Posted in Blessings Corner, Family Corner

Christmas Highlights 2018

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On Christmas Eve we celebrated this guy’s birthday. My baby is 16! We are in our final years of homeschooling, his last years of childhood. I want to savor every day and create lots of memories together.

We always end Christmas Eve by reading the Christmas Story out of the scriptures, but this year my husband decided to change things up. He had us each randomly select a nativity piece from a set he placed inside a box. We then took turns sharing what we know about that person (or animal) and guessed what he or she might have felt. It was a great discussion.

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We simplified our gift giving this year and I’m glad we did. Everyone got a few select gifts under the tree and some fun stocking stuffers. Our main gift was a surprise to the kids: we booked an Alaskan cruise for the end of next summer, after our missionary returns home. πŸ™‚

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As much fun as it was to open gifts together on Christmas morning, it was delightful to watch this little fellow. He was curious about all that was going on and loved playing in the wrapping paper and boxes.

I took this video of Casper playing.

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The highlight of Christmas Day was Skyping with our missionary. She looked great! She was bubbly and happy and told us some funny stories. For example, because she is American and white, Peruvians often assume she doesn’t speak Spanish. Or English? They will start “talking” to her in sign language! She doesn’t even think it’s real sign language. Then when she speaks Spanish they are in awe!

I took video of her singing a Christmas carol in Spanish with her cute companion.

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David’s mom spent Christmas with us (she is in her eighties), and my friend, Steph, and her daughter (pictured below with Darcie), joined us in our Skype session with Marissa.

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Darcie and Steph’s daughter act like sisters.

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Two days after Christmas we headed towards Salt Lake City for our annual family fun. This year we walked through Thanksgiving Point’s Luminaria.

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It was freezing that night! But we layered up and took advantage of the hand warmers and hot cocoa that came with our tickets.

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The next day we visited Brigham Young University’s Museum of Art where this fascinating exhibit was on display. My kids are so funny!

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Have you ever seen any of Patrick Dougherty’s work? Pretty cool.

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We were supposed to see a hockey game, but it got postponed to another day due to bad weather for the opposing team (from Texas). So we got a refund and went to dinner at Rodizio Grill instead. Yum!

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β™₯ And that was our Christmas. A few days before Christmas, these three lovely ladies surprised me at my door. They sang, We Wish You a Merry Christmas and gave me a spa gift to thank me for all I’ve done for their girls (some of my craft club girls) this year. Their thoughtfulness made me cry. I had to crop out a cute craft girl from this photo. I also received treats and gifts from some of craft girls, which was very sweet.

Wishing all of my readers a Happy New Year. Thank you so much for following my blog, for your likes and your kind comments. It means a lot to me! I’ll try to catch up to your blogs in the new year. Let’s make it a great one! β™₯

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Posted in Blessings Corner

Spring Ramblings

I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t found time to post, and I don’t have anything earth shattering to say now, except that there are people around us- neighbors, strangers, friends, extended family, our own family members, who need us, and we never know how our influence or random acts of kindness will touch other lives for the better. It’s good to be aware of others and the trials they are going through. It’s good to pray for them and reach out to them. It’s good for our souls!

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One of my lovely flowers in my spring garden

Have you ever watched the movie, The Thrill of It All, with Doris Day and James Garner? My daughters and I love Doris Day movies, and this is one of our favorites. The suds scene… πŸ˜€

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It snowed earlier this week, and the temps were quite cool, but now we’re back to sunshine and green lawns. I feel blessed to live in this beautiful valley. I’m crazy about the mountains here, and I adore the little farms scattered about.

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We were happy to hear that our sweet missionary received her first care package from us. We were very pleased with the private delivery service we discovered because the mail system is often unreliable in Peru.

For those who read my last post, I enjoyed my first county convention, even though it lasted four hours. We have several candidates running for U.S. Senate, to fill a seat which will soon be vacated. It was interesting to listen to their three-minute speeches giving us an idea of their values and stances. I’ve also seen some progress with treating my KP, and if anyone is interested in hearing about that, leave a comment below. I’m just glad something is finally working!

β™₯ Are there any other Doris Day fans out there? If so, what is your favorite Doris Day movie? β™₯

Posted in Blessings Corner

Hopeful

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I have never had my own tulip bed before, but last fall, my youngest son and I planted I don’t know how many tulip and crocus bulbs into one of the front yard flowerbeds. We spent hours clearing the bed of weeds and then meticulously planted bulb after bulb, spacing each just right, and hopefully in the right direction!

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In a way it was a bittersweet task because we were planning to sell our house this spring. I couldn’t help reflecting that I was doing this more for potential buyers than for myself. Or so I thought…

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Long story short, something happened in January which changed the plans we had already put into motion (we’d been looking at potential land to build on, had a professional designing our dream home, etc.), and now we are not selling and not moving. A couple of days ago, my oldest son called me outside to show me these first yellow buds. I was thrilled to see the hopeful beginnings of my first tulip garden. These aren’t the tulips, though. I think they are the crocuses. They are what we planted on the border around the tulips.

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All these photos were taken on the same day. My poor baby crocuses!

But I digress- I felt guilty at first for being relieved. We’re not selling! We’re not moving! We get to stay in our lovely home here, in a beautiful valley I’ve come to love. It took me several years to feel at home here, but now I feel completely at home. Suddenly, staying seems meant-to-be. And I feel… hopeful.

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I think life poking through the ground, after sleeping for months under a blanket of snow, is hopeful. Springtime, with it’s renewed life, is hopeful. (Now, if it would just stop snowing here!) But, most of all, Easter is upon us, and that is as hopeful as life gets because it’s about the only being who could give us true hope. I’m looking forward to celebrating the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. This is the start of Holy Week. It’s snowing here today on Palm Sunday, but little yellow buds are sprouting also.

β™₯ Have you been getting snow as well? Do you have a tulip/flower garden? Do you feel hopeful when you see signs of spring? Are you preparing for an Easter celebration? I’d love to hear your thoughts.Β β™₯

Posted in Blessings Corner, My 52 Stories

November Blessings- Day 30 (Our Christmas Traditions)

First off, I want to thank my readers for supporting me through a month of daily posting (although I technically cheated for 5 of those days so I could enjoy Thanksgiving with my family). I may never post every day for a month again, haha, but it did help me catch up on my 52 Stories which was my goal.

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Last Christmas. I need to hang these bulbs up again and we’re still waiting for snow. Looks like a late winter here this year.

I thought I’d make my last November Blessing post about my family’s Christmas traditions. I didn’t have any to carry over from my childhood, that I liked anyway. I just didn’t have one of those kind of childhoods. But, that just meant I had a blank slate to start my own traditions with my husband and my children. So, without further ado…

  • Every night leading up to Christmas Eve, we read a Christmas story. We have a binder which includes each story typed out, plus a scripture verse and carol, but last year I wrapped up all the Christmas story books we’ve collected over the years and we unwrapped one to read each night.
  • We have quite the collection of Christmas movies in our home library and that is pretty much all we watch all December long. My all-time favorite is White Christmas.
  • Every year my kids each get a new ornament for our family tree. They each have their own ornament box to keep their collection in.
  • We send out family photo cards to friends and extended family. Some years, this has been an e-card instead and some years we’ve written up a newsletter.
  • We bake batches of cookies, and sometimes candy and make up plates for our neighbors.
  • We see one play, ballet or concert as a family. Sometimes it’s The Nutcracker. Sometimes it’s A Christmas Carol. This year it’s the Mannheim Steamroller concert.
  • For several years now, the boys have given to the girls and the girls to the boys. So, my two daughters team up and give a gift to their two brothers, and the boys do the same for their sisters.
  • I fully decorate our house inside and out. I have close to 20 Christmas containers full of decorations and such. I have several Peruvian nativities.
  • In the past few years my daughters and I have hosted a little girl Christmas craft party. We have little neighbor girls over to make ornaments and decorate sugar cookies.
  • We play Secret Santa to one family in need. We love selecting special gifts, wrapping them, and figuring out how to deliver them anonymously.

On Christmas Eve we spend most of the day celebrating Marcus’ birthday. Sometimes we go see a movie he wants us to see. We have birthday cake and birthday presents, wrapped in birthday paper. Then, we eat a delicious prime rib dinner my husband cooks for us. After dinner, we each open one gift, a new pair of pajamas. After we’ve changed into our pajamas, we read the Christmas Story out of the scriptures (we actually have a special binder for this) and sing carols in between parts. My kids tell me this is their favorite tradition of all.

β™₯ I’d love to hear one or two of your Christmas traditions.Β β™₯

Posted in Blessings Corner, My 52 Stories

November Blessings- Day 29 (Next Year Will Be An Adventure)

I’m sitting in the passenger seat of my husband’s truck. It’s just after 7pm and we are in the middle of “moderate” Salt Lake traffic on the freeway. We (my husband, Marcus and I) are on our way home from visiting my mother-in-law for three days. We are planning to move close to her next year so this was to get that ball rolling on her end. We saw 2 builders and drove around looking at potential land to build on.Β 0332496D-6CFB-4276-8C6C-78ADD92E717C
We have never ever built a home before so this will be a new experience for us. It feels both overwhelming and exciting at the same time. Β The second builder we met with gave us some advice. He told us to send him photos of details we like that we want to incorporate. He also sent us to a website of home plans we could choose from and he can modify them. Or we could have our own draw up. Any advice from those who have “been there, done that” would be appreciated.

β™₯ So that is a little of what is going on with us. How about you? Who is excited for Christmas? Marcus goes on a campout this weekend to cut down Christmas trees for neighbors who have ordered one. He’s going to choose our tree as well. πŸŽ„

Posted in Blessings Corner, My 52 Stories

November Blessings- Day 28 (Missionary Mom Moment)

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I’m so excited to be a missionary mom again! Marissa leaves for Lima, Peru in early January, where she will report to the MTC (missionary training center) there. After she completes her training, she will serve in Cusco, Peru. Her father served his mission in Santiago, Chile. Her brother, Zach, served his mission in Calgary, Canada.

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Marissa in her baptism dress

It was special that she was called to serve in Peru because we have lived there as a family, twice. The first time we lived in Arequipa, Peru, for nearly 2 years. Marissa was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while we lived in Arequipa.

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Touring the Maras salt mines just outside of Cusco

The second time we lived in Lima, Peru, for nearly 2 years (10 years after we lived in Arequipa). For our last Christmas there, we spent a week touring Cusco and Machu Picchu as a family. That was an awesome trip.

β™₯ I’m so proud of my soon-to-be-missionary daughter. She’s going to give her whole self to serving the Lord for 18 months. Thanks for reading!Β β™₯

Posted in Blessings Corner

November Blessings- Day 27 (This Christmas, #Light the World)

#Light the World is a campaign to help us remember the true reason we celebrate Christmas by little acts of kindness and Christlike service within our communities. It’s something we can do together with our families. If you’d like to participate in the #Light the World campaign, please visit Mormon.org for a calendar and ideas. The daily videos are really sweet to watch.