S: Christmas in Scotland
BC: Christmas is a time for Family Food Toys and... LOVE
FC: Griffiths Family
1: A Christmas To Remember... | Christmas | 2010
2: "And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, How could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more." ~ Dr. Seuss | Chad and Becky (ok, mostly Becky) were the travel agents of the trip. They booked everyone's flights, found out about luggage allowances, and reminded us all to bring our passports! Then when a group of winter storms closed down airports in the eastern US, London, Paris, and Amsterdam, they were re-booking everyone's flights. It was pretty touch and go there for a while as to whether all of us would make it, but the Lord must have heard our prayers, because we all did, with some of us on the last flights out of our airports before they shut down!
3: That Dr. Suess quote was perfect for our Christmas this year. We all came from all over the US at different times and on different planes, and although all the people made it (most important thing), all the luggage didn't. The airlines lost all of JD, Carrie, Cicily, Valerie, and Whitney's luggage! Chad managed to loose his own carry-on... So we were short car seats, clothes, and Christmas presents! Of course everyone just carried on. They were all such good sports, wearing Pop's sweats for a few days until we could get to the store to buy them some clothes! And fortunately, Whitney fit into Bekah Jo's clothes and Cicily could wear Abby and Calvin's. | Jake entertaining Calvin in the airport | Cort and Teri's Kids just beginning their journey from Jacksonville, NC
4: Meet the Family... | JD (31), Carrie (23), and Cicily (9 mo.) are currently living in Springville where JD is working at tech support and Carrie is busy chasing Cicily and their three cats. The whole family still loves to spend their spare time in the world of online gaming, though having little Cicily has definitely added a new dimension to their lives. She is one of the most sweet and mellow babies ever born. She is so laid back and pleasant all the time and it is fun to be around her. She did have an opinion about being unable to keep up with her two closest cousins though, so many hours were spent over Christmas holding her hands as she practiced the art of walking! She won't be left behind for long!
5: Cort (34), Teri (29), Ethan (9), Jake (7 11/12), Bekah Jo (5), and Calvin (18 mo) live on the other end of the States from the other siblings. The navy has them living in Jacksonville, NC. Cort is a civil engineer with the navy and is currently on assignment with the Marines. He is Elder's Quorum President in their ward and it seems that between work and church the little spare time he is left with is spent with his family. Teri is busy setting up yet another house, but is excited because they own this one, so she can paint walls and change fixtures. Ethan and Jake both love legos and transformers and studying bugs and reptiles. Ethan also loves goofing around outside and doing artsy stuff, where Jake is more interested in looking up obscure facts and quizzing everyone around him on them.... Bekah Jo is all girl, loving princesses and make believe and sparkles, but watch out cause this girl also has a mind of her own that she isn't afraid to share! Calvin is happiest when his older siblings are around to follow and hang out with. They all adore him and are really good about including him in everything. He is a busy and his mom says it helps her stay young and in shape!
6: Chad (26), Becky (28), Abby (15 months) and Still Cooking Baby 2(T-minus 5 months). They are currently living in Lindon. Chad works for Qivana, a local MLM, but swears he won't try and sell you any magic cure-all drinks. He works in finance and makes sure there is enough money to pay the bills. Abby loves to run around and Mommy loves to run after her. Abby's is a busy bee (who would have thought with such calm sweet parents?) and Becky enjoys channeling that energy into learning...and occasionally picking up the million and one messes Abby makes. The whole family loves to spend time reading books together and trying out whatever new, exciting recipe Becky has most recently discovered. They love good food and good company! There is a reason that one of Abby's first words was "Friends!"
7: Valerie is the amazing mother of two beautfil girls now: Whitney (4) and tiny MacKwnzie Jo (6 wks), | She traveled all the way from Spanish Fork in Utah | and we were so glad she made it! | Poor Kenzie Jo was sick on the way out, | and Valerie caught it once they arrived. She was | supermom, taking care of that sick baby while puking herself. | In fact, when these pictures were taken, she was puking in between | shots, but you would never know it to look at her! | She is currently working at Marketing and living with her friend Tara. She is loving being the mommy of two beautiful girls.
8: Dusty and Lauren have been enjoying their first year married as students in Provo. Dusty (25), is studying accounting at UVU and working at America First Credit Union. Lauren (22) is majoring in Dance at BYU and teaches at a local dance studio. They both love watching classic television shows and movies, hanging out with their friends, and spending time together - which with their busy schedules can be a bit of a challenge!
9: Katelyn just returned from serving a full time mission in the San Fernando Valley, California, Spanish speaking Mission. She loved her mission and had the unique opportunity to "return" home to Scotland, where she has been running around doing - mission stuff - with her parents. Heading back to BYU in January is going to be a bit of a shock! She will be returning to work on her major in Familty Studies with a double minor in Business Management and Gerontology. She wants everyone to remember that she is the funniest and best looking - Mom and Dad stopped when they hit perfection.
10: Momma Jo and Pops are currently serving as the Mission President and his wife in the Scotland/Ireland Mission. They have been working themselves to death just so they could take these two weeks of time off to spend Christmas with their children and families. It was preparation time well spent as everyone gathered round and we shared so many fun times and made so many memories. One of Mom's favorite memories is of Pops playing that silly game "Time's Up" that involved lots of charades and funny poses. Pops was such a good sport, and makes a pretty good Little Bo Peep. | The ones that started it all...
13: A couple of weeks before Christmas, Edinburgh received three feet of snow, something that rarely ever happens. The whole city was shut down for almost two weeks. There was still plenty of snow on the ground when we arrived for the kids to enjoy hours outside building snowmen and throwing snowballs. The radiators got lots of use as coat warmers while we were there!
14: Christmas Sacrament Meeting Program
15: We had the opportunity? to provide the Sacrament Meeting Program on Christmas. It was a bit hectic with all the flight changes, but Lauren had brought a beautiful arrangement of "Oh Holy Night" with her that we sang and then we each took a segment of the Plan of Salvation to bear testimony about and it ended up being a wonderful meeting. JD spoke on the significance of the task that our Elder Brother was to perform on our behalf. Chad spoke about the pre-mortal life and the joy that we felt as we prepared to come to this earth. Cort and Teri and kids spoke about Christ's mortal ministry here on the earth and the need to help those along our way. Dusty spoke about Justification and Sanctification Valerie gave a heart warming account of our Savior's atonement Kate spoke about Kingdoms of Glory Mom spoke about something wonderful which she can't remember Dad ended with a tearful testimony about the blessings of families in the Lord's plan. It was such a blessing to be able to hear each other bear testimony of the truthfulness of this wonderful Gospel.
17: Dear Santa, I can explain... | Following our Christmas Eve tradition, we all sat together and read "The Fourth Wiseman". Then Pops read to us from Luke 2, the story of the Savior's birth. Hearing those words from his soft yet strong and reassuring voice is a favorite childhood memory. | Christmas Eve
18: Last year Pops thought it would be great fun to call all of his children at about 5am their time to wish them Merry Christmas - payback for all the times we woke him up at 5am as kids to open presents. Well, at 12:30 a.m. this year he might have had all of his grown children jumping on his bed asking if we could open presents yet... | Revenge | Having to transport all of our Christmas presents in our suitcases meant that they arrived unwrapped (airport security would have opened them for us) so we spent our first couple of nights after the children went to bed frantically wrapping presents. Everyone helped, but some people were taking care of babies or hiding behind the couch to prevent loss of surprise when these photos were taken. By the time we were done, despite lost luggage the present pile was fairly impressive. | Wrapping Presents
19: Between late night wrapping and sick, jet-lagged children, Christmas morning dawned a little too early for some of us. However, we had missionaries coming for breakfast, so we were up and making pancakes and bacon. At one point there were several of us in the kitchen and Dusty made us all pause and promise him something - that we would never tell Lauren how much bacon he was going to eat! It was so funny! And he did a good job of packing it away... | Christmas Morning
20: A small note about the Christmas Tree... Kate and G-Jo did an | incredible job decorating it. Unfortunately, Calvin (and the floor) had re-decorated it before Christmas morning... | PRESENTS | Opening
22: On Christmas Eve when we were wrapping presents there was one that Becky wrapped for Chad that felt like there was nothing in it. It was really small and we had to keep a close eye on it to make sure it didn't get thrown away. She insisted it was important and the present she was most excited about giving him. When he finally opened it on Christmas morning, there was almost nothing in it. Just a small ultrasound picture with the words "It's a girl! | "
24: There were many wonderful gifts given and received on Christmas Morning. Here are some of the favorites: | Ethan: his "Lego Atlantis" lego sets that Uncle JD and Jake helped him put together Jacob: several eyewitness books on a variety of subjects from fossils to dogs to Ancient Greece Bekah Jo: a pink Princess blankey. Calvin: a "Shake and Go" Lightning McQueen car Teri: fuzzy Christmas socks Cort: a GPS running tracker to catalogue his workout time | JD: Pandora: the game that Kate got him Carrie: Reindeer Toe Socks with jingling bells Dusty: bacon on Christmas morning Lauren: Pretty new sweater Kate: stylish Scottish boot socks
25: Another present to get special note is the book that Chad and Becky put together with everyone else's help for G-Jo and Pops that included photos of everyone in the family, along with their testimonies! | Valerie: A Black and White striped Hoodie Whitney: a new play kitchen Kenzie Jo: the cute pink dress and sweater she wore on picture day Chad: A new baby girl! Becky: A new word and way of life for Becky-Accessories! Abby: A whole basket of plastic food that she could cook in her new toy kitchen G-Jo: a new computer AND sons to set it all up for me! Pops: having all the family here for the holidays
26: Bekah Jo and Whitney were fast and good friends the whole time we were there. They would get up and disappear together, playing with their presents, dressing up, coloring, and mostly playing make-believe. The best part - neither one could remember the other's name, so they were always looking for "you know, the girl"! It was so funny! | Cousins at Christmas | One morning Whitney was walking around with a balloon and she kept putting it in her mouth and chewing on it. Val asked her to please stop, she was going to choke herself. Whitney replied, "No I won't, I don't know how!"
27: Abby and Calvin were fascinated with the mission home vacuume cleaner, who is named Henry. Of course they had lots of opportunities to play with Henry because when there are 20 of you and 8 are under the age of 10, you have to do a LOT of vacuuming! | Calvin and Abby playing with the "Shake and Go" car
28: We took the mission van out on a road trip to visit St. Andrew's golf course and go get fish and chips at the famous Anstruther Fish Bar. Thanks to little girls with little bladders we were able to go into the club house and see the incredibly posh restrooms. Chad had wanted a souvenier, but was outraged at the prices in the shop. Teri was kind enough to give him her monogrammed paper towel from the bathroom!
31: Edinburgh Castle
32: Views | around the Castle
34: Anyone need to make a phone call?
37: G-Jo bought a guide book at the gate, and Jake had a great time reading about each section of the castle and playing tour guide. We all had fun checking out the cannons, and although these ones are just for decoration, there is one fired daily over the "firth" (river) at exactly 1pm. We also had fun checking out the box where they stand guard outside one of the buildings.
41: The Great Hall 1503-13 Built for King James IV (1488-1513) as a majestic setting for ceremonial occasions converted in 1650 into a soldiers' barracks by Oliver Cromwell, restored in 1887 and used today for state and royal functions They had some traditional court games set up in the great hall that the kids got to try (it was surprisingly like "Sorry Sliders") Then we were able to watch a small skit about Royal dress and a few customs practiced here. It was entertaining and informative, but the highlight for the children was definitely at the end when Bekah Jo got to have her picture taken with the woman playing the Queen and her courtier and the boys got to hold a broadsword and musket of the Queen's guard! Whitney was there as well, but was too shy for a picture with a stranger. | The Fore Well For 500 years up to the 19th century this was the castle's main water supply. It is 34 meters deep but the water level was never enough to meet the demand.
42: When Cort and Teri were here last spring, they saw these Scottish portraits, and were excited to get them tone. Chad and Becky came along and got them done with their family as well.
45: Miscellaneous love and happiness
47: It will come as little surprise that we celebrated the New Year playing cards. Mom had poppers full of confetti and rather fetching tissue paper crowns. We also drank some attrocious Scottish soda, called something like "shlogger", that tasted like non-alcoholic wine. On New Years morning Mom made us "crumpets": biscuits with strawberries and cream. YUM!
48: Royal | MILE | The last day before Cort and Teri left, they managed to get some shopping done on the Royal Mile. Of course not very much because the wind blowing down the royal mile was so bitterly cold, that by the time G-Jo and Pops found a parking space and started hiking up the road to find them, they were ready to go home! We did all get to eat at this fabulous little sandwich shop, called "Oink" where they serve delicious pork sandwiches!