Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas traditions

Have a special stocking (preferably white) that is set aside as Christ's stocking. Each year have every family member go around and write down one gift of service they want to give Christ throughout the next year. For example, smile at five strangers every day, donate to the homeless shelter every month, visit the elderly every week, etc. Then the next year have each member of the family go around and share experiences they had while performing their gift. Then each person add s anew gift into the stocking for the upcoming year. We're starting this with Emma who is 4 and I think that is an appropriate age.

Luminaries were one of my favorite childhood traditions. In Arizona my parents went around to the neighbors and asked them to all have luminaries lining the sidewalks of our streets. It made for such an enchanted sight on Christmas Eve and really added to the spirit of unity. I will be asking the neighbors in our little cul-de-sac to participate this year with us. In Arizona brown paper bags worked great, but here we might have to use mason jars.

Lee's market place is my very favorite grocery store. They are always so great about baking bread specifically for you in any color you need. For every Holiday I like to special order colored bread and make a festive french toast or even just simple sandwiches. I have a buttermilk syrup recipe to go with french toast that is to die for and I like to color that as well.

A few years back my parents gave us all this book and encouraged us to read it by Christmas Eve so we could discuss it for our program. Then they gave us all jars and we started our own little collection of spare change. The next year we had such a great experience with finding just the right family/person to anonymously give it to. I think a mason jar and this book would make a fabulous gift.

The BEST TRADITION ever invented is the elf knock. The story goes that on Christmas Eve Santa sends one of his elves to go up ahead of him and knock on the window to signify that Santa will be there soon. The kids must then DASH off to bed as fast as they can, and if they wake up, or don't go to sleep, Santa will skip their house and not come. Sounds harsh, but we have yet to ever have a child not play along. Of all my nieces and nephews and all of the different personalities we have, we have never had a child get out of bed. I started this when Emma was two and it is just the cutest thing you've ever seen. Be sure to have your video camera out to capture the excitement. The best is that once the kids are down the adult program can start. It's nice to have a spiritual program without having the kids interrupting or worrying they might get up at any second while wrapping last minute gifts.

There wasn't a photo to show this, but this tradition started with my mom's dad, then passed down to my dad, and now this year Ryan will be doing it for our girls. On Christmas morning the kids wake up, etc. But they can't come to the family room where the gifts are until the dad goes to check and see if Santa has come, and if he has then he yells "Good ga'll he's been here!!" That's the signal for the kids to come running down the hall. I doubt anyone copies this tradition, but it was just such a tender part of my childhood and it meant so much knowing it all started from my Grandpa Earl.

Hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I'm going to try not to write too many words since I am so sick of blogger. I will see it through until the end of the year and then I am switching to a different blogging world. Hopefully my words will match up with the photos....25 minutes later, nope, they don't. They'll be lumped down at the bottom for anyone who cares to read them and match them with the photos. But let's be realistic, people just want photos anyway.

Below is Lydia sporting this year's Christmas pajamas. I'm so glad I gave them to the girls early so they can be enjoying them.

Lydia is obsessed with "ANNIE!! Annie! Annie!"

I can't believe I don't have one single photo of my date night with my sisters and my mom, and a separate one of my sisters and my dad. But Ryan met me and the girls at the hotel after our date with my mom ended so we could take the girls swimming. They loved it, even though this is kind of a bad picture of all of us.

Emma is so good to let me do whatever I want to her hair. I did it up like Cindy-Loo-Hoo and got such a kick out of it.

Lydia is so good when Emma is in bed. She just plays quietly and loves to get into Emma's things knowing she can have free reign over her toys.

My parents had a delayed Thanksgiving dinner so my sisters could go with their in laws. We played some great game and all enjoyed our generous prize of the white elephant game....the kids especially :)

This is Elfie Noel. She lives with us until Christmas morning when she'll return with Santa. She moves through out the house periodically and keeps an eye on everyone. She makes sure there is Christmas spirit, love and service in our home. She reports back to Santa each night. She can only move if nobody is around to see her (like Toy story characters.) She is the best invention ever and I'm so glad we have her.
On December 5th was St.Nicholas Eve. If you leave your shoe outside your door the elves will put a gift in it in honor of St. Nicholas's birthday. Emma was lucky enough to have the "elves" fill the floor of her room with balloons. That meant more to her than anything.

This is such an accurate photo of my girls. Lydia trying to get on the computer to watch Shamu or Amals (animals), and Emma playing with her "friends" as she calls them. I don't know why, but these little girls love to take their pants off. Weird. I swear they are not just copying what they see at home.
Today I went over to my friend Carrie's house and she let me use her studio. She took all the photos for me and now I am green with jealousy that I don't have my own studio. Thanks again Carrie!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thirty, Flirty (when appropriate) and Thriving (only if that word is used loosely)

I am NOT that girl who is sad about getting older. I don't think it's a big deal to age. It's a part of life and it brings new chapters. So in closing out my twenties I've been thinking what I learned, things I will take with me, and things I want to leave behind me. Here are just a few of my favorite lessons and insights...

- Stop talking about your weight. Nobody cares. Just because you talk about how fat you think you are or how skinny you used to doesn't make people think "well, at least she WANTS to be thin." All it does is teach our husbands, SONS AND DAUGHTERS, that women should be defined by their size. Yes, be healthy, stay active, eat right...but don't talk about it all the time. I've actually phased out some friends b/c it seems that conversations are mainly about physical appearance, and having two daughters in my life I just don't want any of that focus to be apart of our life. Now I know I sound like a hypocrite, of course I talk about calories and my love handles, but I've gotten much better and it's something I am constantly aware of and working on.

- Let it go. This is one I have only been practicing for the last year and I think it has made the largest difference in my life. Especially in marriage. I have always been the type to think "what have we learned from this? How can we avoid this again?" Truth is that people are going to rub us wrong. We're going to have a bad day, or they're going to have a bad day. We will not see eye to eye with most people ALL the time. So just LET IT GO.
He who takes offense when none is intended is a fool, he who takes offense when offense is intended is a bigger fool. --Confucious

. I would love to sit back and just follow along. Sometimes I wish that were my personality. I think we have a lot of expectations of what we think our husband should be. What we think he should do. For example, consistent yard work, initiate FHE, make a big deal about your birthday, take the kids out for ice-cream without being asked to do so...etc. But the truth of the matter is that our husbands can't be great at everything all the time. Just like us, they have their strengths, and those come and go. So if you see something you wish your husband would do...stop thinking disappointing thoughts about him and step up and do it yourself. If he doesn't do the yard work, then on Saturday tell him to keep an eye on the kids while you go out there and do it. If he forgets your birthday, remind him multiple times the week leading up to it what day it is, and what you would like him to do, get a gift, an act of service, write a card, etc. It can be very exhausting if you feel like you are always the one to come up with the solutions to your problems, or to make the first move, but the truth is that somebody has to do it. There is nothing wrong with it being you. It is better to have a great marriage and good family life, then to have your home in disarray because you want to stand your ground.

I have
found that there is an exception to virtually every rule. Being rude does not get you what you need. Playing the victim does not get you what you want. But just be completely honest, be sure to include flattery, and throw in a little bit (or a lot) of dry humor can get you just about anything. I have talked my way out of multiple speeding tickets, late charges, and even warranties. I have talked my way into free movie showing, free car maintenance, and free food. Not because I'm fake or rude, but because I think people want to give others a good deal, but they want to connect with them in the process. Give it a try, it never hurts to ask.

have had this happen to me multiple times in a year. I get so many projects and activities going that I find myself getting short and frustrated with the girls. It's ironic, because THEY are the ones who I am doing all of this for. And yet they don't NEED it. All they want is ME. So be careful that blogging, face book, scrapbooks, DIY projects, side jobs, a clean house, full time jobs, callings, bunko, book club, working out, girls night, etc. doesn't build up so much that you have nothing left to give but fried nerves and exasperated breaths to your little ones who will be grown in the blink of en eye.

- Don't let yourself be put on the spot. I hate getting voice mails saying "Hey I have a huge favor to me back." Just leave me the task or favor you want done, let me look into it, and then I will call you back. I have always struggled with not wanting to disappoint people. So it used to be when I was invited or asked to do something I would say yes, but then dread it and regret it later. So now when someones asks me to do something, instead of giving an awkward lie or a reluctant yes, I just say "Let me get back to you on that." There is nothing wrong with that.

- Put your husband first. My friend Natalie gave me this advice and I think it's really good. This was in regards to Christmas. But she told me to never skimp on my husband. If we're dead broke, make my parents a coupon book of services, or a home made gift. But your spouse is the person you live with day in and day out, they're supposed to matter the most to you. What kind of message do you send when you say...."I know our budget is tight. And you're the first on the list to be crossed off." This goes into many other areas, but with Christmas coming up, it was at the front of my mind.

- Motherhood is a privilege, not a right. Of all the different lots in life and all the different reasons people say "that's not fair!" I think that never having children is one that doesn't get the heartbreaking recognition it deserves. I heard a quote once that kind of offended me because it is unfortunately not true. It said "Of all the rights of women, motherhood is the greatest." But unfortunately, my quote I have listed in bold letters is the one that is true. More and more women today seem to really struggle with infertility. Perhaps it's not fertility that is the set back in having children, perhaps it is not finding a good man to be the father. I mean really, don't we all know a large handful of amazing women in their thirties who are unmarried? And how many amazing men do we know to set them up with....hmmmm. I think we all need to be more aware that if we are blessed to bare our own children that not only do we need to cherish them, but share them with others. And I think we can all use a little bit more compassion for those who do not have families of their own, because that is a struggle that unless you've been through it, surely the rest of us can not comprehend.

I'm sure many more lessons will come to me. But these are the ones that have been at the forefront of my mind. So farewell twenties. I am so glad I traveled the world, lived carefree, and then near the end I had the bottom fall out and I learned my most valuable lessons. I am also glad I was able to put it all back together again so I am on solid ground to start my thirties. I will miss you twenties...but probably not sorely miss you, just miss you a normal amount...some day.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy 30th to me!!

My family was so good to let me take three days to celebrate my birthday this year. I think some people think it is fun to have your birthday fall on a Holiday...but let me tell you, it's not fun. As a wife and mother you put everyone else one day a year you want to have a day to yourself to not feel guilty about doing whatever you want. But guess what, on a Holiday, people have plans, there are traditions to be fulfilled, and businesses are usually closed or crowded. So this year we just did a little something extra fun for three days to make up for the Holiday.
Wednesday I started by cleaning the house really good and doing all the laundry, I mean how could I enjoy the Holiday weekend if I knew I had all of that waiting for me at home. Then I went to get my hair colored...nothing special, just cover up the greys. That's right. I have a FULL head of gray hair. Started going gray at 15 and have been coloring for the last 5 years or so. After a fresh color we dropped the girls with the Jensens and met my parents for the most delightful dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Elements. Every single bite was heavenly and Ryan and I love having my parents to ourselves and enjoyed visiting, uninterrupted. Then we went back to the Jensens for games and visiting before heading back up to my parents house with the girls to spend the night.
Thursday, Thanksgiving, actual 30th birthday-
Ryan and I slept in, which we LOVE to do. Then we left the girls with my parents while we went to see Harry Potter. There were no lines to wait in and we got into the theater for free. I didn't even have to force him to sneak in with me, we were totally honest about it and it paid off. That is one good thing about having a Holiday birthday, people usually let things slide. LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the movie!! I'm not a crier, but if I was there is no doubt I would have shed some tears. The book series is the best ever. Twilight was fun and all, but PALES in comparison to this series. When we came out of the theater I meant to mention my car had been decorated with balloons and a birthday poster from the Jensens, I meant to take a photo but it was 4 degrees out and I didn't feel up to it. All I could concentrate on was getting in the car. Thanks again Jensens!

After the movie my mom made a very fancy dinner for just the 4 of us. It was my sisters turns with their in-laws so we'll do our turkey dinner Sunday. Later in the evening my sister Sara and her husband Cody came over and we put our kids to bed and then had delicious appetizers, opened gifts, and played wii bowling. The six of us all lived together for the year 2003, and it was fun to hang out again sans kids like in the good old days ;) I really did have such a great day and so very much appreciate the gestures and birthday wishes that friends and family gave me.

Okay. So after everyone started going to bed at midnight I got a call from my sister saying Wal-mart was a mad house. So Ryan and I hopped in the car and rushed down there. We expected it to be like this...(the collage with the red border)
But when we got there it was insanely crowded, but definitely manageable. This store was open 24 hours so you didn't have to wait outside. Until about 2:00 there were long lines at the registers, but after that it was a ghost town. We were there, waiting until 5 a.m. for a 50 inch TV. There were 19 available. In the end...after waiting for five hours, it was us and four other people. Yeah. We could have slept in until 7 and still probably got our hands on one. Oh well. It was my first experience with black Friday, and I have no intention of doing it again anytime soon, so it was memorable.

After getting 3.5 hours of sleep I woke up this morning and joined my mom and two sisters for the Logan High School boutique. I found some really cute items and am rather pleased with the deals I got. I am pleased to discover that I am starting to outgrow the notion of "Oh I can totally make that myself." I actually bought a few hair bows and head bands, that's a big deal for me. I also got the CUTEST pink flamingo marionette puppet for the girls that I am tickled about. PLUS on my way out I saw someone selling butter beer! It's a Harry Potter thing and I just had to try some. It lived up to it's reputation and then just for fun I washed it down with a frozen chocolate covered banana. Then lunch at Indian Oven (another favorite) and on home. Such a fun, fun weekend!! We ended our evening by watching Inception on our new t.v. :) I'm so thankful to be alive, have great health, for my sweet little family, my extended family, and all of my friends. It's great to be me :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Completely Random

I HATE blogger! There are a bunch of random spaces and my words don't match the photos...but I have better things I need to be doing. So you'll get my drift.

This post is full of totally random photos, so here goes.
The above photo is of us feeding the ducks out by Lee's market place. I have been trying new things with my camera and been having fun playing with the lighting.
Below is Emma being my little "helper." Both the girls follow me around ALL day, literally everywhere I go. Emma does it to help or just be by me, and Lydia does it to hang on my leg. Emma is quite the mommy in the making.

My cute neighbor made us the YUMMIEST chocolate balls. Not sure what their official name is, but they were divine. I tried to make the recipe myself, didn't turn out half as yummy. I was very proud of myself for letting Lydia make a mess of herself while enjoying "cock-let," her new favorite obsession.

I have been very busy making projects lately. This is a window I made for my friend Desi's baby shower. It's a sweet little bow holder, and I was tempted to keep it for myself.

My friend Carrie came over and we made these JOY banners (blogger is driving me crazy and I can't line my photos up. Anyway, it was the joy banner listed a few photos above) that are festive for the season. I went to her house one day and we made a grip of hair bows for the girls. I made her headbands and she made me some bows. Below in Lydia's hair is my favorite bow that she made...isn't it divine?

We had the most beautiful red tree in our back yard and the girls LOVED playing in the leaves.

My girls are FINALLY to the age where they "play" together. That's a big deal for me. Most of my friends have a child Emma's age, and then two more!! I honestly think that two kids is easier than one...for the most part. Or at least a one year old with an older sibling is WAY easier then having an only child one year old. Anyway, the girls are so cute together it literally melts my heart to see them play.

We love to have "Family Fun Nights." This night we had a mediocre dinner at Pizza Factory and then let the girls play at the arcade.

It was difficult to arrange everything but FINALLY we had a little Foofs reunion and met up for chatting and spoon me. We need to make that happen much, much more often.

Today my parents did the best pop in ever!!! My mom came prepared with ingredients for home made candy and darling books to read the girls and she sent me out to go run errands by myself. I can't believe how much I got done in two hours when I could just run in and out of stores and not have a cart, seat belts, treats, and accidents to worry about. My dad dropped my mom off at my house and then he went out to run his own errands which included buying me quite a few bags of groceries!! Best parents ever!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

That's a wrap!

Finally! I am finished with the tour of our house. Sorry Kylee that it took me so long. Here is the nursery. This striped wall took me way way too long. But I'm pleased with how it turned out.

Here is the girl's bathroom. I fabric starched the walls, repainted and glazed the cabinets, and also spray painted a stone finish on top of the hideous formica.

This is the "Before" photo. I couldn't figure out how to place it where I wanted.