Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve 2015

Christmas Eve was awesome this year. 

It started off with a rare sugar cereal breakfast (that I left out for the kids) along with a note telling them they could have two bowls and watch a show (and let us sleep in!).

I think they ate the whole box... and they also let Kevin and I sleep in until 10:30am. Ryan slept in and then read books in his crib until we got him. He never called out or asked for us to come get him. Amazing!

LOVE these kids and man did all that sleep feel good. We were up until 2am wrapping presents last night so it was needed.

Once we got up I went running and ran an errand or two while Kev played with the kids and got them making his annual candy cane cookies. He made them growing up and LOVES them, so of course the kids love them now too!

Then I had the kids take turns joining me in "Santa's workshop" to wrap the presents they bought for one another the other night. Santa's workshop is awesome because you wrap presents and eat treats. They were all big fans of that activity :) Ryan mostly ate his treat while I wrapped his presents... but he was there for moral support.

I rounded out the afternoon by organizing Catie's room for a few hours. I re-organized Ryan's room last week and Andrew's room yesterday so now everyone's rooms feel prepared for a few new toys tomorrow!

(Here's a sneak peak of Andrew's room from yesterday. I should've taken before photos, but his room was such a disaster I couldn't bear to do it. We also moved his furniture around to make space for a new gift he is getting tomorrow.)

Around 5pm we headed out to dinner at a favorite local Mexican restaurant. The food was so yummy and the kids were so darling. It is so nice to not have to bring any entertainment for them and just sit and chat together and have everyone be well behaved (though goofy). 

I'll blame it on the baby and my 4 mile run earlier today... but I ate every single bite of my two cheese enchiladas. They were so good!

After dinner we did a few cookie deliveries and then we went home.

We kicked off our evening festivities with new Christmas jammies. Catie is looking forward to next year when she'll have a matching buddy to dress up with.

Then we ate candy cane cookies and read a few of our favorite Christmas stories while we drank hot cocoa. The two favorite stories for tonight were The Christmas Train and The Miracle of the Wooden Shoes.

The kiddos also helped us use the many nativities we have around the house to retell the story of the first Christmas. 

After that the kids exchanged their siblings gifts. They were SO CUTE about it. They did a really good job finding gifts for each other that were the "perfect" gifts so there was a lot of jumping and smiling and thanking. I loved watching how excited they were for each other. They got to play with their new toys for a bit and then we got everyone's teeth brushed.

We ended the night doing our scripture advent that we've been slowly doing all month. You are supposed to read different scriptures each night, but we only managed to do it 2-3 nights per week this month so had several to catch up on. Each of the scriptures in the advent teaches about different characteristics of Christ. Andrew is a very enthusiastic scripture reader so we let him read a lot and then Catie would "help" read by repeating different sections. While we read our advent candle burned... which of course is the highlight of the scripture reading time... especially because everyone wants a turn to blow it out.

Tonight we read several really great stories about Christ and his life and it was fun to sit around together and talk about the miracles he did. Catie and Andrew get goofy and break into song singing their favorite primary song "Jesus is the God of miracles" whenever we read about some of the miracles mentioned in the song. It really brings such a sweet spirit into our home. 

We ended the night by putting everyone to bed... and then getting visited several more times by the big kids... then remembering we forgot to put out cookies & milk & carrots... so we did that... and now we are hopeful everyone is asleep!

We wrapped all of the gifts last night, so tonight we just have a few things to set up. If we manage to get to bed before midnight it might be a Christmas miracle!

Although we have missed spending Christmas Eve with extended family this year we have really enjoyed the time together as just our little family too. 

Merry Christmas Eve!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Buskirk Christmas Card 2015

You won't see a Christmas card from our family in your mailbox this holiday season so we are posting it and sending it online instead! You will however see a Valentine's Day or St. Patrick's Day card from us (depending on when I get my act together) with a cute photo of a new baby Buskirk. 

In the meantime we just needed to take a moment you wish all of you a very Merry Christmas! The past year has been a bit of a whirlwind and we are eternally grateful for the many blessings that have been showered upon our family. 

We are especially thankful for our family and friends this year along with our Savior, Jesus Christ and his servants here on earth. We have been trying (and failing many days) to focus more on Christ this Christmas and have been blessed by our efforts.

Our prophet President Monson has said, “There is no better time than now, this very Christmas season, for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus Christ,”

“Christmas is what we make of it. Despite all the distractions, we can see to it that Christ is at the center of our celebration... ”

“When we keep the spirit of Christmas, we keep the Spirit of Christ, for the Christmas spirit is the Christ Spirit. It will block out all the distractions around us which can diminish Christmas and swallow up its true meaning.

“Because He came to earth, we have a perfect example to follow. As we strive to become more like Him, we will have joy and happiness in our lives and peace each day of the year. It is His example which, if followed, stirs within us more kindness and love, more respect and concern for others.

“Because He came, there is meaning to our mortal existence.

“Because He came, we know how to reach out to those in trouble or distress, wherever they may be.

“Because He came, death has lost its sting, the grave its victory. We will live again because He came.

“Because He came and paid for our sins, we have the opportunity to gain eternal life.” 

(President Thomas S. Monson, 2011 First Presidency Christmas Devotional).

There is no greater blessing we can think of at this Christmas season than that gift that was given to us by our Savior.  

We love you and are grateful for the many ways that you bless our family! We hope that if we haven't seen you in 2015 that we remedy that in 2016. 

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Kevin, Kristina, Andrew, Caitlin, Ryan, and Baby Buskirk #4 (due around January 11)

2015 UPDATE ON THE BUSKIRKS... (scroll down)


almost 8
loves piano, LEGO, Star Wars, Monopoly (OBSESSED), and Minecraft
is in 2nd grade


just turned 5
loves princesses, dancing, LEGO, all things animals, listening to music, and art
in in Transitional Kindergarten (TK)


just turned 3
loves cars, his "dog dog" stuffed animal, pretend play, Paw Patrol, and running errands with mom
is in preschool (taught by mom with a little group of friends)


just turned 36 :)
still loves chocolate, diet coke, running, hosting parties, and hanging out with friends
is working at Toddler Approved 


is almost 37 :)
loves biking, swimming, baking treats, hosting parties with Kristina, and playing with the kids 
is working at Facebook

Can't wait to see what is ahead in 2016!!

TK Polar Express Party & Gingerbread Party

This week Catie had two big events in TK. On Wednesday her class got to have a Polar Express party followed by Polar Express/snow themed PE stations and on Tuesday we had a Gingerbread party. 

When the kids arrived at school on Wednesday they got a ticket and then it was stamped when they arrived in the classroom. They walked into the classroom to find a train track on the floor and chairs arranged to look like they were going on the train.

The kids watched a short portion of the Polar Express movie and drank hot cocoa! Catie and I got to make our favorite crockpot hot cocoa for over 50 preschoolers. We got to school over 30 minutes early to help set up (around 7:45) and Ryan tagged along too. Our new favorite hot cocoa server decided not to work at first so that made things a bit stressful... but eventually it all worked out and there was warm hot cocoa for the kids! Hooray! She wouldn't let me take any photos on Polar Express Day so you'll have to use your imaginations!

Next up we had a TK Gingerbread Party on Thursday! I got to coordinate the party and was fortunate to have at least 8 or 9 parent volunteers come in and help run different stations.

We had a super simple gingerbread man photo booth where I tried to get a photo of all of the kids.

The kids made gingerbread man shaped sandwiches at the snack station.

They decorated GIANT gingerbread men cookies.

They also made graham cracker gingerbread houses and frosted ice cream cone Christmas trees.

They painted cut out paper gingerbread boys, made gingerbread boy headbands, and played gingerbread boy color bingo. We also did a roll the dice and color the gingerbread boy game and we played pinned the button the gingerbread boy. It was quite a busy party!

The kids seemed to have a lot of fun and I was exhausted when it was done! My voice almost returned completely on Wednesday but went back to being super hoarse and icky on Thursday!

We celebrated the party being done with a diet coke run, lots of chocolate, and an evening of watching Christmas shows and relaxing!

Merry Little Christmas Show 2015

Catie & Andrew have spent the last month or so practicing for the Merry Little Christmas Show! They have had dance class once each week for about an hour and after just a few weeks they got to participate in a big performance on the local high school stage. 

Catie was a jack in the box girl and she was most excited about her candy cane leggings. It was so fun to see her on stage. She is so focused and tries so hard to get every step right.

If you want to see a video of the jack in the box girl dress rehearsal you can find one HERE.

Andrew was Santa and his songs were Big Fat Man, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and We Can Be Heroes... plus maybe a few others. He LOVED getting to dress up like Santa.

The highlight of the night was when the Santas ripped off their costumes to reveal their superhero selves. Andrew was Spiderman!

You can watch the Santa boys dress rehearsal performance HERE.

The highlight was the actual performance when the boys ripped off their superhero suits and the entire audience started screaming. Andrew LOVED that.

Today the kids rehearsed from 3-5pm and then had performances at 5pm and 7pm. By 9pm when they got home we were all wiped out! So proud of them!

So grateful to my talented and amazing friend Marisa for pulling off such a fun show for the kids.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Christmas in San Francisco 2015

Continuing our usual tradition, we headed into San Francisco for some Christmas fun after a busy Saturday! There were several fun moments and some stressful ones (picture three kids running towards the street and me with no voice to get them to stop), but all in all, we had a great time and everyone made it home! It was touch and go there for a minute or two though.

We started at Boudin Bakery at Fisherman's Wharf with some yummy tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. I could eat that every day. It is SO yummy! All the kids swarmed Grandma Julie so we had a grown up table and a Grandma Julie kid's table. I'll bet you can guess which one was the craziest!

Next we headed down to Pier 39 to check out the big tree, take pictures, grab some mini donuts at Trish's Mini Donuts and we also visited the sea lions. I actually had never seen them before so that was a treat. The kids thought they were really funny.

It was so neat to have the whole Smith clan in town for the weekend and get all the cousins together... even if I couldn't talk with anyone and it was a really short visit! Jessie was my interpreter. Earlier in the day we celebrated Sophie's birthday with bounce house fun at Scott & Cat's house and then we had Catie's gymnastics b-day party and our Ward Christmas breakfast (hence the reason my voice was gone by the time we got into the city).

Ryan and Catie had fun trying out our new piggyback rider while we roamed the city (since I am working with them over on my Toddler Approved blog this week).

We ended the night with a trip to Ghirardelli Square. The line was insanely long at both of the ice cream shops. Fortunately we stuck it out and then other people started getting impatient and leaving in droves... so then we got in and out quickly. It was awesomely yummy!

Ryan wanted nothing to do with ice cream so we got to eat his :)

I really wanted to swing by Union Square and check out the windows at Macy's and the tree but at that point it was already 9:30 and I think Kevin thought I was a bit crazy... so we headed home! Ryan zonked out on the drive back and then we all got to bed pretty quick once we got home and slept in until almost 10am today so that was lovely. 

Hooray for Christmas fun in San Francisco! 

Past Christmas in SF Trips