Tag Archives: Christmas


Ok, it’s a bit late to be finally posting all of our festive photos, but… well if you wonder why, re-read my realistic mommy post – ha ha. Anyway, I love all the fun of Christmas and the decorations (though I love getting back to normal afterwards too). This year it was especially neat being in our first home with new friends and things to see and do. We didn’t go out much, lots of snow (yay! we had a white Christmas!) and cold temps with the baby kept us indoors, so there are a number of neat things we want to do next year when Robert is older.

We managed to find a place to cut down a tree – in fact it was only $10 so we got two! Unfortunately they are going out of business, so we’ll have to find a new place next year. Trees are so different out here than back in evergreen land, aka Oregon. We dubbed our scotch pine the vampire tree (it’s needles were wicked sharp) and the other tree (I don’t remember what kind it was) the Charlie Brown tree, though it grew on us after a while (no, not literally)

Tree Picking

After decorations were up we started the season off with a small, but fun and crazy white-elephant party and are looking forward to watching it grow. It was a hoot and a half. We wound up with a can of Kraut juice (don’t ask, it’s better if you don’t know). The season continued with tons of baking, and reading, and sledding, and caroling and an awesome zoo trip and just masses and masses of fun – more fun than anyone should have the right to have, but we had it!

Then came Christmas Eve and surprise of all surprises the lovable fiasco that is the Nativity play was all lovable and no fiasco!

Christmas Eve 2010

Then the kids went to bed and not long after were awakened by Daddy Clause doing his rumbly “HO! HO! HO!” James stood at the stairs refusing to come down.

Christmas Eve Santa 2010

They were sent upstairs, all snuggled up in their new pajamas, and as they went Jacob waxed eloquent. “Dad is Santa Claus! It’s a sham, I tell ya, a sham!”

The following morning we woke the kids up at 8 (they were all still sleeping, can you believe it?) and enjoyed the giggling and shushing as they waited at the top of the stairs until we were completely ready. Then the word was given and the stampede ensued. Robert is featured in the main Christmas morning collage because it was his 1st Christmas.

Robert Christmas

And what can be in those big long packages that everybody seems to have??

Christmas 1

Why, Battle Beaters of course!!!! After all the festivities, we adjourned to the basement for the family battle.

Christmas 2

We enjoyed beating each other the rest of the day… oh and watching family movies and playing and stuff too… but beating each other was definitely the highlight.

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Filed under Bobert, Dot, Em, Family, Jacob, James, Lizy

Merry Christmas!!

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas! I know we have. 😀 The quilts and snakes were a hit and so were the family nerf guns. We’ve been having wars ever since. I forgot to tell one of the best highlights of making the quilts. As I would lay them out on the floor to pin them to the frame James would come up behind me and climb onto my back. As I crawled around her would go on ride after ride. He had a blast, and quite honestly, so did I. 😀

Christmas Tree Hunt

Decorating Christmas Tree 1

Christmas Eve Play 1

Christmas Eve Play 2

Our resident Santa moved away, which called for action. There was no way I would have time to make Paul a costume, so I got creative… It wasn’t perfect, but the kids sure had fun with it!



Spit Fire even enjoyed the season (most of it attacking the Christmas tree, heh) 😀


We have had a week of giggles and fun and hope you have too!

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Filed under Dot, Em, Family, Jacob, James, Lizy

My Christmas Miracle (…or I did something insanely stupid but it worked out okay anyway)

Traduccion al Espanol

It was the Thursday before Christmas and I had spent the afternoon baking goodies. I had decided on a quick potato casserole for dinner with a few slices of ham on the side. The casserole was near completion, so I grabbed the dish with the ham in it to poke it in the oven. I opened the oven door and with my mitted hand I turned the hot casserole dish to make room for the ham dish.

I put the ham dish in the oven and then reached over to push the casserole dish into the oven just a little further. The problem? I forgot the casserole dish was hot and grabbed it with my bare hand – the thumb and first to finger grabbed the dish to shove it in further.

It only took a second to realize what I had done, and with a yell of, “What the heck was I thinking?!?” I dashed to the sink and shoved my hand under cool water.

It burned and hurt so bad. And then, the panic hit. I had to play in church on Sunday. Not just regular hymns, but choir accompaniment and piano/organ duets. It was too short a time to expect someone to learn the music – it wasn’t exactly easy stuff. Not to mention all the singing around the piano we do as a family. I pictured suddenly a Christmas with no piano music and singing family and it was almost unbearable. I was nearly crying, not from pain, but from anger at my stupidity.

Paul suggested a priesthood blessing. At first I was a bit reluctant, “It’s only three fingers,” I said.

“But,” he replied, “three fingers on a pianist is a big deal.”

So, I agreed. One of the things mentioned in the blessing was that while my fingers would hurt, whenever I played the piano they wouldn’t and I would be fine.

I bandaged and medicated my fingers and relaxed the rest of the night. In the morning, I noticed my thumb was blistered, but none of my fingers seemed as sore as I thought they would be. I decided to try out the piano, having faith that the words spoken in the blessing.

My fingers didn’t hurt a bit. That evening the family gathered and sang Christmas carols at the piano as I played, and again on Saturday. Snow was coming down heavily and by Sunday morning church was canceled. And though I didn’t play in church that Sunday, I could have. My fingers were completely healed, even the blistered thumb.

Our Christmas was filled with music the music of my children’s voices accompanying my piano, filling our home with the love and spirit of Christmas.

It may not seem much to many, but it was truly a miracle to me.



By the way, we had our Christmas program at church this last Sunday and everything went really well.  It was beautiful and wonderful and all those participating did marvelously.


Filed under Every Day Life, Miracles, Religion

A White Christmas

The first white Christmas for our little family! On Monday we awoke to another 6+ inches on top of what we already had. It continued to snow throughout the day and when Paul and I measured it later in the afternoon we had a whopping 18 inches! These are a few of the snow photos I took in the morning on Monday – it built up even more later on in the day. In the top picture – the snow is actually deeper than it looks, the girls are standing on a sheet of ice about an inch thick with more snow beneath it.

December 22 Snow Collage

Tuesday and Wednesday brought warmer temps and some snow melt, but we still have a good foot of snow out there today. So, our Christmas was plenty white!

Snow in Oregon brings its own challenges, such as no or little funding for plowing and gravel. As a result it was nigh impossible to get around, which meant an extra day or two home for Paul, which was a huge hit. They finally got things plowed on Christmas Eve day – well, some places anyway. And we were able to get my brother and his family to our home for Christmas Eve.

It was so wonderful having them with us – we actually had three Wisemen/shepherds! The cast of our Nativity play went as follows: My niece Laura was Mary, Elizabeth was Jospeh, Paul (my husband) was the donkey, my niece Emma was the Angel, Paul (my brother) was King Herod, and Dorothy, Emily, and Jacob were shepherds/wisemen. Oh, and James was a sheep, while my Sister-in-law and the new baby spectated and I narrated and played piano. It was a hoot!

Christmas Eve Nativity Collage

Later in the evening Santa came for a surprise visit with presents for all the children. James wasn’t too sure about Santa. We got a chance to see his first pouty face ever. Every time Santa even looked at him the lower lip would poke out and he would be on the verge of tears. He lost it when we sat him on Santa’s lap. It was SO cute.

James 1st Santa Collage

All the girls (except the little baby) recieved matching pajamas…

Santa Collage

Christmas was a wonderful relaxed day. Everyone had fun with their new treasures – especially the light sabers – each person (including mom and dad) recieved one for Christmas this year.

Christmas Collage

James sure figured out the present business fast –

James' 1st Christmas


Filed under Dot, Em, Family, Jacob, James, Lizy, Nature

A Random Friday Post

My husband kindly pointed out that I hadn’t written in a month – wow! Has it really been a month? That means I haven’t commented on my friends blogs in a month either – sorry guys, I’ve turned into a lurker aparantly. The sad part is that there have been so many funny things happen that I have said, “I’ll have to blog about that” and then I just never got to it – there were always so many OTHER things that needed to get done.


I am nearly ready for the second round of readers on my book, I’m waiting until after Christmas, but I’ll contact those I emailed soon. 🙂 I appreciate everyone’s help. I have been editing, editing, and editing some more. My query rejection count is up to 3 – woohoo! Very cool. Seriously. 🙂 I have a few places I will send the manuscript once I have it as perfect as I can get it. Oh, and I changed the title – it is now Belinda and the Beastly Neighbor


When I haven’t been editing, I’ve been sewing. When Dorothy and Elizabeth were babies I found an awesome stocking pattern idea in a Jo-Ann Fabrics ad. I made each of us stockings, and I have added to them as we have added to our family. This year I got to make James’ stocking and ten more! No – we are not adding ten people to our family, our midwife liked my stockings so much she hired me to make stocking for everyone in her family. I was supposed to do them in the summer, but I couldn’t find the pattern, so I have spent the last 3 weeks or so sewing and glueing feverishly. I finished them on Tuesday, and my brother said to take a picture – which I promptly did.

10 Stockings

10 Stockings 2


Our Thanksgiving was wonderful, and following our recent tradition of four years we went up to the hospital – though Elizabeth was sick again and so I went up with Dorothy and Emily while Paul stayed with Jacob, James, and Elizabeth. It was wonderful as always, though I really missed the rest of my family. We had our yummy dinner on Friday and chopped down our tree Saturday. For some reason, I didn’t sew or edit much that week-end. 😉

Thanksgiving 2008 Collage

Christmas Tree 2008 Collage

Decorating Tree 2008 Collage

James' first Tree 2008 collage


Some things I have learned in the past few weeks:

Your child will not be harmed if you give him an old antibiotic that has passed its expiration date. Jacob had a dentist appointment and I gave him his pre-med only to realize with horror that it had since expired. A quick call to the ped reassured me that I hadn’t done anything drastic, and that it should still be fine – though it could loose some of its efficacy. The dental hygenist said though that they updated the protocal this year and that only heart valve replacements need to premedicate – so I’ll have some questions for our cardiologist when we see him in March.


Paul doesn’t mind helping me look for/ buy feminine products but he will not touch them. I absent mindedly handed him a box at the store and he tossed up his hands, “I’m not carrying those!” I laughed really hard. 🙂


I understand why my father-in-law tells stories about his mother always keeping him with her in the kitchen, etc. Its because he was either always underfoot while she was in there and she put him to work, or it because he was always in trouble when he was out of sight – at least that’s how it is with Jacob. 🙂 We have become BEST buddies lately, especially since if I turn my back for 5 seconds he is into something or doing something he shouldn’t.


3-year-olds trying to help in the kitchen are commical and you get NOTHING done.


Babies grow way to fast (I already knew this, but it has been re-enforced over the last few weeks since James is now clapping, waving, saying “Bye”, standing, and has taken a few steps occasionally.)

James Standing!


Its really funny to watch your flexible kids play Twister with your non-flexible husband. 😀

Twister 2008 Collage

Now I am trying to get ready for Christmas and a first birthday which seems to be approaching way too rappidly.


Filed under Children, Dot, Em, Every Day Life, Family, Jacob, James, Lizy, Parenting, Writing

A Very Merry Christmas

James’ birth rather usurped the attention and I never had a chance to post about our Christmas.  Christmas time for our family i s a time of fun traditions going back to Paul’s and mine childhood, and new traditions that we have started together with our little family.  We gather around the piano and sing carols, act out the nativity on Christmas eve and indulge in scrumptious cinnamon buns on Christmas morning.

Recently we have begun the tradition of going to the hospital to serve dinner on Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas, but for obvious reasons we didn’t go up to the hospital this year.  Because of our excursions to the hospital we decided on another new tradition. That was to have Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve – we especially like this one because it gets Mom out of the kitchen on Christmas day. I get to enjoy the children and play with them. We still have our Christmas dinner as we feast on left overs from the night before.

So, Christmas Eve found us feasting on our dinner afterwhich we read the Nativity Story from the Scriptures as the children acted out the different parts. This year Elizabeth was Mary, Jacob was Joseph, Dorothy was the angel, and Emily was the shepherd/wiseman.  Dad as always was Herod and I was the narrator.  In between the different scriptures we read we sing carols that go along with what we are reading…

Kids ready for Nativity

Angel & Mary

Joseph kept riding off on the donkey leaving poor Mary behind ;)

Riding to Bethlehem - Joseph was a bit reluctant to let Mary ride :)

Joseph & Mary

Angel & Shepherd

Joseph, Mary, & Shepherd

Wiseman, Joseph (taking a nap on the floor) & Mary

Other traditions of the evening include driving around to see the lights, sometimes some caroling (if we haven’t done it earlier) and a late night visit from Santa Clause (Jacob just had the hardest time waking up)…

Sleepy Jacob & Santa

Emily & Santa

Dot and Santa

Elizabeth & Santa

 Christmas morning dawns and no one is aloud to  go into the living room until everyone is up and dressed.  The kids lurk in the hall trying to peek into the room full of excitement and anticipation.  Finally we give the signal and they stampede into the room.  Stockings are the first order of the day followed by a cinnamon bun breakfast.  Only after breakfast is devoured do we gather around the tree to enjoy opening presants and wrapping paper wars…

This year I made pajamas…

Paul & Jacob in matching pjammies

Girls in the Nightgowns

And Paul made Lincoln Logs…

Kids with Lincoln logs that Dad made

So, that is a quick snippet of our fabulous Christmas. 🙂

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Filed under Dot, Em, Family, Jacob, James, Lizy, Photography

Merry Christmas (and I’m still standing! – sort of)

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas yesterday. 🙂 I was all set to write steadily the last time I blogged, yada yada yada – and then reality hit me as I still had to finish everyone’s pajamas, and help Elizabeth finish making piano bags for everyone, and  do at least some baking, oh, and clean the house, and…and…and….

 I got it all done.  Three nightgowns, one set of boy pajamas, and two pair pajama pants for Paul, plus 5 piano bags that Elizabeth “made”. It was her first introduction to the sewing machine and she learned how to release and put down the pressure foot, guide material through while I was sewing, etc.  So everyone now has a piano bookbag made from left over material I had laying around that had music notes and such on it.  Everyone but Jacob that is – we’ll have to make him one when he is older. 🙂  I never did get the corn heating bags made for people though – oh well. 🙂

I managed to do some baking, though the majority of it ended up being on the 23rd.  We have our Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve so Mom doesn’t end up in the kitchen all day on Christmas and we can snack and eat as we go and enjoy the kids.  I suppose it could be that I overdid things a tad bit during the week, but on Christmas Eve morning I woke to a rather unpleasant surprise that sent everyone into a whirlwind of worry.

Vaginal bleeding – not exactly the kind of Christmas presant I was hoping for, and as I have never had such problems I was a tad bit panicked and stressed.  My midwife came  over (at 5:30 a.m.) to check and things with baby seemed to be fine – the heart rate was fine, etc..  As soon as she things opened up in the morning I was scheduled for an ultrasound.  I was ordered to bed and to stay there until we could be sure that things were ok.  But what to do about Christmas dinner?

Paul stepped up to the plate, marvelous man that he is, and cooked the whole thing.  Anyway, I digress. We found a wonderful girl who was willing to babysit on Christmas Eve and took off to the hospital where (even though we were there at the scheduled time) waited for 30 minutes before the ultrasound took place.

Everything was and is fine. No placenta abruption, nothing wrong with the cervix, they aren’t really sure what caused the bleeding though there are several different things it could be.  Plenty of amniotic fluid and baby’s heart rate was healthy and baby was and is active.  I was allowed to move around more, though Paul still wouldn’t let me set foot in the kitchen – I think his theory was that I overdid things a bit.  Stress was allieviated, though there still were a number of clots and light bleeding. After a lot of rest we still managed to have a wonderful and normal Christmas Eve with all our usual festivities and traditions.

During the night as Christmas morning approached I remember feeling a few quite strong contractions and praying, “please not tonight – I don’t want to spoil Christmas, etc.” Thankfull nothing happened.  No bleeding and feeling quite “normal”.  Paul is still forcing me to take it easy – though honestly I want to – I’m not taking any chances.  So while I am up and about I am focusing on not doing too much no matter how the messy house after Christmas bugs me. 😉

Our Christmas day was splendid and filled with marvelous fun – there was even less squabling and such than usual – which is pretty good considering all the new things that everyone wants to play with.

Baby now has permision to come whenever he (no, we don’t know that the baby is a boy, but can’t stand saying ‘it’) wishes and apparantly is working on it.  Contractions, though not frequent (or spaced close together) have picked up quite a bit in potency – they are actually starting to hurt! So maybe, just maybe I might be early for a change.  Due date is a week from tomorrow, so who knows.  I have another prenatal on Friday, so will shoot for any more updates at that time.

Until then all is well, and we had a wonderful Christmas.  I sure hope all of you had a wonderful one as well!


Filed under Family, Pregnancy

Ward Christmas Party and Nativity

Last Saturday was a huge undertaking of a day.  It was my husband’s last day out of town, he had been gone since Wednesday A.M. and the kids were missing him dreadfully. And, probably, dreadfully sick of me.  I dreaded the day like a plague wondering how the kids would behave and hold up.  For that matter, I wondered how I would behave and hold up.  😉 

The day started early with us driving and hour to my niece’s baptism which was wonderful.  I almost wondered who the four little angels with me were they children were so good.  It was a wonderful baptism and after we got to go to my brother’s house and enjoy a delicious lunch with him, his wife, and their two children.  We had a birthday party for my niece and the kids played and had so much fun together.  Things were going well.

It came time to head home, I had organized the trip so that I would arrive home an hour before I needed to be at the church for our Ward Christmas party, figuring I would need some down time.

The kids were starting to fall apart and I was half tempted to back out of the Christmas party, except for one major problem. I was committed and, I knew I would let a bunch of people down if I and the children didn’t attend.  Dorothy was to be Mary in the Nativity, and Elizabeth and Emily were angels.  I had been asked to be the pianist, as well as perform a special duet as a musical number.  There was no way I could avoid it. 

It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. There were plenty of people to help with the children and the dinner was served to our tables, so I didn’t have to wait in a long line with four wiggly starving kids trying to balance four plates and forgetting to eat myself.

The Nativity was so sweet and Dorothy made such a sweet little Mary, and the other two very sweet angels.

Nativity 6

Nativity 5

Nativity 4

Nativity 3

Nativity 2

Nativity 1

The duet was awesome.  My friend and I had been wanting to perform this particular duet for over a year now.  It is called C.S. Theme and Variations – its a combination of Chopsticks and Franz Lizt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2.  We created an entire comedic routine using Victor Borge (piano comedian) as our inspiration.  We began with our music upside down trying to play over each other, finally stopping to realize what was ‘wrong’ and flipping the music over. Then things got fun.  We swapped hands and parts, got slapped and water dumped on me. The whole piece was a battle between, as we called ourselves, The Dueling Divas.  It finally ended in a mad dash to the frenzied end where I yanked out the bench from beneath my duet partner and sent her crashing to the ground as I stepped over her to claim my victory.  We were so worried that no one would laugh or find it as funny as we did, and much to our delight the audience was roaring.  We had SO much fun.  The only bummer was that in all the craziness to get ready to go I forgot my video camera and Paul didn’t get to see it.  So, I am sure we will do an encore performance sometime and record it.  Maybe  then I will figure out how to upload the video and post it here. 🙂

So the night turned out to be a success, and though I was exhausted by the end of the day, we had had a grand time. 


Filed under Dot, Em, Every Day Life, Lizy

Christmas Eve

When I was a little girl I have fond memories of our Christmas Eve traditions. My parents would gather us all together and each of us would be assigned some part to play as we acted out the Christmas story. Mom was always the narrator, reading from the Bible the story of Jesus’ birth. It was always followed by fun treats, singing, and sometimes even a few presents as brothers and sisters exchanged. I had always hoped that when I married my husband would be eager to carry on this cherished tradition.

Paul was not only willing, but eager, though it took some time for our family to grow enough to even get Mary, Joseph and the Angel covered. This year, even though some of our troops weren’t feeling well, the children excitedly got ready for the play and donned their costumes. Elizabeth was Joseph, Emily was Mary, Dorothy was the angel, and Jacob switched back and forth between shepherd and wiseman. 🙂

Here are just a few of my favorite photos:

The Angel Gabriel Appearing to Mary

Mary and Joseph (I’m not quite sure what that expression is on Joseph’s face, I’ll take suggestions for captions on it though. It sure cracks me up.)

Our Little Shepherd

Joseph doesn’t quite know what to make of Mary kissing the Shepherd…

The Wiseman visits Mary and Joseph….”Here Mary, take it. Take it!” (That’s all I could think of for this pic, which made me laugh too, I’m sure you guys can think of better ones, if you have any suggestions, drop them off.) 🙂

The Family Troop, except Dad, who is taking the pic.

A newer traditon for us, that will last as long as we have Santa at our disposal, is to have him come visit after the kids are in bed on Christmas Eve. Oh no! I just received a dreadful report, children all over the world will be so dissapointed. Hopefully they will get this resolved in time:


Santa & Elf Pirate


Filed under Children, Dot, Em, Family, Jacob, Lizy, Parenting, Religion

Rudolph for Christmas

(Sorry to those of you who might have read this over at Queen of Cute Shoes I’m her guest post today, but thought I’d be lazy and use it on my blog too, then I don’t have to come up with something else, heh)

I peered out the frosted window gazing across the shadowy landscape. Everything was snuggled in a white comforter and bathed with pale moonlight. My eyes lifted to the sky searching and scanning the Milky Way. I had known for ages that Santa Clause was just pretend; I think I had known from infancy. After all, how can he bee in all those places at the same time, they were all just old men playing pretend and enjoying the Christmas spirit. Rudolph, however, you never saw him. Even the most famous department stores couldn’t coerce Rudolph into a performance, just replicas of him with an electric nose.

I sighed, tearing myself away from the window pane leaving an oily smudge behind. The house was a vision of joyous chaos as everyone ran every which way.

“You’re Mary this year,” Heidi ordered as a sky blue robe was thrust into my arms.

Rudolph forgotten, I barreled down the hall, shouting at the top of my lungs, “Has anyone seen the blue towel?”

Mom appeared behind me with the blue towel and an army of safety pins and wrapped the towel over my head and snugging it beneath my chin. Every one had a part; there was Joseph, Mary, Shepherds, Wisemen, and an Angel. And Herod. Dad was always Herod. He looked so fierce sitting in his chair, his bald head glowing in the firelight bedecked with jewels and robed in his graduation gown from college days. Mom was always the narrator, pianist, and photographer.

We settled into our places as Mother began to read from the bible, everyone acting out their part, with a few additives as the angel tried to smite Mary rather than just bring her a message, and the shepherds practiced their parrying skills. Songs were sung at the appropriate times and we were taught the true meaning of Christmas and the reason for celebration.

There was homemade almond roca and fudge with hot chocolate sipped by firelight as we listened to more Christmas stories and sang carols around the piano. Brothers and sisters exchanged homemade gifts, and before we could hardly blink the clock was getting ready to chime twelve, which meant Santa would be hear soon. Restlessly I returned to my window, creating a new smudge with my nose.

“If only,” I thought to myself, “I could catch one glimpse of that red nose.”

“What’cha doin’ J? Heidi asked staring over my shoulder trying to see what on earth was so exciting out there.

“I’m looking for Rudolph,” I explained.

She didn’t reply, just mysteriously disappeared and left me to continue to search the starry sky.

“J! J! Come quick, there is something you’ve got to see,” Kimball came tearing into the living room shouting at the top of his lungs and grabbed my arm. Bundled amongst the family I was ushered out onto the front porch.

Slightly annoyed at the cold and the empty dark yard I huffily asked, “What? I don’t see anything.”

“It’s over there,” Paul pointed to the corner of the house.

Sure enough, there was something there just barely peaking around the edge. I gasped in awe, it was glowing red.

”Rudolph!” I exclaimed clapping my hands and laughing.

Dad broke into a big grin and told me to hurry on to bed so Rudolph could help Santa get on his way.

I hardly slept that night for excitement of having seen Rudolph, or maybe it was just knowing that my sister loved me enough to stand in the cold with a flashlight and red cloth, just to make her sister’s dream come true.


Filed under Farm Stories, Memory, Personal History