28 February 2013

December Doings

December was jam-packed with activities, as usual!  But in addition to the usual house     decorating, baking, sending out 80 Christmas cards and putting up and decorating the Christmas tree, these events were added to our calendar: 

On November 29th I flew out to Spokane, Washington for four days to join my family in attending the funeral of my Grandma Bates, who died at the age of 98.  It was good that all of my parents and siblings were able to be there for the funeral on December 1st.  I also saw many aunts, uncles and cousins I hadn't seen in many years.

Four days after returning home from the funeral I was in charge of the December Relief Society activity.  I tried to delegate the activity to others, but since the vision was mostly mine, I ended up taking the lead, other than preparing the food and the powerpoint presentation.

For the Christmas program on December 6th, I planned  "Stille Nacht: Christmas in  Germany".   I borrowed five canopies to be set up outside in the church parking lot to recreate the feel of a German Christmas market, with tables set up with German Christmas decorations on display.  Grills were brought in and German sausages and potato pancakes were cooked outside and served for the meal, which was eaten on tables set out under the canopies.  After eating and viewing the displays, the sisters came into the RS room and watched a power point presentation of "The Silent Night Truce",  a true story from World War I.  As a closing song several sisters sang "Silent Night" in German.

The power point presentation was given in the Relief Society room.  I put twinkle lights along the ceiling of the room and put up decorations on the walls and some large nativity sets on a couple of tables.  It looked really nice.
Two days after the Relief Society Christmas activity on December 8th, I was taking the lead on the ward Christmas breakfast.  The Bishop had asked in October, that the Relief Society be in charge of the activity, and I'd formed a committee to help me to put it on.  Fortunately, the tables and bulk of the decorations had been put up the night before by the other ward who shares the building with us.

We went with a music theme, "And Saints and Angels Sing", and had a program where the different organizations came up to sing a Christmas carol.  It turned out well; I actually had a couple of people tell me just a few weeks ago that it was the best ward Christmas activity they'd ever been to.


Two days after the ward breakfast, on December 10th, I hosted the empty nester FHE group at our house.  My Christmas tree was up yet, but that was just as well so there was more room to play the "Minute to Win it" games I'd found on the internet.  I didn't take pictures of that event.

My extra activities weren't over yet.  On December 16th was my Christmas piano recital.  I always try to make lovely invitations, and a music-themed Christmas ornament for each of my students.  I also decided I should play a solo piece, so needed to practice for that.

I had all those activities behind me, the cards written and the Christmas tree up before Adri, Russ and Sophia arrived on the 20th of December to spend Christmas with us.  It was nice to have family with us for Christmas.   

Can you tell how much Sophia likes wearing her pink hat??

We went to see the zoo lights at the National Zoo in DC, but it was a rainy night and we didn't stay too long.
Not sure where Sophia learned to tilt her head when she was posing for pictures, but it sure was adorable!
We invited our old friends who we met in Germany, the Jeos, to join us for Christmas brunch.
After the meal Kent drafted Jim and Nathan Jeo to help him fell a tree out on our property.  It didn't take long but I thought it was funny he made them work for their supper!

A couple of other things we did with Adri, Russ and Sophia was to go to the Christmas display at the National Arboretum in DC, where they had miniature replicas of most of the famous DC landmarks made from natural materials and nestled amongs poinsettias.

We also got together in Williamsburg with our friends, the Andrews, so we could show off our grandchildren to each other!  Another friend who was in our ward in Germany, Michelle Watt, also joined us.  We toured a historic bed and breakfast inn which is owned by an LDS woman.  It was LAVISHLY decorated for Christmas, and was fun to go through.

Sophs found this little chair that was just her size and you can see how delighted she was to sit in it!
After Williamsburg we drove to the Yorktown national historic park, but got there just half an hour before closing and just walked around the grounds a bit before heading back home.

Those are the highlights of our especially busy month of December!!