Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Eating/Ironing My Way Through My Birthday

Everyone who knows me knows that I LOVE food. I really love butter, and cookies, and salad, and bacon, and ICC*, and Chinese food, and Mexican food and junk food, and....well...........just about any food.

So what better way to celebrate my 29th birthday than to EAT! Seriously, it's all about THE FOOD, okay, and the people, cuz no one likes to eat alone!

Brian and I got up and went to Sam#3 for some eggs (over medium), bacon (extra crispy), hashbrowns (extra crispy), and toast (extra butter) washed down with ICC.

Just a couple hours later, I was starving. I went to lunch at
I almost always order one of two things: this omelette
with bacon, jack cheese and avocado

or a small Chopped Cobb Salad with French Onion Soup and a Buttermilk Spice Muffin (with EXTRA butter).
It wasn't a hard decision since I pretty much came to lunch straight from breakfast and I already knew the dinner menu. Phew!
Luckily, dinner wasn't until 6:30. That gave me time to go home and wait for friends and family to come by bearing gifts. And while I was waiting, you'll never guess what I did! Iron a set of sheets! Seriously, I need some heavy duty analysis. And just so you know, I no longer FOLD my ironed sheets. THAT was really bugging me.........iron them so there are no wrinkles...fold them and wrinkle them. I iron and minimally fold them to HANG on a hanger. Someone should consider giving me a gift card to a therapist for my next birthday!
But hey, at least I don't iron my children's UNDERshirts anymore. I'm cured of that. And I certainly DO NOT iron my children's sheets
So after the ironing and gift receiving, it was time for............FOOD! Unbelievably, I was starving when dinner came around. We went to my mom's for the best meal of the day!
Prime Rib (I like mine a little more toward well, so I got the end cut), Popovers (two - with BUTTER), Green Salad with Feta and Pomegranate, Twice Baked Potatoes, and a Birthday Razzleberry Pie with Ice Cream.
I did get lots of nice presents from everyone. Each gift was really thoughful. My gift givers were no slouches. But I can't deny that food is the way to my heart.
I can't believe I woke up hungry this morning. A phenomenon that never ceases to amaze me.
So all in all, it was a very successful birthday: FOOD, FRIENDS, gifts, crisp sheets, and FUN!
*Ice Cold Coke

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Heard in the Car

You've already gathered that we are a family who likes to tease. And everyone is pretty good at laughing at themselves. So ride along with us to church and listen in on this...............
Me: "So Parker........who are you going to kiss at midnight at the Stake Dance?"

Parker: "I don't know. I've been thinking about that."

Silence ensues and time passes.
Parker: "Yeah, It's pretty stupid that all the stakes don't have their New Year's Eve dances together."
Garrett: "It's ALWAYS been like that."
Parker: "I know. I'm just saying it's stupid."

Me: "Well! Now we know that the person Parker is thinking of kissing is in the other stake and won't even be at the dance."
Parker: "No. No. That's not it. Beside getting a 14-year-old girl to kiss is like getting a horse to do a triple back flip."

Well, I'm not going to encourage him, but his brothers didn't have any problems getting horses to do triple back flips. I think it's because Parker is much more gentlemanly than his brothers (or chicken.)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mean, Mean Parents

After the boys opened a couple of gifts, they received a small package addressed to both of them. Parker opened it:
and threw it across the room. On it was written, "I heard you needed some pads. From Santa"
The boys were outraged. "What kind of sick joke is this?" "Who gave this to us?" And they immediately blamed Grandma..............who didn't deny it. But no one fessed up or explained.
A couple of presents later, there was another package addressed to both of them. Garrett opened it: Written on the outside was "I heard you needed some pads. From Santa." This wasn't tossed across the room with the same vehemence, but the boys moved on to other gifts quickly, without trying to interpret the gift.

Finally, close to the end of present opening, there was one more gift addressed to both of them. They argued over who was going to get to open it. I don't remember who won, but they opened this:.

And of course, on the top of the memo pad was written, "I heard you needed some pads. From Santa."
Parker was confused. Garrett got it right away. After clueing Parker in, they asked, "Okay...........we need pads! Where are they???"
These were too bulky to wrap and plus we're mean and like to play jokes even on that most loving day of the year. We cannot help ourselves. We're sick and twisted like that.
I directed them to the dining room, where resting on chairs, they found the pads! The REAL pads. The pads they needed.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Traditions - Presents & Wrapping

Real quick! I'll tell you about presents and wrapping and then I've got to get back down to Santa's workshop (the wrapping room).
You may not think you have family traditions regarding wrapping. But you probably do. Growing up, it was tradition that my mom would tag things incorrectly. Midway through unwrapping something that looked promising, she would sit up, adjust her glasses and say, "Wait! That's not yours! That's for Jared." We would groan and the half opened present would be thrown across the room to the real giftee. The other tradition was that after all the presents were opened, my mom would look around the room and say, "Gina, show me your new watch." I would look confused, "I didn't get a new watch." Mom: "Yes you did. I remember buying you a Barbie watch with interchangeable bands. I swear I wrapped it." I'd shrug. Mom, in her caftan, would get up and go upstairs and rummage around her closet for awhile. She may or may not come down with the watch.

So here are some of our traditions. EVERYTHING is wrapped. We rarely leave unwrapped toys from Santa under the tree. He wraps most everything.
So what is different about our wrapping and present traditions?
First, NOTHING is put under the tree before Christmas. NOTHING! All gifts are wrapped and stored in trash bags and hidden somewhere. Once the children go to bed on Christmas Eve, the bags are dragged out and everything is put under the tree. It's so fun to go to bed with nothing under the tree and then wake up to WAH LAH a pile of presents. (It looks bigger and more dramatic this way too! ;) ) So even when presents arrive from out of town family, they are quickly hidden with the other presents. There is nothing to shake, rattle or peek at under our tree.
Once the presents are wrapped, we tag them with the traditional "To and From" stickers. But to make it more fun, I always include a little comment or riddle or song lyrics or an inside joke. So a tag might read, "To the King of the Hill...now return mine, Love Dad." And the present would be new gloves to replace the one's that were stolen by Trammell. Or "To Garrett & Parker - No Fighting" on a video game. "Shaken not stirred" on a James Bond video. You get the corny idea! Sure, sometimes the clues give the present away...that's the point. They are opening it right now anyway.

So you can guess this one: "To Brian - What's black and blue and worn all over?"
Sometimes we play tricks on the kids with our gift giving. (Aren't we nice parents?) There was the year that the kids asked for things that were out of our budget. But we bought them and then on Christmas morning, we played, "Let's Make a Deal." I can't remember if it was the year the IPOD first came out or the year Trammell wanted a video camera. Whatever it was, it was like $300. We wrapped it up in a huge box and said that he could have what was in the box for $100. I know! We're awful. We made him BUY his Christmas gift from us! He figured that it was Christmas and we wouldn't rip him off. He forked over $100 and we gave him the present to open. He got a good deal. That same year, Garrett wanted an electric guitar and amp. Once again, out of the budget. But he saw that his brother got a good deal, so when it was his turn to hand over $50 or $75 he quickly handed it over. He opened the box and there was a dirty pair of shoes in it. (We are soooo mean.) He knew that we were joking though and we directed him to a closet door and told him to open door number #2 and there were the guitar and amp!

One year we bought both a PS3 and an XBOX360 including controllers and games for both. We wrapped all the items up in matching paper and stacked them on the hearth. All the XBOX items were in one stack and all the PS3 items were in another. We then put a big sign above them that said, "Choose one." They all got together and decided which stack to open. Of course, we let them open both stacks and look everything and then decide, but it was fun to here them debate which pile to open.

We usually manage to do something tricky with things like pool tables, bikes, scooters, air hockey tables, snowboards and the like. We've had treasure hunts, guests show up to present the gift, strange phone calls, text messages, ding dong ditching and all kinds of adventures. That makes it fun.

But there is going to be a change in tradition if I don't get back downstairs and get wrapping!!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Traditions - Cookies

Let me just get this out there first thing - The pictures on this post are not of MY COOKIES. We've eaten all the cookies. And the crazy thing about cookie making is that when you are in the middle of creaming two pounds of butter and your kitchen is in a powdered sugar haze, the last thing you think of is , "WAIT! I need to take pictures for my blog!"

With that being said, the pictures represent the cookies that we made (and ate), only ours look and taste better! ;)

So, just like many households, one of our traditions is cookie baking. The problem with our tradition is that it is not a one time event. We do not set aside one day or one evening to make tons of cookies. Starting December 1st, we just start baking whenever we feel like it or we have a free half hour.

We do have family favorites that we make over and over. I mean over and over the same holiday season. Like Snowballs
We have made and eaten three double batches of these so far and I'm feelin a craving comin on! So these might be on order for tonight. It's not Christmas without consuming at least 1,000 of these.

Another family favorite with everyone (except Brian) is Molasses Cookies.
The only difference between the ones pictured is that we frost them with Buttercream Frosting and then add holiday sprinkles. Nothing says "Merry Christmas" than holiday sprinkles! And sometimes when we're feeling extra holidayish, we actually roll the dough out, cut them into reindeer/gingerbread shapes and decorate them with frosting and cinnamon red hots. Call me Martha!
Brian and Parker love, love, love Pecan Tassies.
They are minature pecan pies. They are really easy to make and a reminder of Thanksgiving.......in case you didn't get enough pie then.
Almost everyone (those who are Bah Humbug about these shall remain nameless) loves Peanut Butter Blossoms
We usually make the traditional Christmas Sugar Cookies

But in order to save my sanity, we haven't tackled these yet this year. I am unable to just slap frosting on and call them good. I HAVE to frost them neatly and with multiple colors and then with coordinated sprinkles. Reindeers have to have eyes, snowmen have to have buttons and carrot shaped noses, bells with ringers and all the details of snowflakes spelled out with glittery sugar. We'll see if we get to these.

We also usually make Butter Spritz Cookies. But we haven't made these yet either because while I love the execessive butter in these, I don't like anything that is messy. All the food coloring, all the putting dough in the cookie press and cleaning it out. I just don't like that part. But these could be a possibility for tonight as well. Good thing I have 16 pounds of butter in the freezer!
We have made a couple of new cookie recipes this year: Chocolate Crackles, which is a testament to my love and devotion and self sacrificing nature because I hate chocolate and I ate 1/3 of a cookie. But Garrett and Parker really wanted them. Garrett calls them by their politically correct name; "Michael Jackson Cookies."
We also made a batch of Oatmeal Candy Cane Cookies which are excellent for breakfast with an ice cold Coke.

Holy Cow! We've made (and eaten) a lot of cookies and here it is the Sunday before Christmas with nary a cookie in the house! That stinks because without cookies, what do you eat for breakfast?

Special thanks to Margaret for letting me (well she didn't exactly let me cuz I never asked) steal her spritz cookie from her blog.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Not Quite a Retraction/Christmas Party Review

Melissa (in my ward and the person in charge of the program for the Ward Christmas Party) would like a retraction. While I cannot retract my previous comments because we all know that 9 out of 10 parties are like what I described, I can tell you my faithful readers (all two of you) what DID happen at the party. Melissa was very busy making sure the program came off without a hitch so she didn't see me. But I was there. And always one to go above beyond because I rely heavily on "works" for my eternal salvation, I brought not ONE pan of enchiladas but TWO. We arrived at 6:35 and the party was totally organized and dinner was READY to go. Unlike most ward parties 1) It started on time and 2) was totally organized. We do have a great activities committee in our ward. I liked how they had a table to the side, where you could go and make a Christmas card for a friend or neighbor. It was set up before, during and after the dinner so if you weren't visiting or whatever, you could just go over there and make a card. I loved that the program was short, spiritual and all the performers were really good. Nothing lame about the talent. The member of the bishopric did "invite" parents to keep their children with them and be respect the reverent nature of the program. MOST people did that. The parents who we were sitting with, had their 2 1/2 -3 year old sit on their laps. However, a lot of people didn't hear that comment (I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt) or ignored it. I was toward the middle of the cultural hall and should have sat up front.....it was way quieter up there. But in the middle, children ran between the tables toward the back and then back to the middle. One group of children crawled around all of the tables and the poor little girl at our table was crying "I want to crawl. I want to crawl." But her parents wouldn't let her down. Melissa also mentioned that she would have preferred an adults only party but the powers that be wanted a family party. Of course, there is no activities committee on earth that wouldn't prefer an adults only party. But that is why Bishops are in charge, because they are about 1000 times more Christlike than the rest of us and see the big picture and know that Christmas parties aren't about food, adults, etc..........they are about fellowship, missionary work and helping children feel the Spirit. Just one of the many reasons I will never be bishop. So no retraction, because the party I described is more of the norm. But KUDOS to Melissa and the activities committee for a well-planned and executed party. KUDOS to the activities committee chairperson who did announce at the begining of the party, "Parents, please keep your children with you. Please keep your children from running in the halls." KUDOS to the couple who sat with us for not letting their little girl run around. That was hard. KUDOS to the bishop for following inspiration.

Friday, December 19, 2008

You Better Be Good!

I know what hell looks like!

And having seen it, I am very motivated to clean up my act and start obeying as many commandments as possible. And I'll give you a glimpse. If you aren't good, you are going to the kingdom of ETERNAL WARD FAMILY CHRISTMAS PARTIES!

You will be damned to a giant cultural hall with warm lime/pineapple jello and cold green beans......unrecognizable dishes from strangers who have cats that walk on the counter........... rows and rows of scarred church tables covered with wet paper tables cloths and tipped over water glasses.........with parents cheerfully chatting and children all hopped up on the promise of Santa, taking off their shoes and running and sliding on the slippery floor........with a skinny Santa and mass chaos!

Can you be afraid of ward parties? I'm not afraid of ward parties pre se. I'm only afraid of Ward FAMILY Christmas Parties. I hate ward Christmas parties that include children. I know, I know. I'm evil. Christmas is about children and Jesus and giving and children and charity and children. I just don't like them - the parties with children.

Have you been to a Ward FAMILY Christmas Party? Maybe it's just my experience. But here is what I see -

Okay, okay, I'm taking a deep breath. I'll list my fears.....get em out there and then move on.

*Christmas sweaters
*Silverware out of the drawer from THAT kitchen - all church kitchens are filthy *Unknown foods glopped in bowls
*People tasting food at the serving table
*Children putting their fingers in the jello
*Sugar water punch
*Children going through the buffet line unaccompanied and taking ALL the olives and six desserts
*Oblivious adults - Wife: "Honey, will you watch the kids?" Husband: "We have kids?" Wife: "Seriously sweetie, could you serve them their dinner? I haven't gotten out of the house since Wednesday night enrichment and girls night out last night so can you watch them for a minute?" Husband: "Oh yeah. Sure. I'll be right back." She talks to her friends that she just got off the phone talking to 10 minutes before they came to the party and he is standing in a cluster with his friends planning one last basketball game for 10 pm on December 24th. There is mayhem in the cultural hall as children throw dinner rolls, crawl under tables with slices of ham, lick the frosting off their cake and then leave the plate in the middle of the floor..........I'm hyperventilating again.

I can't do it!
I'm making enchiladas so I have to go.
I think I can do it.

But I'm turning over a new leaf. I'm setting goals. I'm going to be more Christlike so I don't go to eternal ward party hell. And the first Christlike quality I will strive to develop is...................CHARITY!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

High Ho, High Ho, It's Off to Work He Goes

That's right! Garrett is gainfully employed! He is working for a retailer who shall not be named. But their clothes look like this: Exactly!
Are they advertising clothes here? Hmmm.....
Let me just say this. The boys clothes are great - modest (my number 1), stylish, comfortable, okay quality. By modest....how immodest can boys be? Well in the pic above, the guy is immodest, but if he buttoned up his shirt and tucked it in and pulled up his pants, he'd be fine. So the clothes aren't immodest. It's the idiots who wear them.

Now, if I had a girl, I don't know that I would step foot in this store. The girls' clothes are mostly immodest because the skirts are more like sashes - 3" in length. Most "shirts" aren't really shirts, they are camis with lace made out of tissue weight cloth. And the shirts with sleeves come in "Small", Cling to your body", and "You don't have to guess what's under here" sizes. But we can discuss this all day long.
Let's get to the meat of this post:
Garrett is employed! And for this, we are grateful.
He went to orientation the first day and this is what he was oriented on:
Timeclock Operation,
and Store Layout.
He came home and shared his newfound knowledge. Obvious questions arose.

Brian, "So did they train you on how to use the register?"
Garrett, "You know, I wondered about that. I asked and they said they would train me as we go."
What? They wait until you are ringing up your first customer and then they show you which buttons to push? So your first transaction is "credit" and they walk you through it; apologizing to the customer the whole time because you are new? Then the manager walks away and lets you handle the next customer because you obviously now know how to run a credit card transaction. What do you know? Your next customer wants to pay with cash. So do you say, "Hold on. I don't know how to take cash. Let me get the manager?" And then the training process begins?
I decide to go light. I'll ask something he can answer and something that everyone has to be trained on in this particular retail establishment.

Me: "So did you learn how to fold all the clothes?"

Garrett: "Yeah, I asked about that too. They are going to show me that as we go."

Me: "So what did you get trained on?????" This is a national company. I KNOW they have protocol. I know, I am soooo demanding and I ask ridiculous questions.
Garrett: "Well I learned what we can and can't wear to work. Like for shoes we can only wear flip flops or Chuck Taylors."
Me: "What? Flip flops? They WANT you to wear flip flops? It's below zero!"
Brian: "What kind of company WANTS their employees to trip around in flip flops? Isn't that a hazard?"
I think it is........it's asking for workman's comp. Those teenagers, wearing 20 layers of t-shirts, sweaters, hoodies and jeans, yelling "Dude!" to each other over the 3 million decible music, and stumbling through the poorly lit, cologne haze-filled store and WHAM........they break their toe stubbing it on a naked manaquin with a $40 sequinned camisole. I'm calling it right now. It's going to happen!
Anyway, I think my expectations are too high. He didn't need to be trained on the register or how to fold clothes or how to find product in the store or how the sizes run. This was painfully obvious when he handed me the list of all the employees. There was his name and position: Garrett Cox - model.
That's right, next time you go in the store, don't expect the people in there to DO anything. They aren't there to ring you up. They aren't there to find you a medium. They aren't there to tell you if that shirt comes in black. They are there to LOOK GOOD!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's 4 Degrees! Break Out Your Swimsuit!

We've been in the middle of a cold snap..........as in a record breaking (i'm not lying) below zero snap. It's been downright FAC*

When I went to seminary on Monday, the outside temperature was -13. It was way warmer in the car, like +10. So today, when I pulled in the parking lot at seminary, it was 0 and you sure could tell! It was downright balmy. I considered having class outside!

There are some pluses to the cold weather. Really!!!!!

PRO: You have just gained 900 square feet of refrigerator space.........the garage! It's so convenient to pull in from the grocery store and just walk empty handed into the house. When the kids ask, "Hey, where's the milk?" Just tell them to go get it out of the back of the car. Oh, but you might want to bring in the lettuce. Unless you want frozen salad.

CON: Did you know that lip gloss can freeze? I should probably get that emergency Coke out of the console too. That could be a problem!

PRO: Don't worry about the holiday pounds that you've been packing on. Everyone looks fat in their 13 layers. So have another cookie!

PRO: Does anyone know how many calories you burn shivering?

CON: Dont wait until the last minute to go to the bathroom. It could be a problem when you are digging through a coat and sweater and three shirts to find the button to your pants.

PRO: The immodest high school girls have no choice but to where more clothing.

CON: Their idea of more clothing is a turtleneck dress (yay!) that comes just below their bottom (boo!) and a pair of Uggs. Where are their mothers????

PRO: Your nose doesn't run.......it's frozen.

CON: The frozen Capri Suns you put in the kids' lunches at 5 am are still FROZEN at noon.

PRO: You have the streets and the stores to yourself. It's so cold, everyone stays home and complains how cold it is, while you have free run of the mall and grocery store.

CON: You have so many clothes on, you can't feel whether you've fastened your seat belt or not.

PRO: If you do get in a wreck and you forgot your seatbelt, no worries.......when you get launched through the windshield, you'll glide on all your layers over the ice like a harp seal. Keep your chin up!

So, my advice - stay inside and work on your Christmas cards with hot chocolate and cookies. I haven't started Christmas shopping and I don't really want you getting in my way!

*freezing ass cold

Friday, December 12, 2008

In a typical series of unfortunate events, I scorched my bedsheet.

I was ironing my sheets. (We'll not discuss WHY. That's a whole different post).

I have a special (as in clean) water bottle that I spritz the sheets with to make them easier to iron. The little misting button on the iron does not do it for me.

I set up the ironing board.

I plugged in the iron.

I went to the closet to get the water bottle ................. and it wasn't there.

Now this is not altogether shocking.

It's been missing before....like the time the boys got it down to squirt the babysitter. But they are older now, they don't need a little old squirt bottle to spray each other with.

The water bottle was no where to be found.

I looked and looked and looked.

Oh, whadda ya know! It was next to the hot tub.

Of course! That makes TOTAL sense


Yes, we had a mini snow storm that dumped six inches of fresh powder.
The boys were in the hot tub and thought, "What could be cooler than fresh powder sno-cones? And we barely have to get out of the hot tub to enjoy them!"

That's right, just lie back in the hot tub, squirt some snow next to the hot tub with syrup and then ................I don't know???? Lap it up? Pick it up with your hands???

I didn't ask.

Call me crazy, but I decided against trying to empty the water bottle and clean out the BLUE sno-cone SYRUP.

I got the container that came with the iron, filled it with water to fill the resorvoir, and set the container on the ironing board.

In one false move, I knocked the full container of water over onto the wool, oriental rug (don't ask). Set the iron DOWN, yeah face down. (Why?) and ran to get a towel. I'm a fast runner. Just seconds later I realized my error............I should have never had kids!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Spreadin' the Love

I received this lovely little blog award. I love blog awards!!! I love awards. Wait. Maybe I shouldn't say that YET.
There are two rules that come with receiving this award: 1) You must blog about SEVEN things you like and 2) and you must spread the love by passing the award on.
SO - SEVEN THINGS I LOVE: Who wants to write about seven things you like?
ONE: BUTTER! I love Butter. I hoard butter. I start to panic if there are less than 10 pounds of butter in my freezer at any given time. Bread and rolls and crackers are merely vehicles to get butter to my mouth. I have never purchased margarine. Butter is the BEST!
TWO: BOOKS! I love to read! My idea of a fantasy vacation or how to spend a free day would be to sit on the beach and read, or sit in my room and read or just read anywhere. I always read before I go to bed to unwind. I love to read fiction, especially historical or period fiction. I don't read any "pulp" fiction, well except for something like John Grisham. Oh, and I haven't read Twilight.
THREE: TEENAGERS! I love teenagers, even naughty ones! Teenagers ROCK!
They entertain me. I do have hope for the future...kind of.
FOUR: SNOW! Really! I mean, why would I live in Colorado if I didn't like snow. I like it when it starts in the late Fall and I like it when it ends in the Spring. I like driving in it. My favorite part is be awakened by silence in the middle of the night and you can just hear it snowing. It is soooooo quiet, that without looking out the window, you can tell that because all the usual sounds are muted, the ground is covered in snow. I like blizzards and snow days the best!
FIVE: COOKIESANDCOKE! Yeah that is one word. You can't have cookies without the ice cold Coke. I have been know to travel to foreign countries and go to every bakery in a town and buy five or six cookies at every one. Then I stick them all in my purse, go back to the hotel, sit on the bed, crack open a coke, eat two or three and throw all the rest away and start over the next day. Typically, my breakfast consists of cookiesandcoke with a side of bacon.
SIX: THE SUPER FLUFFY! We call our bed the SuperFluffy. For the first 22 years of marriage, (but who's counting?) we had a queen size bed. We called it The Fluffy because it had a down bed on it and a down comforter and a plethora of down pillows. It was heaven. We moved it to the guest room and upgraded to a king size bed, but we made it just as fluffy, if not more. If you come visit me, I'll invite you to climb on up and hang out on the SuperFluffy. There's only way thing better than hanging out on the SuperFluffy and that is reading a good book and having cookiesandcoke in the SuperFluffy.
SEVEN: BLOGGING! This is an outlet for all the silly, ridiculous, crazy things that happen in life. Ands it's a great excuse for not folding laundry or finishing the Christmas decorating!
So join with me in celebrating blogging and blogging awards as I pass the award to Tricia athttp://www.swiftstuff.blogspot.com/ and Melissa at http://howellherald.blogspot.com/. You go girls! Spread the love!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Traditions 1 - Trimming the Tree: True Confessions

I thought it would be fun to record some of our FAMILY traditions for posterity. We have a lot of traditions associated with CHRISTMAS, so it's a good place to start.

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, or maybe the Saturday after that, Brian and the boys drag the tree up from the basement and set it up. That about sums up their involvement...........not that they don't want to be involved, but.....

On Sunday, I will "light" the tree. The tree is 12 feet tall and putting on the lights is a chore. It doesn't contribute to the holiday spirit one iota. It mostly takes away from the holiday spirit and the spirit of the Sabbath. Here's how it goes.........

I test each strand of lights individually. I plug a strand in. I see it works. I wrangle it up the ladder and wrestle it around the top of the tree by putting one foot on the step that says, "This is NOT a step" and the other on the "really this is not a step" 1" piece of metal on the other side of the ladder. I pull the tree toward me and it's a delicate dance as I convince the tree to submit to having lights strung and convince myself that if I fall, I will be "saved" by the tree.

I'm not so worried about bodily injury. It's what lighting the tree does to my soul that is so dangerous! On this one night, I risk my entire eternal salvation.

As soon as one strand is up, I test them AGAIN before plugging a second pretested strand in. And you can pretty well predict what happens. Yeah, the lights that lit up brightly while on the ground refuse to shine up in the tree.

This is when the Christmas spirit goes out the window. This is when I begin to speak in tongues. This is when the children scatter and I feel a little like the dad in Christmas Story.

There are some words I refuse to use, but there are others that flow freely.

"Gosh darnit!" I stomp back up the ladder and start to pull the strand out. "This blankety blank piece of blank tree." I yank. I'm no longer delicate with the lights or the tree and the top third of the tree spins and teeters. I launch into my mini temper tantrum atop of the ladder "I hate this blankety blank tree and these stupid blank blank lights. This always happens. These piece of crap lights are stupid. The Chinese are out to get us." The tirade goes on.

At this point, Trammell, the mature one, comes back in, "Mom, would you like some help?"

"NO! I hate this blankety blank blank tree. This is what I hate about Christmas!"

"Mom, really, let me help. You don't need to swear. It's not that big of a deal."

Oh yeah it is! The kids disappear to locales unknown. I tromp up and down the ladder with lights muttering under my breath. Somehow the lights go up. The tree stands in all it's glory, covered in 1,000 twinkling white lights.

I make the final ascent armed with the star and the barbecue tongs. One last time, I pull the top of the tree toward me and gingerly settle the star on top. The letting the tree spring back into place, I bat at the star with the barbeque tongs until it is almost straight or as straight as it's going to get.

Climbing down the ladder, I look at the tree and even undecorated, it is a sight to behold. It really is pretty and it's almost worth the effort.

That's it for the night. We go to bed. We don't decorate it until the next day. That gives me time to repent and to regain the Christmas spirit. It gives the the kids time to work through the whole "lighting ceremony" with their therapists. We reconvene on Monday to put up the ornaments.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Gotta Love Boys!

Hmmm.......so I went to wake Parker up and I found THIS in the middle of the hallway outside of his room.

Yeah, my curiosity was a litle piqued. I mean, when I handed it to him right before he was going sledding on Friday, it wasn't....................BURNED!

I have a really good imagination! It's not hard for me to picture him burning the hat outside with a magnifying glass or a pop bottle rocket or hey - an old fashioned match. But this tops that!

So I wake Parker up (always best to catch them off guard).

"What happened to this hat?"
"That hat?"
"Yeah - what happened to the hat?"

"Oh.......that.........well I gave it to Dawson to wear and he didn't want to wear it. So I tried to throw it back up the stairs to my room, but it got caught on the light."

"The light?"
"Yeah - the light."
"What light?"
"The light out there."
"Out there.......outside my room."

I look out of his room and down the hall. I'm lost.

"What light?"
"Look left."

I look right and look over the banister into the family room.

"No left Mom. The light coming up the stairs."
"The light coming up the stairs?"

This little light?
"It could have started a housefire!"
Hmmm.......what else was there to say?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

You NEVER knew you NEEDED to KNOW this

The Grammy Nominations were announced today. I don't watch TV, so I don't care about Emmys. I don't go to that many movies, so I don't care about Oscars. But I DO listen to music. I have very discerning taste too!
So here's more than you ever wanted to know.

Kanye West received 6 nominations.

Lil Wayne received 8 nominations.

Now if we were voting on HOTNESS, Kanye would win hands down!!!!

Kanye is good. He has contributed a lot to the music scene. However, he
recently told US Magazine (and who doesn't pay attention to them?) that he was "the music of this generation." He then proceeded to say that Justin Timberlake was a close 2nd but he hadn't come out with anything in two years. Seriously???? Hey over yourself! Kanye, you're good but you're NOT THAT GOOD! Also, Kanye is a sore loser. He throws tantrums at nearly every awards show. Get some class Kanye. (Look at Lil Wayne...he has class! ;) Yuk!)

Now Kanye HAS gotten ripped off in the past, but hey, look at Susan Lucci. Did she throw a tantrum when she DIDN'T get an Emmy for 20 of the 21 times she was nominated. So take a page from her book.

Now, my analysis of Lil Wayne. I love him. The guy is a straight up thug. He's disgusting to look at. Oh, and he doesn't even have a good voice. I have to hand it to him (or his agent) though. He has more songs or songs featuring him playing on the radion than Ne-Yo, TI, Kanye and Luda combined. Really! He derves credit for getting EVERY artist to let him sing a verse or a line in their song. And if I were voting, which I don't know if I am, cuz they haven't contacted me yet, but if I were voting, I would give him record/album/CD whatever of the year.

You know who I wouldn't give it to? MIA for Paper Planes. They really stink. They can't sing! And they have ONE OVERPLAYED SONG! Okay so the song plays in Iraq and France and Mexico and China...........but this isn't about them. So give them the Best Global Song Award. Not Album of the Year.

You didn't know that I was so musically inclined did you?

Oh and if you are reading this and you are over 23 and you have NO IDEA what I am talking about, listen to my new playlist!!!! You'll see!!!!

Why My House Isn't Decorated/ADD & Christmas/I Forgot What I'm Posting About

My friend Margaret called and asked, "What are you doing?"

Me: "I'm walking between the dryer, my computer and the Christmas tree."

She started choking on laughter, so I thought I better provide more detail -

"Now that the tree is up and is lit, beaded, berried and bowed...........Wow! that's a lot of B's, and it's ready for ornaments, I thought I might pull out the garland for the stairs but I hate how fake needles get all over."

Wait! What did I just say? I don't think that made it any more clear!
I am afflicted with December onset ADD!
There's so much to do - all the regular Seminary, family, household stuff combined with baking, decorating, presenting (that includes, thinking about, shopping, returning, hiding, wrapping, mailing, delivering), and celebrating.

Until yesterday, I didn't realize that the advent calendars weren't out. Perhaps we should simplify and not do the felt one, the individual chocolate ones and since the kids are teenagers, we can probably forgo the Lego one and the Playmobil one. And you know what, while we are skipping things, let's skip Christmas cards (oh, we already do).

I guess what I was trying to tell Margaret is that when Christmas induced ADD sets in, I float between all the tasks, never really completing any one in particular. There is so much to do! You can't do everything! Something has to give.

But what came out was "I'm standing on top of a ladder in front of the Christmas tree in my short skirt, hose and heels with a stack of laundry.........let's go to lunch."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Man of God

He wasn't my grandfather or any relation. I didn't know him personally. But it's always sad when a man of God dies..........like a star burning out or losing a prized possession.

So even though I never once spoke to him, he spoke to me and I learned from him. It is kind of ironic that our Priesthood/Relief Society lesson was on his talk from October Conference - "Come What May; And Love it" . The talk was on adversity. You can't help but ask what adversity Elder Wirthlin had seen in life? And how did he handle it? Not only did he speak with the Spirit, but he spoke from personal experience and with empathy. I think that one of the times he showed grace under adversity was April Conference 2008. He could barely stand, he could barely talk and he had to actually have help to remain at the pulpit, but he soldiered on and delivered his talk with grace and dignity.

His talk is inspiring and uplifting and makes me want to be a better person. But there are other lessons to be learned from Elder Wirthlin as well. He was humble. He was meek. But he was strong...strong in the Gospel...strong in lifting his voice and sharing his testimony. I hope I can have those qualities when I grow up.