Friday, November 27, 2009

The Crocheted Christmas, Hat

My three younger children have no memory of their Great-Grandma. We lived in her basement apartment for the first six years of our marriage, and it was a great blessing to us.

She was an expert crocheter (is that a word?). One year she crocheted a beautiful Christmas village out of crochet cotton. She also crocheted for us a Christmas tree. She recommended that we decorate it with mini ornaments and beads and things, which we never did, but we use that tree every year. It sits there amongst our other decorations with a cone underneath to give it structure.

My children's favorite thing to do with the tree is to remove the cone and use it as a hat. We had a big enough break in our family, that for a few years, the tree was only a tree. The younger ones had never experienced the tree-as-hat. And yet, with no prompting and having never seen it done, when they reached a certain age, the tree ended up on their heads just as it had with their older siblings.

Every one of my six children have danced and sung and played in that Christmas tree. Today we decorated and as we opened the totes and were reunited with our favorite Christmasy things, the hat ended up on Girlie-Whirls head, just as it did last year and the year before that. And I spent a sweet moment walking down memory lane with my Grandma.

Friday, November 20, 2009


I listened to Christmas music yesterday. Now I'm all excited for the holidays and so, I gathered my younger children around for a family counsel on Christmas. I asked each of them which Christmas traditions are important to them. We made a list so that we wouldn't get to the end of the holidays and realize we'd missed some of our favorite things.

Here are my three youngests lists.

Bikey-Boy (14 years old) wants to go to that church that has all the Nativities (Creches and Carols), wants to visit Grandma and Grandpa in Nauvoo, hopes to find a nice holiday concert to attend (probably for extra credit in his choir class), and it was important to him that we have pie on Christmas day.

Banana-Girl (11 years old) wants to decorate the Christmas tree while listening to the Amy Grant Christmas CD, go see that house with the amazing amount of lights that blink in time with music playing on their own radio station, do an advent calendar, and watch the movies, It's A Wonderful Life and White Christmas.

Girlie-Whirl (6 years old) wants to make sure that we leave cookies and milk for Santa along with nine carrots for the reindeer (we spent some time over the appropriate number of carrots, wanting to ensure that Rudolph wasn't left out). Make gingerbread girls (not men). She said it's important to her that we have three trees, "The one in the family room, the one in there (pointing to the living room) that we sleep under (a standard Christmas tradition in our home), and the little one upstairs." And lastly, she wanted to do that thing where she dresses up as angel and we act it out. "But this time I kind of want to be Mary."

As we talked we decided that the following traditions were also crucial to our Christmas: making it a month of meaningful service (still working out the details on this one), cutting out lots of snow flakes, reading Christmas Stories and singing Christmas carols (we try to do this every night through December), making homemade gifts for each other, delivering treats to neighbors, and last, but certainly not least, making candy canes with family and friends.

I've barely started Christmas shopping, but who cares? I'm cutting back this year. Oh, we'll still do presents, and probably a bit more than we should, but it's going to be all about the family council list. The challenge will be to resist, resist, resist everytime I want to spend more, make it bigger, pay attention to all of the material stuff that constantly bombards us all, especially this time of year. The focus is going to be, and I'm completely determined about this regardless of how pitiful I've been in the past, the Savior, serving, and family.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Politics. Just This Once.

I'm a political junkie. I can't go to bed each night without finding out what happened politically in the country that day.

I've purposely stayed away from all things political on my blog. Politics is not what my blog is about; it's about my family and my life. But I'm not so sure that my life isn't being ripped out of my hands by the political winds in this great nation of ours. So, I'm going to make an exception this once and go political.

If that bothers you, feel free to leave now and know that when you check back next time you will find, once again, only the literary mutterings of a mom.

This is a link to a video (about 8 minutes long) that played yesterday on The Fox News channel. I would embed the video here, but I don't know how and my efforts to figure it out have been in vain, so this will have to suffice.

If you're a political junkie like me, you're already well aware of the things on this video. If not, I urge you to watch it. We have to know there's a problem before we can begin to fix it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I came back from a run this morning, tired, stiff, stinky, and cold. Lot's to do today and so I jumped in the shower.

As I washed away the grime, I took a moment to savor. The hot water relaxing my tired muscles, the smell of my Refreshing Tangerine shampoo (Suave. I'm very high end), the water enveloping me in warmth and chasing away the chill. Nothing. And I realized how rare a thing I was experiencing. Showers are so commonplace for us that we don't give them a thought. For most of man's history, however, turning a knob and standing under hot running water was not only an impossibility, it was simply unimaginable. Even today, there are millions of people who will never know the joy of of standing under a steady spray of warm water.

And so, in this month of gratitude, I am grateful for my shower. Amongst the hard water deposits and clutter of bottles, it's a beautiful thing.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Shameful Plug

This post is for the purpose of winning. Yup, blatant and shameful and completely self serving!

Annette over at The Lyon's Tale has a contest this week. I discovered her blog a few months back and discovered she was an author I had already read. A pleasant surprise.

There are two of her books, however that I have not read and that I will purchase soon.
1. There, Their, They're: A No-Tears Guide to Grammar from the Word Nerd. Word books are hysterical and I'm looking forward to reading this one.
2. Her Chocolate cookbook that is yet to be released. After reading about her adventures creating it, it's a must have in my book.

Check her out. You'll be glad you did.

(Wow, did you notice that I linked to her blog or book three times! Impressive wouldn't ya say?)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Smile!!! -- yeah, right!

My family is not normal.

When a camera is shoved in their face and the words, "Say cheese!" are uttered, most people tend to do what they can to look their best. Not at my house. A camera is seen as an opportunity to pull faces. This family tradition started with Hubders in college -- his friends literally competed to see how offbeat they could get their student ID pictures to look. There actually was an art to it -- too strange, and they make you take another picture. But I digress.

Last night, when it was time for family prayer, I found Hubders and Banana-Girl talking and laughing on the stairs. There was nothing profound or unusual about this, but I love the relationship that my man has with our children and wanted to document the simple, sweet moment with a photo. I turned on the camera, walked up a few steps and snapped a picture:

Not quite what I was hoping for, so I tried again.

Love Hubders smile, but can I get a normal look from both of you, please?

After this shot, which is by far the worst of the three,
I specifically asked Banana-Girl to smile.

She did, and I gave up, knowing that having a fun dad
is infinitely better than a getting a good photo.

Monday, November 2, 2009


I'm a victim of an over zealous love for food, and it's starting to show. My spare tire is growing and I'm not going to buy any bigger size clothing. Something's gotta give!

I know how to lose weight, done it before--sixty pounds even. Thirty of it found me again, pretty depressing, but I keep reminding myself that thirty of those pounds have been gone for four years now, better than nothing!

Here's the game plan: Keep a food journal (yuck!), exercise daily (I like this one, but that doesn't mean I'm doing it often enough), find substitutes foods that satisfy my cravings but are kinder to my fat stores than the ones I am currently consuming (this one takes time and energy and who has THAT?), assert portion control (chortle!!), and quit grazing in the kitchen (yeah, right!).

I want to lose weight, to fit better into my clothes, to stop catching glimpses of myself in mirrors and thinking, "Who is that fat lady?" But I don't want it enough right now. I can't seem to summon up enough self control to do the right things for longer than a day or two (okay, so maybe it's actually more like an hour or two). Whimper.

When things are not going well, we have two choices, we can get discouraged, or we can get determined. That's what my weight watcher leader taught me. But I've chosen a third option. I'm ignoring it all while I eat few more pieces of Halloween candy.

Can someone please fedex me some will power?