Monday, December 31, 2007

A Year in Review

As I sit here waiting to start celebrating New Years with my little family and our friends, the Kiddles, I thought that I would write down the major things that happened to our little family this year. . . kind of a year in review!


- got back from the family cruise!! (so much fun!!! Thanks Grandma and Grandpa!!)


- I went on a scrapbooking retreat with my mom (again. . . so much fun!!!)

- Grandma and Grandpa Bennion decide that they like to stay in St. George for about 6 months of the year (I do not quite agree that this is the best way for them to spend their retired years!! I think that they should just stay at home which is 5 minutes away from my house, because I miss them too much!!)


- hmmmm . . . not really a memorable month


- Abby turns 7!! She gets baptized next year!!


- I turn 28

- Jason and Suzanne get married on my birthday (I warned them that the weather would be terrible, but did they listen???? NO!!)

- Anne turns 6

- 2 days before Mother's Day, I find out that our little Bobby has died and I need to deliver him (we had thought it was a boy until then)

- May 15, 2007 our angel baby Robin Jean Comin was born

- find out that Bobby is a girl and change her name to Robin Jean from Bobby Douglas James

- funeral for our little angel (she is buried with my Nana, so I feel better about it)


- Dustin turns 2!!!


- Go to Ottawa for Jason and Suzanne's wedding reception and leave the kiddies at home!!! (SO MUCH FUN!!

- Go to cabin where Abby learns to wakeboard for the first time and jumps off the highest cliff (such a brave girl!!)

- Abby swims to the buoy and back without a lifejacket

- kids catch fishies

- learn all about what Jason's kids are going to be like when they are 2 . . . it's great!! I should post the video

- kids are exposed, yet again, to the speedo

- Dustin participates in speedo and moustache day

- Our friends the Sherwoods come out to the cabin with us and we all have tons of fun (even if the weather sucked!!!)

- find out I am pregnant again (YAY!!!)


- go to farm!


- School starts and Abby is in grade 2, Anne in grade 1, Caroline is in preschool

- It's FINALLY Caroline's birthday and we have so much fun with her!!

- move into the new house


- have Thanksgiving for the family at our new house

- Halloween (the girls are all princesses and Dustin is their knight in shining armour)


- Otto's birthday
- decorate for Christmas

- Abby and Anne's school concert (Abby had a lead role)
- Helped my friend Annette cater her Aunt's wedding
- Two of my cousins get married on the same day
- cater the two cousins' receptions
- have a New Year's party

As I look over this year, I realize that even though we have had alot of ups and downs, what matters most is that we spent this time together. I am so grateful that I have such a wonderful little family and I hope that as they grow up that they will still enjoy spending so much time together as we do now.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

It's the most wonderful time of the year!!!

Right now it is 1:26 am on Christmas morning. I am sitting on my bed, watching a Christmas Carol and Otto and I are trying to figure out a way to empty our cameras so that we will be able to take pictures and video tomorrow. My children are all snuggled in their beds dreaming about Santa and presents!! My in-laws are cozily sleeping away. . . hopefully dreaming about the presents that they don't even know they are about to get tomorrow.

Santa has come. He was very generous!! The kids have been soooo good this year and will be so excited to see what Santa has brought them. We have decided to open our presents on our main floor, right beside Robin's memorial tree. I am so sad that we do not have our little Angel baby with us this year, but we do plan on visiting her gravesite tomorrow afternoon.

I truly believe that everyone should have the wonderful opportunity to experience Christmas through the eyes of a child. Today was a magical day, which will continue through to tomorrow!! It has been nice to have Otto's mom and step-father here with us. The kids have enjoyed playing with them throughout the day and I enjoyed Bob's company while I was baking pies for tonight. I always love getting the kids ready to go to Christmas Dinner and putting them into their Christmas outfits and doing their hair! Then off to my mother's house we went and there we met up with my family, my cousins and my brother's sister-in-law and her fiance. We had a really yummy Christmas dinner. After that we put on the family nativity pagent. My kids had fun doing that, and I really enjoyed being behind the scenes.

Then we had our family talent show. Caroline and I sang "Must be Santa" together. (Dustin decided to join in!) Caroline loves that song and we always sing it together in the car. I really wanted her to sing it tonight so that I could get it on video. Caroline is EXTREMELY shy so I wasn't sure how she would do, and she sang loud and proud and she was ADORABLE!!! I was so proud of her. Then Anne playedher Christmas song on the piano and Abby wowed us all with her cello performance of "Jingle Bells". It was fun to watch her play the cello in front of people. We had some funny songs, jigs, one man bands, and then some spiritual songs, capped off by the tradition of Mary's Lullaby and the Angel's Carol.

There is always some comfort in traditions, and I really enjoyed being at the dinner tonight with my children. When we got the kids home, we opened our pj's and put them on. Then we sang "Happy Birthday" to Jesus and ate cake. Abby and Anne wrote their letter to Santa with the help of Grandma Wilson and then it was off to bed for the kiddies.

Everyone in my household seems to be asleep right now, except for me because I just can't wait until tomorrow morning, bright and early, when I will wake up the kids because I can't stand the anticipation any more. I can't wait to see their faces light up when they see what Santa has brought them!!!

I love Christmas! It really brings me so many feelings of peace, joy and comfort. And even though this is a very sad Christmas for me because I am still mourning the loss of my little angel Robin, I am also rejoicing in the love and excitement that I feel with my kids, especially at this time of year!!

I sincerely wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. May you all find peace and love through the holidays!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


As I am busy getting ready for Christmas to come, I have been thinking about why I am doing everything that I am doing. And the reason seems to be because I love my family.
- It is because I love my Abby that I went and volunteered at her school all day when I had a bizillion other things that needed to be done.
- It is because I love my Abby and Anne that we went out for lunch yesterday at lunchtime and had so much fun together.
- It is because Otto and I love the kiddies that we all went to the Highwood golf course and walked around and looked at all of the lights.
- It is because I love my girlies that I am going to all of their play performances even though I have already seen their play.
- It is because I love my son that I let him play with playdough even though it gets EVERYWHERE!!!
- It is because I love my cousin Matthew that I am getting his food ready and helping his fiance with her hair and make-up on the morning of her wedding (3 days after Christmas)
- It is because I love my cousin Blake that I am making 20 wedding cakes for him and dipping 300 strawberries in chocolate for his wedding reception (the day after Matthew's)
- It is because I love my friend Annette that I am catering her aunt's wedding this Saturday
- It is because I love my mother that I am helping her get ready for the family dinner on Christmas Eve.
- It is because I love my parents, siblings, Uncle Garry, Aunt Judi, cousins and my Grandma Lee that I am making 5 pies (from scratch) for Christmas Eve Dinner.
- It is because I love my children, siblings and extended family that I rewrote our nativity pagent and organized the family talent show for Christmas Eve.
- It is because I love my Grandma and Grandpa Bennion that I am making beans for Christmas dinner on Christmas day.
- It is because I love my husband that I have invited my mother-in-law and her husband to sleep over on the 23rd and 24th so that Otto can spend some time with his mother.

Because I have been blessed by such a wonderful family, I love to do things for them. I love to spend time with them and I love the Christmas Season because it forces me to spend time with the people that I love and do things with them that I wouldn't normally do the rest of the year. (However see my earlier post for my point of view on Christmas Weddings!!).

What so you love doing with your family at Christmas?

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Have you ever tried to accomplish something only to have everything completely fall apart? That was me this morning as I was trying to bake one of the wedding cakes for my cousin's wedding. It started out with me not being able to find my specific recipe (after I have already ordered enough ingredients to make 20 of these cakes). . . I solved that by borrowing the special wedding cake bible from my friend (who just happens to be the person who is going to be making the large wedding cake for them). After that, it seemed as though I couldn't find the chocolate and the butter, and I was having a terrible time with the eggs. Eventually everything sorted itself out and I got the cake mixed and put into the oven.

The wedding cakes that I am making are actually two layered chocolate tortes. A chocolate torte has no flour, baking powder and baking soda in it. Because of this, I assumed that it would not rise. . . . guess what, I was wrong. I filled the springform pans right to the rim because I need these cakes to be 3" tall and that is the height of the pans. Well, while I was baking the cakes I started to smell this wonderful aroma of chocolate cake. So, of course I went to the oven to check it out. I gasped as I saw that my cakes were actually two inches taller than the cake pans, and had started to bake onto the rack above them. Knowing that there was nothing I could do at this point, I shut the oven and prayed for a miracle. . . . it didn't come!! When the cakes had finished baking, I determined that it would probably be easier for me to take the rack above them off than to try and slide the cakes out from underneath the racks. (Remember how I said that the cakes had baked onto the rack above them?) It was working pretty well until I got to the end of the rack where you have to dip the backside down in order to take it out of the oven. As I did this, it dipped right into the cakes and the cakes basically exploded all over the oven. Well, I also noticed that the middle of the cakes were completely not done, so using tongs I scraped out as much of the exploded cakes as I could and I continued to bake the cakes until the middles were done.

Apparently I hadn't gotten all of the pieces of cake out of the oven, so my house got completely covered in smoke! The kids came downstairs and asked what was wrong and I told them that it was no big deal, mommy was just burning some wedding cakes. They seemed to accept this with no argument and went on their merry ways. Well, finally the cakes finished and I pulled them out of the oven. They look great, and hopefully they won't taste like burnt cake.

Because all of this happened right before we left for church this morning, all during church I could smell burnt cake. It must have gotten into my hair and our clothing. As I am sitting here writing this, I have asked myself what I have learned through this experience. . . . and the answer is. . . NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF A LITTLE CAKE!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Weddings at Christmas

I LOVE Christmas. I can't say it enough. I LOVE my family and being with them and celebrating with them. For all of you who are not married and reading this, I am begging you to think about your families when you decide to plan a wedding. I know that it seems as though things would be easier to have a wedding at Christmas when everyone comes home for Christmas, but wouldn't it be more fun if you could have everyone come up again at another time of year?

I am saying this because my sister got married last year, right before Christmas and while I was extremely excited for her, she had one reception right before Christmas and one right after and it felt as though we just did Christmas because we had to and we didn't get a chance to really celebrate it. I vowed that this year I would give Christmas the proper celebrating that it deserves, and then two of my cousins decided to get married right after Christmas and I am catering one of them and getting the food for the other one. Again, I love my cousins, and I am extremely excited for them. . . and I am more than happy to help out in any way that I can. I am just saying that next year. . . and for the following years. . . I would like to be able to focus on Christmas at this time of year and not have to know that my family is stressed getting ready for another wedding. . . . Jenna and Kristin. . . I will pay whatever it takes if I have to fly somewhere to attend your weddings as long as they are NOT at Christmas time. . . . if you do decide that Christmastime is best, I already have plans!!! (just kidding, I will attend, but I might be a bit grumpy!!)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Family is What Matters Most

The one thing that I have learned over this past year is how important my family is to me. I don't know what I would have done without them when Robin was born, when I was putting in new flooring in my old house, when I was cleaning and organizing the old house to get it ready to show, when I moved and especially at this holiday season.
I was very fortunate to marry the most wonderful husband whom I love deeply. We are best friends and we are soooooo very different from each other that for some reason it seems to work!! This past weekend we were able to have Otto's brother Jason and his family come and sleep over for one night. Jason and his wife Lisa have 6 boys and their babies are twins. They came on Friday so that they could take their older boys to go see a Christmas Carol here in Calgary. It was fun being able to play with all of them and to have them here. Otto and I took turns calming the twins down because if one wasn't crying, the other one was until they finally went to sleep at about 9:30. It was fun, but it made me really feel for Lisa and wonder how she ever gets anything done!! She is amazing!! I loved hearing my kids playing the Wii with their cousins and having a fooseball tournament! On Saturday, while I was either cooking or cleaning I would just listen to all of the laughter and the commotion that was going on (Otto and Jason left us with all 10 kids while they went shopping). My house has never had so many boys in it, but all of the kids had so much fun and I really enjoyed spending that time with Jason and Lisa. I was kind of sad when they left because the house got really quiet again and I realized how much I love spending time with them.
On Sunday we invited my family to come over for dinner because I really wanted my mom and dad to see my house all decorated at Christmas time. My mom collects nativities and she loves Christmas just as much as I do and so I was so excited to show her my nativities and my decorations that I was able to do this year. We counted and it turns out that I have 44 nativity sets that are all unique from each other. Some of them come from Cambodia and other countries from the east, some are made out of unique materials, some represent different cultures and some are just cutsie!! I love it when all of my nativity sets are up and all of my lights and garlands are out. It makes me feel all warm and cozy inside. It was so nice to have my parents, Kristin and my brother Jason with his wife Suzanne (yes, both Otto and I have brothers named Jason. . . . ask me about my in-laws name one time and you will see how confusing my life can get sometimes!!) and their little dog Max come over. Max and our dog Zeke are pals and it is so fun to watch them play together. They are like two brothers who play, wrestle and hang out when they get together. It is really fun! My kids may not have any cousins on this side yet, but it seems as though my dog does!
Having so much family come over this weekend has really made me appreciate how blessed I am to have so many loved ones. I just feel grateful that I am part of these two families and having Robin has really made me have a deeper love for them. After having my sweet little angel baby, I have realized that the most important thing to me is my family and they may frustrate me at times, but I truly do love them and I love spending so much time with them.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

I do believe in Santa Clause

My cousin made another post on her blog that has made me think about thing again. She wanted to know whether it was better to "lie" to your children and teach them about Santa Clause, or to be completely honest with them and tell them that there is no Santa Clause. I just wanted to post on my blog what my response was to her. Her question has really made me think, and the following response is what I truly do believe. Let me know what you think because I want to know if I am alone in this out there, or if the world is starting to lose the Spirit of Christmas for "honesty".

Way to go on the controversial topic Michelle!! As the mother of 4, here is my point of view. When I was little, my mother told me this story, and I do think that it is sort of the way that the whole Santa Clause thing got started. . . but has now been forgotten and sometimes can get a little out of hand:
Giving presents at Christmas time is something that started as a way to remember that the wise men brought gifts to the Christ Child to celebrate His birth. From what I was told (by my mother, of course) was that there was a man named Santa Clause who would notice that during the celebration of Christmas there were many poor children who wouldn’t get gifts, so he would go out and get them something that they needed (like new socks, or new clothes or shoes or something like that) and would drop it on their door step on Christmas Eve so that when they would wake up in the morning, they would have something new from someone that they had never met. People found out what this Santa Clause did and started carrying on the tradition. Apparently the Catholic church even made him a saint which is how we get St. Nicholas.
So, when it comes to your debate, when I hear you asking if I should be teaching my kids about Santa Clause. . . I wholeheartidly say, “yes”. Why would I not teach my children about how important it is to give something to others?We spend a lot of time at Christmas, in our house, talking about the story of Christ’s birth. I collect nativities and so the children are surrounded by reminders of the real reason to celebrate Christmas. Since giving and getting presents didn’t originate with the creation of this mythic “Santa Clause”, I do not feel as though I am teaching my children two different messages at Christmas. I feel that the story of Santa Clause coinsides with the story of the birth of the Christchild. I mean, isn’t that what Jesus would do? Did he not come and give to the poor and the needy?
That being said, my children are neither poor nor needy, but there is a magic at Christmas that you feel especially when you are around young children who still believe in Santa Clause. I don’t think that because they are receiving presents from a “mythical” being who symbolizes unselfishness and goodness is necessarily something that will make them mistrust me when they are older. Even after my mom told me about Santa, I believed, as I still do that there is something special about Christmas when you go to bed at night and you feel happy and good, and you feel at peace with yourself and with the world. . . and you wake up with the excitement of knowing that the following day will be filled with happiness and surprises and you get to feel special all day long because people have taken the time to think about you and get you a present that they know that you will like.
As for the whole differences in religion with the Jewish religion and the Muslim religion, it is a simple answer. Different people believe different things. Just because they do not get Santa on Christmas Eve, doesn’t mean that they do not get the opportunity to celebrate their beliefs. From my research, every religion has something special that they celebrate, and it may not be at this time of year, but they do get it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I'm Done!!

Yay!!! I can hardly believe it!!! Christmas, here I come!! I have finally finished getting ALL of my Christmas presents. . .stocking stuffers. . . . teacher presents. . . presents for my piano students. . . presents for my family. . . presents for Otto's family. . . etc. I finished this morning with my 3 trips to Superstore!!! One for presents/stocking stuffers, one to help my Grandma (whom I love and it was a pleasure!!), and one for my family's groceries (believe it or not, we still have to eat. . . interesting hey??). All I have to do now is wrap this mountain of presents and I will be done!! Otto's brother Jason, and his family are coming up to stay with us this weekend, so I will have to start the wrapping next week. . . but that's okay with me. . . at least I am finished!!!!
Hey. . . how's your shopping going?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Keep going up

I hope that I don't sound grumpy with this blog, because I actually am quite happy with the result.
I have been having troubles with the bank charging me extra service fees. I had called in the summer and thought that everything had been resolved, but when I was checking my account information today, I saw that I had been charged for the old fees. To give you an idea as to how much extra I am paying in service fees, I will tell you that the difference between what I should be paying in a year and what I AM paying in a year is $180. That is just for the priviledge of being able to have a bank account with the bank. ( and that is the DIFFERENCE between the two!!!) I personally think that this is alot of extra money that I am basically just handing over to the bank for no reason.
In the summer, they said that they were sorry and they would correct the bank charges. I was happy with that. Today. . . well, let's just say that I wasn't impressed. I called the bank and very calmly explained what the problem was and how they had said that it was fixed in the summer and how it didn't get fixed. The lady kept on saying that they had no record that I had even called and that she could do nothing about it. She kept on saying that I must have done it through the branch. I told her, that I did not do anything through the branch because they are the hardest people to try and get ahold of so I had called the main center and they had done it for me. I even gave her exact dates, and detailed descriptions of what had gone on. She kept on telling me that nothing was wrong and that there was nothing they could do.
Okay, now my mother would be proud. . . . here it comes. . . are you ready? She told me that she was going to transfer me to the branch so that I could take it up with them. I told her that instead of doing that, she needed to give me to someone who was higher up than her. She got flustered and told me that he wouldn't be able to see anything that she couldn't see. I told her that that was okay and that I would talk to him anyways. So, I got put on hold for 10 minutes. When she came back, she told me that her supervisor couldn't see anything different and so she was going to transfer me to the branch. I was very frustrated so I said FINE. Well, about 5 minutes later she came back onto the phone and informed me that the branch was closed on Mondays and did I want their number so that I could call them. Ummmmm. . . does this question sound as absurd to you as it did to me? I asked her that if the branch was closed, why on earth would I call them? It would do me no good. I then asked her to tell me why the branch would be able to help me when the main office couldn't. She told me that they had a different system. I then asked her what specifically they could access that she couldn't because all of my files are sent to the main office? She gave me the run around for a minute or two more and then. . . . are you excited yet. . . . she put me on hold.
I sat there patiently. . . there was no way I was going to hang up now. . . I had been on the phone for an hour with her. . . .seriously, I got an entire load of laundry done in the time that I had a conversation with her. She got back on the phone and quickly told me that the main supervisor was also on the line and he was going to take over.
Let me say that there is an angel up in heaven named Neil. He was VERY nice and he asked me to explain what had happened and what I would like for them to do. When I told him, he said that I was a very good customer of theirs and that he valued my business and that my request was very reasonable. He then said he would take care of it personally and he gave me his direct line so that if I ever have a problem again, I can call him personally!
Generally speaking, I am very understanding when it comes to customer service. I have had to deal with issues from customers myself, and so I try to be as nice and as patient as I can. However, I have also been taught by my parents (who both have slight problems with authority themselves) that if someone says something to you that doesn't make sense. . . call them on it because if they don't know, they should just say so and not make something up. Like I said, I try to be as understanding as I can, but if I don't understand why you are telling me something that doesn't make sense. . . I will ask you about it. . . and I won't stop until I understand fully what you are telling me. Does this make me rude? I don't think so. . . my mom would say it is called getting things done!
So what is the moral that I want my kids to learn from this???? If someone tells you something that doesn't make sense to you, ask for someone higher up on the authority chain than them. They won't like it, but it will get things done!

Sunday, December 2, 2007


I have been listening to Josh Grobin's new Christmas CD. It is FABULOUS!!!!! One of the songs on there is called "Thankful". I loved it so much that I bought the sheet music so that I can sing it whenever I want. Another bonus of owning the sheet music is that I get to have a written copy of all of the lyrics. I want to share the lyrics with you because they have really hit home with me:

Some days we forget to look around us
Some days we can't see the joy that surrounds us
So caught up inside ourselves
We take when we should give

So for tonight we pray for
what we know can be.
And on this day we hope for
what we still can't see.
It's up to us to be the change
And even though we all can still do more
There's so much to be thankful for.

Look beyond ourselves, there's so much sorrow.
It's way to late to say, "I'll cry tomorrow."
Each of us must find our truth;
It's so long overdue.

So for tonight we pray for
what we know can be.
And every day we hope for
what we still can't see.
It's us to us, to be the change
And even though we all can still do more,
There's so much to be thankful for.

Even with our differences,
there is a place we're all connected.
Each of us can find each other's light.

So for tonight, we pray for
What we know can be,
And on this day we hope for
What we still can't see.
It's up to us to be the change
And even though this world needs so much more
There's so much to be thankful for.

This song is soooo beautiful and it's message is so inspiring. I love that it is on his Christmas album because it seems as though at this time of year, people start to see what is really going on around them and they start to be a little more helpful, and a little more understanding. I really love the first verse when it talks about how we get so caught up inside ourselves that we can't see the joy that surrounds us. I know that this happens to me frequently. I get worried about my contractions, or my kids, or whatever else, and I get bogged down so that I can't see all of the wonderful things that are happening all around me that do bring me joy. I fail to notice how wonderful my family is and how much I love my new house. I forget to remember that the whole reason I celebrate Christmas isn't because this was the day that the Savior was born. . . .babies are born every day. I celebrate Christmas because on the day that the Savior was born, he gave the world hope for redemption. It wasn't Christ's birth that saves us from our sins, it was his Atonement. Without the atonement he would have just been another baby. I love how much hope and peace I feel at this time of year. And, yes, the world does need so much more. . . . but there is so much to be thankful for.