So This is Christmas

Christmas has come and gone.  It went by in a flash.  Unfortunately, I didn't capture any images to blog, just Christmas morning, which is the climatic event, but here is a list of things we did to celebrate the season:

Partied with friends on a few nights.
Christmas shopped and shopped and shopped.
Made a tasty gingerbread house.
Helped out with the angel tree at a local store and in our ward.
Drove around and looked at Christmas lights.
Got sick for pretty much the whole week before Christmas:(
Attended Christmas concerts.
Took a horse drawn hayride.
Made treats, treats, and more treats for neighbors and friends.
Stood in several lines at the post office.
Watched Christmas related videos.
The list goes on and on.  I'm sure most are familiar to your own celebrations. We had a great Christmas, except for the sickly part, and hope you did too!!

Fa La La La La

Mikelle performed tonight in the Choir Christmas Concert at school.  The photo below is a true mother's view of when her children perform.  You can tell who I had my eye on.
This is Mikelle's choir director, Mrs. G, and her buddies.
The next pose would be a "partridge in a pear tree".

FHE Hayride

Our home teacher really set us up tonight.  We had a horse drawn hayride singing Christmas carols.  Then there was hot chocolate and donuts.  The kids had a blast.

Click to play Hayride
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Art in a Box

I helped Mikelle's class with their art project for this month.  It is an assemblage sculpture inspired by the works of Louise Nevelson.  The first photo is Mikelle's class' sculpture and the next one is Louise Nevelson's.  You can't tell a difference can you?:)

Visiting Santa and Mrs. Claus

We did our annual visit with Santa this past Saturday.  Mrs. Claus was there this time.  Kate was not going for it.  Hence, I am in the photo.  She was keeping her eyes on those strange folks.  Little does she know how much she will come to love them in the upcoming years:)

Orchestra Concert

Mikelle had her first orchestra concert last night.  I would have posted a video, but Santa has not delivered my new camera yet.  I also tried to take some photos of her on the stage, but they turned out horrible due to stage lighting and the fact that Santa has not delivered my new camera yet.  Did I already mention that?  Anyway, you'll have to take my word for it that it was really, really great.  I was so impressed that these kids are only 5th graders and have only been playing for a few months.  There's something about watching your own child developing new talents that is awe-inspiring.  

Putting Up the Tree

Putting up our Christmas tree is serious business. We don't mess around. Especially with safety. We make sure to protect our eyes from falling debris:)

Wishes Do Come True

My son, Seth, has done very well in his 7, almost 8, years of life having 3 sisters. With all the Barbies, Polly Pockets, and dress-ups around the house, he has remained true to his masculine nature.
Unfortunately, I think the past several months he has been a little down because he has been asking me over and over again if we can adopt a 7 year old brother. Poor boy, huh?
Well, Seth's wish came true this past weekend in a different route than adoption or the incredibly painful idea of me giving birth yet again. A family moved in right next door with not one, but 4 little boys under the age of 9! One of which is only a week older than Seth, in his class at school, and he is LDS so he is in his Primary class also. They are a super nice family and Seth and their boys have become fast friends already.
Does the "windows of Heaven" phrase come to anyone else's mind but mine? Coincidence? Maybe. But I'll keep believing that Heavenly Father knows all His children and wants them to have joy. Especially my little Sethy.

A Day of Thanksgiving

Our stake had a Day of Thanksgiving a couple of Saturdays ago. We took our family to the temple to show our gratitude for our many blessings. We took the kids inside the lobby so they could feel the peace and spirit the temple brings. Then we attempted family photos. Here are a few shots that I liked most. (Except for my favorite family photo which I am saving for Christmas cards. You'll have to wait for that one:)

Time with the Grandparents

My parents came for a week for Thanksgiving. We tried to keep them busy. We miss them already. Thank you for coming, Grandma & Grandpa!

Click to play Thanksgiving
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Happy Thanksgiving

The turkey caught the pilgrim this time.
A Thanksgiving toast...cheers!
Yum, yum!
Straight from the Mayflower.
Sharing our bounty with the neighbors.
Happy Thanksgiving!

I am Grateful for...

...some of my favorite Thanksgiving photos:)

"Let's Eat!"

Our friend, Aaron, was stuffed after dinner!  Notice the turkey his daughters left in his lap for later:)

This is how we felt about each other when we had Thanksgiving dinner by ourselves one year.

The 4th of the 4th

This is the 4th photo in my 4th file.  This is Mikelle in December of 2000.  She was saying "Cheese".  We called it her "Fishy Lips" photo.  The poor thing was so tired of taking pictures.  She was our only child at the time and got way too much attention:)

Good Samaritan Sighting

Do you ever wonder if there are any truly decent and honest people left in the world?  It's hard to believe there is with how things are going down, but I am happy to share with you an experience I had yesterday to give us all a shimmer of hope.

Yesterday I came home to hear an odd message on our answering machine.  It was from a lady who said her husband found a wallet on the street.  They looked up the owner's name online and tried calling the listed number, but the phone was out of order.  So they looked up people living near the address and that's where I come into the equation.  They asked if I would help them out.

This is where I am clearly not helpful.  I couldn't understand the name of the person they were trying to get in touch with so I thought to myself, "Whatever.  This sounds fishy and I'll just ignore them."  Not cool, huh?  So I didn't return the message and I went on with my evening as usual.

Right before dinner she called again.  For a split second I almost didn't answer the phone.  It's not my problem, right?  Well, I'm not that hard hearted so I answered.  She explained to me again the situation.  I still didn't recognize the name of the wallet owner, but I did know the address.  It was just 2 houses down.  I was touched by the effort this couple was making to contact the owner so they wouldn't worry where their wallet was.  Can you imagine the headache and fear you would have if this happened to you?  All the credit cards, driver's license, etc!!!  

I made Eric take the caller's name and number and go knock on the door.  It was dark outside and I don't do knocking on stranger's doors at night.  It could be a vampire or something:)

The deed was done.  I really feel these people went out of their way to help someone in need. They didn't take the easy route and just pass up the wallet.  They didn't even just send it in the mail and leave it at that. Are you wondering why they didn't just go by the house themselves (I wondered that too)? They happen to live a ways out, about 30 minutes or so and they wanted the owner to know immediately which is very thoughtful.  A very Good Samaritan thing to do.

I love moments like these.  They don't have to be big and news worthy.  Although what a difference that would make in our world if instances like these were what made the headlines.  I am so grateful for a stranger's example!

Sleep Eating

Kate was so tired last night.  I just had to get this on video.  The picture is pretty horrible.  I've petitioned my husband for a new camera.  Hopefully, soon!

Things I am Grateful For the Day After the Election

First and foremost, I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who is mindful of His children.  

I am so grateful Election Day has come and gone:)  I can't take the stress, especially with Halloween just days before and too much candy lying around!!! 

I am grateful for the freedoms of this country.  The freedom to vote, to even has a choice, the freedom of religion, even as the world changes it remains constant and true.  The freedom to share my opinions.

I am grateful for young children and their examples of unconditional acceptance for others. They don't see the color of skin, the social classes, or the infirmities.  They truly see a brother, a sister, a friend.  If only we could all be so meek and humble.  

I am grateful for the sun this morning.  I know that when things don't always go the way I would like, there will be new opportunities to improve and new experiences to build my testimony.

I am grateful that my moment of philosophizing this morning has passed:)  If it didn't I'd never get anything done...on to scrubbing toilets:)  Seriously, that's what I'm going to do right now.  It's a good outlet for frustration.  Give it a try!

Rise and Shout! The Cougars Are Out!

It's Spirit Week at the kid's school.  Today was "We're Going to College".  They got to wear their favorite college attire...or maybe it's mine:)  Go Cougars!
The shirts are on loan from a sweet friend.  Mikelle didn't want to wear my ratty shirt from Freshman year and Seth looked like he was wearing a nightgown when he put on Eric's shirt. 

Pumpkin Carving

For FHE, we carved our pumpkins.  The kids look forward to this every year.  The goo, the's kid paradise.

That's our FHE treat:)

The finished products.

Kate's upset she can't take her's to bed:(

Preview for Halloween

We had a ward Halloween party last night.  The kids got to try out their costumes.  Seth loves his Stormtrooper costume so much that he opted to wear a wizard costume from the costume box so as not to get the other one dirty:)  Ah, the things we cherish as children.

Can you say "Cheese..."burger!

Tinkerbell was way too fast for me to catch a good photo.

Red Riding Hood and the Wizard.  Laney was carefully watching for all the scary costumes.  She made sure to steer clear from anything that looked threating.  Especially anyone dressed like a WOLF!  Boy, I crack myself up:)

I finally found Tinkerbell taking a break next to her good friend, Rose the Fluffy White Chicken.  Too cute!!

Let's Go Ride a Bike

The weather has finally cooled off here and we can finally emerge from our homes!  The little girls and I have started bike riding in the mornings after Seth and Mikelle are off to school.  We have a great bike, jog, horse trail that runs close to our home which makes it really nice.  I decided to bring the camera along this morning so that I could take some pics of all the fun things we get to see.

Click to play Let's Go Ride a Bike
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Student Council T-Shirts

Mikelle is a class representative in the Student Council at her elementary school.  They had a t-shirt design contest for this year's S.C. t-shirts.  She won!!  She was thrilled.  The design wasn't all her brainchild.  She did see a similar image online and really liked it.  So she drew it out and colored it like she liked.  I might have helped fill in the bare spots...hmmm:)

A Day at the Play

I took Seth, Laney, Mikelle and some of her buds to a children's play today.
One of the 5th grade teachers at their elementary school played Cinderella's dog, Rover.

Here's Rover, Cinderella's dog.  He gave them a backstage tour after the show. That was a lot of fun. They got to talk to some of the actors and rummage through the costume closet. It was a lot of fun!

Here's the wicked stepmother and step sisters.

Raiding Cinderella's dressing room.  There's her pretty gown.

Saying 'goodbye' to Cinderella, Prince Charming, the Fairy Godmother & Rover.

The State Fair

Click to play State Fair
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