Sweet Stomach Ache!!

We have sooo much junk food!  I guess it is the time of year, but holy cow!  In the last 24 hours I have used about 5 1/2 pounds of butter!  We have Swedish tea rings, Turtles, Caramel, two different kinds of short bread, cut out cookies, and the left over candy from the graham cracker houses.  In addition to what I have made, we have rosettes, peanut butter cookies, and pumpkin rolls from our neighbors.  It is all sooooo good!  But I tell ya, I go to bed almost every night with a sweets stomach ache.  I really wonder how the kids do it sometimes.  Even with our “Eat healthy first rule”, they still eat more of the sweets than I do.  How do they keep their stomachs from exploding?  Garion’s answer was the best. “Mom, remember, we have different stomachs for different kinds of food.  A vegetable stomach, a meat stomach, a drink stomach and a dessert stomach (which is the biggest I bet!).”  I just had to laugh.  Well, here is “Cheers” to our dessert stomach and the holidays that keep it filled to the max!

Annual Graham Cracker House Night

Yesterday we were suppose to go ice skating with Jason’s family, but unfortuantely, Heather and Allison were up most of Friday night throwing up.  Needless to say, the ice skating trip was cancelled.  It worked out pretty good for us though.  The ice skating is rescheduled for Monday afternoon and we had a night to make graham cracker houses.  We spent the afternoon going from store to store to find the right candy.  Jason in particular wanted a specific kind of hard to find candy that took us to 4 different stores.  But at the end of the day, we had everything under the sun that we could possibly want to put on a graham cracker house.  On the way home we stopped at Marley’s, the restaurant in the Harley Davidson store to get some sliders for dinner.  We also ordered a Black Cherry Vanilla custard that they forgot to give us, but of course we were all the way in Lehi before we realized we didn’t get it.  Bummer.  Anyway, after we got home, I made the frosting while Jason helped the kids cut the graham crackers to the right sizes and then we spent the next couple hours gluing, frosting and covering our houses with candy.  Kayla and Garion both had the goal to not only use every single kind of candy we had, but to cover the entire house and the 10 inch paper plate the house was sitting on.  We had a great time!  Amazingly enough, there were no fights, arguments, tears or tantrums the whole time!  The houses turned out really cute too!  The only problem now is how to keep the kids from devouring them all at one time!  But then again, it is Christmas, why not!!  🙂

Meeting Santa

I want to relate a quick story about the ward Christmas party.   I forgot to mention it before.  I have discovered that Grace, Kayla’s friend is out to sabotage Kayla’s Christmas! 🙂  Just Kidding.  But it was so funny!  The ward Christmas party was a breakfast in the morning.  We ate yummy food, then they had a really cute program and then, of course, Santa came.  They didn’t have the kids all line up to sit on his lap like they have done in years past.  Instead, they gathered all the kids into a circle around Santa’s feet and Santa talked to them about all the symbolism of Christmas.  He had a “goody” bag with an example of each thing in it.  Like a star, a wreath, a candy cane, etc.  It was really great.  Kayla, Grace and Garion ended up on the floor right at Santa’s feet.  Kayla was touching his boots.  She sat in rapture awe of Santa the whole time!  I wish I had my camera to take her picture with her head back and mouth open and smiling at the same time as she stared at him!  Anyway, just after he sat down, it got really quiet as everyone waited for him to begin.  Just as it got quiet, Grace says to him “Santa!  Kayla has been mean to me!!”  Santa was very surprised by this declaration.  He was quite speechless actually. 🙂  He mumbled something I didn’t quite hear because I was laughing so hard and then went on with the program.  The funny thing was that Kayla had been really nice to Grace that day.  When they play, they argue on and off, but nothing unusual.  The only thing I can figure is that Grace must think that if she rats Kayla out, she will get more gifts!  The best part of the whole thing was that Kayla didn’t do anything more then smile shyly at him and look down for a second.  She looked so guilty!  Hopefully Santa will know she has been nice and not naughty and put more in her stocking than coal!

The True Meaning of Christmas

Well, the Christmas season is upon us in force!  I love this time of year.  Especially this year, with the good weather.  If you ask Jason he would say the weather stinks.  We should be covered in snow with unbearably cold temperatures.  But being from California, I love the more mild weather.  I know the snow would be good for us as far as the drought goes, but I would be lying if I didn’t say how much I LOVE the nice weather.  It is December and I can still walk outside during the day with bare feet and a t-shirt on!

I feel like Christmas is different for me in more ways than the weather this year.  As the kids grow and their understanding about the world changes, Christmas is changing.  I  should preface this next paragraph by saying that I love to shop.  It is very easy for me to get caught up in the whole materialism and “things” part of the season.  There are really great sales that make it sooo easy to buy things and spend lots of money!  I love to think about the looks on peoples faces when I give them the perfect gift.  I have long since realized that you don’t have to spend a lot of money on someone to give them the perfect gift, but at Christmas, there are just so many people to buy for that before I know it, I have a closet FULL of stuff and an empty bank account.  I am very lucky to have a frugal and grounded husband who keeps me on track and out of debt.  Before we started any of our Christmas shopping this year, we decided to set a budget for each child, since this is the area that I have the hardest time with.  I love to spoil my kids! 🙂  A dollar amount that is significantly smaller than in previous years.  I have been bound and determined to stay within my budget.  I feel very strongly, more so this year than in the past, that we need to be more concerned with the true spirit of the season than the things we get.  There are so many people in need and we have the means to really help others.  But also, I am feeling so strongly, almost anxious, that my kids need to learn that Christmas is about Christ and not about gifts.  It is hard to teach that lesson that when they get so much stuff!  My Mom, bless her heart, does the 12 Days of Christmas for my kids each year.  It is wonderful!  But that means that the 12 days before we even get to Christmas, they are opening a gift.  Then a gift Christmas Eve, which is our tradition.  And then of course Christmas morning there is the gift frenzy with all the rest of the gifts under the tree.  We are soo blessed!  We get so much stuff!  But I want my children to realize that our most important blessings come from Heavenly Father in ways that we can’t unwrap on Christmas morning.  Anyway, even though I have tried very hard to stay in my budget for each kid, we have exceeded it.  Doubled it in fact.  I am disappointed in myself.  I can return several things and get smaller versions…but that won’t decrease the amount of things they are getting.  I can just return a few things and not buy anything to replace it.  I don’t think I can express how difficult it would be for me to return the things I have bought.  The kids will LOVE them so much!  So where does that leave me?

I have really been trying to pray and do some soul searching.  I think it leaves me still focusing on the gift and “things” aspect of the season.  I am talking with Jason about what we can do to get back on track monetarily, but I am still left with how to teach my kids the true meaning of the season.  I need to change my whole perspective.  Stop focusing on the gifts myself.  Just giving my kids less isn’t going to teach them how to serve those in need or how to appreciate what they have been given.  The only way to do that is to set the example and really serve those around us.  And to involve the kids in that service.  That is really hard sometimes because they can’t keep a secret and they have no tact in their speech about other people appearance and situations.  They just call it how they see it and in not so quiet voices.  Also, it takes time to teach and lead and show them how and what to do.  It takes patience.  But, therein is the true meaning of Christmas.  Teaching, serving, loving and giving time.  I have started with baby steps in bringing this stronger spirit of Christmas into out home.  We read a scripture and Christmas story every night before bed and most nights we talk about what we have learned and how we can apply it to our own life.  Through our neighbors we have found a family with 8 kids that may not be having a Christmas this year because of some really terrible circumstances.  We have talked with our kids about it and are going to do secret Santa for this family together with another family or two.  We are really increasing the amount of Christmas activities that we do.  I had the opportunity to go to The Forgotten Carols with a friend last week and it was FABULOUS!!  I am totally taking my whole family next year.  Last night Jason and I went to the First Presidency Christmas Devotional and it was excellent as well!  I love our first presidency!  They are so inspired!  I am trying to go to the temple more.  We are taking the kids to shop for the secret Santa family and then going to see the lights at temple square in a week.  Anyway, you don’t need to hear my whole schedule.  But my point is, that this season, I am trying to give the kids more experiences as their gifts than presents as their gifts.  It is hard because the really spiritual things have age limits of 8 years and up.  So, we are trying find spiritual things to do without the age limit.  I would LOVE to serve with Garion and Kayla (if she is old enough) in a soup kitchen.  If anyone has any other ideas on activities we can do as a family to teach the true meaning of Christmas either this year or in years to come, please let me know.  I would love some ideas!  My next goal, will be to carry the attitude and acts of service throughout the year, with the kids involved!

It is funny to me, because it seems like I am going to be learning more than my kids this year about giving and serving and loving.  But I guess that is how it goes.  The teacher almost always learns more than the student at first.  If Jason and I  have done our job and taught them well enough, then they will learn from our examples what is truly important and when the time comes for them to teach, their experiences will deepen their understandings and increase their testimonies of Christ.  “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” -Mosiah 2:17

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Daddy and BRynn playing Patty-Cake

Daddy and Brynn playing Patty-Cake

I love this holiday!  It gives us all cause to stop, reflect, acknowledge and then express gratitude for our blessings.  I have so many blessings in my life.  Too many to name here.  But a few of them are a wonderful, supportive, loving husband who is my best friend and soul mate.  3 beautiful children who are my light and joy.  An awesome mother who is my guiding light, my example and my other best friend!  I have a great family!  Even though most of us are separated by large distances, I know they are there for me and I hope that they all know I am there for them for anything!  I love them all dearly!  I am surrounded by friends on all sides.  I am so grateful for my girlfriends.  We laugh, cry, commiserate, and party together as mothers, women, wives and friends.  I have a roof over my head, food in my pantry, clothes on my back and good health.  I have the gospel of Jesus Christ, without which, I would be lost.  I am so grateful for my Savior!  I know He lives!  I know he knows me by name and he loves me!

Okay, it is not like me to be so publicly sentimental.  But there you go.  I am grateful for my life!

We usually wait until after Thanksgiving to put up our Christmas tree.  It seems like every year, these two holidays

Jason and Garion with the new tree.

Jason and Garion with the new tree.

get more and more mixed up. 😉  But we decided to buy a new, Pre-lit, tree this year instead of putting up the ratty 6 year old one we have stuffed up in the garage.  On Monday night we went to Cost Co and let the kids pick it out. It has been sitting in the entry way since.  There was no reason to put it away when we were just going to get it back out this weekend.  So, last night while I was cooking dinner, the kids were a little restless.  So we decided to put the tree up a little early.  The kids loved it!  They all helped and after it was up and the lights were on, all three of them ran around the tree, jumping and dancing and shouting!  Even Brynn kept pointing to the tree and yelling and laughing!  It was the cutest thing I have ever seen!  Not long after, we ate dinner and Kayla decided it would be a great idea to eat dinner by Christmas Tree light.  So she proceeded to go around the house and turn off every light she could find!  Soon it was really dark, except for the tree lights.  Not quite enough to eat by, so Jason got out one of our oil lamps and we put on some Christmas music in the background and soon we had a very nostalgic atmosphere.  Kayla loved that we could see the tree lights reflecting in all the windows.  And Garion said “If you make your eyes blurry on purpose, the lights on the tree look like a bunch of fireworks!”  All in all it was a VERY fun evening.  Kayla was pretty upset that we didn’t do the ornaments last night too, but since they are hiding in the garage and we need to find them, it wasn’t happening.  Now that the tree is up there is a sense of anticipation and excitement for the next month.

This Friday, tomorrow :), is Black Friday.  I love this day.  I know it is weird, but I love the crowds, the good deals and the opportunity to shop all day!  Thanks to my sister-in-law, Heather, and her super kind heart, we are able to go without the kids.  They are so excited to spend the night at their cousins house so Jason and I can get an early start tomorrow morning.  Brynn will be staying with us, but Jason is going to drop her off when he goes n the morning.  Since he will be leaving a little later than me.  I am hopefully going to be going about 4:30am with my friend Michelle.  Gotta beat the crowds!  I have a list of stores to go to and items to buy.  SO FUN!!

This last week has been a really fun one.  Last Thursday night, I went to the midnight release of Twilight.  As most

Twilight Group!

Twilight Group!

of you know, I am completely obsessed with this story.  The night was awesome!  There was a group of 15 of us in the end.  My friend Jana and her friend and I went to dinner at Applebees and waited there for the rest of the group to arrive.  They met us for dessert and it was a party from then on!  We made our way to the theater and it was a MADHOUSE!!  There were 20 screens in the theater we went to, and all 20 had sold out midnight showings.  We figured there were over 3000 people there.  Some even dressed up for a prom promotion they had going on.  (At least I am not THAT obsessed.:))  Anyway, the movie was FABULOUS!!  I loved it.  They followed the story line really well.  I was a little worried.  They had to change or cut out a few of the details to make it flow better on the big screen, but it didn’t take away from the story.  So it was good.  It was a little low budget, and you could tell in the special effects, but I still really liked it.  And now that they know they have made enough to make New Moon, we can look forward to better effects and such.  Can you believe they made 70 MILLION on midnight showings alone!  Crazy!

Friday night we went to Tyler’s birthday party.  Garion’s best friend.  They ate pizza and played Kung Fu Panda.  That is a great movie.  I love that the cartoon movies are geared toward adult humor as well as kids entertainment.  It makes watching them a really enjoyable experience for all involved. 🙂

Last Thursday Kayla and I both got injured. 🙂  It is worth mentioning because they were not just little injuries.  Kayla and her friend McKenna decided to play in McKenna’s basement even though it is off limits and under construction.  I am not sure what they were doing, but a piece of framing fell on Kayla’s foot.  It landed on the top of the foot right above the big toe.  There as a nice inch long cut and a pretty purple bruise to follow.  She was, understandable, so upset that she wouldn’t let Michelle near her.  So I had to make the trek across the back yard to get her.  For those of you who don’t know, we are back yard neighbors and we have a gate that connects us.  When I got there, I picked her up and started to walk home.  But I was wearing my red ballet slipper shoes and they have no traction.  So, as I was about to walk down the 3 stairs out of the back of Michelle’s house, I fell.  With Kayla in my arms.  Man, that hurt.  As I lifted my right foot to step off the stair, my left foot sipped off the edge of the landing I was standing on.  So both of my feet were in the air and I landed on my rear end on the edge of the landing and then bounced down a stair, hitting the edge of that stair too before I came to rest on the second stair down.  All this while I have Kayla in my arms so I can’t even try to break my fall with my hands.  She added a nice 35 pounds to the weight that hit the edge of the landing.  I had to sit there for a good 3-4 minutes before I could even breath.  Kayla was screaming “Don’t put me down!”  and I was trying not cry in front of my friend Michelle who saw everything.  I finally managed to get up and carry Kayla home, bandage her foot and then try to asses my own damage.  I had no idea that my body could turn the color of eggplant.  I have a nice bruise that is about 4 inches long and 2 inches wide and the color of egg plant.  I still can’t sit straight and I can’t run or walk fast or do anything will make the muscles back there move.  Ouch.

Well, that about sums up this last week.  My friend Krissy and her boys came over yesterday to play for the morning.  We had a great visit!  And today is Thansgiving.  We are going to Jeremy and Heathers house for dinner and games.  Tomorow I go shopping and Saturday we will hopefully sleep and recover. 🙂