Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Favs...

I wasn't sure I'd make it to think through my favorite things of this past year. I usually think through my favorite movie, song...but I am not sure I really have one for those categories...I think my favorite overall 'thing' that happened this year is actually 2 things: the Pew Reunion and the Louw Reunion. Both were different but similar in that familial bonds were strengthened. The Pew Reunion was a large group of 51 people. My kids loved seeing their cousins from different parts of the country come to Utah. They love them and miss them. It was fun to see them enjoying each others' company. They are lucky because they still have their cousins that live here. The Louw reunion stood out just because I am not sure my dad (who is struggling with Alzheimer's)will make it on another outing like that. He stays close to home these days. New settings unnerve or exacerbate his condition. Family is such a blessing especially to me where I feel loved and supported from both sides. Sure we are NOT perfect but as far as getting along and helping one another I find that I am the luckiest person to have these families behind me (and my kids)!

Another favorite thing that I got a lot of fulfillment from this year has been seeing my children develop their talents and skills. My heart almost bursts when I hear them play a song (I actually recognize) or sing in their choir or perform in a play or work hard on the soccer field...all the practices and running around... all worth it!

Learning to be more grateful has been a real favorite blessing from this year. Although we just started this this past November we have a gratitude journal for our family. It has shifted my focus even more to the many blessings I have been given. I notice that most days the list we put down RARELY is something monetary--mostly things that involve spending time with each other, extended family or friends. Of course we are still grateful for a flushing toilet and amazing inventions like that but it has been great to remember that "the things that matter most are NOT things!"

Another favorite has been getting up early before my family and studying the scriptures and words of the living prophets. My VTs shared last year with me the 10-10-10: 10 minutes Book of Mormon, Ensign/Conference, Rs or Sunday School lesson. It has given me the structure to stay mostly on top of the readings for Sunday and has made a difference in my personal life. I am not super patient now or am I super organized because of it but I do feel closer to my Heavenly Father and Savior, this in turn has brought me great peace and comfort in my challenges and worries I face. I can not say enough about this and it's worth to me. Being able to trust in them and their promises--how can I not be happy knowing they are there for me? I am hoping by keeping this schedule some day I will be more organized but I have noticed that it has helped me make more of my day and be inspired to what I should do.

Other favorite things I have encountered this year: Biggest Loser Exercise DVDs, Vitamin D (helped with PMS), teenagers who are almost friends built in to the family, a certain preschool girl who makes everything new and exciting and fun, the three musketeers who challenge my parenting abilities more than I like but also love me despite it all, a husband who rocks my world, sweet potato chips, fries and just about anything else made out of them, beautiful nature--it's everywhere, friends who seem to know when I need them most, my kids' friends, music from MoTab to Tokyo Hotel--I know that seems weird...Tangled the new Disney movie--it was such a fresh, upbeat show...good people who inspire me with their stories of courage to overcome amazing challenges...Graham Canyon Ice Cream--so YUMMY! But it is only made by the BYU Creamery so we rarely get it and barely discovered it this past summer! Aloe infused socks...they are so FLUFFY! Pringles Honey Sticks another yummy find...facials and eye brow waxing...we read the whole Book of Mormon this year as a family--our Primary Presidency asked that every child read the Book of Mormon this year, then our Stake Presidency asked us to do it also--very inspired. We have read the Book of Mormon before as a family but it took us about 2-1/2 years! This was a great blessing and we finished it this morning!

I was going to post some of my photos this past year but it keeps timing out. Owell...I'd love to hear what some of your favorites were last year and maybe they'll make it on my favs post next year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

A very merry week...

I hope everyone had a great Christmas! If you care, here's what we did to enjoy the week of Christmas!

Monday the kids had no school so Timo and I headed up to the DMV to get his license. It was pretty fast. We had enough time to drive to the thrift store (DI) to get some white elephant gifts for parties coming up. Then Timo went to a group presentation meeting. He was bummed he couldn't drive on his own there yet since insurance coverage had not begun. It really started snowing after we got back so I am glad we left early for the DMV. I was able to run errands to drop off dry cleaning, scout stuff, grocery shopping after dropping him off. That night we went to our neighbor's the Evans who had invited anyone in the neighborhood to dress up and come to act out the Nativity together. So we borrowed my mom's Nativity clothes and went. We were one of the only ones dressed up so my kids were mad at me—too bad! Everyone else thought it was great. It was a great night and we were done by 7:30 PM! (see Izak, Zane and Gwen the wise guys!)

Tuesday we woke up to a huge snowstorm, we had more than a foot. Taran had been asked to come into work by 7 AM and luckily he made it safe. I ran to get milk in Tim's car and got stuck at our local Walmart not because of the snow although I did slide around here and there because the snow plows had not made it there yet. So hopefully the car will get fixed this week. Tim picked me up and after snow blowing everything, he went to work. I made sugar cookie dough that morning. I watched my neighbor's twins since she got called into work last minute (nurse) and her kids had a half day of school still (they go to a charter school). We got them all outfitted and they joined in the sledding fun all morning! After the twins left and Taran got back we were able to go to Tim's sister's Amy to make Christmas paint cookies. It's a Pew tradition that I love! You use food coloring and egg yolks with a little water and paint it on the raw cookies and then bake it. The kids had fun and got to play with cousins and I enjoyed visiting with Amy. Taran came and got us around 4PM. And we got ready for Timo's white elephant party with his friends that night. I think he had 17 friends, boys and girls. They brought treats to share, we provided some as well. They played games, did the white elephant then watched Trapped in Paradise on Clearplay. They had a lot of fun but it didn't get over until 11:30 PM!

Wednesday was Tim's last day at work for the year—YIPEE. He took the van since I didn't need one and we had Taran's if we needed one. Timo actually ended up driving himself to his study group and had a little mishap with the emergency brake. I went visiting teaching that morning to one lady. We had a nice visit. Then my sister Teresa picked me up at 12:30 PM. We went shopping all over...she had my name for Christmas and she goes big whatever she does! She also had gotten in touch with United Way to see if they needed anymore help with sub for Santa. They had 35 more families (over 2,000 families had been helped in Utah County alone) in need so she volunteered. It was fun to shop for the family, I ended up buying a couple of extra things for them. Anyway, we went all over then Tim picked me up at Target and we went to Costco for some things and ended up eating dinner there. Then we went to the lights at Thanksgiving Point. Teresa had gone out there to look in some shops there so we picked her up and she saw the lights with us.
That is always fun. Then Tim took the kids (minus Taran and Timo who had Iron Chef for YM) to his parents' to watch the Boise St. vs Utah bowl game. Teresa and I continued shopping but made our way to the sub for Santa family to drop of the stuff. They seemed very appreciative and it was nice to help. We stopped by my parents' for a little bit then on to the mall. I know some of you would faint to shop so long but I actually enjoyed it because no one was asking me if we were almost done, blah, blah... Of course I also enjoyed spending that time with my sister too! We got home late but it was fun. I actually had very little actual shopping to do mostly stocking things and some practical things that we needed. Taran had a Christmas party after the Iron Chef competition so he got home late!

Thursday I took the little boys around to deliver to friends who live outside our neighborhood some small Christmas treat. I also had stuff for my scouts as well and other random things like picking up dry cleaning and doing the Christmas Eve food shopping etc. I also went to Smiths because I thought I might have left my cell phone there but no luck! WHERE IS IT??? At 12:30 PM we left for the BYU Art Museum. They have a Carl Bloch exhibit, it's free but you have to get tickets because they only allow so many patrons at a time. Carl Bloch was a Danish artist who painted quite a lot of religious paintings many that our church uses that depict Christ. We spent about 45 minutes there and we saw some other exhibit as well. Yes we took everyone, I am really trying to give them some culture! Towards the end the younger boys were a little nuts but we let them run all the way to the BYU Bookstore. That was fun, I haven't been there in years! I got some things and then we left—the others looked for things for each other but didn't have much luck. So we headed to my mom's, she was hosting our annual Joseph Smith Birthday Party combined with my niece Holly's 3rd birthday. Since we were early I borrowed her car and took Taran shopping for Micah and Tim took our can with Micah who was buying for Timo and Izak who was buying for Taran—you can see why Tim couldn't just take them all. We also got some balloons and stuff that my mom wasn't going to have time to get. So it worked out. We got back in time for the party. It was great, Holly was so cute about her presents she liked them, we had our white elephant gift exchange and the fake log with glowing eyes was the big hit and then we shared our feelings/testimony about Joseph Smith. If you are not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (some have nicknamed us Mormons) you may not understand how Joseph Smith revealed many important truths about Jesus Christ. Many think we worship him but that is so untrue but more revere because we have greater knowledge of the divinity of Jesus Christ and his mission. It is so real, and you can know for yourself which is the beauty of it by praying and asking God. He will answer all sincere prayers. So it was a really great evening and we left a little later than we should have but family is always a blessing.

Friday I found myself at Walmart—again! HOW? Oh, forgot about this and Tim can't find that in the store so I better I went and got the last of what I needed! Then he went and got stuff for me. We did laundry and Saturday chores. I helped clean up the playroom and got 2 bags of toys to donate, one for the nursery at church and the other for charity. That was a relief! I really wanted my room cleaned up for Christmas so I worked on that, it was such an organization nightmare with all the Christmas stuff piled up and lack of time to get laundry sorted and given out—our little kids put their laundry away I just wash it. So all the baskets were full in my room! Taran went sledding with his friends up the canyon. He had a lot of fun. The kids played football in the backyard since most of the snow had melted and it was a pleasant day! That evening my parents and sister Teresa came over for dinner and a little Christmas experience...not sure what to call it! Tim and I set up candles coming down to the family room and in the family room and we turned off the lights.
Then everyone came down and we sat on blankets on the floor eating simple cheeses, summer sausage, Prosciutto, crackers, artisan bread, blanched almonds, cashews, craisins, dried mangoes, red grapes, Clementines, cheese ball, wheat thin sticks, onion dip, grape juice and Martinelli's Sparkling Cider. After our yummy feast the kids each shared a song or two most chose Christmas songs—Taran made up an arrangement of Jingle Bells on his bass guitar. After that we watched a couple of Christmas Nativity things—really short in length. Then we sang Christmas Carols and were done. My parents and Teresa left after we opened our annual pj present opening. We did some other things that were anonymous so I don't want to get into it anymore than that but it's been a nice tradition we've done the last 2 years! All the little kids and Emily slept in the little boys' room. Emily read to them. I think it helped. Then it was work getting everything wrapped and set up. Thank goodness Taran and Timo helped us out! We got bed after 1 AM even with their help. We watched While You Were Sleeping while we worked.

Christmas morning the kids got up just before 8 AM, probably the latest ever! We stalled them so Taran and Timo could sleep longer. By 8:30 AM we had the video camera set up and ready to roll! Everyone enjoyed their presents. It's the up side of not having a lot of money is that you are limited in choices you have. So we are careful and try to make them count. I also am against having so much they can't appreciate. That's why we have them only buy for one sibling, so they get one Santa gift, one sibling gift and 2 grandparent gifts. This year I made them photo books from our reunion to Yellowstone since we used some of our Christmas money to pay for it—hence no present from us except clothes (which most of them needed anyway). I am thinking they get a lot especially when you times it by 7! My sister surprised us with a fusball table on our porch!

Tim's parents came by that morning to have us open their presents. It was nice to spend that time with them. Then they went to Tim's sisters who live in Utah as well. Then we went to my parents' and had brunch, opened presents and visited. Some went outside and tried out their new football, then we went to a nearby school and the little kids played on the playground and the older kids shot hoops or played football. The kids also watched Despicable Me which our kids gave Tim. We'll have to watch it some day! We went home just before 7 PM so Tim and I could hang a Welcome Home sign on our neighbor's house—they were bringing their daughter home from England and had spent the week there and came home Christmas. The mother had asked me to do it and I was glad to. Then we went back to at 10 PM with an assortment of awesome neighbors who came to sing Silent Night to them. It was really sweet and Lizzie hugged us all after, she is just a doll. It was truly a great way to end the evening! Although I did move laundry and finish up my lesson for Sunday—somewhat anti-climatic!

Today was church and very inspiring talks and music in Sacrament Meeting. I taught my class but it was just a review of the whole year of the Old Testament. We played a game to review but my whole point was to testify and remind them the purpose of the Old Testament was to prepare the people for the coming of Jesus Christ. RS was good especially since the lesson was based on President Uchtdorf's talk The Things That Matter Most (?) now I can't remember! Anyway, with a new year ahead it's a good time to think through am I rejoicing in my life or do I need a change of focus? He gives 4 relationships that will help us have joy and fulfillment: God, family, mankind and ourselves. Love it! Read it!
After lunch I read to Gwen until I couldn't stay awake anymore then I had a slight nap. I got to visit on the phone with my friend Melissa who is down from Boise we are trying to hook up this week! Tim, Timo and Taran all had hometeaching this week. We had our devotional and dinner. We wrote down our gift for Jesus during our devotional. After things were settled down after baths, Tim and I went to his parents to pick up a roast that I am suppose to cook for our family dinner at their house tomorrow night. We had a nice visit. The kids played games and watched Veggie Tales and were in bed when we returned. I love that they have time to do that since they don't have school this week!

Have a great week! Enjoy your last week of 2010! Remember all you've learned and all your blessings and may your new year be even better!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A week of great Christmas festivities!

I am short on time so this may be a shorter post! Of course I tried to sneak preparations for Christmas Day in as much as I could. Still not quite done. Tim and I helped out with many school projects instead of wrapping presents! Owell...But I did watch Zoe so Stephanie could go to the temple this week, then another day I had Zoe and Sophie over for playgroup and we made Christmas sugar cookies and frosted them. I forgot to include those photos in the collage. We got teacher gifts ready and some friend gifts ready for those who aren't the neighborhood. Thursday night Timo and Taran had their choir concert. It was great despite their grumblings that it wasn't going to be very good! Granny and Grandpa were able to come. I helped with Micah's class party, Gwen came with since I had no where to take her. It was fun. Friday we left for Salt Lake around 4 PM. We stayed in a hotel a few blocks from Temple Square that had an indoor pool and full breakfast included. Teresa and my parents came as well. Of course there was some fiasco before but all in all we made it and you will understand when I write: teenagers. We ate dinner at the Wendy's next to the hotel so we could get to Temple Square fast. As it turned out the traffic was horrendous so Teresa came up to drive while my mom, Emily, Tim and I jumped out. We headed over to the Mormon Tabernacle choir concert with guest artists David Archuleta and Michael York. After parking Teresa was awesome and took the kids around to see the lights on Temple Square and the Visitor's Center. Then they went back to the hotel where my dad was hanging out--it was good he didn't come since it was so crowded. The rest of us barely made it inside the Conference Center before 7 PM--if you haven't scanned your ticket before then you lose your seats. The standby line was amazingly long. When we got in people had sat in our section, it was full so we had to sit in another section and the only sections left were the far sides, next to the wall. Despite the terrible seating--we couldn't hear the choir very well and we couldn't even see the men in choir since we were on the far right side--it was amazing. I am not really a fan of David Archuleta, I don't hate him or anything, but he was amazing. He seems very humble and down to earth. Michael York told an awesome story about how the choir was started with a Welsh immigrant. He also read the Luke 2 account of Christ's birth. We thoroughly enjoyed it, I feel bad for anyone who may not have heard the choir from another spot because it is so amazing! I just love going to the Christmas concert. We walked through the lights and visitor's center on Temple Square on our way home. We just walked home since the weather was fine and the hotel was close enough 5 blocks or so. We took the kids swimming when we got back. In the morning we took them again before we left. Timo had a study group and Taran had to work. He only had enough time to take out the garbages at the school that were the worse. Emily and Gwen made graham cracker houses, Emily made Mordor and Gwen made a zookeeper's house. They decorated them at my cousin Hiedi's where all her sisters congregated as well, my brother Charl and his family and Keith and Amber showed up later. It was fun. On our way out Emily tripped and dropped Gwen's and then I picked up hers to bring and the tower came off. So there were tears. Meanwhile the Tim and the 3 boys went to his parents' to watch the BYU vs UTEP football game in the Nevada Bowl which BYU dominated. Nice to end the season that way. We got the kids fed and ready for bed and then we left Izak in charge of the younger guys--they watched Home Alone. Our new neighbors across the street invited us to go caroling with them so Emily and Taran came--Timo declined and stayed at a friend's. We had a lot of fun and they had a lot of yummy food! Tim and I left so Izak didn't need to be in charge so long. I ran to Smith's for milk and some Christmas shopping. A little closer to being done! We got to bed late, putting away laundry...Today was the Christmas program. It was amazing! The spirit was strong. I taught my class, which I was glad to do since it was about how the prophets had prophesied about Christ's coming from Adam to John the Baptist. I have enjoyed teaching the Old Testament most of this year. It has strengthened my testimony. I hope these young people have learned and gained a testimony of Christ in the Old Testament. Tim and Timo went hometeaching and our hometeachers came. We are all so tired that we napped after they left. Izak actually fell asleep during their visit! I can't believe we have less than a week. My kids are excited! I have some ideas of fun things to do this week. We may get to them or not! It has to be non-stressful, holidays need to be about creating good memories and not forcing it. May you anticipate Christmas with joy and love in your heart! Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Freedom Friday

Great Moments In Unintended Consequences Here is a short video that is pretty clear on why the government should stick to their role and stay out of micromanaging things. I found the comments about the video interesting as well. I know we are all busy but we need to stay vigilant about not letting them become 'Big Brother'. Here's an interesting chart that should wake people up check it out: scariest chart So now go and enjoy your holidays! Seriously, we can change this by not being complacent and letting our leaders know how we feel! Enjoy the holidays and don't forget to remember your country needs a Christmas present of citizens who are 'presently' looking out for it!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Just thinking...

I am very grateful today for my healthy children. Last Friday Timo's friend passed out after running the mile in PE. Timo was there to witness it. They ended up life flighting him to Primary Children's because the local hospital didn't know what to do. It turns out this 16 year old boy had a stroke! They put him into a drug induced coma to operate and remove a blood clot. So far they feel it was successful they are planning on taking him out of it this weekend. I can't stop thinking about him and his family. I know what they want for Christmas! I can't think of anything I want that is more important than what I have already! I am so grateful. I pray this young man will make a full recovery but I know that sometimes God has other plans, that with my finite thinking can't comprehend. I can only trust that his will is what is best for each us. And that he will guide us during our most difficult times. So hug your kid before he goes to school, you never know if he'll come back the same!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Dance and stuff...

Less than 2 weeks until week of school left for the year 2010! It really is amazing how fast this year has gone! This week was mostly about the Christmas dance Friday. Although it was a casual dance, Taran had put together the group that went together so he was sort of planning it with my help. Being the over responsible person I am and knowing this was Timo and his date's first date I wanted it to be a fun experience I stepped in did more than maybe I should have. So between doing some Christmas present things I was doing stuff for that. They had to have an ugly sweater to wear—the winners won free prom and preference tickets.

So Monday I did my usual helping in Zane and Micah's classes. Tim had stayed home because he wasn't feeling totally regular, if you get my inference there! I ran to the store and got some liquids for him after helping at the school. I had scouts in the afternoon. For family night we drove around and looked at the Christmas lights on the homes in nearby neighborhoods. We found one that rivals the Griswalds in Christmas Vacation—they have Santa on the roof AND a neon Elf or Santa (I couldn't tell) dropping presents from a rocket ship hanging from a wire strung from the lamppost to the house besides a gazillion neon holiday things in the yard and Christmas lights on the house. This was a large, new, fancy house which proves tackiness is prevalent in all social classes. Taran had Madrigal again that night and my parents attended and thoroughly enjoyed it!

Tuesday I went to the temple. That was a really nice experience. I love going during Christmas, it helps me have the true feeling of closeness to our Savior. My friend Stephanie, who had Gwen, took her to a park and stuff so I had some extra time. I was going to go shopping but then thought I can take Gwen shopping but I hate ignoring her when I am on a project. So I finished up a Christmas project I was working on, that was a RELIEF! I felt light and so happy! That night Timo had basketball practice and Emily and Tim went to the last night of Madrigals. They enjoyed it. I had to take Timo with all the kids and then he got a ride home. Tim played basketball with the men that night.

Wednesday I drove the little girls to preschool and then helped my friend Linda who is getting ready to pick up her daughter on her mission in England. She has been battling breast cancer the last four months and now she's battling getting her body back to normal. To top it off she has diabetes and epilepsy! Because of the chemo she has become dehydrated and triggered her body to seize! Anyway, we are all praying she has the health to travel this coming week. I finished helping her in time to get Gwen and Zoe. Usually we have playgroup but I had 2 conflicts so I am doing it next week. Taran watched Gwen while I went to Micah's class to read 3 short Christmas books. I was the mystery reader, it was fun! Then Emily's CTE class invited preschoolers to class that day so they could play games with them etc. Gwen had a lot of fun. I was late picking her up so she road the bus with Emily—I am just lucky the bus driver loves in our neighborhood because I don't think they normally let them. That evening I had 2 meetings, Emily and Timo had a concert at the junior to go to. So I took them and their friends and picked them up and missed one meeting. After my other meeting I went to the store since I hadn't been able to go Tuesday! Timo had his second basketball game at 9 PM.

Thursday I spent time on the phone getting Gwen's preschool for next year figured out. I am relieved I did and I am really excited about it too. My visiting teachers came over and we had a nice visit. After lunch Gwen and I went on the quest for some ugly sweaters! We finally found some at Savers. Then we bought some things for the dance, royal icing mix, paper plates, candy and soda. The boys and their dates were making graham cracker houses. I got home in time to make soup. One of my visiting teachers gave us a French bread shaped like a candy cane and it was red and green and it was yummy and went well with soup. I also had to make no bake cookies for pack meeting that night as well. Micah got his Wolf rank, or I may have bailed on it! He was so excited that I couldn't change it! After that I got the kids in bed, Tim had EQ meeting. I helped Izak get a white elephant gift ready for school and then I went to some stores partly for Christmas and partly for the dance. I was tired that night and got into bed a little early. Then Taran came in and wanted to talk. He has some girl issues. Too many like him and he wants to be good friends with everyone but he kind of likes one of the girls but he doesn't want to ruin everything...anyway, Tim joined in later and we ended up talking until almost one AM! But hey don't you want your kids to feel like they can talk to you, ANYTIME? I am glad they do even if it means sleep deprivation. Then Gwen comes in at 4:30 AM with a bad dream and her foot hurting. So after I get her to bed I just stay up because I had to make a breakfast casserole for a special brunch the PTA made for the teachers at the school. I noticed when I got up that I had a burning when I went to the bathroom. Yes, I had a bladder/kidney infection. Luckily my doctor was willing to call in a prescription so I didn't need to go in. I had had a small UTI earlier in the week and had it going away but I guess no sleep pushed me over the edge! I didn't feel too bad, thankfully and I was able to get the stuff ready for the dance stuff going on at our house that evening. I spent a bit of the afternoon helping Taran's friends (girls and boys) get their sweaters embellished tackily for the dance! It was fun but pushed the preparations back so when couples started showing up it wasn't ready and Taran had forgotten to tell the kids when to bring—a glue gun and candy. Luckily between all the moms of the boys attending, my mom and neighbors we got it covered. My mom picked up the little kids and Emily (who she picked up earlier in the day from school because she wasn't feeling well and I didn't have time to go get her) and fed them at her house. Most of the moms of the boys from our neighborhood doing the date helped with cooking Papa Murphy's gourmet and regular pizzas, grapes and dessert. My visiting teacher whose daughter was going with Timo actually got the pizza's for me because I was doing these sweaters instead. Tim had gone to Salt Lake City for work was battling traffic to get home and was a great help once he got here. They made graham cracker houses first, we had 2 long tables set up downstairs and chairs around them. We had the pizza upstairs with snacks and grapes and soda. My friend Alison took pictures of all the couples and their creations in front of the Christmas tree in our living room—I hope to get those soon and post them! Taran and some of guys had to sing at a ward party from their Chamber Choir. The teacher forgot to tell the person wanting the kids they wouldn't be able to do it because of the dance and a few other things going on at the high school that night so she begged them to go and 8 of them showed up—no sopranos so one alto switched. Taran said that it was not very good at all,and he was embarrassed because it was McKay and Sue Anne's (Tim's cousin and his wife) ward and he knows he'll see them again! The rest of them went to the first home basketball game after dinner. Then the dance was right after that. Instead of formal pictures it was a photo booth, so that was fun. While they were gone we cleaned up the graham cracker mess and got ready for them to return after the dance. Then we ran out to my mom's with pjs for the kids. She had offered to let them spend the night but I didn't know the kids were coming back to my house or I would have got their pjs ready. Emily ended up coming home with us since she felt like she was getting a UTI—weird huh? She drank tons and had cranberry juice and was fine in the morning. The kids are a lively bunch so I was glad the little kids were at my mom's. Alison had fixed Christmas cookies and ginger snaps and hot cider. We also put out the leftover pizza we had reheated and grapes for them to snack on. Overall I think it was a hit. Once all the girls were taken home we cleaned up, some of Taran's friends came back and helped out a little as well. I was mostly worried about Timo and his date since it was their first date but they were fine and Taran's friends are funny kids so they were entertained as well.

Saturday Taran had a singing gig that morning at 9 AM. He had Tim drive him since he was so tired. He got a ride back. Tim, Emily and I went to my mom's and helped her out. Emily helped with Christmas stuff inside and Tim and I raked leaves and bagged them with Izak's help and then we helped with lights in her yard. Then we came home and I put lights on my bushes and one tree—I am ready for snow because it helps it look so Christmasy! We have had lots of rain instead. I feel like we are having a northern California winter! Taran and his friend made t-shirts for their Dodgeball team. They did pretty good but missed the ward Christmas party. Our ward Christmas party was after lunch, it was service activity. We made blocks (over 500), put together, hygiene kits, newborn kits, school kits, and about 6 other different stations that I didn't get to helping. I was over the newborn kits, then I went and helped with the blocks after that. They had yummy sugar cookies and gingerbread men & women cookies, and Clementines for refreshments. It was fun and organized and a great experience! I know they spent A LOT of time on preparing for it and you could tell but it was the best activity in my experience! Taran had work and then 2 singing gigs. Timo had another friend's 16th birthday party, this was for a girl and it was a surprise. He had a blast.

Today was church and I didn't sub or teach my class but got to sit with Tim in Sunday School. Sacrament Meeting was so great, the speakers were terrific. The lessons were equally as good. Tonight is our stake Choirside,which we are excited to go to. Tim calls it battle of the ward choirs! I love Christmas music and this will be a great event to attend.

We have Taran and Timo's choir concert this week, it should be excellent. Friday is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert with David Archuleta, we are very excited about that! Fun times still to come and a great Christmas season to be had! Hopefully you are feeling the love! If not read last week's post at the end. It may help you as it has so many of us, including me!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Deck the Halls and all that ...

Wow! Where did this year go? Is it because I have a child graduating from high school life is speeding up?

Monday Tim and Timo stayed home. Tim actually went to the doctor and found out he had a sinus infection. Taran got all his BYU application stuff done--that he could do. I had scouts that afternoon. We finished decorating our tree downstairs for Family Night. Taran also read us the book I Believe in Santa Claus which shows the religious correlation between our Christmas traditions and Christ.

Tuesday I watched my friend Stephanie's daughter (Gwen's friend) Zoe while she went to the temple. Timo was still home and Emily hurt her finger at school so I called the doctors and got an appointment for that afternoon. Timo has a virus--what I guessed but he hurt when he coughed so I had to make sure. Emily didn't break her finger the doctor buddy taped it and it's doing better. Tim dropped off Taran's transcript to BYU at lunch. Taran had madrigal feast preparations, work and interviews with the bishop and stake president for BYU. He ended up going to work last because of a weird thing happened to his car door. So I went with him that night to work to help him get done sooner. The first room I went in to get the garbage the ceiling had caved in and was dripping water all over. We got the stuff cleared away from danger and Taran got a hold of the principal. We are sure that was no coincidence! Tim played basketball that night at the church.

Wednesday Tim took me early to my mom's so I could take her to have cataract surgery on her other eye. We had to be there at 6:30 AM! So I took my Christmas cards and got a lot of them done while I waited and later at her house. I stayed all day until Tim was done working then he came and got me. She seemed to do even better this time and last time was just fine. I enjoyed visiting with my dad too. When I got home I got the little boys ready for the Madrigal Feast. Teresa picked us up and we went over to the high school. This is an amazing event the Chamber and A Capella choirs do every Christmas. They serve delicious dinner and sing Christmas songs and do a little skit that is usually funny. The little boys enjoyed throwing pennies at the beggars. Taran was part of the royal court. I really thought they did a great job. Meanwhile Tim just had Gwen to put to bed and Timo home. Emily had young women and they went caroling to the neighbors for Pennies for Peace. Emily's idea, I must brag! She did it last year with her friends and suggested it to their Beehive leaders and presidency. They collected $85 dollars in an hour! Not bad!

Thursday Timo felt better and went back. Emily stayed home sick--not too sick just tummy trouble in the night. I ran errands including getting money turned into a cashier's check. That afternoon I helped with dinner prep for madrigal. I actually enjoyed it. The kids and other adults were great to work with. Tim came at 6 PM to do the actual dinner. He stayed until 9 PM since he was the only man. It was suppose to be until 8 PM but hardly anyone showed up at 8 PM to relieve them. Timo got to go to Madrigal with the priests for Young Men, they enjoyed it!

Friday Gwen and I ran errands. I am looking for a white nativity--no gold on it. I think I may have to make one. Timo had another birthday party that night. They went to a tumbling place in Provo. This was for a girl. He had fun and on his way home he asked a girl to the Christmas dance--brave boy! He will be in Taran's group since most of his friends are old enough yet. Taran had to sing at a Costco work party after madrigal! They earn money at these gigs--whatever people want to donate. Tim and I decided to go see Tangled in 3D that night since we didn't have anything! I already saw it but I knew he really wanted to see it since he already saw HP. It was amazing in #D and I think he really liked it as well. Unfortunately we had to go to the late show since the earlier one was sold out.

Saturday was chores and then Tim helped me with scouts, we did a compass course. He is awesome to help me out! I got called to substitute so I worked on that a little. I made homemade soup, apple sauce and bread for dinner! My friend gave me this easy recipe for applesauce. You peel and cut apples--I use my apple corer from Pampered Chef then I peel. Put the apples in a pot with water barely covering it. Boil until soft. Then drain half of water off. Then add Red Hot Candies as you mash it. Done! Add some whipping cream for a dessert feel--yummy! After dinner I took Emily and the younger kids to a live Nativity in Alpine. It was a great experience. They had a 'Bethlehem' set up with a market and animals--the kids fed the camels and then a live baby with 'Mary' and 'Joseph' Tim was really tired so he stayed home. Taran had another night of madrigal. Timo was helping Teresa at her school. Tim finished the 2nd Hunger games book and has been telling me about them--I am afraid the violence might be too much for me.

Today was Fast Sunday and testimony meeting. Timo got to bless the sacrament and Tim and Taran were up there with him--a ward tradition. That was pretty cool and the testimonies were great, mostly deacons who have been reading the Book of Mormon for a special 80 day challenge. AWESOME! Subbing was fine. Sharing time was great with stories of prophets foretelling the birthday of Jesus and singing Primary Christmas songs! Great spirit in those songs!

My friend posted this on facebook from her friend and I want to share this thought:

"I love long lines at Christmas!! This time of year reminds me that most
everyone waiting in line is not thinking of themselves, or buying for
themselves...this special time of year where all of those long lines
mean that everyone ahead of me line is thinking of others and trying
to make someone else happy on Christmas morning. I always look for the very longest line (drives my husband crazy) and happily stand in that line during the Christmas holidays!! As I wait, I count my blessings, I think about all the people ahead of me and how they are thinking of others, and how blessed we are to have this special time of remember others who have blessed our lives and to take this opportunity to thank them. I think the Savior must think of Christmas lines in that same way. The longer the line the more others are thinking of others and giving of themselves." Debbie Blair

So instead of complaining or being annoyed, take the high road!:) Merry Christmas and make it meaningful!