Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Eve

This first picture is actually earlier in the month.  This is our annual trip to Thanksgiving Point for my birthday dessert.  I'm now 39.

In Christmas Eve's past, we have gone out to breakfast with all of Dentist Husband's family (continuing a tradition from my family growing up).  But, our numbers have gotten too big, so Dentist Husband's sister offered to host Christmas Eve breakfast at her house.  

Christmas Eve breakfast is usually when we all see each other for the first time during the holiday season.  Since most of Dentist Husband's family lives out of state,  it is a great reunion to see everyone.  This year, we all ate awesome homemade breakfast in my sister-in-law's beautiful home.  Breakfast turned to lunch time and then it was 5 pm.  Dentist Husband and I were having a conflict about what to do about Christmas Eve dinner.  (I wanted our traditional steak and salad while he wanted some Chinese.)  Since we had been gone all day, ended up here.  Best Christmas Eve dinner ever!

 Once home, the kids opened their Christmas PJs.

We watched Luke 2 and then the kids went to bed.  

Santa may or may not have forgotten to buy candy for the Christmas stockings.  Santa may or may not have had to run to Walgreens at 10:00 pm.  The parking lot was packed and the store was super busy.  Thank heavens for Walgreens.

Christmas Day

Santa came 

We have called Toothsome #4 "White Buffalo" since she was born.  Santa brought her, her own white buffalo.

 Toothsome #2 got two kinds of art kits--the real deal and Udraw for the Wii.
 Both boys wanted Hypersonic RC cars and Legos.  
 Toothsome #4 also got these.  All four of my kids LOVE them.  

 After opening presents, we went to church.  (I sang in a trio and Dentist Husband and I both were in the Ward Choir.)
 Then, just before Dentist Husband's family arrived, Toothsome #4 did this.  I was jealous. 
We hosted Dentist Husband's family Christmas day fun/meal.  People started coming around 2:00 pm and stayed until around 9:00 pm.  

Great fun.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sock Exchange 2012

Sock Exchange:  A white elephant type game, invented by my father-in-law for his children many years ago.  Each person (adults only) has about 7 items in their "sock exchange" pile.  The items range from useful (syrup, masking tape, windshield wiper fluid) to silly (see below).  Each person can protect one item.  After an intense "rock, paper, scissors" to determine who goes first, the game begins.  You must trade one of your items for another item from someone else.  The game is played in a clockwise circle.  Once everyone goes once, then the circle is reversed until the person who started the game ends the game.  Taunting, teasing, heckling, etc., is allowed and encouraged.  If someone takes too long, the group breaks out into singing the Jeopardy "timer" music.  Often, a frantic trade is made.  Honestly, the sock exchange is a highlight of Christmas in these parts.

Sock Exchange 2012

This year, "As Seen on TV" products played a big part in the game.

Dentist Husband holding "the Forever Lazy."

Africa's Best Super Gro Hair and Scalp conditioner

 Toilet Lid sticker (notice the picture is of an outhouse).
 Easy Feet--No More Bending required!

The three of us who ended up with the "Forever Lazy" and a knock off "Snuggie."  You read that right, it was a "knock off Snuggie", not even the real deal.  I am holding up the free pair of socks that came with the "Forever Lazy."
 I can't not point out the great marketing on the Forever Lazy packaging.  A zippered back hatch!  No need to take it off when using the bathroom.
 Great for tail gating . . .

A few more Sock Exchange pictures.  

 My brother in law trying out the Super Hair Gro scalp conditioner. You can't tell but he put it on his upper lip and chin to help grow his facial hair too.  

It was a Sock Exchange for the ages.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas!

You may remember this post.

Needless to say, none of those were used. 

The above picture ended up being our Christmas card photo.  This was taken at my nephew's wedding.  My sister (my nephew's mom) while standing in the wedding line and said, "You all match.  Let me take a photo or two."  FYI:  We didn't plan to match.  We weren't "in" the wedding per se.  We were just there to support my sister and her son.  Those are my girl's Easter dresses.

I think she took four photos.  I could have used all of them.  
It just goes to show, often planning a photo shoot doesn't work as well as a quick unplanned photo shoot. 

Merry Christmas.  It is lightly snowing here.  Honestly, Christmas magic is happening daily in our neck of the woods.   

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I am glad these people are in my life . . .

Dentist Husband came downstairs, after church like this.  Several years ago, I accidently bought him the wrong sized dress shirt (the sleeves were too long).  Instead of pointing out the fact to me, he just wore it.  Well, it finally was old enough, he felt comfortable retiring it.  But, never to miss an opportunity for comedy, he ripped the sleeves off of it and then came downstairs like this.  I laughed and laughed.  So grateful for the fun he adds to my life regularly.  

These four crazy kids.  I am so looking forward to having them home for two weeks for Christmas break.  They are great company, make me laugh daily and keep me focused on what is really important in life.  

This is many of the members of the girls in my book club.  Not everyone could come this night.  About 8 years ago, I was invited to join this group of ladies.  They have known each other since elementary school and have had this book club for over 20 years.  They have welcomed me with open arms into their book club and it is the highlight of my month to meet with these woman.  They are smart, funny, loyal, honest woman and monthly I glean great insight from them during our book club meeting.  I am so grateful for them too.  

 (FYI, these were taken at our annual Christmas party.  One of the ladies in our group plays for the Bells on Temple Square and we all went to dinner and then watched her perform in their Christmas concert.)  
I am so blessed.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I used to be a reluctant Nutcracker Mom

Many years ago, when I started Toothsome #2 in dance, I did it because I wanted her to have good posture.  I have one sister with excellent posture and she was the only one of us who took dance.  I decided that was a good enough reason for my child to take dance.  

I picked our studio based on the fact that it was close to my house, the owner taught the little girls classes (as opposed to the teacher being one of the girls from the older dance classes like several dance studios I looked into), and it's focus on ballet.   In the Fall, Toothsome #2, at the age of four was cast as a "taffy dancer" in The Nutcracker.  This studio does The Nutcracker annually and every child that dances in the studio participates in it.  They do three performances--Friday night, a Saturday matinee and Saturday night.   As a mother, with at the time, two other kids (one being a baby), that seemed like a huge commitment.  But, I liked the idea of her participating in it and so we went with it.   

Oh the drama (mostly mine) as The Nutcracker rehearsals started stacking up and I realized that my daughter's part was in the 2nd act making her perform after 8:00 pm (her bedtime).  I grumbled; I complained; I said more than once that this dance instructor/studio owner was insane.  (Sorry Barbara, I was wrong).   

Then, came the performance.  It was so beautiful!  It was so fun!  The older girls were beautiful dancers. The owner cast different leads at each performance, so all of the older girls got to have lead parts.  Toothsome #2 was entranced the whole time.  We couldn't leave after she danced because we had to watch the whole thing.  And, because my other kids were boys, I got one-on-one time with Toothsome #2 all weekend, while Dentist Husband had the boys at home.  That weekend, I went from reluctant Nutcracker mom to becoming its huge advocate.  

I now have two girls.  This year, Toothsome #4 got to be in two different scenes.

 A cookie
and a Peppermint Stick  (with Toothsome #2 being a Russian).

Honestly, Nutcracker weekend has become one of my favorite weekends in December.  It is magical.  And,  I now see it as a true gift from this dance studio to allow these girls to all experience being in The Nutcracker.  The owner, her family (her husband always plays Mother Ginger) and many others freely give of their time to make this a wonderful experience.  I so love Nutcracker weekend.       

Monday, December 12, 2011

Book Review: Faithful, Fit and Fabulous by Connie E Sokol

This book by Connie Sokol is a great read just before the New Year because it gives simple, easy ideas to improve your life in meaningful ways.  I love that the theme of personal responsibility runs throughout the whole book and how once we personally take charge of our lives, after seeking spiritual guidance, we can make big changes.

She uses eight basic ideas to focus on and then gives easy to implement suggestions on how to improve in each area.  It is a great, short read that definitely leaves you feeling like you can improve things in your life.

This book can be purchased here.  The Kindle version is a steal.

Full discloser:  I was given this book to read and review.  But I agreed to review it because I was eager to make some simple changes in my life to make things go more smoothly.  Having babies 2 1/2 years apart made a lot of sense when they were babies but having school age kids 2 years apart in school is exhausting at times and I was eager to figure out a way to make better use of my time.  This book definitely has given me some great suggestions to do just that.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thanksgiving Point Holiday Lights (My favorite Christmas tradition)

Last night, we took our kids to see the lights at Thanksgiving Point.  It is a Christmas tradition we have been doing for 6 years.  We often go more than once.  It is a "stay in your car and drive thru the light display" experience.  No worrying about chasing after kids, them complaining that it is cold, etc.  It was 19 degrees last night. 

At the start, we roll down all of the windows, blast the heat in the car, loudly play Christmas music and let the kids lean out the windows to look at the lights.  Thanksgiving point has soldiers, penguins, ice skaters, flowers, Santa's workshop, reindeer and this year an Andrew Smith Kinetic ice sculpture.  All of the trees are beautifully lit as well.  

 At end of the lights, there is a beautiful telling of the Savior's birth using billboard sized pictures from Simon Dewey's "This is the Season" children's book.    

Afterwards, we park our car and head to see the reindeer.

Then, we go inside and get dinner at their deli.  Excellent food.
(Toothsome #3 thinks jazz hands are hilarious right now.) 

 The inside is decorated for Christmas.  

 After dinner, we let the kids get 50 cent ice cream cones.  
 There are also ice sculptures on display.  We arrived just as they were finishing making this one.  

Honestly, nothing gets me more in the Christmas mood, then going to Thanksgiving Point.

Unrelated, but finally after eight years of living in this house, we finally paid someone to hang Christmas lights on our house.  There is no way I was going to have Dentist Husband on our roof.  (We need his hands and arms to do dentistry, and not risk breaking them on a potentially icy roof.) 

I love this picture.  The kids were so excited watching them work.
 The finished lights.  

Also, my friend Kimmy drastically lowered her prices for her I Chart You genealogy charts.  A great in-law Christmas gift, if anyone is looking . . .

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Being married to Dentist Husband made my life a lot easier this week

This picture is unrelated to the this post.  I redid the girl's bedroom.  This is their new bed frame and comforter.    But, Dentist Husband did pay for all of this, no questions asked and did help me measure the room and the furniture about 10 times to make sure they fit.  (I love drawers under beds, because it gives extra storage and no dead zone for clutter to collect.)

Anyway, back to the reason for this post.  A few days before we left for Las Vegas, Toothsome #1 came home with his Egypt project assignment.  He had to do a one page report and a visual aid for this presentation.  It was due the Tuesday after we got home.  (We got home Sunday night.)  I am pragmatic and not artistic.  My scrap books are white paper with the pictures on them--no cute cut outs, colors, etc.  I hate visual aid projects and with planning on leaving for Las Vegas, driving my kids everywhere, doing scouts, Nutcracker practices, etc., this put me close to tears.  

But, not Dentist Husband.  Some of his suggestions:
1. I can fill an old milk jug with plaster and you can carve a sphinx out of it.  
2.  We can go to the store and buy a rotisserie chicken and use the bones and mummify them.
3.  Canopic Jars are cool.  I sure we can come up with something for that . . .

Then, he says, "I know, let's do something with hieroglyphs."  

And, below is what they ended up doing.  They went to Dentist Husband's office and poured plaster in cookie sheets.  Toothsome #1 found some hieroglyphs on-line, traced them in pencil and transfer rubbed them onto the plaster.  Then, Dentist husband let Toothsome #1 use one of his very expensive dental drills and Toothsome #1 carved out the shapes.  After that was done, a trip to Home Depot and gold spray paint was purchased and sprayed on the plaster.   Honestly, these are incredibly cool.  

Lame mom could not have come up with anything close to this.  

Here are the kids cutting off the netting from our Christmas tree.  This same week, Dentist Husband, after having a very long Monday at work (working late) took all of us to dinner (Costa Vida) and then to Home Depot to get our Christmas tree.  He always lets them help him tie the tree to the roof of our mini van, etc.  

Again, buying a fresh tree and carting it into the house could not be done by me.  

And finally, last night was 11 year old scout night.  I always look at the book and see what the boys need to pass off and then text my husband what we are doing that night.  Last night was "knots."  
Dentist husband walked in the door at 6:55 pm and scouts starts at 7:00 pm.  By 7:10, he had the boys all tying knots around chairs.  They had six knots to learn and he was there instructing and encouraging them for over an hour.  He was telling them about all the fun things you do with knots (water skiing, rock climbing, hunting, boating, camping, etc.)  Not only did they have to know how to do the knot, they couldn't pass it off without telling him in what situation would they use that particular knot.  He didn't pass off one boy until he knew for sure that they did it all by themselves without his help.  It was a great hour in our home last night.  

I adore this man.