Sunday, January 27, 2013


This year as the Christmas season approached I wondered how I was going to teach my boys the real meaning of Christmas, how I was going to teach them gratitude, and how I was going to avoid the materialistic, entitled behaviors that so often come with the season of gift giving.  I really feel like my boys have too much, they are spoiled, and there is simply nothing that they "need".  But how do you celebrate Christmas with little children and no presents?  That would be too extreme.  So while we didn't fail in our efforts at having a more Christ centered Christmas, we didn't totally succeed either, I guess it is just another learning experience.  There were however a few things that seemed to help.  We loved watching the new bible videos that the church is putting out about the Savior, they are beautiful, and short, and my boys enjoy them.  We also began a new tradition that a friend suggested to us; only three presents Christmas morning, after all, that is all our Savior received.  So this year Jared and I gave each of the boys a present, Santa gave each of the boys a present (in addition to the stocking/chair presents) and the boys gave each other a present.
Santa as usual filled the stockings with wonderful treasure - some of their favorite presents were in the stocking, which leaves us wondering - why we bother with the larger, more expensive, "better" gifts?  Included with their stocking they each got a sled and a snow shovel, then they opened the one present from Santa, a monster truck - which they loved!
Jared and I gave Grant a LeapPad - super fun , the boys both love it!  and we gave Brandon a giant box of Legos, over 1000 pieces - he loves them, though not as much as I was hoping, in time perhaps?
 Brandon and Grant gave each other games for the Wii, which we are hoping to start using more often.
 I was so worried that the boys would be disappointed by only opening a few gifts, and so worried that they would be disappointed when it wasn't what they asked for, but the truth was they were thrilled, they loved what they got and really could have done with even less.  Their favorite toys were the ones under $10.  Hopefully we will learn our lesson quick!  Our three girt rule however did not apply to aunts, uncles, or grandparents. :)  They were spoiled. :)
 Grandma Julie made the three boys book bags and filled it with DI books, she really does have a talent for finding great books in outstanding shape!
 After fun presents at Grandma Julie and Grandpa Ron's house we went to Grandma and Grandpa Johnson's house for lunch.
Following lunch we all met together to give updates of our families, Brandon was thrilled when his turn came around B - "tell about me mom", he was a hit. :)
 It was such a unique experience to have all of Grandma and Grandpa's posterity there for Christmas, minus Hagen who has passed on and Auburn who spent Christmas with her mom.  What was also amazing was fitting all of us into their living room for a family picture.  Natalie did an amazing job organizing us.  Our family seems to come in fours - four children, four married granddaughter within a few years of each other, four grandsons also within a few years of each other, four granddaughters within months of each other, and the four married granddaughters all had children within months of each other as well and we still have many other wonderful family members who do not come in fours. :)  I hope that someday I will have a posterity similar to my grandparents, we are not without our faults, imperfections and challenges, but we all love each other and enjoy being together and best of all, we are all living close together, that is so unique and special!
 After a fun filled day we went home to play with our toys, the marble works from Grandma Julie (another DI treasure) were a hit.

 Grant's gifts: from Santa - sled, snow shovel, monster truck, treats
from Mom and Dad - LeapPad and protective cover as well as Christmas Eve books
from Brandon - a Wii game (Disney's Just Dance) and a computer game
from Grandma Julie and Grandpa Ron - marble works, lots of books, book bag, new shirt, (which he is wearing) Large box of dinosaurs, Winnie the Pooh V-Tek phone, and a tool set
from Grandma Dee Ann and Grandpa Wyn - a name train, train slide whistle, and Thomas the Train books as well as $50.00 in his bank account
from Natalie, Kevin and Chandler - a light saber
from Jodi, Megan and Ann Dee - a shape/color puzzle and number puzzle
from Grandma and Grandpa Johnson - a 24 piece puzzle and money in his bank
Brandon's gifts: from Santa - a sled, snow shovel, monster truck (stocking favorite - note pad with pens and blubbery crocodile)
from Mom and Dad - 100 piece lego box
from Grant - Wii games Madagascar and Mario Galaxy
from Grandma Julie and Grandpa Ron - new shirt (which he is wearing) lots of books, new book bag, lots and lots of dinosaurs
from Grandma Dee Ann and Grandpa Wyn - 3 favorite whale books (which we can quote easily) and $50.00 in his bank account
from Natalie, Kevin and Chandler - a light saber
from Jodi, Megan and Ann Dee - a WaterDoodle pad
from Grandma and Grandpa Johnson a 24 piece puzzle and money in the bank.

My boys are so abundantly blessed - we are very grateful!!!!!

All together is was a wonderful holiday, great memories made and great lessons learned!  Only 11 more months till next Christmas :)

More Christmas Traditions

I love our traditional baking day, my mom, grandma and two sisters and of course our three boys. :)  Each year we make gingerbread cookies (my favorite) cathedral cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, and this year we reintroduced toffee, yum!  While we do our baking we listen to a hilarious radio program of the 12 days of Christmas, it is a favorite!  I do love having boys, a lot, in fact most of the time I think I would be fine to have all boys, but then this tradition rolls around and I realize that I really do hope to have a daughter or two. :)
 Even the boys had fun rolling out the cookie dough, cutting out the shapes and decorating. :)

 Love, Love, Love this group of people!!!!!!!!
 When the boys get board with cooking, or when we get fed up with their "help" they go in the basement to the playroom, a child's paradise!  This year they invented the "cozy".  While we were unaware, they stole anything soft and cozy from every room in the house and piled it up at the bottom of the stairs.  Fun idea right :) and look how darling they are.
Then, with such a perfect cozy, they jump - naturally. :)  I love boys!!!

Another wonderful outing this Christmas that I mentioned in a previous post was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert - it was precisely what I need to help me feel the true spirit of Christmas this year!  Words will not do justice to the wonderful evening this was!  I am so glad I got to spend it with some of my most favorite people!!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Christmas Dinner with the Family

One of my favorite traditions in having a fancy Christmas dinner at our home with my family.  as our family continues to grow it gets harder to host it at my home, but I still love doing it so we find a way.  This year we were fortunate to have Jared's sister Jodi and her two daughters join us as well.  So all together we had 18 people to fit in our tiny home, 15 adults and 3 children.  But as my mom always said, its not small or cramped, its cozy, and who doesn't want to be cozy during the holidays. :)
 We had a wonderful time and a wonderful dinner, all homemade, just the way I like it; homemade rolls, mashed potatoes, stuffing, apple/custard/chocolate/ and pumpkin pies, jello, and candied onions; YUM!  One of the perks to a "cozy" dinner is it has to be done family style, I love family style dinning, so much more friendly than buffet. :)
 After dinner Grandma Julie gave the boys presents - they loved their new books!

 We also had a mini Christmas devotional, we watched the portion of this years Mormon Tabernacle Christmas concert featuring Alfie Boe and Tom Brokaw.  My mom, Natalie, Jared and I were all able to go see the concert a few weeks prior and it was without a doubt the best, most uplifting Christmas experience I can remember having!!  If you have not had the privilege of seeing it, I would look it up on YouTube or anxiously wait for the video to come out next year - It was incredible!!!!
 It was a very fun night - we even had carolers from our ward come to sing to us, which made the evening even better!  I sure do love spending time with my family!

 Having Jodi, Megan and Ann Dee there made it even better!  I am so glad they came down - we would not have been able to see any of Jared's side of the family over the holidays if they hadn't.  Jodi gave the boys some awesome gifts as well.  Have you seen the AquaDoodle pads?  They are awesome, just a little water and you can doodle to your hearts content - it is the perfect Sunday bag activity!  Thanks Jodi!

Thursday, January 24, 2013


I think unique dates are cool, and being as this was the last matching date that we will ever live to see I wanted to do something fun.  But there was next to nothing in the way of ideas online, so I came up with a silly dinner that turned out to be pretty fun.  A 12 of 12 dinner.  Brandon was a great help as I made the cookies for our dessert. :)
 12/12/12/ 12:12 :)  So cool :)
 HAPPY 12/12/12
 Our dinner consisted of 12 chicken nuggets, 12 peanut butter celery sticks, 12 mini cornbread muffins, 12 jello shooters (non alcoholic of course) 12 lettuce roll ups, 12 homemade oreo cookies, 12 apple slices, 12 muffin cups filled with macaroni and cheese, 12 homemade mini quiches, 12 drinks (4 waters, 4 juice, 4 milk) 12 mini taco salads - yum!! and 12 little smokies.  This meal took a surprising amount of time and thought, because it was such a last minute idea, but I am very pleased with how it turned out, even if it is really weird. :
 I do wish I had thought in years past to do something for each repeating date 01/01/01 - 12/12/12, how cool would it have been to have a picture celebrating each day, oh well.
Cool story about this day.  Jared's grandpa Bowman was born on 12/12 1910, he lived to be 101 years old, if he had lived one more year I am sure he would have been the only person ever to have celebrated two birthday's on 12/12/12.  Maybe he did a little celebration of his own in heaven. :)

Next years cool date will be 11/12/13, I don't have any idea what I would do for that day, so if you have any thoughts - let me know. :)

December 2012

The beginning of December is a busy time for Heber and Midway; we have the Nativities to visit, the Gingerbread House Exhibit to visit, and the Swiss Christmas to visit.  Last year we went to the Gingerbread House Exhibit and had a wonderful time, I must say we missed it a lot this year.  List year we chose to go to the Nativities; it was beautiful and a great way to set the tone for a Christmas season.
 There were so many different, beautiful nativities, but I definitely liked the olive wood nativities the best.
 We had a lot of fun, dressing up for the different parts of the nativity. :)
 Oh how I love my precious little boy!

 Brandon had his preschool Christmas program and Grant and I were able to go watch it.  Brandon gave me a preview of the program earlier that morning and he was darling, apparently he did all his performing at home because when it was time for the program he didn't participate very well!  Following the program Brandon continued to perform for me at home during the month, he even taught Grant one of the darling songs, Santa Claus is Coming, will forever be a favorite Christmas memory for me because of the way they both sing and dance to that song. :) 

 Decorating the tree was a very fun family activity, everyone got involved and this year I didn't care if the ornaments were placed where I thought they should be and I didn't care if all the ornament were continually moved to one general area, I was just so happy that it was a family activity.

Our neighbor and good friend, Spencer, who is now 14 years old, spent one of his Sunday afternoons constructing a train track that went from the floor of his living room, through the Christmas tree, onto the window sill and back down through the tree.  We were all impressed, and had a great time watching the battery powered train drive through the tree. :)
 Our ward Christmas party was as always a lot of fun, I just love spending time with my ward family!  A man in our ward, just a little older than Jared, bought a Santa suit and has loved being Santa for our ward parties and he does a great job.  He and his wife are now Brandon's primary teacher and he loves them, even though he does not know that he is also Santa. :)
 The one draw back to our Santa is that he has not learned the "rules" of being Santa to not promise certain gifts.  Brandon for the longest time didn't know what he wanted for Christmas, after all he has everything, or so it would seem.  I was fine with him not caring about what he wanted and didn't push it, but a week before his visit with Santa after being asked by so many for so long, he finally came up with what he thought would be a great gift, he loves whales, so that was an obvious choice and he has heard about how wonderful remote control toys are, so naturally he wanted a remote control whale.  What's a mother (I mean Santa) to do?  Jared and I looked on line to see if there was anything that might work and surprise there were a few options, but nothing that we wanted in our home and nothing that Brandon would really love.  So after much agonizing we decided not to give him the remote control whale, even though Santa assured Brandon his elves would get right on it. :)  I worried all season and was especially worried when everything was laid out Christmas Eve, but my worry was for nothing.  Come Christmas morning Brandon was so happy with what he did get that he never thought to look for or wonder where his remote control whale was, he didn't even notice the nice letter tucked in the branches of the Christmas tree from Santa explaining why there was no remote control whale.  What a relief!
 Grant is still not so sure about Santa. :)
 One of Annabelles favorite hiding spots during Christmas was right under the tree, can't say I blame her, looks cozy to me. :)
 One of the nights in December we let the boys have a "sleep over" the loved it and did remarkably well.  They are so ready to be sharing a room, and so are we, we just need to bunk beds and mattresses, and the money to get them. :)