Sunday, December 30, 2012

Our favorite Christmas gift

As much as family and gathering and gifts are a big big part of what makes Christmas great, this year our favorite gift was waking up to flurries on Christmas morning and then having two major snowfalls during the days before New Year's Eve.
Hooray for Christmas snow!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Home-made Memories

One of our favorite traditions is exchanging homemade gifts on Christmas Eve. We draw names in November and then get busy creating.
 This year Leeli made her brother an organizing center, and painted the drawer faces with chalkboard paint so he could customize the contents.
 Rooney made her sister a set of mittens and a matching embellished ear warmer out of felted wool.
 Enrique made a custom frame to go around a vintage Beetles poster for a certain blonde Beetles fan;
 Mr. Dub granted Enrique's wish by making a giant snickers patty.  Sugar rush for days.

 Me? I crocheted my little heart out, and let me tell you: quantity is not always quality. Sweet Mesquite was an extremely kind and gracious recipient. Especially considering she got a yarmulke with a hole in it, and an ear band that makes her look like she has a tumor on her head.
 Morning Boy was very clever and created a shooting gallery for his big brother.
 Mesquite put together a compilation of memories about me.  She solicited paragraphs from everyone in the family, including some extended family as well.  It was lovely.  The kind of lovely that caused me to shed a few tears.
 Yonder made a book for his dad.
It was full of wisdom they have shared with each other.
After we opened gifts, we snuggled on the sofas and watched Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed in It's A Wonderful Life.
Traditions and Memories.
It's a wonderful life.

Our Christmas Eve Miracle

Our crazy crazy life seldom has room for the extras.
And by extras, I mean pretty basic extras
like taking the kids for a haircut.
Our last official haircut day was in late June.
Imagine my joy-to-the-world! when the Hair Whisperer was willing to fit us in for FIVE haircuts on Christmas Eve morning.  She is an ANGEL. It truly was our own little Christmas miracle.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Dozen Birthdays

The night before Leeli's big day I went in to her bedroom to say goodnight.  She said "Mom, I was just writing in my journal and wrote that if I had to go back and live one year over again, it would be eleven.  I think it was a pretty good year."
If the enthusiasm with which the birthday bite was taken is any indicator, Twelve is shaping up nicely.
Turning 12 meant some important milestones, like joining her sisters in the Young Women organization at church, and getting her own email account. One of the best birthday surprises was having her best cousin and grandmother stop in for presents and cake.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Naughty Nice

While we were in Chicago, our kids were invited by Aunt Rachael for Sunday Dinner.  Aunt Rachael's house is also Uncle Aaron's house.  That there's the caveat... With the sweet Aunt comes the tricky Uncle.  Years ago Mister Dub and I had a will drawn up.  One of the less pleasant tasks was designating guardians for our minor children.  (Did you know that if you die without a will and fail to designate a guardian the courts will decide who takes care of your children?) Rachael and Aaron were appointed as the guardians of our children should the need ever arise.  While we were in Chicago and the kids were gathered at the table, he told them to take a good look around.  He then let them know that should we perish before returning, they would be having dinner in similar fashion for years to come.  He then lined everyone up for spankings.  He texted me later and told me our kids would probably be praying extra hard that night for our safe return.  He's NAUGHTY.  The other night he stopped by unexpectedly and stayed for dinner.  While we were setting an extra place at our table and pouring him eggnog, he was busy turning all of our Christmas cards backwards (except his).
Santa might be leaving a trace of coal in his stocking.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Cheer

 Our Christmas Cactus is almost in bloom!
We got a fun package in the mail.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Cold Feet

The first thing I do on Sunday after church is slip into cozy pajama bottoms and SOCKS.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

8 years 2 months 8 days

Our second grader lost his first baby tooth.  It had been officially "wiggly" for one day.  He bit into an apple and his tooth lodged right into the fruit.  He was a little startled and then delighted.  Just the day before we were at the dentist for his regular cleaning.  The hygienist predicted that once the first tooth fell out, the rest would follow like dominoes.  
All of his pals at school and church have been losing teeth for years.  He finally joined the club.  He has been wanting his name to be on the tooth chart in his classroom since kindergarten.  It finally got there.
He couldn't be happier about it.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Main Event: A Wedding

 We were pleased to be in Chicago to attend the wedding of Mr. Dub's brother David and the delightful Emma.
 It was an intimate event set in the lakefront mansion of Charles G. Dawes in Evanston.  Mr. Dawes was the 30th Vice President under Calvin Coolidge and won the 1925 Nobel Peace Prize.  His house is lovely, and has been made into a museum.  I was especially impressed to wander past his piano and see sheet music with Charles Dawes listed as the composer on display. We enjoyed meandering through the rooms in between the ceremony and dinner courses.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Chicago: everything but the wedding

Our first stop in Chicago was one of my favorites:
The Chicago Temple. 
It's beautiful, of course.  A little oasis of peace in the bustling city.  Even though the sun never actually made an appearance, the city was still impressive and fun.  Lake Michigan is awesome.  I couldn't stop looking.  I was grateful for a quick break in the clouds that allowed this shot of the city taken near the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium.
 We enjoyed a tour of the Chicago Cultural Center, located in what was the original Chicago Public Library.  It has a fascinating history--we would have liked the tour more if we were able to hear the tour guide... the building was noisy with people and exhibits that day.  We were joined by Mr. Dub's mom and sister on this foray into the city, so we had fun roaming around together.
 Mr. Dub was especially impressed by the Trump Tower.
 We're already starting our list of things to do on our next trip to Chicago.  The River Walk is at the top.
 None of us knew much about the Moody Church, but it was an impressive piece of architecture.
 My favorite time with Dub was on Navy Pier.  We found a sculpture made of canoes, dodged goose poop, walked through the drizzle along the pier, bought cotton candy, toured a stained glass museum, wandered through the Crystal Gardens, saw Skyfall in the IMax Theatre and tucked ourselves into a few corners to rest our legs, one of which was a photo booth. He sure knows how to show a girl a good time.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


In less than 12 seconds I obliterated my rear view mirror while backing out of the garage.
 A note from my child
(yesterday I was so proud there were no spelling errors!... today I want to pin it on my shirt)
felt somehow square on the mark after driving to the mailbox.
I retreated to the kitchen and made myself 12 pancakes in honor of a great start to a memorable day.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Chicago: dream a little dream...

I haven't even unpacked yet.
Our four-day weekend in the windy city is now behind us, and I'm still grinning like a fool.
It was heaven.