Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lots of stuff plus a Christmas miracle

Well I had no idea how I would have enough time to post to the blog and I'm getting backlogged with pictures (as you soon will see) but luckily for me my brakes needs to be fixed so I'm now sitting at the car dealership with a spare hour to sit on the laptop and post :).

Let's start by finishing up soccer season (finally:)

Jacob had his awards ceremony on Monday and got his trophy and got to have the obligatory pizza party with his friends.

Jacob had a really good season this year with lots of nice parents, and lots of games won.

The coach had a lot of nice things to say about Jacob and was proud of his effort and his ability despite his challenges. The parents were very complimentary to Jacob too. He is actually a good player and Taylor and I were laughing that Jacob is a better player than he was when he was playing U12. His head was always in the game and he fought hard for the ball whenever it was near him.

Way to go Jacob!

Jacob had fun hanging out with his friends at the ancient Straw Hat pizza. It was run down, the drink machine wasn't working (we ran over to the grocery store to buy some root beer) and some of the arcade things ate my quarters but they still had fun.

So here is Jacob eating pizza with his friends. Wait I only see Jacob's ear. Move the camera over Jeff.

OK thats better. Oh wait a minute, that's not better. Gross Jacob.

What can I say. Like father...

like son!

On Tuesday we celebrated Christmas with Angela and Robert. Since we weren't going to be able to hook up before Christmas we got together early to exchange presents and be able to hang out with them.

We met them at the Cristal Cathedral and watched the Glory of Christmas together.

Jeff and I went for the first time about 3 years ago so we were glad to experience it with the children and Angela and Robert.

We all enjoyed the production. Even though Ashley lost a little patience with all the singing at one point it was all worth it when Jacob and Ashley came back from Primary on Sunday and said they knew all the answers about the Christmas story because of the show they had watched. Luckily experiencing it that way stuck in their minds :)

I think everyone's favorite was the flying Angels...

After the show we met up In Car Worship Center (for the non committed parishoner in all of us) for some In Car Christmas celebration.

Not bad I must say no house to clean or meal to cook :)

Ashley got a cute hat, scrapbook stuff, hair things and a picture frame

Taylor got a digital money bank (to start his mission fund:)

And the family favorite (for the kids at least) was Jacob's voice changer.

Jeff got some bottle toppers for all his pepsis and I got a nice scarf. Thanks Angela and Robert!

On Thursday I went into Ashley's class to do a craft with the students. My idea was to make a snowman using Emer's Glue. We placed on sequins for eyes and buttons, a ribbon scarf and then sprinkled laundry detergent on it to look like snow.

I learned quickly that the children did not know how to use anything other than a glue stick. They kept calling it "messy glue" and didn't understand what to do with it until I came around to each one to show them. We got all sorts of mishappen snow men. Ones with globs falling off the bottom, ones with the small ball on the bottom and the big one on top.

I finally asked the teacher to help the students with me while I manned the laundry soap sprinkling. Within two minutes she left the students and was back at the sink washing off all the glue bottles.

Once the students came to get their "snow" sprinkled on it was like a light went off and they realized the whole point of the "messy glue". Then they started getting excited and wanted the glue back to put snowflakes and other things on their paper.

Alas the glue bottles were already washed and put away and the teacher suggested drawing it with a white crayon instead. Now I understand why nobody knew how to use the glue.

Luckily Ashley is familiar with such art projects and she did a great job. Hers is in the middle.

I think I see some glue and glitter projects in the future for Ashley's class. (That is if the teacher will let me :)

And now for the Christmas miracle! This was the morning of the last day of school before Christmas break ie the last day of projects being due, husbands work potluck and Christmas bonus's and presents for staff, Christmas programs and parties at school, teacher gifts and school friends gifts exchanges...

It's was a miracle that we were able to work with blood sweat and tears to wrestle at least one of Taylor's two homework pages out of our forever jamming printer. (It's on the Christmas list). I was thrilled when he ended up leaving that page at home too.

It was a miracle that the children got lunches made this morning!

It was a miracle that I was able to curl Ashley's hair with sponge curlers for her big day (school performance) after staying up late with Taylor finishing his homework project.

It was an absolute miracle that we were able to get this toy off of a certain person's finger this morning by cutting it since the soap and and oil didn't work and they were getting hysterical.

It was also a miracle that as I was driving Taylor to school (since Jeff was teaching seminary that day) Jeff pulled up and we were able to have Taylor change cars in the middle of the street and I could make a U-turn and find this child crying and frantically holding their finger one minute after I had left the house.

It was a miracle that I actually was able to make goodies for Jeff's potluck, Jacob's class and Ashley's class parties. (Granted they weren't cut and ready on plates.)

It was a miracle that the photos for Taylor's school project (An original Childrens Christmas story) came in the day before when no-body elses orders came in at Wallgreens. It was also a miracle that Taylor got it done on the day before it was due without being stressed out and having a meltdown.

My only regret was not taking pictures of it because the teacher liked it so much she wants to keep it forever as an example.

It was a story about Jeff's secret job as Santa's elf. Taylor doesn't have a clue why dad brings Ashley and Jacob to work on carreer day but suggests that Taylor should be a lawyer :)

It's a miracle that in the midst of all the craziness the night before Jeff pulls the Halloween pumkin from the front yard and it's still good enough to cut up and bake the seeds.

Most of them that is...some had started sprouting. Now Ashley has a project...

It's a miracle that Taylor was actually able to make his friend a homemade bracelet before school for his friend gift exchange.

And it was a Christmas miracle that everyone got to school on time this morning!!

Well once I got everyone out the door it was time to get ready for the Christmas parties later in the day. I cleaned the house some and then worked on getting the plates of coconut/pecan bars that both Ashley and Jacob's class begged me for. (Jacob's class ended up wiping them out, Ashley's didn't touch them:)

After getting a parking space and dropping off Jacobs goodies, the present he forgot to bring for his teacher, Ashley's homework she forgot to bring and her goodies I sat down to watch her class performance.

The whole second grade sang songs and did a cute recitation of the Night Before Christmas, south of the border style, which was actually very cute.

It was funny because Ashley complained to me before the performance that all the singing sounded like the same tone. She said she would try and sing it the right way but nobody else did. When I heard the singing I had to laugh to myself because she was right. Imagine hearing the entire Jingle Bells song sung in one note :) I think learning the piano helped her realize that, ha ha.

After scool Taylor came showing off his loot from his "friend gift exchange"

He got Madeline (the name he drew) a Squeaky Santa Elmo book to be funny and then made her a bracelet and gave her bath and body stuff (thanks to mom) for a real gift.

Taylor's friends got him back. By now Taylor has been able to sit on Santa's lap a few times now and every time he makes a joke by acting like he's 3 and saying "I want a pony, a baseball, a basketball and a college diploma..."

So Taylor got his pony :) He aslo got a duct tape wallet made by his friend. His was a custom made "piano" wallet. He was very happy with it and is currently in the process of making his own personal business cards to pass out to his friends.

That night on Friday we were able to go with Dale and Moureen, Steve and Tahna and Linda and Rhett long to was Steve thought was an Osmond Brother's concert.

Right before the concert Steve realized that it wasn't really just a Osmond brother's concert it was the Pacific Symphony Christmas concert with the Osmond brothers as guests. He wasn't too thrilled at first but Jeff and I absolutely loved it, and in the end Steve did too.

We got a little bit of Osmonds, some Christmas songs and some wonderful music from the symphony with some other singers. It was interesting to hear Christmas songs opera style...then Chrstmas songs Osmond brother style :)

My favorite part was our seats which were right above the symphany. We were able to see the music happening like I'd never seen it before. And of course the sound was incredible.

Thanks Steve for planning a wonderful evening.

Saturday started with an 8:00 am chior practice for me. At 11:00 all 3 kids had a piano recital. We met Cheri and Ryan at the paino recital where Ashley played in her very first one, Jacob played music box dancer and Jingle bell Jubilee and Taylor played Pinapple Rag and and Chopin peice called Fantasy Impromptu for the finale (very hard and like 5 minutes long). They all did a wonderful job. We were so proud of them! Lots of compliments were given to all of them. Then we gave Cheri and Ryan their Christmas gifts early since they were going to be in Portland.

That night we all got to go to a wedding for a New York Life agent that we know down in Orange county. They had the reception in their beautiful backyard. It was catered by In-n-Out. That's right there was and In-n-out truck parked in their front yard taking our orders. (It was our kids favorite part:)

Sunday was our ward Christmas program. I enjoyed singing in the chior and Taylor "enjoyed" playing a paino arrangement of Go tell it on the Mountain for the program. I was proud of him because he stressed about it since he wasn't able to practice it as much because he was getting his recital peices ready. He did great anyway:)

Monday I worked very hard to orchestrate the delivering of all the gifts for the Christmas families of the ward. I won't bore you with the details but all I can say it was a logistical nightmare (that's still ongoing at Christmas Eve) but I've already been able to see some of the rewards for our efforts :)

All I will say is that my own holiday desires have had to be ammended. There will be no handmade gifts for all of Jeff's family this year, there was was a scant few plates of goodies passed out and most of the contents were from dough that was obtained at a cookie dough exchange so I couldn't even claim making it. I've had to lower my personal standards just to get through this season but it's OK.

I was starting to understand my Mom's comment growing up that puzzled me at the time. "I like Halloween better than Christmas" she said. "Why!?" I asked. "Because there's no expectations!"

With every plate of cookies that was dropped off at my house and I couldn't reciprocate I could see her point:) But then I realized that we don't need to give gifts or cookies to show that we love people. Show them all year!

So if somehow I missed you this year...know that I love you I'm just at and beyond capacity, that's all :)

So now it's Christmas Eve and I'm off to wrap, do wash, clean the bathrooms that I haven't gotten to in a couple of weeks (I've got to do those), go to the store to get my food assignment ready for tommorrow and oh yeah pack for Utah. We leave tomorrow! Crazy not enough hours but it's all have to happen somehow!

Merry Christmas to everyone!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mystery Santa

I'm having to do a little catch up because I haven't had time to sit at the computer lately.

Last week we had our "Taste of the Holidays" at Mary Ann Bagley's house. Just to give you a taste of her decorating style. This was her dining room table...

Just exquisite! I wish I would've taken a more pictures of her decorations. Her tree looks like it was in a department store and the presents all match! I love seeing her house at Christmas time, it's beautiful.

Well anyway I was met in the kitchen by a mystery Santa.

"Who is it?" People asked me to guess. Well judging by her friends...

I guessed Margarita Pearson. I was right:) It was fun to have her come visit our party and see her again.

There was plenty of people who came and lots of yummy food to sample. I came home full, with a plate of goodies to share with my family and recipes for later.

Saturday was the Little People of America Christmas party.

Since it was raining we spent most of it inside. We came up with stamping cards (which ruined the stamp pads I brought but it kept the kids happy)

Then we had cookie decorating under the patio awning...

Then we had ornament making...

and of course some visits from Santa.

Ashley was sporting the "bed head", "wind blown" and "tousled" look all in one. Actually she just insisted in me not putting all her bangs back and she had them tucked behind her ear that is until 5 minutes after me combing her hair.

Here is Taylor giving his wish list.

Santa doesn't look too sure about having Taylor on his lap :) :)

And he doesn't even try with Jacob.

Waiting for the unwrapping to begin...

Our favorite part!

After our Christmas celebrations this week started out with some home repairs.

Figure A. "The back of our house" being held up by 3 posts that are rotting away because whoever built the room addition that it holds left the bare wood touching the dirt.

It's bugged me for awhile but Jeff wasn't as worried about it until he hung out in the backyard for awhile (cooking Turkey in the turkey fryer) and saw how scary it's starting to look.

Well Tim Williamson happened to be over helping to bring in all the toys for the Christmas families our ward is helping this year. My room now officially looks like a hoarder's next for the time being.

and saw our problem and proposed a way to fix it. Sure enough once he started working he shows me this post that actually was rotted all the way through!

It was only supposed to be holding up the corner of our bedroom!

Let's just say that I'm very glad that he's fixing this for us. I'll feel much better when it's done and I don't have vision of falling to the backyard in our sleep!