Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 ~ A Year in Review

As we reflect back on 2016, it was a year of travel and adventures.  We journeyed to places afar filled with cultures different than our own.  We drove to visit family and friends.  We traveled to the beach for fun, sun and relaxation.  We visited Northern Arizona for cooler temperatures.  And we finally earned our Mouse Ears as a family.  We are so fortunate for the opportunities 2016 delivered to us. And we are excited to see what is in store for us in 2017.  Wishing everyone a new year rich with the blessings of love, joy, warmth and laughter.  Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Christmas Day 2016

This year Christmas was very cold and rainy.  In fact, it hailed that morning.  This is the closest that Phoenix will come to having a white Christmas.

However, Santa still prevailed and presents were still delivered.

Our morning started at about seven o'clock.  We have to have the only kids in the entire world who do not wake up before the sunrises on Christmas.  After waking up and sauntering downstairs, they quickly noticed what Santa left for them. Each of the kids received exactly what they wanted from Santa.  Aiden a Spider-Man motorcycle and Madilyn a puppy and stroller.  They weren't as excited as Santa may have hoped for them to be right that that moment, but later on, when they finally had the chance to play with their toys, you could see their happiness and joy shine.

Christmas 2016
Aiden on his Spider-Man Motorcycle

As a family, we continued to open the rest of our morning presents from the youngest person to the oldest. Madi received quite a few artist type of gifts.  Aiden received many toys that he can construct and engineer later.  Josh received some new work clothes and Jenn received many Broncos-related gifts.  It was a fun morning of gift opening.  The kids even had some time to play with their toys before the second round of Christmas arrived.
Madi taking her puppy for a walk
Aiden riding his motorcycle
Aiden and Madi shooting "webs" at each other

At about nine thirty Christmas morning, my parents and Oma joined us at our house for round two of gift opening.  We opened gifts and munched on appetizers, sandwiches, bubble-loaf and cookies while drinking our traditional Frank Family rouge champagne.  One of my favorite moments was watching my dad complete a scavenger hunt I created in order to find his final gift.  Growing up, it was very common for Dad to create a scavenger hunt for us kids.  I found such joy in finally creating one for him.  Hopefully, he enjoyed it a little too!

Oma and the kids
Mom wearing the necklace that Madi created
Grandma and Madi
Ushi's Gift
Dad reading his first clue
Dad opening his gift ~ Tickets to Neil Diamond!
Christmas 2016 -- Dad's Gift
Aiden playing with the gift from Aunt Lynsey and Uncle Tonny

Round three of gift giving started at about noon when Alisha and Josh arrived for some holiday cheer. We exchanged gifts and watched the kids play with their toys.  After the gift opening concluded, we drove over to AMC Desert Ridge to watch the movie, "Sing".  The kids loved the movie.

Aunt Alisha and Madi
Madi with her puppy

Our evening concluded back at our house with Christy, Brandon and Michelle (Christy's mentee) to eat leftovers and watch the Broncos play the Sunday evening game.  It was a nice end to our Christmas day celebrations, even if the Broncos lost.

Christmas Eve 2016

For the past couple of years, the Farrell-Landers family has hosted a Christmas Eve trailer ride so we could enjoy the Moon Valley luminaries and holiday lights.  Sadly, this year, the rainy weather did not permit us to continue with this tradition.  Instead, we had a small gathering of family and friends over to our home to celebrate the holiday.  Despite the chilly weather, we were able to capture the spirit of the holiday in our home through laughter, joy, and conversation while a yule log burned in the fireplace.  The meal was simple and consisted of appetizers, chili, corn muffins and cookies.  A perfect combination for the chilly evening. The kids enjoyed a fun book exchange while listening to my dad read How the Grinch Stole Christmas!  And the adults tried out a new game I found on Facebook called "The Santa Hat Game".  It was pretty hilarious and one that I may have to perfect for the adults to play again next year.  The evening concluded with the kids opening some presents including their annual Christmas Eve pajamas.  And then, quickly heading off to bed so Santa would come visit!  Hoping everyone enjoyed the evening as much as we did...

Papa and Madi dancing to "Mary's Boy Child"
Aiden spinning the dreidel
Pictures by the tree
Grandma and Papa Farrell with the kids
Family Photo
The Raetz Family
The Superheroes...
Family and Friends
Melinda and I
Josh and I
Melinda and Michael
Maelyn and Madilyn
Aiden and Keaton
Book Exchange Time
Santa Hat Game
Paige was the winner!
Christmas Eve pajamas
Paige and I
The guys playing dreidel
Paige and Jason
Mom and I
Miss Mae
Madi with her new boots