I'll admit I was sort of dreading the actual Christmas event. With some unfortunate things with people from both sides our families it just didn't sound super fun, I just wanted to run and hide. The overwhelming consumerism, the non-stop Christmas list additions from the boys, with the miscarriage still dragging on (a whole month of dragging!) everything just felt a little bit womp womp. Feeling sorry for myself for sure and something was missing from our Holiday.
Russ and I talked about it and decided we needed to find a family to do a sub-for-Santa. this is a tradition that my family always held to growing up and it is some of my best memories. 
so we teamed up with my mom and found a family of three that had ZERO presents, and only a few items of food in their cupboards. Even though I insisted on being done shopping weeks before, we ventured to Target on Christmas Eve with the boys, ready to shop for this family. I won't post pictures of the actual event for their privacy but it was something special for sure. my kids and their kids played for a solid hour, we chatted with them, they fed us dinner, and their was a quiet peace and comfort that I hadn't felt in a long time. 

This one event makes the rest of our Holiday feel so much brighter!
Visiting Santa, Cal was so excited! hayes not so much this year.

We had an over nighter at the Grand which is the most festive place on Earth:

Got another one of our rare snow falls before Christmas while walking around the courtyard.

And then for the actual event, I have to add the story of the Hunt for the "Gray Bome-shakah" or the Gray bone shaker, a hot wheels car that is $.97 and impossible to find.
This is all Cal asked for for Christmas and he asked for it consistently for two months, anytime anyone asked him what he wanted, every Santa trip, he said the same thing. 
i thought "easiest present ever, and it's under a dollar?!" 
I headed into our local Wal-Mart (the first sign it was going to a beast)
and started sorting through all their hot wheels - a whole wall of them hung on pegs, and then two huge bins full. i dragged a shopping cart over and started emptying the bins into the cart, looking for this gray bone shaker like a mad woman.
people were staring, chilrdern were crying, i had a few people ask if I was okay or needed help. they thought i was tweaking.
for sure I am on People of Wal-mart now. after sorting what must've been thousands of cars, did i find this dumb car? no.

i was certain i would have no problem finding this car so i had no plan Bs in place. i started frantically searching on eBay and found a silver (not gray) bone shaker that's auction was scheduled to close on December 22. i wrote them a pleading email stating i would win this car at any cost and when i did if they could please over night it for me. that it was the only thing my 3 year old wanted. this sweet ebay angel responded and said she had closed the auction early, i had won it for $3.00 and she would ship it that afternoon. It arrived on Christmas eve, and the crowd went wild.
here's a still from our home video of the boys spotting it on the tree. they were so excited and it was the dumbest Christmas miracle.

It was a good Christmas for both of them!

the tree the night before the madness. another awesome tidbit is that we were absolutely done wrapping at 11:30 pm (gotta be a record!) when my phone chimed that i had 30 minutes to complete an online traffic school session for a ticket i had gotten a month or so before. i had TOTALLY forgotten and thankfully the phone reminded me. but unthankfully i had to stay up for the next two hours doing traffic school.  cool!

 Christmas morning, plenty of snow after a huge snowfall that night!

Another awesome (no sarcasm this time!) event happened the day after Christmas. my Grandpa Al passed away two years ago, and ever since my aunts and uncles were prepping to do the temple work for him. they waited until everyone could be there and invited all to attend. Charity and I went and it was really amazing. my grandpa's mother, Beatrice, died while giving birth to him, and his dad remarried quickly after that. Al had never been sealed to his mother, so they did that sealing and it was beautiful, i am so glad i could be there!

Me and grandma Miki (and Aunt Kristin!)

 And a couple random shots - Cal gnawed on this Chocolate santa for an hour at church. 

me and the boys! 

Christmas 2014 was looking bleak but so glad we could think outside ourselves and our sadnesses and turn it around! Service is selfish that way isn't it?

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