Saturday, December 30, 2006

A great Christmas.

Every year at this time I try to think about how to make next Christmas less busy, but I think I have finally realized that all that busy is what makes it so fun. I love the process of making gifts, buying gifts and doing things for others so much, that the actual day of opening gifts almost seems anticlimactic.

Here some of what I enjoyed this Christmas:

Having my Mom here to completely spoil us with great cooking and buying tons of groceries. The night before she came I was so sick I couldn’t cook and we all ate cereal for dinner. I told the girls that Grandma would be here soon and that she would cook them real food. She cooked tons and we ate tons. I think we ate more food and treats last week then one should eat in a year.

Having Eric home for the three days before Christmas. It was so fun to have him home for the whole holiday and not to be traveling.

Taking the kids to houses on Christmas Eve to “ding, dong ditch” as Haley called it. I had several gifts (from last year’s 75% off Target sale) that we delivered to families that we thought would appreciate a little extra something this year. It was fun to watch the girls get into it.

Watching the kids put out the reindeer food on Christmas Eve. They were very serious about how and where to put it on the grass. Lucy brought home this little bag from Preschool that says:

Sprinkle on the lawn at night
the moon will make it sparkle bright
Santa's reindeer fly and roam
This will guide them to your home!

The bag had oatmeal, green glitter and red sugar sprinkles. The girls had so much fun with the idea that we all forgot to leave milk and cookies for Santa.

Watching the girls open their gifts Christmas morning. Eric made and painted a indo board (balance board that you "surf" over a pipe) for Haley. She loves it, but I am expecting a broken arm or leg soon.

Actually getting to see TWO movies in the THEATER with my husband. I can’t remember the last movie that Eric and I went to together. We have Netflix so we never go out to movies. Since my Mom was here she put the kids to bed and sent us out to the movies. We saw the pursuit of Happyness and The Holiday- both very good movies.

And last but not least, significantly increasing the livable space of our home by removing the Christmas tree and all Christmas clutter. Priceless.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The day in LA

We (Mom, husband and 3 kids and myself) spent the entire day on the freeway, or at least it felt like it. We went out to Downey to drop off a gift to a lady that my Mom has been friends with since High School; she was not home- big bummer. Then we drove to Lynwood (the town between Compton and Watts) to go visit with Bernice.

Bernice cleaned our home for over 20 years and was part of our family. She used to always tell me stories about faith and prayer and would sing while she cleaned. One day she could not make it out to our house because a lady in her church fell on her when she was saying hallelujah- got to love a church like that. I was so excited for her to meet my girls and my girls to meet her.

Then we headed to downtown LA to the fashion district. We shopped on Santee alley and then the fabric district.
Yes, there is a fabric district. The 1st time I went there I was so excited I almost stopped breathing. This was my 3rd time there so I could at least pretend that I have self control.

For dinner we drove out to La Brea and Fairfax to the best place to get Italian food in LA, Andre's. It’s a little hole in the wall that we used to eat at when I was a kid and it was in the middle of nowhere…now its right across the street from The Grove (The coolest new Huge outdoor shopping center). Such a long day, I slept in the car the whole way home.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A little traumatized
Last night was out Relief Society Christmas Dinner. I did not want to go. I have come down with the sickness that has plagued everyone I know. On top of feeling lousy, my Mom’s flight was coming in at the same time as the dinner- a perfect out. For some reason I really felt like I should go to the dinner, so I did. I arrived at the dinner, set my purse down next to my good friend and then walked out into the hall to talk to someone. Almost immediately my friend that I set my purse next to grabbed my arm hard and pulled me out into the hall. As soon as I saw her eyes I knew what was wrong. This dear friend, my age and with 3 children also, has a brain tumor. They tried unsuccessfully to remove it last year. I took her into the Relief Society closet (a large closet with carpet on the floor). I then held her as she went through a terrible seizure. I felt unbelievably calm, like I knew what to do. I had the Missionaries come give her a blessing and called her husband. I have never seen a seizure before. I had no idea how terrible and scary they are. After it was over her husband arrived and took her home. I quietly sat through the RS program feeling completely disconnected from it and traumatized but I absolutely knew why I needed to be there last night. I am so thankful that I listened to the prompting to go and I am thankful for the comfort that I felt during. I am so thankful for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Monday, December 18, 2006

A crazy day...but I am tickled pink!

Today was so busy. Both Ruby and Lucy had friends come over to play. It was freezing outside so I pulled the slide(another Eric invention) out of the garage and let the kids play.

There was no crying or bleeding so I figured all was well and did laundry and bills. Oh how capable children are when working together. I had told Lucy she could play with her make up if she stayed in the bathroom.

I did not realize there was glitter in the handle of the blush brush. Glitter was all over the bathroom and on all the girls. Every toy, and clothing item upstairs was out, it looked like a disaster. This mess combined with the stress of just having gone through the bills, I was not having a good day. After dinner I went out to get the mail (my 1st time leaving the house) and found several Christmas cards and my Pink Christmas gift! I can't believe how excited I am. Who cares that my house is thrashed and we're poor- life is good! If you don't know about the pink Christmas gift exchange click here.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Parties, Parties, Parties...Food, Food, Food...Candy, Candy, Candy

Ward Christmas Party

At our Ward Christmas party unfortunately Santa could not make it, but he called our own Grandpa John to sit in for him. He was a wonderful Santa and my girls had no idea that Santa was their grandpa! Thank you Santa John! (Fyi-I can't crop photos E stripped all the excess programs off when our computer crashed)

Hawley & John's house

We went to Hawley and John's (aka Santa) Christmas party and had a great time. The food was great, all the cousins played really well and decorated the tree. The adults had the much anticipated gift exchange! Eric and I learned a whole new way to play/steal and get what you want-Shonda and Wayne are professionals at this game.

Here is a photo of Hawley and John with some of the grandkids, the older ones did not want to be in the photo.

April & Derik's house

Saturday we went to a Christmas party at April's home in Laguna Beach. April is Eric's step Sister and the one responsible for setting Eric and I up on a blind date 13 years ago.

When we got there all the kids went down to the garage to decorate the little gingerwood houses that Eric made. I think most of the kids ended up eating more candy then they put in there houses, but they had a great time.

The kids had a gift exchange and Lucy ended up getting a purse full of make up. She could not have gotten something that she would have loved more.

It was so fun to see her beautiful home. It is decorated in a cool beach-Christmas way. She has a large starfish as the star on the top of their tree- so cool!

The adults also had a gift exchange. I have never seen such a serious white elephant exchange. People were very...passionate about it, I'll just leave it at that.

April had taken photos all through the night and had posted them on a ribbon board for everyone to take photos home with them. Such a great idea.

We have a blast and I think my kids have now officially eaten enough candy that we will be paying for Dr. Wacker (our Dentist) to buy his own house in Laguna Beach!

I am so thankful that we finally live close to family and are able to see them often. I know my kids love having so many cousins close by.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Santa's workshop

We have been busy with all the splendid chaos that is Christmas. There has been non-stop cooking, sewing and woodworking. I have been embroidering 50 hot pads for our Relief Society gifts. I have been wrapping up all the teacher gifts, white elephant gifts and helping Santa with his gift wrapping.

Eric made 15 little gingerwood houses for the kids to decorate at a Christmas party next week. He stained and poliurithaned them, so they can be used again next year. I got this great idea from my friend Kristi. This way when the kids put on the 15 lbs of frosting and candy they do not collapse- brilliant! Thank you Kristi!

I made 60 heart gingerbread cookie ornaments (the kind that smell really good but you cannot eat) for my Relief Society lesson “Of one heart and Mind” next Sunday.

Today we are delivering some of our traditional friend/neighbor gifts- caramel corn Christmas trees decorated with M&M ornaments and a star tag on top. I made these the 1st year we moved here and everyone loved them so much we decided to make it a tradition. I do large trees for big families and and small trees for some of the single ladies and couples without kids. I ate way more of the carmel corn then I should have-I will be making another batch of these trees next week.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Christmas Traditions

My friend Kristi has compiled a great list of lots of holiday traditions. She asked me for ours around Halloween and I could not think of anything Christmas at the time. Now that our house has been enveloped by Christmas, I realize all the Christmas traditions we have.

Here are a few:

Every year (since Haley was born) we put a photo of our family on the tree. I usually use the photo we sent with our Christmas cards. My girls love lining up the frames on the table to see how our family has changed. This year we have 8 photos to hang (one I need to fix and I didn’t want to show this years photo) so we put several toward the back so it doesn’t start to look like a shrine.

Nativities are big at our house. I have the plastic one they can play with, but I also buy porcelain ones cheep after Christmas. They love to play with all of them but they think they are getting away with something when they play with the breakable ones.

This is the 3rd year that we have painted pine cones like Christmas trees. Eric’s Dad collects pine cones at the golf course and puts a wood block on the bottom for us. Then the girls use glitter and paint to decorate them. I write the child’s name and year on the bottom of the wood block.

Christmas Eve we have friends over and serve potato bacon soup and tons of desserts. The girls get to open one gift early and it is always matching pajamas. That night when Santa comes to our house he always leaves everyone’s stuffed stocking on the foot of their bed. If you wake up early you can go through your stocking, but you cannot go downstairs until everyone is awake. Growing up Eric always had a new toothbrush and an orange in his stocking. I always had lifesaver book, lip-gloss and jewelry in mine. Santa makes sure all those items are in the girls stockings.

When I was a kid my Dad would have all the Christmas decorations put away by the end of Christmas day. He did this because we often went to Hawaii the day after Christmas until the day after New Years and they did not want to have to clean it up after the vacation. Unfortunately this rubbed off on me. As soon as Christmas is over, I want it al cleaned up but I usually wait until the next day.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Last year after Christmas, our Target had a huge toy clearance and lots of toys were 75% off. I bought TONS of toys and stashed them in the garage for future use. One of the things I bought was a Playmobil Santa's house (like a Christmas doll house) I paid $3.74 for it.
Yesterday I told the kids a little impromptu poem about how much we love them and how much we love Christmas and cant wait to give them gifts. So I told them if they could figure out the riddle they could have one gift early. The riddle was "when you go up, the gift is down". It took them a long time, but they finally figured out it was in the closet under the stairs. I can't belive how cool this little house is, it has tons of accessories and I can't believe I paid less then $4 for it.

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