Friday, December 31, 2010

Reviewed

I've been working on our family video this week.  I'm slowly heading out of scrapbooking and hoping to make DVD's and a nice bound book for each year.  Starting next year -- which means I need to scrapbook the stuff up til' now.  Of course, plus the blog which I publish every other year.  Let's not pretend like this family doesn't have history.

But life is SO full of ups and downs.

I as watching the movie so happy about all the fun things our family has done this year and then I get a flash of our dear friend/family member that died.  It's just so hard to realize that life HAS to go on, regardless of the changes.

Bringing it back to the previous post, can you imagine how Mary felt after Jesus died.  Can you imagine her hopes and dreams and how they were now just over.

I think we get glimpses of that every now and then, and then to realize that He lives.  The ultimate hope is what helps us to keep on keepin' on.  So, as life changes, we can roll with the flow.  And somehow I'll have to figure out how to write the new date.  That always takes me a few months....

Happy New Year let's hope it minimizes the change, shall we?

A Christmas Wrap-Up

The King of Kings - Criterion CollectionAhh, wrapping... it's following me...

But I did want to share one other thing I was thinking about the nativity.

When Jesus came to this earth everyone had visions about how he was going to save them.  I'm sure Mary thought he'd really be the king of kings and that he would rule and reign over this earth in wisdom and love.  I know a lot of other people thought that too.  The Jews had a very specific thought in their mind, so much so that they missed the savior -- the thing they had been looking for.

And yet his life was full of trials, and meanness, healing, serving those around him and showing Gods love for man.  It didn't turn out at all how they'd expected but it was perfect.  It was just what we truly needed, not a king but a savior to save us all.

We too get so caught up in thinking our life should/will be a certain way.  We are looking for something, be it money, a better job, a job at all, obedient children... but it's up to us to watch and listen with our hearts for what is REALLY supposed to be.  Our eyes can surely fool us.

I guess that's my main new years resolution, and it's not really one that can be measured... but to listen and watch with my heart.  What should I be doing.  What would He have me do, and to know that it will always turn out alright in the end if we are doing our part of listening with our hearts.  Merry Christmas everyone, and a very happy new year.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

What I Learned from My Scriptures: Light

We're starting New Testament study in church this year.  I'm excited, I got a great love for the New Testatment as I read it along with The Living Christ last year at Christmas.  I was reading this AM when this scripture caught me
John 1:4 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
I've been thinking a lot about how lucky I am to have really felt the spirit with me through my whole life.  Sure, there have been dark times when maybe I wasn't as close to it as I would have liked to have been but I have always knew that God loved me and that if I did the right things I could have the peace of the spirit with me.

I've also always loved the metaphor of Jesus and light.  Without light you can't see a thing.  You are lost.  I'm sure some of you have been in a cave where they turn out the lights and wow, it is dark, and scary.  But, just one little light -- a cell phone, a pen light and your eyes can see a little.  How grateful you are for that light.

But to have the light near you and to not recognize it.  That must be hard.  I guess we can all get to a point where we don't recognize the light because we've turned so far from it.

I just think we need to remember to look for the light.  Look for the good in others, see tiny miracles in those around us.  I want to share light with those who might be seeking for it.  I'm hoping to make that one of my new years resolutions.

Anyway, those are my thoughts for the day.  I hope there is plenty of light in your life today.  I love looking at Christmas lights during this festive time.  I can't BELIEVE how many amazing light displays are set to music  around here, it's been really fun to drive around and look at them.  I'm glad that light is a symbol of the holidays, it is such a good reminder.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Thoughts on the Ol' Teen Mom/16 and pregnant

Uh, teen mom.  Why does everyone hate you so?  I mostly hate how people say it glamorizes the life of a teen mom.  HAVE ANY OF YOU SEEN THIS SHOW?  Uh, no one hates a teen mom more than mom.  I am a advocate of celibacy until marriage, I was a virgin until I was married and I will tell my kids that it's important they stay that way too.

But this show doesn't glamourize the teen moms.

Not a bit.

It consistantly shows that these girls think they'll be able to do it all once that baby comes, and it consistantly show that the baby comes and the crap hits the fan.  Those girls have no support, they have no money, and have lost their teenage years.

EACH girl says they wished they had waited.

Honestly, I do think that 16 and pregnant is a better show.  I do really think there are some girls out there thinking twice about having sex if they've seen that show.  It makes me never want to have a baby again. :)

But, I also think that teen mom is taking it a little too far.  I do think someone from the show should've stopped Amber as she beat her boyfriend.

This show is about people who have made bad choices, and hopefully we can learn from those choices.  But if we continue to allow them to make more and more bad choices as we watch, then that's no good. 

I did just watch the one where Ashley makes the hard decision to give her baby up for adoption.  Honestly, that is the only happy ending for the girls on this show. I am so happy that Kaitlyn's situation has turned out so well and I hope it's a good example for girls in the same situation.  I hope Ashley's continues as well.

So, should I stop watching?  The happy news it that Teen Mom and 16 and pregnant are both available online for my viewing pleasure when I have an hour to sit down and enjoy some TV. :)

Not So In Love

I bet you thought I was talking about Drew... but I'm not.  I love him all the more as I sat in bed ALL DAY yesterday enjoying youtube videos on makeup (don't worry, a post will follow) and also trying to figure out what to do with THIS problem.

I don't love my steam mop.

We've had a lot of problems wtih it, considering we've had it less than a year (and it has a year warranty).  This culimnated in being unable to get the mop head off on Monday, so after a call with customer service they said we should just return it to Costco.  So we did.  Yes, I sang the praises of my Shark Steam Mop not too long ago, and I do love how it cleans but the quality just isn't what I liked.  Also, I'd like a handheld one to do my bathroom as well, and wouldn't it be fancy if those two items could be combined?

It sure would.

So, it's come down to two items.  The Wagner and the McCulloch.  Honestly, they look almost the same.  I think I lean towards the Wagner, just because of the price.

Does anyone have experience with either machine?  I'd love real opinions, both of them seem pretty great on Amazon. :)  I would know this because I read almost all of them yesterday on my phone.

I love Drew.  He's the best.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

No really, it's a sick day.

Bear Feels SickDrew's home, I was supposed to work -- but I called in sick.  My uvula is taking action against me.  It's time to fire back.

So, today I'm taking a sick day for all the days I can't.  I'm really going to lay in bed and feel the joy of my sheets and no children touching me, or asking what's for the next meal.

I'll drink warm drinks and have a bon bon or two, we even have some.

My latest thing is to watch videos on how to apply makeup on youtube.  I find it  FACINATING.  I got a really great makeup set from Costco made my Stila and I'm excited to make myself look a bit more glamorous.  Wonder if Drew can bring the wii into our room so I can also enjoy some netflix. Hmm...

Anyyway, what do you like to do when you're sick?  What do you always wish you could do.  Let me fulfill your dreams. :)  I may even read a book.  How about THAT.  Maybe I'll make a list of things I'd like to accomplish this year.... maybe I'll pull out my new sewing machine manuel... maybe {gasp} I will nap.

Who knows?  All I know is I'll feel the pain of my illness the whole time.  Hopefully by tomorrow I'll feel like a whole new gal. :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

An Update On Internet TV

Well, we've been off cable for a few days now, and I must admit I think I'm the one having the hardest time, with Conner coming in a close second.  I worry about the shows I am no longer going to be able to watch... Sister Wives seems to be nowhere on the Internet and that's just super sad for me, of course. 

We have a lot of options for viewing entertainment though
  • Hulu Plus -- this streams directly to our Sony Internet enabled TV.  I don't love how I can't resume watching a show.  I can pause it, but if I have to stop I have to fast forward to find where I was.  Booo.  Plus, the commercials.  Extra Boo...  Looks like they're working on fixing some bugs and making it more user friendly.  We have this free for like 11 weeks I do believe so that will give us some to figure out if we really want it (after that it's 7.99/month).
  • Netflix, also streams to our TV.  LOVE it.  I'm finding all KINDS of amazing documentaries.  I watched one the other day on death.  Let's just say it had my name all over it.  Plus, we also get 2 dvd's month on the one that we're using.
  • Crackle -- just saw this one today, they have a lot of old episodes like different strokes, and some old spider man cartoons that could be useful.  I haven't heard much about this one so far, but it's streaming to my TV for free.
  • Amazon on Demand -- kind of expensive, but I think if we really wanted to watch something, it's an option since we're saving 70 bucks/month by not using cable.  Sadly, no TLC shows.  Booo...
I think we're going to buy something that will wireless transmit an HDMI signal to our TV from our computer (we have an HDMI slot, as well as a TV tuner on our computer, hence we can tape shows and watch them from our computer if we can get this to work.  Also, there's some stuff you can watch on hulu that won't stream to my TV so that would be handy as well.  Has anyone done this and has a type of this to recommend?  I hate watching stuff ON my tv screen... so this would be a good option, especially for BYU-TV.

Anyway, I'd love to hear from anyone else who has done this type of thing.  It sounds like most people have just decreased their overall viewing, but since we've all been sick around here lately we're just finding new ways to amuse ourselves...

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Very Merry Christmas

Nothing says Merry Christmas like staying home with a sick child after taking care of one of the most selfish patients I've ever met.

But, Christmas it is and the presents are almost wrapped.  If only I could curl up for a wink or two, I doubt I'll have a problem sleeping through Santa's visit tonight!

The cards are all sent, and I must apologize.  We just couldn't send out as many as usual (HUGE technical difficulties) but never fear, I plan to send out the whole list next year.  For those who didn't make the cut, here's our card for the year:


Here's hoping the reason for the season is still burning bright in your heart.  Loves to you all.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

So Long

Sony Bravia EX700 Series 46-Inch LED HDTV, BlackThe long day has finally come, we are rid of digital cable ala Comcast.  When we bought this TV it came internet enabled, so the whole plan was to ditch cable and surf the internet wave.  However, it took a while for hulu to be ready for our fine TV, but it now is.  So we have taken the plunge.

I'll admit, I'm nervous and sad.  For, you see, Mr. Hulu doesn't give a gal a lot of reality tv, which is basically what I subsist on.  Sad news, my friends.  I'll be forced to watch teen mom and 16 and pregnant on my computer, which I am not a fan of.

We can hook our other computer up to the TV... if necessary.

But for now we have basic cable (which is only 10 bucks when you already have their internet), a DVR on our computer, hulu and netflicks.  This will cost about 60 bucks less/month.

And we know how I love to save money.

Also, we really felt like if we didn't do it now it would be REALLY hard to rip that bandaid off our kids in a few years.

What will I do without the Duggars and Sarah Palin?  I-yi-yi.

Have you made the switch to internet TV?  How do you manage?  Do you cry and sit in the fetal position?

Escapee

Guess who found her little way out of the crib last night.

P, that's who.

Seems like all my kids do it when they're fairly tiny.  Our rooms aren't very big so there is often furniture next to the crib that makes escaping a little easier.  When I find them at the door I see scared little faces which I must admit that I compound by saying, "NO. We do NOT get out of our crib!"  And then we hug for a little and I say how scary it must've been and how they shouldn't do it again.

It usually works.

I hear about people who get their babes out of their crib at about 18 months because of similar shenanigans.

It's all about scare tactics people.  And nuclear weapons. :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wrap rap

Pft-pft-pa-pa-pft-pft-pa
Presents, presents, they're everywhere.
all in Amazon boxes and out of view.
screaming, chanting...
wrap us.

I ignore.

Wow, that was a good one.

Not looking forward to my wrapping marathon that is tomorrow.

I am working a lot.  Heavens knows I love my job. :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Toys, Toys, Toys

Gears! Gears! Gears!® Beginner's Building SetToday I switched out the kids toys.  I do that every 6 weeks.  And yes, it's a reminder on my astrid on my phone to do it.  Take that.

But this post isn't about being anal.

This BLOG is about being anal.

This post is about toys.

My kids BEG to play wii, or computer or watch TV, but they have a TON of really cool toys.

So, why don't they play with them?

Honestly, I'm not sure they know how cool they are.  I also worry they don't want to clean them up.  Because, with the wii or computer or TV, there's no cleaning up.

So, my goal for the next few days is to show them how COOL what they HAVE is.  Play with them for a bit, get them interested in the art of play for a bit longer. 

How do you remind your kids that their toys are cool?

I'm also weeding out toys that maybe really aren't cool anymore.  Ta-da.  Go me.

And So, this is Christmas

Uh, what a day!  Millions of errands, millions of kids, or so it seems. 
Plus, what are the chances I end-up spending more on a certain husband's stocking then I spent on the rest of his Christmas.  The things that are tiny seem to cost so darn MUCH.
Anyone else?  Husbands, stockings?  Painful?
I am still loving the mail, and staring lovingly at our Christmas tree.  FHE tonight holds some promise of Christmas cheer.
Until then, I trudge through. ;)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Scorched Picture

Picture from the Daily Herald Article

This morning while we were cleaning the church (I love how we get to clean the church, I think there are SO many great lessons to be learned from that, but I digress), I was thinking about how  beautiful our building is and how devastated we'd be if it ever burned down and while I love the Provo Tabernacle, I'm sure there are people out there who have even more fond memories of it.  But, then I was thinking about goldfish I was
vacuuming and the trash Drew was emptying and how our buildings are MEANT top be used.  They want the carpets worn, they want those benches to be worn from bottoms sitting on them.  They WANT them to be used.

And the tabernacle was SO used.  The church was VERY generous in allowing concerts and other productions to be put in there, possibly to a fault.  But, how lucky we were to have it while it was there!

But this picture tells the whole of it.  That whatever happens, if the world is crashing around you, it's only one thing that matters, and if you keep your eye on that ONE thing, nothing else matters.

Just look at that picture?  Do you ever feel like that picture is?  Honestly, I don't think I have, but I do know people who have...  and there He is.

HE is risen, HE is the reason for the season and HE will always get you through.

It's a magical season friends.  I saw a clip from KSL or something taken the morning after the fire where an older gentleman said, "Awh, something good will come of it, I don't know what -- but something will."  Part of me snickered.  But it's true.  Something good does come of things, doesn't it?

It's the most wonderful time of the year....

Elf YOU. :)

Man, my kids love me when I do these....





Wow.

This is an amazing story.
Photo from the Daily Herald Page --
go read their amazing article!
There was a picture of Jesus Christ hanging in the tabernacle and came all charred except for right around Jesus.  Amazing, I'm not one to really be astounded by things like this.  But, wow.

I guess it's headed up to Salt Lake to be preserved by the church.

Learning Through the Nativity: Wrap-Up

Conner asked me the other night while we were at the local nativity why we do so much celebration for Jesus's birth, and not so much for his death.

For me I guess his death isn't really a reason to have a party.  I'm sad that he's dead, I wished he still lived here today.  I am grateful that he suffered for our sins (obviously) but I think that Jesus's death is something you have to celebrate in your heart, and you need to do it each and every day of the year.

BUT, I am grateful that there is so much of a focus on him this time of year.  There are THOUSANDS of people that go to our local nativity.  The man is nowhere near as popular as that event is.  I'm sure most of them don't attend church regularly or speak to him often in humble prayer.  But maybe that nativity sparks something in them.  A remembrance of their soul that Jesus loves them, he loved them enough to be born, and he loved them enough to die for them.

I love nativities I love how my kids can handle them and really LEARN about our Savior in a happy way.  I hope you love them too, and have thought more about how the story can bring meaning to your life at this time of year.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Learning Through the Nativity: The Wise Men

Ahh, the wise men.  Not really sure how accurate the whole wise men thing is, we know they didn't come until Jesus was well into his toddler years... but they did come.

So, what can we learn from them?

I guess the most important thing is to watch and listen.  They didn't have angels (and frankly, so far, neither have I).  Sometimes we have to put a great deal of work into watching and listening to the right cues to find Him.  And, it may also take a long time.

They were men of great stature and wealth, again reminding us that to God it doesn't matter how much money or where we are on the "social ladder". 

But, find him they did, and they gave him great gifts.  Hopefully they were helpful to the new little family.

I am grateful for the long-suffering wise men, and how hard they reached to find Him.  I know I can work hard and with perseverance I too can find Him.

What do you learn from the Wise Men?

Silent Monks Singing Halleluia

On a happier note. :)

Building Sadness

In Utah, they build tabernacles like Californians build Missions.  Each of the larger older towns in Utah has one.  Provo has a lovely one.


It's basically the landmark of Provo.  When pioneer ancestors settled the area they wanted a large building to hold communitiy events in, etc.  Lovely wooden carvings, and a second story with a balcony (which my parents never let us sit in).


I did a lot of musical stuff there.  TONS of high school concerts at this beloved building.  I remember feeling so grown up the first time I was back stage and came on.  It had lovely accoustics and it was an honor to play there.  I was always so amazed that they could just put up a stage for a band and the next day have church meetings there. 

Anyway, I guess it started on fire in the wee small hours of the morning today.  They're not sure if they can save any of it, but I'm sure the lovely carvings and the pipe organ will be a loss.  Here's what it looked like today (I'm keeping it small, because I hate looking at it).  I feel SO sad just thinking about it.  Thinking about those pioneers who spent so much time errecting it.  Sad about all the communty events on hold.  Wondering how God could do this to such a special building.

And then it hit me, bad things happen to good buildings.  Just like bad things happen to good people.  We can't blame God for an accident.  Heavens knows that building was a little rickety (there was a reason my mom didn't want us in the balcony).  I'm sad, but I am happy that no one was hurt when the roof collapsed as I'm sure that would have been REALLY tragic.  I'm glad that I have memories of the friends and family that surrounded me in that buildling, and I hope they'll rebuild it. 

I hate change.  Don't you?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

{uh}

Got my layoff notice in the mail.  Don't get all excited, it just means they MIGHT lay me off.  It's a union thing, them just giving me due notice.  Drew's gotten one of these twice... lucky fellow.

But it hurts.  It hurts to read the lines "your services may no longer be required."

Last night was pretty busy at work, and my patient was having issues and I was tired and I could just FEEL the weight in our unit.  The people, wondering, no peace....

It just wasn't the most wonderful time of the year.

Today I was listening to my MP3 player in the car and the song "Let There Be Peace on Earth" came on.  I remember we used to sing that at our Elementary School song day {I'm pretty sure we also sang Away in a Manger... can you imagine?}  Here's a little reminder of this song via YouTube:



I was just thinking that peace DOES have to start with me.  If I can find that peace and then reach outward...  But how to get that peace?  Well, I must say that peace now has a nice headstart thanks to the fact that the # of people they're laying off got a little lower yesterday.  That puts me pretty well into the safe category.

But, that's not all what it's about.  There needs to be peace in our lives.  I know how I find it and I think for each person it's pretty different.

I do think of that very first Christmas as one of the most peaceful nights.  I'm sure Mary looked at that baby thinking he was going to SAVE the world, that HE would bring peace.  And while he did, he also brought a lot of craziness.  But, for one night they had that peace.  It's such a good feeling.

How do you find peace in your life?

Learning Through the Nativity: The Shepherds

First off, why do you think it was the shepherds that were told?  Because they were awake, because they had easy air access since they were in the fields?  Because they were lowly and meek?  Because they had sheep to give?

It seems like I one time remember why, but I don't remember right now.

For me, I think it's because God knew they would listen. 

And that is the lesson for me.  Does God think that I will listen?  Would he send angels to me, or would he send them to someone else who would more likely listen?

And if he did send an angel, would I run from my fields to find that new baby or would I first get the things done on my "To do" list and then I'd go buy a baby gift and THEN head over?  In our local nativity the shepherds can't get their gate open fast enough to run to see the sweet new babe.  I love that.  I love how they didn't give a second thought to the other things in their life, because they knew what was most important.

What did they do after?  Did they tell their wives, did they tell their families, or did they go back to the field and ponder.  I'd kind of like to know. I'm sure they told people, I'm sure they pondered.  I'm sure it was one of the best nights of their life.

But, then they continued as shepherds, which isn't an easy occupation.  It's not like that spiritual event happened and suddenly they were members of the king's court.

Maybe what I can learn most of all is that amazing things will happen but I still need to live my life so I can see Him when I die.

I'm grateful for the example of the shepherds, and not just because people look awesome in a dishtowel and a headband when impersonating them. 

What can you learn from the shepherds?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Learning from the Nativity: The Babe

What can we learn from the baby who would be our Savior?

Well, I want to focus on the baby himself... as the man deserves more blog entries then I can write right now.

  • Each of us comes to earth in the same way.  Yes, some babies have more challenges then others, but we all come as a bundle of love to a mom and a dad.  Jesus took that life to save each and every one of us, and yet so many lives are wasted by parents and ones self thinking they aren't good enough.  I LOVE that song "Jesus Once Was a Little Child".  Honestly, in the whole world that is our afterlife I really HOPE there are some home videos of what Jesus was like as a child.  I often wonder that as I look at my own children.  Was he silly, did he play tag, did he cry when he was hurt?  Did he whine? :)
  • Jesus came of very lowly circumstances.  He grew up that way and continued that way.  So often we think without money we can't do anything in this world.  Well, we obviously can.
  • His parents did a lot to protect him.  That nasty King Herod, I'm sure there's a special place for him in "heaven".  It's our job to protect our children in the same way, and while it doesn't mean we have to flee to another country (at least, I hope not) it does mean it's our obligation.
Anyway, it's kind of hard to sum up all I feel about that sweet baby.  I LOVE nativities with real babies, because each baby possesses the same ability to change the world (well, not he SAME ability, but I think you get my meaning).  Also, new babies are always such happy things, it's a lovely thing to celebrate.

Do you have thoughts on the sweet newborn babe?

Sprouts, Savemart, Lucky and Safeway Sales

Sprouts
  • Pineapple 99 cents
  • Onions 49 cents
  • Avocados 88 cents
  • Organic Fuji Apples
  • Lettuce 88 cents
  • Pears 88 cents
  • Chicken Thighs 88 cents
  • Standing rib roast 5.99 (is this a good price, I want to make a prime rib type dish one of these nights)
  • Chicken sausage 2.99

Lucky (items with a * are also available at Savemart)
  • Pineapples 2/3
  • Sald BIGIfree*
  • Cuties 3.97*
  • 7-up 79 cents
  • STeamfresh veggies 99 cents*
  • cream cheese 99 cents
  • OJ 2/4
  • Imitation crab 99 cents*
  • Wesson oil 1.99 (with in ad coupon)*
  • 5# Flour 1.49 (with in ad coupon)*

Savemart (plus the Lucky items with a *)
  • Avocados 37 cents (friday saturday sunday
  • Jimmy Dean Sausage 1.99 (also just f, sat or sun)
  • POrk Roast 99 cents
  • Shrimp 4.99
  • Chex 1.67 (must buy 4)

Safeway
  • Thomas English muffings BIGIfree
  • Jimmy deam items BOGO
  • Hillshire farms BOGO
  • Brown n' serve rolls 99 cents
  • Nestle 1.89
  • Safeway spices 30% off
  • diGiorno 3.99 (with in ad coupon)
  • 18 ct eggs 1.49  (with in ad coupon)
  • Huggies 7.99  (with in ad coupon)
Anyone else find any amazing deals?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Darling Kate, Grow Up.

Mama GrizzlyI've been dabbling in a little Sarah Palin's Alaska.  I think it's interesting to see how people live in Alasaka.  How they have to take planes so often, and how they have to worry about wildlife, things like that.

Kate joined Sarah Palin for a camping trip.

I. was. shocked.  I couldn't belive how ungrateful and ungracious she was.  She was rude, she was crying and she let the Palins watch her kids and feed them all lunch.

Word on the street that Kate isn't making much $$ these days and some of the boys were kicked out of Kindergarten for anger management issues.

She may need to get used to camping...

But either way it reminded me to always be gracious as a guest and be thankful for what people are providing you.  It reminded me that Kate thinks she is a movie start and deserves star treatment even though the only thing she has ever starred in is her own life.

Want a clip:

The Happy Mail


70 Christmas Holiday Greeting Note Cards & Envelopes Box Set (Blank Inside)Oh, how I love Christmas cards.  I adore sending my own (not so much the cost of the postage, but even that I apply merrily knowing I'll be getting some in return).  I enjoy writing our letter to let people know what's happening.  Of course, the mess that was my cards this year is over and I can get back onto the Christmas card love....

Today I got one in the mail from one of my dearest roomies Melanie.  I adored this girl, we got along so well.  She truly shaped me into the person that I am.  As I read her card, about her being room mom in all her kids classes and doing her church calling... I realized we are still quite similar, just a whole nation apart from each other.

I remember addressing Christmas cards when I was a tween.  I even loved to help with my parents way back when.  I remember asking my mom who some of the people were who I had no idea who they were.  She'd tell me they were an old roommate.

I thought it was kind of weird that my mom had a life without me, that she had the gal to go out and make friends before I was born.  Of all the nerve.

But, what a happy occasion it is to see these friends smile back at me when I open their precious coverings.  I actually got teary today reading her card.  I miss that life of mine, that we used to share way back at the BYU.  We thought we had so much on our plates... if we only knew.

Anyway, what a happy season, I'm so grateful for the USPS this time of year.  I even rip up my junk mail a little more happily.  Our cards just went out so hopefully you're a lucky one.  We really trim our list every year.  But I'll post it here on Christmas if one doesn't wind its way to you.  I must say I ADORE it when people put even just a little note at the end, just to let me know they were thinking exactly of me when they shoved it in its evelope.  I try to do that.  And regardless, I was thinking of you and if you got one, I do love you.

Merry Christmas blogland.

Your Kids Will Do That Too


Know and Follow RulesWe have an intricate drop off procedure at our school.  It wasn't made for parents that drop off, it was made for kids that walk to school and how I WISH that was us, it's not.

I really like to walk my kids in, that doesn't always happen but it's fairly easy as long as you leave yourself time for the unexpected 5 million things that will show up.

But there are consistently parents who do it "wrong".  And there are 5 million signs up saying how to do it the RIGHT way, and when NOT to drop your kid off, but they often do it, and when I mention that's against the school's safety policy I get a lovely hello with their middle finger.

But seriously, if you don't obey rules, do you think your kids will?  I suppose there are emergencies and who am I to judge (I think that's one of the very MAIN things you can learn from the nativity).  But, today as I was hauling in my donation for the teacher luncheon, with thoughts in my head about the 2 class parties I'm helping to host along with how I'm going to get my Christmas gifts for friends and teachers done, and other gifts for shipping.  Along with what I'm going to serve the missionaries tonight I see a mom do it wrong.

And then I see the Principal standing there giving her what for.

And somehow it made me happy inside.  It made me realize there IS a reason I do all this.  I feel like I'm insanely volunteering myself out this week.  But my kids watch, they see I'm constantly doing things for others.  Hopefully they do things like that for others one day.  Hopefully they realize how important rules are and why everyone needs to follow them so we can all be safe.  Instead of Santa's elves, God gave us children to watch our every move and emulate us.  Oh boy, I'm screwed now. :)

Learning Through the Nativity: Joseph

Poor Joseph.  I think he gets a bum rap.  I mean, Mary gets worshiped and the guy hardly gets a mention amongst us mortals.

But he too was chosen.

I love the primary song that talks about how Joseph swept his shop before leaving for Bethlehem.  How hurt he was that there wasn't a place for them to stay.  How he watched that baby wondering what lay ahead for him.

In reality, Joseph's experience is similar to many new dads.  They can't really figure out their place in all of this.  Many of them feel so lost and confused, as I place that baby in their arms they look at me wondering how they will ever do this.  They are torn between wanting to care for their wife and this new baby....

I love how in our local nativity the shepherds come bounding into the barn.  They're SO excited because they have just seen an angel proclaiming the child's birth.  Imagine how Joseph felt wanting to protect his wife and the new baby.  Kinda awkward....  But I'm sure it was just like that.  Joseph was a good, good man.

So, what can I learn from Joseph?
  • Men do tend to get a bum rap, but have similar trials.  Sometimes women get a lot of the credit where a child is due, but the man deserves just as much.  Sorry Drew.
  • Listen for angels.  Can you IMAGINE how mad he was when Mary told him that?  I can't.  And yet he listened to the angel and his heart was softened.  I think I tend to just be mad and don't think of all the angels or reasons...
  • Make do.  I'm sure that none of this was in Joseph's plans, not having a room, having to haul his extremely pregnant wife on a tiny donkey.  But he made do, and it was sufficient for their needs.

So, what do you learn from Joseph?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Just thought I'd add

Sick day didn't really go.
Still did all my stuff.
When someone invents mommy substitutes please let me know.
K? :)

Learning Through the Nativity: Mary

I did this a few years ago -- trying to decide what each person of the nativity could teach ME.  I mean, they're all included for a reason right?  So, this week I want to think about each person we find in the nativity and think about how I am like them, and what I can learn from them.  I thought I'd go in order of apperance.

Leading to the leading lady, Mary.

I have a really hard time with the worship of the Virgin Mary.  I mean, I think she was a great woman who posessed the qualities necessary to raise Jesus Christ, but I think it's most important to remember that she was a moral, just like me.  I was chosen to raise 3 very special spirits myself...

This isn't to say that I don't think she's quite grand.

I hadn't ever thought that girls in that time knew that one would be chosen to be the mother of Jesus Christ (I think I learned about that last year in my study of Jesus the Christ).  I mean, it was kind of like being picked as homecoming queen.  Imagine all those conflicting feelings.  The excitement of being the chosen one, but also the EXTREME pressure to make sure the SON of GOD had a pleasant mortal experience.  Oh, and then there's the little fact shes engaged to Joseph and they can't really pretend it's his baby.

I think what I can learn from Mary are a few things:
  • Everything will be alright.  At our local Nativity a little girl sings a song called "All is Well" before Mary goes in to have that baby.  I'm sure Mary couldn't have been thinking anything less than all was well.  She was worried about the baby and herself being so far from home.  And yet, all was well.  The baby came so very perfect as He would live the rest of his life.  All truly was well. 
  • Sometimes life is unpleasant.  There are few people who I truly belive deserve a life free of challenges, but Mary may truly be one of those people.  What a test to have to tell Joseph and then have a baby in an unknown setting, and yet Mary had a life FULL of challenges.  Bad things happen to good people.  I think that if anyone suffered so closely to Jesus himself as he died it was her, at his feet watching him suffer.  I can't even imagine.
  • We posess qualities that make us good at what we're doing.  There must be something about Mary that God chose her to raise Jesus and to go through the difficult life that she did. We each have a life laid out for us which will include both good times and challenges.  WE are chosen to have those things happen to us.  It's good to know that God sees those qualities to make us able to do those hard things.
What are your thoughts on Mary?

A Little Snippet of my Morning

A Sick Day for Amos McGeeMe:  "I'm calling in sick today."
Drew: "What, are you working today?"

Me {Conner is whining about a canker sore and I am laying in bed checking my email}: "I'm calling in sick today"
Conner:  "You're working today?"

ME:  LIFE IS SO FREAKING UNFAIR.  Shockingly, my non-work around here makes me AWFULLY tired.

In other news, I'm not realy that sick, I've just had a sore throat following me through my life for the past few days and I'm tired of it.

SICK and tired of it. :)  Just gonna lay on the couch for a bit.  Anyone see something wrong with that?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Memories Wrap-up

Wow, a week full of memories.  Makes me a little teary....

The Proclamation on the Family says
Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities

"Wholesome recreational activities"... and frankly, what is more wholesome than Christmas?

It's an amazing time to gather your family together and really bond, and have a good time together.

And what better gift can you have then a family who's bound together in love?  I know that makes our Savior happy and it is a good gift for him indeedy.

I hope your family has a great Christmas together and you make meaningful decisions on how to make good memories for your family.  I know this series has helped me. :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Favorite Christmas Memories #6: The Christmas Story


The Story of Christmas with its own Advent Calendar (A Golden Book)We had this very book growing up as kids.  Starting on December 1st you're able to start reading through the Christmas story.  It really helped to keep the reason for the season in mind as we went through the holidays.  Then, on Christmas eve the sweet baby is born and we all rejoiced in how happy He makes us all.  It was a very special occasion for each and every one of us.

Thankfully I was able to get my hands on the same book a few years ago.   While it's sometimes hard to stay caught up we do a pretty good job of it.  I like how each day we're reminded of how the world was lost and forlorn before that baby came, of the efforts of Mary and Joseph and how wise men followed the teachings of the prophets to find him.  Of course, it also takes a bit of liberty with the story... but it is golden book and what's a story without a little creative liberty. :)

For our family we also do a couple of other favorites.  We attend Behold the Gift at the Oakland Stake center.  It's the Nativity told with modern dance.  Just with the book you're reminded with all the joy that Jesus brought to our earth.  He is our Savior.  I love how the ending is so happy and reminds us how He makes us happy.

We go to the local Creche exhibit and revel in creches from different countries.  It's fun to see how different countries see how it happened... but it's all centering on that amazing story.  We also then go to dinner at the Palo Alto Creamery... but that's just a bonus. :)

We also go to the local Baptist Nativity.  It's A-mazing.  They do a reenactment of the nativity complete with camels, sheep roman guards.  You're really there.  You realize how HE brings us joy.  HE is the reason for the season and how WE are that lucky that he loves us.  

Anyway, what does your family do to remember the reason for the season?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Elizabeth Smart

I just wanted to say that I think Elizabeth Smart is SUCH an example that no MATTER what your past holds, you can look to the future.

She is also an example of how miracles happen.  I was definitely one of the people who got down on their knees and plead for this Mormon girl's safe return.  I'm so proud of her and her family.  I wish so many good things for her, and I am guessing that they will all happen. :)  I'm sure this day is a very happy one for their family.  SO nice to have it OVER with. 



She is also an example that sister missionaries are unable to speak normal... but that's a blog entry for another day.

Photo Friday: It's Beginning to Look Like...

Technical difficulties.

That's what my life looks like right now, technical difficulties. 
But I sojourned through, just for you. :)
BTW, let's pretend that your computer can't recognize your internal card reader -- it says it has malfunctioned and won't even show the drives.
FYI, just unplug your computer.  You might just save yourself 3 hours...
During naptime.
Which is precious time indeedy.

But without further adieu.

Our church had a "breakfast with Santa" which I thought was just ingenious because the less time I have to spend at our actual ward party the better (you'd have to know this ward to know what I'm talking about).  P was sick, but the boys sat for a photo:


The cutest part was that Spencer told Santa that P would like a dolly, but she couldn't come.  Heart melt.

And, I couldn't let our yearly ornament go without some blog love.  Guess how we came up with it....


Thank you ebay.  We actually have a whole collection of them... Betty, Pebbles, Dino... amazing, I know.

I love our little kid manger scenes.  This is actually the only one that's "up high" the other ones are playable.  I hate it when we lose the baby Jesus though (which happens often). 


And a real photo of our stockings.  Handmade by yours truly.  I did have to stuff them with some newspaper so they didn't look like homeless people stockings.


And since I've had inquiries here are up close versions of each person's.  This first one is S's (if you'll notice, the kids have "curly toe" ones, while the adults have regular ones.


This one is yours truly.  It's my favorite, in case you care.  If anyone knows my scrapbooking style (woah, way back) this is so me.


This one is Conner's.  I love the little lights... And then I covered my poor sewing with some gold trim.


This one is Drew's


And finally, P's -- does that not look like her, what with the flashy peppermints n' all?


I love walking into our living room.  Our red couch really does the season justice.  And while our tree is kinda shoved into a corner, I do like how it's in the window reminding everyone how merry and bright the season is.  I want to do a picture of the outside of our house, because it is super cute too... but I'm paranoid.  Call me crazy. :)


Here's our front door.  We made that wreath before C was even born, and I LOVE the little bells on the door knob (except that they mask the lock under there and I'm unable to obsessively check it every time I walk down the hall without actually going down there).


And here's our tree in its full majesty.  Isn't it great?  It's (I think) a douglas fir.  Drew picked it out one day when we were deseprate.  It's so perfect.  We need a skinny tree in our skinny house.  It makes me love him even more.  Yes, it's fake and it's also pre-lit (although the lights aren't on in this one.. .maybe next week).  I LOVE it being pre-lit.  More than I could imagine I would.


And below our tree you'll find the gift of love where we each stow our presents for Jesus.  Mine might be to care a little less about technical difficulties.

You know, when I look at all of this I really do know it's the most wonderful time of the year. :)  I hope everyone has a wonderful evening.  I'm off to enjoy mine (which involves funeral potatoes... yummm....)

Christmas Memories #5: Decorating

There we those certain this I just adored every Christmas.  My mom made these fabric candy canes that I thought were just amazing.  We also had these angels that would spin around and ding on these chimes when you lit the candles (which, we never did... but just the thought of it was pretty exciting).

We had yearly ornaments on our tree and we had an elf that would come and watch us each year.

I've carried on a lot of these traditions.  I've made us all stockings, which is a fun thing.  I adore all of our little kid manger scenes that they can play with and love (and I just pray all the pieces find their way home).  Our tree is also made of yearly ornaments.  We are hardly having to use other ornments between what the kids bring home (which tend to decorate the "back side" of our tree) and our yearlys.  Drew usually gets some from students.  It's ecclectic but it's all our family.

So, what about you, do you have special decorating items?  Do you revel in bringing them out each year?

Thursday, December 09, 2010

This #@$&(*#@% Christmas Card!!!!

Usually the worst part of the Christmas card is the photo. 
Not so much this year.
I ordered the wrong number
I printed them wrong
I'm glueing
I'm folding
I'm swearing.
Ok, I'm not swearing because I think it's a foul habit of people who are un-creative but if I was a swear-er, I would.
It's really not putting me in the mood.

It's the most, wonderful time....

P.S.  How do you know when enough is enough as far as all of your volunteering, etc?  Sometimes I think I need to volunteer for myself.  Sometimes I think I need to volunteer as a fondue tester. :)

Favorite Christmas Memories #4: Giving is Better Than Recieving

I loved picking out present and I LOVED wrapping them (sadly that memory is only a distant memory as I think of the wrapping that awaits me)... I loved keeping the secret, and sometimes forgetting to keep the secret...

I watched Conner as we went to target last week with his allowance in toe.  He's responsible to pay for his own presents now, and he sometimes forgets that he needs to save and the allure of Candy takes over.  He realized that most of his presents would need to be 5 dollars or less.   But he did it, he picked out great presents for everyone.  He's so excited to "own" that and I know he'll be thrilled when they love them on Christmas day.

And what a great thing that is.  That what you're hoping for isn't what all the hoopla is about... it's also about what you're giving.

So, what do you do, does each child give every other child something, do you draw names?  Do you delight in what your husband is getting?  I think there is a great lesson to be had in giving presents.  I'm so glad that's part of the season. :)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Distracted Mommy Syndrome

DMS
It's pretty common.
Like, you want to get ANYTHING done and your kids say the word mom 12 times in a row.
Yup, you have DMS.

Question is, how do you get over it?

I feel a little distracted right now.  It's warranted but my husband is Mr. Concert this week and I signed myself up to help with stuff, babysit, bring giant pants of potatoes to our ward party, along with trying to deal with my regular life and the fun extras I learned about lately.

But this just leads me down a path of being snippy and mean, and I don't want to be that mom.

So how do you get over DMS?  Just to say that going to a spa isn't on the plans.  Neither is giving my credit card to my nanny and driving down the coast.

Both of them were considered.

I've begged my kids for 5 minutes of alone time, but it just does NOT happen.  It simply can't.  The world can not function without me.  And that bugs me.

Does it bug you?

Favorite Christmas Memories #3: Snow

This one's a hard one being here.  I LOVE Snow, on Christmas.  No other time.  I don't miss it a single other day of the year but sometimes it's just hard to get into the spirit of things when it's bright and sunny outside.

I remember snow coming up to my hips when I was little.  I remember making snowmen with my dad and "helping" to shovel.  It was SO  much fun to come inside and get warm with the hot chocolate. {Sigh}

At the local Christmas in the Park they have snow blowers that blow out soap-type flakes onto the kidlets below.  I get sad every time I watch my kids jostle to get a flake on them.  Last year we went to Utah and had a great time in the snow together.  It's free, it's fun, and Conner could last in it all day if I'd let him.

I should be happy that I can get my kids bikes and scooters for Christmas and not worry that they won't be able to use them.... and I should never think that the grass is greener in this part of the world as we'd all die if there was more than a skiff of snow on the roads here.

But I do miss it.

Do you have fun snow adventures or do you miss it where you are?  If you have it, take a moment to be happy for it while you're taking 3 hours to get your kids dressed to go out in it. :)

A Little Life Drama for Your Reading Pleasure

Sorry about last night's overly dramatic blog post.  I just wasn't quite ready to "put it out there" and really type what's going on.  Sometimes it's better to just do a blog entry about Christmas traditions.  I mean, those are happy things, am I not right?

But, today I'm ready.  The hospital that I work at has been having an operating loss the last few years... and my shifts are getting further and further apart...  and yesterday during a meeting they announced they'd be doing layoffs.  I, of course, wasn't at that meeting but I received an email.  Per diems (which I am, and that basically means I work when I can) will be the first laid off.  Hence, I am being laid off.  I mean, the chips are still going to fall and blah, blah, blah but I'm pretty sure I'll be out of a job.

Of course, getting news like that isn't great.  You instantly think about your family and how you'll provide and how you'll go on.  I was pretty upset yesterday afternoon.  Of course, to the naked eye it looks like Drew and I have been spendthrifts lately but we just got to a point where our savings was pretty comfortable, should anything happen.  And now something has happened.

So, this morning in the shower I think about our budget.  We're currently throwing a lot of "extra" at our mortgage and our IRA's, and we can cut those out -- at least for a bit.  And shockingly, if I am not making money that decreases our tithing by quite a bit.  Long story short, we're fine.  We're a little short, but there are some "luxury" items we can cut-out.... and we're gonna switch to Hulu from digital cable (which was our plan anyway).  And we still have a nice savings.  Not to mention Mr. Obama and his extending those tax cuts.  Thank you for that, no so much thanks for the Healthcare overhaul.  You big jerk.

This morning I worked out with a pit in my stomach.  It's just sad news no matter how you look at it.  I HATE looking for/ training for new jobs.  It's just not a favorite of mine.  I don't like uncertainty.  I also really like my job, and I will be sad to leave it.  As I finished the workout and got down on my knees to pray and read the scriptures the idea that faith and fear can not co-exist entered my mind.  I told Heavenly Father that I had complete faith that he would make our family alright.  I told him that I hated having this pit in my stomach and I knew that he could take that away... and he did.  I am pitless, unless you count the bottomless one that is my actual stomach. :)  Well, and my armpits.  Those are pretty awesome too. :)

I feel bad feeling badly, because we are so OK.  There are a lot of people at my job who aren't so lucky and are in much more precarious positions.  My heart goes out to those people, and I pray for them.

Anyway, I'm not writing this blog for sympathy but I am realizing that a lot of job hunting is networking and thinking about who you know.  I'm not in a position to take any ol' job.  I mean, if money was the issue I'm pretty sure I could find a job fairly quickly.  I've been a nurse for a LONG time in a lot of different fields... but I need to find the job that's right for me AND my family (if it was just for me I think I'd go get an awesome ER job, I've always wanted to work ER).  If you know of anything that I'm qualified for I'd love an email.  I mean, I have no idea who reads this blog... I'm sure they all adore me! :)  I'm sure at least 1/2 of those people want to HIRE me. :)

Also, this blog is starting to bring in a little cash each month and I wouldn't mind a little love on your own blog.  I'd love some new readers, some clicks on the ol' advertising...  I must admit the ads that blogher finds are pretty appealing.  Miss P could use some weebles, I'm fairly sure.

Anyway, sorry about last night's "disguised" post.  I just wasn't ready to say it.  I've been working pretty much since I was 18.  A small part of me wonders if this isn't the time where I learn to play stay at home mom for real, but a large part of me really wants to keep up with a job. I know Heavenly Father knows my needs though, and he'll figure out what our family needs.  He's always done it before.

Anyway, blah, blah, blah I still have a job right now so I should get busy keeping my life in order.  I'm so grateful for the blog and how I can think out my thought process so clearly on here.  Thanks for reading this (if you made it through).  I hope you never get in this situation (although I'm sure plenty of you have), but if you do, maybe these thoughts will give you a little comfort too.

Happy holidays readers, it's the most wonderful time of the year! :)

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Grocery Sales This Week

Being frugal is going to be extra important at our house as of late.  I'm excited to really get back into shopping with purpose. :)

Sprouts
  • Walnuts 3.99
  • Blackberries 97 cents
  • Green Peppers 4/1
  • Avocados 77 cents
  • Squash 77 cents
  • Apples 77 cents
  • Bulk Cheese 40% off (great time to get a fancy cheese to use in a recipe)
  • Chicken tenders 1.97
  • Butter Toffee Peanuts 1.99
  • Pork Sausage (various kinds) 2.99

Savemart/Starred ones also available at Lucky
  • Pork Roast 99 cents *
  • Salad buy 1 get 1 free *
  • Cuties 3.99 (fri, sat and sun)
  • Corn dogs BOGOfree
  • Celery 69 cents
  • Kikoman Soy Sauce 99 cents *
  • Keebler Crackers 1.49  (must buy four) *
  • Hasbrown patties 1.49 (all of these last items require an in-ad coupon) *
  • Old Orchard 99 cents *
  • Frozen Vegetables 99 cents *
  • FF Chicken Nuggest 3.99 *

Safeway
  • Oscar Meyer Bacon BOGOfree
  • Hot Pockets 1.69
  • Honey Bunches of oats (I didn't write this down, I think it's 1.69
  • *ALL OF THE ABOVE ITEMS ARE ONLY ON SALE FRI, SAT and SUN
  • Bread 1.29 (I sometimes buy their nasty bread for french toast)
  • Clementines 4.97
  • Crackers buy 5 get 5$ off (they had cheese nips, all bran, etc. after $ off ranged from 99 cents to 1.99)
  • Condensed soup 3/1
  • Huggies 8.99 (not a great deal but I need some overnights)
I hope this is helpful to someone. ;)

A Gentle Reminder

Elements Deep Traditional 10pc, 4.5 Inch Nativity with Wood CrecheSuffice it to say that today hasn't been my favorite day of all time.

I got some pretty ugly news.

But then it was straight home with like 12 kids (ok, it just SEEMED like twelve, I swear they multiply after school) saying, "mom, mom,mom, mom,mom,mom, moooooooommmmmmmmmm"  Then it was off to an exhibit of Christmas Creches.  And there it hit me.

This sweet tiny babe that each art piece revered has been through so much worse.  His life was filled with temptations and sadness and taunting and yet he held his head high and He was the one who made it all better, as He can for us.

A big reminder that even when things seem so awfully down, they really aren't.  And in reality they really aren't.  We are so thoroughly blessed as a family, and well prepared.  That baby will help us make it through, because he loves me, just like He loves you.

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