I would like to start out this post by saying I think this guy is great. Don't you?
On to the good stuff. I love the Christmas season. I love the feelings of goodwill, the extra focus on our Savior, the music, the smells, the food, the activities, I love it all!!! My sweet momma gave us a bunch of Christmas decorations (*side note, she has so many that my dad was practically begging us to take full boxes of them, haha!), so we were happy to make our little apartment feel very festive. Thanks again, mom! We had NO room for a real tree (though I begged Daniel for a live one, they smell so good!), so we set up this little fake foot and a half one and covered it with our ornaments we've both had forever. My contributions were all very beautiful because my awesome Aunt Sherri has given us all an ornament each year for Christmas so we would have a little collection by the time we moved out. She still does this and I think it is the greatest idea. The contributions from the hubs were...hilarious to say the least. His mom did the coolest thing when her kids were growing up and had them pick out any ornament they wanted each year from the store and so they each had their own ornaments to hang each year and now have a little collection. I was seriously laughing so hard as we went through the ornaments Daniel somehow picked out as a child. This kid had some serious love for purple and silver glitter, giant lion faces, and sparkly icicles. I wish I would have taken a close up of the tree but our Christmas card photo has the tree in the background so that will have to suffice.
We both decided that neither of us actually like this photo. Shame this is what ended up getting sent out, haha!
Very intense concentration
Daniel's final product!
My little masterpiece
Christmas in the Park with the Keslers!
My cousin, Brooke, got married right before Christmas so we were lucky enough to get to see my family before heading up to North Ogden and then to San Diego. They were here for a really short period of time, but we were so happy to get to spend some time with them. We did a little gift exchange at our apartment one day which was really fun and we got super spoiled. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures so we'll just leave it at that!
Christmas Eve we drove to Daniel's parents house and had a yummy dinner (prime rib. SO GOOD!) and afterwards opened jammies and watched home videos. The Hubs and I also stole away for a few hours to welcome a mission friend from Africa who flew in that night because he is going to school here at BYU.
Seriously an amazing dinner
Filled with anticipation at what possibly could be in that box
Christmas morning was perfect. We slept in and had breakfast before opening presents with Dan's parents. We again got majorly spoiled and realized once again how lucky we both are to have such fantastic people as parents. We love you guys!
Daniel's tickets to the Heat/Jazz NBA game
the view of our little present gathering
Then came my favorite part of the day...skyping with my family! My brother Dalin, who is on his 2 year mission in the Netherlands/Belgium, was there as well and it was so good to talk with him and hear his voice. I love that kid and we are SO excited to have him home so soon!
Dad was there, just not in the picture
Then we headed off to the airport and took off for Sunny CA! Unfortunately, I was deathly ill and super congested and so it was, by far, the worst airplane ride of my whole life. I pretty much cried the whole way because I thought my head was going to explode. In retrospect, crying probably didn't help much, but I was honestly so miserable that it was all I could do. Fortunately, the Hubs was there and rubbed my back and said sweet things to me the whole way. Once again, LOVE that guy :)
We spent a week in San Diego/Carlsbad and it was absolute heaven. Denise, Christian, and their kids met us there and we all stayed in this gorgeous house on the beach. Chris, Janice, and Ethan were with Janice's family in L.A. most of the time, but we did get them for a little bit and it was so fun for everyone to be reunited! We helped get ready for Daniel's cousin's wedding, had a beach day, had a legoland day (though Daniel and I opted out of that one...), ate a lot of good food, and really just enjoyed each other's company. Pure bliss. Get ready for photo overload!
Getting all our luggage to fit in the back was seriously like playing tetris. Good thing Daniel and his dad are good at that game ;)
The house we stayed in had a bunch of fun glasses and the Hubs loved drinking (water) out of them. Classy!
This was an amazing hole-in-the-wall mexican place we ate at at least three times
Our only beach picture. Boo.
Couldn't get enough of this little guy! Love you, Pricey!
What the Hubs did half the trip- entertained the kids via the ipad
So fun to have all the siblings together!
One night all the siblings snuck out (ok we didn't sneak out but that sounds cool, right?) because Christopher wanted some Korean Cake. After finding out the place we had looked up was actually a bar, we decided to pass on that and went into a few different other places. Honestly, it was just so fun to hang out together and be goofy. These guys are all so funny and I think I was probably laughing the whole way to all the different Korean places...on the way back I was mostly sleeping. Love you guys!!
After Chris, Janice, and Ethan left after the wedding to go back to Janice's parent's house, we had a beach day! It was maybe a bit chilly but gorgeous and just so fun. And the kids loved the beach...until the end when they were wet, cold, and sandy.
Daniel and his cute momma wrestling in the sand. This was pretty funny to watch.
When the Hubs and I saw this picture of Toto, we could NOT stop laughing for some reason. His awkward pose and facial expression just kills us.
The Hubs' dad is pretty hardcore and braved the freezing water to boogie board. Denises daredevil, Toto joined him for a little while.
...Ok Christian is hardcore, too ;)
I could NOT take enough pictures of Pricey. The gerber baby.
This little guy is SO HAPPY. All. The. Time.
Lyric, happy to be buried in sand!
'Hey mom, I think I'm gonna try some of this sand stuff'
'It's good! Now you have some!'
Grandma and Lyric playing in the sand!
These three would dig as fast as they could before the waves came
In which case Lyric would run away as fast as she could
Mr. Hardcore doing his thang. This guy came back from boogie boarding not only freezing, but all cut up and bruised because there were so many rocks in the water.
Toto decided he had had enough of the water
When I asked 'Tian to smile for the camera, this is the response I got ;)
Waiting for the waves...
Poor Lyric fell when she was running away and got totally drenched. As you can see, Uncle Daniel thought that was pretty funny, haha!
Pricey booked it towards the waves anytime he got put down. He knew where the fun was!
Afterwards everyone warmed up in the hot tub! I'm super lame and forgot my suit...not that I have a suit I can fit into at the moment...
These two could always be found with their uncle Daniel. Loved that.
Denise, Christian, and the kids left on New Year's Eve and the remaining four of us decided to go visit the amazing San Diego Zoo! This place was HUGE! I think we were there for over 6 hours or something and still didn't see everything we wanted to. It was fantastic. And it really aided in helping to burn all the calories we had eaten on the trip thus far. We walked, and walked, and walked! I was so stinking sore the next day (sad, right? Don't judge), but it was all so worth it. They have some really incredible animals and exhibits and I'm so happy we got to have such a great day there.
Can you believe how close we are to this guy?!
One of our favorites- Mr. Panda!
My handsome man and the lion
I love flamingos!...but they smelled really bad. Like really bad.
We went to this bird show and they needed a volunteer and guess who got picked? ME!!! I held out a dollar for a bird to come snatch from me and then he came and brought it back, along with a sweet zoo bracelet. It was a life-changing experience. Please ignore the brief looks of terror on my face. They were totally unintentional.
Right before we went to bed on New Year's Eve. At 10:30. We were exhausted!
I had so much fun with this guy!
We also went with Daniel's parents to Old Town San Diego and did a tour of their Mormon Battalion Visitor's Center. A little corny, but they had some cool stuff and great stories of the Mormon Battalion (duh).
Aren't we just the coolest?!
Looking for GOLD!
After that we ate at this really yummy Mexican Restaurant where I got the best fajitas in the whole world. There also happened to be these two tiny little birds that were perched on the light right above me. Every time they would fly down I would have this mini heart attack because they would zoom right past my head. This provided some solid entertainment for everyone around me. After that we just walked around the town, looking in all the cute little shops and once again, enjoying the beautiful weather (which we appreciated even more as the Kesler's neighbors would text us updates of the ever rising inches of snow Utah had been getting while we were gone). Eventually Dan and his dad just waited for the ladies to be done perusing the stores. I just love this picture below. Then we finished off the day with Les Mis! If you haven't seen it, go! That thing was fantastic. Having no training in theater or vocal performance, we all thought it was absolutely fantastic and had no complaints.
Like father, like son!
And then, all of a sudden it was over. We left beautiful San Diego and returned home to freeze-your-hiney-off cold Utah. It was a little sad to watch the progression of scenery change outside the airplane window. But we had such an amazing time and were so happy to be able to have such a fun vacation with our family. Dan's parents are so good to us and we totally would not have been able to go on such a fun trip without them. Sure do love you guys!