Monday, December 29, 2008

It's the Holidays!

Belly laughs, cuddles with Opa, a great dinner together and no electricity and you have our Gingerbread house making night!! The whole neighborhood lost power for about 45 minutes to an hour! In an all electric house we couldn't even get out the garage!! Needless to say dinner was a tad bit late - but the party went on! There's not much that can go wrong when you combine graham crackers, frosting and a lot of candy!

Some houses become structural masterpieces while others require a little more frosting!! The concentration level for everyone goes up and the candy consumption by the tiny ones soars through the roof.

A finished masterpiece!!
The little ones enjoyed building trains instead of houses and squealed with delight at being together. (I must admit that with tile on all the floors that the noise level is a LOT higher but cleanup is still a breeze!) They were probably pretty "high" on all the candy that was dropped on the floor but no one complained.
Christmas came all too soon for us!! I was in a flurry of Christmas buying and Rich worked hard on two oak wagons for Noah and Jase. Long hours in the new "man cave" (shed) were worth it all when the kids spent the morning loading the wagons up and pushing and pulling them everywhere. Each wagon can hold 3-4 kiddos!! Of course they were well tested Christmas morning as Quentin pulled the tribe down the block!!

Christmas came with all the trimmings and the good family feelings. Unfortunately Paul and Ben were not feeling the best, but they were troopers and good daddies so they pretended that all was fine. I'm sure they both just wanted to be in bed (with a good book and a cup of cocoa though! Colds are a bummer!) I love the kindness of everyone! We all played games, ate cinnamon rolls and talked. Presents were a hit as always!! It's fun to see what everyone has plotted and planned for each other. This year the kids all drew the name of one other person to buy for instead of giving to everyone. I know that some were concerned about it but it was wonderful. Each person tried to be so tuned into the person they were buying for and I was so intrigued with how they got the perfect present for them! Gracie can recognize the "G" in her name so was especially interested in what presents were hers!! She helped me be "Santa" this year and pass out all the gifts. Kyle joined us and I'm sure that he thought we were a wild a rowdy bunch! So true! The kids were so generous to me. Jennie and Kyle even gave us a "Photo shoot" for our present!! It's to recreate our "engagement" pictures that never turned out 32 years ago!! I hope I turn out looking like a "young engaged couple" then!! I will definitely need a new hairstyle, new clothes and ... oh heck, a new me!!

The rest of our Christmas day was quiet!! It's a new discovery for us as our nest in emptying. All the kids and their families journeyed off to other celebrations - even Jennie!! A big rainstorm hit as well and we spent the rest of the day napping, reading, and watching movies together. It kind of reminded me of our first Christmas together 32 years ago. We were married at Christmas time and spent Christmas day in Greer in a snowstorm!! This Christmas seemed almost as quiet and laid back!!

I spent 6 hours with a dear friend this week as she oriented me to my new calling! Can you guess what it is?!?!? I was so touched by her compassion and concern for those she has served and for ME! She knew everyone by name and situation and could spend 5 minutes telling me about each and every person! I fed her lunch, we hugged and cried together and I now wear a heavier mantle of concern for those I serve and love.

To complete a few days of play and parties we journeyed to Tucson to help celebrate Emma's 6th birthday. I was so touched that all she wanted for her birthday was a day with us! We partied hearty at Peter Piper Pizza, went to the movies and then home again for a Spaghetti dinner, cake and presents!! The weather was ever so chilly as we bundled up and cruised the neighborhood in the new wagon! Emma smiled, laughed and loved having us over to "play"! She has grown into such a sweet and kind young lady. I feel it an honor to be her "Big Moma"! Although I miss having them so close it is wonderful to see them all blossoming in Tucson. Thank heavens for highways that are widening, good gas prices and a great car to travel in style!

Rich and I are still on vacation!! Each day we have something fun planned - - good books, good food, good friends and family and so many blessings to count. It's awesome!!

I'm excited to welcome in 2009! Ready for some football and nervous for planning a wedding but that's what keeps life exciting and interesting. I am spending my days with my best friend .... what could be better?!?!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Peace-filled Weekend

I loved the peace that this weekend contained. It was full of family, friends, and visiting the lights at the Temple. There is nothing like it! It seemed that no matter the night nor how busy and crowded the grounds were, the Spirit was peaceful, happy, and reverent. We heard a great choir from a local school one night and a flute quartet the next time we visited. What a great place to walk, hold the hand of one you love, and remember the real reason for the season!! I wish all of my family could/would take the time to stroll the grounds.

Jennie and I began our wedding cake tasting expedition this week. What a hard job!! We laughed as we ate our way through two slices of cake while sitting in our car and licking off our fingers. Not quite the professional way but fun nonetheless! Jennie's still very open minded about styles, shapes and colors. We have even thought of cupcakes! Now to find the right taste and price!! More tasting ahead this week. I guess that means we will diet Monday through Friday!!

Aisling of Eire by Dorothy Keddington arrived via Inter-Library Loan this week! Ya gotta love this great service. This copy comes from the Sandy, Utah library!! Wahoo! I can't wait to jump in and enjoy. I have been waiting a very long time for it! I am currently reading Gravity by Tess Gerritson but I may have to put it aside -- I am awful at waiting! I love book choices!! Christmas break means some more time for reading. Yippee!

Rich and I have decided how we are going to spend our anniversary this year. We are going to take the light rail downtown and enjoy the shops, art galleries and a nice lunch at Durrants. Yum! We are going to go over Christmas vacation when the light rail is free for everyone! Sort of a field trip! Pretty low key but just a fun adventure together! Wanna join us?!?!

Wedding announcement ordering was fun! Jennie was very creative and she and Kyle chose a variety of shots for the announcement. It will be fun to see it all put together! She also WON a free wedding shoot from a very talented wedding photographer, Nikaela Curtis ( WoW!! We are so excited. Even better, the friend who took her terrific engagement shots will be an assistant for the shoot! All of this was a result of blogging too! Isn't that amazing?!?!? A pretty great week!

Tomorrow we meet the future in-laws. I'm a little apprehensive .... you'd think I was the bride! I wish I was a cooler person! Guess I'll just have to go as me!! Yikes!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I love a Love Story

Jennie + Kyle= LOVE!!

I am one lucky person!! Watching these two fall in love has got to be the neatest thing and I marvel at it daily. They are so much fun to be with, to watch, to talk with and play with ... gosh darn it I am lucky they are patient enough to play with me.

Jennie has found her knight in shining armor! They are both so darn photogenic that choosing engagement photos is going to be tough - boy, who knew that this would be the hardest part of the wedding planning! But what fun! I feel blessed!

Don't you love the tenderness in this black and white? Gosh, I LOVE love!

These two are always touching, laughing, playing --- they will have a happy life together! Don't you want to be there with them??

They both love sports, eating, chilling, going to the Temple, and laughing. They have the same goals, dreams, and desires. Yep, it sounds right to me.

Jennie is such an amazing daughter. Her dad always told her that she was in "princess training" - just preparing for the guy she would marry. She said that she was so surprised when she met Kyle that she kept repeating to herself..."princess training, princess training." I love to here her stories and make her repeat them over and over. Boy, her life is as much fun as Twilight!!

Don't ya love the crinkle in their eyes!?!?!

My sweet friend, Mary, photographed these two the day before Thanksgiving --the weather was cold, cloudy and even brought a rainbow! Isn't that just about perfect? I'll just be quiet now and let her terrific pictures do the talking!

WOW! Thanks Mary! You outdid yourself....