Friday, January 29, 2010

We Interrupt this January

We have three more days of January and I have to say that on behalf of many friends and family, I will be ready to see it done.

1. Mother-in-law had knee replacement surgery. She is doing really well and recovering nicely.
2. Close family member overdosed on prescription painkillers and after a 40 year battle with addiction, is in rehab for the next few months.
3. Close friend's son was in the hospital for two weeks with RSV, pneumonia, and other issues, and has now been home two weeks and last night my friend and her kids were in a car accident. They are ok - banged up and bruised with stitches.
4. Close friend's husband has been in and out of the hospital with complications and infections from a surgery in December.
5. Close friend headed to Haiti for three weeks wearing a bullet proof vest in order to help get orphans out of the country.

And that is just the beginning of all of the challenges. I am just grateful that things are seemingly calm in my life right now so that if my help is needed, I am available. I am praying daily for inner peace as all of the chaos goes on around me, and thankfully Heavenly Father is helping me out with that. I have several blog posts that I will catch up on one of these days. You may be reading about July.

Friday, January 22, 2010

December 25th: More Presents!

We got back from sledding and started in on the next round of present opening with Ama Ancy and Papa Rick. Clara got a baby doll and Josh got remote motorcycle dude. Dave and I got a floor steamer (which we have loved! Our floors are so clean!). We all napped and watched A Christmas Story, and then had chili and curry squash soup for dinner. It was a very peaceful afternoon!

Clara and her baby doll
Are they asleep? Nope. You can't get decent pictures of any Totten.
Kelly shaking his present.
Ama Ancy and Curt watching the show.
Josh and the motorcycle man

Thursday, January 21, 2010

December 25: Christmas Afternoon

Christmas afternoon was pure bliss. We donned our outerwear and grabbed the new Bum Sleds (click to see large picture - they just strap right onto the kids' tushies and off they go!) and headed for the local elementary school. There is a large hill that leads down to the fields that is perfect for sledding whether you are young or old. We spent about two hours going up and down, and the kids were fearless. I think that we will spend all of our Christmas afternoons this way as long as there is snow!

December 25th: Christmas Morning

We are no fools. With kids that wake up in order to wake up the roosters, we knew that holding back the flood on Christmas morning would be next to impossible. So we divided and conquered. Dave slept in Clara's bedroom with Josh, and I slept in our room with Clara. We shut and locked doors and slept with one eye open. It worked. When we heard the rustling of small bodies getting up, we threw them into our room and I ran out to call everyone and say, "Get here faster." As it turned out, having a tv in our bedroom worked wonders, and the kids were engrossed in a "How It's Made" episode at 6:30am on Christmas morning.

Finally the uncles, Amas, etc. arrived and we could get the party started.

I apologize for Uncle Rob's University of Utah attire. That is all he wears. Hopefully grad school will cure him of this particular fashion statement.
The kids descended down the stairs to see what was waiting for them.
Since our plans were to go to Arizona for a week after Christmas for our family reunion, I called Santa and asked him to please bring things that would travel well. He obliged.
Opening the stockings - we had our family plus Uncle Curt, Uncle Kelly, Uncle Rob, Amabuela, Uncle Jack and Aunt Karen
Uncle Kelly reviewing the ward cookbook that Santa brought him.
Uncle Rob, Josh and a snowglobe
Aren't we awesome at 7:00am?
Dave gets his 37th electric screwdriver. But this one is HANDHELD.
Josh tearing open his presents.
Clara tearing open her presents.
There is a story that goes along with my sweet Aunt and Uncle being at my house Christmas morning. It has never happened before. In fact, the vast majority of my Christmases have been spent at their house. Because they celebrated with their kids on the 23rd, we had them come up to our house. It was very special for me to have them there, knowing that a lot of my traditions have come from their traditions. They stayed through our annual breakfast with the Sudweeks (our neighbors across the street) and then headed to their daughter's house to visit.
And finally....the cry present. In our family we have a tradition of coming up with presents that make someone (anyone) cry. My mom went through the Arizona Mesa temple 20 years ago this Fall, and even though she lives in Utah, I know it is a special temple for her. So I got this for her 20th anniversary as well as Christmas.

After all of the gifts were opened, we went upstairs to start making breakfast. Cinnamon rolls, sausage, bacon, fruit salad, juice, etc., was all on the menu. It was heaven in a meal. The Sudweeks came over and all of the kids showed off their stuff and hollered and ran around. Aunt Karen and Uncle Jack left and then Curt and Rob left to go up to Ogden. We sat around for a while digesting and getting up the energy to go up!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

December 24th - Christmas Eve

December 24th: We woke up early and drove down to Springville in our pajamas to have Christmas Eve morning with my parents. I didn't take pictures! Argh! Georgia made pancakes, bacon, potatoes, and berries that were delish. Then we opened presents and visited for a while before we had to head home. When we got home, Dave started making enchiladas and Clara took a nap. We had dropped Josh off at my mom's so I went ahead and started getting things ready for Christmas morning. It was pretty easy this year - nothing to assemble!

Around 4pm we headed over to Ama's house to decorate some cookies and get set up for the evening. A while later, our friends started showing up: Mert & Ken Ashby, Oliver & Kristin Christensen, Dayna & Sara Nichols, Erin McBride, and my aunt and uncle, Jack & Karen Brotherson. It was quite the party! We had enchiladas, rice, tamales, chips and salsa, and a myriad of desserts.

Dave snuggling with Anna. He loves baby snuggles.
Baby Pebbles! She is such a cutie.
Josh and Oliver playing with Connectagons.
After dinner we got the kids dressed up for the Nativity. Josh played Joseph, Clara played Mary, and Clara Bright and Woodstock played angels. There was a very funny moment when Clara Bright stole the baby Jesus from Mary and went running off down the hall. I guess every homemade Nativity has its challenges!
After Clara Bright stole the baby Jesus, Woodstock stole it from her. It was mass chaos, but we still managed to read the Nativity story and all was well in the end.
Woodstock needed to be tall as she made the angelic proclamation.
Clara was very attentive to the baby (cabbage patch) Jesus.
Josh made a cheerful and handsome Joseph.
After the Nativity, each family took a turn showcasing a Christmas talent. Woodstock, Ms. Mert, and Dayna listening to Oliver and Clara Bright sing.
Aunt Karen, Uncle Jack, and Amabuela watch the show.

Suddenly the door burst open and Santa came in yelling "Ho Ho Ho!" He sat down and started pulling out candy canes. Clara Bright swooped in and stole the first one.
The kids were a little nervous about sitting on Santa's lap.
Josh sitting on Santa's lap
Clara sitting on Santa's lap
This picture is classic! Poor Pebbles - wondering what the heck is going on!
Erin snuggling with Anna.
The traditional "Oliver's feet in Dave's lap" picture.

We wrapped things up about 8pm so that everyone could head home. It was a great evening! I'm so grateful that I got to have so many Virginia friends there - especially since they all knew each other as well!

December 23rd - The Polar Express

Mid-afternoon, we bundled up and loaded up for the drive to Heber for a ride on the Polar Express. We had a great time! All of the Tottens came with us, as well as my mom and our friend, Erin, who is Clara's Fairy Godmother. After dinner we went to Don Pedros for dinner, which is our favorite Mexican restaurant in Utah. The weather was clear and the kids loved the train.
Rob, Erin, Dave and Amabuela
Closed eyed Kelly and Curt
Clara and Josh in their cute pajamas
The hot pink pajamas add pounds! Mom with Josh and Clara
Erin, Josh and Amabuela
Clara with Ama Ancy and Papa Rick
Mom and Josh
Santa boards the train!
Santa with Josh and Clara
Clara gets her bell
The conductor punches Josh's ticket
Josh and Clara show off their bells
Mrs. Claus showed up, too!
Singing Christmas Songs
Josh gets into the singing. He learned "The Twelve Days of Christmas" at school.
The four of us in our matching pajamas. A little bit scary, but warm and comfortable!