Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas #4 and #5 2012

Yay for multiple Christmas celebrations! Here was my first Christmas post, in case you missed it. Christmas #4 happened in DM after we returned home from OC (DM-Des Moines and OC-Orange City). It's a yearly tradition to celebrate Christmas with the Groen family, and it's a tradition I love. The Groen family is very special to me- we grew up together, and Stephanie is my best friend! It was a great night.

The dinner table.

Tree and presents.

Me and Steph!

Kley and I.

Whitney and Kayla.

David and Stephanie intently reading some magazine article and having a discussion about it. Ha.

Ping pong action.

(Everyone runs around the table and takes turns hitting it and if you mess up you are out.)

Kley and Karlie.

Unfortunately, Christmas #5 didn't get captured, because my beautiful Nikon J1 camera that Kley gave me for our anniversary this year is currently broken. Somehow the memory card reader isn't working. Bummer. Fortunately, Nikon is going to fix it for free- nice!- but it will take 3-4 weeks. Christmas #5 was spent opening presents with my family. We did presents yesterday, and are doing stockings tomorrow. Our present was a spring break trip to Florida! Yahoo! :)

So, here are some old(er) pictures. This was taken at my school's Christmas program back on December 6th- me and my parents.

This is a repeat from my birthday post, but it's great enough to post twice- my whole family together!

We had a fabulous Christmas this year, and hope you did too! :)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas #1 and #2 (and kind of #3) 2012

Merry Christmas! Hope you had a wonderful time celebrating Jesus' birth with family. And the fun part for us is that we aren't done yet (we still have christmas #3 and #4 tonight and tomorrow!). We were in Orange City, IA from Saturday-Thursday this week celebrating with Kley's family. It was great to be able to be there for longer than a weekend and to just have time to relax together. We had a great time eating, laying around, and watching movies. :)

Here are some of Jana's (my mother-in-law) beautiful decorations. 

Christmas #1- with Kley's family!

On Christmas day, the whole VerSteeg clan got together at a local restaurant to celebrate. There were about 70 people. (Brad is an only child, and Jana is one of eight siblings!) 

Yummy crock-pots full of soup!

Candy table.

Table centerpieces.

The kids gift table.

Kley and I.

All the younger kids/cousins/grandkids.

Jana and Kley's Aunt Mary are so generous and talented at wrapping/picking out beautiful gifts for people. Each Christmas the women play some sort of game and each girl ends up with this beautiful basket. Mine was this neat glass bowl filled with a scarf, nail polish, candle holder, shower gel, etc. It's always very fun!

The baskets.

Playing cards.

Sitting and eating.

The kids opening their gifts.

We also opened gifts just as a family. Kley's family is so generous! Kley got this new spectacular life-changing guitar thing (according to him.) It's called the Axe-FX II- and it's this box that can pretty much do everything in one, so you really don't need amps or pedals anymore. It does sound pretty cool, actually. He was super pumped. :)

I got some Toms shoes (my first pair), a vest, some new pots and pans, a new hair dryer and straightener, and best of all- plane tickets to visit my friend, Stephanie, who is moving to Washington DC!

Christmas #2- The Schut side

My grandparents and aunt/uncle/cousin live in Sioux Center, a neighboring town to Orange City, so we also got to see my family on Wednesday to celebrate Christmas and my grandpa's 80th birthday with them.

The crew.

 The whole family!

My dad's brother- Uncle Eric, Aunt Donna, cousin Alyssa, and her fiance that we met for the first time, Arthur. (I give him good marks- he seemed super nice!)

All the grandkids with Gram and Oppy. (We called my grandpa Oppy growing up- it's a long story, but it's a version of the Dutch word for grandpa, Oppi.)

My grandma's Christmas tree.

It was a great week! I am excited to be home again and to have more celebrations here!

(I guess you could also kind of count Kley and I's gift exchange as it's own Christmas #3. :) We opened our own gifts Saturday morning before we left for OC. I got Kley a flannel shirt, slippers, and a groupon to go skiing in January. He got me a candle, lotion, slippers, a Twins t-shirt, and yoga pants.)

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Birthday Week!

The 16th was my Mom's birthday, and the 20th was mine! Last night my whole family went out to celebrate both. It started with my mom, sisters, and I going out to get pedicures. Awesome! All in all, it was a funny experience, because the workers weren't very concentrated on us- they were rushed, there were way too many people, and then the lady messed up the flower so a different lady redid it...long story, but I am grateful we got to go! It was fun to spend time just girls and get pampered, as that doesn't happen often.

Then we headed to PF Chang's for dinner. I had never been before. It was good, but not an automatic favorite. I was proud that I was the only one who ate with my chopsticks the entire meal. (I studied abroad in China for a month in January of 2009, and I got pretty good at using chopsticks!) 

Here's Kley and I- he was so pumped to have just finished his last law final!

Some of the dinner- Broccoli & Beef.

The whole gang.

After dinner we went to Coldstone for dessert- yummy! Here we are in front of the mall tree.

Then we headed home for mom to open her presents. (I opened mine on Thursday. I got some new clothes, DVD's, and some awesome sing-along books on CD for my classroom. I know, asking for children's items for my own birthday is weird, but I was excited.)

Happy birthday! :)

Jolly Holiday Lights 2012.

Driving through Jolly Holiday Lights is a great Christmas tradition. You should add it to your lists, if you live in Des Moines, if you don't do it already. (We actually drove through a few weeks ago, but it slipped through the blogging cracks until now. Oops.)

During Kley's two weeks of finals, (and are now FINISHED as of last night! Yay- my husband is back!) I put index cards on the wall, one for each day of finals, with something fun on the back that he could look forward to that night after his finals. One night was driving through Jolly Holiday Lights. 

If you haven't heard of it, Jolly Holiday Lights is set up in WaterWorks Park in Des Moines, and different companies sponsor a light set-up. The entire thing is sponsored by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, who grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. 100% of your admission goes to this cause. (Most of the kids pick going to Disney World as their wish. :)

Here are some pictures of our drive through. I apologize for the poor picture quality, it's hard to take good pictures in a moving car!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Snow Day on my Birthday! :)

Today is my birthday, AND we got a snow day! Yippee! :)
Here are two pictures from outside our front door this morning.