Monday, January 20, 2014

The Christmas Season

We had a fun Christmas season.  Since it was Ruslana's first Christmas in America, we tried to expose her to many different traditions.  We...
  • Decorated the house and tree (which included a few new ornaments--a couple personalized with her name and a special set from Ukraine)
  • Baked and decorated cookies
  • Made Christmas candy
  • Went shopping where she picked out and purchased family members gifts with her own money (so sweet!)
  • Taught her how to wrap a present
  • Attempted to build a gingerbread house.  I say attempted because the walls kept sliding apart and it ended with us laughing, sticking the thing in the trash, and eating the candy instead
  • Watched Christmas movies (Home Alone and Elf were a big hit)
  • Looked at Christmas lights at the Mission Inn.  If you aren't familiar with the Mission Inn, its a historic hotel that displays over 4 million lights.  I'm pretty sure that the number of people there was comparable to the number of lights!  Despite being crowded, we still had fun.  

We spent Christmas Eve at our home with my dad, sister Laura, and her boyfriend James.  We had a great time eating, talking, and opening gifts.  Ruslana got a big kick out of an elf hat my dad brought her.

On Christmas Eve, I showed Ruslana a website ( that tracks Santa in live time.  It shows where he is and how many gifts he had delivered.  Since she'd been telling me that Santa didn't exist, I figured she'd just think it was funny.  But, something about the website made her rethink her position and she decided to write Santa a note just in case.  And would you believe it, Santa wrote back!
In addition to Santa's letter, she woke up to this on Christmas morning:
After we opened our gifts, we headed over to Mark's parents house for breakfast, the reading of the Christmas story, a game of Cranium, and more gifts.  
Then we went to my mom's house for a prime rib dinner, games, a hot fudge sundae ice cream bar, and more gifts!  Wow, we are so blessed!

We had so much fun celebrating our Savior's birth and being thankful for all of the blessings this year has brought.  It's hard to believe that last Christmas we had no kids and this year we have two! It was fun seeing Ruslana enjoy opening her gifts (what growth from just a few months ago!) and Levi trying to rip and eat all the wrapping paper! Our first Christmas as a family of four was a special celebration that we will never forget.  Thank you to everyone who made it so special! 


  1. Made my day to read all about your family's Christmas and to see all the beautiful photos.