Wednesday, December 20, 2006

O Christmas Tree

HOORAY!!!! It's only six days before Christmas and our tree is up!!!

Okay, actually, I put it up Monday night with the boys, so it was up one week before the day. Monday was quite the crazy day and I was so tired by the time I came home that blogging was the last thing on my mind. Want to hear about it? Of course you do.

I started the day by dropping Thomas off at school, then driving to our current residence to drop off Gordon and pick up presents to wrap and cleaning supplies. I had an appointment to meet the carpet cleaners at our new residence at 9:30 and I thought that while they were cleaning the carpets, I'd do a little spot cleaning in the kitchen and bathroom, then wrap gifts. Well, "spot cleaning" turned into a major down-and-dirty deep clean in the upstairs bathroom. I realize it's been about 36 hours since I've finished, but since I'm still annoyed, I'm going to vent. (Feel free to skip to the next paragraph.) Having rented every residence until now, I have always expected that the place I move into will be clean. Although I know there isn't a white glove inspection, I just assumed that the previous owner would leave our new house clean as well. Apparently, the previous owner (a single guy, granted, but still) didn't get the memo. The bathroom was a nightmare! I realize that it is a stereotypical guy thing to not clean your bathroom, but COME ON!! I don't know anyone, man, woman, single, married, old, young, whatever, who is okay with cleaning up someone else's bathroom nastiness. And I'm not just talking about the toilet-- the shower and floor... ugh, it makes me shudder just to remember... let's just say that I'm glad I had rubber gloves. Seriously, I feel like calling the guy up and billing him for my cleaning services. The kitchen also needed a bit of scrubbing, but it wasn't as big of a deal. And a self-cleaning oven sure helps. Okay, I'm done with the rant.

The carpet cleaner did a great job, but I ended up paying him quite a bit more than I had anticipated. Who knew that they charge extra for stairs and hallways? Well, at least it's done and the carpet looks really good.

By the time I got home, I was a little sore and kind of grumpy. I rested for a little bit, then tried to pack a few things while the boys unpacked as much as they could. I don't know why, but things seem to be much more interesting to them when they are in a box instead of on a shelf.

Later that night, when Chris was at work, the boys and I went to Smith's to pick up a few gifts and a tree. Unfortunately, there were only three trees left-- and all too big for me to manage by myself. I was pretty bent on getting a tree, so I felt very disappointed. I called Chris, trying not to cry, and genius that he is, he suggested going to the Home Depot. After we bought our groceries, we headed over to the HD and sure enough, several great looking trees lined the parking lot. It was dark and I put Gordon in the cart and Thomas ran excitedly ahead. He wasn't paying attention to his feet, though, because suddenly-- SMACK-- he tripped on a curb and fell face-down into the little parking lot divider. He screamed immediately, of course, so I ran over and hugged him, trying to whisper to him to get him to calm down. We hugged for a little bit, and when I pulled back, I saw it-- blood, gushing out of his little nose!

"Is it blood?" Thomas cried, though I'm sure he could tell.

"Yes," I said, and we hurried to the car to get some tissues.

"Am I going to die?" he asked, and I tried not to laugh. Poor little guy. I told him that no, he wasn't going to die, we were just going to go into the store and go in the bathroom to clean up. Which we promptly did. As we were cleaning up Tom, Gordon had to investigate the lovely public restroom. They both got several washings.

Finally, with both children calm and clean, we went to the garden center and picked out a cute little tree. When it was paid for and loaded into our car, we drove over to the new house to put it up. The carpets were still a tiny bit damp, but I didn't care-- I was putting up that tree!!! It took a while to get it up, the lights and the ornaments on, but it looked so pretty and Christmas-y when I was finished that it was worth it. And driving away from the house, all the lights off except the lights of the tree in the front window, I felt tired, but happy. Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Hale Family

I had to post this picture of Jon, Emily and tiny little Abby-- it's one of those pictures that just captures a beautiful moment so well.

* Picture by Marilyn Hansen, proud Grammuh!

A Star is born!

Abigail Ida Hale
was born Sunday, December 17th
to Emily and Jon Hale

(Emily is Chris's sister living in Ft. Collins, CO)


* I have to note how cute Chris was while we were waiting to hear the news. Emily is his youngest sibling and he was really excited about her baby. He probably drove his mom crazy (she is in Ft. Collins helping) with his frequent phone calls! Every baby's birth is special, but I think this one was especially meaningful for Chris. We're so thrilled for Emily and Jon and their perfect little Christmas present!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Gingerbread Houses

I'll be honest: I can't even remember the last time I made a gingerbread house. Not that I don't think it's fantastic fun, I just haven't had the opportunity to do it for a really long time, and the last time I did, I'm sure it was with graham crackers. So, when my friend Karin invited Thomas and me to her house to make real gingerbread houses, we certainly couldn't refuse her offer! My other friend, Melissa, and her twins Miles and Zipporah came as well and we had a great time!

I actually got a great shot of all three kids before we started decorating the houses! They were all so excited-- especially because Karin advised them to eat as much candy as they wanted!

Melissa and Karin helping Zipporah and Miles put their houses together
Zipporah was the most creative of the kids
I helped Tom with the frosting--
he didn't want to do any of the hard work!
Against our advice, Thomas tried the frosting. He didn't like it.

  Posted by Picasa
And here's the finished product! We'll definitely have to add making gingerbread houses to our Christmas traditions.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas Traditions

Kristine asked a while ago about our Christmas traditions, so I thought I'd finally post about them now. Traditions are what makes Christmas such a fun time of year! I'd like to know what yours are as well, so everyone who reads this, please blog about your own traditions. Maybe we'll find some of each other's that we want to adopt.

So, here are some of our more unique traditions:

1. Annual Ornaments
For as long as we've been married, Chris and I purchase one new ornament each year to hang on our tree. I love this tradition-- especially since we're celebrating our 9th Christmas togeter, it's so much fun to look back at all of the ornaments we've collected over the years. These little objects have such great memories associated with them!

In addition, since Tom's birth, we and both sets of grandparents have given the kids ornaments each year. With three new ornaments a year, Tom's collection has already surpassed ours! The fun part about this tradition is that the boys get really excited about their own ornaments as part of the family tree. Then, when they are ready to move out on their own, they'll have a whole bunch of great ornaments to take with them.

This year, we bought a cute moose ornament while we were in Jackson Hole in June. I'll post a picture of it as soon as we get the tree up (TUESDAY!!!).

2. The Newsletter
First of all, let me express my sincere gratitude for all of the people who still send Christmas cards! I don't know why some people feel like cards are a thing of the past. I love Christmas cards and I intend to continue sending them until... well, I'll send them forever.

Every year with our card, I also send a family newsletter. My newsletter seems to get more and more elaborate each year, but what can I do? I really do enjoy putting them together! Here's ours for this year, in a newspaper style:

3. Christmas CD
For the last couple of years, I've made a Christmas compilation CD for my siblings. This year's included a funny techno Jingle Bells, some jazzy Dave Brubeck, and a couple of songs from James Taylor's Christmas Album. By the way, this album is great-- it has a really good version of "Go Tell it on the Mountain" that Thomas loves. It's way too cute when he sings along!

This year, Chris also made a CD for his siblings, a cool jazz mix. This is a fun tradition that I think we'll continue as long as we can find Christmas music to share.

4. Scrapbook
I decided to start a new tradition this year and make a Christmas scrapbook. I am making pages with descriptions of our ornaments, and pictures and memories from previous years. In future years, I plan to make one page per year to put in the book so that we will be able to remember all of our fun holidays. We always have so much fun in December, and I want to be able to look back and remember each year individually.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

It's Official

We're home owners! We closed on our new house today-- a few days early, but we're glad to get it done. Now all we have to do is pack up our townhouse and move! I wish it were that easy. Well, at least we should be in before Christmas. I plan to get a tree next week. :)

Here's the first casualty of our move-- my ficus tree. I've had this little tree for a long time-- I inherited it from my grandparents when they moved out of their home to travel-- before I graduated from high school. Since then, we've moved it with us to every apartment. I'll admit, it looks a little rough-- missing leaves, bent branches. Chris dubbed it a "renter's ficus", so we decided that it won't be joining us in our new home. I had to pose with it one last time.

And here are two of the worlds cutest boys!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Fun Saturday

On Saturday, I drove down to Salt Lake and met my mom, who had been there that week for a science teacher's conference. We drove over to the Gateway and met Caitlan and Ann-Michelle there for our regular shopping day. We love the Gateway and had a fun time shopping at the great stores. I actually got some Christmas shopping done!

We ate a late lunch/early dinner at Thaifoon at the Gateway. It was so tasty and we all helped Caitlan hit on our poor waiter. We had a great time!

After we finished at the Gateway, I met up with my awesome roommate from BYU, Amy, and her husband, Chad, at Hires. I haven't seen Amy and Chad for more than four years, so it was so great to see them and catch up! They are such fun people-- if you read this, thanks again for a great evening! You guys are the best!

I went back to Logan late Saturday night to find all three boys sick with colds. Today we're all dragging a bit, so hopefully we'll get well soon! Despite being sick, I did have a great weekend!

Sourdough Pancakes

I had to post a few pictures of the boys (complete with bed head!) enjoying some homemade sourdough pancakes on Saturday morning. Chris and I are "babysitting" my grandparents' sourdough starter while they are in South America for the winter. This starter is quite old and Nonny usually carries it with her when she travels, but had to leave it behind because of the liquid restrictions on airplanes. So, we've been charged to take care of it-- which means using and feeding it on a very regular basis. We're glad that Nonny and Bob trusted us to take care of their "baby"!

Ward Christmas Party

On Friday evening, we went to our ward's Christmas Party at the church. The food was catered by Firehouse Pizzaria and it was quite tasty! I love it when the only food items contributed by ward members are the treats. :) Aside from the usual socializing, we also sang a few carols and watched some of the primary kids put on a Nativity play. Very cute. After dinner, Santa Claus came and met with all the kids. It was a pretty fun party.

Here's Thomas and his best friend in our ward, Taylor. These two are too cute-- we live in the same area and about twice a week, one of them will take a hand-written note over to the other's house. They are both in kindergarten, so the only things legible in the notes are their names, but I think it's quite adorable how they enjoy their friendship.

My good friends Melissa (with baby Parker) and Karin.

The boys with Santa-- you can see how thrilled they were about this moment! Gordon was mostly interested in the candy canes, and even though Thomas didn't sit on Santa's lap, he was sure to mention that he wants "Air Hockey" for Christmas.

Friday, December 08, 2006

A new House for Christmas!

Well, I'm ready to announce to the blogging world our big news: we're buying our first house! We've actually been working on this little project for a few weeks now, but I haven't wanted to say anything in case things fell through. Now that the appraisal, inspection, and loan approval are done, I feel like I can announce with a surety that we're actually moving. We plan to close on the 18th, so we'll move in that week. It's a little crazy that we're doing this the week before Christmas!

Here's our new home-- a very cute 3 bed/ 2 bath house in SW Logan. We love it and we're excited to make it our own. I can't imagine a better Christmas present!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Reading and Eating

Tonight we had our December book club meeting. We read two children's books-- Pigs at Christmas by Arlene Dubanevich (sorry, it's out of print-- but check your local library or because this book is awesome!) and The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey. These are both great books and our meeting was so fun! We each brought a yummy treat-- we had peanut brittle, chocolates, cream puffs, apples with tasty dip, and these really good fried things that I can't remember their name. There's nothing better than celebrating Christmas with some wonderful books, delicious food, and of course, some of the world's most awesome ladies!

Top Row L to R: Marie, Karin (with sweet baby Everett), Alissa, Cindy
Bottom Row: Elise, Sara, Melissa, Susan

'Tis the Season!

I can't believe that six whole days of December have already passed and this is my first post of the month! It's already turning out to be a busy season!

So, let's see... last weekend Chris went to the Jazz game with my Dad and the Todds (my two bros-in-law, both named Todd). They had a great time. The Jazz are playing really well this year, so it's been fun for the guys to get into the games. While the boys enjoyed their guys night out, I stayed home with the little guys, ordered pizza and just hung out. It was kind of nice to have a low-key weekend.

Today I was amazed, as I have been for the past few weeks, at the number of catalogs in my mailbox! How did they get my name anyway? Not that I really mind-- it's been fun to look through them and find possible gifts for those on my list this year. Is it weird that I took a picture of my catalogs?
I have not really started Christmas shopping and the "Last Chance" catalogs are starting to make me think I ought to get on the ball.

While looking through said catalogs, I came across this ad and had to smile. Wrap him up? Sundance would have their best sales year ever! ;)