This christmas season has been one we will never forget. In the midst of everything that happened with my Dad, We some how had to keep going. The kids were so excited for christmas, so we tried to get excited with them. Our first event was going to Build a Bear with Grandma Alldredge for the little grandkids christmas party. Grandma and Grandpa decided awhile ago that they would take the grandkids and let them build a 10 dollar bear. They went together on one of their dates to make sure they were cute bears and that the kids would like them! Even though Grandpa wasn't there in person he was in spirit! I know he would have been right their with them building those bears. Grandma was so cute with the kids and helped them every step of the way. Sadie was so excited to get a Koala bear because Grandpa served his mission in Australia. She now has something that reminds her of him. Brinley got a cute reindeer, and Hailey got a dog she calls Ruff. They all love them and sleep with them every night. The next day was Grandma's fun Gingerbread Party. We all went up to help them decorate. They loved putting the candy on the house. Of course they ate a little along the way too! They were excited to take them home to display. Later that same day we went over to Grandpa Seljaas' house to have him teach us how to make Krun Krager cookies. We had to go teach Sadie's school class about Christmas traditions in Norway. She wanted to bring them a cookie to eat. Thanks Grandpa Seljaas for helping us with that project. Her class was so excited to see Sadie's dad come and teach. He told them all about Norway and then we danced around the christmas tree just like they do there. That is Sadie's favorite tradition. They also loved the cookies that Sadie made. I was a little disappointed when I realized I had forgotten to take pictures. O-well. It was a fun day to go to Sadie's Class. The kids had fun all month at school and came home knowing the cutest christmas songs and had fun crafts they had made. We enjoyed driving around and looking at the fun christmas lights. Their was one house in Bountiful that they loved, the lights lit up with music and there was a 3-D santa in the window that looked so real !!
We had lots of Christmas Parties that we went to. They all happened to be the week of christmas, but it was still fun. Eric and his work Partner Jesse surprised the kids with Santa at the party. He was really busy but he was able to leave them a few presents at the door. ( that was better for Brinley any way.) They were really excited when they opened a Nintendo WII. We are still trying to figure it out, but it is a lot of fun. I was also a little surprised when I opened a new Cannon Rebel camera! I don't know how santa new exactally what we wanted but it was a fun night. That night Sadie was excited to go have a sleepover at Grandma Alldredge's house. She has a tender heart and wanted to be with grandma. She was worried that Grandma was a lone and we couldn't get her there fast enough. She was excited that her cousin Ashley spent the night too! The next night we had our Seljaas party with all of Eric's brothers and sisters. We had it at his brother Steve's house and had a great dinner and fun white elephant gifts! It is fun to get everyone together and celebrate christmas. After the Party it was Brinley's turn to go sleep with Grandma. She was also really excited to be with her. Her cousin Bridget also spent the night with her. I was told they had some fun conversations with grandma. With all of the excitement of christmas, Grandpa is never far from all of our thoughts. The kids are constantly talking about their memories of him. It has been great.
As Christmas Eve was approaching I knew that was going to be a hard night. We always get together with my family and celebrate up at Kristi and Jason's house. As we were driving up there the tears started to flow. We got their right as my Dad's good friend from Workers Comp came and gave my mom a beautiful gift from the board of directors. My mom and all of us were really touched. As the night got under way it just felt really different with out my dad there. We had a wonderful dinner and then it was off to have our program downstairs. As we were getting everything ready we heard someone yelling HO HO HO and come bounding down the stairs. Our Favorite Santa was there! The kids were so excited. Santa was a really good friend of Grandpa's. He was so cute with the kids. Sadie was the first to sit on his lap and she loved every minute of it. She asked for an American Girl Doll. Brinley was still really scared of Santa so Sadie sat on his lap for her. Brinley also wanted an American girl doll. Hailey was funny with Santa. She did great sitting on his lap. She got a little nervous when I walked away, but she ended up giving Santa a kiss on the cheek! We were all a little emotional when it was Grandma's turn to sit on Santa's lap. He asked her what she was asking for and she said she wished Grandpa was here. With a tear in his eye Santa told my mom that with the knowledge we have of the gospel, we will be with Grandpa again. When Santa left, Kristi started off a special night honoring my Dad. She brought out a special white stocking and had each of us write a special letter saying what we could do to show our love for our Savior and for Our Dad this up coming year. We each wrote something and then put our letter in the stocking. Next year we will pull out the letter and see how we did. My mom had a special poem she read to us about Dad's first christmas in Heaven. Their was not a dry eye in the room. She also had a special ornament made with a picture of Grandpa and the kids names engraved on them. It was Awesome. When she was done I had painted a board for each of my family members with my favorite quote on it. "When someone you love becomes a memory . . . that memory becomes a treasure." After I did that my brother Dave said he had a special christmas tree ornament for each of the grandchildren to remind them of grandpa. The kids loved them. It was an amazing night and the Spirit was really strong. I know that my dad was close by. Our lives will be blessed forever by the example of My Dad. He was the best. Life is never going to be the same without him but I am grateful for such a wonderful family and Mother. I know we will be ok.
After the spiritual program the fun began. All of the kids exchanged gifts and had a fun night. When we got home the kids got out the milk, cookies, and carrots for Santa and the reindeer and we all went to bed!
Christmas morning was full of anticipation. The girls were excited to run downstairs and see what santa left for them. Hailey went straight for her stocking and the treats she found inside. Sadie and Brinley were so excited to find that Santa had left them a American Girl Doll. It was a exciting morning for all. Even Eric got into the excitement when he opened luggage for our upcoming Cruise. It was a great day spent with family.
I'm not sure what this new year will bring for us, but I know that though our faith in our Savior we will all be ok and we will be comforted.
Well, it's been a tough couple of weeks. On Thursday Dec 4th we got a call that Heather's Dad was in an accident where he fell while on a ladder helping at my brother-in-law's house. Mert was air lifted to the Hospital where they took great care of him. But his injuries were so severe, that the doctors told us he would not survive the accident. With his sweet wife, and all of his children and spouses around him, Mert passed away late Thursday. It was so un-expected and sudden. He was so young and had so much to look forward to. He was such a great example to us all. We had a wonderful funeral where we could remember what a wonderful Husband, Father, Grandpa, and Friend Mert was to all of us. He will be greatly missed. Here are some of our favorite pictures with Grandpa. We really appreciate everyone's love and support for our family through this difficult time. We feel so blessed to have the knowledge of the gospel, it brings us great comfort and peace through this hard time.