Monday, December 29, 2008

The Reality of Santa

Ever since Christmas Spencer has been giving the reality of Santa a lot of thought. I could tell it was on his mind by the comments he was making and the questions he was asking. Then, the other day, he asked that dreaded question, "Mom, was it really you that put all the things in my stocking? Please tell me the truth. PLEASE!"
How can I lie after that? I couldn't. "Yes, it was me."
Now, you have to know that I've come to expect the unexpected from Spencer. His mind works in curious ways. I'm often surprised and/or amused by the things that come out of his mouth. However, I was not expecting to hear what came out of his mouth next. In fact, it came as such a surprise that my only response was to burst out laughing.
After learning that I was responsible for stuffing the stockings, his eyes grew real wide, and he leaned his head in close to mine, then in all sincerity he whispered, " So, you're Mrs. Claus?"

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gingerbread House Success (for the most part)

After last year's gingerbread nightmare, I decided to try and make my own this year. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I made 4 batches of gingerbread dough the night before Christmas eve. Christmas eve morning I cut out the houses and baked them. No problems so far. Putting them up is where it gets tricky. We had a few cracks and breaks, but nothing a little hot glue wouldn't fix. That's one lesson I learned this year. Hot glue is a must in constructing gingerbread houses. Nobody actually eats the gingerbread anyway, so why not glue it.

I had enough dough for an extra house, so I joined the kids in decorating. It was fun. Ben was so excited that he was allowed to make a huge mess and eat a huge amount of candy and no was trying to stop him. He kept putting things up on his house and then eating it a minute later. He really had fun. This is what it looked like when he was finished:

Spencer later took over Ben's and finished it.

And, the finished products....

Family Pictures

We finally had our family pictures done today. Some friends of ours have all the equipment and were nice enough to take the pictures for us (thanks Matt and Trisha). We usually like to do outdoor photos, but it wasn't really an option with the weather.
Ben had woken up this morning with red, crusty, swollen eyes, so we weren't sure if we wanted to get the pictures done. Our friends don't live in town, so we decided we'd better go through with it, it's been two years since our last pictures. His eyes were still red by the time we got there, but not as bad as they had been.
As you can see from my blog header, it didn't take long for Ben to grow tired of picture taking. We did get a few cute shots, however. Here are a few of my favorites. I played with the coloring a bit on some of them.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas...

Thanks Mom, for all the thought and effort you put into these gifts, and the reminders of what's most important. I wish you could be here with us. Love ya.
Also, Merry Christmas to all our friends and family. I didn't bother getting cards out this year, but we love you all and hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

Sorry for the blur.

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas...

This is another favorite. I'm so glad my Mom took the time to do this.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Visit From Santa

Or, our Bishop, acting as Santa. He came to the door last night with two huge presents in his arms. His daughter was right behind him with a big bag of groceries. The kids instantly perked up when they saw the two presents, but there was more to come. A lot more. He returned to the car, again and again, bringing back loads of presents. I couldn't believe it. Apparently someone thought we might need a little help this year. I'm not sure why anyone would think that. Just because we have four kids, a mortgage, and no employment...well okay, but we really are doing fine. This isn't the first kind act this month, either. Twice we've received anonymous Christmas cards with a $100 bill inside. The people of our ward definitely look out for us. Although we suspect that there are probably people that could use it more than us, we're extremely grateful for the generosity of those around us. It's a good thing for the kids to witness and a good opportunity for us to teach them about giving, even though we're on the receiving end.
We did have to wait a few minutes for the teaching part, however, the boys immediately had to sort, count, examine, and shake all the gifts. They were understandably very excited.
Along with the thirty-plus gifts and groceries, there was also a card containing $50.
The responsible party was very careful not to leave any clues. There was no handwriting anywhere, everything was typed. We've thought of all the possibilities, but we really don't know. I guess we're just going to have to be nice to everyone It could be anybody. So, if anyone reading this knows the responsible party, please pass on our thanks. We really are so blessed, and it's touching to see how kind people can be.
Oh, and in case you were unaware of Jason's unemployment, and are now worried for us, we're fine. While in school, he's doing side jobs whenever they come along. He's very handy and can do most anything. We're making far. If we start taking up donations next year, I will let you all know.

My Mantle!

This is my Christmas present from Jason. I had my doubts that it would be done in time for Christmas, but here it is, three days early, and I love it. He used the wood from our friends' tree that he cut down earlier this year. The wood is beautiful. The design was a little tricky because we have vents around the fireplace. The bottom ones draw in the cold air and the top ones blow out the hot air. He couldn't cover them, so he built around them. Anyway, I think it's great.
The first picture below is the before shot.

On the Tenth Day of Christmas...

On the Ninth Day of Christmas...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

On the Eighth Day of Christmas...

This is one of my favorites so far. It's a little book that has questions about your life, one for each day of the year. My Mom had the huge task of filling it out, x 5. I'm so glad she did. I love it. Thanks Mom.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Handel's Messiah

Last night I took Regan and Spencer to The Messiah preformed by the Orchestra of Southern Utah and choir. It was excellent. I've gone to the performance every year since I've lived here, so ten years. I think this was probably the best yet. I look forward to it every year. It's just not Christmas until I've been to The Messiah. Every year I can hardly keep myself from jumping from my chair and bursting into song. That would not be a good thing. If I could sing, even slightly, I would have joined the choir ten years ago. So instead, I sit in the audience, confined to my seat, all the while envying those on stage who have been blessed with beautiful singing voices.
This year two of my friends were in the choir, Kristin and Chelsea (yes, Chelsea has forgiven me, or at least she says so, but I have yet to receive any treats). Also, Chelsea's husband, Glen, was in the orchestra playing the harpsichord. So I just had to say to all three of you, you did an outstanding job. I can't wait for next year!
Not a good picture, but I wasn't very close to the stage, and I was using a camera I'm not familiar with. Sorry Kristin, I couldn't get you without the microphone in front of your head.

On the Fourth Day of Christmas...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

How Embarrassing!

First, a little background before getting to the embarrassing part; my neighbor/VT partner/friend (Chelsea) who lives across the street, often brings a plate of goodies over to us. We keep her plate until we make some sort of treat, and then we send it back. We've got our own little treat exchange thing going on.
So today after church, Chelsea and I are talking when Regan walks up, and out of the blue says, "My Mom says the only reason you bring us treats on a glass plate is so that we'll have to bring a treat back to you".
"WHAT?!! I did NOT say that!"
"Yes you did."
"No I didn't".
"Yes you did."
Okay... here comes the awkward silence. What can I say? I'm sorry that my son would come up with such an absurd lie out of nowhere?
"Um...well, whatever I said, I didn't mean it like that."
Of course Chelsea just laughed it off, but I can only imagine what she was thinking.
Later, Jason told me, "I think you really did say that, but just as a joke."
"See?" Regan piped up.
Hmm....I don't remember that, but two against one, I guess I need to start remembering what I joke about. Either way, Regan got a good chewing out for that one.
So, I know you'll be reading this, Chelsea, and not that I think you would have taken offense, but please don't go out and buy paper plates to send our treats on. Or more importantly, please don't stop sending treats.

On the second day of Christmas...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Twelve Days of Christmas

This year for Christmas, my Mom did things a little different. For me and my brothers, and our spouses, she put together presents for the 12 days of Christmas. We were told the theme is "family".
On the first day of Christmas (today).....

This is a really nice book. There are excerpts taken from many of the classics, short enough to read one or two right before bedtime, and the pictures are awesome.

Thanks Mom, for all your hard work. This is going to be fun!