December 30, 2011

The Holiday Events

Christmas EVE!
We decided to have our normal Christmas Brunch on Christmas Eve this year.
Breakfast first ~

~ Gifts after.

We continued a few of our favorite Christmas traditions.

My mom loved the Dutch Present. Her aunt & uncle started this tradition when she was younger. She continued it. After she died, Jenn, Josh, & my family open the Dutch Present on Christmas eve. The kids know their PJ's await them in this gift. They love reading the poems about each of them. Jenn does a great job capturing their "likes" & personalities in these poems. Manda started doing the Dutch present with some of her friends in Indiana. And Ashley does it with her kids & step kids. This year we decided to do this with everyone. They loved it. I think my mom would be happy knowing it has become one of OUR kids favorite Christmas traditions.

We also have "Kat Bean Art". Ashley started this the year my mom died. It gives us a chance to reminisce about some of the things Mom loved & share our memories with our children. It has become one of MY favorite parts of Christmas. I miss having her here for the holidays. My mom made Christmas magical ~ even after I became the grown up!!
What am I saying?? Holidays or not ~ I miss my mom.

We went to dinner with the Allens later that night then tucked everyone into their beds.
Santa would be here soon .... Right before Santa came... Hayden came running up the stairs (around 11 pm) to show us what he had been working on.
I told him the Tooth Fairy & Santa can't come the same night.
Luckily he agreed to sell ME his tooth for $2!!

Good Morning Boys!!

Good morning Kenz!!
(she won't be happy I posted this! at least I didn't put it on facebook)

Ready to head upstairs to see what Santa brought!!
Santa decided to fill the stocking & only put ONE present by their stockings this year. He put some gifts under the family room tree & some under the living room tree. He was smart. He knew we would have to stop to go to church. We were able to open our stockings & ONE big gift. Then it was time for Church. We finished the rest of the gifts after church.
Mackay wanted 2 jerseys this year ~ Oregon Ducks & Pitt Panthers
Hayden asked for a "35 Light saber" (a light saber worth $35) & a Capt. America shield.
Kenz only asked for MONEY!!
But Santa pulled off a surprise ~ a Sound System & Microphone.
She was shocked!!
I always tell Kenzie - the best gifts come in the smallest packages.
He is the BEST!!!
Always so thoughtful and Always so Generous!!
I am SO Lucky! I still wonder why he picked me.
As strange as it felt to do Christmas Brunch on Christmas EVE, it did NOT feel strange to go to church on Christmas DAY ~ it is, after all, the day we celebrate Christ birth.
Kenzie sang in the choir & my boys sang a primary song (although Hayden missed the cue to go up - my fault- and was so sad he missed it).
It was nice to slow down & remember the true reason we celebrate Christmas.
The spirit was strong & the music was beautiful.
My kids are growing up & are finally starting to realize what Christmas is really about.

When I went to bed Christmas night, I was happy.
Many of you know Christmas is NOT my favorite holiday. It comes with so much pressure for the mom. Hayden often says that "Santa doesn't bring him what he asks for... Santa doesn't get it right." This year was different. I didn't have any disappointed kids & they didn't argue about stopping & going to church.
We took it slow, reflected on Christmases past, & thought of those we love & miss ~ those in Nevada, Michigan, Colorado, Washington DC, Indiana, & Heaven.
We enjoyed the day & each other.
I hope you all had a MERRY CHRISTMAS & enjoyed your families, friends & the holiday season.

December 21, 2011

A Few Before & Afters

Why do I always forget to take "Before Pictures" and decent "After Pictures"... Oh well...
We are changing all our WHITE doors/trim and baseboards to Knotty ALDER. Most of the dust has settled (on my tables, floors, plants, shelves, clothing, shoes, inside my refrigerator, etc). We are still waiting for Shutters but we are almost done... with Phase 1. Next year we will tackle Phase 2, the kids bedrooms and the basement.

December 16, 2011

Pay It Forward: Christmas Wish Foundation

Pay It Forward: Christmas Wish Foundation

Our family has known the Bengtzen family for a long time.
This years has been crappy for their family.
Gary, their dad, passed away, in February, after a 2 month battle with cancer.
Kirk, their son that is my age, was diagnosed with Brain Cancer and has been doing radiation and chemo - basically fighting for his life - AND WINNING!!
(It's about time someone beat this dang disease!)
With all they have endured,
they are still finding ways to bring joy to other families this holiday season.

December 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Kenzie!!

Kenzie turned 15 yesterday!!
She opted for:
no party,
no movie night with mom,
no friends over,
no fancy dinner with her parents.
All she wanted was to hang out with her cousins and Uncle Josh.
That is set for Saturday night. (Thank You Josh for being her best friend.)
We celebrated with the family on Sunday at Jenn's house.
She got lots of fun little gifts:
nail polish,
and ... a lovely sinus cold.
I had planned to take her to lunch on her birthday, but she came home sick the day before (thank you to Jenn for going to pick her up for me since I was tending twins and didn't have car seats. What would I do without my sisters?) So I was nervous to take her out of school two days in a row. Instead, someone else's mom brought her Rumbi Grill and Jamba Juice. (Thanks to that friend's mom...for making me feel like the bad parent...)
I was in Ka-hoots with her YW advisor, planning for a surprise break in of her MiaMaid Class. They were planning to "Heart Attack" her room, so I needed to get her out of the house between 3:45 - 4:30.
She requested Iggy's for dinner.
We went right after school so there were very few people at the restaurant...
but one of those very few people managed to hit my red mustang
and NOT SAY ANYTHING!!!! Rude!
Update: Estimate is $2900.00 BUG!!
Anyway... Upon returning home:
she opened her last gift from us,
perfume from the Hanzons,
the cards from the mail
and ... discovered she had a "Heart Attack".
Other then being a little sick... I think she had a great birthday - week.

Happy Birthday Mackenzie Dawn
aka: Weena, Ginger, Kenzerloo, Sicky, Ommi, and Gorgeous, Talented, Darling, Funny, Smart, Kind, and Courageous Kenz!!
I am so grateful for you.
I love you more then you will ever know.
Love, Mom

December 12, 2011

A Special Visitor

Look who came to our Christmas Cookie Decorating Party on Sunday.

Ben loves Big Characters but Colin isn't as comfortable.
He began to squirm & cry, trying to escape the lap of Santa until his dad told him to say "Cheeeeese."
Colin obeyed and repeated "Cheese!!!"
Jessica, Tanner, & Sam
Taylor, Jake, Rustyn, and Kamryn
Kenzie, Mackay, and Hayden
I think a few kids could sing the song... "I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus".
It was so much fun!!
I love that Santa can come to our Cookie Party each year.
Another fun tradition our family will continue. :)
One last "Cheeeese!!" I couldn't resist.