Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas with Kian

If you want to details of how our Chirstmas was go over to Vanessa's blog...she tells it much better than I could! But I just have to share a few things about Kian.
This was the first year that he got excited about Santa. Is that normal? He is 6 already! We were able to "use" the naughty and nice list as motivation for the first time and he was so excited that the poor guy couldn't sleep on Christmas Eve.

I mean come on...look at that face!!
He did get exactly what he wanted from Santa this year (yay for employment!!) and we had a great day :0)
On Christmas Eve as I walked in the door from some last minute shopping he says "I LOVE Christmas!! I want to MARRY it!! Marry Christmas...get it?!" Now I'm sure he heard this somewhere, but it still cracked me up.
Then yesterday Vanessa was telling me that when she tucks Kian into bed and kissed him, he has started saying "Aw, shucks!"
I said, "Kian, you are such a ham!"
Without missing a beat he said, "Well, you're a roast beef!"
Where does this stuph come from?? He's the only 6 year old I know who does stand-up.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

We went to see Nuncrackers again on Monday night with Calah and Mackenzie. They loved it by the way... Turns out Doug's friend from high school Kathryn Laycock Little (she asked him to Preference he wanted me to know) directed it with her husband.
Also turns out that after the show in the lobby where the actors are greeting fans I saw not one but three Osmonds!! One was David and he was there with his wife and baby.

My favorite performer from the show is married to an Osmond, I just haven't figured out which one yet. Then as we were waiting to talk to Kathryn a legendary Osmond--Alan--maneuvered right past us to get to the sofas. I said "Hi!" but I guess he didn't hear me!

That's Alan on the bottom left.
So it turns out that Provo is a pretty great place for an Osmond enthusiast like myself :0) Now if only I could spot Donny again...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Joy to the World!

I just came from the best Sunday Christmas service I can remember! Now granted, I have felt the holy spirit near me all week and my emotions have been riding the surface lately, but WOW!
Mark and Malinda Bramwell narrating from Luke, Isaiah, Matthew and 3 Nephi~
Men and Young Men singing O Come O Come Emmanuel
Primary children and then the congregation singing Silent Night~My Dad's favorite Christmas song (tears of gratefulness)
Women and Young Women singing The First Noel (I get to sing with Calah and Mackenzie)
Congregation singing Angels We Have Heard On High and With Wondering Awe
Sister Pat Pelessie singing Ave Maria~ Incredible and more tears
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with the;
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus

Brother Gordon Harknes sang Mary's Boy Child
And Sister Bramwell read President Thomas S Monson's message of hope. The Savior gives us hope and we should rejoice in His love and in doing so we have the responsibility to help others have hope too.
In addition I'd like to share President Monson address given just a couple of weeks ago:

With the Spirit of Christ in our lives, we will have goodwill and love toward all mankind, not only during this season, but throughout the year as well.

President Thomas S. MonsonMy beloved brothers and sisters, how grateful I am to be here with you this evening.

Recently, as I’ve reminisced concerning past Christmases, I’ve realized that probably no other time of the year yields as many poignant memories as does Christmas. The Christmases we remember best generally have little to do with worldly goods, but a lot to do with families, with love, and with compassion and caring. This thought provides hope for those of us who fear that the simple meaning of the holiday is diluted by commercialism, or by opposition from those with differing religious views, or just by getting so caught up in the pressures of the season that we lose that special spirit we could otherwise experience.

For many people, “overdoing it” is especially common at this time of the year. We may take on too much for the time and energy we have. Perhaps we don’t have enough money to spend for those things we feel we must purchase. Often our efforts at Christmastime result in feeling stressed out, wrung out, and worn out during a time when instead we should feel the simple joys of commemorating the birth of the Babe in Bethlehem.

Usually, however, the special spirit of the season somehow finds its way into our hearts and into our lives despite the difficulties and distractions which may occupy our time and energy.

Many years ago I read of an experience at Christmastime which took place when thousands of weary travelers were stranded in the congested Atlanta, Georgia, airport. An ice storm had seriously delayed air travel as these people were trying to get wherever they most wanted to be for Christmas—most likely home.

It happened in December of 1970. As the midnight hour tolled, unhappy passengers clustered around ticket counters, conferring anxiously with agents whose cheerfulness had long since evaporated. They, too, wanted to be home. A few people managed to doze in uncomfortable seats. Others gathered at the newsstands to thumb silently through paperback books.

If there was a common bond among this diverse throng, it was loneliness—pervasive, inescapable, suffocating loneliness. But airport decorum required that each traveler maintain his invisible barrier against all the others. Better to be lonely than to be involved, which inevitably meant listening to the complaints of gloomy and disheartened fellow travelers.

The fact of the matter was that there were more passengers than there were available seats on any of the planes. When an occasional plane managed to break out, more travelers stayed behind than made it aboard. The words “Standby,” “Reservation confirmed,” and “First-class passenger” settled priorities and bespoke money, power, influence, foresight—or the lack thereof.

Gate 67 in Atlanta was a microcosm of the whole cavernous airport. Scarcely more than a glassed-in cubicle, it was jammed with travelers hoping to fly to New Orleans, Dallas, and points west. Except for the fortunate few traveling in pairs, there was little conversation at Gate 67. A salesman stared absently into space, as if resigned. A young mother cradled an infant in her arms, gently rocking in a vain effort to soothe the soft whimpering.

Then there was a man in a finely tailored grey flannel suit who somehow seemed impervious to the collective suffering. There was a certain indifference about his manner. He was absorbed in paperwork—figuring the year-end corporate profits, perhaps. A nerve-frayed traveler sitting nearby, observing this busy man, might have identified him as an Ebenezer Scrooge.

Suddenly, the relative silence was broken by a commotion. A young man in military uniform, no more than 19 years old, was in animated conversation with the desk agent. The boy held a low-priority ticket. He pleaded with the agent to help him get to New Orleans so that he could take the bus to the obscure Louisiana village he called home.

The agent wearily told him the prospects were poor for the next 24 hours, maybe longer. The boy grew frantic. Immediately after Christmas his unit was to be sent to Vietnam—where at that time war was raging—and if he didn’t make this flight, he might never again spend Christmas at home. Even the businessman looked up from his cryptic computations to show a guarded interest. The agent clearly was moved, even a bit embarrassed. But he could only offer sympathy—not hope. The boy stood at the departure desk, casting anxious looks around the crowded room as if seeking just one friendly face.

Finally the agent announced that the flight was ready for boarding. The travelers, who had been waiting long hours, heaved themselves up, gathered their belongings, and shuffled down the small corridor to the waiting aircraft: twenty, thirty, a hundred—until there were no more seats. The agent turned to the frantic young soldier and shrugged.

Inexplicably, the businessman had lingered behind. Now he stepped forward. “I have a confirmed ticket,” he quietly told the agent. “I’d like to give my seat to this young man.” The agent stared incredulously; then he motioned to the soldier. Unable to speak, tears streaming down his face, the boy in olive drab shook hands with the man in the gray flannel suit, who simply murmured, “Good luck. Have a fine Christmas. Good luck.”

As the plane door closed and the engines began their rising whine, the businessman turned away, clutching his briefcase, and trudged toward the all-night restaurant.

No more than a few among the thousands stranded there at the Atlanta airport witnessed the drama at Gate 67. But for those who did, the sullenness, the frustration, the hostility—all dissolved into a glow. That act of love and kindness between strangers had brought the spirit of Christmas into their hearts.

The lights of the departing plane blinked, starlike, as the craft moved off into the darkness. The infant slept silently now in the lap of the young mother. Perhaps another flight would be leaving before many more hours. But those who witnessed the interchange were less impatient. The glow lingered, gently and pervasively, in that small glass and plastic stable at Gate 67.2

My brothers and sisters, finding the real joy of the season comes not in the hurrying and the scurrying to get more done or in the purchasing of obligatory gifts. Real joy comes as we show the love and compassion inspired by the Savior of the World, who said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these ... ye have done it unto me.”3

At this joyous season, may personal discords be forgotten and animosities healed. May enjoyment of the season include remembrance of the needy and afflicted. May our forgiveness reach out to those who have wronged us, even as we hope to be forgiven. May goodness abound in our hearts and love prevail in our homes.

As we contemplate how we’re going to spend our money to buy gifts this holiday season, let us plan also for how we will spend our time in order to help bring the true spirit of Christmas into the lives of others.

The Savior gave freely to all, and His gifts were of value beyond measure. Throughout His ministry, He blessed the sick, restored sight to the blind, made the deaf to hear, and the halt and lame to walk. He gave cleanliness to the unclean. He restored breath to the lifeless. He gave hope to the despairing and bestowed light in the darkness.

He gave us His love, His service, and His life.

What is the spirit we feel at Christmastime? It is His spirit—the Spirit of Christ.

How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is giv’n!
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his heav’n.
No ear may hear his coming; but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in.4

With the pure love of Christ, let us walk in His footsteps as we approach the season celebrating His birth. As we do so, let us remember that He still lives and continues to be the Light of the World, who promised, “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”5

To each of you, my brothers and sisters, I extend my love and blessing. May you have a wonderful Christmas. May there be love and kindness and peace within your hearts and homes. May even those whose hearts are heavy rise with the healing which comes alone from Him who comforts and assures.

With the Spirit of Christ in our lives, we will have goodwill and love toward all mankind, not only during this season, but throughout the year as well.

May this be our experience and our blessing, I pray, in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, amen.

To my family and friends...My cup runneth over. I know that Jesus Christ is the Son Of God and my Savior. I know he died for me and I know that one day I will see His face and those of my parents and daughter and I hope they are pleased with who I am. For today I am filled with love and gratitude and hope.

Joy to the World, the Lord is come; Let earth receive her King! Let every heart prepare him room...And ever worship God, And ever worship God, and ever and ever worship God.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas on Temple Square

It was COLD, but the kids had an early day today and so we braved the elements and journeyed northward to Salt Lake City.
Our first stop was the Legacy Theater in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building for the film about Joseph Smith.

Joseph Smith The Prophet of the Restoration has been produced under the direction of the First Presidency as part of the Church's commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Joseph Smith's birth.

The film depicts events in the life of Joseph Smith from his early youth in Vermont to his martyrdom in Illinois at age 38. It recounts Joseph's search for truth as a young boy, a search that resulted in divine revelation that set his life on a path of service and sacrifice in restoring the Church of Jesus Christ. Through scenes of his interactions with family and with early Church members and others, viewers will see both the personal and public sides of Joseph's caring nature and prophetic leadership.

Let me tell you, this is a three hanky film!
  • Joseph is dragged out of his home in the middle of a cold night while he and Emma had been sleeping with their twins. He was tarred and feathered. While Emma is cleaning his wounds and they are wondering why this has happened and Joseph says "Perhaps I am meant to swim in deep waters"
  • As Joseph Sr is dying and he calls Joseph over to ask "Will I see Alvin (his eldest son who had died from an illness) again?" Of course Reagan and my parents were on my mind and in my aching heart. I am SO grateful for the knowledge that Joseph brought to us about the eternity of families!!
  • After the loss of 4 children and years of being thrown out of their home and running for their lives from New York to Ohio to Missouri to Illinois Emma asks Joseph "Do you wonder if god asks too much of you?" Joseph replies, "I try not to."
  • And then as he and Hyrum prepare to travel to Carthage where they have been demanded by the governor to make an appearance we see Emma's hand slip from his and she says ever so quietly "You will come back to me". People from town are lining the road knowing they may never see Brother Joseph again. And the bagpipe is playing Praise to the Man.
  • And finally when the bullets begin ripping through the door while the three men try holding it shut as if they could protect themselves from death...Wow, it was all overwhelming...

We decided to try to find Kian a snack when we ran into our dear friends from Fishers, the Rocks who are serving a mission in Temple Square (and by the way...they look so amazing!! What is in the water at Temple Square?) They told us that we could ride Trax for free to Gateway the outdoor mall. So off we went and Kian was so excited to ride the train. We were able to get a snack as well as some hats and gloves for a few members of our family who were ill prepared for the COLD. But it was a beautiful night.

Then back to Temple Square to experience the amazing spirit that is present amongst the beautiful lights!

We had taken a few pictures right after the movie before we headed over to the mall.

Kian with the Native American Nativity

The Japanese Nativity

The lights...

Then finally we were off to experience Pat's Bar B Q in South Salt Lake. The very same one that was featured on Diner's, Drive-ins and Dives from the Food Network.

Wow, talk about a dive! It is on a tiny side street among industrial buildings but Oh was it GOOD! It was the Porch Pounders onstage and the food was absolutely without a doubt the BEST Brisket and pulled pork and cole slaw I have ever had. WOW, a great time!!
I think a Christmas Temple Square tradition was born--Hallelujah!!!!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Grown-up Christmas...finally!

Doug has an amazing job...
They are such wonderful people.
Last night they closed early (at 3:00) and we then met for dinner at Chef's Table in Orem.

A lovely restaurant where we had our picture taken (kind of like Prom) and were served a buffet which included two kinds of salad (Doug couldn't believe that one of them was a Caesar Salad WITH chicken!), ravioli, roasted potatoes, vegetables, huge chunks of salmon, rack of lamb, boneless chicken breasts in a wonderful sauce and hunks of filet mignon. Then came dessert: Cheesecake, a Chocolate Dome or a Baked Apple Beggar's Purse. I chose the Chocolate Dome of course, but I will have to admit that Doug's Purse was actually better. Who knew fruit could be so delicious :0)

Then we were off to the Scera theater in Orem where we saw Nuncrackers.
"The musical features the same beloved nuns from the original show: There are Reverend Mother (played by Celesta Rimington with a Minnesota accent), Sister Mary Paul“Amnesia” (played with a Southern accent by Deborah Bowman), wisecracking Brooklyn street nun Sister Robert Ann (played by Rebekah Martin Osmond), Sister Mary Leo (a ballerina wannabe and stage manager nun, played by Kelsey Seaver) and Sister Hubert (who thinks she should be the Reverend Mother, played by Janna Gates). Shawn Mortensen plays Father Virgil Manly Trott as well as Sister Julia, Child of God (with a spot-on Julia Child impression, of course). The script calls for four children, but the Littles cast twelve to play Mount St. Helen’s most exceptional students."
It was hysterical and touching and I am now friends with 2 of the cast members on Facebook :-)

Plus he was given a Christmas bonus and let's just say that it was better than a ham!

The last five years were incredibly hard, but I am so grateful that they brought is here. I could not be happier--
Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Guarding Stance--Yes Sir!

This afternoon was Kian's first official Karate class. He is very excited to get there and get some "iy yahs" done! That's what they have to say every time they kick or punch.

He is showing off his "guarding stance"

Look at my little white belt...I am very impressed with their philosophy. I have had no contact or experience with Karate except for the obvious Karate Kid, but they really teach the kids about respect, courtesy, focus, positive attitude and staying clean.
He even gets Karate homework besides practicing his moves, he has to keep his room clean, read everyday and do other chores of his choice without being asked.
He can't wait to go back...yay!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Online Auction for the Jones Family

I came across this online auction for a woman who lost her husband on Thanksgiving here in Utah in one of the caves. They have a small daughter and are expecting a baby. I didn't realize until now the link I gave you doesn't explain their story. This young family had come to Utah to visit their families for Thanksgiving and to let their family know they are expecting another baby. The Dad and some friends went spelunking the day before Thanksgiving and fell. He was trapped and tragically died after several rescue attempts were made.

I noticed there are new items added so if you have kids (especially little girls) PLEASE check it out! There are some darling hats, bows, bags, vinyl lettering, booties etc.

I wanted to share it with my generous friends--if you are getting a gift for Christmas why not support this little family?

Please take a look there is a large variety of items.


May the spirit of Christmas fill our hearts!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Little things I learned from Amy

I got to use a new trick that I learned from my friend and pseudo little sister Amy Hughes--

My perfect napkin display at the Edgemont Third ward Christmas party~
Yay for little talents :0) Thanks Amy!!

Why I blog...

I really have no grand designs to keep a day to day history of all the happenings of my family. However, I have always kept a journal and this is an extension of that...with pictures! I'm not sure if my kids will enjoy it or just laugh...Hopefully both.

Friday, December 4, 2009

O Christmas Tree...

The day after Thanksgiving we went and picked up a really nice tree that Doug's parents offered to let us have. They are down-sizing and since all of our Christmas boxes and ornaments and such are still in Indiana they knew that we could really use it.
I struggled only a little because I have always had a real tree, but the last few years we haven't had a tree at all so I figured it was better than that. Besides it is a really nice tree, it fits perfectly and with an 84 pack of ornaments from Costco it turned out beautifully. Kian couldn't wait to have a Christmas tree. He doesn't remember having a big tree and he was so hopeful that there would be a star on top.
Mom also had a few other Christmas decorations that they were clearing out and lo and behold there was a light up star tree topper!

So our house is beginning to look a lot like Christmas and it is terrific!

Family Pictures

On November 14, I drug my family outside to Riverwoods in Provo to take our family Christmas picture. The last time we had one taken was 2005 I think.
About an hour before we were supposed to meet our friend Tara there was literally a blizzard of snow and wind and I know that Doug though I would cancel.

But I am no wimp and I am nothing if not stubborn and I grew up in Michigan for goodness sake!!
So off we went...there was no snow sticking to the ground and the wind had really died down and yes it was a little cold...

Even colder when I made everyone take off their coats for the pictures.
But what we ended up with are some great pictures, even if Doug was totally grumpy and not super cooperative. Vanessa thinks next year we will have a stand in Dad and his name is Tim Gunn. We will for sure look great then!

So here a a few of my favorites...
And for sure in my top 5 is this terrific one (thanks Tara!!)

One of these two previous ones will probably be the Christmas card, but I really like this one too--

Look how great these girls photograph! Beautiful!!

And we had to end the day with more fun because that is how we are...though Doug and Kian were warm inside having hot cocoa.
I promise to try to make it a warmer day next year family, but thanks for being such good sports!