Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Going out with a POP

Not exactly a bang this year, but that's okay.  Instead of our usual rip-roaring game night with Strider's clan, we are sticking around home tonight with all the kiddos.  Some family members had plans.  There was the long drive to consider.  The older boys aren't interested in the local church dance and the younger ones don't have a choice.  So we're doing things our way.  

Starting at 5pm we will take turns popping a balloon every hour and doing the family activity inside.  I had each person write down a game or fun thing to do together.  We will put away all phones and internet and be present as a family.

The sparkling cider is chilled, and we'll have chips & salsa.  Other than that, not much!  No noisemakers or confetti.  I have plenty of noisy kids that make messes as it is :)

It should help pass the time, since the natives have been a bit restless around here.  They'd never admit missing school of course, but I think they miss their routines and daily structure.

Tomorrow is our traditional lucky pork & sauerkraut meal.  I am looking forward to preparing it, especially since my brother is driving up to share it with us.

Just 24 hours ago there was a large tree in this spot.  Talk about feeling naked!  So weird to take it all down.

We've gotten so used to new traditions around here, that new traditions are our new tradition.  The benefit of me being forced to let go of so much lately is that I do not feel my usual New Years Eve emotions of being melancholy and introspective about the year that has passed me by.  I can't remember a Dec 31 that I didn't cry at midnight, but this might be the first.  

To all of you who still read this 'lil old blog, thank you for being my audience and loving me and my family.  We don't have it all together but I sure like these people of mine.  They are my source of laughter, tears, joys and heartache.  I love this grand thing we call life.  

I know that God has been watching over us for 2013 and that 2014 has many miracles in store for us as well.  See you next year!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Room by room - hall

Is the hall a room?  Well, whatever.

My linen closet was semi-done about three months ago but I decided to just finish it off and share it.

Now, this isn't a Pinterest-worthy project but I am proud of it nonetheless.  It's not filled with shiny Container Store bins and everything doesn't coordinate. I almost exclusively used what I had on hand.

Why did I not take a before picture?  I have no idea.  But the top used to be a solid mass of bed linens.  Now the top shelf has a basket of twin sheet sets and a stack of throw blankets.

Below that we have queen (master) sheet sets, pillowcases, table linens.

The bottom shelf is used every day.  Towels, bath and hand, as well as washcloths.

On the bottom I rounded up plastic bins I had and I also bought 10 stacking bins from Dollar Tree.    These have been labeled for medicines, travel size toiletries, first aid needs.

On the right side I have a cleaning caddy, hair clippers, swiffer cloths, rags etc.

Everything has a home and it's so much more pleasant to look at.  Total cost: $10.

Pinterest schminterest.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Seasonal happenings

Potter's choir performed some of their Christmas songs at Temple Square so we went down to watch them.  Here they are in the Assembly Hall.

And we met him outside afterward for a couple pictures.

Here he is with friend Christian.  He's also in our ward - good kid.

The boys thought wearing rivalry gear on church grounds would be funny.

The nativity near the North Visitor's Center is so beautiful.

Princess finished her semester of choir with an indoor concert.

She did great.

I put out a few more decorations, this time in the kitchen and laundry room.

This one was placed strategically.  This is the bar where the kids eat breakfast every day.  I wanted the message that they would read the most often to be the most meaningful one for this time of year.

Maybe it will sink in.

We got a couple decent storms, and with frigid temps, the snow has stuck around.  
Think we'll have a white Christmas?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Sounds like December

Here is Potter in the high school concert choir; his Christmas concert was entitled Sounds like December.  
I guess they just do everything big and over the top around here.  This was no exception.  

Full 2 hours of singing.  Emcees.  4 choral groups.  Comedy routines.  Entertainment between acts.  
Gospel songs, secular songs.  Lights.  4 hour tech rehearsal (just like before a musical production).  
Custom painted canvasses lining the auditorium walls done by this guy.  

Anyway, the show was totally amazing.  Here are a few parts.

Hark the Herald Angels Sing, part 1 (love the men's parts on this one, and I love that a student is on the piano)

part 2

Carol of Joy

Lux Arumque

O Come All Ye Faithful - my fave.  (P.S. That's Tarzan on the violin)


I found some old photos in a lost 'draft' post I never got around to writing.  

Look at my silly baby!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Here comes Santa Claus

Princess is in the Wasatch Children's Chorus and they had the opportunity to welcome Santa a couple days after Thanksgiving.

They performed on the steps of the county courthouse.

She was narrator at the beginning of the whole thing.

The choir kids and their families got to be first in line for Santa.

Here they are looking at Daddy.

Here they are looking at the photographer for the local paper.

Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Yesterday was the perfect day.  It only happens every 238 days or so, so I wanted to record it.

I'm sure the stage was set in the morning.  I got a fairly early start on the day.  I accomplished more in the home than usual.  My to-do list was shrinking.  I was happy.

Rosebud had too many things in her Christmas pile so I decided to give her her practical gift early.  It was a boxed set of some early readers.  I've worked on some sight words with her but I decided it was time to begin actually reading simple sentences.  She did very well with them and excitedly said she'd read to Daddy when he got home.

The kids all had a good day at school.

Everyone did their homework without complaint.

I went visiting some sisters in my ward and no one killed each other in my absence.

Supper of pork chops and mashed potatoes was enjoyed without complaint and several had seconds.

Strider got home with a smile and enjoyed his meal while I bathed the girls.  After pajamas, she did indeed read to Daddy.  Actually the whole family was gathered around for the special moment of Rosebud reading to us.

After that the older boys continued homework, with Strider helping Potter with the tough math.  It's a struggle for him and he was pushing through it, and even as I watched from the couch in the next room I could tell how hard it was.  As I watched my husband helping his son with patience, and Bugs offering some advice to help him as well, I started to cry.  I consciously felt that it was a moment in time that I wished I could freeze.  My heart swelled with gratitude that I had such a myriad of blessings.

The kids weren't fighting.  The spirit in the home was palpable.

We weren't wondering where our next meal would come from.  We weren't out in the frigid temps.  We aren't facing this life alone; we have each other, and we have a loving Heavenly Father watching over us every second of every day.

I wiped my eyes and asked the girls to join me to read Christmas books under the tree.  It was perfect.   

Monday, December 9, 2013

Officially decorated

With the porch done (THIS post) we could focus on the inside.

Last week for FHE we trimmed the tree.

It's a messy, disorganized jumble for a day or so surrounding this production.  But boy, do they ever love reminiscing as each ornament is unwrapped.

Last year we promised Princess that the 'youngest gets to put the star on' tradition would end.  Because otherwise Rosebud would have that job permanently.  It's a great plan when the family is growing but we saw the need to alter it this year.

The top pieces of this ginormous tree are too thick for our topper.  So this is how it sits.

Jedi worked on the train track only to find out the engine motor starts but won't turn the wheels.  (Grandpa is trying to fix it as we speak).

With no more toddler fingers around, we got out the rarely seen lighted village.  Daddy got it ready downstairs and turned out the lights.

Rosebud gasped and covered her mouth with excitement when she saw it.  She spent several minutes like this, just staring.  I'm totally in love with this picture Strider took.

So, back upstairs - my living room stuff.

Adorable chunky nativity.

Pillows and other decor

The tree is all done.  Such a happy, jumbled, eclectic family tree.

What's on it?

My beloved family pinecone ornament.  I'm sure you remember the story from years past.

Reminders of the season and its meaning

Boy stuff

Girl stuff

Baby stuff from big ones who are babies no more

Activities now behind us

Early parenting

...and little preschoolers with popsicle stick creations.

Gosh, I love seeing all of it.

The girls and I strung unused garland and ornaments over the windows one day after school.

Crazy easy, and a real visual pop!

They shine in the sun during the day and sparkle in the lights at night.

My table.  Pumpkins finally gone; time for poinsettias.  Except the candle looks naked.

Much better.

My friend Tracy made me the Believe decoration.  My friend Marsha was my visiting teacher years ago and a fine seamstress and made the table runner.  I think of them each time they get unpacked.

I found a bundle of large cinnamon sticks at the thrift store.  Fun and different I think.  The kids are always picking them up and smelling them lol.

I didn't buy any new decorations this year for the inside.  Strider bought some lights for the roof, which I consider an investment for sure.  We changed over from incandescent lights to LED's.  And of course I worked on the porch project.

The earlier tree in here, some snow, the decorating, and some local community service last week, has brought me into the spirit earlier than normal.  I needed it!  I finished my shopping today too, so I can enjoy the season.

One more look - cause I can't get over that face, just soaking in all the wonder of it.  That's Christmas right there.