Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Memories...Intangible Gifts

I usually create a list each year of gifts that I want. I will admit it I am a pretty selfish person and love presents! Maybe selfish isn’t the right word…greedy? Jared’s mom likes to get lists in PowerPoint and I have had fun the past few years putting a PowerPoint together with the items I want and links to places to purchase said items. This year came and while there are always things I want I didn’t put a list together.

I’ve been reflecting on the reason for not putting a list together (which apparently made things hard for some people to shop for me). Reason number one, I have less time to think about myself since having Benjamin. Reason number two, I have a lot of stuff already. Reason number three, I feel like I’ve been blessed with so much lately that I don’t need anything.

Point in case: I have Benjamin who is all the gift I need. My brother Ed called this weekend and said he is coming up with his family for Christmas. While neither are tangible gifts or wrapped in a bow under the tree…they are gifts to me. I have a loving husband who adores me and I him. I am healthy and strong. I have a roof over my head. The list goes on.

Jared and I were discussing my lack of a desire to create a Christmas wish list and I told him I don’t need anything. He said he wanted to be sure I was disappointed on Christmas which makes sense because historically I’ve been let down when I haven’t gotten something. But I told him I am so blessed and feel no need for anything more.

Merry Christmas (aka Sickmas)

On Christmas Eve Benjamin started to develop a fever and a runny nose. We figured after talking with a few people that he must be teething. We don't really feel anything in his mouth though. Jared says it feels rougher than normal on the bottom but I can't make anything out. Benjamin's drooling as also gone through the roof. So again I'm pretty sure he is teething. Anyways he wasn't too fussy so we figured he must be feeling okay. Christmas Eve night that proved to be wrong. He woke up a ton! We were awake from about 1:30am to 3:30am. We watched some TV before finally going back to sleep.

Christmas morning came and we took it pretty casually. Jared took Benjamin downstairs to play while I got a little more sleep. Then we gave Benjamin a bath to try and make him happier. Which always works until you take him out of the bath. Eventually we all got dressed in our new PJ's I made and opened presents. We really enjoyed watching Benjamin play with the wrapping paper and his new toys.

We hung out had breakfast and introduced apples to Benjamin. He liked them. Benjamin proved to be a cranky boy until we got to Jared's parents house. There he had plenty of things to look at and play with.

We eventually headed home which was a not a moment too soon. I was starting to feel really sick and barely made it home in time. Benjamin wasn't feeling too great either. Both of us wanted our mommies. It was an incredibly long night. I remember asking Jared what time was it and he answered you don't want to know. We finally got some sleep after 4am and we've been napping all day long. And it looks like Jared is up next for being sick.
We really did have a wonderful Christmas. Benjamin is such a joy to have in our home.
P.S. This has taken me well over 12 hours to write. And Jared is now definetly sick.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Memories...Spritz and Curlers

I remember when I was pretty young going to my Aunt Linda’s for Christmas. Her house was pretty big so it was great for family parties as there was plenty of room for the food, presents, kids to play and adults to socialize. Aunt Linda and Aunt Carolyn would help us kids make spritz cookies in the back. It was always fun to have fresh baked cookies. I just remember lots of green sugar crystals. I vaguely recall green dough too.

One of the years at Aunt Linda’s someone got curler’s I believe and Ed decided to get his hair curled. It was pretty funny.

I really am enjoying writing out memories and forcing my brain to recall things.

Christmas Memories...Just Moved

When I got my first apartment it was right about Christmas time when I moved in. I of course didn’t have a tree yet so I had to buy one. Jared and I found me a cute little one to use. It was perfect to fit on top of my little coffee table I had recently acquired. It was pre-lit with colored lights. I covered it with the ornaments I had and bought some purple ones to add to it. Once it was in place I felt a lot better about having Christmas on my own.

But I wasn’t really on my own. Jared invited me to hang out with his family since I wasn’t going to my mom’s house or going to my Aunt’s. It was a nice Christmas but a little strange since it was my first one on my own.

Christmas Memories...Lights

My dad loved to take us to see the Christmas lights! I remember for several years my dad would take me out to see the lights of people’s houses decorated. There was one street in particular in Snohomish we had to always hit. There was a house that always went all out. It was crazy how much they had decorated. There were lights all over the house, the yard and the trees. They had a Santa and reindeer suspended in the sky. I couldn’t take it all in because there was so much to see. It’s a tradition that I wish still happened but we live pretty far apart now. But when I see Christmas lights at night while driving down the road I do think of my trips to look at lights with my dad.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pivoting...not Crawling

Benjamin is close to crawling. He does a pivoting thing now. He will be sitting move to the crawling position and then sit down in a different spot. He is then able to get around to things. So yesterday I placed him facing the Christmas tree while I cleaned. I came back a few minutes later and found him in front the tree ready to play with it.

The Moral of the Story is...

Don't chase your husband because you will lose!

Last night I was sitting at the computer with Benjamin on the counter and Jared across from me. Jared was eating some chips that I kept stealing. I think I puffed out some air at Jared and then he reciprocated the action except a chunk of food flew with it. I sat their laughing, disgusted and in disbelief. Jared took his hand and patted my head like he was mashing the food into my hair. I looked at him and said you better run. I got up and we took off running around the island in the kitchen. Benjamin was watching us with great fascination trying to figure out what was going on.

Jared tripped on his pants and fell down and I thought great I will catch him. But then I couldn't stop laughing about him falling so I didn't catch him. We stopped on opposite sides of the counter and looked at each other. I decided to run the other direction into the living room and slid on the carpet with my 3 middle toes going under my foot. It hurt but I kept going. We finally stopped chasing one another and Jared picked out the chunk of potatoes chips from my hair. He said you don't think I would actually smash food into your hair?! I said no but it was fun chasing you. We laughed a lot while chasing each other and it was fun.

My toes however started to hurt more and more. Bruising eventually appeared and it became hard to walk. Before going to bed I noticed some discoloration and climbed into bed and tried to keep my foot away from Jared. This morning I woke up to this...

Looks great huh? You can even see where the nails on the other toes ripped from the skin. So like I said the moral of the story is don't chase your husband because you will lose!

Christmas Memories...I Believe

I don’t remember exactly how old I was when I knew Santa wasn’t real. I was older than 8 I think because I remember living in the house on 13th street when mom said if we don’t believe we don’t get presents. So we would say we believed in Santa and get presents still from him. Now looking back and meditating on my feelings of Christmas I think it is the spirit of Christmas that I believe in, the spirit of giving and charity. Have you stopped to think about Santa and how he is like Christ in some ways? He is giving and trying to cheer people and care for the little ones. Christ was always giving of his time and trying to lift people up. Christ loved children and took time for them. Santa wears a red and white suit, why those colors? Red is symbolic of Christ’s blood and his atonement and the white represents the light of the world which is Jesus Christ.

Nowadays it is easy to feel like Santa is nothing more than a symbol of a commercialized Christmas and a way to con children into being good boys and girls. But I think if you get past that and don’t let that into your heart you will feel the magic of Christmas that comes from charity. The spirit of giving of ourselves and I am not referring to material things. Presents are nice and sometimes useful but the memories of quality time, a batch of homemade treats and a helping hand are for more precious.

Maybe it was silly of my mom to say that we needed to believe in Santa to get any presents growing up but I feel it left an impression on me more about why I wanted to believe. I wanted to believe in good things and that there was something magical.

Christmas Memories...My Christmas List

Megan and I growing up were always thinking about the things we wanted for Christmas. I remember when the catalogs and ad’s would come for places like Toys R’ Us we would grab paper, pencils and the ad’s and sit at the dining room table and pick out things we wanted for Christmas. I don’t advise ever letting a child see a Toys R’ Us ad because you see things that look cool but you don’t really need. And you would never have known they existed. Anyways we would make our lists of our hearts desires and give them to our mom or and then Santa.

As we got older and realized that Santa wasn’t real we would share our lists with each other and say I will buy this if you buy me this. This way we always got one thing we knew we wanted. At Thanksgiving Megan told me something she wanted for Christmas and I busted up laughing remembering how we used to do things.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Memories...Together Yet Far Away

My mom sends me presents each year in the mail. I try to get her, Rudy and Megan’s presents in the mail too but some have had to go with my sister Cathy since she was flying over for Christmas. One of these years I hope to get my act together and have them ready when I go down at Thanksgiving. Anyways since we want to be there when the presents are opened we talk on the phone. It is a way to share the moment together even though we can’t be together in person. Last year though we decided to use our computers and use the webcams so we could see each other too. It made things more interesting but it is a tradition for now so we can share our Christmas Day’s together even though we are far away.

This picture is Olga on the IM with my mom.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Memories...Reflections

One of my favorite things to do at Christmas is to sit in front of the tree and ponder about my life, Christmas, my Savior and to journal. We got our tree up this year about a week before Thanksgiving but the lights didn’t work. I was pretty bummed after doing so much work and the lights didn’t turn on. Jared found the fuse had blown and replaced it. It lasted 30 minutes or so and blew again. The second time was because the replacement fuse was smaller than the one actually required.

Unfortunately we didn’t make it to the store before leaving to get a fuse. Once we were back after Thanksgiving we made it to the store and found what we needed. The night we fixed the lights I took Benjamin out to the living room and sat in front of the tree with him. I had a moment with him sharing his first night sitting and staring at the tree. It was a very special moment for me, one that I will always remember.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Memories...First of Many Drops

I can’t quite recall if this memory is the same year as the year I mentioned before of making gifts for all of aunts and uncles but I made my new cousin Cassie a quilt. I had been learning to sew, I think for my birthday or the Christmas before my mom had bought me a package of pre-cut squares for learning to quilt on. It was fun to use my mom’s sewing machine and make things on my own. I felt very grown up. I had decided I would make my cousin Cassie a quilt. I worked very hard on it and didn’t finish it until I was in her driveway on Christmas Eve.

The quilt top was easy enough on the sewing machine but my mom told me I had to hand sew the edge of the quilt. The backing I had chosen was a soft deep green fleece type material. It was hard to sew by hand. I poked myself several times while forcing my needle through. It would be the first of many drops of blood spilt on a quilt. I wanted desperately to finish the quilt on time and I worked on it feverishly. I worked on the car ride from Snohomish to Seattle. Once we got there I was so close to being done. I stayed in the car in the drive way until I was done. I had picked out a box and ribbon and had it with me in the car. After I was done I folded it up and ran inside to join in the festivities.

Monday, December 13, 2010

6 Month Stats

Benjamin was 6 months on November 29th, 2010. We went to the Dr.'s office by ourselves again. I did much better this time around with Benjamin getting his shots. I did not cry. I held it together...signs of maturity?!

6 Month Stats
Height: 26.25 inches...45%
Weight: 20.4 lbs...90%
Head Circumference: 17.5 inches...71%
So while his weight stays up there his length has gone down. He is definitely still growing and even though his weight is up there he is not that chubby or big to me. We actually believe he lost weight while we were traveling for Thanksgiving. Because he was almost 22lbs before we left.

Benjamin is adorable! I love the faces he is making. His personality is coming through even more, which I know I will say that all the time but each time I say it, it is true. He is a happy, healthy boy! He still sleeps through the night overall. He is feeding 2-3 times now on average though. I think it is more a functionality of my laziness though.

He loves to walk around while holding onto your fingers. He loves remotes of any kind. Jared has been flying a helicopter around and he wants to play with that. Or the remote to the Xbox. Basically if daddy plays with it Benjamin wants it.
Benjamin is still a momma's boy but has started in the last month roughly letting daddy put him to sleep. In fact putting Benjamin in his crib at night...Jared has a higher success rate than I do.

He loves to cuddle and put his hand our faces. It is a sweet moment until he pinches but even then overall it's sweet since he doesn't know any better. He absolutely loves to suck on my chin. He will grab my hair in one hand and my cheek in the other and pull my chin to his mouth. I play along and bounce my jaw around and make it fun so that probably doesn't help.

He will smile at complete strangers and play bashful now. The bashful part is what is really new. I think it's precious.

He is starting to like time in his jumpers less and less. He rather play on the floor where he can be a bit more mobile.

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is his absolute all time favorite show. His face lights up when he hears the intro. But I will admit much to my chagrin that he also likes Spongebob Squarepants. But not as much as Mickey Mouse.

Benjamin is eating solid foods now. Most days he has rice cereal in the morning and a vegetable at night now. We tried green beans yesterday and they are a go. He has had carrots and peas and liked them. We will try spinach again in a few weeks.

While learning to crawl has been slow he actually did it today. He got his feet underneath him and scooted himself forward two times. I was so excited and scared at the same time.

Benjamin is my world. I love being with him. If I am depressed and crying I can hold him and look at him watching me all inquisitively and get cheered up. He has actually already made me a much more patient person (in some regards). I am nicer in the mornings. I am enjoying watching him grow and learn.

Mr. Independent

Benjamin is Mr. Independent. As much as he loves his mommy and daddy he certainly likes to make it known that he can do things on his own. He loves to cuddle and be held but he definitely loves to be on his own too.

Not sure if you can tell in this picture but there is a bruise under his right eye. Jared took Benjamin out in the hall on Sunday because he was fussy. He took him into the Relief Society room to calm down. Another parent had a similar idea and Benjamin started watching this boy (JD) crawl around and walk around. As Jared told me Benjamin looked at him while standing and holding his hands and decided to let go and give walking a try. Jared dove for him and Benjamin hit his face on the chair and his head on the ground.
Mr. Independent strikes again! When I saw his cheek bruising I felt so bad for him but it's a part of life. His second bruise or incident now unless you count being born and his forehead was all bruised.

Christmas Memories...California Raisin's

I don’t know about most people but there are some memories that are sparked by pictures or you only remember a frame or two of the event. I remember in our house in Marysville getting a California Raisin’s (remember those old school commercials’?) tent for Christmas. I loved it! I couldn’t wait to get it set up and once it was I was in it non-stop. It was my own special place.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Memories...No Name On The Gift

Jared’s family has a tradition that is interesting. They don’t write names on the presents of who the present is for at least not the name of the actual receiver of said gift. They will write up a key with the words or names written on the presents and who is actually the receiver of the item. I totally understand the premise. I myself as a child would constantly play with my gifts trying to figure out what they were. This way you had no idea which presents were yours so either you messed with all of them or none since you didn’t know.

So on Christmas day when it is time to open presents Jared’s dad is usually the keeper of the list and someone will go up grab a present to start and call out the word or name on the present. Jared’s dad looks over the list finds the word and says who gets it. They then open their present and go pick from the pile and it goes on as such. Sometimes one person opens a present a few in a row even though it is totally random. It really is a very interesting way to manage the Christmas presents and distribution of them.

I think my first year that I shared Christmas with Jared’s family it was destinations and you had to say where it was in the world. I am horrible at geography and had no idea where most of the places were. I would make a random guess and give up. When it comes to geography sometimes I feel pretty unlearned. One year the theme was food, and another year it was inside jokes and sometimes it’s just randomness.

Christmas Memories...Traditions

Last year we had Olga with us for Christmas (the whole year just to clarify). It was interesting to share our Christmas traditions with her and learn about hers. Christmas is a little bit different back in Spain. The 3 Wise Men are a little more special or important there. It seems to extend the holiday season which is always wonderful in my book (extending the holiday season that is). I bought Olga a Christmas stocking (which she left behind, I might mail that to her a little late this year maybe to be on time) and filled it with the normal things we do like a couple tangerines, miniature chocolates, small presents perhaps, and a chocolate orange (everyone gets a different flavor to share).

Olga showed a lot of interest in the guitar so we decided to buy her one. She was very excited about it which made us pretty happy (we need to ship it to her at some point). Anyways Olga had a present for me that made me cry (I know it’s really not that hard to make me cry). She had bought a frame and put in several pictures of our time together so far. It was so very special to me. I still haven’t gotten it up yet but I plan on it. She knew my color scheme for downstairs so it’s perfect for when I get my family wall of pictures up.

On a side note (sort of) Olga’s ability to make me cry fit right into my style. I like to make presents for my mom that makes her cry. It means I touched her heart! Thanks Olga for touching my heart and sharing in our traditions and family.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Memories...My Dream Came True

While living in Idaho one year (can’t remember if it was the first or second) we found this cool place that made hope chests and toy chests. The place smelled amazing when you walked in there. It’s funny how great wood can smell. I had always wanted a hope chest. I had dreamed of owning one growing up to store my treasured items and gifts that were meant for my future home. And here I was so close to one I couldn’t stand it. We left without buying one and I was so bummed. I’m pretty sure I begged and pleaded and annoyed my mother begging for a hope chest.

Time passed and Christmas got closer. I remember crawling into bed on Christmas Eve hoping that maybe my mom and Rudy had gotten me my hope chest. I got up in the middle of the night and walked out into the living room. I didn’t see a hope chest. I felt pretty bummed. Mom and Rudy were asleep in their room so I quietly walked out into the garage and found my hope chest sitting out there. I was so exhilarated! They had gotten it for me. I softly headed back inside and then woke up. It was just a dream. I laid there in bed getting my hopes up trying to tell myself to go back to sleep.

I did finally fall asleep. Christmas morning came and the dream I had still hung in my mind. I went out to the living room where we started on our Christmas stockings and some Strata and hot cocoa (a typical Christmas breakfast). Presents were opened everyone felt cozy. I was especially cozy in some newer PJ’s, it gets darn cold in Idaho so had to step them up a notch. I thought I got cold back home in Snohomish, Washington but it was nothing compared to Idaho.

The pile of presents was dwindling under the tree. I had opened the biggest present that was under the tree. It was a train which I loved! I have a love for trains (not an obsession, just a love) ever since I was little and would count the trains as they went by. Anyways it felt like present time was pretty much over when Rudy disappeared into the garage. I was a little surprised but there were pies and sparkling cider out there he could be getting. I tried not to get my hopes up but my dream was still at the forefront of my mind.

Rudy walked back in with a large wooden box in his arms. It was my hope chest! It was wonderful! I was so excited! I sat on it in the entranceway in the middle of my new train set. I was a very happy girl. My dream had come true.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Solid Foods

Benjamin has started eating solid foods. His Dr. said at his 6th month appointment last Monday that he could start eating vegetables and then fruits. Here is a picture of him eating his vegetables.

Just kidding. On Sunday I was making pot roast with potatoes and I left the bag close enough for him to grab obviously. I was on the phone with my mom when I turned around from adding potatoes to the crock pot and saw him sucking on a potatoe. He not only pulled the bag close enough to himself he grabbed the largest potatoe out of the bag and started sucking on it.

Below is a video of him having carrot's for the first time. He really enjoyed them. He has tried spinach but that was not a winner and peas are okay. Up next are green beans and then squash.

Christmas Memories...Making the Rounds

Our family growing up would get together with the extended family on Christmas Eve this way we could spend Christmas day at home with our immediate families. But Nana and Boppa would have their Christmas alone in the morning and make the rounds to all of their 5 girls and their families. They would bring presents which would add to the excitement of seeing them. Usually they would stay and eat with us for a little bit which was typically Strata (that’s another memory).

Looking back I think it was great that they would make the rounds so each family could stay home and enjoy their Christmas at home but still got to see them. They still make the rounds to those they can on Christmas day.

Christmas Memories...I Got To Be Santa

Growing up on Christmas morning someone was chosen to be Santa. No we did not dress up in a Santa suit and go ho-ho-ho. What we would do is pick the presents out from under the tree and hand them to the person whose name was on the present. I got to do it a few times and I enjoyed it. I would look at the presents under the tree and carefully pick a present out. I would be kind of random at first and not care so much about who but eventually I would try to pick presents out for everyone so no one felt left out.

I think the point of having someone direct the present handing out was so that it lasted. Instead of letting 5 kids rip through the presents for their own and just open them willy nilly. By directing the present opening we all got to see what everyone got and make the magic of opening presents last a little longer.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Aaahhh!!! Benjamin is on the move! And my house is so not ready for a mobile baby. He is playing at my feet currently and moving around finding things to get into. HELP!!!! I need to get my house baby proofed. I just move it further away for now since he can only get so far. He doesn't crawl yet he just rolls around and spins on his stomach. He tries to crawl but pushes himself backwards mostly. I think I know what I am doing with my Saturday this weekend!

Christmas Memories...A Present Given Regretted

My brother Jamie got me a CD one year for Christmas. He regretted it shortly after opening it on Christmas day. The CD is Barbie by Aqua! I loved it. So did my little sister Megan. We would listen to the songs and run around the house acting out the songs in some ways. You would have to listen to the CD and use your imagination some. We had a blast but drove our brothers’ crazy blasting it day in and day out. I still have that CD and I still love it. Its such fun and happy music!
If you've never heard their songs you can check out clips here. Let me know what you think.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Memories...Old to New Tradition

As far back as I can remember we always got to open one present on Christmas Eve when we got home from our family’s Christmas Party. It was to give us a small sample of the things in store for us in the morning. I think this only added to my inability to go to sleep.

I would carefully peruse my presents under the tree at that point and look at the size, shape, feel the box and sometimes even shake it. I could never tell what was inside but I tried my best to pick out an awesome present. I enjoyed unwrapping my present and getting to play with it or look forward to the things I would get to do with it.

This tradition has a special spot in my heart. It is one I want to carry on in my family. But I am hoping to change it slightly. I am hoping to make new PJ bottoms for everyone and we get to open them up before going to bed to have new PJ’s to sleep in. I bought all the material for it this year so here’s hoping!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Memories...12 Days of Christmas

My mom says we did the 12 days of Christmas more than once but I only remember one year that we did it with the missionaries. I remember having fun seeing the creative things we were giving to the people. I don’t remember who the family was and I don’t think I actually knew them. But it was fun hauling into our suburban and driving out into the woods. I loved how the dark added to the suspense of what we were doing. We would leave the gift on the front porch and run and try not to get caught or scene. I don’t think I ever actually left it on the porch. I remember sitting in our suburban down the road watching the missionaries sprinting. It was so exciting to be doing something nice but doing it in secret. I couldn’t really tell anyone about it but it made it so fun and worth it.

This taught me about the importance of giving service anonymously and not doing it for the glory or attention. I made bread for the sacrament in our ward for a personal progress project a year ago or so and I enjoyed doing it quietly with no one really knowing except those in charge of the sacrament. I felt great developing a talent and giving a quite service. Eventually it got out and people were making comments about how great it was and for some reason it wasn’t as sweet to me. I believe if the family we did the 12 days of Christmas for knew who we were and I knew them it wouldn’t have been as much fun.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Memories...A Handmade Christmas

I think I was 9 maybe 10 when I decided to make Christmas presents for everyone. I think it was August when I had made the decision. I grabbed my mom’s Christmas records and put on the music to put me in the mood for making Christmas presents. I believe this is the year and point in my life where Christmas music became my happy music. I know I drove some of my family members a little crazy and still do.

Now I can’t recall for sure the presents I made but I remember making cross stitched ornaments for my aunts, cross stitching lids of jars with goodies for my uncles and I made my sister Cathy a cross stitched cat pillow. Yes it was a lot of cross stitching! But I had learned how to do it and I enjoyed doing it. I still have lots of pieces to do and finish. This is probably also where my passion for crafting was born.

I enjoyed making presents for everyone. It became a tradition or hope of sorts. I try to make gifts as much as I can because I feel it’s always nice and special to get something that was made by hand especially for you. I do try to do it each year but sometimes my hopes and desires fall a little short but I try and do what I can.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Memories...Restringing Lights

My mom worked for most of the years that I can remember while growing up (I’m not sure how old I was when she started work; I do have some memories from when she didn’t). Since my mom worked long hard hours at the office I would try my best to help out around the house. I took it upon myself to help with the cooking, cleaning and at Christmas time getting things decorated. I would haul out the decorations and force my little sister Megan to help me. Sometimes Megan would help of her own free will but I will admit to multiple times trying to guilt her into helping by telling her how much our mom would love and appreciate it. I would start by cleaning things up and picking out a spot for the tree to be. Our tree was a blue spruce that was my grandma’s (my dad’s mom). Now before anyone jumps on me about real trees I personally don’t care for them. Too much work to get a real tree home and into your house and you need to keep it watered to prevent a fire hazard. A fake tree is what I grew up on and what I personally like. I would organize the limbs by size into piles around the living room. Once they were ready I would start at the bottom and work my way up the tree. Once I got to the top I had to get a little help from my brothers or a chair to get the top of the tree in.

After the tree was up I would start the tedious task of stringing the lights on the tree. This was by far the worst task for setting up Christmas. I did not care for it one bit because I would get scratched, it took a long time, and truly what was the point. I knew that when my mom came home and looked it over she would redo it because I hadn’t done it right. I would watch her undo my work each year and get a little frustrated. I watched intently trying to figure out the secret to properly stringing the lights. Needless to say I don’t think I ever learned the secret but it made me realize how much I hate stringing lights. When I got my own first tree years down the road I got a pre-lit tree. It made my life so much easier.

Looking back I don’t mind that my mom re-did the lights year after year (actually I think once or twice she didn’t redo them). I did what I could to help my mom out and I learned that I did it out of love and service. I obviously never truly got offended by it otherwise I wouldn’t have tried again and again each year.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Memories...More Than Anticipated

Most kids while growing up don’t realize they are poor. As you get older and learn about money maybe you start to understand your family’s financial situation but for most part kids I think don’t realize they grew up poor. The reason for that is because your family makes the most of what they have and in my opinion as long as you feel loved you don’t really notice much else. I remember many Christmas mornings where we got up early and opened tons of presents or at least it felt like tons to me. There was one year where my mom did tell us that Christmas would be smaller than normal. I think I was still in elementary school maybe 6th grade. On Christmas morning we woke up to more presents than anticipated someone (most likely several people) left presents on our front porch. I don’t think I fully appreciated it then that people from our ward were looking over our family and trying to help us out. It was wonderful and looking back now I get teary eyed thinking about it. Whoever they were had the true meaning of Christmas in their hearts and reached out to give service. I am grateful for what they did and I now like to give where and when I can to help reciprocate the blessings I received.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Memories...Waiting Up To See Santa

Christmas is my all time favorite holiday. Anyone who knows me knows this about me. I start listening to Christmas music early if not sometimes throughout the whole year. I love the feelings that I feel around this time of year. The whole world seems to change as we turn our thoughts toward our Savior and his birth. It makes the world a more magical place for me.

I have many fond memories of Christmas and I am getting better at documenting memories in general (I am a huge advocate of journaling) and thought I would share a Christmas memory each day this month.

I hope you enjoy going back in time with me as I remember old memories and share my experiences that have had an impact on me and who I am.

Waiting Up To See Santa

It’s Christmas Eve and you can hardly wait for tomorrow. The anticipation makes it hard to sleep. You lay in your bed wondering where Santa Clause is now…is he near your home? Or is he on the other side of the world? You know you should close your eyes and sleep because morning will come faster that way and then you can open all your presents. You hear a noise downstairs so you carefully climb out of bed and cautiously move down the stairs to see if Santa is here.

You peek around the corner of the kitchen doorway through the dining room and into the living room to see if Santa is there. You feel the warmth of the fire on your face and can smell the spices from the orange hanging behind the fireplace. There are no signs of Santa anywhere, the cookies and the milk are still sitting in the living room on the side table and there are not anymore presents then when you went to bed originally.

Reluctantly you move back upstairs to your room because you don’t want to get caught being out of bed. You sit by your window looking out at the sky looking to see Santa and his reindeer flying across the sky. Staying there for awhile you are starting to grow tired when you see something move out of the corner of your eye. You turn quickly to get a better fix on the movement sure that it’s Santa but you can’t find anything in the sky.

Finally you climb back into bed at last exhausted enough to go to sleep.


I wanted to wrap up my month of thankfulness with a little bit of a gospel topic Tuesday action. Unfortunately at night I am too tired to get online and do this (sleep is much more important to me) so it's a little late.

The whole reason for me writing about things I am thankful for stemmed from a General Conference talk by President Monson this past October. His talk titled "
The Divine Gift of Gratitude" talks about how when we are truly thankful we are able to unlock the doors of heaven and feel more of our Father's love. I have found this true in my life. When I am thankful and focus on the countless blessings I have received I can see more clearly the love Heavenly Father has for me. And what a blessing to know that as we give thanks the doors of Heaven are opened, in these days that we are living in who couldn't afford to be a little closer to Heaven?

President Monson said, "Regardless of our circumstances, each of us has much for which to be grateful if we will but pause and contemplate our blessings." There are moments (I did use the word moments specifically for a reason. I know that when you are in the midst of a trial it doesn't seem like a moment in time but once you have gone through it and reflect back on it, it really was only a moment) in our lives when we are feeling we are not being blessed. Those are the times we most especially need to stop and contemplate all we have and look for the blessings we have been given.
I am thankful for the gospel in my life and the knowledge and testimony I have that the gospel is true. That Joseph Smith was called of God to restore His true church back onto the earth. I am thankful for the Book of Mormon and other scriptures I am blessed to have in my life to study and learn gospel principles from and to gain further enlightenment and answers to prayers. I am thankful for the power of prayer and know that my prayers are heard and answered. I am thankful for my husband and all that he does for me and our family. I am especially thankful he is a worthy priesthood holder which blesses our lives immensely. I am thankful I was blessed with Benjamin this year and that everything went well and he is growing strong and healthy. I am thankful for this time of year to reflect on the miraculous birth of our Savior. I am so thankful for our Savior and His love for each of us and His willingness to atone for our sins. I know I can go to Him at any time and find comfort, understanding, guidance, acceptance, love and forgiveness.
The list goes on but I am going to leave it there. I've enjoyed turning my thoughts toward my blessings and thinking about things throughout the day that I am thankful for. I have felt it to be a blessing in my life. I hope that I can continue this habit of being thankful throughout the year. And anyone who reads this I challenge you to do it too.