There's also a place to leave comments and we would love to hear from you. We know that is is the people--our family and friends-- who make all of these memories matter. It's the time of year we feel so grateful for the eternal nature of relationships and love and for Him who made it all possible. Christ is why we celebrate and His spirit is what brings the light and joy of Christmas. I thank heaven (in my exhaustion) that it comes every year to remind us of all the joy we have now and what we have to look forward to.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Today after church in our Sunday Best.
This photo captures the whole joy of the holiday for me. I love these two more than anything, and the fact that the Father would send his Son here for us ( and that Mary & Joseph did what they did) means so much more now that I know what it means to be a parent.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
The girls have their own nativity scene downstairs; it's the Fisher-Price Little People one and they LOVE it, especially Heidi, who wraps the figures in klennex or scarves each day and gives them a nap on the subwoofer next to the entertainment center where they normally reside.
Each night after they go to bed, I clean up downstairs and almost every night I find a new and funny arrangement in the stable. I wish I had been taking notes all month because they crack me up, but here are a few:
(Keep in mind, we have these same type of Little People in other play sets, like a farm, a boat, and a school bus, as well as other small toys that fit in the stable).
--Tonight, Joseph is missing, but the bus driver is standing in his stead.
--Yesterday, Tumnus of Narnia joined the gang in the stable.
--Last week, the donkey, camel, and one wiseman were missing, but there was a Polly Pocket 4-wheeler parked at the manger; way better than that smelly old donkey, I am guessing. Handy for fleeing to Egypt, too.
--A few of the grown up figures were gone, but Baby Jesus, the angel, and the animals were hanging out with Polly Pocket around her plastic campfire the other night.
--One night, Baby Jesus went missing, but Joseph and Mary looked down adoringly on a tiny wnd-up monkey (it does flips!) from a kids meal.
--The goat, the chicken, and the farmer frequently join in the worship, which is as it should be.
Also, tonight we finally watched the new-ish Willy Wonka movie and we quite liked it. It was wacky, as all Roald Dahl stories are, but I can't imagine a wackier combo than Dahl, Tim Burton, Danny Elfman, Johnny Depp, and Helena Bonham-Carter. Kooks. It was fun to see some back story, which I am sure we have all imagined after watching the first Willy Wonka. Johnny Depp played an equally-psycho, yet more approachable and childlike Wonka in his oh-so-talented way (fun thing to do: remind yourself that this is the same guy that plays Pirate Jack Sparrow!) And by the way, if you want to see the original Wonka, it's on ABC Family this weekend.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
I have that familiar little scratchiness in my throat and a bit of a stuffy nose. I am praying not to be sick on Christmas--exercising, chuggin' Airborne, and eating oranges...ugh!
Update: 8pm--the weirdness is gone and I broke my own rule--I went back to work out tonight and tried to do the mighty 90 crunches but could only do 4 sets of 15 (60). Musta been a fluke.
Monday, December 19, 2005
Happy Birthday, Laura & Lisa!
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Santa and his helpers brought gift bags for the girls (Addie's giving Heidi one in this picture). Yes, it's as cold as it looks in these photos--it was about 5 degrees, and yes, you see my kids outside with no coats...But they were too excited for coats!
...which they LOVED! They got little books and stuffed animals and candies in the bags, but they were most amazed by Santa himself, just standing there in our yard. Heidi loved that she had something all her own, direct from Father Christmas, so she kept carrying around her new teddy bear saying, "Mine? Mine!" It was really cool of the firemen to do that.
On Friday, Addie and I finished 6 dozen cookies for the cookie exchange at our neighbor Maria's house. Addie was in charge of sprinkles adn the cookies looked beautiful.
Grandma holds Addie and Addie holds Rosalie at our Christmas Brunch Saturday morning.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
6:32am: Arise with Addie & Heidi
6:40-7:30am: Snuggle, feed, dress girls
7:30-8am: Shower and dress mommy
8:00am: Realize we're out of milk; check WIC checks and realize today is the first day of a new WIC month and we can get a zillion gallons of milk, some cereal, bread, cheese, eggs, and juice, too. We send daddy off to work and get ready to go to the store.
9:30am; Arrive at Albertsons after getting gas and re-buckling seatbelts twice.
9:30am-10am: Endure tantrums and fighting while running into friends with their nice children and while old people stare at my screeching daughters as if to say, "Why dont' you shoot them?"
10:00-10:40am: Head to the consignment store to check for cute new toddler things and drop off tons of toys we don't need-- the charming behavior continues, but not as screechy. I circle the downtown block three times looking for parking I can fit into with the Caravan. Little Buckaroos doesn't have anything for us today, but we donate some old decorations next door at the Senior Center and find a nice pair of sneakers for Heidi for 25 cents. While I look at them, Heidi runs away up the stairs, and 15 seconds later someone is on the intercom (in a building the size of my house) saying, "We have a lost child up here...lost child...do not let your child play on the stairs." That's the last straw. Mortified, I pay my quarter, grab the girls, and head out while Heidi waves and blows kisses to all the grandmas who think she's just darling in her "Bib Overhauls." She looks like an angel and I feel like a devil cuz I want to beat her bum!
11:00am-ish: Arrive home safe in the garage; unbuckle girls and send them in to house while I grab groceries. I have 2 gallons of milk in each hand (=4 gallons of milk) and a 12-pack of CF Diet Coke in my arms and I step in the door and trip over both girls, falling on my face and sending a gallon of milk bouncing down the stairs. I end up with about 1/2 gallon of milk seeping into my carpet in the basement and I am somewhat banged up. The girls aren't hurt, just scared and crying and I am upset, so I send them into Heidi's room so I can clean up the mess.
11:11am: Addie peeps out the door of Heidi's room and says, "Mom, are you happy now? Can we come out yet?" Awww, I let them out and tell them I love them but the y need to come watch a movie because mommy is going to have to shampoo the carpet today. I make arrangements for Addie to spend the afternoon with a friend and put Heidi down for a nap.
12:30-5:30: I wash any and all rugs in the house; I move all furniture and sweep and mop all wood and tile floors, vacuum and shampoo all carpets (except bedrooms); I dust; I cook a taco dinner for our family plus the missionaries; I clean out fridge and do all the dishes; Set the table; roll my hair and put on a skirt and sweater.
5:45-6:30 Dinner with family and Elders; Rich shampoos the stairs, Elders read to girls; I head out to Young Women in Excellence.
6:30-8:30: YW/ visit with friends at church
8:40-10:o0pm: Arrive home; say prayers with girls and tuck them in; Rich goes to work on log beds and shovel a lady's driveway; I bake 4 dozen more cookies for Friday's cookie exchange and tomorrow's playgroup, which is here at 10am. I wash remaining dishes, put cookies in freezer with the other 6 dozen, then wash face, brush teeth, take Tylenol (for aches resulting from earlier fall when I tripped over my children), take vitamins, blog--and then I will watch the Daily Show, read Helaman, and hit the hay.
BUSY ENOUGH FOR YA?...How was your day?
Monday, December 12, 2005
So it reminded me of my favorite Christmas song: "Truly he taught us to love one another; His law is love and his gospel is peace; Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother and in His name all oppression shall cease." Ugh. That brings tears to my eyes right now because I just imagine (a) what it would be like if we all accepted and lived the gospel of Jesus Christ--all oppression WOULD cease and it would be beautiful, and (b) how sad it must be sometimes to see what Christ's message had been twisted into. I think, like Anne Rice and the apostle Paul, without charity, we are nothing.
On another note, I have a deep and abiding love for the song, "The Heart of the Matter," by Don Henley. It is so beautiful and when I hear it, I kind of feel like I got punched in the gut a little bit, like maybe I'll cry. Anyway, today they played it on the radio and then the DJ said, "That 's a great song for the season--it's about forgiveness." Hmmm...Interesting thing for the DJ to say about Christmas...truer than he knows. "These times are so uncertain/ There's a yearning undefined/ And people filled with rage/ We all need a little tenderness/ How can love survive in such a graceless age?/ The trust and self-assurance that lead to happiness/ They're the very things - we kill I guess/...I think it's about forgiveness/ forgiveness/ even if/ even if you don't love me anymore." Lovely.
Here are the girls posing with the tree and whining about being cold and hungry.
...complete with "log" porch...
...while mom & Heidi get down to business and eat breakfast.
..or crazy, or whatever you call it. We moved here aroudn the time of the first anniversary of 9/11 and this truck, however crass and redneck, made me laugh so hard. I kept meaning to take a picture of it but hadn't seen it for a long time. Then lo and behold, at the gas station on our way to get our Christmas Tree, I saw it again. It's a Festivus Miracle! And YOU, dear reader, get the benefit.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
But mostly the whole catgory makes me shudder. This year's crusade is to put CHRISTMAS back into the "Holidays." "They" are boycotting stores that advertise "Holiday Sales" instead of Christmas Sales and stuff like that. Thing is, I am all for separation of church and advertising, just as much as church and state. I mean, if it's a Christmas sale, does that mean you can't get the discount for Hannukah, Ramamdan, Kwanzaa, or just cuz you WANT it? Let's just call it holiday. You dont' step on my toes and I won't step on yours.
For the record, I believe that public things should be ethical and religiously neuutral, and private things should be deeply spiritual, religious, commited, and meaningful--to each his own. And pleeeeease crazy religious right people, stop speaking for Christians as if we all agree onthis stuff.
End of rant. Your thoughts?
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Bed-Head Addie and her Nutcracker Tree
I guess mother nature was easing me into Montana winters the past three years. My fourth winter (which technically hasn't even begun yet) is cookin' up to be a doozie. [Aside--you'll forgive my whining about the weather--it comes with the territory when you're reading a blog written by an AZ girl transplanted to MT--I do it every winter and will probably double it up this year!]
My poor house bound kids! I let them jump on my bed today cuz they had to let of some steam. We decorated mini-trees today--Addie's is ballerinas and nutcrackers and Heidi's is teddy bears. They are in the guest room windows, and when I am not afraid that the weather will break the camera, I will take a picture. It's really quite magical.
Well, much love to all--I wish you down comforters, hot cocoas and sweet dreams!
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
It's weird to reflect on the building process. Again, like childbirth, the brain mercifully blocks it out. But unlike childbirth, the memory hasn't faded enough to make me want to build again. Never, no, never will we build again. Customize or remodel, MAYBE. Ugh...I'm getting nauseated just thinking about it!
Anyway, enjoy the article. I'm enjoying the fact that my house is 68 degress while outside, though sunny and bright and magically white, it's "0 degrees, feels like -19." --Oy veh.
PS: That guy they quote in the article, Josh Keller (first they call him Josh Ryan)---well, we always called him Ross Gellar because he's very Ross-ish. I think he's our same age, too.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
I'll give you a dime if you can tell me where the title of this post comes from...seriously, you should stop lurking around my blog and start commenting, folks.
But back to the shiver in my bones. Let me quote weather.com right this minute: 6 degreesF, feels like -9 (that's MINUS!), with light snow, winds from ENE at 12 mph (which is like NO wind here in Livingston where it averages 40mph any given day), and the humidity is 85%.
All I can say is I am glad to be IN the house, not BUILDING it this winter! The ranchers say it's gonna be a hard one.
While we were all pent up today, I did 2 loads of laundry, made crock pot beef stew and wheat bread for dinner, and a delicious Aroz con Leche (rice pudding). It's one of my favorite recipes and I love you so much, I'm going to share it with you.
Arroz con Leche
From Dora the Explorer
1 ½ c sugar
1c converted rice
2 egg yolks
½ t salt
½ c raisins (optional—or mixed dried fruit)
§ Boil milk over high heat; stir in sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg. Reduce heat and stir to dissolve sugar. Add rice and salt, cover pot, and simmer 45 min.
§ In a mixing bowl, whisk egg, yolks, and vanilla. Remove rice from heat and add egg mixture slowly; return to heat and stir for 3 minutes.
§ Remove from heat; add raisins or fruit; pour into bowl (s) and cool in the refrigerator.
...a cheap, yummy, comfort food to share with a loved one while you snuggle out the storm.
Dear Loved Ones, 1...