Monday, December 28, 2009

On Christmas Day in the Morning....

This was the first year that Santa came-but he didn't. My youngest is 11. If he hasn't caught on by now with the 3 older blabber mouths (okay maybe just one older blabber mouthed brother) then he really is a die-hard believer. But I think it is safe to say he has only been going with the fantasy for my sake-for quite a while. So, while Santa came-he only filled the stockings and left the rest of the gift giving to mom and dad. To further kill the magic of the suspense, Jordan had to wake Christian up out of a dead sleep Christmas night to help him carry in his gift. I had mentioned to Jordan a couple of days earlier that I thought the ping-pong table we got the kids as a family gift might require a little advanced planning and preparation. But what do i know? I finally went to bed around 1 a.m.-which early hour is further proof of Santa's lack of involvement this year-with Jordan still feverishly trying to assemble a ping-pong table.

Santa brought the ring...
and the hat....

...but Christian gave Hailee the Speedstick men's deodorant so she would quit stealing his.

I think she was really happy with her gift.

Then...the family came for breakfast. This is truly the best meal of the year. Carmel hot cocoa with peppermint and marshmallows, dutch oven pancakes with fresh fruit and coconut syrup, breakfast casseroles, hash-brown casseroles with fresh salsa, grapefruits and pomegranates, and Vicki's homemade sweet rolls. Honestly, I made myself a little sick. I couldn't seem to quit feeding my face.

How many people can you fit on your couch? This number requires people to like each other.
No doubt that what they are looking at involves technology.

Kelli and Brandt

More technology. It looks like Jodi can even text with her eyes closed.

Kelli and Mads

My favorite gift this year came from this boy. My brother gave each of his sisters and his parents a gift of service. Everything from babysitting to handy-man jobs. Mine also included free tennis lessons for Jordan. :) (They have a little rivalry going. Everytime they play tennis together, they both come back saying that they won.)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

It's all about family..

I love my family. I love my parents and my 3 siblings and their families. I can't get enough. I love that the holidays is just one more reason for us to get together and that we all live close enough to each other to be able to do that. And we all really, really like being together. I consider myself one lucky gal.

Christmas Eve we gathered at mom's.

We ate ham and turkey and salads and rolls and potatoes and pie.
We sang Christmas carols and watched "The Nativity."

There were "family gifts" for the 3 siblings with kids. Each family received a gift that would allow their family to go and do something fun together. Kelli and Brandt received a season pass to Heritage Park, Jodi's to Kangaroo Zoo and ours was for movie passes. Our family's favorite pastime. Each included a game and treats that further illustrated the gift. Didn't know it but there is a game out there that tests you on movie trivia called Pass the Popcorn. We are going to dominate.
But the thing I loved most about that night was the love that was felt and seen everywhere I looked.

Kelli and Brandt

Brittney (notice new hair color) and Jill
Hailee indulging Jodi by playing with her hair
Jordan indulging Jill by playing "Guess Who." (Or maybe it was the other way around?)
A little PDA from my brother-in-law.I would like to give this guy a little PDA

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Our newest member

Jodi's oldest, Caleb Gregory, was baptized by his grandpa; Douglas Edward. Caleb is now this family's newest member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints.

Jodi is the best mom. She has prepared Caleb well.
Jodi has had great friends support her through some very difficult years. We all know how important that is.

Caleb's bishop extends his congratulations.
The older cousins gather to determine how they are going to be even better examples to all of the younger cousins. Or maybe they are discussing what they are doing this weekend.
Caleb's aunt and uncle offer words of wisdom.
Caleb's dad-Rex.
My oldest boy and Kelli's youngest girl. Time with Jill always makes Christian come home thinking we need to adopt.
To Jodi's friend Jill: Sorry for posting this. I couldn't help myself.

We gathered after at Jodi's for yummy breakfast. Kelli brought beautiful oranges.
Vicki brought her famous sweet rolls.

And Jill chooses the.........

Caleb's Grandma Shauna made him a special quilt for the occasion. Quilts are good for wrapping around you for warmth and comfort. So are occasions like this. Thank you Caleb for reminding us of our own covenants and for giving us the opportunity to gather as friends and family and offer warmth and comfort.

Hosting the girls

They came for lunch. Seven women with crazy, busy lives set aside a couple of hours on an early December afternoon to get together and recharge their souls. They came bearing gifts and thoughts and ideas they had come across and support and encouragement for each other, but the greatest gift... was their presence.
Angie shared details from the bridal shower Andi threw for her daughter, Brooke. Andi is talented beyond belief and it is so fun to see the makings of her artistic mind.
The soon-to-be "mother of the bride."
Kristin is always intent on anything you say.


Ralph Waldo Emmerson said years ago, "I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends." Ditto x 365 for me.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Indulge Me... I've mentioned (maybe even a couple of times) that Hailee recently returned from a week and half trip to India. It's possible that nobody wants to hear any more-but just indulge me for a minute here and let me share a couple of borrowed photos from her trip. Borrowed because after Hailee took her first picture in India, her camera broke. These pictures were taken by various kids and leaders in her YMAD group. Enjoy. Or don't. I don't care.

Hailee teaching one of her workshops

I love this...They gave all of the girls at the day boarding school where they taught name tags to wear around their necks. Desperate to be able to give their new American friends a gift, many of the girls gave away their name tags.
Hailee is not fond of fish, but when it's the only thing to eat...well..sometimes it's worth a try. Surprisingly good, Hailee said-if you could get past the bones....

Hailee celebrated her 18th birthday while she was in India. They celebrated her by painting her face, lighting incense and offering their wishes to her as they gathered and blew the smoke from the incense.
Hailee fell in love with each of the girls. She said she feels like she left part of her family behind.
The girls are not familiar with cameras or having their pictures taken. They printed pictures of each of the girls and hung them on the wall in the school. For many of the girls, it was the first time they had seen themselves.

Do you ever get the feeling that there is so much we take for granted in our lives?