Monday, December 29, 2008

New Year, New Calling

Someone must have tattled to the Bishop that I've been enjoying the last few months of NOT having a calling way too much. Honestly, I was burnt out in our old ward from my long-term calling of RS teacher and the lack of one in our new ward has been great. Does that make me a bad member? Hope not. But the nice respite is now over. Apparently someone felt the need to get me back on the calling bandwagon. This time however it's in the Primary Presidency (2nd Counselor) and I have to say that I'm actually looking forward to it. I haven't been involved in Primary in AGES - literally since teaching the 6 year olds the summer between my Freshman & Sophomore year at BYU. But I am excited for this new opportunity and it will be fun to be in there as Finn goes into Sunbeams (he may not like it as much as I). So here's to a New Year with a New Calling. HOORAY!

Friday, December 26, 2008

cold white stuff

I don't particularly love the snow. Maybe it's just that little part of California that still lives in my blood. But, I must say that after receiving over 1 foot of snow last night (yep folks, Ryan shoveled over a foot of snow this morning from our driveway and it took him 2 hours to do so), we thought it would be fun to take the kids sledding with some of Ryan's friends from high school. So we bundled up and went up the street (literally 1 street) from our house to Tanner Park and sled all the big & little hills that went into the bowl.  Berlin hated every minute of it and was grumpy until we put her in the car. Finley was a champ and sled a couple times with Ryan and a couple times on his own (only the little hills there), but once he got a face full of snow, he was done and warmed up in the car with Berlin while Ryan and I took turns sledding down on our own, getting what little air we could on the jump that had formed. For being a gal who hates the snow, I had so much fun - I even made a killer snow angel. It was a blast and I can't wait to take the kids again. It probably helped that the location was prime, super close to our house, and not crowded at all (until all our friends were there - then it was pure craziness!). Here are some pics of our day sledding.

Merry Christmas

We celebrated Christmas with Ryan's family at his sister's house on Christmas Eve. We had yummy German food and treats. Then the children put on their program (kind of like a Christmas talent show), and then we exchanged gifts. It was a very fun night with family (and a very late night with some cranky kiddos). Since we didn't get home until well after midnight, the kids were crashed so we tucked them into their beds and then prepared for Santa to arrive. Needless to say, none of us were up at the crack of dawn - thank heavens. I much prefer the sleeping in. My sister Val came over Christmas morning as well. The kids had a fun time opening their presents. If themes were to be had, Finn's was Star Wars and Berlin's was Disney Princess. They had so much fun opening the presents and making a mess. Here are some fun pics of our day. All I can say is that we all got a little spoiled by the big man in red this year.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

All things Gingerbread

With lots of snow these days I've had to come up with activities for the kids to do inside. Last night I pulled out the gingerbread house kit to keep them entertained. Finley had a lot of fun helping me make the frosting and then telling me what to do. He told me where to put the walls, the roof, the windows, the doors. They each got to decorate one side of the roof-top. Finley did great. He was very meticulous in placing the candy on the frosting. Berlin on the other hand just wanted to eat the candy. To top it off, Finley made sure that all the windows and doors had handles on them so that people could get in and out. The finishing touches though are the pet dinosaurs he put in the front yard and on the roof.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Thanksgiving Point Lights

For FHE tonight we went down to Thanksgiving Point to see the lights. We've never done those lights before and it was fun. Especially since you drive, not walk, thru the light feature. So we were able to stay in our nice and cozy car with Sufjan Stevens Christmas cd's playing.

Afterwards, we got out so the kids could see 2 of Santa's reindeer that stopped over at the Thanksgiving Point Water Tower for a visit on their way to the North Pole. They were super cute and Finley LOVED them. Berlin was a bit more cautious as usual.

Then we walked around the store there. Ok, can I say that the furniture and home decor in there is to DIE for, but way too expensive. Who pays $175 for a picture frame you could find at TJmaxx for $20? Not me! But the kids got to pick out a little treat for the ride home and they were happy. It was a fun night.

Some Winter Love

I took these pictures about 3 weeks ago during one of the first snow storms that rolled thru. But with the boutique craziness I never posted them and just realized it. I think these are so cute. Berlin didn't like the snow at all. She cried the whole time she was on the grass and stopped briefly when I placed her on the rock pathway. She kept sayin "Inside Mama, inside!" So Finley, who LOVES the snow walked over to her and gave her some hugs to help her feel better. It didn't work, but the gesture was so sweet and sincere. So he went back tromping around the back orchard while I took Berlin inside.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Tag

Was on my sister's blog and thought it was fun.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper & nice ribbon. I love wrapping presents. There’s nothing nicer than a prettily wrapped gift under the tree.

2. Real tree or Artificial? I LOVE real trees. They are the best. But after having a 9 month old (Finley) who got into the tree and tried to get to the water, I decided I was done with real trees & kids. The next year we got an artificial tree and honestly I LOVE our tree. I was very particular about it as it had to look just like the real trees we had in the past. We found one and it was worth every penny and looks real.

3. When do you put up your Christmas Tree? The Sunday right after Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take the tree down? Like February. Ok, not really, but I wish I could leave it up forever. It usually goes down in January - preferably the last day of the month.

5. Do you like eggnog? Only my mom’s eggnog; really, it’s more like a starbucks milk steamer. That thick stuff from the store makes me want to gag.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? The year I got my green-eyed, red-haired cabbage patch kid. I was the only one in my family to get one that year. It made me feel so special. I was like 6.

7. Hardest person to buy for? Ryan's dad, Peter was always the hardest person for us to buy for.

8. Easiest person to buy for? The kids. They are so happy to get anything. I’m super excited to see them open their presents. That is what Christmas is all about!

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, we have most of the Willow Tree nativity that’s been given to me piece by piece over the years. I am not really a collector of them though. Not my thing.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? The gift of nothing, aka the Christmas where I didn’t get anything on Christmas morning. I was 12 and when I woke up I didn’t get one present, just my stocking. I cried and when my mom asked what was wrong, I told her that I didn’t get any presents. Turns out that she had forgotten my bday which was a few days earlier and had given me my Christmas presents instead then and just forgot to replenish for Christmas. It was an honest mistake, but that was the worst Christmas ever.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? The old ones– Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, Year without a Santa Claus, Jack Frost, etc. Not a fan of the Miracle on 34th Street. Never got into that.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Like September, sometimes earlier. If I find it on sale, I get it. The only problem is that I forget I buy stuff so come wrapping time, I find myself guilty of overspending on the kids. Oh well. You are only a kid once right?

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? You betcha!

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? As a kid I loved the gumdrop tree that we did each year. You know, that plastic tree that you stick all the green, white & red gumdrops on the branches? I loved that as a kid. Stephens candy cane hot chocolate is the BEST drink after being outside, Turkey, Ham, or a new favorite (since marrying Ryan) - Rolladen (German dish of thinly sliced meat wrapped around a pickle & slice of bacon, cooked till it melts in your mouth - YUMMY!!!)

16. Lights on the tree? Yes - but not colored whites. I only allow white lights on the tree.

17. Favorite Christmas song? All of Sufjan Steven Christmas set. It has played year round in my car for the past 2 years (yeah, we are lazy and need to change our cds). But they still sound special this time a year. It’s great. But I love Christmas songs sung by the Jazz Greats. Most of my cd’s are in that vein.

18. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? I always seem to forget one. But really, it's all about Rudolph right?

19. How do you countdown the days until Christmas? We have an Advent calendar that we forget about and play catch-up about every 4 days.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? We have neither on our tree and probably never will. I like it without.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? We exchange presents with Ryan’s family on Christmas Eve, but Christmas morning is when we open Santa and our immediate family gifts. Its OUR day to just chill and wear our PJ’s all day long. I love it!

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Being that we have snow, the annoying people who drive their SUV’s at top speed thinking they don’t have to slow down. Ticks me off.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? Our tree is a hodgepodge of all the hallmark ornaments Ryan got as a kid, his mother‘s german ornaments, ornaments I bought during the college years, and ornaments we‘ve collected as a family. In a strange way, it all works really well.

24. Favorite food for Christmas dinner? Grandma Ila’s rolls.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? For Finley to be potty-trained & an elliptical trainer

26. Christmas or X-mas? Christmas

27. Have you ever been smooched under the mistletoe? Yep, once.

28. Icicles or ribbon on the tree? Ribbon - hand-tied bows in really nice fabric

29. Favorite holiday memories? My favorite memory of Christmas was the year I found my mother’s lost wedding ring. My dad was reading from the scriptures and I noticed something sparkly in the corner of the room in the carpet and stopped paying attention to him. I got yelled at, but when the reading was done I went to investigate the sparkly item and it was my mom’s ring. I remember her crying when I took it to her.

30. Real or Fake snow? even though I hate driving in snow - I love the way real snow makes Christmas seem more real. And we have LOTS of it right now J

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tree Lighting Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Tree Lighting Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Too cute! and if you want one for yourself (in adult sizes) you can find one at the Shabby Apple or if you have a Downeast Clothing/Home store nearby, they have one that is very similar & SUPER affordable ($40). How do I know? I bought the black one as an early Bday present to myself. They are really cute and flattering on the post babybody!

Grosgrain - Dinner Party Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Dinner Party Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

So cute. I am totally going to try making one of these myself! I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

Also, if you haven't looked, her entire store is onsale - everything is $14.95!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

St. Nicholas

It's tradition in German households to receive a visit from Saint Nicholas on the night of Dec. 5th. All the kids leave shoes out by their door. If they've been good then St. Nicholas leaves candy in their shoes, if they've been naughty, his little helpers leave a swatch in the shoes so they can get a spanking. Of course, St. Nicholas visited our house and when the kids woke up the next morning, much to MY amazement they had candy and a little toy in their shoes. Who knew? Based on the preceeding days I would have thought the swatch more appropriate, but St. Nicholas must be more forgiving than I. The kids loved it and I was woken up that morning by Finley tapping me on my shoulder exclaiming, "LOOK!" and holding his little Star Wars toy surprise in my face. I love how excited the kids get with little things like this. Berlin got her own Princess block set (Cinderella). St. Nicholas must have known how much she liked to try and play with Finley's builder sets.
After playing we went to the annual German Choir Weinachmarkt for some Weiners & Kraut and some German goodies. The kids even got to meet St. Nicholas and got another treat from him. A huge thanks to St. Nicholas for all the fun goodies.

the Zoo Lights - our newest Winter tradition

For FHE last week we went to the ZOO lights display at the Hogle Zoo. This was a first year and all I can say is that it won't be our last. We loved it - even in the freezing cold. The light displays were animated and just so darn fun. They had a bear getting sprayed by a skunk, a bear climbing a tree (one of our faves), a kid hopping out of his mamma kangaroo's pouch, and more. Finley's favorite part of the night was the soft pretzel we ate up in the cat exhibit. His least favorite light was the big tiger face that you had to walk under to get to the cat area. Berlin had the best seat in the house- and the warmest. We had her so bundled she couldn't even move. She wasn't so happy about it after an hour or so. It wasn't that crowded which made it even better. Next week, we'll brave the crowds downtown to see the lights at Temple Square!