Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Christmas Day 2016

 This past Christmas, we were blessed to spend with my brother's family in Eagle Mountain!  The stay couldn't have been more pleasant.  We enjoyed time with everyone and getting to play, and we were also lucky to get to meet and cuddle our newest niece/cousin only days old, Lexi. 

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung on the couches with care,
In hopes that Santa would not leave them bare.

One awesome perk of spending Christmas with my brother's family is getting to enjoy their amazing Christmas breakfast of cinnamon rolls, sausage, bacon, eggs, milk, and juice!  That's their family tradition that I've heard of for years and finally I got to sink my teeth into their famous soft, homemade cinnamon rolls.  

Cinnamon Rolls of deliciousness!
 The kids didn't waste any time breaking open their packages and playing with their new toys.

Rexton's likes to line up his cars.  He got a whole set of toy trains which made a nice long line!
 In the afternoon, we went to grandma and grandpa Christensen's for a visit, and Steve had a few surprise gifts for me!

Lily with her soft new jacket from Grandma Debbie
 Then, in the evening it was off to my dad's house for our traditional Christmas dinner! 

Rexton was crying, so I bent down to give him a hug at the same time his dad grabbed him, so Micah turned him around and told him to give me a hug, which he did and I LOVED!
 We helped with a few last minute preparations.  My mom was even in town to enjoy this meal with us!
 The table was set so festively.
 The place settings were complete with these traditional poppers on each plate

There were only a few drops left, so April thought, "Why not?"
 The kids had a table of their own, complete with poppers, crowns, and chocolate milk!
 Our poppers had shiny gold crowns along with a party favor and a page of jokes.  My favor was a nice double mirror in a silver compact.

Jared and Ashley, newlyweds.
 The food was posh and plentiful!  Micah served up the prime rib, and when he got to sit down, he filled his plate with a nice thick slice of the juicy meat!
 On the menu:
Dad's Christmas salsa that he hands out to his neighbors as gifts every Christmas,
Great-grandma's fruit cake recipe,
 bowls of steaming hot french onion soup with melty swiss cheese toast floating on the top,
 We can't forget the crab-stuffed button mushrooms blanketed with warm melted swiss cheese.
 Tri-layered Christmas jello has a lime-flavored gelatin base, a sweet and fluffy cream cheese middle, and a clear jewel-toned strawberry gelatin layer to finish it off. 
 There was also prime rib, roasted red potato wedges, and citrus-glazed carrots.  A real feast!
And if you saved room for dessert (and even if you didn't), rich chocolate brownies with vanilla ice cream and homemade chocolate sauce.  What better way to end Christmas than with full bellies and sweet memories.

My, my, time flies.

Just reminiscing about when my kids were this small.  Now they're this small...

And, my sweet oldest daughter can almost fit my shoes I found out when we went shopping last Friday.  She complained her shoes were too tight (women's size 7-1/2), so we got her some shoes that fit and she's only a half size from fitting my shoes, and for your information I wear a women's size 9.  I believe she's got her daddy's toes, but the length of her feet are likely long-Lauret.  I have the shoe size of women who are generally several inches taller than I am.  My grandma Lauret and her daughter both wear shoe size 11/12, but they are also much taller than I am at 5'11.  At her growth rate, Lily may even pass me up!  I didn't really think that would ever happen, but there is a chance.  She isn't necessarily tall for her age, but, I'm on the shorter size at 5'5, and both Steve and I have tall women in our family lines.  We shall see in the next few years!

Amara is faster than me.  That may not come as a big surprise to anyone, seeing as my running skills are pretty rusty.  However, she could beat me at a foot race ever since she was 4, I think.  That little girl is "fun-sized" and has a remarkable rotational velocity that can spark her legs into speeds I've always been amazed at.  Next time you're with her, challenge her to a foot race.  It's so fun to watch her run!

So what am I gonna do?  I'm gonna love these girls and improve the precious time I get with them.  The years haven't been many, but the time seems far gone.  A great deal happens in meager spans of minutes, with memories the only lasting threads woven in the fabric of our lives.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Our Amazing November

We had some beautiful days!  Steve was able to get some fun photos at the park.  I absolutely love the one above!  Steve is a great photographer!

At Denny's

Vernal's library

More of Steve's fun photography.  Fast shutter speeds plus Photoshop.

A poem and card Amara made for her dad.  She left it on his pillow with some chocolates she bought at the store.  She knows it's hard for him some times to teach "zombays."
Family home evening is a Monday night tradition at our house.  Amara used a family home evening kit that we bought at last year's ward auction and combined it with her own lesson to create a truly unique lesson.  We each got paper cups with our names on them and they had bubble gum eggs in them.
She made her own activity with questions for each of us to answer.  She folded them up and put them in a tupperware and let us choose a question to answer.

She also drew pictures and had us place them on a paper that had 2 categories: "bad" and "good."  The pictures under the bad category were of "Wine the best in years," Cigarettes, a boy stealing another boy's toy car.  Under the good catergory there were vegetables, and a little girl picking up an apple for the old lady.
I love the drawings and creativity
Amara likes to type out her lesson so she has a script to follow.

For a contest to win a free book, I had to take a picture of how we promote reading in our home, so I shared a few pics of our homeschool room.
Note: Lily did not pose for this picture.  She was actually reading in there when I went to take this pic.

The garden goodness was still being harvested!  Amara has always loved gardening and caring for plants.  Jax our neighbor is the same way and he's such a good boy and a great helper in the garden!

Here's a couple pictures of the girls with their Uncle Matt before he embarked on another adventure to the Orient.

The supermooon happened in November.  Apparently this is the biggest the moon has appeared since 1948.  Steve and I went on a photoshoot!

Steve's final creation of the supermoon.  
The girls took some selfies with a St. Bernard that showed up around our house.  Steve showed the pics to his class and one of the girls mentioned that it was her dog!  So, now we know where to take him when he shows up.  His name is Zeus.

Look at our colorful carrots!  I peeled carrots for almost an hour straight so I could get them ready to preserve.  They're sure pretty.

We shared some bags of carrots with our neighbors.  Carrots keep a really long time in the refrigerator, so I love growing them!

Thanksgiving came around and Jake's family was in Utah for a reunion on Kelli's side.  I'm so grateful they were able to take some time to come hang out with us for a day.  We had an all-day get-together at my dad's church building.  We had food, board games, basketball, coloring, puzzles, visiting, and even kareoke when Trent's family came.

Lookee there!  We have some more writing contest winners!  Our family entered the Uintah County Winter Tales Writing Contest again this year.  Steve took 3rd in poetry.  Lily took 3rd in short story and 2nd in poetry.  And yes, there were cash prizes!
Below are some links to our entries.  We literally threw them all together the day before they were due, except Lily who had a few pieces she had written throughout the year and just made a few revisions.  She did come up with new poetry.  The funny thing is all of us except Steve were not very pleased with the work we were turning in because we could see so much room for improvement, yet there wasn't time for that.  So, it was pretty fun to discover that both Steve and Lily placed!

Steve's Poem: Mysterious Tracks
My short story: Our Newlywed Christmas (based on our true story)
Lily's 3rd Place short story: Wild West Christmas
Lily's poems: It's A Wonderful Life and Today's the Day
Amara's Short Story: Magic