Thursday, December 29, 2011

home made Christmas

One of my favorite things about Christmas is getting a home made gift.
I love the thought that goes behind a gift made with love.
We have a Christmas Eve tradition in our family.
We draw names at Thanksgiving, and everyone makes a home made gift
to be opened after dinner on Christmas Eve.
This year there were handcrafted pajama pants, a beautiful picture frame, a name plaque, a desk blotter, a lovely skirt and a sock monkey.  The stand-out, however, was the nerd garden
(made with love) by Enrique:
a nerd garden?

She LOVES it.

Also, under the tree this year were not one, but TWO surprises for me:
a hand pieced quilt from my piano student Louise
embroidered pillowcases from Lynn,
my friend Heather's mom who lives in upstate NY.

Christmas love.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

my Christmas Cactus bloomed for Christmas.
(things I love)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011


The program at our Ward Christmas Party this year was small and simple.
This was my favorite part.

 Isaiah 9:6 
"For unto us child is bornunto us son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall becalled Wonderful, CounsellorThe mighty God
The everlasting Father, 
The Prince of Peace."
“Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” (Rom. 14:19.)
the cow and donkey were pretty great, too.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

over heard over the weekend

"Whitcombs don't go the extra mile"
-after a certain little boy of mine was asked by his grandfather why he wouldn't tuck in his Sunday shirt

"We now refer to Dub as Uncle Hallmark.  Whenever you're around him, you feel good."
-after a group hug with Uncle Aaron
A back story before the next quote.  At dinner on Friday night, I served up some rolls that were a little on the crusty side--they had endured some extra baking time in the oven.
Morning Boy asked me "Mom, are these that kind of pirate bread that wouldn't spoil after a long time on the ship?"
I looked at him for a few seconds until I realized what he was talking about, and said "Oh, you mean hard tack?"
He said yes, and then we had a blessing on the food.  After the chorus of AMENs, he asked

"Anyone want a heart attack?"

Saturday, December 17, 2011

jiggity jig

 Friday I drove to Amherst to collect Enrique from his 16th floor dorm room at UMass.
 One semester under his belt,
and already there are winds of change...
 he has decided to change his living arrangements for next semester,
so it all came home.
 we LIKE having him around the house again!
I think he might like it, too.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

the stockings are hung by the chimney with care

here's the 411 on holiday prep
now that the days-until-Christmas has reached single digits:

-Christmas tree:  UP
-Ornaments: ON
-Train under tree:  CHECK
-Lights on bushes:  YES
-Wreaths and greens festooning the property: CHECK
-Christmas cards:  TRICKLING OUT
-Shopping: SLOWING
-Gingerbread men: BAKED, FROSTED and EATEN

-Remembering the goal is not about checking off boxes:  (OH..., right)
I hope you're doing most of the following (I'm trying to make these my top priorities):
-Sitting by a fire
-Reading a good book
-Thinking about loved ones
-Sharing a good memory 
-Choosing not to go to every party/function
-relaxing and simplifying your December.

Carry on!

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's Monday: step away from the fig bars

I am a cosmopolitan woman, busy with lists of things to get done each day in my little world of kids and culture.  I like to start the day thinking I have it all under control.  At 4:45am, Dub and I were working out with Tony Horton in the basement.  It's not my happy hour, but Mr. Dub's understanding, and doesn't expect me to answer back or smile at that time of day.  When I packed the kids' lunches, I cut extra carrot sticks and pepper strips to put in baggies for my run-around car snacking.  I know myself.  If I didn't do this, I might find myself desperately emptying the glove box in search of old gum or chewing on bits of stale granola bar pieces the kids dropped in the back seat, and a wad of grocery bag; because let's face it:  isn't there something almost desirable about the smell of a paper bag from the grocery store?
I digress.
After my visit to the home of a talented friend (she is a whiz at cabinetry, remodeling projects, mouse extermination, basement flooding trouble-shooting and plumbing) I ran off to accomplish many tasks, feeling like I needed to at least walk down the aisles of Home Depot so I could make myself feel more competent.  Instead, I excelled at using coupons to finish up some Christmas shopping.  When I burst through the door a few hours later, parcels in hand, I went down my mental list of things to get done at home before the kids started trickling home from school and piano students knock on the door:
-put wood on the fire
-put groceries away
-put wet wash in the dryer
-hide Christmas gifts I just bought
-return borrowed items to the neighbor before she heads off to work
-listen to phone messages
-check email
Before I knew it, I was famished, and needed lunch STAT.  My choice? A can of diet cherry Dr. Pepper, a bag of ripple potato chips and some ranch dip.  With a chaser of Daddy Ray's low fat fig bars.  I feel like I just went from respectable member of society to desperate college student during finals week needing a food intervention.  Who even buys Daddy Ray's low fat fig bars, anyway?  Sick.
I have until dinner time to redeem myself.

Friday, December 9, 2011


Hard things ahead.

My assignment is to speak about this on Sunday.
I've been thinking about this task for almost a month now.
(why does this seem so hard?)
I sat at the bedside of a lovely *young* woman who is dying of brain cancer on Wednesday.
I also got punched in the gut.  Hard.
My hard stuff I will own.
It's not as hard as what others are dealing with.
Focusing on the difficult stuff in life is overwhelming.
I much prefer to view things from the good stuff lens.
We all head face first into real life.  It throws awful things.
Lean into the wind.  Put your game face on.  
I'm going to spend my weekend thinking strategy.
Godspeed with yours!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

happy things

making Christmas cookies
drinking smoothies for breakfast
  a clever arrangement
of the refrigerator nativity
 kids who love each other
 a spontaneous flower delivery from Dub-of-my-heart