Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Christmas Cookies

Making Christmas Cookies with Grammy and Titi!

White Elephant Party

It was tricky to find a date this year, and as it turned out, we threw this baby together with like a week's notice.  We were thrilled that so many friends could still come!  It's my favorite holiday tradition!

The Ross' brought custom made, size 18 slippers!

These guys peek while we play.  Luckily they were quiet!

Shotgun plunger, the winning gift of the night.  Love, love, love, these people!  Such a fun time!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

December Chaos

A couple racoons started frequenting our back patio at night.  They were pretty sneeky and always appreciate the snacks the kids leave.

Rain!  California has been in a complete drought so we dance in the rain when it finally came.

After over three years, I was released as Young Women President in my Ward at church.  It was so bittersweet!  This was the last Mutual activity I had with these amazing girls.  The following Sunday proved to be really difficult for me emotionally.  I knew for several weeks in advance that I'd be getting released, and through promptings and feelings much prior to that, I knew that my time was coming to a close, but something about the finality of it all was hard.  When they released me over the pulpit I could not stop crying.  All through church I simply cold not control myself or make the tears stop no matter how hard I tried.  During the last few minutes of church I said my goodbyes to the young women, giving my last bits of counsel and love.  Afterwards, one young woman came up to me sobbing.  She's been really stand offish over the years despite my attempts at reaching out to her.  She couldn't really compose herself either, but we hugged and I knew, finally, that she knew I loved her, and I hope has felt the love of the Savior through my service.  I'm so thankful for the time I've had to serve in the Young Women program.  It is inspired.  I have come to love these girls so incredibly deeply.  I'll miss them but will forever love them and feel joy in their successes and growth.  During my testimony in Sacrament meeting I talked about sacrifice.  Many times during the last three years I asked myself why the Lord saw fit to give me such a busy calling during such a stressful time in our lives.  I bore children 6 and 7 while serving as Young Women President.  Ben was in school and working a demanding job.  For the last year I'd been hiring a weekly babysitter so I could attend Mutual activities.  Yet, as I contemplated all this, I came to realize that our Heavenly Father requires sacrifice of us.  He stretches us, and challenges us, so that we can, in a very small measure, understand the sacrifice of His Son just a tiny bit more.  Many of those challenges would have very soon be alleviated and so, because there was less sacrifice required on my part, it was no longer my time to serve.  I love the gospel of Jesus Christ and His church that affords me the chance to develop talents, personal relationships, and to grow closer to the Savior.  Callings are inspired blessings and I'm so completely thankful for the opportunity to serve in His kingdom.     

In early December I was in charge of the Winter Festival and Silent Auction at my kids' school.  It was a doozy to pull off, but we did it!  These are all the baskets that we had donated.  

Eli and his buddy sold hot cocoa.

Meilani helped in face painting.  Titi came out to manage the littles while I ran the event as Ben was at school.

Eli sold around 75 bags of mistletoe for a scout camp fundraiser.  It was growing in our tree.

Ammon, white elephant gift shopping with mom.

and kissing snails.

Eli at his Winter Concert.  Best music teacher ever!!!

Sethie was Student of the Month in his class.

more shopping!

Seth's Christmas concert.

Temple lights with Cousin Amanda and Allison before they head to Canada.

Gingerbread houses at the Adams-Harts.

I wasn't going to put this out there, all it's glory, here's our laundry disaster.  Ben took it all to the laundry mat one day after getting fed up.  Do not try this at home!!!!!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Rise and Shout!

BYU came to town to play Cal.  Our good friend is on the Alumni board and hooked us up with tickets in exchange for help at the Alumni BBQ.  We were happy to oblige!

Sariah and I were sign wavers, helping all the Coug fans to get to the right spot.  Lessons from that day:  Cougar fans are nice, polite, and friendly.  Even the lds Cal fans stopped to say hello and even took some pics with us.  Cal fans on the other hand...well, I hate to make rash generalizations, but there were more than a couple people who made really rude comments about us "drinking the kool-aid" and such.  There were a few nasty comments that I won't post here.  In the end, GO COUGS!

Eli and Meilani helped with face paint during the tailgate party while Liam and Ben covered will call and security.  The game was really exciting.  We only took the big kids because we knew it would be a long day.  We weren't sure how Liam would do because he's kind of squirrely at times, but he was engaged and loving the big kid time with Mom and Dad.


We had Thanksgiving dinner at Grandmom's this year.  It was really nice not to have to cook and clean, especially because Ben spent the entire week catching up on assignments for his doctoral program.  Just before Thanksgiving, his professor told him that he was so behind in his work that she had serious concerns about him continuing in the program.  We both kind of panicked!  Ben was convinced that he would be forced to take a year off to make up a few classes and I was sure that there was no way in heck I wanted to spend anymore time with Ben in school, so I basically chanted like the little engine that could for several weeks while he worked like a dog.  We didn't see him at all during Thanksgiving break, except for Thanksgiving dinner.  He even worked on the holiday and met us just to eat.  In the end he did finish all his assignments.  We had to wait several weeks to find out that he did in fact pass all his classes and was cleared to take the comprehensive exams in December.  We heaved a collective sigh of relief and Ben surprised himself.  One hurdle down...several more to go.  I knew he could do it all along!

My dad requested framed pictures of the kids for his Christmas gift, so I took these in Grandmom's backyard on Thanksgiving in preparation.  My Grandad built that brick wall in the background.  Sure do miss him!

I framed this one for Grandmom for Christmas.

Sariah, always a fan of the turkey leg.

Potato boy

Still pretty cute after all these years!

Ruby kept trying to lick Princess, the dog.  We were all cracking up.

Us big girls did a little "grey Thursday" shopping after we'd all stuffed ourselves.  I felt a little guilty because I don't want all those workers having to go in on a holiday, but we had a blast, and I think just established a new Thanksgiving tradition!