Thursday, December 21, 2017

Getting ready for Christmas

Going to see the gingerbread houses at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. I loved this creative yet classic one!

When your daughter does your hair

Somehow volunteered to make little loaves of bread and bags of cookies for our 20 teachers in primary and cub scouts. 

Our foster daughter's preschool performance.  We took lots of pictures and video for her parents
Melty pearler bead creations.  My kids did this for almost a week straight.  The love it!

Christmas performances

Found one of my favorite ornaments.  Because it has a picture of my Sam.

More melty bead creations.  I got this for my brother's kids before realizing he probably doesn't own an iron or ironing board.

Papa Scott and Janis got Leia and Charlie each their own subscriptions to Highlights magazine.  Charles and Evan were doing these animal movements all over the house!

The tree would not stand straight this year

Lots of cold weather and fires to warm up.  But sadly, way too warm and no snow!

One of my favorite ornaments a coworker made for me years ago at Sutter Memorial Hospital

Christmas ornaments... my mom has given us lots of these personalized gold-colored ornaments.  She used to do it every year.  Probably stopped because there's so many of us now.  Plus I don't know if they sell them anymore.

I taught the letter "M" for preschool last week.  Micky and Minnie Mouse ornaments, marshmallows, moon, milkshakes, etc.  Fun!
There's a cookie under all that blue sugar somewhere.

More melty bead stuff

Above are the ornaments he made at primary on Sunday and at preschool today at Cassidy's house!  He even learned a whole song in sign language!
We ordered 200 Christmas cards this year and I'm still working on getting some out.  Thanks to Amazon, most of our Christmas shopping is done.  But still lots to prepare.  Today the kids used some money they had been saving to adopt a kitty.  They've been sad ever since George Washington died.  Now Martha Washington is left alone.  So we named our new kitty Merry.  Merry (Mary) and Martha.  Ha ha.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Three significant things happened in the last week.  We had our ward Christmas party, and Winter Ball, and Dallas turned 15!!!

I did food and the music/program for our ward party and thankfully it all went great!  People brought small veggie plates to put at each table for snacking, and others brought au gratin potatoes.  We provided ham, salad, rolls, and dessert.  We successfully fed 200 people and had a terrific program!  Bobbie took care of the decorations and table settings.  And so many people volunteered to perform musically and help in other ways that it turned out really fun and spiritually uplifting and just wonderful!

Our six kids were half on their own and half watched over by other ward members during the night.  Thankfully they all got fed and didn't mind helping or being neglected too much.  Sam wasn't able to watch them because he was in the program, and Dallas wasn't able to watch them because he was at the piano all night playing background Christmas music (as you can see in the above photo I snapped before the party started), so Evan bore the brunt of handling Charles, Stacy and Leia.  Poor Evan!

I am so amazed by how much Dallas has progressed in piano.  He's really good and has so much fun with his piano teacher Miss Diane.  He cracked me up by putting a Tip Jar on the piano to be funny.  (He got $3, some butter, and cough drops).  He even played for Pat and I to sing, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"!  It was so fun!!!  (We felt the Bishop and Bishop's wife should wish everyone a Merry Christmas in a special way, but performing first, and not performing perfectly since Pat can't sing in tune, also hopefully made those to come after us feel more comfortable and have fun too). Anyways, Dal did a fantastic job.

I missed almost a full week of homeschool to organize all that, and said I couldn't do it next year because the Relief Society hopefully has enough sisters to handle it in the future, but I volunteered to help this year since we had a brand new RS presidency who were all very busy, and my husband being a fairly new bishop and never having done this before, we weren't prepared as we should be and I wanted it to go well and would rather take the stress myself than hand it off to those who are already over-burdened.  I love planning parties and menus and stuff anyway.

The music was my favorite. The primary sang with bells.  There was a beautiful father-son number on the guitar and violin "Oh Come, O Come Immanuel", a family who performed "Do You Hear What I Hear?" on piano, drums, voice and triangle, the priests all sang We Three Kings... and so many more!  All together there were about 12 musical numbers, but it was just comfortable like a family home evening.  Sam and his fellow deacons decided to so something, and they worked for hours on it and it sounded like some kind of bad rock concert with electric guitar, flute, and piano, and a bell being rung anything BUT on beat.  Imagine my surprise when, after leaving them alone to figure it out, they pulled off a beautiful version of Carol of the Bells

The final number was four of us adults singing with Bro. Whetton, the High Priest leader playing guitar.  We sang Silent Night in German, then had Bishop (Pat) read the same thing John Denver does about the origin of that song while the guitar continued, and then the congregation all joined in to sing it in English.  It was sweet.  I used a lot of poems and songs from the John Denver and The Muppets Christmas album, and people not knowing where it came from, asked me afterward, "Can I get a copy of that song?", or "Can I get a copy of that poem?" Ha ha.  I'll convert the world!

They also really seemed to like the sundaes for dessert.  I thought that was pretty nice for what was just an ice-cream sundae.  I layered vanilla ice-cream, homemade Hot Fudge, whip cream, sprinkling of crushed candy canes, and a wafer stick or cookie sticking out on the side.  Pretty elegant for a church dessert, and pretty delicious too!  The Young Women, their leaders, and our former Bishop, made them in the assembly line I set up and took them out to people on trays, and I think they enjoyed waitressing.  At least if anyone had complaints they kept it to themselves and all the feedback we had was great.  We just need better lighting for the performers.

Now, I find myself trying to catch up with the rest of my life.  Personal scriptures, Stacy, homeschool, Christmas preparations, and I haven't exercised in a couple of weeks which always makes me cranky.  Thankful that it went well though, and there seemed to me a happy and unified spirit in the ward at fast and testimony meeting the next day, which is what I prayed for most.

THEN!!!  Dallas turned 15 and we got him the class to get on the road and driving in about 3 weeks.  That's scary, but I am so looking forward to not having to drive him everywhere.  Seminary. every. morning.  Sports.  Music lessons.  Activities.  On the flip side there's a whole host of worries and expenses that go along with having a driving teenager.  We'll see what happens...

We took the kids out to eat at a restaurant (which we hardly ever do) to thank them for their patience with us during the ward Christmas party week, and we let Dallas pick.  He picked Saigon!  It's Vietnamese food.  Crunchy egg rolls rolled up in fresh lettuce, basil leaves, and cilantro dipped in a sweet and spicy fish sauce and their wonderful pho soup.  He ate so much food!  Then he wanted Chicken Sopa (like chicken enchiladas) for dinner but by the time I made it he was too sick to eat.  He caught a fever from somewhere and was sick in bed for days.  Sad birthday!

So I'll probably make chicken sopa again on Sunday and have his dessert he wanted which was ice-cream sundaes.  

He felt well enough to go to the Winter Ball with Sam a couple days later and they had a great time.   Dallas always gets compliments from people and gets the dancing started by going out first.  He always ends up with his tie around his head, and always asks as many girls to dance as possible.  Some of the girls he's grown up with all came up and sang Happy Birthday to him.  They did it while he was dancing with another girl.  On purpose.  To make it as awkward as possible.  I think he said they were mad because he told them the wrong date for his birthday or something.  Who knows.  I thought it was hilarious.  Sam ran with a pack of deacons all night and if you think that sounds scary, it is.  But they danced their brains out just like their mother taught them. Work hard. Dance hard.  That my motto.

Truthfully, if I had a motto it would be:  Always Remember Him  (In case anyone needs to know what to put on my headstone).  I've been thinking a lot about that phrase and how it encompasses everything and says everything, and I love it.

Here's some pictures of a youth activity service project Dal and Sam got to go to where they mapped a huge cemetary in Albuquerque and photographed each headstone and had it logged with its GPS coordinates.  I think it was for Find a or something like that.  It was well organized and the youth did great work.  Pat went with them since it required computer knowledge and you know me.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

We got rid of our old ripped up orange couch, but we liked the pillows so much we cut them off and use them as bean bags on the floor now!  It's great for extra seating; especially since we don't have enough seats with the Christmas tree in the living room.

found an "oldies" ice-cream shop with 60's, 70's and 80's stuff galore

I walked outside one morning and the view in every direction was absolutely stunning.  So I took pictures of everything!  From this cobweb on my front porch, to rotating in a complete circle (shown below).  No matter what part of the sky I looked at- North, South, East, West, it was truly beautiful!  This was just with my cell phone.  Imagine if I were a photographer!!!

This was a great bowl of oatmeal.  Oatmeal is not one of our family favorites, but it's nutritious so we try to eat it once a week.  This one has no sugar, finely diced dates to sweeten, and lots of almond milk because I don't like it thick.  Sometimes we call it porridge for fun like Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

I found these stickers that I need to put in books, but snapped a picture in case I lose them!

I snap pictures of everything in case I lose them.  Like these pictures Leia did.

And this picture by Charlie:

The Christmas Wish - song by Danny Allen Wheetman

from the Muppets Christmas album with John Denver
I don't know if you believe in Christmas,

Ori if you have presents underneath the Christmas tree,

But if you believe in love, that will be more than enough,

For you to come and celebrate with me.

For I have held the precious gift that love brings,

Even though I never saw a Christmas star.

I know there is a light, I have felt it burn inside,

And I have seen it shining from afar.

Christmas is the time to come together,

A time to put all differences aside.

And I reach out my hand to the family of man,

To share the joy I feel at Christmastime

For the truth that binds us all together,

I would like to say a simple prayer;

That at this special time, you will have true peace of mind,

And love to last throughout the coming year.

And if you believe in love,

That will be more than enough,

For peace to last throughout the coming year,

And peace on earth will last throughout the year.