Friday, December 31, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I have two distinct groups of kids; my big kids and my little kids.  For many years I called the little kids “the babies,” until it was forcefully pointed out to me that (at around five) they were definitely not “babies” anymore.  At that point we tried several new labels and finally ended up calling them “the littles,” and I still often think of them that way.  But recently I’ve had a couple of moments that have shown me that they really aren’t babies anymore.

This beautiful picture taken by Melissa this fall makes that quite clear.


Then on Christmas night Rachel asked if she could play Likewise with us.  I was sure she couldn’t—she would never be able to
  1. come up with an answer
  2. that would match anyone else’s answer. 

But do you know what?  I was wrong.  She totally held her own in the game, and I was shocked.  Yesterday morning when I came downstairs for breakfast I found all of the kids—the big ones and the little ones—playing Likewise again. 

December 2010 472


Sunday night Russ wanted to play Pictionary as a family.  I was pretty sure that was a bad idea. 

Everyone loved it, and everyone did just fine.

December 2010 463

Tonight we had fun guests over for dinner and games, but they left a bit on the early side.  We were just getting going and really wanted to play “Things,” one of the games Cindy Lynn and Mahon got for Christmas.  Their friends gone, the little kids came in and asked if they could play Things with us.  Once again, my first reaction was was to tell them that they weren’t old enough.  But someone else said sure, they could play.  And once again, I was SO WRONG!

The game of “Things” is easy to play.  Each card has a statement on it that starts with the word “things.”  Each person writes their answer on a strip of paper.  The reader reads all the papers and everyone takes turns trying to guess who wrote which idea.

Out of everyone playing, (me, Russ, Cindy Lynn, Mahon, Jason, Erin, Rachel, Jenna, and Jared), Mahon and Rachel matched the most answers to the person that had written them.  Rachel!

And their answers were generally not “10 year old answers” either.  It was hard to figure out which ones they’d written, and which ones were written by the rest of us.  Here’s a sample for you.
From Rachel:

Things firemen do when they’re not fighting fires:
”Dog makeovers.”

From Jared:
Things you wouldn’t say to a police officer:
“When I grow up I want to be a terrorist!”

From Jenna (who seems to be developing a lovely snarky sense of humor!):
Things you wouldn’t say to a new boss:
”Can I have the day off for like ever and still get paid?”

Things you shouldn’t do right after eating:
”Swimming—doesn’t everyone know that?!?”

Things that will keep you out of heaven:
”Not dying, duh!”

December 2010 486 Jenna hid her very expressive face behind a box during parts of the game so that people couldn’t guess her answer because of the expression on her face. 

I guess my babies really are growing up!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010


I haven’t been paying much attention to the news recently, so when someone mentioned earlier in the week that we might have snow for Christmas I was surprised.  Surprised and skeptical.  After all, we’ve already had snow twice this year, and it’s still December. 

But I did think a white Christmas would be lovely.


It turns out that a white Boxing Day is also lovely. (And that I am enjoying the new camera.)

December 2010 368

December 2010 376

December 2010 385


We are church-going folk.  We never miss a Sunday.  But I must confess, having church cancelled because of the snow was so exciting!  We spent our morning appreciating God’s creations.  Especially his creation of hills and snow and the combination thereof.

December 2010 388

December 2010 390

December 2010 392

December 2010 393

December 2010 394

December 2010 395

December 2010 429

December 2010 439

December 2010 440

We love sledding!  Today’s snow was interesting, though.  The sled that is normally the least fun (the boogie board sled) was actually the most fun today.  And the sleds that are normally more fun weren’t good at all.  We had to be careful of where we walked back up the hill because all of the snow came off very easily.  But once we figured out how to make things work, it was great.

Except when the snow all ended up in my lap—chilly!

December 2010 405


Jason and Josh hauled a bunch of snow up to the bottom and made a little jump.  I was kind of worried that they would break something (or someone) but fortunately everyone was ok.  They seemed to enjoy it.

December 2010 424

December 2010 428

December 2010 431

December 2010 436


Finally we were all cold and ready for some hot chocolate.  What a fun morning!

December 2010 411

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Moments

December 2010 321 

Christmas morning started early.  6:55 to be precise; Josh could not wait any longer to see the xbox.

(We tell our kids they can’t wake us on Christmas morning before 7:00.  Josh’s rationale was that waking us up at 6:55 would give us time to brush teeth and go to the bathroom before 7:00, instead of after!)

December 2010 314

(yes, this is a picture of Josh kissing the xbox!)


Here are some other great moments of the day.


Everyone in their custom Snuggie.

December 2010 329

The girls were beyond excited to see notes from Santa telling them that they are going to both get a week at horse camp this spring.  (Hooray for Groupon’s half priced horse camp!)

December 2010 326

No, Jenna is not taller.  I just caught her jumping for joy.

Jared was delighted with his remote controlled helicopter since he’s asked for one for several years now.  Everyone else stood in a line to play with it.  The girls are trying to figure out how they can save enough money to buy their own.

December 2010 333

Jason and Rachel had fun making mini cupcakes in the new mini cupcake maker.  Though Jason was wishing he hadn’t mixed up the whole cake mix!

December 2010 353

I was happy and sad about what Santa brought me.  You see, for the 2nd year in a row Santa brought me a camera.  This time it was a camera to replace my long zoom camera because I dropped it in the sand at the beach this year.  I’m so happy to have a new camera—I’ve realized I just can’t live with only a 3x zoom.  But oh how I hated spending money to replace something that I ruined by just not thinking!!!  Thankfully Josh was able to get an incredible deal on a 10x camera at Target on black Friday.  And I did love being able to take close-up pics of birds at the feeders today, so that I can look the pictures up in my new bird book to see what kind they are.

December 2010 338

I believe this is a purple thrush.  And that what we called a purple thrush all summer is actually a house thrush. 

Last but not least…Santa brought Josh & I a massage cushion.  I don’t believe that the chair was EVER empty today!  I personally sat on it for long enough that my muscles are going to really hurt tomorrow.



After my nice nap the Rogersons and Ann came over for our annual mexican feast.  Sorry…no food pics this year, but it was all delicious.  After the food we pulled out the games.  They gave us a new game for Christmas called Likewise.  SUCH FUN!!!


And we gave them a new game too—Loaded Questions: Political Party.  We’ve always loved Loaded Questions, but the questions in this new version are so much more fun.  Tonight’s answers tended to be about Lindsay Lohan or viagra.  Sometimes in the same answer.



The perfect way to end our beautiful Christmas Day was….with snow!  Can you believe this is the 3rd or 4th time we’ve had snow this year?!? 

December 2010 360

December 2010 362

December 2010 356

December 2010 359

I hope your Christmas day was full of love and laughter too!

The Essential Christmas Eve

I really need to be taking a nap in preparation for the festivities of this afternoon and evening.  But first I want to write about Christmas Eve, while it’s all still fresh and lovely in my mind.

I am not good at having lots and lots of holiday traditions.  A couple of years ago in an attempt to both simplify our holiday season and at the same time make sure that everyone got the traditions that were important to them, we had a survey.  It was interesting to see what things were important, and it allowed me to let other things drop out of our schedule.   I was very happy that no one said their favorite Christmas tradition was reading a special story every night, because I really stink at that one. 

The holiday tradition that is perhaps the most important to me is our family Christmas Eve.  Some of this came from bits and pieces of my own family’s traditions, and some Russ & I have added as our children have grown.  For me, Christmas Eve has become the pinnacle of our celebration of the birth of our Savior.

We start our celebration every year with a book that Cindy Lynn was given in preschool many years and many miles away; it makes me smile every time we bring it out.  It’s called The Christmas Pageant.


December 2010 309

The Christmas Pageant tells the Christmas story, interspersed with the appropriate Christmas songs.  The illustrations are adorable pictures of children preparing their own Christmas pageant. (Of course we substituted Angels We Have Heard on High for Hark the Herald.  But you already knew that, didn’t you?) (Some years we sing both, but I’m still so hoarse from my recent illness that I had to limit the amount of singing last night.)

December 2010 310

After we read of the nativity from the New Testament, we switch gears to the nativity story in the New World.  The Book of Mormon account of the first Christmas has always been close to my heart.  (In fact I blogged about it here.)  We have two different books that we’ve used to read about this with our kids on Christmas Eve.  First we had this one.


December 2010 311

A couple of years ago we got this one, which is a lovely story with beautiful illustrations.  I’m not sure it’s what I was looking for, though—it’s a little more story and a little less scripture than I was after. 

December 2010 316

I could tell last night that next year we’ll just read this story straight from the scriptures.

After the Nephite Christmas story we moved on to a story from my childhood Christmas Eves, “The Other Wise Man.”  My dad used to read from the original story by O’Henry, leaving out long passages (and pages) of narrative.  Lucky for us someone made a beautiful abridged version.  (I also saw a non-animated movie version at the bookstore the other day…may have to investigate that before next year.) 

December 2010 308

The story of The Other Wise Man always leaves me feeling teary by the end.  So it was probably a good thing that Josh decided he wanted to read for us last night.  

December 2010 297

December 2010 299

December 2010 302

Now normally we would be almost done at this point, but last night we had an addition to our book-reading line up.  I won this extraordinary book in a drawing on my friend Mommy J's blog a few weeks ago.  I had hoped to use it for a December family night, but then I got sick and there went that idea.  We added it to our Christmas Eve reading last night, and I think next year we’ll read it for a family night in early December.  It will set the tone for our Christmas season beautifully by reminding us of how we can be reminded of Christ by all of the Christmas symbols around us.

December 2010 306

You can see all of the beautiful watercolors from the book here.  You can also read the interesting story of how this book came to be here: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6


Finally we finish up our Christmas Eve with Russ’s family tradition, a reading of “The Night Before Christmas.”  This is the only part of our evening that is about Christmas rather than about Christ, so I always end the evening feeling an enormous sense of gratitude for the amazing gift of the Savior’s birth and life. 


I hope your Christmas Eve was wonderful as well!