Sunday, December 23, 2007
On December 13, Steph had a birthday. I invited Drew, Steph, Kimmi and Alli over for dinner that night. When they got here, I think she was a little surprised that Kelly and Josh weren't here. We opened a few presents...Drew and the girls had brought theirs over. We gave her a yummy smelling candle and the movie "The Holiday" which I knew she loved.
Then the girls and I went into the kitchen....and Drew and Steph were still in the living room....we called them in and began singing Happy Birthday to her. I put some candles in a cheesecake....I didn't have 31 candles, so put in a row of 3 and then 1 candle. Alli said in her adorable voice..."Mommy's not four!" (only it sounded more like "Mommy's not foh!")
Steph blew out the candles and then I told her, as I started lighting two tapered candles and putting out the crystal and plates, etc. for only two....that there was a little twist to the night.
I had cooked dinner for the two of them and it was all ready. I was going to take the girls to McDonalds, go pick up Josh at the concert, and then we would take them home and put them to bed. She was to enjoy her quiet candlelight dinner with her husband, and then watch the movie together. In a quiet house. She didn't have to be Mommy....just Steph and enjoy the evening with Drew.
It was really fun for me, too. The girls and I did a little Christmas surprise for some friends, we went to McDonalds, picked up Josh, and went to their house. Josh helped Kimmi with her spelling words and listened as she read a book. They tore off a paper ring off their countdown to Christmas chains. We listened to their sweet prayers.
Then....Josh and I got to sit and watch a little TV together. Then Kelly came and got Josh so he could get to bed....and I got to sit in the dark, quiet family room and watch some funny shows they had recorded. So....it was a great night for me, too. And Steph seemed very grateful. I love that girl. (Even tho' she's getting old)
More updates tomorrow.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
If you haven't read the post before this.....called "Deck the Halls"...you might want to read that first....then this will make more sense. (but since when did making sense matter?)
Awwwww......Christmas cozy. Did I tell you I absolutely love decorating for Christmas?? Every minute of it. (tee-hee) I do.....really I do!
Tonight the Young Women came over to my house. There were five young women along with Tresa, Rachel and me. They made ornaments for our primary children. (at church - the 3 to 12 year olds) Glitter paint on beautiful red satin-looking balls .....each one is so unique. They all have the year and CTR written on them. So creative...some squiggles, some dots, some stars...all kinds of things. We didn't know how to let them dry, so I strung some yarn across my dining room posts and I actually think they look terrific up there. Everyone had a great time. We also made candy cane reindeer. Hung up to dry.
(I've seen deer hanging to dry before.....outside.....after hunting week....yuck.....but these are much cuter.)
I can't seem to take a nice picture of the tree. It looks SO much prettier than this in person. (or would that be "in tree"?) The lights don't even show up in this. But it is beautiful. Just take my word for it.
Come on in. Hot chocolate for all.
Don't you just love it when all the Christmas decorations have been unpacked...and then....you see the job in front of you...and you decide that maybe this year....one candy cane might just be enough. That never happens to anyone else???
But then....Josh says he loves it all and wants it all out...and my heart melts and memories pour into my mind and it doesn't seem like such a big job.
This is the BEFORE.
Santa's workshop in a hurricane.
Who invented these stupid lights anyway???? I know it's some big money conspiracy. We keep buying the same things over and over again...because one little guy on the whole strand decides to stop working and all his buddies decide "Hey...if he's not going to shine....then I'm not either!" Like they are part of some big light union or something.
And....sometimes it is a bit of a gang war.....on the same string.....with half deciding to glow as bright as ever and the other half pretending to play dead.
Yep....there have been some secret meetings, I'm sure of it.
Did we put out all this last year???? Are you sure??? And where, oh where are the cords for the village?
"I can do this. Merry, Merry. And BEFORE the party tonight. Yep....I. can. do. this. Josh???? Where'd you go?"
I feel peaceful tonight. (and because of dubby.....I am going to take a bubble bath with some new smell-goods...and drink some IBC root beer. Not shabby. Not shabby at all. Thanks.)
Monday, December 10, 2007
Wow....it's Monday night already. Wasn't it just Friday? It seemed like this weekend was only a few hours long. Can we have another one tomorrow, please?
Friday night was Kelly's work party at his boss' house in Fishersville. I really wasn't excited to go because I have been to a ton of these before, and I would have loved to just have an evening with my husband...doing something just the two of us. And I didn't know ANYONE except for his boss, Scott, whom I've met a couple of times. But I went with a good attitude. I made it a point to talk with everyone there. I think there were about 20-25 people there. I really enjoyed myself. Made some new friends. We got there about 6:45 and didn't leave until 11:30 or so. Kelly was the "pool-king". He just couldn't be beat. Well, except for the last game. I know he had a great time, too. There was a hot and heavy poker game going on and lots of liquor being consumed, but no one got stupid, and everyone was really a pleasure to be with. Kelly works with some great people and they all seem to think very well of him. (One of the agents...a woman in her late 30's....referred to him as "the old veteran" when she talked about him. Cracked me up.) But I was proud to be with him and we enjoyed ourselves.
Josh had Zach spend the night and they were up until about 6am playing with Zach's new X-Box. They got up about 11:30 and helped us decorate. They got up on the roof and strung some lights. BIG production. I was a little worried one of them would fall off. They get very goofy around each other. Sloopy watched them every second....I think he thought he was the head honcho.
But...we finally finished...inside and out ...and cleaned up everything. All that had to be done was vacuuming and then putting the ornaments on the tree. We went to our Christmas party at church. Quite a few people came. When we pulled up to the house...Kelly said he wanted to go on a date. He wasn't ready to go home yet. He said, "How about Barnes and Noble?" (ears perk up) Me: "Barnes and Noble? Let me think about that.....YES!" Josh thought he wanted to go too, but then decided he was just too tired. So....Kelly and I went and spent two hours browsing and sitting together in those "magic chairs" they have there and consumed some good books.....nibbled on some others. Left without spending a dime...but it was a fun date together.
Sunday morning we went to church. I went a little early to practice the song the women's choir (seven of us) sang in sacrament meeting. We sang "O Little Town of Bethlehem". I really enjoyed our Sunday School lesson on the Book of Revelation. Bonnie does a super job...and I always go home with something I've learned and something to think about. Kelly cooked up some bratwurst when we got home. They were great. We all had kind of a lazy afternoon. I think Josh slept for 3 hours, at least. I got calls from Jessie, Michelle and Megan....and then Sunday evening, I just heated up some of my homemade chicken soup that I had in the freezer. A little later....the Christmas lights were glowing, James Taylor was singing "Baby It's Cold Outside" to me, and the kitchen was cleaned up and the dishwasher was running. I went and just sat in the living room and looked at the tree. My favorite spot for a few weeks every year. Josh came up with Sloopy and they just sat, too. The three of us...just looking at the tree. And then we talked. Peaceful.
About midnight last night, the house was so peaceful and quiet....and I didn't want to go to bed yet. I decided to go downstairs and watch TV. A rarity for me. But I took my crochet, the blankie my mom and dad gave me last year for Christmas, and some chocolate milk and went to just relax for awhile. I think I got through most of a Deal or No Deal (the hour long show that could be done in twenty minutes) and then fell dead asleep. Climbed into bed around 3am.
Today has been crazy busy. Ran around...got a few things done...and a little work at the office. I just finished writing out my list for this week. My "to-do" list. Not my "wouldn't it be nice to do" list. But the "I absolutely NEED to do each and every single thing on here" list.
Yikes. I need a wife.
But tonight...I think it's an herbal tea night....Sleepytime to be exact. And then my jammies, the dogs, my blankie, some crochet....and a little earlier relaxation time.
That list will just have to wait until 6am tomorrow. Tonight is taken.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Well, it is after midnight. I have had a good day. There was a two hour delay for school today. No seminary either....so a little more sleep this morning! I worked all day at the office after taking Josh to school and got a lot accomplished. I talked to each of my children today. Wow. I am absolutely crazy about my kids. They are terrific people. How cool that I get to be mom to my six best friends (besides their dad).
I chatted with Megan a little on the computer, but she was preoccupied with a big paper she wrote for one of her classes. She worked on it all day and thought she had lost it. Ahhh....computers...don't you love them? Anyway, she was freaked out and I thought she just didn't want to talk to me too badly. But, after she found her paper (whew!) and emailed it to her professor (yay!), she called me on the phone. We just hung up. We had a super conversation and I am sooo excited that I get to pick her up at the Dulles Airport in DC in 14 days and 8 hours. I have really missed her. We've all really missed her.
The Christmas decorations are almost finished around the house. Kelly and Josh will do the outside lights Saturday morning. The weather has not cooperated with us, and also we have been super busy. The inside of the house kind of looks like Santa threw up or something...but it's getting there. I LOVE getting out the Christmas treasures. Such fun....such memories. It feels like I'm arranging magic dust or something. I love it. I am going to squeeze a couple of hours tomorrow afternoon between going to the office and Kelly's work party to finish up. Maybe Saturday I can work on my cards and do a little sewing and baking. Then that night is our party at church. I seem to be able to put problems in their own little holding cell while I am doing Christmas things....I just enjoy. And so does Josh. It was fun watching him arrange the nativity. He wanted to get it just right. Kelly has been in a great holiday mood. We both love Christmas...it's fun to share all the preparations.
I listened to Trace Bundy's Christmas album about three times today. I need to get it on the blog somehow. Have no idea how to do that...but one of my children could tell me. Why do I need to know this technical stuff when I have built-in consultants who know WAY more than me?
Anyway......another purpose for my "happy dance" came this morning when I checked my gmail. There was a notice that I had a comment on my last post.....from Jason Wright! I couldn't believe it! I had gone to his website after I posted about his books...just to see what his upcoming events were. I saw he had a blog, and I went there. His post was about a negative letter he received. I thought it was awesome he shared it, and I commented on it and also mentioned I had just written about him and how he influenced me last week. I thanked him for coming. Well, I guess he clicked on my name...found my blog...and left his comment. Cool! This was really exciting for me.
Hope everyone is doing their own "happy dance"!!
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Click here to read about The Wednesday Letters
Click here to read about The Christmas Jars
It was just a week ago. One week ago tonight.
And my heart has expanded, my insides have been warmed, my resolve has been strengthened. And to think I almost didn't go.
There are those little stops in the road of life that we need to drink in. So many times, I think I have failed to stop...just whizzed on by. Or if I did stop...I didn't look around very well, didn't listen, smell, touch, feel.
But then....a moment comes and you realize that this just could be it. A step up. A beginning. A call to do better. Sometimes, we do take the time to notice. To stop and wipe our every day glasses through which we see the world.....and our vision improves.
Such a stop came to me last Wednesday. I came in rather late from the office, and just wanted to stay home. But something inside me propelled me on to go to our church and see Jason Wright, an author whose books are on the New York Times Bestsellers List.
Allison L., a good friend of mine, had seen him on the Glenn Beck Show...and after she contacted him, he said he'd love to come talk to whomever might like to hear him speak. It was a "fireside", something like a spiritual "chat", not a promotion of his books.
I wish my family would have been there with me. His story of the Christmas Jars reminded me of something we've done for years. It began long ago...when my oldest kids were young. I'm going to keep that private, though, because it's so fun to be secret....and we plan on doing it again this year. Much joy, laughter, and warm feelings have come to our family as we have shared this little tradition of ours.
Jason spoke mainly of The Christmas Jars story....how it came to be, and some ways it has affected other people as he receives letters from all over. I loved how he talked about his father, and the great man he was. His dad died while Jason was in high school. He was a "giver" and greatly influenced others, especially Jason.
Listening to him inspired me to look outward more and to realize how very blessed my family is. How very blessed I am. Just today, I met a woman named Wendy who is having a tough time. I took the time to listen. I jotted a few things down. I have a few ideas of how I can help her......a few things I am going to pass on to her. Just because I was listening. Fun!
The Christmas Jar story is a story of love, of giving, of receiving with grace. I want to read the book out loud with our family when Megan gets home. And begin our own Christmas Jar.
The Wednesday Letters is also a terrific book. A story of forgiveness and redemption....and just plain fun to read.
Afterward, I was able to talk with Jason for a few minutes. He encouraged me in my writing....but more than that, encouraged me as a human being, as a daughter of God.
I'm glad I stopped last Wednesday. I can see a bit better now.
p.s. A question for my "techie friends" out there....why can't I get a hyperlink to work on my blog? I see them on others. Thanks.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Remember in Finding Nemo, when Crush (whom I'd love to party with) says to Nemo's dad, Marlin.......
"Oh, I saw the whole thing, dude! First, you were like, whoa! And then we were like, WHOA! And then you were like, whoa. You've got serious thrill issues dude... awesome!...."
Well, I think THIS defines serious thrill issues. Either that.....or dementia.
Click here to see the Mountain Wingsuit Madness
(by the way, I apologize to anyone who saw the original video I posted...it had been forwarded to us and I guess had links to sites that were not something I'd view or have on my blog. I'm glad I found that out!)
And I think driving the beltway out of Washington DC around Friday night rush hour is the about the most dangerous thing I ever do.
(wait a minute .....that really IS dangerous. Have you done that? Gives me the heebie-jeebies every time)
Monday, December 3, 2007
Do you ever feel like this? Like you forgot (or chose to forgot) something you had to do that just wasn't that much fun....and then you have to stop and take care of it?
I came across this photo and it reminded me of my life this past month. All I want to do is have holiday fun and be with friends and family.......but I have to take care of things that should already be in order. So....some paperwork, some phone calls, some junk at the office.
I haven't kept up with this blog and I have tons to post. Hopefully I can catch up a little. I have so much to remember.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Well, today is almost over. And tomorrow is almost here. And that is a good thing. Tomorrow is going to be the beginning of a terrific Thanksgiving weekend.
Kelly, Josh and I are so excited for what is in store. My brother, Ken, his wife Michele, and their two boys, Ian and Nathan are coming from Ohio to spend some holiday time with us. They will probably be the first ones here.
Then....Jessie and Ammon and little Noah will be driving up from North Carolina. I can't wait! It seems like forever since I've seen Noah! He's doing so many new things! He is beginning to "talk" quite a bit and I plan on having a long talk with him. Fun.
Then....next comes Michelle and Andrew and little Toby driving the longest...from south of Atlanta. It looks like they should get here around 9 or 10. I can't wait to snuggle with Toby again! He's walking everywhere...so it will be fun to see what he will get into. I wonder how the dogs will be with him. He loves his two dogs at home.
Then....Laurie and Jeremy are driving in from Ohio. They won't get here until about 1 am. I am so excited they get to come! They are bringing some great games for us to play....like the Movie Scene-Its. One has the action/drama "guy" movies pitted against the "chick-flicks". Cool!
And Drew, Steph, Kimmi and Alli just live up the street, so they will be here whenever we gather. I am excited to see Kimmi and Alli with Noah and Toby. They will be able to play so much more together now that the boys are older.
And...I hear that maybe my sister Beth, her husband Mike and their son Michael are coming in from Cleveland, too! That will be fun to have so many here.
I will miss Mom and Dad, Steve and his family, and Aunt Chris so much, though. Mom is making Thanksgiving dinner for them at her house in Ohio. I love being with her on Thanksgiving and it is a real sacrifice for me not to be with my mom. I will miss a number of loved ones who have passed on. I think of them during this time even more than usual.
I will especially be missing my Megan. We just couldn't get her home from BYU with paying to get her home at Christmas. I talked with her tonight. She said it just dropped about 40 degrees there and could I please send her the scarf and gloves Jessie and Ammon got her for Christmas last year. She was at the library when I called her, checking out some good reads to enjoy over this break...some Pat Conroy, the Work and the Glory book she was reading when she went out, and the first book of Joseph and Emma. Fun! And she will be hanging out with one of her best friends, Steven. They will go over to his sister's house for the big dinner. But I know it will be a little lonely for her. She loves her brothers and sisters and their spouses so much. I know she will do OK, but I'll be thinking of her every minute.
Kelly talked with his dad tonight....they live in Vancouver, Washington. I know he misses his folks and his brothers so much. I do too. They are great people. It just doesn't seem right. Everyone is just too far apart. And we are a big part of that problem.
But...I am not going to complain. I am going to enjoy this time we will have together. I will laugh, talk, play, cook, clean up, play with the little ones, cook, clean up, play games, cook, laugh some more, and clean up. No...I'm actually kidding. I will have so much help in the kitchen I won't have to do much at all. Just enjoy everyone. And I can do that.
I still need to change sheets on two beds, clean the bathrooms up here, dust and vacuum a little. Then one more trip to the store, a last "clean-up" and get ready. Then.....the cooking begins! Although we will have 22 here, I think we will have enough food for 50. I'm making a ton, and everyone is bringing things. But...lots of people for the entire weekend...so I'm sure there won't be much that goes to waste. I think 4 or 5 other people are planning on dropping by at different times, as well.
I went over to Deb F.'s tonight. She is so sweet and is lending me some goodies to make this weekend go even smoother. I planned on borrowing a table, crockpot and tablecloths. I came home with all that and a high chair, 3 oblong serving dishes, 4 corelle platters, 4 nice pillows, and a set of sheets. And a hug and something to drink for the road. Good friends are good things.
I love Thanksgiving. Although I could use a good night's sleep first. I don't do so well at that. My body's telling me I'm getting older, and maybe I should start listening to it and give it a little more rest. Don't want it getting too cranky on me.
Friday, November 16, 2007
I MISS MEGAN!!!!
And all her craziness, goofiness, sweetness and goodness.
I am so glad she knows she can call her momma whenever she needs me. And...I'm so glad to be her momma. It's a nice gig. Think I'll keep it for....eternity.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Grandma with her two princesses.
On November 4th, we celebrated Kimmi's 7th birthday. Her birthday is November 10th, but their little family would be in Ohio on her birthday attending Drew's oldest buddy's wedding. So....we were invited to Kimmi's Princess Party a week early. We got her handmade invitation in the mail earlier that week. She worked so hard on it. Lots of stencils, pictures, writing. She even addressed the envelope. It took her a LONG time, I'm sure.
Steph and Drew invited our friends, the Goodman's to celebrate with us. We call them "our" friends.....Drew and Steph call them "their" friends. Hey....we can share. Joey Goodman was out of the country that weekend, but Tresa and their kids, Elizabeth and Ryan came. It was lots of fun having them there!
Kimmi and Alli LOVED the little tatoo kits Steph got them for a little pre-dinner activity. They went crazy on their own arms....especially Kimmi....and then decided Uncle Josh needed some too. So...some girlie tatoos for him (and I think he enjoyed all the attention)
For dinner, Steph had made up some great dough and had lots of different toppings for pizzas. We designed our own "personal"pizzas and they were delicious! I brought my oriental salad and Steph had a variety of things to drink. Of course...pink cups and plates. FUN...and YUMMY!
When Kimmi started opening presents, the first one she opened was a cute Princess blanket from the Goodman's. She loved it. It was wrapped in fun striped paper. Josh picked up the end and put it on his head and wore it the rest of the night. I think he looked like some kind of crazy chef.
Kimmi loved her fuzzy jammies....one of the presents Grandpa and I gave her. With new footie jammies...it will be easier to slide down their carpeted steps on her belly. They go SO fast!
Kimmi opened lots of fun presents and was so happy with each one of them. I love this picture of pure joy, though, when she opened her very own digital camera that her mom and dad got her. She was SO excited to be able to take her OWN pictures and see them in the screen right away.
Every year the girls get a "designer" cake made by their parents having to do with the theme of their party. Kimmi thought it was so terrific that there was actually a real Barbie in her "Cinderella" cake! Good job, Steph and Drew!
I LOVE this picture. I zoomed in and captured a moment that was very private. Just a dad, helping the "un-birthday" girl know how very special she is.
We got Kimmi a stationary set that turned out to be a real hit. They were writing letters left and right. Alli worked on this one all by herself at the table, and then sealed it up tight and gave to Kimmi. So sweet.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Thursday, November 8, 2007
The last weekend in October we decided to make a quick trip to Georgia to visit Michelle, Andrew and Toby. We missed Toby SOOO much and it had been the longest we'd gone without seeing him. I talk to Michelle at least once a day, and usually "talk" to Toby too....but even though I saw pictures and she told me all the new stuff he was doing I ached to just be with him. So I was excited Kelly got Friday off that weekend. We got to Atlanta just in time for Friday night rush hour (good planning) but we finally arrived at their house (they live just southwest of Atlanta). When we pulled into the drive, there was Michelle and Toby and the dogs...outside on the driveway. I couldn't believe my eyes. I said goodbye to Baby Toby in June, and here in October, was Little Boy Toby. We stopped at the top of the drive with our mouths open. Toby started almost "running" up the driveway hill to our car. Michelle scooped him up and we pulled in and got out of the car and he just wasn't real sure about this crazy lady and man and boy who were all googly-eyed to see him.
By the time we got inside and talked a minute, Toby was happy we were there and showed it.
He loved showing Josh his toys. "Uncle Josh" loved it.
Michelle and Andrew took us to a restaurant about 30 minutes away. It was a great place called Bugaboo Creek Steak House. It was kind of a fancy steak house with lots of personality. Terrific food. It had animals everywhere ...both real ones that were stuffed, and fake ones that looked real. And some of them would surprise you. Like....sometimes the moose would talk, or the squirrel would swing from the light, or the duck would follow you with his head. The chandeliers were all antlers or horns of different animals.
As interesting as it all was, the most interesting thing in there was Toby. He seemed to love sharing his dinnertime with Nana, Poppy and Josh. On the trip to the restaurant, I got to sit beside him in the car, and he and I had quite the "discussion". He'd pat my arm and say "Da...duh....da...da!!!"" In different tones and volumes. I would "answer" back. He would smile and we'd start again. Sometimes we were quite loud, but we had a lot of catching up to do.
In the restaurant he was so fun to watch. He sucked on a lemon, and offered some to Michelle. (above picture)
He got spaghetti for dinner...... and he can slurp those babies up like a pro. Made his Nana proud.
Oh....and I can't forget Michelle and Andrew's other "kids". Bailey and Hayes. They were pretty glad to see us, too, and came up to us often for snuggles and loves. I do love my "grand-dogs".