Monday, January 24, 2011

Bargain Books

Ben brought home one of those Scholastic Book Orders a couple of weeks ago. He really had his heart set on getting a couple of the books (one about mammals and one about sharks). So we finally got around to ordering online, and Ben was deciding on which book he wanted more. One was $4 and one was $5. He debated and debated and debated. Then I suggested that maybe we could go to the store on the weekend and he would be able to get more books for the same price (I was thinking of a thrift store, of course - it's a great place to get books). So, on Saturday morning he reminded me first thing. We headed to the Salvation Army and they just happened to be having a book bag sale ($3 for a brown bag of books). I think we ended up with 41 books (lots of kids books: easy readers, picture and juvenile chapter books, and also a couple other chapter books). Ben was thrilled!!

*I hear there is a thrift store in the next town that sells their kids books for $.10 all the time. That's a real steal.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Good Samaritans

So this morning I jumped in the car to run to the store with Nathan. I was pretty nervous about making it to the gas station (I was totally on empty the other day but I didn't have time to stop and get gas before the kids got home from school). I even got the feeling that I should bring a gas can with me...just in case. I checked a bunch of cupboards in the garage and couldn't find them, so I gave up and headed off. I think next time I will pay a little more attention to "the feeling." HE HE HE. I was cruising along and thought, "As long as I make it up this hill then I can pretty much coast to the gas station." I'm going and going and going....and then there is a chug and another chug and the car starts slowing down...and eventually stops (just short of the top of the hill). I had my phone with me, and I thought I would call someone. I tried one person - no luck. I only had one bar of battery left and I didn't want the phone to die too, so I got out and decided to walk. My visiting teacher lived a mile or so away. Thank goodness today wasn't as cold as some of the days last week. I got Nathan and we started walking down Route 66. I was walking for less than a minute...literally...when a car stopped and asked if I needed help. They were an older couple with a young girl in the back seat. I told them I had run out of gas, and they said, "Well hop in." So I got in (no hesitation at know when you can just tell people are totally safe - that was them). Anyway, they took me to Autozone to get a gas can and then to the gas station to fill it up and then back to the car. The woman held Nathan while I filled the gas can. The man then filled my tank once we got back to the car. And the little girl told me all about the Nintendo DS she was playing. Gas was in the car, the car started, I thanked the couple sincerely, and I was off.
Probably not a big deal for this couple - 25 minutes of their day to drive around a woman and her little boy to get gas....but it was a HUGE deal to me. The couple were both retired Navy. They were actually on their way to their church building (they are the janitors for it) and then they were going to bible study (the little girl mentioned). And they are the grandparents for the little girl in the back seat but are raising her like their own child. It's good to know that there are so many good people in the world - just going about their day to day lives, but helping others whenever they find the chance. It made me realize again how much the "little things" that we do matter. And I am thankful to them for their kindness and to so many others just like them out in the world going about doing good.

(Oh, and now I have to start my record again. It's been about 9 years since I ran out of gas (I mean really ran out - where someone had to come and "save" me). I'm a real push-it-to-the-limit kind of person when it comes to filling up the gas tank and sometimes pride myself on how far I can go. Guess I better be a little more careful living out in the country where there are more hills and less gas stations. HE HE HE.)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Lookin' Good

I got this little suit while I was in CA - Andrea always passes on the boys clothes that don't fit anymore, so I'm sure Jesse and Preston wore this little baby when they were tots. Look how cute Nathan looks in it (he just needs a little tie). Love it.

Sledding and Sliding

We had absolutely nothing on the schedule on Saturday.
NOTHING - pretty nice.
So, we took the kids and headed up to Sandia Peak and found a fun snow-playing area. We wanted to try out our new sled that we got from Santa, but at the organized place there was no metal or wood sleds allowed. So, we took several runs down the hill with our plastic sled. All the kids LOVED it. Then on our way home we found a picnic area with a couple decent hills where we could try out the new sled. It was a hit. It kind of resembles a very miniature snowmobile: a seat, handles, place to put your feet on the side ski's and even brakes. It was easy for the kids to steer and control. We all tried it out. Very fun day.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

You May Kiss the Bride

Erin and David are Married!! YAY!

We headed down to CA (with a quick stop in Casa Grande to see Grandpa and Grandma Dick, Lindsay and Jenny and Kelly and kids) the day after Christmas for the big day. Here's what kept us busy in Murrieta for a week:

*Shopping for dresses for the ceremony (I was a bridesmaid and Caelan was the flower girl)
*Getting pedicures with Andrea, Charity, Kyra and Melanie
*Shopping for food for the luncheon (and making Sean and Dad run back and forth between stores like ping-pong balls...with no shoes on...HE HE HE)
*Putting on a bridal shower for Erin (good fun)
*Sean and Dad went to the temple
*Preparing food for the luncheon (making pinwheel sandwiches, cutting and arranging fruit, making mini cheese cake cups, etc)
*Arranging all the bouquets and table center-pieces with Charity and Melanie. Lovely. (I really like doing that).
*Hauling all the tables, chairs, coolers, food, flowers, etc down the steep hill to the beach where the ceremony was
*Setting up and cleaning up
*Taking part in the wedding ceremony. What a beautiful day it was (got chilly just as people started to leave), the scenery was awesome, and the ceremony was tender.
*Celebrating a very mellow New Years Eve (all the men folk fell asleep, the teenagers dispersed to various friends houses and the women barely made it to midnight (mostly because the kids were going strong)) - we were worn out!! But we did put a puzzle together (New Years Eve tradition)
*Having our family Christmas exchange
*Eating dinner at Filippis
*The girls cutting and dyeing each others hair
*Going to the park (for just a short was CHILLY)
*Sean worked on Dads car and helped Chad change his spark plugs
*Visiting a good friend from High School
*Enjoying time with all the fam

Congratulations dear sister and official "brother-in-law"!

Christmas Traditions

This was the first Christmas that we spent at our own home with just our little family....and we LOVED it. I'm not sure we'll ever be convinced to travel again (well, maybe not NEVER). So this year we got to mix and match traditions from the Sorensen and the Dick family as well as starting some of our own. Here are some Christmas time traditions that we have:

*Putting up the Christmas decoration (sometime during the week after Thanksgiving)
*Making fudge and taking it to friends and neighbors (we delivered bunches this year)
*Watching the First Presidency Christmas devotional
*Going somewhere to see Christmas lights (sometimes this is just around neighborhoods and sometimes this is to temple grounds or to some other community display)
*Making and decorating sugar cookies
*Watching Christmas movies throughout the month (these are the ones we watch every December: Home Alone (1 and 2), How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, Charlie Brown Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, Muppet Christmas Carol, The Polar Express)
*Read Christmas stories at night (not necessarily every night, but quite a few throughout the month)
*We try to enjoy other holiday activities throughout the month: Christmas parties, Christmas parades, creche displays, holiday music performances, etc.
*And of course Christmas music on throughout the entire month (in the house and car)

On Christmas Eve:
*Open one gift (the same gift) - matching PJs for the whole family (my sewing machine was on the fritz this year, so I purchased them. Usually I make fun PJ pants for everyone)
*Have a Family Home Evening where we sing carols and read from the scriptures about the birth of the Savior. Last year the kids dressed up and acted out the nativity. This year they used our crocheted nativity dolls and used them to play out the scene.
*Eat a candle-lit dinner (pretty fun for the kids) of ham, hashbrown potato casserole, homemade rolls, a vegetable and fizzy drink.
*Watch "Muppet Christmas Carol" right before bed (and more times than not the kids fall asleep to this).

Christmas Day:
*The kids have to wait to go into the main room until they hear music playing (Sean played the Hallelujah Chorus this year).
*Santa leaves balloons all over the floor along with the gifts. When the kids are young, this excited them more than almost anything else.
*Everyone can open the little things surrounding their stockings that are wrapped as well as the unwrapped bigger things.
(This year Santa left Caelan and Megan a three story doll house, Ben a series of Star Wars characters and Nathan a construction truck.)
*One person plays "Santa" and passes out the gifts from under to the tree to their recipients.
*We open presents one by one starting with the youngest.
*The traditional food on Christmas day is still be tested. This year I made homemade tamales and we ate those with homemade beans and salad and tortilla soup on Christmas (pretty traditional for New Mexico, actually).

Christmas Parties

We had an awesome snow storm in the middle of December. Because of it the last day of school was canceled, which happened to be the day of the Christmas party for both Caelan and Ben's classes. So, instead we stayed home and had our own Christmas party. We made and decorated sugar cookies and played in the snow and then watched "The Polar Express" while drinking hot chocolate and eating popcorn.

We also had our ward Christmas party that weekend. I was asked to do a musical number, so our whole family sang, "Picture a Christmas" (the primary song...which I love). Santa made a surprise visit to the party as well. You know those pictures of toddlers who are screaming and crying as they are sitting on Santa's lap. Well, that was NOT my son at all. Caelan, Ben, and Megan weren't ever terrified of Santa at that age, but they liked him more from a distance. Nathan, on the other hand, was elated at the chance to be able to sit on his lap. He was grinning from ear to ear, and he talked and talked to him. It was great. The other kids also took turns sitting on Santa's lap. We never really officially asked the kids what they wanted for Christmas this year, and they never came up with specific things that they wanted to ask for. Ben sent Santa a card at the beginning of the month and didn't ask for anything. He just asked Santa how he liked the North Pole and then wished him a Merry Christmas. Even when they sat on Santa's lap at the party it was almost hard for them to think of something to ask for.....LOVE IT! I would happy if that happened every year (wishful thinking, I know, but it sure made things easy for everyone this year).