Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas 2008


Last week seemed to blur by and I can't believe it's already Sunday. My husband came home from work early on Christmas Eve and we all sat around the kitchen table and peeled pears - and then we canned 19 jars of them. We would have gone for more, but ran out of jars and decided to dehydrate them instead (yum - like candy.)

We finished up as a couple of dear friends arrived to spend the evening with us.
Our candle light supper was pretty simple, yet special and enjoyable. We acted out the Nativity, watched Joy to the World, the kids opened their pj's, and then went to bed.
On Christmas morning our kids came into our room at 4:13 am. Holy cow! After some negotiations, around 7:45 our morning got started. I think one of the greatest things about Christmas this year was watching my kids give each other gifts.

One got her sister an alarm clock - I think that was one of the presents that she was most excited about. One got her sister a webkinz - one that she really wanted. They were both just so thrilled with what they'd given each other, we could have probably just stopped there. They were also excited about some hand made gifts they had made for family members. It was their first foray into machine sewing and embroidery and they did almost the entire thing by themselves.

The girls got some sleds that attach to their behinds - they call them 'big bottomers.' They spent a lot of their day outside sledding and playing in the snow. We had so much that my husband just shoveled it into piles along the driveway and the kids sledded down right there. We have a snow cave in the front yard now too.

My husband was able to take Christmas day off as well as Friday, so we've had him around for a while - and we've really enjoyed it! We've really enjoyed just hanging out together watching shows, sledding, playing games, and reading. Simple, nice, and quiet - what more could one ask for?
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas tradition - Jerusalem Supper

I'm excited that to celebrate Christmas Eve tonight! Our kids are getting older and it really makes the holidays so much fun. They were so excited to wake up this morning.

I hate that the focus of Christmas has moved from celebrating Christ - his birth, his life, his teachings, his love and his sacrifice, to commercialism and consumerism - I hate it.
Ever since I was very young my family began a tradition of having a Jerusalem supper on Christmas eve - this has become my favorite Christmas tradition. I love this tradition because it helps put the Christ back into Christmas for me.

For our supper we try to eat foods that Mary and Joseph may have eaten. Our menu tonight will include roasted chicken, grapes, dates, figs, pomegranates, pineapple, cheeses, and olives. We eat our supper by oil lamplight (but candles work too.) I love the simplicity of the dinner, and the reverent mood created by the lamps.

After dinner, we read and act out the nativity. We are excited to have two friends joining us tonight, and so we will have more people to play different parts, and then we watch the movie "The Lamb of God."

In a new twist this year, the girls have asked to go caroling prior to our supper.

I'm excited to spend this special evening with them and can't wait!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas can officially begin

As I was reading a journal entry from last year I came across something I'd recorded that my husband had mentioned. It was December and I had played "For Unto Us a Child Is Given" from Handel's Messiah in church that day. After I'd played it, he had sighed and told me that Christmas could now officially begin - apparently it never begins for him until I've performed this piece.

As such, I played it in church last Sunday, and again today at a friend's piano recital as she accompanied me.

We've mailed out our cards and packages, made treats to share with our friends, got some snow, and I think we are officially ready to sit back and enjoy the holidays. Wishing everyone a peaceful and joyful holiday season!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

We did it!!!

In September of 2007 our stake presidency asked us to begin reading the New Testament. Although our children are small, we decided to take up the challenge and give it a try. It took us until Easter to get through Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John - talk about timeliness!

Well, tonight, we finished the last two chapters of Revelations and we were all very excited to say - WE DID IT! We read the entire New Testament - WITH two young children - they helped read and they followed along.

Ironically, last Sunday a letter from our Stake Presidency was read, asking us to read Preach My Gospel, so we'll be starting right in on that. Nice timing!

It has been a special experience to spend time as a family each night reading together. We've been able to have some amazing gospel discussions, and we have grown to love and appreciate our Savior Jesus Christ as we've come to know Him together as a family.

What a blessing it has been. If you haven't read it for a while - I challenge you to start now - it will change your life.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Old Christmas tradition renewed

I remember being awestruck and mystified as a child when we would visit my grandparent's home. My grandparents had an old Swedish Christmas decoration that I could never get enough of. It consisted of some angels, candles, and some chimes. When the candles were lit, the angels would begin to twirl and thus the chimes would begin to ring. How did it work? I could never figure it out, but I loved it when grandma got the candles out and lit it up for us.

Several weeks ago I found this same decoration in a catalog and couldn't help myself. It came last night and we lit it up for FHE last night and we were all mesmerized. Yes, I know, elementary physics, but still so beautiful and fascinating.

Thanks grandma for the warm memories and for something I can pass down to my children!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Another year!

Several years ago (I'm not saying how many) I met my husband. He noticed that I had joined our church choir, and so he too joined up. That year we learned and performed 'Otro año mas' meaning - another year has passed. It talks about looking back and evaluating the past year. Is there something I can and should do better the next year etc. A fairly interesting hymn of self reflection to say the least.
My husband still remembers this hymn and enjoys singing it with gusto.

So as I thought about this blog, I thought about the related hymn. We just hit another anniversary - yep another one and we still like each other. We even still love each other. Marriage - what a miracle.

It's kind of funny when you meet the person that completes you and sort of fills in that other half. Where I'm off the walls (yes, me-gasp) he is down to earth. He is patient, generous, and kind, and over the years I've seen him turn in to a very wise man who gives great counsel (generally in the form of - just sleep on it, don't say anything and DON'T write any e-mails or letters about it - wait until tomorrow.) He shares my joys and my sorrows and is my best friend. He's the last person I want to see each night and the first one I want to see in the morning. I'm so grateful and thrilled that he's mine. We share our hopes and our dreams and look forward to the future together.

Although we discussed lots of fun filled romantic anniversary options, ultimately, we ended up sitting in the dentist's chair for our six month exams and then getting snow tires. What could be more romantic you ask? It's true, I was all aflutter:)

As we were in a slightly unfamiliar town, we made plans to go to dinner. After first trying a restaurant which had peanut shells strewn all over the floor, raw slabs of meet at the entry, hordes of people, and a 50 minute wait, then a Indian restaurant that was a hole in the wall, we finally opted for a nice little Italian restaurant complete with candles and twinkle lights. We had a very enjoyable dinner, and then went back to where we were staying and watched an edited version of 'Gladiator.' Yep - there's the reality for you. It just isn't possible for every year to be a tropical get away anniversary. And really - that's okay with me. Just like anything there are ups and downs. Life isn't a tropical island and sometimes you need the dentist and snow tires. The journey isn't really that important - rather, it's sharing the journey that counts.

Here's our self portrait we took from our cell phone at the restaurant.
Posted by Picasa

And yes - my dentist is great - check out that sparkly smile!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Something's right

I'm not sure if the sun, moon, and stars are properly aligned, or what it could be, but something is going right. I was amazed this morning.

If you know my oldest daughter, you might know that she has 'porcupine'ish tendencies. She doesn't like physical demonstrations of love. She doesn't hug, she doesn't express her love - she just doesn't. We've learned to accept it. The closest you can generally get is to wrestle with her - that's how she gets the physical love she needs - yes wrestling. Each night after scriptures and prayers I always say - "who wants to give me a hug and kiss goodnight?" She then runs the other direction. However this past week she's been squeezing the guts out of me - that's very new.

This morning as she was running out the door to school, she actually turned around and came back to give me a hug! I about fell over as it is the first act of physical affection initiated by her that I've seen in a LONG LONG time.

She did all of her homework on Tuesday after school - with a minimal fuss, and made both lunches this morning. I'm not quite sure what is going on, but I really like it. Maybe she's maturing - I don't know but it sure is nice. I do acknowledge that by the act of publishing this post, it is likely that things may go in the other direction. However, when something this extraordinary happens, I have to record it!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I'm a winner!

So despite what my brother may say - I got a notice in the mail that yes indeedy, I am a winner! Remember way back when I entered my peaches and tomatoes and jam and all sorts of other things in the county fair? Well, I just won again! I received this in the mail yesterday.

I won the premium prize and I got $15 in coupons for canning stuff.
Even better than that was the timing - I just bought 63 lbs. of pears to can on my new stove.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Back porch photos

I heard some odd bumps on our back porch the last couple of nights. When I opened up the curtains, this is what I saw

Please note that he appears to be sticking out his tongue at me! Why I never...!

The Stove saga

So - last fall (yes 2007) while canning I somehow managed to create so much heat that my internal stove top wiring all melded together. Since then, I've been solely operating on my two small burners. We ordered parts, but they never came in, and when they finally did it was much later, and the roads seemed to be treacherous and then we could never get hold of the guy. Yes - very long boring saga.

Here's the old stove

So just before canning season, I thought maybe we just might need to address the stove situation again. The local gas company (that also does appliance repairs etc) ordered some new parts for us. They found some special burners that are a little more heavy duty and raised up - made specifically for canning so they said and ordered them for me. Along came August, September, October and finally November... and somebody was getting a run around. So here are some pictures of the installation of our new stove. We switched from electric to gas - we're still doing some adjusting, but my husband made cinnamon rolls today on his own and they were beautiful. Who knew a new stove would get him cooking?

We had to drill through our floor to connect to the gas downstairs (yes the kitchen is a bit messy - oh well, it's been worse)

Here's our friend who was willing to work for food and help us out - with his 'red-necked tool' as he called it.

I'm so happy to be able to cook normally again!

I take it back

Well - apparently we weren't actually finished with the bikes - my last posting appeared to be a bit premature. Maybe next week?

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Yesterday I looked at the date Dec. 3rd and realized that my kids were STILL riding their bikes to school - I couldn't believe it! However, today we crossed into the threshold of snow. We awoke to something just barely heavier than a dusting and I believe that the bikes will be put away until the spring. With Christmas three weeks away, it seems like it's about time.