Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Another First!

Kyara has received not only her first college acceptance letter, but her first scholarship offer as well! Yay! Congratulations, Kyara!

Zach and Rachelle will be happy to know that the offer was from Northern Arizona University. It's a couple of hours away from where they live, I think. It's a good school -- it's small, with smaller class sizes. It's not a big party school like ASU. It has a really good journalism department, which is what Kyara wants to get into. She has an amazing talent for writing and wants to develop it more and follow a career that capitalizes on her talents.

She has applied to a few more colleges, and she's still trying to get her transcripts into BYU before their deadline. So, she's going to be inundated with options! It's fun and exciting, and it will be interesting to see where she ends up! It's nice to have the world at your feet, isn't it?

You're making us proud, Kyara Danyelle!

The Tree

Ok, remember how we used to go out hunting for the perfect tree? Dad would drive around to ten different tree lots. We'd look over all the trees, shake a couple out, check it from every angle. If we didn't get a unanimous decision, we went on to the next lot. Every year, we found just the right tree for us! And then there were carols in the car and hot chocolate when we got home.

Well, it was just like that for us this year! Except, instead of ten different lots, we just went to Home Depot. The kids were all for the first tree we picked up, even though it was completely squashed in the back. The second tree looked better, and I had to call everyone back together for a perfunctory, "Yeah, it's ok" before one child asked, "Can we go play now?" Then, as we were paying for the tree, I hear a loud crash and a scream, and I think, "Oh, I'm glad that's not my children!" I glance over and discover, oops, those are my children -- and they're the ones who are old enough to know better.

I order them all to go wait in the car. On the ride home, I threaten to buy a fake tree next year. I turn the Christmas music up loudly to drown out the whining.

Yep! Just like the Christmases I knew so well!

Click to play The Tree
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Saturday, December 20, 2008


Click to play Cookies!
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This is one of my favorite family traditions. Each year, I make a bazillion cookies (26 dozen this year, plus a few dozen for ourselves!). We then deliver to everyone on our street, plus a few friends from the ward. Of course, we wear our antlers and carol as we deliver. Actually, the caroling has devolved into just one verse of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." Our neighbors love it and look forward to it. In fact, we usually do this the first week-end in December, but it got pushed back a week. Some of the neighbors were getting a little nervous! Afraid we weren't going to do it this year! They were happy and relieved when our family showed up!

Unfortunately, all that cooking wiped me out this year, so I didn't get very good pictures. Nothing like Lauri's fabulous cookie exchange! She really raised the bar, didn't she? Anneli, bless her heart, was my biggest helper. She stuck with it through to the end. I also missed the best part -- the deliveries!

I decided I'm going to have to do more delegating if I'm going to survive this next year. I'll do my chocolate caramels and prepare the sugar cookie dough, but I'll have to let the teenagers be in charge of the specialty cookies and getting everyone to pinch in for the sugar cookies.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

20 Years of Happily Ever After

On December 10th, Rom and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary! So how did we celebrate? That cruise we've wanted to go on? A trip to Hawaii? Come on, it had to be spectacular for the 20th, right? Well -- I worked at the store so Rom could have a day off and buy me See's. Then, he picked me up an hour early and we went to Chili's for dinner. We finished with their fabulous chocolate molten cake for dessert. Yum! Truly an exotic anniversary!

To be fair, we're also taking off for a few days after Christmas while the kiddies are out of school. We haven't decided what to do yet, but we're going to get away together and remember how much fun we have!

Here's to the next 20, honey!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Best Christmas Party Ever!

Our ward Christmas party was the best I'd ever been to. First, Santa had already come the week before to his own special activity, so there were no Santa distractions. Second, it was held early on a Tuesday night, so it didn't tie up my entire week-end. Third, the food was delicious! Fourth, it was so simple! The decorations were tasteful and elegant but not overboard. The entertainment was so nice -- we had the choral group from Hemet High School perform a capella, which was beautiful. Then, we had the best nativity ever! The curtains opened to a simple scene of the children already posed on stage. No coming and going and goofing off to distract anyone. Bro. Huff then read the Christmas story from the Bible. The children sang a couple of songs, and that was it! It was very moving, I thought. We had excellent attendance -- I think someone estimated it at over 120 people. There was a moment when I looked out over the sea of faces and realized how many of these people were special to me. I know I've said it before, but it's worth mentioning again -- this is the first time I've ever felt a part of a ward "family."

Click to play True Meaning of Christma
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Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Parade

Last week-end, we went to Hemet's Christmas parade for the first time ever. We sat right in front of our new store -- perfect seats! Rom was even able to join us, since no one could access the store while the parade was going on. It was fun, but way too long! We left a little early -- we could see Santa from the rear window of our van as we were pulling out of the parking lot. Here are some of the highlights.

Click to play Christmas Parade
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For Kyara

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Nine Words Women Use

If you're wondering how Rom has survived 20 years being married to me -- he has simply learned how to navigate the following:


1. FINE: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

2. FIVE MINUTES: If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

3. NOTHING: This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Argument s that begin with nothing usually end in fine.

4. GO AHEAD: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!

5. LOUD SIGH: This is actually a word, but i s a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to # 3 for the meaning of nothing.)

6. THAT'S OK: This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. That's okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

7. THANKS: A woman is thanking you, do not question, or faint. Just say you're welcome. (I want to add in a clause here - This is true, unless she says 'Thanks a lot' - that is PURE sarcasm and she is not thanking you at all. DO NOT say 'you're welcome' . that will bring on a 'whatever').

8. WHATEVER: Is a woman's way of saying a bad word to you!

9. DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT: Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking 'What's wrong?' For the woman's response refer to # 3.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Kyara's Worst Day Ever

Kyara got her first ticket yesterday. It was for failing to stop at a stop sign. She told me it was her worst day ever! I told her I was happy to hear that -- boy, sweetheart, things will get a heck of a lot worse!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Stories

Every year, we read a Christmas story each night of December. Since I'm capturing all our traditions in photos this year, I thought I'd capture this as well! Perhaps I didn't time the pictures just right, because I don't think I caught the right "this is a treasured tradition" feel. I swear, the kids actually enjoy this!

Click to play Christmas Stories
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Question for my sisters (and yes, that includes sisters-in-law, because I don't discriminate): Does anyone like the story "Someone Missing at the Manger?" I mean, really? I'm thinking I'm going to replace that one with "The Other Wise Man."

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Tag

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both

2. Real tree or Artificial? Real! It's not Christmas without that real pine smell.

3. When do you put up the tree? About a week before Christmas. We try to wait until they start to go on sale.

4. When do you take the tree down? I shoot for December 31st, when we have our New Year's party.

5. Do you like eggnog? In small doses.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? 1970 semi-classic Ford Mustang with a 351 Cleveland kick-a** engine! (By the way, never do this for your teen!)

7. Hardest person to buy for? Rom. If there's something he wants, he usually goes out and gets it himself. I have very rarely surprised him!

8. Easiest person to buy for? My boys. Can't have too much Star Wars and video games!

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes! I have a gorgeous collector's set I pieced together from Home Interiors. It is my favorite decoration in the whole house. I also have a couple of cute mini nativities from my friend Lisa.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Neither! Christmas cards were the first to fall off the list of Christmasy things I can't fit into my overwhelming life.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Poor Rom -- I have to admit it was our first Christmas together. He bought me several CDs, put them all in one big box, and wrapped it. That was it. One gift to open Christmas day! It was awful. He has redeemed himself a million times since!

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? It's A Wonderful Life. I discovered this as a married adult, and I have loved it since. It never gets old for me.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? The day after Christmas. I love to hit the best bargains! It's especially great for next year's Christmas jammies.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No, I don't think so.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? All the goodies our friends bring to the house! Hence, dieting must wait until the new year.

16. Colored or Clear Lights? Colored

17. Favorite Christmas song? Eisley's "The Winter Song." (See my blog's playlist.)

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Home!!!

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Most of them.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Angel -- we got a Christmas tree skirt and matching angel topper as a wedding gift. It's been our tradition since.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Half and half.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Rude shoppers on black Friday.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? Wooden ornaments.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Mom's famous cheesecake!

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? I don't think my husband realizes he has gotten me this already, but I want a digital camcorder.

26. White or Warm Christmas? Warm. I hate the cold, no matter how pretty it is.

27. Favorite thing about Christmas? The lights. Our neighborhood has a few fantastic displays.

28. Favorite Christmas Tradition? I bake a bazillion cookies. We take a plate to every neighbor on our street and wear our reindeer antlers and sing carols for them. We also take a plate to our bishop, home/visiting teaching people, and a few friends from the ward (sorry, Shandee -- we'll miss you this year!).

29. Favorite Christmas Location? Home.

30. Who do you tag? I will stick to the one sister rule. Danyelle, Danya, Shandee, Katie, and Aunt Lynda

Did You Know?

Elder Wirthlin died on Tuesday -- I hadn't heard about it until now. He was the oldest living apostle. I have loved his conference talks lately, and I will miss him very much. What a wonderful man, and what a wonderful life! Here is his most recent conference address, which was beautiful, timely, and just what I needed! Come What May, and Love It.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mom's "Christmas Smell" Potpourri

Mom posted the "recipe" for her Christmas smell on her blog. I thought I'd include it here for anyone who missed it.

"Mix water, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger and few orange slices together and bring to a boil, turn down heat and let simmer. Keep adding water so it doesn't burn down."

I love it! I think the orange slices give it that extra something special. Enjoy!

In Case You Missed It

If you didn't visit Fail blog today, here's what you missed!

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Monday, December 1, 2008

How I Lost a Sale

This is our store's logo. We have him painted on the front window, really big. I had a customer in the store today, and he was trying out beds. As he laid down on the bed next to the big window, he made a funny comment. He asked, "Do I look like the guy in the window?" His mom said, "No, you're missing the blue blanket." And I said, "And the big, red nose." There was chuckling all around.

But, then, he suddenly said, "Thank you very much." And he walked out the door.


Howells Holiday Kickoff

My friend, Lisa, gave me a cute Christmas-themed scrapbook last year. All I have to do is put the pictures in. So, I thought I would chronicle our Christmas traditions in picture this year so I'd have something to put in that cute scrapbook! Here is our holiday kickoff. The kids and I tidied up the living room so we could pull some decorations out. Rom, Kyara and Romney, sadly, were all working at the time. I saved the garland for them, though. We had a great time, and now the house looks so festive! Time to start our "Christmas smell" potpourri!

Click to play Howells Holiday Kickoff
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