Wednesday, December 31, 2008

PS: While We're On a Scottish Kick...

dance with my favorite Scots...

"Live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime..."
Happy New Year!

The Auld Lang Syne...

We just came home from a quick trip to Bozeman and on the way home I tried to remember as many New Years' Eves as I could...

1984: Stayed home at our house on David Drive an watched the ball drop on TV
1985: Regional Dance at the U of A Ballroom where we thought "the spike was punched."
1986: Regional Dance at one of the stake centers in Tucson--was it North? Cuz all I remember is lovin' A1 with all my might.
1987: Regional Dance in Glendale, AZ with Brent G. and I stayed over with his family all weekend...This was shortly after seeing U2 twice at SunDevil Stadium and we were still hopped up on the Joshua Tree, even a year after it came out.
1988: House Party in NW Tucson with HS friends; last night KFOX was on the air; I remember counting down the new year to the sounds of Pink Floyd's "Learning to Fly," and feeling much like an earth-bound misfit. I think I was with Robert because I know we went to Marie Callendar's for breakfast in the morning.
1989: At home in SV with my sibs, I think....
1990: At the misison home in Oklahoma with the G'rents
1991: At the Bergeson's home in SLC with Kevin (I think we were breaking up)
1992: On my mission--transferred to Rockingham from Tarboro, my first night in Rockingham was NY Eve, and I stayed there until September transfers.
1993: On my mission--first week in Southern Pines, NC
1994: Party hopped with old HS friends, ended up at home counting down with Matt Basham (Hi, Matt!) --oh, no, wait...I think that was 1991. Did I go to Ohio? I don't remember, but I was living at Ruper Five with Heidi and Erin that year.
1995: In Pinehurst NC with all the young adults there (Adam, BJay, etc.)
1996: In Tucson, at the Bingham's big party with A2, dreamy midnight kisses and Square Pegs on TV
1997: Same thing as '96, I think, pretty much. Oh wait! I was with A2, but I think that's the year that Liz Kersey made a gourmet dinner for all us friends. That was so fun!
1998: Party at the Palmers in Alpine, UT with A3
1999: Day at Disneyland, night at regional dance across the street from Disneyland with Steve Mackay and friends; took off early to celebrate Y2K at my mom's in Ramona, CA.
2000: Hung out with Rich doing wedding announcements
2001: Surprised the Melins by coming up to Livingston with Baby Addie; watched Lord of the Rings in the theatre and watched Dick Clark on TV.
2002: Can't remember--were we here or on the road home from Texas Christmas? My fabulous scrapbook tells me we were on our way home, staying with Jill and Drew in SLC playing board games.
2003: I was prego and we were super sick and we stopped and spent New Years Eve in Tempe/ Higley with the Halls/Arnetts. Celeste and Ryan let us sleep over at their (then) new house. Celeste was pregnant with Max and I was pregnant with Heidi.
2004: At my in-laws'--Read about it HERE
2005: In Sierra Vista--read about it HERE
2006: In Tucson, in a bit of turmoil--read about it HERE
2007: In Livingston, partially with the Bates Family, then all by myself at home while everyone slept for the countdown--see pix HERE

...and tonight we are all in our jammies at 7pm, ready to play wii and eat treats with our Gray cousins (across the street) and ring in 2009. I will be exorcising my tummy demon (made of holiday junk food, I am sure; I told Rich today that I am having "an intestinal infarction" --I made that up, but I am seriously cleansing!), starting with this berry smoothie and no meat, dairy, or white stuff for a couple of weeks. Gotta love myself a little for the new year, ya know!

Have a great one, y'all...start the new year off right and celebrate havign the ESSENTIALS: food, shelter, and LOVE.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Brotherhood of the Traveling Facial Hair

Seriously, how cute are you guys?
(my bro/cousins in 1997 & 2008)
Here's a get-well-shout-out to my poor sister, Jill, who has taken a tumble and sprained her ankle. At press time, she was inthe ER getting X-rays. Pobrecita...I hope you're 100% soon! That is so lame! (no pun intended...)

Blasphemous or Adorable?

While I was unloading/unpacking the trip stuff this morning, Addie and Heidi decided to build this nativity scene with their stuffed animals...Baby Jesus was a FurReal Chimp and his manger was a new sled from Uncle Mike.Zoo animals came to adore the baby chimp instead of farm animals...

James was supposed to be a wiseman, but he was too excited about trains and hats to play along.

Can I Get a Hallelujah?...

...the Christmas photos are posted! Below you will find three slideshows of our Arizona trip, which you can double click to see larger. Enjoy them!

One of my faves from the AZ pix...James and Peeps being so sweet!

Trip to Arizona

Fun in Sierra Vista

Christmas Slideshow

Monday, December 29, 2008

Just in case you were wondering, we are indeed alive. The weather on our ride home was terrible just ahead or behind us, but it was like the parting of the Red Sea as we drove home mostly on dry ground. We are grateful for our safe arrival and your prayers on our behalf.

As I listen to my kids squealing with delight as they Wii-bowl, and the 60-mph-wind/blizzard howls outside my warm, comfy home, I reflect on the past three weeks with so much love and affection in my heart. Thanks to all the loved ones who hosted us, visited us, gifted us, or just shared hugs and chats over this holiday. We feel so very richly blessed, our greatest blessings being the relationships we share with our families and the other amazing friends God has places in our paths. Thanks for strengthening us with your love and support and making our lives so sweet in so many tiny ways. I think of the quote from Dead Poets Society..."And medicine, law, business, engineering--these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love--these are what we stay alive for."

I will post the photos and log of our adventures after I get my wee ones to sleep tominght, so check back's going to be AMAZING. XOXO

Monday, December 22, 2008

Guess Where We Went Today?

After a quick lunch with the delightful Dorathys, we headed down into the San Pedro River Valley to see some cowboy towns, and now we are all cozy at Aunt Marti's in Sierra Vista. Viva la familia!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Twelve Hundred Miles in Nineteen Hours

So yeah...

we left Livingston at 2:30pm yesterday and we arrived here inNorth Phoenix at our beloved Laytons' around 10:30am. We stopped for a half hour at Petersens' in Lehi at 11pm. We picked up my cutie bro, Sam, and visited with Jill and Drew for a few minutes (great gifts, Sue!), and we were off. Sam drove the toughtest leg, midnite to 4am, from Payson to Kanab...what a trooper! I cruised into Flagstaff around 7:30am and we had a super yummy breakfast and a little shopping at Cracker Barrel. The rest of the drive was so much fun...I sat in the back with the kids and we sang a long to the Elf soundtrack and colored pictures with color wonder markers.

Now Sam and Kristen (and her teeny tiny baby belly) are making us dinner, we are watching Mickey's Twice , Upon A Christmas, snuggling and so happy. All the kids had baths and we all napped (while Kristen entertained the girls). Life is good (even tho our President tried to pull a deplorable fast one today), and we hope the peace and fun continues. Our prayers are with all y'all who have more traveling to's a little stormy out there...

and LAST BUT NEVER LEAST, Happy Birthday to Laura & Lisa, my beloved twin sisters. Happy Anniversary to Jill & Drew, and Happy June Roses Day (Geo, we are sharing memories over dinner tonight--I shall return and report on our June Roses later).

Monday, December 15, 2008

What a Weekend

Family Christmas Party Slideshow

(double click to open in bigger window)
I am a crazy person.

But sometimes it's fun to be a little nuts.

On Wednesday night, my mom & Mark arrived (with Abby, Marshall, my nephew Cody, and thier dog, Sydnie) from Vancouver and surprised the livin' daylights outta me (I expected them Thursday night). It was so fun to see them! I couldn't wait to give mom her special gift, so I gave it to her that night--a hard-bound photo book called "The Cancer Chronicles" with all her blogs and some photos from the past 7 months. It made her cry like a little baby (I am so glad she loved it) and Mark immediately ordered a few more copies. After they got settled, we watched An Unlikely Mormon: The Conversion Story of Glenn Beck (so good). I got my kiddos to sleep and hung out with Mom, Mark, and Cody for a while, then finally hit the hay, exhausted (but I'd get more and more exhausted and less and less sleep as the weekend went on).

Thursday we cooked and cleaned and got ready for the Friday Family Fiesta. That night we had our Melin Agency Office Party, so Mom & Mark babysat for us from 5-7pm. We got home and got the kids to bed and hung out some more.

Friday was more of the same--party prep, hanging out, watching Christmas movies, singing and dancing to Christmas songs, etc. Just when we were throwing the prep into high gear, Laura called and said her car had broken down on the way to pick up the boys and come to Livingston. Matt saved the day with his extra truck, and they were all able to come over from Helena together, even though they were 3-1/2 hours later than they expected. We all went downstairs and watched a show while we waited for them to arrive...they got here at 7:30 and the ham was a little dry, but surprising them with MOM was totally worth it. We were all so tired, but so happy to be together! We ate dinner, then we made candy trains and houses til almost 11pm (yeah, the kids were pretty nuts by then--have a mountain of sugar and stay up 3 hours past your bedtime THREE NIGHTS IN A ROW! They were pretty charming at church today!).

Overnight a huge storm blew in from the north, so Saturday morning we had breakfast and opened White Elephant gifts as a blizzard dumped snow over Montana. Addie dressed as St. Lucy and served tangerines, muffins, and gingerbread to her grandparents. It was so fun to watch the snow fall, but it made our travelling guests a little nervous, so Postums and Lehmans headed back to Helena after lunch. The rest of us took a rest and got ready to have a few of our ward friends over to celebrate Sankta Lucia Day (the kick-off of Swedish Christmas festivities) after a delicious dinner of Cody's homemade chili and cornbread. As we were eating dinner, our power went out and was out for three hours, which put a bit of a damper on our party. But the Larsons and the Holms still came and we celebrated by candlelight. It was even more symbolic when our St. Lucy/ Addie ("bringer of light") came down the stairs with her crown of candles to serve our guests. Our friends went home and we set up airbeds so we could all sleep together downstairs together and snuggle for warmth. Just as we were snuggling down, the power came back on. So we watched a Christmas show and hit the hay.

Sunday we all went to our sacrament meeting together. I was half hoping they would cancel the rest of church (as they are wont to do when a big storm comes and keeps members in the outter reaches of the ward from coming in to church) because I felt under-prepared for Sharing Time. But I did it, and with Debbie's help we had a fun Primary day today, even though there only about 15 kids there! After church, we came home and Mom and Mark had packed their car and cleaned up our house and put lunch on the table (a smorgasbord of yummy party leftovers). After lunch, we made them open the gifts we brought them from Europe, and then we said good bye. They left to visit Matt & Laura in Helena, we left to take a long winter's nap. It was a GREAT weekend, topped off with a much-needed rest and quiet evening.

I love my family so much! We are nutty as fruitcakes, but we have a blast. And I love my Melin family, too---it's so nice to have such a huge group of awesome people to call my own. Merry Christmas and Safe Travels to all of you!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Happy, Happy Heart Music

This has been the best 16 hours-or-so since I came home from Europe! I am so excited to be preparing for our Christmas parties! So fun!
This morning as I glazed the ham, I listened to my favorite Christmas mix CD and I thought my heart might burst as I listened to Fairytale of New York. I know that it's hardly a reverent Christms song, but the orchestration at the end is so amazingly beautiful, it gets me everytime. LOVE IT! Oddly enough, I love it even more since my visit to the UK.
So because I love you, I'll share some Pogues with you (like I do every year).
Merry, merry!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Merry & Bright

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here, what with the huge snowfall on Tuesday and having our home all decorated. We started early this year because we are going to Arizona for Christmas and we wanted to enjoy some Christmas at home, too.

Of course our big "at-home" celebration is this weekend. We're so excited for our second-annual Montana Cousins Party, which is a slumber party this Friday-Saturday night. We have a big ham dinner, a cocoa/cookie bar, Christmas music and movies and a yummy breakfast and white elephant gifts in the morning. I am so looking forward to it, and from then on it's just party, party, party (Well, except the part where we drive 20 hours, but the new ipods, laptop, kids' DVDs and Christmas booty will make that fun, too). Can't wait to see you, Postums and Lehmans!

I emptied my camera again and found more Heidi gems, so I will post teh hidge-podge of pix for your viewing pleasure.

Heidi & Cousin Rosalie
Two Silly Girls
(Heidi is glad that Rosie is just across the street!)

Addie's First Grade Thanksgiving Program

Addie the friendly Indian (11/20/08)

Heidi's Recent Photos

Daddy on 11/30

Play Doh Pal

Unpacking the Nativity

James being naughty (he's climbing in the kitchen)

Abominable and Yukon Cornelius, with Hermey, Clarice, adn Rudolph in the background (this set was Rich's gift from my mom last year).

Clarice and Rudolph

Heidi and Addie with Heidi's bedroom tree

James, Addie, and Heidi (I took this at Heidi's request last Sunday 11/30)

Addie took this photo of Heidi and her tree.

Monday, December 08, 2008

"I Can't Believe My Eyes!"

Heidi handed me this picture last night and said, "Look, mom--she's saying 'I can't believe my eyes!'" She slays me.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

An Interview With Heidi

Copied this from Jill...interview conducted at 8:39am on December 4th:

1. What is something mom always says to you? Uh, I love you
2. What makes mom happy? Doing good things
3. What makes mom sad? Doing bad choices
4. How does mom make you laugh? Funny Faces
5. What was mom like as a child? You were like me. You were a little crazy and you liked to hold hamsters
6. How old is your mom? 28
7. How tall is your mom? 68
8. What is her favorite thing to do? Snuggle with her little Lynners
9. What does your mom do when you're not around? Go on a nap or take care of Bubby
10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? Getting in graduations
11. What is your mom really good at? Making cookies
12. What is your mom not very good at? I don’t know
13. What does your mom do for her job? Washing clothes and dishes and the hotel
14. What is your mom's favorite food? Guacamole
15. What makes you proud of your mom? Doing reaaly, really good things
16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be? Conny-nonny-jo
17. What do you and your mom do together? We play together and bake muffins
18. How are you and your mom the same? We both have some work to do (spoken like a true Melin!)
19. How are you and your mom different? We are different girls, and I am small and she is big
20. How do you know your mom loves you? Because you’re Jamie Melin, you’re my mommy.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Love Came Down at Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, Jamie gave to you...
a really fun Christmas song/video to watch
{inspired by Rob & Geo's '07 Christmas card, which I have just framed and hung as part of our holiday decor...LOVE SHALL BE OUR TOKEN!}

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

My Practice Baby

Check out this post aboout my darling niece...that photo of her just kills me! Isn't she lovely???I can't believe she's growing into a young woman so fast. Ally, we love you so much. We know the past couple of years have been challenging, and the challenges will continue, but you can keep your faith strong and remember who you are and how many people love and support you. Then you can overcome anything and keep excelling. It was so great to watch you and Addie have so much fun together last week. I am grateful she gets to have such a cool cousin to be her example and friend! Have a great birthday!

'Til We Meet Again...

Rest in peace, Elder Wirthlin.


Dear Loved Ones,                                                                                                                         1...