Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas 2010: A Few Thoughts and Several Photos


You know, the season of Christmas time really is amazing. Sometimes it has its poignant moments as we reflect on the past with loved ones who are no longer with us. Or perhaps we have moments when we remember that there could be a few more presents to place under the tree, if only the child/children were still here... Those times would be so much more painful if there was no CHRISTmas. He is who makes all Joy and brings all Peace to our bruised hearts. I know this with my whole soul.

How grateful I am to have a time set aside when we are allowed to truly focus on HIM. Life gets in the way. It is hard to celebrate our Saviors life and love on a day in and day out basis. We can honor Him daily by obeying Him and loving each other. But Christmas is a time of Celebration! Oh how grateful I am for it! One of the best ways for me to feel the Christmas spirit is to read stories written about Christmas. Some of my favorites are written by Richard Paul Evens (too many to name.) Then there is the classic Christmas Jars series by Jason Wright. And this year I finally picked up THE classic... A Christmas Carol. It has been so fun to read it as we have watched several versions of the movie inspired by the book. This year we read a different Christmas story every night to the kids. We all loved reading a new story together and feeling the sweet Christmas spirit. I especially enjoyed learning about how the story of Rudolph came about (a father's story to his little girl who's mother was different because she was sick.)

It is easy to become weary by all of the "traditions" of Christmas. The feeling or the expectation that we must not only put lights on our Christmas tree, but on the roof of our house - the trees - the fence -and the dog house as well. Everyone on our street is expecting a plate of goodies from us for sure! Don't forget the Toys for Tots, Sub for Santa, and the 12 Days of Christmas. Then you have the cheesy potatoes for the ward party, the yams for the work party, caroling with the Relief Society, and sugar cookies and singing at the rest home with the primary. And DON'T FORGET you still haven't made aunt marge her promised photo album of this years Family Reunion. Does any of this sound familiar?

We must find a balance! And in the end, we have to do whatever we have to do to keep the CHRISTmas spirit in our home. If that means only going to one party and staying home together instead of going to all of them, then you do that. This year Leif and I decided that we had to stay home instead of traveling north to visit my family. It was a very hard decision. But it has been a good one. It would have added way too much stress and taken away from the reason we were going out in the first place. Instead we have stayed home ad rested and tried to celebrate Christmas the best way we can. It's been great!

Here are a few highlights and several photos:

The town Christmas light parade
The Ward party
Dallen Jensen's birthday party
Grandma Baron's photo album (seeing grandpa Baron quietly cry loving tears at her excitement and appreciation.)
Grandma Baron's Dyson vacuum from her kids
Mark Baron family Christmas party (lighting each other's candle and telling what we will give Christ this year. Singing Christmas Carols together.)
Country Women's Christmas Candy Party
12 days of Christmas family nights
Egg nog
and Giving!

Oh The Things Kids Do!

The day before Christmas Eve Jakob spent a lot of the day drawing random pictures in a notebook. He said that he was drawing out the imaginative games that he plays. No big deal right? Well, That night we were tucking the boys in to bed and this is what was starring me in the face as I walked up to Jakob's bed:
From Jakob
YES, my jaw dropped! I think my first words were "Are You SERIOUS!?" Then Leif saw what I saw and we both looked around a bit more and were flabbergasted by what else we saw. Not just ONE picture, but several were drawn ALL over the room. On the bed and on the walls. Including a game of Tic Tac Toe!
From Jakob
From Jakob
We're not talking about our two year old either. This is our SIX year old Jakob. WHOA! We were upset to say the least. Let's just say that I don't think he will ever do it again and he was REALLY afraid that Santa would skip right over our house. Trust me, I was wondering the same thing!;) But after we calmed down a bit we used it as a prime example of repentance. He felt REALLY bad. Not just for the stupidity and the fact that he was caught. I do believe that he felt bad for being destructive. So we talked about that, and then we told him that he would be spending the next day doing what ever he had to do to get all of the pictures cleaned off of the furniture. Then we assured him that after he did all that he could do to make everything right again, we were sure Santa (as well as Heavenly Father when in the situation of repenting of sin) would forgive him.

I was dreading the clean up part. The bed is very nice wood and I Did NOT want to have to sand and stain it! Luckily Leif works for the school and he uses quality graffiti cleaner often. So he went and borrowed some from his office. THANK HEAVENS! It all came off no problem!
From Jakob
From Jakob

Oh The Joys!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Oh So Much to Update!

I will save Christmas photos for tomorrow. Right now I'll just ramble a bit and hope I get everything in I want to...

So Leif SPOILED me this year! Among several other things, he gave me a Net Book. It's the perfect size for me. I've been able to lounge on my bed and work on my computer at the same time. I LOVE It! I call it my Midnight-Thoughts Processor. I put it on my night stand in case I need to jot something down. So much for the good ol' paper and pen. Anyway, I am thrilled! Thank you my Love!

Well, we are a house full of sickies, and I am SICK of it!! I woke up with the same junk as my kids this morning. Leif and I sanitized the house first thing this morning. We washed all the walls, doors, cabinets, computers, etc. Leif blew out all of the air filters and fans to help clean the air. I put a bowl of warm soapy water with lavender oil on the counter. This made it a lot easier to wash hands and faces throughout the day. And we kept the sugar intake way down today compared to the Out Of Control it has been lately. So here's hoping we'll be in better health soon. We are trying to get well enough to have my parents out for a visit for the holidays. Hopefully sooner then later.

So Caleb has been a little escape artist lately. Not escaping out of Places, but rather out of Clothes. Today has been just cold enough even in the house that he has kept his clothes on. But when he goes to bed he ends up undressed and the last two mornings we've been woken up in the morning to the announcement that he has taken his diaper off and peed (or worse) on the floor. LOVELY! So I went to the fabric store (our tiny little one) here in town. I wanted a huge safety pin. No luck! Instead the lady there and I decided that sewing ribbons on the zipper edges and double knotting them might be my best option. We shall see. Ahhh, the joys.

Well, the decision is final. I won't go into too much detail, but Leif and I are going to do the Crazy HCG diet again. It is CRAZY and it is HARDDDDD! But it works, and Fast! I have got to get some of the extra weight I've collected OFF! It has been a hard decision because I am breastfeeding JJ still. But he will be 6 months soon and he already LOVES eating cereal twice a day. He struggles with taking the time to nurse long enough to get full each time he nurses throughout the day. However, he does still nurse a lot through the night when he's more tired and relaxed. I've researched a lot and made a plan of how I'll follow the diet and breastfeed. I'll blog on my HCG Blog again so anyone who cares can follow. We'll begin sometime next month.

Well, I think that covers it! Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cheer, Cheer, Cheer For Us! is having a contest for towns across America. The town with the most "cheers" will get up to $40,000 for a town improvement. Our town wants to upgrade our small park. Right now we are ranked #26 in the nation! So how can you help us get a better park for our small town?

1. Go HERE to
2. Enter our Zip Code "86022"
3. Register (a VERY short form)
4. Click the "Cheer" button 10 tens! (ten votes!!!)
5. Make a book mark and return daily and "Cheer" ten times!

Thank you all for your help!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Goodness Gravy! Mama's Sick AGAIN!

Yep! It's true. It took a few days of misery before the good ol' tonsils showed me that there was an actual infection. Once they turned yucky Leif took me to the ER (our Instacare equivalent.) The strep test came out negative this time. But they said that it was still very likely strep. Since I was down with this less than a month ago they tested for Mono too. So Glad that came out negative too!!

So, I have a different antibiotic that will hopefully get rid of everything. And I'm praying I'll be feeling better soon for the Christmas festivities! Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

12 Days of Christmas At Home By Lantern Light

This year we started a new tradition that has turned out great! I wanted to do the traditional 12 Days of Christmas for someone else. But it just didn't work out this year. However, I did go onto and found a file of 12 stories that are used for the 12 Days of Christmas. They are all short enough stories to keep the kids attention. And they all end with a great lesson, of course.

Each night we have brought the lantern to the table (candles were way too dangerous with our little monkey, aka Caleb) and we read the story as we eat a yummy Christmas treat. Does the meaning of the story sink in? Probably not every time. But the Spirit of Christmas is definitely in our little home for that short time (hopefully it lingers longer.)

We try very hard each year to help the true meaning of CHRISTmas sink into our boys' hearts. I pray that our efforts work in the end.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

2nd Annual Country Women's Christmas Candy Making Party

The title is long, but the party itself goes by too quickly. Last year I held the party in my home. This year my sweet friend Karin offered to have us come to her home. Thank you so much Karin! Her kitchen and dining area was perfect for the great turn out that we had!

The Country Women's Christmas Candy Making Party is a Christmas tradition that I started for the women in our community to enjoy. I came across a Taste of Homes Country Women's Christmas Cookbook and wanted to try several of their recipes. But I knew I would Never make them all on my own, nor would it be any fun if I tried them alone. So, I invited the ladies in town to join me in the fun.;) Last year I had around 5 or so ladies come. This year we had around 20! Yippee!

The sweet smells of chocolate, peanut butter, and peppermint filled the air. Mingled with the sounds of Christmas carols, visiting friends, and laughing children. Can't get much better then that! This year I invited anyone who wanted to to bring soup and cookies to share with everyone as we made the candy. That was a really nice addition. Especially for those of us who hadn't had dinner.

In the end we made 7 recipes from Taste of Home online. We doubled the recipes and everyone walked away with plenty of goodies as well as leftovers to take to neighbors. Truly a MERRY CHRISTMAS Celebration!

Here are the links to the recipes:
Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy
Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Microwave Marshmallow Fudge
Holiday Truffles
Toffee Peanut Clusters
White Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles (AKA: Bloodshot Eyeballs for Halloween)
Oreo Cream Cheese Truffles (AKA: Hosts of Ghosts for Halloween)

From Christmas Candy Making Party 2010

From Christmas Candy Making Party 2010

From Christmas Candy Making Party 2010

From Christmas Candy Making Party 2010

From Christmas Candy Making Party 2010

From Christmas Candy Making Party 2010

From Christmas Candy Making Party 2010

From Christmas Candy Making Party 2010

From Christmas Candy Making Party 2010

From Christmas Candy Making Party 2010

From Christmas Candy Making Party 2010

* Cover at least 10 cookie sheet sized pieces of cardboard with heavy duty tin foil to use as makeshift cookie sheets.

Full Day Kindergarten In The Future

Up to this point Jakob's kindergarten has been a half day program. He enjoys it. Surprisingly, the school made the decision to make it a full day program at the beginning of the new year. There are mixed opinions by the parents about whether it's a good thing or not. Personally, it works well for us. I think Jakob will enjoy it. And it will be very nice not to have to haul the little boys down the stairs and out to the school to pick Jakob up. This way Leif can take Jakob to and from school. Very Nice!

Nursing Strike Update

The good news is that JJ has calmed down a bit and eventually begins to nurse. He has a strange new habit where he cries as I sit down to nurse him unless I am distracting him by making him laugh or cooing and talking with him. It's very interesting... But the good thing is that he's nursing and not fighting it once he starts eating.

Very Good!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Nursing Strike! And I don't mean medical nursing.

You know the sayings "Never say Never" or "Don't speak too soon."? Well, those apply to me at the moment. I was at a get-together with some friends a week ago and I mentioned the fact that for the most part I could be considered a Jersey Cow when it comes to my milk production. They all talked about their struggles with breastfeeding and I was grateful that I hadn't faced the same. Well, within that week I started to realize that only one side was easy for (4 month old) JJ to nurse on. The other was frustrating him. Like their wasn't enough milk. Well, he handled it for a few days. But two days ago he must have had enough of the struggle. Because he has started what is called a "Nursing Strike."

He screams any time I try to nurse him. He pushes away and refuses to nurse. LOVELY! Sometimes I can get him to nurse a little after a long struggle. But I finally broke down and pumped some milk. My right side takes at least 1 minute to even let down any milk. My left is readily available. I'm sure this is part of the problem.

So Last night, after a long struggle I finally got him to nurse enough holding him in the football hold to ease his hunger. He slept until 3:00AM. But this time he refused to nurse! So there I was pumping in the middle of the night as Leif was trying to calm a starving JJ. Leif fed him the milk and he slept until 7:00A. Refused, drank the last 2 ounces of milk in the bottle, was still hungry so he accepted nursing. 10:00A, strongly avoided nursing. But finally nursed enough to ease the hunger.

So... It's really no fun being so out of our routine. Don't ask me what the issue is completely. I have no answer. Only possibilities.

1. Difficult some of the time so he's frustrated.
2. Too congested to breath well enough.
3. Overactive gag reflex (he gags sometimes when he tries to latch on, it's a new thing.)

I'm an adamant breast milk mama. So just going to the bottle and formula isn't an option. So, I keep trying to nurse and pump along the way so he doesn't get too hungry.

Never say Never!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Catching Up: Thanksgiving and Christmas Trees

*Pictures Coming Soon!*

So I am WAY behind in updating. Well, maybe not WAY but definitely not up to date. Let's see if I can fix things. I have a bit of a sugar high right now, WAY too many Oreos and yes, I mean WAY too many. So Anyway...

Let's start a little bit before Thanksgiving. My parents came into town for an evening. Luckily I was feeling well enough to go out to a nice dinner with them. They then came over and spent the evening with us. A couple sweet moments I captured in my heart was to see and hear my mom rock JJ to sleep and sing him the same lullaby that she sang to me as a baby, and then to watch Jakob and my dad laugh and work together to put together a picture collage on the computer for school. After the kids were asleep, we watched a good movie and ate more yummy food. Good Times! The weather was bad so they couldn't stay longer into the weekend. But we had a nice time together anyway.

We had a great Thanksgiving weekend! Leif's family came together. We had everyone except Seth and Valen (missed you guys!) I was finally feeling better and Leif and I enjoyed cooking together. Leif;s signature recipe is Blue Cheese Green Bean Casserole, MMM! I made a yummy and pretty Trifle Dessert and a Fruit Salad, oh and good ol' Rhodes Rolls. We had a very yummy dinner. After dinner all of the kids wandered off to play and all of us siblings sat together and ate dessert and LAUGHED our Heads Off! Some of us laughed and told stories more then we have in years!! And to top it off James brought out the Martinelles to sip as we visited. Ahhh, it was one of those priceless moments. Thanks All! As things broke up with all of us silly adults the kids managed to pull uncle Leif and Erik outside to play night games. I know they sure love the times they get to play like the good ol' days.

So, Black Friday. Uhh... yeah... well... let's just say we had a good time. Shopping online is a lot easier then trudging through the stores and fighting the crowds. But, I'm afraid it's A LOT easier to spend money too. I spent the huge majority of the day shopping the deals. And I did find some good deals. And Leif, well... I'm afraid he's spoiled me again this year. I know this because there are a whole lot of presents that I can't wrap. We're finished shopping. Well... Leif is. I made him promise not to buy anything more;) But that doesn't mean I have to stop, Right!? No, I just have a little bit more for him and extended family. So that was our Black Friday fun. Leif and Jakob took a couple of hours and went hiking with the family (minus JJ and I). They hiked Wood Hill. It seems they can hike that a hundred times and still have a great time and manage to bring home a load of neat rocks and fossils. That night we played a few rounds of Dominos with Ian and Molly. So nice to be together!

Saturday morning we all bundled up and then loaded up to head out to the Kiabab National Forest to cut down our Christmas Trees. We went the extra mile this year and started a fire and roasted hot dogs. It was a good thing the fire wood worked because it would have been cold for those of us who stayed in camp while the others found the "perfect" trees. And we all did find nice trees.

I knew that these next couple of months would be busy for Leif. So I insisted on decorating the tree Sunday. My good husband wrapped the tree in several strands of lights. We decided to make our tree a twinkling tree this year. We can't use a lot of decorations because Caleb enjoys reaching, climbing, and pulling them. So It's a pretty tree with ribbon, and some bulbs, and lots of lights.

Jakob and Leif had a special day at school this week. It was called The Daddy Deer Hunt. They played games and "hunted" for the hidden deer that the kids had made. Cute!

I think that gets us up to date. Leif has finals this upcoming week and then he's done for this semester. YEAH! Next weekend we will have our 2nd annual Country Women's Christmas candy making party. I'm really looking forward to it!!

*Pictures Coming Soon!*
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