Friday, December 31, 2004

Love Shack

Here's one of the houses Mike worked on in Big Sky. The rock work is hard to see down on the lower level, but we like the look of the rails, since that's what we're doing on our porch and eventually, our deck.

Posted by Hello

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Regarding Napoleon

Okay, it's a week late, but here it is.

Overall, I liked Napoleon Dynamite. Funny, slightly heartwarming. I get it. And, dude--the dance scene. Oh, Darrin's Dance Grooves. Classic.

Things that bugged me:

Above all, the pace. SO ANNOYINGLY SLOW. Timing, people, timing! This was a 30-minute short stretched to 88 minutes. I realize that this may have been an artistic expresion of life in Preston, Idaho--it may truly be slow as molasses--but I'm glad I watched this on DVD so I could watch it with the forward on the slow parts.

Related to timing--the action. Plot, people, plot. Get to the point. I've got two kids to feed, bathe, and put to bed while folding three loads of wash and cleaning up dinner. If I give you 90 minutes of my life, I want ACTION. (I don't mean an "action movie"--just a really moving or hilarious plot)The plot was good, but again, it was only enough to fill a half-hour.

Mean-spirited/ Inside joke. In all the funniness, I felt that the characters you're supposed to sympathize with were almost unloveable caricatures (overboard on the costuming and anachronisms--but again, maybe that's Preston). Except the girl--man, she was really good. And of course, by the end, you like all the heroes and stuff, but it takes so long for them to do the heroic stuff! Holy cow, I was like, "wake me up when it's the election day!" It was hard to like anybody in the movie until the end. The movie also felt like a big inside joke between high school friends. When I went back and watched some of the movie witht he commentary on, I found out that's pretty much what it is.

So for a really long SNL skit written by boys making fun of their home town, it's really good. I will watch it again sometime, but that doesn't mean it wasn't annoying as heck.

PS: Coolest thing about the movie--the cinematographer was my next door neighbor in Provo '95, and that guy is the most fun, elf-like person I have ever met. He used to dance when he saw his finacee (now wife) coming because he was excited to see her. And they had the coolest wedding announcement I have ever seen. Hmm. Fun coincidence.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

We Love Nana

We love our hoodies form Nana, says Heidi Posted by Hello

Thanks, Nana!

Posted by Hello

Warm Fuzzies

Since there is a lull in the Cousin Chaos (picture that scene in "A Christmas Story" with all the kids crashed out on the wrapping paper in the trashed living room), I thought I'd write that funny Sunday story I mentioned earlier.

I was teaching all the Young Women last Sunday during the third hour of church (which I almost didn't attend at all because my kids were up all night and I was thrashed). I wasn't really up to speed, but neither were the other two possible teachers, so-- I taught by default. I had a nice little story to read and then I thought we'd eat some treats and tell our own Christmas stories and experiences.

I asked if the girls ever had a Christmas where they gave more than they received, or if they'd gone out with their families to serve someone else. They all looked at me like I was speaking Chinese, then one piped up with this gem (imagine this spoken really fast by a breathless twelve year old):

"One time, it was really close to Christmas and we were at church and my mom got kind of upset and we left during sacrament meeting and we went home and my mom said we needed to serve so we made tons and tons of banana bread and we drove all over delivering them and we were driving down this hill to go home and it was slick and my mom hit the brick wall and wrecked the car... But we didn't get hurt."

Ummm...yeah [I couldn't think--I had no game what so ever]. So the moral of the story is...ummm... I didn't know what to do with that one.

Luckily the bishop, who was the only adult in the room who DID have game, offered this moral to the story: "Well, that's what you get for leaving sacrament early."

You can make ANYTHING into a fable if you're willing to get creative (and you've had a good night's sleep).

Cousin TJay and Addie Christmas morning, getting ready to deliver Christmas Meals on Wheels with their Daddies. Posted by Hello

We wish you a Merry Christmas! Here are my little darlin's on Christmas Eve in their Christmas Eve Jammies. I'll post another photo story about Christmas Eve and morning later, but for now this vision of Christmas cuteness should make you Merry as you oughtta be! Enjoy! Posted by Hello

On Christmas Eve Day at about 2:30, we all went out to Angie's (Rich's sister's) place (just west of town) to have a big cousin sledding party. I was designated photographer because of my unfortunate snow allergy. This photo shows the hill we were riding; the following photos show some of the action. They also show that Heidi was in the weirdest mood and we couldn't get our normally shiny-happy baby to even crack a smile. Maybe she's allergic, too (darn those desert rat genes). Posted by Hello

Addie gets pulled up the hill on the tobogan. Posted by Hello

Daddy and Heidi are ready to hit the slopes! Posted by Hello

Heidi gets ready to sled, but doesn't look too excited. Posted by Hello

Heidi and Summer look a little trepidatious as they head up the little hill on the sled... Posted by Hello

Heidi and Summer come down the hill--still no smiles! Posted by Hello

The dog chased Addie and her Daddy down the bumpy hill... Posted by Hello

Rich and Addie survived the bumpy hill! Posted by Hello

Here come my girls, sledding down the hill! Posted by Hello

Addie and Heidi at the bottom of the hill (Heidi still deadpan). Posted by Hello

Here are my in-laws (Rich's brother and his family) being quite photogenic as they come down the sledding hill. Posted by Hello

Friday, December 24, 2004

The Melins have a fun tradition of having this little elf pop up in the window on Christmas Eve to tell the kids it's time for bed. It's pretty fun to watch because the kids are totally into it and they just freak out... Posted by Hello

Here are Grandpa Tom, Addie, and Cousin Danny looking at the Elf in the window. They are coloring letters to Santa which they read to the Elf. Then the Elf tells them to be good and go to bed so he can bring their presents. Danny was so excited he was shaking, and Addie was totally freaked out. She stared at the elf in awe, and then she jumped up from the table and started running toward the door saying, "I wanna catch that elf!" Posted by Hello

My Christmas Post

When I was younger, I was a singer. I sang all the time—in choirs, solos, groups, in the car, in musicals—what ever. So music was a huge part of my life and there was no better time for singing that Christmas time. I can recall several moments when my performances were interrupted by emotion—my choking back tears—because the spirit of the message was so strong (The duet of “Adeste Fideles” when we went to sing “Yea, Lord, we greet thee…” the jazz arrangement of “Silent Night” performed with the Rincon High School Chorale, the Messiah sing along at Duke Chapel on my mission, etc.). For Christmas, I wanted to jot down the lyrics of my favorite lines from Christmas carols.

“Jesu, joy of man’s desiring;
Holy infant, love most bright;
Drawn by thee our souls aspiring
Soar to uncreated light.”

You may know this melody, but not the words—I sang this for the regional solo and ensemble competition in HS and I cried—and got a perfect score. I love the idea of our souls soaring, aspiring to be like God.

“How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given
So God impart to human hearts
The blessings of his heaven
No ear may hear his coming
But in this world of sin
Where meek souls will receive him still
The Dear Christ enters in.”

Each time I sing “O Little Town of Bethlehem” I have pictures in my head that have been there since I was a tiny girl. My grandma rocked me and sang me this song in her living room, which, in the mid-seventies, had blue spotlights and tiny sparkly stars in the spray-foamy ceiling. As soon as I hear this song, I picture a midnight blue sky over Bethlehem, with tiny little stars, then a growing glow. Grandma’s house is also right across the street from a fire station with lots of bright lights, which I always thought of when they sang “in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light.” But this last verse means the most to me, as I picture this quiet, meek little woman giving birth in a stable—the sacredness of that moment of birth, the calm after the storm of labor, multiplied by a million knowing he was God’s son and would literally save us all.

The BEST for last—I have to include all the lyrics to “O Holy Night” because it is a masterpiece. It captures the true meaning and magnitude of Christ’s birth in its three verses.

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining;
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night, O night divine!
Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
Over the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

I am touched each year as I think of all the circumstances and repercussions of Christ’s birth. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I will say it again—my favorite line is, “In all our trials, born to be our friend.” It reminds me of Alma 7:11-12 when we are told that Christ came not just to save the sinner, but to perfect the saints, to comfort the weary and heal up the broken hearts. He heals both physical and emotional pain and in any trial he is our friend. That’s my testimony.

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

White Christmas? Bah Humbug!

I don't like waking up to THIS on my homepage:

Livingston: Hi:12/ Lo:6 / Current:-6 (yeah, that's minus six)
Laie, HI (where my husband went to college): Hi-79 / Lo: 71/ Current :72 old bones want to be warm in Hawaii! It's even kinda cold in Tucson, with a high of only 54. I have to admit it's beautiful outside, though. We should have a White Christmas--my in-laws (the whole gang) have planned a Christmas Eve Day sledding party for the kiddies. I think that's a little insensitive to my snow allergy, but the kids will love it. I will be by the woodstove pretending I am under the Sonoran sun. Heh, heh.

I'll be back later to share my review of Napolean Dynamite and a really funny warm fuzzy story from church on Sunday. It's time to snuggle my babies til they wake up all the way (we had a big slumber party in the king bed last night, but I woke up at 1am ad Daddy had moved down the hall to the girls' room. Party Pooper.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Saturday night we had a nice dinner at Rib & Chop House for the annual Melin Agency dinner. Here's Addie sitting hith her beloved Uncle Mike. Posted by Hello

Jamie and Heidi wait for a sizzlin' steak... Posted by Hello

Mom Melin And Robyn order something good Posted by Hello

Last night we had a fun Family Home Evening Open house for our neighbors and some ward friends. We ate yummy food and let our kids play and had a good visit. We closed with Christmas songs and a prayer--very fun. Posted by Hello

Here are cute Nicole, Kim, & Steph having some refreshments and chat... Posted by Hello

Here's the spread of snacks and drinks... Posted by Hello

Addie and Heidi wore their new matching sweats after church on Sunday Posted by Hello


Dear Loved Ones,               The past two weeks have been a whirlwind for us…and now we are 8! We got a new German daughter, Kristin...