Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Another Package

                When I first joined my family I believed Tony was pretty much a holiday Scrooge.  He said his favorite holiday was Thanksgiving, but he seemed to hate Christmas.  He made no effort to hide his negative emotions.  Fortunately that changed sometime after Jenna was born.  His feelings toward Christmas seem to become more positive with each passing year - or at least that is what I hear in his voice.  It is so awesome to have him enjoying that again.

                Rochelle and Tony's original plans this year were to send their gifts with their brothers who had planned to visit us during the holidays.  Only "when" turned into "if' and then "not this year".  Tony called the day the package was mailed and said that it would be late.  I am glad it didn't come before Christmas as I knew their gift to Jenna would put all of ours to shame - even Snoopy.  Oh, Jenna still loves Snoopy but is more excited by the gift from their family.



                Her gift may have been the first that was placed in the box as it was not on top, rather my favorite part of the package.  The thoughtful gift of hand-made ornaments and pictures sent with crafted foam and on a house shaped plaque designed for "family". 



                We never did get a picture of all of us together after our last three grandchildren were born and now Jeanie is gone and will no longer be a part of any recent photos.  How thoughtful to include each of us with the pictures they sent.

                Since the first time Jenna had watched her first episode of "Psych" she became an instant fan.  She loves Shawn Spencer and now the pineapple.  Her goal right now is to rewatch the series to find the pineapple that supposedly exists in each episode.  Tony's family had sent the first six seasons of Psych and Jenna is thrilled.  If it had been her only gift Jenna would have been fine with it.


                I love listening to her laughter.  It reminds me of watching movies and sitcoms with Tony.  He is actually my favorite person to watch sitcoms with.  He has such a cute laugh and is easily amused. I do miss his laugh and his enthusiasm.

                Some of their gifts and thoughtfulness this year was really clever.  I started reading the book they sent me though I have not gotten too far into it.  I was trying to read as much as I can before school starts back up again.  Just one more week left of programming and emotional psychology.  I don't know what I will have after that.


                2017 has flown by so quickly!  It's hard to believe it's almost over.  I wonder if 2018 will fly just as quickly.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Reminiscing Memories and My Widowed Son

         I don't know how long my brother-in-law, Bill, had known his first wife before they had married.  They had dated in high school - I don't know if it was serious and if she waited for him to return from his mission, or if she just happened to be available when she returned.  It wasn't until her funeral that I had learned she had been born with eleven toes.  When she was still an infant, an operation was performed to remove the extra toe.

          Her mother spoke at her funeral and had mentioned that AnnaLeigh had been in and out of Primary Children's Hospital at least forty times before she turned eighteen. I'm guessing she had health problems when the two were married.  Six months after they were married, she was diagnosed with another medical problem.  I'm thinking Hodgkin's.  I know her health became a trial for both of them - though not many people saw it from Bill's attitude.  He remained positive and upbeat


          The first time my son Biff met Jeanie, she was driving.  He hadn't proposed to her until after she lost her driving privileges due to health.  I thought it admirable of him to want to take care of her.  Before they were married I told him to talk to Bill.  During their marriage, I told him to talk to Bill.  AnnaLeigh struggled with depression.  If Jeanie experienced depression, it was due to medications. 

        Her mood swings would often get out of control and there were times when she had been downright mean - mean to Biff, mean to her mom . . . which evidently was not in her nature either.  Last year her speech was slurred.   Biff's descriptions of her reminded me of describing one who has dementia.  He is with somebody else this Christmas.  Bill was with Kayla on his first Christmas without AnnaLeigh. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Thoughts About Yesterday


I think Roland woke me up
to ask me something
I don't remember what
I guess he didn't wake me
but I did get out of bed

I dragged myself into the
living room.  I don't even
know what time it was
Jenna asked me if I would
make her lunch.
I made a sandwich and
cut some potatoes and
the remaining ham and
put them in the crock pot with
2 cans of milk and a 
can of corn.

I went out to the shed
for bubble wrap and boxes
and started wrapping ornaments
to mail to the boys.
I had planned on sending letters and
the "legend of the candy cane" thought.

first package: Tony's family.  Large box. Extra
items.  First I put in bubble wrap for padding
boxes of cookie decorating kits
hats, ornaments.  Seal box.  Whoops.  Forgot
the letter. 
Go to computer.  Type and print letters.
Put Tony's in an envelope.  Tape it to
the box.

Next:  I open box of hats for Randy's family
wrap ornaments.  Take off tags.  Whoops. Hadn't
done that on Tony's either. 
Pack ornaments and hats
oh, and reindeer antlers for Devin. 
Packing is a bit tight.  I think I broke off
Santa's pom pom.
Reopen package for Tony's family.
Remove tags from the hats.  Reseal package.

Package for Biff.  Where are the socks I had?
Come on!  I had three sacks of ornaments.
One of the ornaments is missing.  I was frustrated
about it yesterday.  Stopped packing to look. 
Missing sock ornament is hanging in Jenna's room.
Did she even ask me about it?
Frustration!

Realize the mitten ornaments for Randy's family
are still on the table.  Break the seal on
that package.  Reseal.  Need a box for five
ornaments to send to Kayla and Bill.  Made
a special one for BJ.  It is a caterpillar.
All the boxes are too big.  I need a smaller box.
I could trade this for the one I packed for
Randy's family.  I break the seal again.

I realize that I have jumped from past to present
and back again.  My eyes are heavy.  I don't
think I had enough sleep.  Did not get much
accomplished yesterday as far as school goes.
I did get the packages sent off.  I started this
post after I finished this week's assignment
for one of my classes.  I turned it in last night.

Today I have to work on the assignment for
my other class.  I also have to respond to
two discussions and do my daily check points.
I did not start any of this last night as my mind
is ready to enter slumber land.  I will appreciate
it if it will just shut off a while and allow me to
get a good amount of needed sleep.
Starting a test now.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Finding a New Home for the Dogs


            On December 24, 2014 my children decided to do white elephant gifts for what would be our last Christmas in Utah (only we hadn't planned for it to be our last Christmas together)  Jeanie recycled at least one gift that they had received, possibly both.

  


            They weren't wrapped, but left in black garbage bags, both huge.  One a bit bulkier than the other.  For some reason I was drawn to them - not knowing fully which to choose.  I settled on the flat one, figuring it was a painting of some sort. 
            Many people, when drawing white elephants, will allow a person to choose a wrapped gift or swipe an  unwrapped gift from somebody else.  I didn't know until later that Jenna had actually considered "stealing" the painting I had "unwrapped" but wanted the opportunity to unwrap something herself.  She chose what she considered to be the worst of all the white elephant gifts: sour cream and onion flavored crickets.

             My daughter-in-law, Rochelle was the last one to open a gift.  She chose the remaining plastic bag and removed the mushroom.  We all foresaw that it would be a part of her three-year-old's collection - though the stuffed mushroom appeared to be twice as big as Ester.

             Before we packed our gifts to take home, Jenna asked if she could have the painting.  Funny, because I was going to ask her if she wanted it - but I would have asked as a joke.  She was serious.  And so we took that painting and hung it in her room in West Valley.  We brought it with us to Oregon and it hung in her room at  the first house where we lived.  We brought it with us to our second house.  It hung in her room.  She  had even purchased a dog figurine that matched the painting.  It was placed over the painting until the end of June. 
            The painting had been removed by Service Master when they dried out her room.  It lived in the closet in Roland's office for nearly two months while most of her belongings were a in storage unit somewhere in Winston. When they returned, Jenna rearranged her furniture and walls and decided she no longer had room for this large 16X20 framed picture - though she still really likes it.  She was torn.

             She took a picture and sent it to Kylee along with a photo of a chair we had purchased at a yard sale and a more recent treasure: the hiking bag that had never been used. 


Kylee made a trade with her for some unnecessary stuffed animals.  Jenna loves  animals - even ugly ones.  Not to say that Kylee's animals were ugly . . . I hadn't actually taken a good look.  I just know there are a few animals that I didn't find as appealing as she seems to have. Her room is overcrowded with stuffed animals - which surprisingly did not make it to Winston, but have been in her closet this entire time.  I think Kylee got the better deal.  But that's okay.  Jenna is the one who normally makes out like a bandit.  We both love Kylee and are happy to see her get use out of things that Jenna had already retired.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Feeding the Mormons

posted 12/10/2016

          Our ward did something different for the Christmas celebration this year.  Instead of the traditional dinner that is normally done, we had a Christmas breakfast.  And the Relief Society wasn’t in charge of fixing any of it.  It was catered!

          Last year, we had it in the Skyhawk room in Myrtle Creek – which seems to be a popular spot for annual events – and not just the cafeteria between the elementary and middle schools.  But this we had our breakfast at the Bible Christian Center in Riddle.  The inside of the facility definitely seems a lot bigger than the outside.  I was impressed.
         
          We had the option of scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage patties, muffins, fruit, and in addition to the drink choices of milk, cran-raspberry juice, orange juice or hot cider.  I used a thick raspberry syrup for my pancakes and it was delicious.

          After an hour, the adults sang 7 different Christmas hymns while the primary went into another room to prepare for the program that was to follow.  Ten, including Jenna (who is not really in primary anymore) returned, dressed as angels.  Hayden was the only boy dressed as an angel.  The other two were dressed to represent Nephi and Samuel, the Lamanite.  The other two girls in primary wore their Church clothes and acted as the narrators.


          Jenna and I both sat at chairs that had stickers beneath.  Our sticker entitled us to take home a star to hang on our tree.


Angel robe and halo

star ornament 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Let the Music Play


            I love music.  All kinds of music really.  But the holidays are not complete without traditional Christmas songs and hymns depicting the original Bethlehem scene.

            On Wednesday night Jenna asked if we could attend the high school concert scheduled for last night.  She doesn't ask for much and I was excited that she wanted to attend.

            Thus last night we went to the high school to listen to the choir and two bands.  There were a lot more people than chairs.  The conductor of the high school band and choir is the same one who leads the Middle School's. 





            When Jenna has her school concert, it will be in the gym, but I think the concert last night was held in the auditorium.  I had thought perhaps the lunchroom, but I didn't see a kitchen.

            The auditorium/lunchroom and kitchen at Jenna's school are in a building by itself.  It is between the elementary school and middle school.  Both schools share the same cafeteria.  It  is known as the SkyHawk room. I don't have a photo of the building itself, but a rough map location here.
 
            It is where morning meetings are held and dances when they have them.  I think the room at the high school held their concert last night is roughly the same size as the Skyhawk Room.  I think the gym where the Middle School holds their concert seems to provide more seating.          

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Little by Little





        We lived in a different house during Christmas last year. Oregon seems to get really dark.  The street that we lived on was not well lit.  Actually, the entire neighborhood seemed dark - even where the lamp post could be seen.
        


        Tri City seems to have more light.  There's neighborhood streets that are better lit than others - our current street for example; is not near as dark as our first street.   A lamp post stands in the yard of the neighbors to the west of us.  I think it is the brightest lamp post I have ever seen.
       
        Downtown Myrtle Creek is usually lit up - particularly at this time of year. We put our Christmas lights up before December started.  Little by Little we have seen other houses and yards being decorated and providing light on otherwise dark roads.  I love Christmas lights!




Monday, December 5, 2016

Activities

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints introduced us to an Advent Calendar this year








Meanwhile, Jenna has decided that we need to do an additional activity each week.  Thus far most of our activities have been craft related

Day 1 Thursday - she decided we would make wreaths

Initially, Roland made two large bows, but they were nearly as big as the wreath itself

Day 2 Jenna put me in charge of Firday's activity.  We made the tree

On Saturday, we cut out snowflakes while watching "Pete's Dragon"



Day 4 - yesterday.  She put me in charge again, and so I decided we would put a puzzle together.  Roland helped us with it - well, actually ended up doing most of it.  And Jenna disappeared.  She told me to take a picture of the finished product



Friday, December 11, 2015

It Really is the Simple Things

          Christmas does not have to be about spending money or exchanging gifts - though I love the gift giving thing.  There are some years that we have really had to stretch. We have been recipients of "Sub for Santa" many times. Overall, I think those are the most memorable.  And I have really been touched by all of those who have made an effort to our cause.



          We moved to West Valley at the end of 2009.  It was hard to leave our Kearns ward family - but at the same time, we felt that the move was the right thing for us. Less than a week before Christmas, I received a call from the Relief Society President of the ward we had left.  She said that she had gifts for us from the ward.  She came in the second snowstorm of that season.  She brought two other sisters with her.  Their gifts more than doubled the amount of gifts that we already had.

          The next year was Tony's first year in the WV house.  Our gifts were even more sparse than the year prior (before adding gifts from the Kearns ward). Roland's mom and sister had sent us gifts every year, but we hadn't received a package from them that year. I think we had three gifts for Jenna and one for each of the boys.  Roland and I had only one present for one another.  Both simple (like a twinkie sized furuit cake from me;  Roland actually likes fruitcake - but that's beside the point)

          It was just after 10:00 p.m. when I placed the eight gifts beneath the tree and went to bed.  I was really tired and wanted to sleep.  I was in awe the next morning to find an explosion of gifts beneath our tree.  I couldn't even imagine where they had all come from.

          As it turns out, both Tony and Biff had decided to play Santa as well.  Tony had purchased several gifts for each family member, and Biff had kept a huge secret from us as Richard's mom and sister had taken him shopping earlier in August.  They had loaded up his car with gifts  Neither Tony nor Biff was aware that the other had also played Santa.

          I love Christmas.  I love the suspense.  I love the Spirit of giving and doing.  Recently I read a post on facebook which touched my heart.  My friends were driving the Salt Lake roads when traffic had come to a halt.  In the intersection was a woman behind the wheel of a stalled truck.  A man had seen her and tried to help.  When the truck wouldn't start, he offered to push. 






          Seeing that assistance was still needed for moving the truck, my friend got out of his car to assist with pushing also.  The next thing my friends saw others had left their cars and were helping to push the truck out of the intersection.  No honking of cars or verbal abuse from other drivers.  The lights had changed, but every driver seemed to be patiently waiting - on the roads of Salt Lake.  That, my friends, is truly a Christmas miracle.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

12 Days of Nativity


About a year and a half ago, after we cleaned mom’s house, I reclaimed my nativity mentioned here and learned that it was just too large for my small house and my less-than-tidy family.  Last year was the only year I put it up.

My family had sent me a wooden nativity the first Christmas I was on my mission.  The nativity consisted of five pieces: Mary, Joseph, two lambs and the baby Jesus.  My brother Patrick had painted each of the figures. 

Two years after I had returned from my mission, I had purchased a bunch of Christmas items that went on clearance following the holidays.  One of the items I purchased was a three-piece wooden set with painted camel, the three wisemen and a shepherd.  I added those to my existing nativity.  That is what I used for several years after Roland and I were married.

My mom had given me a small nativity sometime before we had moved to West Valley.  It was smaller than my wooden set, and often I displayed both sets.  I hope that they are still in the shed, but it dawned on me that since I haven’t run across either, that they may have been in the same box with my dip n drape nativity – never to be seen again.  Except for a wooden lamb that somehow drifted from the rest of the set, and a small Mary from the other.  

Randy said he wished I had given him the nativity – which is odd, because of all my children, I figure that he really wouldn’t want it.  Thus I thought I would give him one of the missing nativities, should I have come across them. But alas, it is still not discovered.

Last year Roland purchased another nativity set and put Biff in charge of picking out the figures.  I have Mary, Joseph, three wisemen, a donkey, a lamb, a camel, an angel and surely you’ve heard of the Christmas rooster – which by the way is almost the same size as the sheep.  And so this year I added Ooki’s elephant to the set.  The rooster actually looks more out of place than the elephant does.

Well, somebody has decided to give each of our activity girls a nativity set – one piece at a time. Jenna received Mary on the 16th I believe.  I noticed one of her friends had taken a picture of her Mary and posted that someone had left it along with the scripture.  The scripture that came with the first nativity figure was Luke 1:26-31.

The following day Jenna received Joseph who came with a verse from the children’s songbook.  The third day was a donkey.  The forth day was the Stable.  The fifth day was a cow.  And the next three days were wisemen.

         Jenna had diligently taken pictures.  The last she took was of the cow.  She had borrowed my LG cell phone – which I had to replace as it cut the conversation.  I still use it as a directory and had told Jenna that she could borrow it to take to school for a brilliant idea she had wanted to make as a gift for her teachers.  Unfortunately it did not work out.  I had forgotten I would need a chip to transfer pictures, but did not have a chip on hand nor do I want to invest in another after losing two chips already.

Unlike the nativity that I received last year, Jenna’s includes a shepherd – which came next and was followed by a sheep.  We’ll have to see what the next two days bring.  I imagine that Christmas Eve will come with the Christ Child.  Pics will come – eventually.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Holidays are the Hardest - Missing Traditions

Pie Making




         I can’t find a reference to mom’s traditional pie making event. I suppose it could have started with her children.  I do recall having assisted with pies at least once in my childhood.  Kayla says she remembers a time when it was just her and Corey that did it with mom.  I don’t think I ever viewed it as an actual tradition until Ellen and Kimball were small.

            My mom made a huge assortment of pies on the Wednesday before  Thanksgiving each year.  The grandkids looked forward to assisting with rolling out the dough and filling the pie with whatever they chose. 
            We’d have apple pie, banana cream pies, coconut cream, chocolate cream, cherry, lemon meringue and of course, pumpkin.  More pies were added to the dinner each time new grandkids were added to the family.

            I don’t remember how often my boys had made pies with grandma.  At least twice – and they have fond memories.  And I have pictures of some of the pie making events.  Jaime may have been a baby when some of these were taken.  Neither Jenna nor I recall her ever having had the opportunity to assist with rolling out the dough or wearing an apron.



            It wasn’t long after Jenna was born when mom announced her last year for her annual pie making event.  Each year after that we ate pies that had been made in the bakery department of various stores.

            My boys had just recently commented on how much fun they had had making pies – and then Kayla had posted a message in facebook about the yesteryear tradition.  I got overly sentimental and cried for nearly a half hour.

            I miss the family that I grew up with. I miss so many traditions that we shared at one time.



 Hand Made Nativity


            When I was growing up, I loved “Dip n Drape” dolls.  I remember going with mom to look at pattarns and material for the project.  We settled on a nativity set as it was closed to the holidays.  I remember buying Styrofoam balls and cones and craft sticks and following directions.  I was in high school at the time.

            It was a good first project.  We had it on display just once a year – usually on top of the piano – where the entire thing fit nicely.  And many of the flaws were overlooked – like one wiseman who had the appearance of having a “stuck-up” personality.  And one wiseman who’s arms were heavier than his body – and was giving a present to lean on so that he did not appear as though he was trying to do push-ups.  And the baby Jesus became a permanent part of what Mary held in her arms – though it probably looked like she was dropping him.

            I had intended on making a manger – so that it would appear that she was placing him in.  I had intended to make camels and sheep – though realistically the seven pieces I had took up quite a bit of room both on display and then in storage.

            It boggles my mind that the set has been around since I was in high school – making it roughly thirty-five years old now.  Mom hadn’t taken it out the last few years that she lived at home.  And I took it back before we sold her house. 

Growing up, I never thought of our house as huge.  It was an average sized house.  It had three bedrooms, two baths, living room, kitchen and unfinished basement.

            Over the years my parents put in the money to have half of the basement finished and added a back room addition to the house.  The house included five bedrooms, three bathrooms, kitchen, living room, family room, game room, dining room, laundry room, storage room – not to mention it had an attic. 

            I’ve lived in two houses since I’ve been married.  The two houses combined did not have as much space as the house I grew up in.  So of course there is not nearly as much storage room


         I had put the nativity up last year.  I had to put the wisemen on a different area than the other four pieces.  Roland had suggested that I part with it last year.  I just didn’t have the heart to throw it away – though many of the dolls were beheaded.  I had planned on making it one more round.

We have even less room for it to be displayed than we had last year.  Plus I’ve been cleaning out my shed and either throwing out or donating a lot.  (12 yard bags and counting) but I still couldn’t bring myself to throw it out. 

         I knew if I donated the dolls to the thrift store, the majority (if not all) would get thrown away, and so I put it in the classifieds and someone picked it up less than an hour after I had posted for free.  She didn’t seem to mind the fact that many of the dolls needed to be repaired.   I hope it works for her and that it may be around for a few more years at least.  


  

Christmas Lights








I remember one year going with my sibs and mom to temple square.  It was Christmas night and the weather was really quite awesome.  We had gone downtown to see the lights.

This year the November was nice weather overall.  Cold, but bearable.  Excpet the last day.  It was cold and bleak and actual typical of so many November days that I can remember – although the last few years have seemed to make an exception.

            I was surprised at how warm the weather seemed yesterday – well, in comparison to Sunday.  Jenna and I started out with a beautiful morning.  I had dressed in layers, but had taken the top layer off as I headed back home.

            I had dressed in layers while picking her up.  I had stripped both layers down while waiting for school to end.  Both Jenna and I carried our coats to the bus stop.  But by the time we reached the crossover, we both had our coats back on.  It cools down quite drastically once the earth rotates away from the sun.

            Roland had given me a camera for Christmas last year – only he had given it to me before Thanksgiving so that I could take pictures and get a feel for it before Christmsa.  It was a nice camera.  A red Nikon which I liked a lot – that is until pushing the power button no longer did anything.  




It had died before Roland and I had taken to Jenna to Disneyland at the end of August.  I hadn’t had the camera an entire year.  That was truly upsetting.  





            I was hoping the battery was the problem, but I had the battery tested in addition to another working battery put in my camera.  I was told my best bet was to send it into the manufacturer – which I did.  I never heard back from them.

            The other night he produced another camera meant for Christmas.  This time a Sony W830 – which may take me a while to figure out.  I’ve had Sonys before, and I like them, but they have all died as well.  And I don’t expect this one will last much longer than the Nikon – though I welcome the opportunity to be proven wrong.



            I told Jenna that we should go downtown to see the lights.  December started out with quite pleasant weather and I though since it was so nice that we should go last night. I suggested to Roland that we go see the lights for family home evening.    I would have just taken Jenna on the train if he had not wanted to go. 

            Downtown was crowded with patrons who had come to see the lights and take pictures.  I really don’t have the hang of my camera.  It will be a while.  I did get a few okay pictures – among a bunch of duds.  Thank heaven for Photoshop, huh?