Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas week ...reader's digest version

Getting ready for the new's getting closer...

now that Christmas is over I have a couple minutes to recap.

The reader's digest version of the last couple weeks.

The Saturday before Christmas was the kid's piano recital.

All 3 of them did wonderful! We were so proud!

Taylor was the finale but Jacob was right before him ahead of other students older than him. 

(they are always excited to see where they are in the line up depending on how advanced their song is)

I always hear them practicing but it always amazes me to sit there and watch their hands fly across those keys, it always amazes me!!

That night we celebrated Steve's 50th birthday 

Our contribution was lots of homemade waffle cones...

Tahna had food for us and our favorite was the funny memories and stories of Steve over the last ...50 years.... including a bad perm...

a stint in a homemade band...and lots of other funnies...

on the way home we got Jeff to tell the kids some of his own stories...

Tell us more....

Once the kids were out of school and I finally had an oven I thought I'd better get going on my Christmas baking. 

I busted out tons of cookies thanks to our Christmas cookie dough exchange.... with our dough exchange we are supposed to bring 24 cookies for each person

...funny to see different people's version of the size of a cookie...

Got all our plates delivered.... and even got some people who gave back to us...

(we're just now trying to help clear out the last of the Christmas goodies)

This week we also sold all of the chinchillas...they all have homes just in time for Christmas....

I think Chimi is wondering where her babies are because she keeps flipping over the box where they used to sleep.

What a good chinchilla owner.

Since Taylor doesn't have a job yet the sales of the chinchillas minus tithing and food money is his to keep since he does 90% of the work. He liked that. 

All week the kids have had colds...for the first 3 days of the break Taylor just wanted to lay around....blowing his nose results in his yearly nose bleeds. 

One day he had 8 of them and now all our trash cans look like this....

Wednesday night we got to go to a Hanukkah Party at the Trupp's house.

We had a traditional breakfast including latkas, eggs and such and then heard a story about Hanukkah, sang some songs and each family got to light their own menorah and then eat goodies.  

It was fascinating and fun to learn about our friend's religion more. 

The night before Christmas Eve we made it down to the Mission Inn to see the lights.

We've missed the last couple of years so it was nice to go back. The crowds were thick so we were happy just walking around the outside of the Mission Inn. It was fun and got us in a nice festive spirit. 

The kids got these light up finger toys...and also played around with the other light up toys...

We had fresh donuts and hot chocolate on the back side of the Mission Inn.

The donuts were absolutely yummy....and we laughed at how these guys looked pretty freaky from our view. 

On Christmas Eve day we went and saw Sherlock Holmes with a couple of cousins...great movie,

got some goodies dropped off from the neighbors and that night

we had our yearly Christmas family home evening and

the kids got to open their new pair of pajamas. 

The next morning we got up by 6:15 to do a quickie Christmas because we had 9:00 church to get to.

Stockings first!! 

Maddie was nosing through the stockings wondering where hers was....luckily we didn't forget her.

It was on her list....

Skates...hopefully he won't outgrow these for a while.

Beef  Jerkey...there was also the i-pod he wanted in there. 

(He ended up eating a large bag in 2 days! Crazy kid)

The kids were happy...we ended up having a few more presents left that we held off opening until after church. 

The presents that the kids bought for each other were favorites!  Love you brother!! 

Taylor did a gag gift and pretended like he gave Jacob the movie that he hated and hid in the bathroom for the whole time. (we actually just rented it)

Happy Day!

Church was a program of music and readings. I loved it!

That night we went to Steve and Tahna's to celebrate as a family. 

We ate together and sang songs...including these three singing together with no warning... :)  they did great.

We also went around and shared stories of giving and serving during the Christmas season. I loved it!

Then each family took a turn opening their presents. I loved that when Cayden was opening his present...

Grandpa was right their making sure the wrapping paper never hit the ground...hee hee hee.

Beaulieu's got a Wii...and we all got lots of fun surprises...

I have to say that Steve and Tahna got the biggest surprise of all...from their daughter and son-in-law.

I think surprises are the funnest part of Christmas ;)

We got a couple of games in before we went too. 

Jeff's surprise to me this year was a Kitchenaide mixer!  I wasn't even asking for it but I was so happy that he thought to give it to me. 

I used it on Tuesday because Jacob insisted that I made donuts with our new donut maker. 

So I made them...

He ate a couple...I ate a couple....the dog ate one off Ashley's plate and that was it. 

I have this many donuts left...

a mess on the counter...and more stuff for me to eat that I really shouldn't.  :)

The last highlight of the Holiday week was seeing Wicked with all of Jeff's office staff, Steve and Tahna their friend and his kids out from Nebraska. 

20 of us all met to watch Wicked at the Pantagas theater. It was great the only bad thing is they don't let you take pictures...

Here's a picture of us at dinner before with some of Jeff's agents. 

TGIF and 2 for $20.00 meals...our favorite :)

And speaking of Wizard of Oz....

I had to come up with a munchin costume earlier that day. 

We got an e-mail the day before for a casting call for a dwarf that is needed for a super bowl commercial. Jeff met the we thought "why not?"

Then we found out he needed a munchin costume. 

Well I went to 5 stores to try and pull something together...though it looks pretty much like an elf costume as well. 

He would not let me take a picture with him in it...this is as much as your getting ;)

He said the audition went fair....

we haven't heard anything yet. He said they asked him to do a lot of facial expressions and act like a munchin and stuff...he came right from work and wan't in the mood, and hadn't practiced it but hey he gave it a try. 

I asked him how the costume worked out. 

He said good except he wished I had done something with the fly of the shorts. 

I completely forgot that the shorts were actually boxer shorts and I hadn't thought to sew up the fly so they kept popping open when he sat down!! How embarrassing!

Sorry honey!!!

I guess we have a story for you for your 50th birthday party. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Have yourself a Merry dented Christmas

Anyone else feel like their Christmas season is a little like this??

Somehow every year we feel pressure to "feel" a certain way to celebrate a certain way, continue in traditions and gift giving and creating what is often some unattainable perfect Christmas season.

The reality is more like my 1/2 rescued Christmas bulb, on the tree for a bit then grabbed by the dog dented and punctured with holes...

It started off well enough. The first couple days after the Thanksgiving break we played 1/2 day hookie to use our Disneyland passes we got in the summer right before they expired.

We started off our celebrating with an idyllic Disney Day

It helps when everything is decorated perfect the weather is good and the crowds are light.

We were thrilled that Ashley is tall enough to go on a majority of the rides and Jacob is tall enough to go on California screaming...he had been talking about going on his first "loop" roller coaster for weeks. 

Space Mountain is the new family favorite. Notice Jeff  screaming in the back, Jacob excavating his nose, Taylor blocking my view (I can't see anyway) and me being the extra seatbelt for Ashley. (I pretty much try and hold on to her on the rides just in case ;)

Downhill a bit from there,

Jacob wasn't brave enough to go on California Screaming...Ashley didn't want to do anything with Tower of we wait for Jeff and Taylor....Ashley and Jacob both would rather sit there than go on the Merry Go Round in the background because "its too babyish"...

During the day we took a little break in the Golden Coral. We actually read a good review on it and hadn't ever really been in there. We watched a little show...

the kids were not sure when it started out with singing...I got glares and "can we go now!" until the mayor's "daughter" came out. It picked up from there and ended up being really cute. 

Later in the night Ashley decided to try Tower of Terror. 

We were so proud of her!

(I have to admit a little bribery was involved)

Here is the proof....Jeff was acting like the human seat belt this time...Ashley ended up loving it!

That night we attempted to see the World of Color show. We had to go over to California Adventure early in the day and get fast passes for it, stake out a spot an hour before the show and then when the show started we weren't thinking it was very impressive. Water was spouting and there was sound but nothing else was happening. We kept standing up thinking we just couldn't see. We thought "this isn't very good! What's all the hype about??"

Come to find out there was a problem and it wasn't working right. We waited for about 20 to 25 minutes as they tried to fix it but we were tired and started to leave. They ended up starting it again and it worked right as we were walking away. We stood at the back for a few minutes...what I saw was impressive! We'll have to try again another time.  

The day after Disneyland everyone woke up tired and cranky, off to seminary and school after staying up too late the night before doesn't help. 

OH yeah the oven quit that day too....not too surprising though after the oven fire :(

Had a repair guy come out to see if it was worth fixing. Five minutes and $76.50 later we found out it wasn't.  We spent $400 on it 2 years ago...the warranty is up after a year...the same bare bones model in the store is now $650....that was some expensive turkey. 

This month has been a lesson in creative cooking...microwave, crock pot and stove top. I've done not one but 2 Christmas cookie dough exchanges....can't cook any of them. My freezer is full of dough though just waiting to be cooked.

Oh take that back...we've found that we can put 5 at a time in the toaster oven, even though it takes longer to cook them that way. We wait 20 to 25 minutes and then we pass out 1 cookie each (probably not a bad thing). One night I made mini- homemade pizzas in it...I let the kids watch TV for that dinner because only one pizza would finish at a time and they would only get a little slice or basically it feels like I've been trying to feed our family out of an EZ-bake oven!

Had to go to someone else's house to bake my offering for our church Christmas party...good thing it was already during an ugly sweater party...bad thing Jeff was home with a migraine so I went solo. 

What is it about the holiday and getting sick??  Everyone except me (cross my fingers) has been sick off and on for the last 3 weeks. Fevers and coughs and colds pretty much...Everyone has been home sick at least one day in the last couple of weeks...some more than once. No body is super horrible but they just don't want to do anything unless they HAVE to. We've missed parties, get togethers, awards nights at school and haven't done ANY of the Christmas things I planned! 

Oh and Taylor's leg has been really bugging him again :(
He missed more school to go to the doctor's to find out he needs to go back on crutches and get an MRI to find out why it's not healing. 

He was not happy to hear the final outcome from the doctor "Track is out for this year" (he was actually hoping to start training again for the season coming up)
Disappointing to say the least.

Oh and I got a jury duty summons... set for the day after Christmas. 

Lucky me.

(I postponed it for the beginning of January)

I found this in Ashley's bed. Thinking it looked suspicious I put it in a baggie and 
called out my Western Exterminator guy the next day to see what exactly it was.  

It's termite droppings!

Great...just got the house treated for termites...but of course we didn't tent like they told us we should. We only had it spot treated and we used some guy instead of Western :(

Another day to get a termite inspector out and we're both watching for more evidence of termites for the next 2 weeks.

And, I would like to ask WHY the schools feel the need to assign big projects due the week before we are off for Christmas break???!!!

We've been working for the last 2 weeks on Ashley's Indian project right in the middle of craziness, band concerts, dentist appointments to drill her teeth, parties and of course normal life. The day before this was due we spent all afternoon driving to craft stores to get the right modeling clay to finish it.

They didn't have black in the multi-pack for the Indian's we made their hair with white and just colored it in with magic marker...I assured Ashley it was fine (even though she was not too sure about it). 

Right after I picked up Ashley after her class party on Friday she said her science project is due as soon as we get back to school. So now we're supposed to be doing a science project too!!!????   :(

Some good things....

We got to go to the fire station right next door to Jeff's office and see the ribbon cutting for the new dog training park for the police and rescue dogs.  (Here is Blue the rescue dog)

After the speeches we saw some really cool demonstrations for rescue dogs, drug sniffers and attack dogs. 

This year I took an idea of pinterest and did the 12 days of Christmas for my out of state families. 

I was good about mailing the stuff out on time...but it's a week before Christmas and I've only had the time and energy to read 1 of the stories to my own family :(

We have had the opportunity to "help" someone be an elf for a 12 days of Christmas delivery. There is a lady in the ward who is getting gifts delivered by her friend each night. She is too old to ding-dong-ditch and doesn't want to have her voice recognized on the phone so we get to call each night and tell her to check her doorstep.  So we get to be part of the fun without having to go anywhere.

Ohh I think adding to the craziness is the fact that I was trying to be more proactive in selling my jewelry this year. So not only did I spend more time making it I was bringing it to places to sell, taking personal orders and meeting people who decided they wanted to buy stuff. Nice to have a bit of extra money (to help pay for the stove) but adds to the busyness for sure. 

One Sunday afternoon I was cooking and getting ready for the missionaries to come (couldn't make the enchiladas that I planned for since the stove wasn't working) Ashley made Christmas cookie shaped "crackers" in the toaster oven. 

She brought them upstairs to bring to the boys to try. She didn't tell them she made them (she knew they wouldn't try them otherwise) and they said they were good. 

Thats the closest things to sugar cookies they are getting.

One crazy Saturday we had the Little People of America party.

We left our house at 9:30 to set up and get ready and then got home at 3:30 in time to get ready for that night's ward Christmas party. 

Taylor stayed home sick that day. 

Ashley got to sit on Santa's lap (she didn't want to wear anything Christmasy and I was too tired to fight her on it)

The upside was it's always fun to reconnect with the LPA people.

The down side is we have determined it's like running a ward party on your own. Unlike church functions people are pretty happy to watch you run things alone and clean up around them as they relax. Joanna and I had a meeting and tried to get some parents to help volunteer in the future and we were happy to finally get some people to say they would so we have plans to meet with some of them after the new year.

Jacob (also in his non-Christmas outfit) is sitting on Santa's lap. I was surprised that Santa could lift him. 
Once he was on his lap he started stroking Santa's beard. 

He asked Jacob what he wanted for Christmas. 

"I want a beard like yours"

Santa said it would be a few years before he could have that. 

That night we were at the ward party. 

I'm sure you could imagine how thrilled the boys were with having to dress up.

Try as we might we couldn't get the head stuff on the boys but Jeff, Ashley and I were good sports.

I served desserts while everyone was eating. I was so grateful for Jeff coming to give me a break at the end so I could eat too. 

It had been a very long day and I was getting a little cranky at the adults that were giving me a hard time about only being able to choose ONE dessert until everyone had gotten one. (REALLY? none of the kids had a hard time with it :)

Everyone who put on the "Christmas in Bethlehem" party did an amazing job!

The boys complained about not feeling good so Jeff brought them home. 

I was very happy to stay with Ashley for the program. They did a great job. 

I loved hearing everyone's singing including Ashley with the primary kids and the Bishopric singing "We 3 Kings"   The program got me more in the Christmas mood.

Despite all the setbacks, disappointing highs and lows my stressed out grinchy mood was helped by trying to serve others this week. I didn't get much of my "typical" Christmas stuff done, shopping, wrapping, preparing and of course baking all was not done but I got nice visiting teaching visits in and went and did some baby holding for my friend who had triplets. 

I have to admit I went to my first visiting teaching appointment stressing, with my to-do list on the brain. I drove away finally feeling the peace we all look for. I have to say nothing bothered me the rest of the day. My friend told me the best way to get the spirit back in your life is to do your visiting teaching :) I think I have to agree.

And finally a Christmas Miracle....

I posted my oven woes on facebook and someone in our stake e-mailed me saying her father worked for Whirlpool and I could get a new oven through their friends and family website at a discount. We saved a little over $200 and I even drove down to the warehouse to pick it up to save the $70.00 delivery fee.

They laughed at me when I showed up with my mini-van in a shipping yard full of 18 wheelers but it fit just fine and I brought it home safe and sound. They even first told me they couldn't help me load it up but the supervisor recognized me from the elementary school and helped me load it up anyway (come to find out his daughter is in Ashley's class at school) Another example of volunteering giving dividends :) Unwanted Christmas Miracle....

Every year I try and buy one thing for Jeff that I know he would use but won't buy for himself. He always wears sunglasses but has been sporting a nasty $5.00 pair because he couldn't stomach paying for the expensive "Maui Jim" brand ones that he really wanted. 

Sweet! I had my idea for his gift for Christmas. I got them in the mail. The next day we pulled out the old oven and lookie lookie here....

We found a pair of Jeff's sunglasses that have been missing from 6 months to a year ago. 

I wiped off the fire-extinquisher powder to read "Maui Jim" 

He was excited. 

I was not :(

There goes my Christmas surprise!

I knew he would not be happy having me spend the money on a duplicate pair so I had to fess up and have him help me return them....on to plan B for Christmas...

The upside is I know someday I'll laugh about all of this...