Joy is very infectious; therefore, be always full of joy.

~ Mother Teresa

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The 12 Days of Christmas 2009

To make the holiday a little more special we tried to give the kids a "gift" to open each of the 12 days before Christmas. Each gift was of something we already had or cost very little.

They opened our "It Came To Pass" card game one evening and we played it as a family. Another night they opened the cassettes for our camcorder and we watched Christmases of the Past. I wrapped their favorite Christmas movie one night and another we made feeders for the birds for Christmas!

Caleb had gathered the pine cones on a camping trip in the fall and had asked all fall if we could make the feeders I told him they would be good for. Every time he saw them on the fridge he would ask about making he was VERY tickled to get to finally do it!

Cam had to wear gloves to spread on the peanut butter! LOL He decided that he didn't even love the smell and quickly became the spectator...

The finished product!

Dad tied the strings and we hung them on our front porch for all the little birds.

I had found two different winter puzzles at the Dollar Store and wrapped them up... Caleb's FAV!

It was a ton of fun to put the puzzles together as a family!

Caleb is a puzzle WHIZ!

I really enjoyed putting the ideas together and the kids loved opening a "gift" of something to do as a family every night! It was a brilliant success!
We have definitely found a new family tradition! THAT is what Christmas is all about! *GRIN* and it cost me next to nothing to do!

My Kids Greatest Gift

Every year the kids take their money and hit the Dollar Store for thoughtful gifts for the adults in their lives. Some memorable favorites are a screen for a frying pan, a whoopie cushion and a plastic chain necklace with a huge gold colored medallion that said "Bling" on it for Uncle Ty. LOL This year they all agreed to do something a little different. And Mom and Dad couldn't be more pleased!

They pooled their little amount of funds and we made a trip to the Dollar Store. They remember how bored they were during their many stays in the hospital and so they bought all sorts of toys & activities for the kids at their regular hospital...

Containers of cowboys & indians, puzzles, coloring books & crayons & dry erase boards. We wrapped them up and headed to the hospital... which also at the time was the location to go visit Gramma Annie. She was hospitalized with Pneumonia that weekend.

We took the presents to the Pediatric Unit and donated them in the names of both of their Grandparents and all their aunts and uncles.

We love the staff at this hospital. They have been so good to us! We hope they have a great time making other sweet children's stay a little better with some fun items to share! :)
I love my kids so much! They have more wisdom at their young ages than most kids deserve! Merry Christmas Grandpa's & Grandma's & all our brothers and sisters! Our kids love you very much!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Growing and Growing...

Aunt Jenny measured all the kids over Thanksgiving... I can't believe how much my kids have grown!

Caleb - 3' 6"

Cameron - 4' 1"

Cody - 4' 9"

Emmalee - 5' 1"
Emma has grown a little since then too! She is almost as tall as her mom! :O
Where does the time (and babyness) go??

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gratitude + Expression = Joyful Attitude

I am thankful for:

1. Jestin having some sort of small job every day this week! It is a Christmas miracle! LOL

2. For a very thoughtful youth in the ward who nominated our family for a small sub for santa at his school club and now I dont have to be sick about having a gift for each of the boys but nothing for Emma. My kids will each have something plus some undies, socks and a few little extras this year! And I can go aheadand pay my bills instead, and keep us from drowning yet again. Whew. He truly was an answer to a mother's heartsick prayer.

3. I am thankful for how well my 12 days of Christmas is going for the kids! So far we have played a game, made pine cones for the birds, and put together a puzzle! They are LOVING having a gift to open and even more so loving the time dedicated to just being together! I am so thankful for the friend who gave me the idea!

4. Am thankful for a gift that turned out so well! It didn't spend anything (at least not recently) and I think she will like it! Thank heavens for my "lack of finishing of projects" LOL It turned out perfectly and I am so excited!

5. Am thankful for my life experiences. They truly bring me great insight and growth. And it is nice when I can use them to help others... it helps heal some of the sorrow I sometimes feel.

6. For Pres. Monson and his quote - "The future is as bright as your faith". It really has lifted my attitude lately. I have felt the tugs of "the blackness" creeping in again... and I see that quote and am reminded that my attitude, outlook and desired outlook is ALL UP TO ME! :)

7. For great family, friends, neighbors. I am blessed more than I know. And I do know some of it! :)

8. For my kids. They bring so much joy into my life! I love the excitement and anticipation they are feeling - even when they are naughty because of it! LOL

9. For my warm soft bed. It is so hard to get out of in the morning - but it brings me such joy to lay down on it at night! LOL

10. For this Christmas Season that softens everyone's hearts to each other and brings joy, happiness, and love into our homes and lives. I am thankful for my Savior who came to this earth to endure all that we have in order to better understand our struggles and woes so that we would have someone to lean on and depend on. I am thankful he sacrificed HIS time here for me. I wish I could say I did better at following His example...but I try.

I am just so THANKFUL... and it truly does bring me joy! :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Drip.... drip.... drip

Jestin woke up the other morning to a drip drip drip from the ceiling and looked up to see this!

He quickly discovered that something on our (only 3 year old) water heater rusted out and *everything* in the utility closet that was slightly cold had condesation on it and it had soaked through the ceiling to downstairs!

The drain pan looked like it had been draining at least all night, as the ice had formed on the run off from the house.

The top of the water heater was puddled and everything was wet!

Jestin cleaned it all up, drained the paint bubble and a kind neighbor loaned us some fans to run to dry everything out.

Jess has a plumber that he is good friends with and they came and replaced the water heater (under manufacturers warranty) in just a couple of hours. They even let us pay the small difference and upgrade to a 50 gallon instead! Sweet! Blessings in the long run! We are thankful to have hot water again... and for the damage to be minimal!
Maybe I will get my ceiling re-textured sooner than we thougtht! *grin*

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Decorating Ornaments

We made ornaments for someone special in our lives for a Family Home Evening this month. Caleb did his own... and then...!

He gave it to his best friend Jesse's family... but this is the first time he has EVER written his name!! He copied it! Jesse's mom got teary eyed and promised to keep it always! (She is just like his second mom and knows how exciting it is to have this milestone in "my baby"s life! LOL)

Cody gave his to Grandma Annie

And Emma gave hers to a friend she has lost touch with somewhat.
I was proud of each of them for the people they picked. They are all getting so grown up!
Cameron did do one... but he had to go to bed and make it the next morning because he was making wrong choices and being mean. He fell right to sleep so we think he just was a tired boy! LOL I just forgot to take a photo of his... but he gave it to his new friend here in the neighborhood. :)

Settin' up the Christmas Tree 2009

The kids couldn't wait to start decorating for Christmas... we have such fun working as a team to get the tree up! They sort out all the branches and away we go!

Emmalee was in charge of lighting...

Jestin decided to add a timer on the switch for my Christmas Tree lights, so we dont have to turn them on and off anymore! And at 10:30 they remind us to go to bed! LOL! (there really are advantages to having an electrician for a husband! :D )

Caleb and Cam were the assembly crew...

And we HAD to play Christmas carols and eat our traditional Orange Sticks!


What would tree-setting-up be without them??

Look Mom! Decorate me!!

Cam was really good at keeping the piles separated and keeping the flow moving right along...

We lost a few strands of lights this year... but all in all we are ok! Lots of lights = prettier tree! *grin*

Caleb became distracted by the tote the tree goes in!

And, as always, before you knew it... they all were! LOL

So Mom moved forward with the light assembly while they played.

Cody and Cam tried to repair a couple of sets of lights... but when they flicker and pop... umm... yeah... we throw the whole strand away!

And then there was the favorite tradition of "I Spy" under the tree...

They could stay there for hours

And they really did this year!

I was playing with settings on my camera... and I LOVE how this one turned out! *GIGGLE* I am so thankful for the traditions we have that make us a family!
Caleb would hardly let me rest until all our decorations were out and set up and the totes put back away! He LOVED being my helper this year while the kids were in school!
Our Halls are Decked! We are all ready for the Holidays!

Our Town's Light Parade

Our 2nd year of attending the Black Friday Light Parade to kick off our Holiday season was a blast! It was windy and brisk... but SO fun!

Kids waiting patiently...


Cubby with his sucker

Jestin and I trying to stay warm *grin*


Lou Lou Bug

This one was one of my favorites... but with the cheap small camera I could not get the lighting right to get a good photo! It is a wax-like carving of the Salt Lake Temple all lit up inside! It was so wicked cool!

We liked the fire truck... they had a firefighter on the top with lights fashioned in such a way it looked as though he was spraying water!

This one was another fav! It was a large piece of plastic over a Christmas tree and kids with fans blowing it to look like a snow globe and they had pieces of stuff to look like snow flakes blowing in there too! It was a live snow globe! What imagination!

There were tons of floats and driving Christmas trees and presents up and down the parade! We were sad the old locomotive died just half a block away from reaching us... so we missed the fireworks out of it's smoke stack. :( Jestin thought it was a hoot that a small little 4 wheeler had to pull the locomotive! LOL

And of course... last but not least was Santa himself! Welcome Welcome Christmas Season!