Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Wishes Simplified

Merry Christmas!

My children are not sure that the holidays are really here - because I am not stressed out this year. I have simplified a lot of things, including the Christmas cards we usually send out. I am not sending any this year. So if you usually receive one - please know that we still love you and we are thankful for all the people in our lives.

We have been extremely blessed this year to spend time with people we love. We have been reminded this year that life is all about families. Our little family. Our big extended family. Our ward (church) family. Our school family. And our community family.

Taking care of one another is the most important thing we do. Our Savior's life and atonement is the greatest example of "taking care" we know of.

We hope this Christmas season is filled with love and hope and reminders of our Savior's desire to care for us all.

P.S. Most fun family picture ever. It took several rides up and down in this elevator before we got everyone looking up in the right place at the right time.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Feeling the Christmas Spirit

Tanner was a little nervous about his big preschool nativity production. He was happy to wear a crown and be a king - but he told me several times he was a bit nervous about all the people.
This was before the program, while all the kids were waiting to go into the chapel.
This is Tanner with his teacher Mrs. Ross. Regular blog readers may remember that Tanner calls her Mrs. Frost. (Yes - we have had his hearing checked)
Throughout most of the program, Tanner moved his shoulders back and forth which made his robes sway back and forth. It looked pretty fun.
We love Tanner's preschool, his teachers and this sweet program they performed for all the families. It helped me get in the Christmas mood. And provided lots of laughs. The donkey swinging straw at Joseph was humorous and Joseph's bob and weave moves were impressive.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gingerbread Houses

Don't you just love it when your friends include you in their fun family traditions? Especially when there is a guaranteed humongous mess at the end of the night. We have the Peines to thank for a great night of Gingerbread house building. We found out pretty quickly that the Dads were a little competitive with the house building. Melissa who is quick on her feet and all about the kids ( I learn a lot from her) quickly built smaller houses for all the younger kids so they could create their own masterpieces.

Erin and Eliza entertained the crowd (or at least themselves) while the Dads were monopolizing the candy and icing.
The rest of the kids had several costume changes, performed a puppet show, ran up and down the stairs a million times and cried all the way home. (Maybe that was just Tanner who insisted we didn't stay long enough)
The finished houses, interestingly reflect their owners. One was all about the landscaping. One was perfectly decorated and fancy. One had a well designed and sturdy portico built out of extra parts. And ours had pets. Ok - so ours doesn't reflect us. But I will give some stress-relief aromatherapy stuff to the first person who can match up the families to the houses correctly. (My point of view is correct, of course.)

Grace's Christmas Programs

After being in the school district here for nine years, we were excited when Grace came home from school to tell us they were performing a holiday program that we could attend. This is a first. She has been singing the songs since Halloween. The kids all did great with their parts.

Grace has been so happy to be in the same school with Avery this year. These two have been friends since they were babies.
Grace informed me the day before the program that she had a speaking part. Luckily, right before I took the picture above (which was 10 minutes before the program) - she let me know that she was the first speaker - otherwise I might have missed it! So many parents stood up to take pictures when the curtain opened I almost did!
Grace played in her Christmas Piano Recital. She has been taking lessons for about a year now. She played "Go Tell it On the Mountian". She did great! She said the piano keys were a little sticky. The recital was at an assisted living home. Some of the residents came to listen. This picture includes Grace's wonderful teacher, Kierre. She is one of the most talented people I have ever met. She arranged a beautiful orchestral piece for our stake conference. It was the most spiritual rendition of "I love to see the Temple" I have ever heard. I wish I had a recording. Her musical talents are incredible - but her teaching talents are amazing too. She also inspired Grace to quickly memorize and understand some of the Articles of Faith. Yes, we love her!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

NYC - Finally!

For 9 years, Steve and I have been talking about this trip to New York. When he first started with BBW he went to NYC about once or twice a month. During the last 18 months, he has been there every week for several days. (He may say I am exaggerating, but I don't think I am.) So, finally we made this trip together! It was wonderful to finally see his office in SOHO and see where he eats lunch and shops when he is here. I also got to meet people he works with and put names with faces of people I have heard about. It was kind of like meeting a new version of my husband for the very first time. And I fell in love again. He took charge. He led us through great, unique shops and to fabulous restaurants. Thinking about it now makes me chuckle - because that is kind of how I felt on our first date. 18 years ago, he was showing me around his hometown, Heber City, taking me to the fish hatchery, cascade springs and local "hot spots" : )
We were blessed with great weather and enjoyed all our walking. We saw some awesome Christmas windows and lights around the city.
I am so glad we have this picture with Steve and Lisa Willes. It is because of them this trip actually happened. We talked about it with them over the summer and planning it with them forced us to do it! It was so fun to be with them. Lisa was one of my lifelines during grad school. Both of our Steves were working on their MBAs in Los Angeles at the same time. We both had two little girls and did some fun things together to stay sane. (scrapbooking and eating carmel treasures come to mind.) Whenever we see each other - we just pick up where we left off. It was so great to catch up on their lives and adventures. This trip had definite moments together that we will laugh about for years. A couple of french women come to mind. . .
I wish I had more pictures. I loved: Bryant Park (especially the banana and nutella crepes that reminded me of Paris), The Met, the candelabras at La Esquina, the tree-lighting at Vice Versa, Wicked, private breakfast in the lobby of the Dream Hotel, watching the elderly tourists take pictures of themselves with the naked statue at the Time Warner Center, little kids dressed in uniforms on their way to school, coconut crusted halibut at Amma, Rice to Riches, and so much more. I can't wait to go back!

This trip was brought to you by the letter M. M is for MY MOM who stayed with our children and helped them feel like they were on vacation too.