Christmas in Michigan

(Highlights from Christmas vacation.)

Day 1 - Gingerbread Houses
{Technically it was day 2, but the first "day" we didn't get in till 9 pm . . . so from here on out we will call today (the 23rd) Day 1.}

Today was a fun filled day here in Michigan.  Michael and I were a little late waking up and didn't really get going till around noon.  We had all of our shopping done before we got here, but unfortunately our bags were handled a bit to roughly and one of our gifts broke.  So today we had to run out and fix our little problem.  After 2 stores (the first one didn't have what we needed) Michael and I got to go to Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch!  (That was one of my requests while in Michigan.)  It was SOOO good. I just loved it!  The weather made everything take a bit longer then planned, so by the time we got back it was time to head over to Tracey's (A family friend) to make gingerbread houses.

Michael and I made gingerbread houses at my parents house before we left.  Today was time 2! There was candy coming out of our ears!!  It was awesome . . . TONS of candy to decorate with, ok and to eat.  After everyone was done, we ordered Hungry Howies Pizza (another favorite) for dinner.   It was a lot of fun, it reminded me of when I was younger and we used to get together with my mom's friend and her family and did our little Christmas tradition. (Chimes, Pizza Hut, Gingerbread houses, the candy game . . . and more!)

After all the fun we came back to Michael's house and did one of their family traditions.  We got out all of the stockings and read their Christmas memories from past years. (They write them each year and put them in the bottom of their stockings.)  It was fun to hear what they all wrote and remembered.  We played a bit of Scum, then I headed to bed.

Day 2 - Christmas Eve
Today was a pretty busy day.  We spent the day getting ready for that evening.  I made our family's traditional bread sticks for Michael's family, and helped make cookies and goodies for the people we would carol to later.  Everything ended up taking a little longer then planned, so we went caroling (in freezing windy weather) to the neighbors, then had dinner.  When everyone was finished we watched two movies, Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph.  After the movies we read the Christmas story together next to the roaring fire and then went to bed so that Santa could come.

Day 3 - Christmas
Today everyone woke up by 7 am!  (I am used to getting up around 6:15, but I guess this was earlier then ever at the Jensen home.)  Their tradition is to have everyone dressed and ready, eat breakfast, then open gifts.  I was the first one up and completely dressed. (by 7:03 I believe)  I helped Michael make the traditional pigs in a blanket for breakfast and took some pictures before all the pretty packages were opened.  

After breakfast we opened our gifts one by one.  It took quite some time to get finished, but it was fun to see what everyone got.  I got lots of stuff: clothes, a purse, socks (black and brown ones so that I would stop wearing white socks with dress shoes to work), games, a sweet new razor, candy, a USB drive, Disney DVD's . . . it was great.  Michael and I got a popcorn popper and two games from his siblings. (Pass the Pigs, a classic, and Loaded Questions, one of my favorite games.) I gave Michael some sweet kicks, new WHITE shorts, and a book that I made for him.  The book is for me to write in to tell him why I love him and such.  I wrote a few things in there for him to read and he just loved it:) 

After gifts, half of the family went and did Meals On Wheels while the other half stayed home and cleaned up.  I stayed and helped with dishes and prepared for dinner.  We spent the day playing our new games and just having fun.

Day 4 - Return, Return, Return
What's Christmas without returns?  Ha.  Today the girls all went out to do the returns, with hopes for finding some sweet after Christmas deals.  We didn't really find much though.  BUT . . . big news of the day . . . Kimberly (Michael's sister) got engaged!  Her fiance came over to talk to her parents in the morning (she was out), so we all knew the plan and that it would be happening that night.  We stayed up playing games while we waited for them to come back from their date and share the news.  Congrats Kimberly and Ben!

Day 5 - Bowling
It's time to get out and do something active.  The family all tried to go play some basketball, but when we got to the building, the gym was all set up for a wedding reception.  SO . . . we all went bowling! (I love bowling!)  Highlights:  Michael won with a 159! and Brent and I won free games by getting a strike when the head pin was blue.

After the fun, some of the girls went to go see High School Musical 3, while the rest of us had a relaxing evening with our double feature:  American Outlaws (for the boys) followed by 27 Dresses (for the girls).

Day 6 - Church
I really wanted to go to my old Saline Ward for church, so Michael and I got up bright and early to drive to Saline for 9 am church.  Tiffani and her family were at her in-law's so we went to see them and old friends.  Luckily (can I say that?) the power in most of the church wasn't working so they just had sacrament meeting.  This worked out sweet because it gave us a chance to talk to some old friends and get to play with Carson.
We wanted to be back to Michael's ward at 1, so our visit was short.  But sweet!  We raced back and went to church with Michael's family.  Later that night we went over to a family friends for dinner and games.  While sitting at the table I was looking at their decorations and such when what did my eyes behold . . . an authentic print of Migrant Mother by Dorthea Lange beautifully framed on their wall!  I got to hear the story of how Bernice (the mom) was handed down this photo.  I am so jealous!  The saddest part is that when I asked about it she was SO excited to tell me about it because, and I quote, "You are the first person in 14 years to even know what that is, and care!"  I couldn't believe it!  Lucky day for me:) (That is one picture that I would LOVE to own a print of.)

Day 7 - Engagements
Michael and I drove to Saline today to hang out with my sister, Tiffani, and her little family, as well as, to take my first engagement pictures.  I got my first job as a photographer.  I am doing Jenny and Nick's engagements today and wedding in April.  I am so excited! (For those who don't know Jenny is Ryan (Tiffani's husband)'s sister.)  I am hoping to use this experience to get more jobs this summer doing weddings.

Before pictures Tiffani, Ryan, Michael and I went to Ruby Tuesday's for lunch . . . It was DELICIOUS!  It was fun to just get to be with them and chat.  They are great:)  

After lunch we went back to Ryan's parents house to pick up Jenny and Nick and went to take some photos.  It was so cold out, but I was really happy with the pictures I got.  Here are a few of my favorites: (To see more go to my photo blog.)

Day 8 - Shopping Spree
Enough said.  Everything was on sale and Michael gave me some money to buy whatever I wanted.  After hours and hours of shopping, we came out with lots of new clothes.  Thanks babe, you are the best!  

Day 9 - New Years Eve
I woke up this morning and got to take some pictures of Kimberly and Ben.  They said they didn't have any good ones, and after seeing the ones I took for Jenny and Nick, they wanted me to take some for them.  After enduring the cold once again, Tiffani and Ryan came to visit around noon.  It was fun to play with Carson and Halli.  Best of all, I got Tiffani to sing karaoke with me on the Xbox.  For Christmas the Jensen's got Lips and we have been playing it for days.  Tiffani was sick, but was a good sport and sang with me anyways.  We even got Carson to sing a little Spiderman.  Before they had to go I took a little family photo for them:)  I think it turned out really cute!

Since Michael got back from Russia, his family has a new tradition of having a Russian meal on New Years Eve.  Specialty of Michael.  So while Rock Band was being played all day, I spent my time knitting me a scarf and helping Michael make Borsch, Pelmeni and Vereniki.  It took us a few hours, but it was a hit. (Ok so I really only ate the Pelmeni, but at least I tried.  It was a hit with the rest of the family.)  After dinner, we all played games and snacked on summer sausage, cheese, and crackers, then watched the ball drop.  By 12:30 we were all so tired.  We tried to tough it out and stay up (since this was our last night in Michigan, but we were all too tired).  We went to bed.

Day 10 - Home
We woke up early this morning to catch our flight back to Utah.  The trip wasn't too long, but our flight from Denver to Salt Lake was pretty bumpy and rough.  Luckily for me, probably not Michael, I pretty much slept the entire trip.  My aunt and uncle picked us up for the airport (Thanks DiAnn and Galen!) because my family was on their way back or California.  With the exception of a few games, we pretty much slept the day away.


Harris Family said...

Fun, fun, fun holiday! We were so happy we got to see yall a couple times and come hang out with Michael's family. They are all really great. I'm happy you are marrying into a nice family! Alot of people luck out and end up with in-laws they hate! Lucky for us though we got great in-laws! Thanks again for the family photos!

McChesney's said...

Wow, that was great to catch up. So great to see photos of Jenny and her fiance...didn't get to meet him, or see you infact. Thanks for sharing.

Trent and Amelia said...

Aubry! love all your pictures, you do such a good job! i got your comment- where are you doing of this working out?! thanks for wishing me luck, I need luck big time when it comes to that ;) and good luck to you too! if you are doing your thing at 24 I might see you there

LA said...

Congrats on your engagement! And oh my gosh is that JENNY? She looks great and she's engaged too!
Love the blog btw.