Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Eve

Before I hit the hay I wanted to share our day with you! After an excellent church meeting (where I sang the lullaby without crying this time), we came home and had chili for lunch, then Heidi and James napped while Addie and I made gingerbread and got part of Christmas dinner ready (it was New England themed this year--Clam Chowder, Yankee Pot Roast, Potatoes, Carrots, rolls...yum! My mom in law made the soup and bread). Grandma & Grandpa arrived around 4:30pm and decorated cookies with the girls while we waited for Uncle Mike.
The girls had fun ( and so did Grandpa--see?)
After dinner, we did the Luke 2 story of Jesus' birth with our kids, plus Rich's sister Angie's kids, and their cousins (she was hosting HER in-laws for Christmas Eve, too). My mom-in-law made a bunch of costumes so we can do the little pageant every year and it was SO cute!
Aerial view of the nativity, with James as baby Jesus

My three cuties in the nativity: Addie as Mary, James as Jesus, Heidi as the angel)
Our darling Nativity cast: Heidi (Angel), Kaia (king), Dylan (shepherd), Danny (Joseph), Addie (Mary), and James (Jesus)---James was such a good Baby Jesus; he lovedhis manger!
After the Nativity, the Christmas Elf came to the window and told the kids it was time to go to bed because Santa was on his way. The Elf also left pajamas on our porch for our kids!
After they got in their new pj's, Heidi and Addie enjoyed a story with Uncle Mike...
...and Daddy and Sweet Baby James looked on (James' jammies have a moose on the front that says "Moosin' Around").
I hope your celebrations are equally full of love and fun and the joy of family and the comfort of knowing God sent His Son for us.
Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Break out the pole...

Air those grievances and good luck in the feats of strength!
Warm Festivus Wishes
With Love from The Melins

Friday, December 22, 2006

Dear Little Baby Jesus in your golden fleece diapers...

To cheer ourselves up last Tuesday night we watched Talledega Nights as we went to bed, and I laughed til I cried. My favorite part was, of course, Ricky Bobby always praying to "Christmas Jesus." KILLED ME!

As you know I have a soft spot for all things southern, so this was especially funny to me. Remember last summer, CJ, when I was saying we should go see this movie to celebrate 13 years since we served in Rockingham, North Carolina as missionaries? Well, there is totally a whole race filmed at Rockingham Raceway! So fun! I am learning way more than I ever wanted to know about NASCAR between watching "Cars" and "Talladega Nights."

I have so much more to write about, but it will just have to wait. I am taking Merry Christmas if I don't get back before Monday!

PS: Here's your Christmas gift...a transcript of Ricky's prayer...

Ricky Bobby: Dear Lord baby Jesus, we thank you so much for this bountiful harvest of Dominos, KFC, and the always delicious Taco Bell. I just want to take time to say thank you for my family--My two sons, Walker, and Texas Ranger, or TR as we call him. And of course my red hot smokin' wife Carley, who is a stone cold fox. Dear tiny infant Jesus...
Carley Bobby: Hey, um... you know sweetie, Jesus did grow up. You don't always have to call him baby. It's a bit odd and off puttin' to pray to a baby.
Ricky Bobby: Well look, I like the Christmas Jesus best, and I'm sayin grace. When you say grace, you can say it to grown up Jesus, or teenage Jesus, or bearded Jesus, or whatever you want.

But wait! MORE quotes from Ricky Bobby...

I've sent in my application to The Real World, so I'm puttin' a lotta eggs in that basket, the MTV basket. I also thought about getting a gun and becomin' a crack dealer. I wouldn't be, like, a mean crack dealer...I'd be a nice one. I'd just be like "Hey, guys, what's up? You want some crack?".

Dear Lord Baby Jesus, lying there in your little ghost manger, lookin' at your Baby Einstein developmental...videos, learnin' 'bout shapes and colors...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


At our house, Tuesday evening...

Addie: Mom, why do you keep crying?
Me: Because I feel sad and I am worried about my brother.
Addie: Is that why the phone keeps ringing and you're crying on the phone?
Me: Yep.
Addie: What happened mom? What happened?
Me: I just feel sad because Uncle --- made a bad choice and hurt Aunt ---'s feelings. She is sooo sad, at that makes me sad. But I will be okay, honey, and we will say prayers that Aunt and Uncle will be okay, too.
Addie: (after mulling things over in her mind) Well, if Aunt---is sad, someone should give her a hug.
[Awwww...doesn't that break your heart?]
Me: Auntie's sisters are visiting her and giving her lots of hugs to help her feel better.
Addie: Oh, that's good.

Then today, Addie and I were putting all the gifts we have received by mail under the tree, and she came to the ones from Aunt---, who has us for Christmas this year. Addie remembered what we had talked about the night before: "Mom, I wish Aunt---- lived in Montana so I could hug her when her feelings get hurt."

I know Dr. Phil always says not to burden kids with adult problems, but I wanted to answer her question--she obviously knew something was wrong. I hope this was appropriate and she is not worried (I was such a little worry-wart--I hope she doesn't inherit that!).

So yeah...there's been a definite damper on our Merry Christmas around here, but we are doing our best to make it festive and joyful for the kids and remind ourselves that, when you really think about it, this is what the joy of the Christmas season is all about--the fact that this baby was born to die for our sins and take upon himself the pains of his people so he could succor them in their hurt.

"...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..."
Auntie & Uncle...we are praying fervently for you.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Weekend Fun

Saturday was a special day (actually, so was Friday night--we had the Melin Agency Company Party at the Lighthouse Restaurant in Corwin Springs. It was absolutely delicious gourmet food with a little SE Asian/Indian infusion..I had tilapia on a bed of delicious lemon-mint rice). We went to our ward breakfast on Saturday morning, where we enjoyed some yummy sausage-egg casserole with hash browns and juice, a slide show, carols, and Santa. Addie sang Christmas songs with the Primary kids (below)... ...and then we headed to Helena for an early celebration of Laura's (& Lisa's, but she's in AZ) birthday. We took a big Costco Pizza, then went to the Carousel for Ice Cream and fun. I think everyone had a good time.
Aunt Laura is just a BIG kid (she's turning 15 for the 17th time!)...she had a blast on the Carousel! Here she is throwing the rings into the clown basket (with Heidi, Addie & Rich).
Jared & Heidi
Addie & Gabriel
Santa came to greet all the kids at the Carousel, but after four visits with Santa, Heidi is so over it.
Addie on a bison
Heidi on a trout
Jared on a Bobcat...
We visited a little longer after all this fun, sent poor Darrin off to his night job (he slept while we were at the Carousel), and headed home at about 6:30pm. We got ready for Sunday and enjoyed church a lot. I was surprised when James fit into his darling outfit from Aunt Judy...

Look at that suave boy!

What a great weekend!

Laura & Lisa, I hope you have a FABULOUS BIRTHDAY!

PS: I used to think James was huge until I read this.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Because I Love You...

...I will share my favorite secular Christmas song of all time:
Seriously, the orchestrated chorus and the tin whistle never fail to make my heart skip a beat and my tummy flutters. Just beautiful. And funny.
Merry Christmas!
PS: Happy Birthday, Cousin Brent!
In your honor, just one more Christmas Pop Song, from a
How many pop stars can you name from 22 years ago in this video? CRAZY!
And it just occured to me how funny this song is, although the sentiment and purpose was kind--"Do they know it's Christmas time?" could be countered with, "Do they CARE it's Christmas time?" Um, probably not, but it's good to feed people, regardless of their culture or religion, right? ;)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Totally Awesome Santa

Last year, Santa came on a fire truck with gifts for everyone... This year, he(she) came on a stick horse wearing sunglasses, shouting, "Get your OWN baby!"
Addie's third visit with Santa this year (or Heidi Claus, as she's known around here)
James checking out Addie this afternoon.
PS: Happy Birthday, Sara! We love you! Hey, did you know your birthday is on Santa Lucia Day? COOL!

Behold the Cuteness, part 5

Here's our big boy...14 weeks old!

Laughing at mommy

Grinning at mommy

Finding his hand...

...and then his thumb...

Oh, how he loves the thumb!...

...and his Daddy!

Monday, December 11, 2006

One more thing...

I forgot to tell you that Sweet Baby James turned Three Months Old last Tuesday (he's almost 14 weeks!). I have pictures to post, but I need to upload them first. So may I just say that his hugeness continues...the boy is 14 pounds, 9 ounces and 25 inches long! But he is so snuggly and sweet, every inch, and I am so grateful to have this little joy bubble, especially at Christmas time.

Week in Review

Last time I posted, it was Family Night. That was a fun night! This week was Addie's first week of pre-school and she is loving it. She gets to eat breakfast and lunch at school and gets out at 1pm, so it's a big leap from the 2-hour pre-school she is used to. But like I said, she is enjoying it a lot, and Heidi loves having mommy and daddy to herself a bit, too (mommy while James naps, Daddy at lunchtime). This schedule also allows me to get a lot done, too, since James takes a nap right about when Addie gets home, so Addie and I have about an hour of computer time then we go feed James around 2pm and we lay down and read stories or watch a kid show before starting dinner and afternoon clean-up. So far, so good.

Also, this week I found out that I will have a new niece this spring! My sister, Sara, is having a baby girl (third child, first girl). Of course, it will be ages before I get to see her since Sara lives in Michigan, but I am still excited! So my cousin Lacy, my friend Mary, my sister Sara, and possibly my cousin Kate are all having baby girls pretty soon. Good times!

We also had our Relief Society Christmas Luncheon on Saturday for which Jenn & I decorated a table. The table turned out really cool on a really slim budget (almost everything was made from paper or ribbon, with a tower of beautifully-wrapped and tied gifts as the centerpiece), and the luncheon was so nice. We did a readers' theatre of the Women in Christ's life, and it was really nice. I sang Mary's Lullaby (the Easter Pageant version) and I totally started crying while I was singing! I choked out the words, but I was so embarrassed! I guess the emotion of having a baby son at Christmas time really got to me! But it all turned out alright. I'll have a chance to redeem myself when I sing it in sacrament meeting on Christmas Eve (which will probably be WORSE!).

We are having so much fun with the girls! They are just WIRED for Christmas. They got to see Santa again, this time at the bank during the Livingston Christmas Stroll (it was warm enough to actually stroll this year). After cruising around downtown on Friday night, we picked up Anna, our new favorite babysitter, and Rich and I went to Bozeman to finish Santa shopping. We got everything for the kids except the small Cars character cars that Addie wants. We are so bummed! We have missed three truckloads of them at both Walmart and Target. We wanted to get her Lightning McQueen, Mater, Doc, & Sally as stocking stuffers (they are small and only about $3) so she and Heidi can play Cars together (they already do, but McQueen is an old red Matchbox Corvette and Mater is a GI Joe Jeep with a tow cable on the back from a Happy Meal).

I wanted to keep track of the funny things they do to the nativity set downstairs, but this year all that has happened is Baby Jesus and the shepherd have disappeared. I am hoping to find them in the toy box when I clean it out this week (to donate and make room for new stuff, of course).

Last night we took some fun pictures of Rich's sister, Angie, and her family (they live across the street). They brought over an antique sled that belongs to Davy's mom and the pictures turned out pretty cool.

So that's about all I have to update. I gotta go finish up my Christmas stuff--my deadline is Wednesday, and then it's smooth sailin'--just hanging' out with my kids, baking, etc. Good times, y'all.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Fotos of the Grays

This is my brother-in-law, Davy, my sister-in-law, Angie, and my nephew and niece, Danny and Rosalie. We took these in our living room last night and I think they are PRECIOUS!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Saturday: Holiday Fun

On Saturday we attended both the December Farmer's Market AND the Holiday Bazaar at the fairgrounds. My Crafty Friend, Jen Claar, had a candy booth at the Bazaar. We bought these Smoremen for the girls... They loved them!

Addie with Santa at the fairgrounds...
...She asked him for a Fur Real Chimp.
Heidi with Santa at teh fairgrounds...first she said, "You come my house? You want cookies?"
...then she said, "Santa, are you happy to meet me?" He laughed, and when he asked her what she wanted for Christmas, she said, "Cookies." (which is a total lie because the only thing she does with cookies is crumble them up and eat any chocolate bits she might find, or lick off the icing).

Melin Family 2006

Monday: Family Night

After a ham & potato dinner, we enjoyed a replay of the First Presidency Devotional and decorated our tree with Gram & Gramp Melin.Addie
The girls with Grandma
Me handing out ornaments
Grandpa & James (Pete & Repeat) watch the devotional...Grandpa kept asking James is he's excited to drive the ranch cute!

Christmas at Our House

M wanted to see what we do around here for Christmas... Our Tree
The top of the Living Room entertainment center
I love this Holy Family (the set was a gift from my in-laws on our first Christmas--very thoughtful!)
We try to read a Christmas Story each day in December
We have several advent calendars going, but this vintage Santa is probably my favorite.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Gentle Geniuses & NY Dolls

Back in October, I mentioned that I had bought the DVD of New York Doll. I hadn't seen it, but had heard some rave rviews (like THIS one), and I enjoyed it. It kind of made me sad, though. Although the story is much like a fairytale with a combination joyful-and-tragic ending, the thing I kept wondering throughout is why genius of any sort is so often accompanied by mental illness (to at least some degree, whether it's manic-depression or schizophrenia or some other affliction).

When I was a little girl, I learned about Vincent Van Gogh and his art, letters, and biography were etched into my heart. Maybe I was always a little bit over-empathetic, but I just felt so sad that he felt so alone and so unloved. And he made beautiful, captivating pictures I loved (and still love). When I figured out that the Don McLean song was about my beloved Vincent, it was one of the first cassette tapes I bought with my own money when I was about eleven.

I grew up and was still drawn to gentle geniuses. Or troubled geniuses, as I called them in a recent journal. I was terribly attracted to intelligence and talent, which was often accompanied by the drama of chemical imbalances. Almost all of the boys I loved before Rich (and many girl friends) fall into this category. One of them, my dear friend Kevin, even took his life after a long, long struggle and after making a long, long string of beautiful things like music, drawings, poetry, prose, and lots of good friends who could never reach his heart.

I am sure this has been studied and there is some medical explanation, but I can't wait to talk to God and figure out how that fits into the Big Picture. Like, why?--is it just a matter of fairness? If you're going to be excellent at this and this, you will also get this "Achilles' heel" of depression (or what ever). Or you're blessed with accute sensitivity, which will allow you to create amazing things, but will also allow you to be irreversibly stung by the meanness of The World. Is that how it all went down? I'm just curious.

Anyway, I enjoyed the movie (and I loved the extra clip of David Johansen singing "Come, Come Ye Saints," probably the most beloved Mormon hymn ever. Classic). And I liked being reminded of all the gentle geniuses that have graced my life, and remembering Kevin for a moment.

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free
They would not listen they did not know how
Perhaps they'll listen now
For they could not love you
But still your love was true
And when no hope was left inside
On that starry, starry night
You took your life as lovers often do
But I could have told you, Vincent,
This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.
-Don McLean (full lyrics here)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

And yet another batch...

On Friday, 11/24, we went in to Minot and visited the Scandinavian Heritage Village. This beautiful church is only 6 years old--the woodowork is stunning!
Here are the kids with the giant Dala Horse
This little house was built in Norway, then shipped over to North Dakota and re-assembled. It looks like a house from a fairytale!
Addie, TJay, Heidi, & Summer (I forgot Heidi's coat and the temperature dropped about 50 degrees while we were in ND, so she borrowed TJay's--bad mommy!)


Dear Loved Ones,                                                               Another wintry week in Livingston! We had ourselves a ...