Saturday, December 22, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007


Whew, we've had a busy month! As most everyone has, I'm sure. We're looking forward to a few days to just be together as a family with no deadlines or shopping lines. We hope you all are enjoying these last days before Christmas!

A few weeks ago Haley and I made our annual gingerbread house. We managed to not eat enough candy to still have some to put on the house, and miraculously the kids have pretty much left it alone on the counter. Although I did catch Jake climbing up a stool to reach it today...

The kids are SO very excited for Christmas and it's been lots of fun these past weeks to have them be my little "elves" to help with shopping and wrapping, baking and party hosting. I think Haley's almost as excited to give her presents as she is to see what Santa brings; Jake is just wildly excited in general from the festive atmosphere and (un)healthy doses of sugar.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Weather Outside is Frightful

Imagine you've run out of milk, and head out for a trip to the grocery store. You have a toddler and a preschooler with you, and it's winter in Grand Forks. First, you start the car so it won't be quite so frigid. Then you begin to bundle the kids - mittens, hat, fleece jacket, mittens again because the toddler pulled them off, winter coat, hat again because the toddler pulled it off, boots, mittens one last time. You pull on your Uggs and down jacket and carefully cross the icy cement-floor garage with the wiggly toddler. You tug hard on the car doors, which have half-frozen shut and finally get them open. You manage to get everyone buckled and head out on the roads. You find yourself stuck behind an old woman with a 2-wheel drive Buick, going 10 miles per hour on the snowy roads. Piles of snow 4 feet deep line the streets where the plows have come by, and the car heater is nowhere near to blowing warm air. It takes you 15 minutes to make the 7-minute drive to Target, where you once again put the hats and mittens on the kids and somehow tug and pull and carry everyone and the diaper bag inside. Ah, heaven! Target is the best! You take your time wandering the aisles, sipping a hot chocolate from Starbuck's while the kids munch on popcorn or a free cookie and play with all the toys. You greet the employees who know you by name and pretend like it's normal to spend this much time in a department store. Once the kids start getting cranky you decide you'd better get your groceries and head home. At last it's all purchased and re-loaded and you've managed to keep either child from falling on their head out of the cart. You start the car from inside the store (completely spoiled by it's auto-start feature), and begin to re-bundle the children. Then it's across the parking lot to the car - easier said than done. The cart is loaded down with two kids and the groceries, and you're trying to push it through 3 inches of snow while slipping around yourself. Finally back at home, the kids want to play in the snow while you unload the groceries, only to wind up crying from the negative-20 degree wind chill. You all hurry inside, change into warm clothes, and snuggle up under a blanket. Only then do you gaze out the window and think how beautiful and peaceful the snow-covered yard is...and did I forget to buy the milk?

Of Christmas Trees and "Nactivities"


I never thought I'd say this, but I'm tired of decorating Christmas trees! A few years ago Rob volunteered me to decorate the tree at the church, and I've done it for 3 years now. Last week the kids and I spent an afternoon at the church "fluffing" the branches and decorating it with angels and stars. Then over the next few days I spent about 6 hours total winding over 1,000 mini lights around the branches of our tree at home. Haley was SO very patient while waiting for me to finish it so we could hang the ornaments. Now it's 95% done, we just have to finish the ballerinas to complete our Nutcracker theme. My mom sketched the idea for these ornaments and Haley and I have had lots of fun making them. We also made a whole army of Hershey Kiss mice. Thank goodness nutcracker ornaments are easy to find because my crafting talents are being stretched here! But the tree is very sparkly and very, very bright, and the kids love it, so it's all worth it.


On Sunday our ward held it's second annual "Night of the Nativity", an evening with nativity displays, a live nativity outside in the front (with real animals and sub-zero temperatures), and lots of music, followed by the Christmas Devotional broadcast from Salt Lake. Rob was very involved in the music and gear set-up, and sang a 1/2-hour set of Christmas songs with our friend Mary. They sounded so great! Haley loved feeling a part of things, and was brave enough to sing "Here Comes Santa Claus" twice - because I missed it the first time. She's already talking about singing again at next year's "Nactivity" - her interpretation of the name of the event. Below: Rob and Haley singing together (sorry, not the best picture).