Thursday, December 25, 2008

Hitler's reaction to BYU's loss...

This is mostly for Brad to see, but other BYU fans may find it hilarious as well!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Kacey turns 25!

Kacey turned 25 on December 13th. I did not forget her birthday but I was in Hawaii so I couldn't blog then. Then after I got home, I had to get those two pesky bad weather blogs out of the way so that I could give this birthday tribute the attention it deserves!

There are so many great things to say about Kacey that I'm not sure where to start. Let's start with a little dose of reality. When Kacey was born, I thought she was the most beautiful baby that ever lived. She had all this wild black hair and even though everyone said that she looked like a little Mexican baby, I thought she was gorgeous. It's just so funny to me because if you know me I am much more objective about my children than your ordinary parent. I usually see all of my kids faults while others see their virtues. I can't remember exactly when I figured out that while Kacey was a beautiful child and grew into a beautiful adult as well, she was not the most beautiful baby born to the planet that I thought she was at the time. Maybe it was when Kristy was born and I thought, "Now she's even cuter than the first one!" Who knows? Kacey was pretty much a perfect baby, though. Her only fault was that she spit up a lot. Other than that she was happy and content and good natured and so much fun.

As you can see, she was born with lots of hair and it just kept growing. In this picture below, she was 2 1/2 years old. There was never a day in her young life that I didn't have to do her hair.

Kacey didn't get much of a chance to enjoy being the only child in our family. Kristy was born when Kacey was just 18 months old. In this picture Kristy is 4 months old and Kacey is 2. You can't really tell but Kacey's hair is in french braids. Yes, she defnitely had alot of hair. If she was Muslim, she probably would have been required to wear a hijab shortly after birth.

Kacey was the best big sister a family could hope for. She was happy and helpful and bossy and sweet. She set such a great example for her siblings. My advice to young parents is to start with a wonderful child and the rest will follow!

I love this picture of Kacey and Brad. She was always willing to help take care of her siblings.

Kacey wasn't always good, though! She could really act up on occasion and I have the proof. One
day I put Kacey down for a nap and instead of going right to sleep she pulled out a few books and decided to read herself to sleep. What a naughty child! That was pretty much Kacey's idea of rebellion.

Kacey was always smart as a whip! We found out at 20 months that she could recognize her letters. David and I were looking at a road atlas and the pages were lettered and Kacey started pointing to the top of the page and reading the letters. We were both so amazed because we had no idea that she could do this. As we quizzed her, we found that she could recogize all but a couple of letters in the alphabet. We would love to take credit for this, but we think we owe it all to Sesame Street!

One day at church, Kacey was about 3 and she was thumbing through a book as church was getting ready to start. It was a book that we had read to Kacey fairly often and she was telling herself the story and it was pretty much word for word. I wasn't paying much attention but the people in front of us were watching her and their eyes got really big and they said, "Your three-year-old can read?" And then I laughed at how that must have looked but I said, "No. She just has the book memorized." They thought that was pretty impressive too.

Kacey had just turned 5 when I realized that she could actually read. I know this probably sounds like we didn't know our daughter at all. I swear she was not in day care or anything, she just always learned things on her own without us teaching her. It was weird. We were walking into the eye doctor's office because she had to get glasses (see she's not so perfect!) and she said, "Fashion eyewear" which was printed on the door as we walked in. And I asked her how did you know that's what it said. And she said, "I just read it." Honest to goodness - the first words I heard her read were fashion eyewear. There was no Run Spot Run with this girl!

Here she is as Snow White for Halloween when she was 3.

Maybe it's because Kacey is 25 and the years have erased any bad memories I have of raising Kacey but I have to say that it was basically pure joy. I would love to go back and do it all again and just enjoy it. Since she was my first, I was pretty much just trying to get it all figured out and do a good job. Little did I know that Kacey was a wise old soul in a young body and that she could have done it all by herself. In fact, I probably should have just let her lead the way!

She grew into a beautiful woman...

And then a beautiful wife. Jon is one lucky guy but I think he knows that.

And now she is an amazing wife and mother of 2. Scarlet and Rhode don't have any idea how lucky they are to have Kacey as their mom. Just ask Kristy, Brad, Courtney, Kylie, Kendall and Bryan. She did alright with them!

Happy Birthday Kacey! I have loved every minute of the last 25 years since you joined me and Dad and made us a family. Thanks for everything!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Bad weather is stalking me!

Okay. I will try to convey all that I have gone through in the last few days without making it too long and boring. I am afraid, though, that it will be one of those "you had to be there" to truly appreciate all that I experienced, but here goes...

Wednesday I had to take Whitney (dance teacher who lives with me) to the Spokane airport. The weather was clear and sunny in Moses Lake with a bit of snow on the ground but no cause for concern. I was planning to drive straight there and back because I was trying to get back to watch the guy/girl drill team performance at the assembly at 2:20 because I had missed it when I was gone last week. I was driving Jeff and Becky's Tahoe because they had borrowed our Suburban because their Tahoe had broken down and Becky was trying to get to Daishan's to help out with the new baby.

So I hit snow shortly after Ritzville and it just kept getting worse and worse. Cars were off all over the place and there was about one lane open. But I just took it slow and it was fine but it took 2 1/2 hours to get to the airport (normally it takes about 1 1/2 hrs. easy in good weather). So I dropped Whitney off and immediately headed back. I had to go to the bathroom but I just wanted to head back before the weather got any worse even though I knew at that point that I would miss the drill team performance. Bummer!

So I headed back and about 20 mins. out of Spokane it was still really bad. It was snowing and visibility was terrible. Everyone was staying in one lane except for the stupid semi-trucks which would go by and blind everyone for about 10 secs. (althought it feels like forever when it happens!) I was plugging along (still having to pee) and my windshield wipers were icing up and getting worse. I had the heat blowing at the windshield full blast but it just wasn't helping. It was getting so that the wiper was not doing me much good at all. There was a Cheney exit coming up and I was going to get off and de-ice my wiper but when the exit came, I couldn't even see it so I just kept going forward. I decided to reach out the window and see if I could knock some ice off. I gave it a couple of half-hearted attempts which accomplished nothing. Then I gave myself a good talking to and said, "You can do this. You are not a wimp." And so I reached out determined to succeed and I caught hold of the wiper blade and then it broke off in my hand and I pulled the whole icy blade into the car! I screamed. It was comical and so frightening at the same time. I couldn't believe that this was happening to me. For a second I felt like I was Lucille Ball in an episode of I Love Lucy but I didn't have time to laugh because I thought I was going to die!!!

There was nothing I could do but keep going straight. There was nowhere to pull off. I just kept driving straight ahead with the other cars that were on the road and leaning way over to my right to look out of my passenger window. Finally I came to an exit and it was more visible this time even though there was about 2 feet of undisturbed snow because no one had exited there. I stopped and got out just to see if I could fix the blade or switch them. I couldn't. There was nothing at that exit for miles. The snow had lightened jsut a bit so I cleaned off my windshield as best I could and got back on the road. Let me remind you that I still had to pee!!!
So I got back on the road afraid I was going to get in an accident and now even more afraid that when they found me I would be sitting in my own urine. Yikes!

I forged ahead praying the whole way. Leaning over to my passenger side but the weather got continually better and it was only bad when the semis passed. I thought Ritzville would never come! I finally got off there and did the potty dance into the McDonalds, but I made it! The rest of the ride home was okay and I didn't need my wipers. It was harrowing. I don't know if you can feel the drama or not, but it was there!


I had to go back the next day (Thursday) to pick up Tricia (our exchange student) from the Spokane airport because she was returning from a trip to New York. Lori Baker agreed to go with me (I couldn't face that drive again by myself) and we planned to do some much needed christmas shopping before we picked Tricia up. I checked the state patrol web site when I got up. It had no warnings for Spokane at all. David said to take his Lexus and I would be fine (since the Tahoe still had the broken windshielf wiper.)

Lori and I headed off about 9:30. Tricia's flight was due in around 3. We hit the snow shortly after Ritzville. It was similar to the day before only the visibility was much better and it wasn't snowing at the time (or at least it was snowing much lighter). But just as we reached Spokane there was lots of snow on the freeway and semis were pulling over because they could not manage. That was frightening to see semis giving up! But we just kept going straight and we thought it would be best to head for the Valley Mall since it was just off the freeway and there woud be less side streets to negotiate. Well the snow got thicker and thicker and we finally reached the exit and as soon as I got off the exit and onto the street, the tires started spinning and the car got stuck. A couple of nice men helped to push us out. Two men pushed for about 15 mins. to no avail. Then a 3rd man helped and about 10 mins. later they were able to push us into a gas station that had cleared their space. The men told us we were crazy to be out on a day like today. They laughed when we said we had to get to the airport. They told us to go and settle down somewhere and get a glass of wine because we weren't going anywhere in that car.

So we told them that we just wanted to cross over the freeway and get to the mall and we would come up with Plan B. So they wished us luck and told us to try and do it in a straight shot without stopping. So we pulled out of the gas station and immediately got stuck again in the middle of the intersection. They were so nice to stay behind us and pushed us out again but it only took a few minutes that time. We basically coasted through lights and into the Valley Mall parking lot muttering, "please, please, please don't get stuck again" and we made it! This was about 1:00. So it had taken us 3 1/2 hours to get to the Valley Mall. We headed into the mall only to find out that the mall was closing due to the bad snow storm. Is that possible? Do malls really close? It's every woman's worst nightmare!

About this time we received the news that Tricia's flight had been cancelled and that she was stuck in Seattle until the next day. Lori and I did not feel safe driving around in that storm in David's car. There was a Sears right there but it had closed for the storm so I could not buy any chains. As they kicked out the few people that were in the mall, we decided to try and drive over to the hotel. It was in the same parking lot but was quite a walk in the snow. So as soon as I backed out of the parking space, we were stuck again! Then I said, let's just try to get it back in the parking space and see if someone will give us a ride to the hotel cause there were a few SUV's in the parking lot. A news van drove by and we just assumed they were off duty. They asked if we needed help and we said that we just wanted to get the car out of the way and then we were going to leave it. So the guy who was driving the van came and helped us push while the girl kept talking to someone. We didn't realize at the time that she was broadcasting the guy helping to push our car out over the news with a Skype camera. Then when he was finally able to get us back in the space, he asked if we needed any more help and we asked if they could give us a ride to the hotel (mind you, we didn't have any idea that they were working at the time.) He said sure and then they asked if they could interview us. So they waited for their turn because (again, unbeknownst to us!) the news channels were broadcasting all day from several locations about this record setting snow storm. So they asked us how the roads were and we said, "terrible" and then they talked back and forth with the news anchors and then the anchors wanted to know if we were sisters and more specifically if we were twins? We said, "no, we just spend so much time together that we're starting to look alike". Then they dropped us at the hotel and luckily we were able to get a room because there was a line of people checking in who were stranded by the storm.

It was an Oxford Suites and they gave us special snow rate of $99 for this beautiful room. It was just me and Lori and we each had our own bedroom and bathroom and TV! You never get rooms like that when you are with your family and you have 4 people sleeping on the floor!! By now it is about 3:00. We have a beatiful, warm room and we are safe and for that we were very grateful. We were also so grateful for all of the help we received from strangers. So there we are right next to the Valley Mall and it is closed. The theaters are closed. The restaurants are closed. Everything was closed. We got to watch on the news how this was the worst snow storm since 1880. They received 19.4" in a 24 hour period which beat the old record set in 1951 by 5". Can I just say that that information would have been extremely helpful when I check with the department of transportation at 6:30 that morning!!! We tried to enjoy the R&R but all we could think about was all of the things that we needed to be doing as we were just stuck there. We just stared out the window at the mall that was closed. Does anyone remember that old Mervyn's commercial where the woman has her face pressed up against the class and she is saying "Open. Open. Open." That was us!

So we got a free toothbrush and slept in our clothes. The next day started about the same but the sky got progressively clearer and it was actually blue by about noon. Reid and James Baker were so kind and drove up the Baker's suburban and switched cars with us so that we could finish our shopping and pick Tricia up at the airport. They were able to get home in David's car and we were able to navigate our way through the airport in the Suburban. We have never seen the Spokane airport so crazy. There were people everywhere and cars were lined up three deep all along the curb. Poor Tricia had to get herself a hotel in Seattle. She had quite the travel adventure on her trip but that is another story!

It was crazy but we all got home safe and sound last night. Lori and I were so disappointed in ourselves because if we were any kind of bloggers at all, we would have pictures of our adventure to share with you all. The ironic thing is that I had my camera with me but I left it in David's car at the mall. Also we didn't know when the day started, that it was going to be an adventure! We are definitely going to have to do better blog documentation of our mishaps! Last funny thing to share - when we finally did get in the mall to do our much needed christmas shopping, people kept recognizing us because they saw us on the news. How funny is that? I am so grateful that I have such a good best friend and lookalike to share these adventures with!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's raining, it's pouring...

David and I just got back from a quick trip to Kauai. We were gone for 6 days. We signed up for this trip almost 2 years ago. First let me give you some background information. We got an offer to go and stay at the Princeville Hotel at a really good rate. We get offers like that occasionally because we must be on some timeshare list entitled, "Suckers!" Actually, they must be aware by now that we never buy the timeshare but we are usually happy to go and stay in nice places and check them out. The problem with those offers is that you can never take anyone with you because the offer is usually only valid for whoever it is addressed to.

So this is typically how it goes in our house. - We get an offer in the mail. David opens it and says, "Hey do you want to go to ______ ?" I usually answer something like, "Well, that sounds nice but I don't see that we have much free time coming up and I'd rather go somewhere where we can invite people to go with us. So my answer is no." David says, "Okay. You're probably right." End of conversation. I don't think about it again and then, almost without fail, as I am looking up in our mail cupboard I find a certificate that says we are booked to go to _____ ! I question him and he says, "Oh yeah. It was just too good to pass up." Then I say, "Why do you even ask me if you are just going to go ahead and make the decision without me?" And then he says, "I don't really know ."

But I guess signing up and paying for a vacation two years before MQAC set out to ruin our lives was somewhat fortuitous in this instance. So we got to go to Kuaui! We have been to Kauai once before and just loved it. We had visited the Princeville Hotel when we were there before so we jumped at the chance to stay there (or at least David did!) This is what the Princeville looks like:

Well, our first bad news of the vacation is that they informed us about 4 months ago that the Princeville was going to be closed for renovations and that we were going to be staying at the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, and we were assured that is was just as nice! We'll it was nice, but it was not in the same league as the Princeville Hotel. So that was our first disappointment of our trip but, hey, we're still in paradise, right? This is a picture of the buiding we stayed in.

This was the view from our hotel. You could see the ocean but it was up above it. Pretty, but not a beach you could play in. Our room was very nice, though. I just wasn't super impressed with the resort.

No problem. We are happy campers and any vacation is a good vacation! The picture above was taken the morning of the first day we were there (Wednesday). It was nice but the clouds rolled in and the wind was blowing a bit so we hung around our hotel that day and relaxed and hoped for better weather for our hikes and other activities that we had planned. We tried to sit by the pool but it kept getting cold and windy so we would wind up inside until the sun came out again and then we would go back out and try it again. Needless to say, we did not need sunscreen.

Well, the next day was a little worse (Thursday). It was cloudy and it kept drizzling. We still headed out and saw a few sights.

This is Wailua Falls and you can drive right to it. This waterfall was made famous in the opening scene of the tv show, "Fantasy Island." This is what the falls look like normally. (I did not take this picture.)

This is what they looked like when we saw them with lots more water flowing. And this was before the big rains hit! Here is a video for you so you can all enjoy Wailua Falls!

Good thing we got this picture when we did. You can't really see the wind blowing but it was. The weather wasn't too bad but it wasn't too good either.

For some reason, roosters and chickens just roam free everywhere on the island. It is rumored that before some big hurricane, they went and let all the roosters and chickens out of their cages and they have been roaming wild ever since. Some of the roosters are really pretty but they are noisy!

The next day (Friday) was looking good but quickly turned cloudy and drizzly again. We headed out to the Kilauea Lighthouse and walked around in the rain anyway. Can you see the lighthouse on the tip there? The weather wasn't too bad when I took this picture but by the time we reached the lighthouse it was raining and people were donning ponchos. Not us - we just got wet! Who brings a poncho to paradise?

So we headed back to our hotel to watch more DVD's and R&R as we waited for our good weather day to go hiking. I had already finished the book I brought on the first day because we decided to make that our hang out and wait for good weather day!

Then Saturday the real rains hit! This is a picture of the hotel before the rain...

And this is a picture during the rain. See the lake where the grass used to be?

Yes, not only was there torrential rains but there was a tornado warning in effect for about an hour when we were told to stay in our rooms. Then that was lifted but there were flood warnings and the bridges were washed out. So we were instructed to stay at the resort. Here is a video of the rain. It is hard to tell how much rain was falling but watch at the end when I pan down to the water coming from the rain gutter.

Little did we know, that we should have been running around the island trying to get everything done on our very first day when it was only partly cloudy and blowing. Who knew the weather would go from bad to worse? But don't worry - because as luck would have it - the sun came out on Sunday! Perfect. Not only is it the sabbath, but it is also the day we are flying home. At least the bridge opened back up so that we could go to church. We attended a branch in Hanalei and it was their primary program. There were about 12 kids in their primary and so they each had about 3 parts but it was really cute.

We had most of the day to kill because we weren't scheduled to fly out until 11:30 p.m. So we went to church, then checked out of our place and headed for the south side of the island where we had dinner reservations that evening.

We headed to Po'ipu where we at at The Beach House. It is a lovely restaurant that has amazing views of the ocean on both sides. This is the restaurant and we were sitting at a table in that far corner. It was very nice.

I took this picture of a guy paddling along on a surf board way out there at sunset.

Here is a picture of the lucky people who flew in on Saturday night and missed all the rain and got to enjoy a beautiful Sunday at Po'ipu Beach. Most of them seemed to have heard all about the rain they missed.

But it was still fun to spend some quality time together and just chill. Neither of us were complaining too loudly. Then we arrived at the airport about 9 because we had to turn in our rental car, only to find out that our flight had been delayed by 3 hours! We took off about 2:30 a.m. which caused us to miss our connection in Seattle so we had to take a later flight there but we finally got home to Pasco about 4 hours later than anticipated.
So, our little Kauai getaway was fraught with minor disasters. Oh well. Hopefully, we will get to go again and enjoy better Hawaiian weather another time. Maybe next time I will get my way and we will actually get to go with friends or family!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Peggy's pearls...

testimony - n.

1. A declaration or affirmation of fact or truth, such as that given before a court.

2. A public declaration regarding a religious experience.

"The testimony you have today will not be your testimony of tomorrow. Your testimony is either going to grow and grow until it becomes as the brightness of the sun, or it is going to diminish to nothing, depending on what you do about it." Harold B. Lee

The following are excerpts from the book, Reflections of a Scientist - Henry Eyring.

"I have one caution about scholarship as it relates to the Church, its history, leaders, and doctrines. We need to be continually reminded that however interesting some such topic might be, it has no relevance to religious faith, one way or the other. You can't intellectualize your way to a testimony. There will always be another question beyond the one you have just answered.

People who think they have to be as smart as the Lord, understand everything, and have no contradictions in their minds may have trouble. There are all kinds of contradictions that I don't understand, but I find the same kinds of contradictions in science, and I haven't decided to apostatize from science.

There is a further point that needs emphasis. The gospel is not the people in the Church. The gospel is not even the people who direct it. The gospel is the truth. Some people have pointed to some member of the Church and said, 'Now, Dr. Eyring, that's one of your brethren, and he's not what he ought to be.' My answer is this, 'Well, you ought to see what he'd be like if it weren't for the Church.' We have to keep firmly in mind at all times the two aspects of the Church: its divinely inspired perfect side, and its human side. Perhaps I can say it another way. This Church would be perfect if the Lord had not let people into it.

So I am certain that the gospel, as taught in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is true. It's a better explanation of what I observe in science than any other I know about. There are still lots of things I don't know, but that doesn't bother me. I'm a happy muddler. The gospel simply asks me to find out what's true as best I can and in the meantime to live a good life. That strikes me as the best formula for living there could be."

(Elder Neal A. Maxwell said of his friend, "Though Henry Eyring is, in my opinion, the most distinguished Mormon scientist of this dispensation, Henry's highest expression of scholarship was seen in his capacity to grasp the simplest but most sublime truths about God, man, and the universe!")

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bryan playing basketball for Brad

Here is a little clip of Bryan playing basketball. I am putting it on so that Brad can see it because he is allowed to check our family blog. It is nothing too excited. Although - if any of you like what you see, Bryan is available for an AAU team. He doesn't play on Sundays and he is not that great yet, but he is more than likely going to be very tall in the future and I am happy to bring team treats. So keep that in mind!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Happy 17th Birthday Kylie!

Kylie turns 17 today! I am so proud of the young woman that she has become. It has been a blast raising Kylie. My one wish for all of my kids is that they have at least one child exactly like them so I can enjoy them all over again!

Kylie was such a character when she was little. She is our number 5 and you would think that she would get lost in the shuffle... not a chance with this one! Luckily, I was somewhat immune to her cuteness at the time. I look back on pictures and videos now and wonder how I had the discipline to get anything done other than sit around and watch this child's antics. She was constantly singing songs and I would turn off the camera when she started to repeat her songs so then she would say, "No, no. I have another one" and she would proceed to make up a song. (She was about 3.) Her made up songs would be similar to Buddy the Elf''s singing telegram (from the movie "Elf") with lyrics like...
"And I'm here,
With my dad,
And he wants me to sing him a song,
And I'm singing
I love you, I love you, I love you."
And she would always swear that it was a real song.

One of our favorite memories of Kylie was the time she spent standing in front of our shiny gold framed fireplace and performing in the reflection. It was just the right height when she was 3 or 4. It was her own personal mirror and we usually had to ask her to turn around if we were trying to take a picture or video. She preferred to watch herself.

If you know Kylie, then you know she loves cats! We have had cats on and off throughout the years mostly because of Kylie. We currently have an indoor cat that we have had for a couple of years now. Kylie named her Lula May but we just call her Kitty. It's a well known fact around here that Kylie will end up being the Crazy Cat Lady.

When they were handing out talents in the pre-existence, Kylie must have been running from line to line and gathering them all. I don't really know how she did it, but I'm pretty sure she broke some rules because she got more than her fair share of talents! She can sing, dance, act and she is brilliant. (Don't let her hair color fool you!) I always thought my biggest job as Kylie's mom would be to keep her humble but I was wrong. She is actually very humble, and I find that I spend most of my time trying to get Kylie to believe in herself and get her to live up to her potential. We have lots of talks about Kylie sharing her talents and not hiding her light under a bushel. She doesn't quite see that singing is not necessarily showing off your talent, it's also sharing your talent so that others can enjoy it too. Maybe it's my fault. I sent her mixed messages! When she was 3 I would tell her "that's enough singing" and now I constantly say, "you should sing more." What's a girl to do?
Don't get me wrong. Kylie has lots of accomplishments under her belt and she is involved in lots of activities and constantly amazes me and makes me so proud. I am just saying that I have the inside scoop on this outstanding girl, and what you see is only the tip of the iceberg!
If you know Kylie, then you know that she went though a chubby phase. I won't post the pictures because I don't think Kylie would appreciate it, but we have a few good ones! Or should I say bad ones? They actually are just bad pictures. Chubby or not, she was obviously always a beautiful child. I truly believe that her chubbiness was a gift. It's difficult to develop an empathetic heart when a person has no idea what it feels like to be made fun of or to feel different. No parent wishes that on their child but there are some lessons that can only be learned by experience. Kylie is just plain beautiful and always has been since the day she was born. I don't think she has any idea just how much. Her true gift, though, is that she is even more beautiful on the inside! She has a huge heart and she is concerned about others. I think that no matter how gorgeous Kylie might look on any given day or at any given event, she will always know what it felt like to be the chubby kid and I think in the long run it will serve her well. She might not be grateful that she was chubby, but I am!

I am thoroughly enjoying Kylie right now. With such a big family as ours, I have really enjoyed each child's junior and senior year because it has provided more one-on-one time with each. No matter what their order in the family, they get to be the oldest for a while! Kylie can be a brat. I know I am a terrible parent, but I have called her a brat since she was little. Most of the time it was lovingly, but sometimes I meant it. She can be a brat and she knows it but I love spending time with her. She is so funny and has such an infectious laugh. Kylie is a talker and she will open up to me in ways that some of my other kids don't (or at least didn't at the time). Kacey was so-so. She shared when she was in the mood. Kristy usually shared more than I wanted to know. I don't mean inappropriate things, I just mean too much trivial information (love ya Kristy.)Courtney was tight lipped and I still have to drag information out of her. So Kylie has been a fun kid to talk with and I appreciate that.

I am just plain proud and grateful to be Kylie's mother. I always knew I wanted a lot of kids. Even when I was young I would tell people that I wanted 10 kids. I don't really know why. I grew up Catholic and then converted to Mormonism so I guess that sealed my fate. For me, the best part about having so many kids was seeing what was coming out next! They are all so unique and special. (It was a tough decision to shut down the baby factory.) I am truly blessed. And today I feel especially blessed to be the mother of this amazing young woman who is now 17. Happy Birthday Kylie. I love you.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Nena is amazing!

My niece, Nena (Ryan's wife), is truly amazing and talented. She made a ginormous glitter Santa and is giving him away. I have heard of these giveaways but this is the first time I am playing. I am hoping to win and have it become one of my new favorite things! Wish me luck...

I need to post about this to get more chances to win. Check out the Santa at, but I don't want any of you to enter! Deal?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Our house is all decorated for Christmas and I just love it! I am trying to think of a decorating scheme that would allow me to leave my lights up all year long without looking tacky. Then again, maybe if they were up all year long they would lose their magic. Hmm?
Last year we traveled to Las Vegas to spend Christmas there with Kacey & Jon. Also last year I was recuperating from my unfortunate intestinal surgery so the Christmas decorating was left to a bare minimum. This year we got it all out, though, and everyone helped including our two exchange students. We actually got it up the weekend before Thanksgiving but did not have the official lighting until after our feast. It is so fun to have it decorated so early and just enjoy it. Some day I will actually get my shopping done early too. Dare to dream!

Oprah has her favorite things so I am going to share some of my favorite Christmas things! Here they are in no particular order:
My nativity snow globe (Costco). I always wondered why they would make big heavy snow globes that had to be held upside down and shaken. I knew there had to be a better way and then I found it. To make the glitter swirl inside of the globe, you simply press a button in the back and it lights up and swirls! Also the wise men under the globe turn around to music and you wind in by turning it counter clockwise. No lifting or dropping involved! Love it.

My nativity from Ghana. Kacey brought this back for me and I don't know how she did it because it is so heavy. That hut weighs a ton. It is beautiful and I love it.

My nativities from Guatemala. I have two sets mixed in together here. Up close the faces could possibly considered creepy and sometimes it's hard to tell which person they actually represent. But I love the workmanship and I love the different cultures' perspective on the nativity.

My nativity from Costco. It is really beautiful and I love it. I don't know where Costco gets their stuff but sometimes it is just amazing that they can sell stuff like this for a good price.

My stocking hangers. They are picture frames so I get to enjoy my kids in all of their youthful exuberance. It took a few years to get Bryan's picture in (okay so he didn't get in til this year) but he's here now and that's what's important!

My homage to snow men! The snow men have their own tree complete with snow men ornaments.

David's mother has a tradition of buying all of her grandchildren ornaments for Christmas. So as a result, we have lots of wonderful ornaments on our tree. The kids love opening up their Christmas ornaments every year and we just ooh and aah over them. What a fun tradition! Here are just a few to give you an idea...

I love my tree. This picture doesn't do it justice but it is big and tall and it spins around so we can see all the ornaments. Thank you again, Costco! Unfortunately, our cat loves the tree too and climbs inside. I think she is chewing on the lights!

Santa and this wacky reindeer have been guarding our door at Christmas for many years now. The reindeer has had a series of unfortunate events. This year we even had to glue his head back on!

We have had this Christmas plate for about 20 years now! It was given to me by a friend.

One of my very favorite Christmas things is our train (Costco again!). I think this is our 5th year with the train. It is the cutest thing and I just love it. I will be sad when it breaks. Will Scarlet be the one? I sure hope not. I would hate to have to choose between my granddaughter and the train!

I so wish that, like Oprah, I could now give each of you all of my favorite things. That would be so great, but I can't. You'll just have to covet mine! Long live Costco!!