Thursday, December 30, 2010

NOW we're going places...

First stop today.
Lucky us to have a temple so close!
Dropped three kids off and picked one up.
It was a BEAUTIFUL winter day!
Second stop was to drop off the car.
We took the train the rest of the way, and I think if the T had been the final destination, we would have been happy just riding around the city all afternoon.  The people-watching alone is worth the price of a ticket.
There was a really cool ice sculpture exhibit of the penguins outside the aquarium.  My favorite was that first one on the left.  His name is Roast Beef.  Watching the real penguins inside was fun, too.
It was dark when we came out of the aquarium, and we all just stood there taking in the city lights.
More subway riding, jiggity-jog.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


~I can see the floor of my washroom, the surfaces of my kitchen counters and the bottom of the kitchen sink.
~Today the children shoveled, vacuumed, mopped and cleaned bathrooms.
~The cupboards are not bare.
~I mixed and baked three DOUBLE batches of cookies; snickerdoodles, chocolate chip, and gingersnaps.
~The kids got TWO full weeks off for Christmas vacation this year.
~Mr. Dub has worked three straight days installing a replacement television in the family room, which has involved drilling holes through walls so as to hide massive amounts of cords and wires and to please his wife.
~Hearing our 12-year-old say "You da man, dad" when the TV and surround sound worked.
~Listening to the 20th Century Fox theme song in surround sound.
~We were able to attend a wedding at the temple.
~I have completed 10 puzzles in my Christmas edition of the New York Post's "Pure Evil Su Doku."
~Enrique spontaneously took charge of/led an interesting discussion at family scripture study tonight.
~I have had eight consecutive hours of sleep for the past three nights in a row.
~My stash of Christmas chocolate has been depleted.
~January is shaping up to be a fun month of cultural treats.

Maybe not so good:

~I mixed and baked three double batches of cookies.
~Mr. Dub has worked three straight vacation days to install a replacement TV in the family room, which has involved drilling holes through walls so as to hide massive amounts of cords and wires to please his wife.
~I sort of almost pee'd my pants playing some competitive obstacle course game on the kinect, which involved insane amounts of dodging, ducking and jumping.
~The kids got TWO full weeks off for Christmas vacation this year.
~I have not read a single book since way before the Christmas prep began.
~My stash of Christmas chocolate has been depleted.
~Sucking up the special cleaning cloth for the new TV with the central vac.
~I have no intention of cleaning up or putting away Christmas decorations until after the New Year.
~I did not get a year-long contract with the Merry Maids as one of my stocking stuffers.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Cheer - From Panama

The Divine Gift of Gratitude

That's what our lesson in Relief Society was on today... and  I am so grateful that I was there to hear it (even though I was wishing all through Sacrament Meeting that the snowstorm would propel the Bishop towards canceling the second and third hours).
Today I am grateful for
~a husband who wakes up whistling happy tunes
~the cloud I'm still floating on after talking to our missionary yesterday
~dental floss
~a raging blizzard outside our window
~loud, rowdy, sometimes rude and HAPPY children
~a clean kitchen
~enough toilet paper to last a few more days
~Christmas cards
~chocolate-covered cinnamon bears
~no seminary for another week
~time to sit and think
~knowing there's always so much to do;  boredom will never be my nemesis
~The Book of Mormon
~eight hours in bed.
And with that thought, I bid you good-night--may waves of gratitude flow through your dreams.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

On dasher!

We're all a flurry of activity in the home.  The kids were done with school on Friday.  There have been gifts to make, cookies to bake, gifts to wrap, groceries to buy, cards to write and Christmas to think about!  It's crazy, I tell you.  But I am SO grateful that my children are no longer toddlers.  Can you imagine a house full of THAT with a week of no school and Christmas to wait for?  Yikes.  Getting older does have its perks.  We are dashing about.

I was thinking we were really looking like Santa's workshop around here, but really, there's more of a barn-full-of-animals feel to our house these days; six people fighting for table space, spouting urgent requests for privacy and HELP! whilst all this creating is taking place--it's proving to be a little chaotic... alluding to reindeer instead of elves felt somehow more appropriate.  Mr. Dub is no dummy, working right up 'til Christmas eve.

On dancer! On Prancer!

You should have seen us dancing when we woke up to our first snowfall yesterday!  You would have thought it was a-blizzarding--we only got a dusting, and most of it was melted away by the sun after lunch.  STILL, it got the kids motivated to deck themselves out in snow gear and Prance around in the flakes for a while.  And then there was the snowball that made its way into the wrapping room and down the shirt of a younger sister...

On Vixen!
Hmmm.  Think malicious female fox with fierce temper and the need to be in control.  Well, fierce might be a little dramatic.  But the control thing is pretty accurate.
I broke my own cardinal rule:  Never buy yourself gifts right before Christmas.  I bought myself a new pair of jeans.  The label inside says "Diva."  Who says labels don't matter?  I kinda like this one.

On Comet!
This just makes me think about how much my toilets could use some really thorough cleaning.

On Cupid!
That naked little baby wielding bow and arrow has been hard at work.  Ack.  Teenagers.  SOMEone is off to the North End this afternoon to make goo-goo eyes across the table at a fancy Italian restaurant.

On Donner!
What's a donner?  Not sure.  Yonder, however is one buck on our minds, and we get to talk with him in THREE more days!  The family journal notebook has been open and accepting entries of "questions we don't want to forget to ask" when he calls.  Hooray for Christmas in Panama!!

On Blitzen!
More like Blitzkrieg--we're making our lists, and checking them twice.  May you win your own little battles with holiday prep.  Merry Christmas to ALL!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Double Digits!

Besides the excitement of getting her ears pierced today, I think having her best cousin over for birthday dinner made turning TEN! the best birthday ever.
I tell her every year that she was my best Christmas present.  We came home from the hospital together on December 23rd and I held my gift non-stop for about the next five months... she still has the softest kissing cheek in the family.
Happy Birthday Leeli!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Today felt like Christmas

1. I had two daughters ride in to church with me for early morning meetings.  Made the start to my day brighter, and the ride more lively.
2. There was oil in my lamp.  I was prepared and the meeting was SHORT and productive.
3. I got to sit with my family in Sacrament Meeting and enjoy the all-music program which focused on Christ.
4. We were in the car and driving out of the parking lot less than 10 minutes after church was over.
5. I met my piano students at a local nursing home and we held our Christmas piano recital and holiday sing-a-long with the residents there.  I think we'll make it an annual tradition.  The Spirit of Christmas was so thick we all felt wrapped up in it.
6. I received my first bottle of wine as a gift from one of my students.  It was very elegant and lovely.  How thoughtful!  And the kids were horrified to imagine me drinking it.  And we laughed.
7. We had company for dinner.  And they were fun!  (AND they're relatives!)
8. The main ingredient at dinner was Bourbon Chicken.  Again with the liquor.  And laughing!
9. We celebrated Leeli's 10th birthday and laughed at the irony of me asking her to make her "bite" of the cake ladylike so that there would be enough cake for everyone.  There's just nothing ladylike about taking a bite out of the side of your birthday cake; The daughter, the daughter! Tradition!
10. Had Family Home Evening and finished reading the Book of John together as a family!  I won't include the part about how long it actually took us, but it was rewarding.
11. Everyone (except me) put themselves to bed by 8:00pm.
12. And now I'm sitting in front of a cozy fire in short sleeves enjoying the peaceful solitude that comes only when the other six people living here are fast asleep.

If those were my 12 Days of Christmas, I'd be completely filled and ready to ring in the New Year!
Happy Sabbath to you, and may the next six days find you enjoying some down time and wrapped up in the real Spirit of Christmas.

Friday, December 17, 2010


YOU are the lucky winner of another trip to the pharmacy to pick up a jumbo bottle of antibiotics!
That's what I was waiting to hear when the doctor called this morning.  Even a simple "You were right, she does have strep" would have sufficed.  Instead, I was in the middle of baking the birthday treats for her class.  After keeping her home the obligatory 24 hours, I reluctantly sent her back to school today, because, without a fever what reason did I have to keep her from enjoying the parties going on at school on the last day before Christmas vacation?  Now I would be showing up with treats, and delivering the news that she wouldn't get to stay and enjoy them with her friends.  (See those cute festive fingernails all decked-out for the occasion?)  Twice now, I have insisted that I KNOW when my children have strep, and twice I have been turned away, only to be called back and told "we just looked at this little culture here and were very surprised to find that it had turned up positive for strep!"  Imagine that.  I am practicing patience and forgiveness.  And I am still grateful for antibiotics.
Oh!  And a real and heartfelt congratulations to #8, Alana, who wins the fantastic photo-cards!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Because he loves me.

One very EARLY, cold and dark morning this week, there was a surprise knock at my back door.  I thought maybe one of the seminary kids forgot something important, 
when what to my wondering eyes should appear 
but a right jolly-old-elf carrying this:
He knows me.
He loves me.
He drove 45 minutes in the cold and dark to deliver an entire days' worth of dessert.
To me!
This is where the bridge of father-daughter relationships has been crossed.
He becomes my friend.
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that friendship is among the fundamental principles of our faith.
It is designed "to revolutionize and civilize the world."
Thanks, Dad.
You ROCK my world.
P.S. I ate two-and-a-half donuts and a heathen-sized portion of trifle before the day was done.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's my Blog-i-versary!

I happened to glance at the blogspot dashboard before hitting the "new post" button, and noticed that I was at 799 posts already.
Well howdy doo!
Today marks 800 posts.  Huzzah!
I think a celebration is in order.
And since a party is more festive with presents, I am going to GIVE-AWAY a fun and fantastic little gift!
More than I love blogging, I love writing.
One of my most favorite forms of writing is the old fashioned notecard or letter that you drop in the mail.
Remember those?
If you love these Christmas-y photos as much as I do,
you are going to LOVE what I have in store for the lucky winner: 
a set of five ep-photocards 
made by my amazing blogger friend Ellen, the photographer of these fun images.
Just leave a little comment--and tell me:
When was the last time that you received a hand-written message in the mail?
I'll pick a winner using a random-pick generator on Friday, December 17th.
Happy Blogging to me,
and Good Luck to YOU!

Monday, December 13, 2010

monday, monday

I think this adequately captures how we all felt this morning.
And my breakfast dessert started out being freshly baked carrot cake muffins, and deteriorated into store-bought cookies that taste like cardboard.  And I keep eating them.
I could do better.
I just don't know if I want to.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

WE did it.

To fully appreciate my fondness for this box of pinecones, you will have to have read this.
And Mr. Dub was TOTALLY the man behind this project.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

better than brown paper packages tied up with string

having a sick day with my 12 year old, who, on day two of strep is not allowed to go to school, but not sick enough to feel really sick.  I do love antibiotics.
playing skip-bo over breakfast
staying in jammies together until lunchtime
playing with the cellphone camera
texting her brother pictures of the cats in the lego fort and teasing him about our sick day while he was slaving away in his physics lab
receiving his text back that said "go away! let me be miserable!"
cutting out snowflakes and adorning our windows
eating magical chocolate banana bread, sent over warm by the breakfast dessert fairy just in time for breakfast (thank you Marilyn!)
playing America's top model with Chumpy the wonder sock monkey
(home-made with love for her last Christmas by her 14-year-old sister)
having a 12-year old daughter who still loves to play with sock monkeys
and laughter.
Lots and lots of laughter.

It's time to be accountable

For "the list."
Which will soon disappear from the margin of my blog, thankfully.
Let me preface this by saying that for 2011 there will be no published list;
just to help me continue to adhere my principled self to #19 on this year's list.
And I give to you:

1. Clean out my closets. - meh.  Some things just aren't meant to be.
2. Say "I Love You" more. - I even told Mr. Morning's kneecaps how much I loved them today.
3. Read the Book of Mormon. - still reading.
4. Spend less money at the grocery store. - meh.
5. Only ONE trip to the store per week. - can I stop being accountable now?
6. Plan a WEEKLY MENU + shopping list. - C+ BUT, in the interest of #16 below, I have now delegated this job to a teenager who loves food.
7. Be aware. Laugh more. - I absolutely laughed more.
8. Breathe deeply. - amen. and OHHHHHHMMMMMmmmmm.
9. Visit one spot never been to before. - check.
10. Take a hike with my family. - checkety-check-check.
11. Read to Morning Boy everyday. - this has been my absolute pleasure.
12. Send a hand-written note every week. - almost a guilty pleasure.
13. Participate in Resolutionary Challenge. - one of the best things I did this year.
14. Use sewing machine, make something I like. - Yes.  But what I liked more, was helping my daughter to use the sewing machine to make something SHE liked.
15. Be a 100% visiting teacher. - I won't tell you too much about this except to say when I go into the home of these amazing women with the intention of bringing something good, I always leave feeling that I am the lucky recipient.
16. Be a RSP who delegates more. - a work in progress.
17. Play games regularly. - if monkey business counts, A++.
18. Learn something NEW! - it's my daily quest.
19. RELAX more, volunteer less. - I'm late to this party, but OH, it's good.
20. Be prepared. resolve to be ready. - The next ice storm that hits will find me flipping pancakes for the neighborhood.  It's not a steak dinner, but we'll make it.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A wistful, sniffly morning

It's a beautiful, sunny morning.
But MAN! it's cold outside.
I'm so grateful for our warm fire.
I'm also thankful for a BLANK SQUARE on the calendar today.
I'm going to do as much of nothing as I can possibly fit in.
Roonie's home with me, and we're sniffling a duet.  We'll probably nap in tandem.
Meanwhile, I've posted a little something over at Segullah.
I hope your day is as full of nothingness as mine is!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Men at Work

after the first official week in Panama,
Our own Elder W! 
and meet his companion, 
Elder Blandon (from Honduras).
Got another email from the missionary today~
Medicine for the soul.
He's doing GREAT.
He has a fantastic companion,
they're teaching people,
He's been to his first church services
(where he spoke in Spanish)
Attended his first party
(where he sang a solo 
accompanied by Elder Blandon on the recorder)
and is nursing his first canker sore south of the border.
Carry ON!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The family that plays together...

...there's a good spirit about a family that will take a walk in the woods together;
and I love that everyone still gets giddy over a good game of Pooh Sticks.

all happy endings!
(and cute bottoms)