How many pics can one post hold...

Man, it seems if you let things go for a little while, there's no catching up! I guess I'll just do a quick catch-up--more pictures, less talk--that'll make things better.

We had a great Thanksgiving. We hosted it at our apartment this year. We had 16 adults (4 missionaries, need to make sure they're covered) and 9 kids/babies. It was a little cramped, but not as bad as I thought it would be. I cooked the turkey and Ryan helped with the gravy, and I made pretzel salad. Everyone else brought the rest. I think I'll invite friends over every year, because it was so nice to not worry about the other food items. My turkey gave me enough grief.....Funny story, all the women will gasp.....So this was my first year cooking a turkey. I called my mom the evening before Thanksgiving to see when I should take the turkey out of the freezer to defrost. Yes, the night before. After gasping herself, my mom proceeded to tell me that turkeys take a few days to defrost, not hours. Thank goodness for the internet! I looked online and learned that you can defrost a turkey in around 10 hrs if you stick it in a sink of cold water. That's what I did, and we magically had a pretty good "first" turkey the next day. This day was a good reminder of how grateful I am for the gospel. All of our friends on Thanksgiving were from our ward. We love them as our family-from-home, and I'm grateful to have a church organization that helps us connect to great people.

We're going home for Christmas this year, in a little over a week. I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone! Every time I ask Josh what he wants for Christmas, he says, "A bow and arrow and scary eyes." I don't know if that means he'll have scary eyes when he uses the bow and arrow, but I do know that he'll be one happy little guy when he gets his little bow and arrow. It's so nice to have a simple, sweet Christmas with little kids. He probably won't be so satisfied when he gets older, but maybe we'll luck out. One thing we've tried to do to remember the real reason of Christmas is to talk about Jesus' birth. Josh loves to talk about baby Jesus, but he will fight you to no end on who's birthday is on Christmas: his. I guess that makes sense, since he's getting the presents...Anyway, I've always loved Christmastime, especially the commercial part, and my parents will tell you, I've always loved the presents. I love the smells of Christmas, I love the music, the decorations, and the old-fashioned feel of Christmas. I do, I love it all, but now I wish the world would go back to some of the old-fashioned values and remember what Christmas is truly all about: our Savior's birth. I'm grateful for good parents who've always tried to stress the true meaning of Christmas in our home, and I'm now trying to do that with our children. I'm grateful for His love and for the miracle of His birth. Luckily, we have wonderful friends who are great examples of how to live more like the Savior, so I know our children have many great people to learn from. Merry Christmas!

P.S. Don't mind the mixed-up assortment of pictures, please.

Josh and Ryan decorating "Santa's house". Josh made sure we knew it wasn't a gingerbread house, it was Santa's house, and he was inside talking to people.

Here's a cute little present to put under the Christmas tree....

Josh and Ryan put on a lot of Christmas lights on the tree. I don't know if Ryan thought that meant he wouldn't have to put any lights up outside, but if so, he's wrong. :)

While the boys were putting the lights on the tree, Josh kept tangling himself up in the lights on purpose and going over to the wall to check it's heart beat.

Carter hard at work....actually, he's become dangerous in his walker. He'll grab anything he can, including the rack that holds the silverware and bananas. (Or I guess I should say, used to hold the bananas. Now the garbage holds those.)

I asked Ryan to take a picture of Josh after we got home from church because I thought he looked so cute. Little did I know Ryan did a whole photo shoot. Josh will basically pose however you ask, nowadays, as long as he can look at the pictures after.

The "guys", Thanksgiving night. Grant, the one in blue, was very uncomfortable in this picture, which made it even more funny.

The cute girls, Thanksgiving night. I was the tallest one there; it felt really good, oddly enough.

Ian and Christy Rasmussen. Very social, up for any kind of party.

Carter, Ryan, and Katie Allen. Lovers of food and games.

Aleisha, Grant, and baby Garret Peterson. Enjoy good conversation and competition (at least Grant likes a little comp).

Catlin and Joseph Gedge. (Obviously not pictured). Awesome neighbors and fellow game players.

Missionaries. Good guys, and deserve to eat as much as they can.

I was cleaning in the kitchen and walked into the living room to see both boys reading a book. Priceless.

You can get this little stink to pose in any way....:)