Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas 2009: A Photo Essay

Why all the photos? Because Steve surprised me with this.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cookie Delivery

Here's what the back of the Volvo looked like earlier this week:

Rows of bags of the Heroin Cookies, ready to go out to the friends and neighbors.

And look at the cute tags the kids made:

Each one had a drawing that we added a title to before putting them on the bags. The photo is of my favorite made by Max, "Too Small Santa in a Too Tall Hat."

And I'm kicking myself for not taking a picture of my favorite by Jack, a picture of a green spaceship titled "An Elf Made This Rocketship." If you're the one who go that one, consider yourself very lucky. And if you can take a photo of it and e-mail it to me, I would be eternally grateful. It was fun to see how each picture got sillier and sillier as they decorated 20 tags between them.

I'd like to say that this little art project was planned for months in advance to personalize and add charm to our cookie bags. But, truth be told, it was the only way to keep the kids busy as I tried to get 20 dozen cookies organized to be delivered without absolutely losing my mind.

They say the greatest art comes from suffering, and I have to agree.

Maybe that's where some great holiday traditions come from too, because this one's a keeper.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Proof That I Am, In Fact, Insane

I usually avoid Christmas shopping like the plague. I hate the traffic most of all, but then there's the lines and the screaming kids and the manic Christmas music to contend with as well. So I had to stop and take the photo above today as the boys and I walked into Toys R Us (the bowls of Christmas Shopping Hell). I was planning to go to another store WAY off the beaten path, but the boys insisted we go there to pick out presents for their friends. And since I'm trying to have the holiday spirit and all, I caved.

And guess what.

It wasn't all that bad. The store was way overstaffed and it was early enough that it wasn't too crowded yet either, so the employee to customer ratio was like two to one. Nice.

And it brought back memories of how much I loved to go Christmas shopping in the height of the season when I was a kid. I lived near downtown Salt Lake City at the time and I remember the bustle of a sorta big city with the lights at Temple Square and the snowflakes falling against the stoplights. Now downtown Salt Lake City is one big pit of construction, and those places I remember are long gone. That's what made it even more amazing to have these little memories of my life as a kid, growing up in a city at Christmas, come back to me. In the middle of Toys R Us.

I think this is what they call a Christmas miracle.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Gingerbread Village

Every year for the past five years or so I have gotten a bunch of friends and their children together in December to decorate gingerbread houses. We try to make it as low impact as possible by getting kits instead of making them ourselves (although Janell got ambitious last year and made her own). There's lots of noise, candy, and sugar overload, but it's always fun. Here's this year's photos:

Jack and Ivan killing time playing with the Playmobil Nativity Set until the other kids get there.

And the fun begins.

Sabine and Lisa frosting the roof.

Decorating, decorating, decorating.

Jack admiring his work while eating lunch.

The finished product.

I love these kinds of traditions, and hope they last forever, although I have a feeling this one may lose it's appeal by the time they're in Jr. High. Oh well, I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Like Stars Gleaming

Today when we went to church there was a harpist playing prelude music instead of the usual organist. It was beautiful, and I had to stop to listen. I was so caught up in it that I didn't even notice that Max was just as enthralled as I was. When the harpist finished playing the Christmas music and stopped for the meeting to begin Max leaned over to me, and whispered in my ear "Mommy, that song sounded like stars gleaming."

And it was true.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Walking Home (Backwards) With Katie

I can't believe it, but Friday was the last day the kids will be in school until we get home from Paris. It makes me realize that I have so much to do and a VERY limited amount of time.

I've really enjoyed walking home with the boys from Max's school lately. It's been nice that we have that time to go over the day, and Jack loves to walk. He especially loves to walk with our neighbor Katie, and the other day they were having so much fun walking home backwards. Check it out:

Katie's parents just built a new house on our street, so it looks like they're around for the long haul. It's so great to think of these kids growing up together. That's what a great neighborhood's all about.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Heated Argument

One of the best things about our new house is the passive solar heat we get from the placement of the south windows. We find that we often have to turn the heat down, especially in the middle of the day. But when we wake up in the morning, it's cold, so I usually turn the heat up to get the house warmed up.

Almost every day, just after I turn on the heat, I feel it get cold again. When I check the thermostat I see that the heat has been turned back down. Only one answer to that: Steve. I love that he is very environmentally aware, but, come on, it's cold.

So, the other day when I felt the house go cold again, I yelled "Steeeve? Would you stop turning the heat down?" And he came back and said we didn't need it turned up and blah, blah, blah. I said "It's cold." He said "I like it cold." BIG MISTAKE. I said "If you like it so cold, why don't you go out in the snow in your underwear?" Well, the boys were there laughing their heads off at the idea, so there was only one thing for Steve (who truly is an exhibitionist at heart) to do:

The bonus part is the heat has stayed up ever since.

Guess we all know who won that argument.