Monday, December 26, 2011

The Spirit of Christmas

Christmas this year has been a bit harder on me than in the past, I just couldn't get into the spirit, nearly until Christmas Eve.

We have been trying to catch up on missed tithing, paying off a credit card and keeping up with bills, all on my income and whatever Anthony can bring home.  When Anthony was given the opportunity to take over a friend's business of selling magic items online a couple of months ago, it turned out the business was woefully out of date and was operating at a loss.  After two months of trying to update it and get it working again, the losses were too much and the foreseeable future was not looking any better, so he gave the business back.  Now how do you prepare for Christmas with that kind of financial hardship hanging over your head?

So it was about a week and a half to Christmas and I hadn't bought a thing, when I got a Christmas bonus from work.  Then a kind, generous soul sent me an anonymous card with $100 cash.  The Lord must have inspired them that we were in need, Anthony said it was a blessing for paying the tithing.  Then Anthony got quite a few Santa gigs for some more kind people who gave generous tips on top of Anthony's fee.  Those blessings allowed me to catch up a couple of bills, pay our tithing in full and still get something for Christmas for my family.  Luckily my family is used to non-extravagant Christmases, so they were all happy.

I finally caught the Christmas spirit as I prepared for my family Christmas Eve party, which I hosted this year.  We were able to book the use of our church building and we (my kids, my sister and I) got there early to decorate.  It was fun getting out the decorations and all my holiday bears and some of my Christmas toys.  We dragged couches and comfy chairs from the foyers to make the rooms more cozy, set up a Christmas tree and set up the tables and chairs for lunch.

It was so nice to have everyone there this year!  We had a lovely lunch, then had our traditional talent show with cute nieces and nephews singing songs they had learned - very cute; then some of the more grown up kids sang - such talent.  I'm so grateful they are willing to share.

We had a gift exchange and a piƱata, but the best part was our live nativity with the little kids dressing up and acting out the story as we read the scriptures and sang the hymns that went with them.  It truly brought the Christmas spirit into my heart!  No more worrying about spending money for gifts, or organizing everying for the party or the pressure of the holidays - just the pure spirit of celebrating the birth of our Savior with the love of my family surrounding me.  It was just what I needed to help me truly feel the spirit and joy of Christmas!

I was determined to take better pictures this year, I think these are pretty good!  From youngest sister and family to oldest - here's our family:

 Jen, Karen, Michael, Neils
 Zach, Cindy, Hayden, Jeff, Josh
 Pam, Quinn, Troy (top row), Haylee, Heather, Wesley, Amanda (bottom row)
 Isaac, Richard, Rose (top row), Mikaela, Callista (bottom row)
Jessica, Kathleen (me) (top row), Jeremy, Santa (Anthony), Melissa (bottom row)
Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

This year we celebrated Thanksgiving with my side of the family.  Pam offered to be our host this year, so we all went to her house (unfortunately minus Cindy's family) and shared a wonderful dinner together.  We had a nice visit, and had a great time playing games after dinner.  Jessica brought Nate and stayed for dinner, but left shortly after that to attend 3 more dinners.

The teen table

Cute turkey favors Pam and her girls made

I am very thankful for family!  I am thankful for holidays that give us the opportunity to spend time together.  I am thankful for the gospel and priesthood blessings and for prayer and for the knowledge that families can be together forever.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Moments Remembered from 2011

There were some events I'd like to remember from this year that I am just now getting around to blogging about.  First we celebrated Easter this year with my family (unfortunately minus Pam's family) at Cindy's house where we had lunch and then our first annual Easter Egg Bash.  We decorated eggs and then rolled them two at a time to see whose egg would hold up the longest without getting cracked or dented.  There were some accused of making cheater eggs with glitter glue and plastic shrink wrap, but it turned out that a plain old colored egg by Melissa was the winner!

 [videos to be inserted later]

We celebrated the Fourth of July with my family at Sandy City with the parade, picnic dinner, entertainment and fireworks (unfortunately minus Cindy's family).  We had lots of fun.

My company party this year was held at Lagoon on August 17th.  We got 2 free tickets, free parking, free catered dinner at one of the pavilions, and discounts on extra tickets.  All Jeremy wanted for his birthday was to go to Lagoon, and since we got such a good deal, we took the family - Jessica and Nate even came.  Turned out that Anthony's family planned to go to Lagoon the very same day!

I haven't been to Lagoon in many years and was amazed as how much it has changed.  I also couldn't believe how grown up Melissa was, she went on tons of stuff, even the Terroride.  But her favorite ride was the Screamer. 

Jeremy's birthday is close to two of his cousins in the summer and Anthony's mom decided to have their party together and celebrate at Payson Lakes on August 20th.  So we made the drive and after some searching, found the family and set up our screen house and had a picnic lunch.  This kids swam in the lake and played for a couple of hours.  Just as we started to clean up, we got rained on - a total downpour which lasted just long enough for us to get our stuff taken down and packed in the cars - and get completely soaked.  Oh well, the kids had fun - and that was as close to camping that we got this year.

I though this picture was a great shot of the lake, the shoreline and the mountains -
about as good a "photographer" as I get.

Anthony's family has had a tradition that the whole family - all her kids and grandkids go to the Zoo together every Memorial Day.  They evidently went for years before I married Anthony, and we have been every year since then.  Imagine my surprise when I was told the first Memorial Day after we were married that we were expected to bring our brand new little 3 week old baby and go to the Zoo!  Well I was obedient and have been every since.

However, the last three years they decided they didn't want to go to the Zoo anymore, we went to a movie instead.  Well, Melissa didn't get to go as much as the other grandkids who were older and she missed that tradition.  So this year we decided to go by ourselves - just our family and we went on Labor Day instead.  Jessica and Nate came too and we had a lot of fun.  How do you like my three BIG kids on the little kiddie playground?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Moments Remembered from 2010

While trying to remember what I should have blogged about during the past year, I couldn't remember very much.  We didn't go on vacation, we didn't even go camping with the White family this year.  There were no real stand out moments or events.  But I knew we must have done something worth remembering, so I looked back at the pictures I took.  Then I started remembering . . .

How could I not have blogged about Melissa breaking her leg?!  Last November Melissa found a short skate board that had been abandoned in the neighborhood and decided that she would learn to skateboard.  Yep, she lost her balance and fell off twisting her foot as she went down.  At least we thought it was just twisted or sprained.  When she complained that she couldn't walk because she hurt so bad she didn't want to go to school, we decided to take her to the Instacare to get it checked out.  The x-ray showed two twist fractures just above her ankle and they sent her home in a splint.

After about a week in the splint, she got a hot pink cast and a pair of crutches. But it was so hard for her to get around on the crutches, she traded them in for a wheelchair (her grandma had an extra travel wheelchair that she loaned Melissa for the three weeks she had to be off her foot).  The wheelchair made it so much easier for Melissa to get around and the kids at school liked pushing her around in the chair and being her special helper.  Melissa loved being waited on hand and foot!

After three weeks she got the cast off and was able to use a walking boot. She didn't need the chair and only needed the crutches for about a week. Then she was able to walk in the boot with no crutches for another couple of weeks.  After a little more than three weeks in the boot, she was done! I still can't believe how fast she healed!

We spent Thanksgiving with the White family and after dinner we played the candy bar game. The day after Thanksgiving we got together with the McFarlane family at Jennifer's house and watched the BYU/Utah game. Utah won!  It was awesome.  Too bad I didn't get a picture of Pam's whole family wearing their BYU shirts and the rest of us in red!

Christmas Eve with the McFarlane family was at Pam's house with dinner and the traditional talent show and dress up nativity and presents for the grandkids.

Then we continued to Grandma White's house for more presents.  Then we went home and each opened one gift before bed.  Christmas Eve is a long day!  But it's a great day.

Now I'm looking forward to the holidays this year.  I should take better pictures.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Time Flies

Wow, I can't believe that it's been over a year since I blogged.  Time sure flies!

I guess nothing seemed very blog worthy over the last year, but now I look back and wonder what happened during the last year.  This blog has been a fun record of my family - if for no one else but me to look back on.  I'll have to try to do better.

The most recent fun was Halloween.  We had a trunk-or-treat at the church on Friday before Halloween, and then on Halloween night, Anthony didn't have a magic show this year so he took Melissa trick-or-treating with his sister and the cousins this year - the first year since Jessica was little!  I got to stay home and relax since I can't walk very far any more.  Trick-or-treating with the White family kids is an ordeal of speed and endurance that I was just not up to this year.  Jeremy stayed home with me and manned the door dressed up to scare!

Since I didn't blog last Halloween or the year before, I thought I'd include pictures from the past as a little Halloween "memory lane" just for fun.