Tuesday, December 27, 2011


 I was so grateful for preschool this year, because it forced me to put up my tree and a few decorations early.

I alway feel a little disloyal putting up a fake tree.  It was nice to see my ornaments after taking a year off last year.  My cute tree topper wouldn't fit.  I love my tree skirt.
It was fun to put up a small tree in the preschool room and decorate with my gingerbread ABC ornament.

I bought this cute gingerbread nativity when we were in Idaho in October.  I got the candy trees on sale at Penney's last year, and the little trees are ornaments from Kohl's.  I love the story of "The Three Trees" so I try to put sets of three trees near each nativity. The snow globe was a gift years ago.  It was fun to have something new this year and it really brightened up the kitchen.

Ruthie surprised me with this beautiful bouquet.
She is the best BFF ever!
On Christmas Eve, there was a knock at the door, and three little boys in pj's greeted us with Merry
Christmas!  They were so excited!  I didn't take a picture, but this is one Melissa took before they came over.
Greg's family tradition is to spend Christmas Eve with his Dad's side of the family and Christmas day with his Mom.  We also celebrate on Christmas Day, so now we share them part of the day.  We got to watch them open their presents from Santa on Christmas morning, then later that evening we went back for dinner.
Craig's favorite gift - Barnes and Noble gift cards so he can order more e-books for his Nook. 
The boys decorated this cute ornament for us.
Even though we have become traveling grandparents, I think it will be awhile before we stop missing having our family together for the holidays.  We were able to skype and phone the other kids in Utah, Idaho and Louisiana.  Next year we will be in Idaho for Christmas and Paige's baptism.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Busy Season for the Tooth Fairy

Paige lost one of her front teeth the end of October and the other one  was really loose.
Then Luke lost one of his front teeth last week and the other one is really loose!  Paige gave him a pep talk about how it didn't hurt that much. 
Then Paige lost her other front tooth a few days ago!!!!  Apparently she had forgotten her words of wisdom to her cousin.  It had been dangling for days and Mark finally held her down so Rebecca could pull it out.  Rebecca is hoping she was not traumatized by the experience.  Luke's other tooth could come out any day now. . .  

So cute and so grown up!  It doesn't seem like all that long ago they were getting their very first teeth and they are already falling out!

Another soldier in the family. . .

Josh enlisted in the Army yesterday!   He reports to basic training in Fort Jackson, South Carolina on January 30th for 9 weeks, then he will train for a year in Monterey, California.  Here is his post from facebook:

 "Im going into the army doing cryptologic linguistics . So I'll learn arabic or chinese or some crazy language"

Josh has been looking into this for the past month.  He is excited to have found a career path and plans to do the "green to gold" program like Ben did.  (The Army pays for him to finish his degree and then he gives them another 4 years as an officer).  When we spoke to him yesterday, he sounds really happy.  He is so glad it all worked out so he can begin sooner than later.    Krista should be able to join him in Monterey after a month or two. Everything has fallen into place, so we all feel really good about his choice.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmastime is Here

I don't know if it's because we are empty nesters and will see only 1 of our 5 children (and 3 of our 9 grandchildren) for Christmas this year---or because we were packing and moving last year so we diidn't send cards or decorate at all. . . here are a few thoughts:

I have always loved Christmas.  For most of my life, we spent Christmas Eve with my Dad's side of the family.  We'd get dressed up in our new Christmas outfits and it was so much fun to spend time with our cousins.  Grandmommy and Grandaddy always made Christmas Eve so special for us.  We were really blessed to live so close to them so that we could celebrate together for so many years.  Once we started having families of our own, we still had a family party a week or so before Christmas.  The fun thing about that was that it stretched Christmas out a little longer.

My Mom's parents lived in Parowan, Utah, so every other year they would take turns spending Christmas with us in southern California or my cousins in North Ogden, Utah.  During the years they had Christmas with our cousins, Grama would send the most amazing packages, with the perfect presents.  And there were always other treats.  Her specialty was home made turtles and peanut butter cookies.  She would stack the cookies in a roll and then roll them up in wax paper and foil.  It's the best peanut butter cookie recipe on the planet.

Last year, we spent Christmas with Jamie in Louisiana while Ben was in Afghanistan.  And then we moved on January 14.  Needless to say, for the first time in many years we did not send out Christmas Cards.  We did nothing Christmassy except hang wreaths on the front doors and I changed my blog background.  I really missed decorating my house, making caramels, and putting up my Christmas Tree.
This year it has been fun to become reacquainted with my Christmas decorations.  It has been such a treat to open up the boxes of ornaments and my nativity collection.  I still have a little more to do, but I'm almost there.  The most important thing for me this year was to make sure I sent out cards early so that we wouldn't lose touch with people we love.

As I thought about the whole process of giving and receiving Christmas Cards, it made me so grateful for the custom.  As I addressed each card, I found myself going down memory lane, remembering why the addressee was so important to our family.  I thought of family members who I have known all my life or all of their lives.  I thought of people we have been in the trenches with as we raised our children and served together in church callings.  It makes my heart sing to think of all the wonderful people who have blessed my life and the life of my family. 

I like scrappy quilts.  I don't like matchy-matchy as much as I like a variety.  That's how my Christmas tree is.  I have all different kinds of ornaments.  It's not very fancy or decorative or color coordinated with a theme.  My Christmas tree has become a family history.  But really, so many of the traditions we have at Christmas are parts of our family history that was added over the years.  I thought of all the things I've learned over the years that help make Christmas special.  The fun Christmas Groups and Family Home Evening Groups.  I still use many of the stories with my preschoolers and cherish many of the ornaments and decorations we shared.  Little things like how to string popcorn and cranberries, how to make a bow, or homemade caramels.  The tradition of leaving out a shoe for the elf during the month of December to help the children behave.  The ornaments and other decorations I've made in classes or at church with dear friends. All the wonderful Relief Society committees over the years.  Music that has been shared.  Recipes.  Stories like "Cracked Wheat for Christmas" or movies like "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" or "A Muppet Family Christmas".  Napkins folded like elf shoes.Then there are the gifts of ornaments or nativities that have been given by students and friends.  The list goes on and on.

Tonight I just feel really grateful for all the people and experiences in my life that have made me the 55 year old woman I am today. As I unpacked every ornament and nativity I was filled with joy at the memories associated with each one.  As I addressed each Christmas card it felt so good to see those names of people who are so dear to me.  Maybe that's part of the Christmas spirit. It seems to be for me this year. I love Christmas!