorations. It was earlier than normal, but we were leaving for a long trip the next day, and our tree was so dry it was a fire hazard for sure.
5. We cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. We then dropped the kids off with some friends (THANK YOU SO MUCH MURDOCKS!!!) and headed out.
6. We went to a movie and then out to dinner to P.F. Changs.
7. Ben gave me the sweetest gift ever in the car. It was very special and cute. We had a lot of fun reminiscing about the past 5 years and talking about the future as well. I love Ben so much and I feel so blessed to be married to such an amazing man. Can't believe it has been 5 years! Wow!
8. We got home late and packed into the night. The next morning we headed out for Boise, Idaho!!!!
1. So, our 12 hour trip turned into a 20 hour trip!!! Not kidding! We left in good time Saturday morning, and planned to get there that evening...man were we in for a surprise! We had 60mph wind gusts in good ol' Wyoming. We saw 6 trucks flipped over on their sides and really messed up from the wind. Then it was on to Utah for some insane white outs and some blizzards. I drove 35-40 mph for about 4 hours. At 2am we pulled into Burley, Idaho and got a motel. They even let us have the dog in our room! Luckily, the kids and the dog traveled GREAT and we didn't really have any problems with crying or whining.
2. We left that morning and headed to Boise. We got there Sunday afternoon.
3. It was so great to be there and see Ben's family. They are so much fun to be with! All of Ben's brothers and their families were there, except for one. It was fun to see everyone again. We were also able to see some of our best friends that we knew in Rexburg. We had a blast visiting with them well into the night. Mary was showing us her gymnastics, so we all decided to try as well. Here is Ben helping Jacob attempt a bridge kick-over. This trick soon became famous on our trip. For some reason everyone just has to try it. So hilarious!!! Jacob...hope your foot is healing.
4. The next few days were full of sledding, eating, talking, shooting, going out to lunch with the girls (my favorite part), and playing hard! It is always so entertaining in the Maynard home. Never a dull moment. I love it! Jolene was such a trooper to have so many people in her home just weeks after surgery. She is amazing and so full of love for everyone.
Mary and Sterling on their treck up the hill
Mary and Sterling LOVING the ride down the hill
Lunch with the girls....aahhh...so refreshing!
The Big Boy's day out.
5. We headed to Pocatello on New Year's Eve. Thankfully, we had great roads and weather. The kids played so hard in Boise that they slept the ENTIRE way to Pocatello. It was great!
6. We had a great time in Pocatello with my family. We really soaked in the moments, because I don't see my family very often. Especially a few of my siblings.
7. We went out to dinner, talked, watched movies, worked out at Gold's Gym (we checked out a membership option for my mom and got 4 free work out days...their treadmills are to die for...it was awesome!), visited with my grandpa, played in the snow, and had an amazing tree burning. Not to mention laughing soooo hard while playing games that I thought my stomach muscles would burst.
New Year's Eve..a little delayed....
1. My family has a tradition of burning the Christmas tree on New Year's Eve, but we waited a few days, so my brother could be there. He was driving in from AZ on his way to moving to Rexburg, Idaho for school. We still stayed up New Year's Eve, well some of us, and watched the ball drop and everything, but the real party was when Tyler and Jessica got here.
2. We all marched through the snow drifts out to the pasture (my parents live in 2 1/2 acres) and had our Roman candles ready to go. My dad had the tree all gassed up along with a bunch of other wood and tree scraps. We all aimed and fired. It was AWESOME!!!! The noise was unbelievable, and Tyler was the lucky person to nail the tree with his fire ball and sent it up in flames. The fire literally roared to life in less than a second. It was so much fun!!!! I love this tradition! Both kids ended up crying because of the noise, but they soon got over it and enjoyed the massive fire as much as we did. After that it was doughnuts and hot chocolate for the pyros and a job well done. Love it!
Headed out on our mission, fully equipped with the necessities.
This is me doing a thumbs up for a job well done. I LOVE FIRE!!!!
Ben doing a headstand in front of the fire
This is my dad talking to the police officer that somehow made his way to us. The picture is dark, so you may not be able to see them talking. The cop was more concerned about the size of the fire than the outstanding noise we made with the roman candles.(which were hidden in Tyler's coat during the "cop interview.") No harm done...I actually think the officer was pretty amused.
Mary totally showed us all up. This is me, Kelsey and Tyler all trying to do a bridge kick-over. Mary makes it look so easy! Kelsey was successful too.
Mario Cart Wii. Bop and Mary did pretty well, not too much whiplash.
Tyler break dancing...one of the more hilarious moments in my life. I was laughing so hard I was crying.
Sam trying on one of the masks Devin has hanging in his room.
Mary trying on a mask as well. I made this mask when I was in grade school. Pretty freaky huh.
1.He was in dog heaven on this trip. Seriously.
2. He had so many playmates and so much land to run free on. He was as happy as could be.
3. I took him running with me up on the canal. The canal is my old running route that I ran every day when I lived at home. It is the perfect 6 mile run and the view is so pretty. Chamonix loved it and begged the rest of the trip to go again. It was a lot of lot of fun having him on the trip with us.
Chamonix and Champ. They became best friends while we were there. I have never seen Chamonix so happy and excited. They ran around ALL day! No chains, no fences and no harnesses. They were elated to say the least. They even split their garage Hotel (made by my dad) with each other and shared food dishes. Champ howled and cried after we left and Chamonix laid around in a depressed slump the day we left. Poor puppies. They will be together again soon...hopefully.
Back to normal life... So as all good things must do, it all has come to an end. However, I am actually excited to get back into the groove again. It amazes me how living in a place we love can make the transition so much easier when we leave family. In California, I would cry every time we left and mope around for days after we got home. I would be so lonely I would almost go crazy. I would literally, go into the closet and bawl my eyes out. It was truly horrible! My heart would just ache so much.
Now, I feel like we are happy where we are, and I like our little routine. We have great friends and a fun ward. We love our home and feel at home in it. It is so nice to feel like I am home after being home.
Of course, I am always homesick and my heart always aches for family, but it isn't as horrible as it was just less than a year ago. I always have a hope in my heart that someday we will be closer to family and those we love so dearly. For now though, I am striving to be happy where we are and live life to the fullest. I am just so thankful that we obeyed the voice of the Lord and moved our family to such a wonderful place where our hearts can be at peace and our spirits can soar.