Monday, December 29, 2008


I know I haven't written in awhile. I feel as though I have gotten caught up in a whirlwind of activities. It seems as though in one moment presents are flying past my head, and the sound of wrapping paper tearing is happening all around me and then the next moment there are toys everywhere and items to step on. I've been able to spend so much time with all of my family members and friends and so I feel as though there are people constantly moving all around me.
This is the kind of whirlwind I love! It is so much fun to be able to spend so much time with my friends and family, so I am actually dreading when this whirlwind stops! However, it doesn't leave much time for writing, so maybe when this fury of activity dies down I will get some time to catch up on everyone's going ons!
Until then. . . I hope that you have all had a wonderful holiday season!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

This is it!

Well, this is it!!! This is the most wonderful day in the entire year . . . .followed closely by tomorrow of course! I have always loved Christmas Eve! I look forward to it every year. Why? Well I love the excitement and the fun and the laughter that comes with Christmas Eve every year!
We have some great family traditions for Christmas Eve, which I think is part of the reason that I love it so much! This year we are going to be going to my mom'a house for dinner with my Uncle Garry's family. After dinner we will act out the Nativity and then have our yearly family talent show. Abby wants to sing a duet with me that she learned in choir, Anne is going to play the piano and Caroline and Dustin are going to be singing Jingle bells complete with actual Jingle Bells!
Part of the talent show will include the song, Mary's Lullaby and the Angel's Carol. I will also be giving my Grandma Lee a special present that I have been working on for a few months tonight. It is a memorial book about my Grandpa Lee. I am so excited to give her this gift and I know that she will love it!
After that, my cousins will go home and we will be staying at my mom's house. We will open our Christmas Eve PJ's (yes, Otto and I will get some too) and then we will read the nice box and enjoy some cookies and punch. After that we will write a letter to Santa, put out stockings and put the kiddies to bed. Once the kids are in bed we will do some of the traditions that I did growing up.
We will carry out the presents and put them under the tree. We will then each do a recap of our year for the video camera. My sisters will then have the option of going to bed and Otto and I will put out the stockings and Santa will come for the kiddies!
I just LOVE Christmas Eve! I love the excitement and the anticipation for Christmas Day that accompanies Christmas Eve. I love how magical it is for my children and how excited they are going to be tomorrow when they see what Santa has brought them! There is nothing more magical to me than watching a child on Christmas morning!
So Merry Christmas to all of my dear friends and family! I hope that your holidays are wonderful and magical and I will be thinking of you and missing you (if I don't see you) this Christmas season!

Monday, December 22, 2008

I can't wait for Christmas!!!

Now that the kids are home from school, I keep on asking Otto. . . is it Christmas yet? There are only 2 days left to go on our big green advent calendar and I can hardly wait! This year we are going to be sleeping over at my parent's house and so yesterday we took all of our presernts over there. With the kids home from school, my Christmas shopping all finished and wrapped and 2 days left until Christmas Eve, I can hardly stand the wait!!! I think that I am going to go crazy with excitement.
I don't think that it helped that I was able to see most of my cousins last night. I mean, Christmas just isn't Christmas unless I get to hang out with my cousins! It was so much fun to joke around and play with my cousins kind of like we all used to do on Christmas Eves while we were growing up! What a blast!!! It just got me soooo excited for Christmas.
Today on the calendar, it said to take some toys to Toy Mountain. For those of you who do not live in Calgary, Toy Mountain is a charity thing where people donate new, unwrapped toys to the poor children and it creates this huge mountain of toys. Every year we try to do some sort of service project for someone less fortunate and so we have decided to donate these toys this year. I hope that it can teach the children to look for different ways to help other people instead of worrying about themselves all of the time. We'll see!
All I can say though is . . . is it Christmas yet????

Saturday, December 20, 2008

As I proudly watched

So I haven't written anything since Abby and Anne's play, and the reason for that is because I have been CRAZY busy!!! I have taken a ton of pictures of Abby and Anne's performances in their school play, but I am not going to post them today. Maybe tomorrow.
I did want to write about the performance, because it really made me feel as though I was the luckiest person in the whole world! You see, my girls go to a school where they learn Spanish. This school is INCREDIBLE!! The principal is FANTASTIC as well as the teachers are FANTASTIC!!! I just don't think that my kids could be getting any better of an education, even if they went to a private school!
Now, one of the great things about this school is that because they are teaching the kids Spanish, they really strive to teach the kids about the Latino culture. I mean, it isn't hard when the teachers are coming straight from Colombia, Mexico, Chile, and Venezuela. It is always fun to go to the assemblies (even if I only understand about 1/3 of the entire assembly) and watch my children be dressed in traditional Latino costumes and singing and dancing traditional Latino dances. It is so wonderful to watch my girls completely understand and speak a completely different language. However, I think that my most favorite part about the school is that they have not followed the ever growing trend of not celebrating Christmas. In fact, not only do they celebrate Christmas, they celebrate the birth of Jesus and they teach the kids about it. This is pretty much unheard of in my city. The other schools aren't even allowed to call their "Winter Holidays" Christmas break, and here my children are with nativity scenes up in their classrooms.
It was so nice when I went to go see my girls perform in their school play. Abby is in the school choir (an alto like her mama) and they performed 4 songs before the play started. All four of these songs had to do with the birth of the Savior. Abby asked me if I cried, and I told her I did. I didn't cry for the reason that she is thinking (she thinks that I would cry because she sang so beautifully and she did) I was crying because I felt so lucky that in the world today where we are really not even allowed to talk about Christ without the worry of offending someone, my oldest daughter was able to sing 4 songs about the Savior in a place other than home and church. It was probably one of my favorite moments as a mom.
The play that the kids did was "The Littlest Christmas Tree". It was a great play, even if I didn't understand a word of it because it was entirely in Spanish. The songs, however, were in English. My personal, favorite part was when Santa and Mrs. Clause came onto the stage. I think that Mrs. Clause was the most beautiful and perfect child on the stage. . . .because she was Anne! Anne was perfect for the part. And my heart swelled every time Anne recited her lines in a perfect Spanish accent. It was just so beautiful (plus we had spent 1/2 an hour curling her hair so she really was beautiful!!!). It didn't matter that I had no clue what she was saying, I was still the proudest mama in the audience!
Yesterday, I volunteered in both of my girls' classrooms because they both had their Christmas parties. I have to say, another great thing about this school is that because they are a Spanish school, they have imported experienced teachers from the Latino countries. This really makes a difference! Abby's teacher used to be a principal in Mexico and she is AMAZING! She has the most incredible parties where we come and completely decorate the room and the kids go around to different stations and do crafts and activities that are both fun and educational! The best part about Abby's teacher, though, is that she really really knows her students and she really really cares about them! I have never met a teacher that is more concerned about her students than Senora Wilkinson.
Anne's teacher is also amazing! This teacher really knows her stuff! She is an incredible scholar in Math and Science, and that makes her the perfect teacher for Anne. Those are Anne's strenghths too, and so Anne loves her teacher and Senora McCruden has the perfect teaching style for Anne.
As a mom, my children's education is very important to me. I worry about it constantly and I think about it a lot. As I have watched my children the past few days and spent so much time at the school this past year, I have really come to appreciate how lucky I am to have the rights and freedom and choice to be able to send my children to such an amazing school! I just wish that there was a better way for me to show my kids' teachers how much I appreciate them!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mrs. Clause

Well as you can see, our candlelight dinner went over very well! The kids loved being able to order chinese food and eat it with no lights on!
Tonight is Abby and Anne's school play. I am really excited because Anne is going to be Mrs. Clause in the play and Abby is going to be in the choir. I love that my girls are so into music and acting. It brings me back to my own childhood where I would be in school plays and choirs and I would always make up plays for my parents to watch.
The only downside to this play is that it will be entirely in Spanish, so I won't understand a single thing. However, all of the songs are in English, so maybe they will help explain the play!
You KNOW that I will take pictures, so tomorrow you will be able to see my little Mrs. Clause!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Time for a Little Treat

My piano recital went really well last night. All of my kids knew their songs and I just love it when almost everyone can play their songs from memory! I am always so proud of the kids after the recital! I am always so excited too, to not have to teach piano for a couple of weeks! It will be a nice break!
Tonight we are going to do one of my most favorite things that is on the calendar. Tonight we are going to have our candlelight dinner. This was something that I loved to do as a child for two reasons:
#1- Dinner by candlelight. . . sooooo cool!
#2- Ordering chinese food. . . . MY FAV!!!
I am excited to do this with the kiddies tonight! They know that we are having a candlelight dinner, but they have NO clue that we are ordering Chinese Food.
That will just end up being a nice little treat for them!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

$3 Dinner

So as you can see our $3 was a hit. I mean Dustin wishes that we could have a $3 dinner every night because it had all of his favorite things. . . pizza, fries, cookies, pepperoni sticks, chips. . . I wouldn't be considered a bad mom if I let them eat this stuff every night right????
Anyways tonight is my piano recital and then I get a 2 week break from teaching!!! I didn't used to realize how excited my piano teacher would get for our

Monday, December 15, 2008

Chuga Chuga Choo Choo

On Friday, the calendar said to go see Santa. Normally I would have tons of photos of that, but since Otto ended up going to the hockey game and the big girls were at their friends' house until 9 pm, we didn't end up going. I actually think that everyone has forgotten and so because they got to go see Santa at the ward party, I am not complaining!
On Saturday, the calendar said to have Egg Nog and Strawberry Ice Cream. This is a favorite in our house and since I had a staff party to attend it was the perfect night for the others to enjoy this special treat!
On Sunday the calendar said to make a gingerbread train. I picked up this kit at Walmart and it had enough cars in it for each of the kids to do one. So it was really fun and I think that they did a great job! It was the girlies first time to use a piping bag and I think that they did FANTASTIC!!!
Today is one of my most favorite activities! The calendar said to have a $3 dinner. This is a fun time where we will all go out to the grocery store and every person will get $3 to try and find something that they like to eat that we can have for dinner. We did this growing up and we would end up with some very interesting dinners!! We would have things like bacon, egg nog, hamburger helper, ice cream, pancakes and noodles all in the same meal. I am very excited to see what the kids come up with. It should be a fun FHE!
I'll let you know how it goes!

Friday, December 12, 2008

We did it!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Preview

Ok, so I will admit that I am not quite as on the ball as I would like to be. I am sending out the Christmas cards today, but I thought that I would post the Christmas Letter so that you all can read it, in case you don't get it before Christmas. Also, I do need the addresses of the following people so that I know where to send your letters. . . you can email me your address to
Michelle - you moved. . . where the heck do you live now???
Suzanne - I have yours, but I need your parents' address
Amanda - Your in-laws please
Lahni - Care to pass along your new address so I can send yours again???
Ashley - I don't even have a single address for you. . . do you just live in cyberspace????
Thanks all!
oh and P.S. you can click on the letters to make them bigger if you actually want to read them!

A Step in the Right Direction

So I went shopping with my mom yesterday, and it was FABULOUS!!!! So much fun! We went to 3 stores and got all of the shopping done! Yay!! The kids are going to have such a great Christmas this year!!!
After shopping, I came home, and you will never believe what I saw! I saw our missing tree sitting right inside of the door! Yep! That's a great first step to finally getting this thing decorated! Now, all I have to do is make sure that Otto stays home tonight, and make sure that I stay home tonight and this thing might actually get decorated before Christmas!!!
I am not making any promises, but I do feel bad for the kids because I keep on telling them that it says to decorate the tree on the calendar, and now this is the 3rd time that I have used that line and I don't think that I can get away with saying it any more. So maybe tonight???? We shall see!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Another day . . . Another tree NOT Decorated!

So, I guess by the title you can figure out that we didn't end up decorating the tree last night. Turns out that Otto had to go help a friend move some furniture and then he did some tutoring. The kids were a bit disappointed at first, but I mean we do have 4 other trees already decorated in our house. Otto keeps on trying to convince me that 4 decorated trees are enough and we don't need the 5th one. Maybe he is right! I am just a bit frustrated that it still isn't done though, especially because I know how much Dustin will love the bubble lights on that tree.
Today, the calendar said to decorate Christmas Cupcakes! YAY! Okay, I will admit that it actually said to open a present (which was supposed to be the Tinkerbell movie) but I didn't have time to go pick up the movie or wrap it, and I just happened to have a ton of icing and decorations left over from our cookie decorating at the ward party on Friday. So, cupcake decorating it is! I am thrilled that the kids got so excited when they found out! I am especially thrilled because I won't be here to endure the mess because I will be shopping with my mom. . . .so it will be a win/win situation for all of us!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Attempt #2

So, don't tell the kids, but originally on our calendar it said to make Christmas cards. . . but. . . well. . . . it seems to me that tonight would be a great night to attempt (again) to decorate our Christmas Tree. We still don't have it, so I guess that all of this will depend on me remembering to ask Otto to pick up the tree from our Activities Committee Chairperson.
I am actually hoping that he will (by some miracle) just read my blog and then remind me to give him the address when he calls at lunch. . . cross your fingers!
(Oh and on a side note, Caroline and Dustin don't know this yet, but Santa has written back to them. . . we got the letter last night. . . ooooooh they are going to be so excited!!!)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Watch a Christmas Movie

I thought that maybe I should post a pic of our advent calendar since I have been talking about it so much. The great thing about it is that I was the one who was able to put the activities into the calendar and so I was able to plan it around our busy schedule (well except for the Christmas tree decorating. . . .). So today the calendar says to watch a Christmas movie. . . aka. mom is teaching a class tonight so dad and the kids need to do something quick and easy. I mean Who doesn't love a good Christmas movie??? We now own most of the classics like "How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman 1 and Frosty the Snowman 2 (yes there was a sequel), Muppets Christmas, Muppets Christmas Carol. . . and of course My Little Pony Christmas and Disney Princess Christmas, and Bell's Christmas."
I always used to like watching "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" every year with my family and so it was the first Christmas movie Otto and I bought when we got married. It is also the movie that I will make the family watch tonight to remind them that presents are just a fun part of Christmas but it is not the real reason that we celebrate the holiday!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Decorate the Christmas Tree???

The pics above are from our chocolate decorating that we did yesterday! It was pretty fun, but the girls started to fool around too much after awhile so I kind of spent the last hour of chocolate making yelling at the girls to get it done! Oh well, sometimes things run more smoothly in my head then they do in real life!!
Today the calendar said to decorate the Christmas Tree. . . however, we leant our Christmas Tree to our Activities Committee for our ward party on Friday night, and they had forgotten to tell me that we were, in fact, lending the tree for both our ward party and 3rd ward's party. I wasn't too pleased when I had gotten out all of my Christmas decorations and went to grab the tree and I didn't have it!!! I called the Activity Committee Chairperson and they informed me of the two wards sharing the decorations and told me that the tree would be picked up from the Stake Centre tonight. When I asked whether or not I needed to pick my tree up from someone after they had gotten it from the Stake Center or if it would be dropped off at my house, the CHAIRPERSON hadn't really thought about it and would call me later today.
So. . . I am now really frustrated because there is no other day that we can decorate this LAST tree, and I have a bunch of disappointed kids because they can't do what the calendar said to do.
Later on this afternoon we are going to go to Anne's piano recital and then to my parent's house for dinner. . . . maybe I can convince the kids that that will be more fun than decorating the tree!!! Wish me luck!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Make Chocolates

Ever since I got married I have had the tradition of making chocolates at Christmas time. I thought that this would be a tradition that my kids would love to participate in when they got older. Well, now they are older and this will be the first year that they are going to be able to help me. In November, I had my sister Jenna come over and we made all of the fondant so today the kids and I will just be dipping chocolate and making chocolate truffles, white chocolate truffles, white chocolate raspberry truffles, ferrero rochets, peanut butter cups and crunchie bars. I figured between those and the cherry, strawberry, orange, lemon, vanilla, maple walnut, amaretto, and rum and butter fondants, the boxes of chocolates will have a variety of chocolates and hopefully some that everyone will like. I will try to take pictures of the chocolates as we make them so hopefully I can add those pics tomorrow.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Go to the Ward Christmas Party

That's what the calendar said to do today. So, I won't actually have pictures of this event until it is over which I will try to post tomorrow. However, I do have pictures of some of my nativities!
Ever since I can remember, my mom has collected nativity scenes. When I was 12 I decided (with the help of my mom) that I would like to start collecting nativity scenes too. And so it started. Every year I would add on a new nativity scene. Then when I got married, I started being able to sometimes 2 or 3 new ones. And so today the nativity scene count stands at 46. This year I had bought 2 from Mexico when we went down to San Diego. My favorite Mexican nativity scene is the one that is made out of paper.
I am always on the lookout for unique nativity scenes! So, at Christmas time, and all throughout the year, whenever I go anywhere I always do a quick check to see if there are any Nativity Scenes that I can buy. My friends have picked up on this and they have helped me get some pretty cool nativity scenes throughout the years.
I can see that this tradition has already caught on with my own kiddies because whenever I start to decorate the house, they always beg me to help me put out the nativity scenes. I always let them because what better reminder is there about the true meaning of Christmas then looking at the baby Jesus?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Decorate Rooms

Today the calendar said to decorate our rooms. Well, the kids' rooms aren't clean so they have been told that they can't decorate their rooms until they clean them first. So, I think that tonight be "clean your room" day and then tomorrow will be decorate your room day.
You may think to yourselves. . . what is there to decorate in the kids' rooms??? Well, each room does have their own Christmas tree. This is yet another tradition that I inherited from my mother. We all had our own Christmas trees and every year we got new ornaments to put onto them. That way when we left home we already had a Christmas tree and it's decorations to put up in our new places. The tree that I had was my mom's old tree. It is made out of silver aluminum and it has always been my favorite tree. Even though I have changed the decorations on it and given it to Caroline, every time I see it I think of my mom.
The other tree that means a lot to me is my memorial tree in my piano room. It is all gold and cream and just about everything on it represents something.
Angels - represent my angel baby
Butterflies - the symbol of miscarried and stillborn babies
Birds - my symbol for Robin
Feather - symbol for the feather's off of an angel's wing, and reminds me of my Aunt Linda (my Uncle Doug gave me this ornament)
Gold - reminds me that my little baby is worth more to me than gold
white - symbol of innocence and purity.
I DID clean the room that I was supposed to decorate and I decorated it in November, so I have put up those pictures! You will see my memorial tree on here. This is both my most favorite tree and the hardest thing for me to look at. I feel so many mixed emotions when I look at this tree. However, I am so glad that I have created this small reminder of my sweet little Robin so that we can think about her every Christmas!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Nice Box

Today the advent calendar said to start the "Nice Box". This is a tradition that I learned from my parents. Every year, in December, we would pull out the nice box. The nice box is a box that has a stack of cut up papers beside it. Every time someone does something nice for you, you are supposed to write it down and put it in the nice box. You can not write your name on the paper even if you think that you have done something incredibly nice for someone else.
Then, on Christmas Eve, after dinner has been eaten, nativities have been acted out and cousins have gone home you sit around in your new pj's and eat cookies while mom or dad reads out all of the items in the nice box. It is a really great way to send the kids off to bed because the kids go to bed feeling good about themselves.
This is the first year that we are doing the nice box in our house because this is the first year that Abby and Anne can really start writing sentences by themselves! We'll see how it goes! I hope that it will end up going well.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Write Letters to Santa

Today for our advent calendar, it said to write letters to Santa. There were some pretty classic moments because we just wrote everything that came out of Caroline and Dustin's mouths. I hope you take a quick read. . . they are pretty cute!

It starts . . .

I kind of feel as though I am at the starting line of a race. Today is December 1st and so that means that it is the first day of all of our advent calendars that count down to Christmas! I am both incredibly excited and terrified at the same time. I don't feel ready, but I know that that will come eventually!
I kind of feel like Santa Clause right now because I have a bunch of lists and I keep checking them every day to see what I need to get prepared so that my family can have a fun day and get ready for Christmas. Between all of the family activities, digital scrapbooking classes, Camp Croppin organization, Primary activities, school volunteering etc, I feel as though I have so much to do and so little time to do it in!
However, that being said, I do only have 4 more presents to buy and the stockings and then I am finished shopping and I will only have chocolates left to do. Oh, and where are your Christmas cards, you ask???? Well, they are going in the mail tomorrow, so watch for them to come!