Sunday, December 28, 2008

Lazy Days of Winter

Here are Hubby's Great Grand kids from his oldest daughter (minus two babies and plus Grandson in law Matt) the day of their Christmas party when was hubby was dubbed, "The Crazy Guy!" All I have to say about that is, you have no idea how crazy!

We had a wonderful Christmas. It started snowing Christmas Eve, snowed 12" by Noon Christmas Day, stopped snowing long enough for my children to arrive and continued on after that from early afternoon until long after I went to bed.

Here is Cole putting together the only toy he got. Sometimes it's hard to pretend you're a grown up!

Here is Madie showing off her new DC's (shoes). You can't see them because she had already packed everything up in anticipation of going to see her boyfriend.

And here is Alex with the make your own John Deere Bear that Madie gave him. You can't tell from his face, but he really was excited about it.

Lucky for me I didn't have to get up and drive on those snowy roads on Friday. But, my oldest child decided he HAD to drive to Park City, Christmas night, to see a "girl". I did not sleep until he called to say, after over an hour, that he had made it down the canyon. If I had been closer to him I would have hugged him and cried and then knocked him upside the head!

So, Friday morning I slept in and had the house all to myself because my hubby had to work. I actually showered, made the bed and ate. After that I laid on the couch watching "Mama Mia!" TWICE. It was heavenly.

Four days off from work. It was so nice and I know I could get used to staying home, if I was rich that is!

In other pressing news, I finished "Two From Galilee", loved it, again! I watched the Jazz win one game and lose another in double overtime without my precious Paul Milsap who is hurt. (I'm betting they are going to call me any day to help nurse him back to health!) Saw the parentals...I know someday my mother is going to be like the crazy aunt in Christmas Vacation bearing "interesting" gifts. But my mom will have her dog wrapped up and covered in Fruit Cake. My siblings and their spouses know this is true!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Can You Say Snow?

It's snowing here in Utah. Great big fat flaky snow. The kind of snow that multiplies when it goes over the Great Salt Lake.

We are getting a ton of this stuff. It's supposed to snow all afternoon and all night. Five inches before rush hour. And then we'll all have a long commute.

It is so beautiful. I love the snow. But it's what comes after the snow that I don't like. The cold. This weekend our low will be 9 degrees. Sounds fun, huh?

And I still need to finish my Christmas shopping. Still have to find something on this earth that my hubby doesn't have. This is a chore. He told me to get him nothing. That is too easy and such a cop out. Over the next 5 days I will be a shopping fool during my lunch hour.

Since I can't take many of you with me (won't fit in my little Honda, sorry!) here is a picture of Baxter for you to enjoy. He likes the snow too and wears booties to protect his tootsies.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Two From Galilee

First of all, my apologizes for such a downer of a post last time. That post was the reason I just couldn't do anything for a couple of weeks. And I appreciate all your lovely kind words and I know her family would too.

Christmas is such a wonderful time of the year. I love the music, the food, the lights, the smell of the trees, the presents....both giving and receiving and I love the traditions.

Since I left my old life and started a new life, many of my old traditions have been left behind and some new ones have been picked up. Take this weekend for instance. The Baxter side of my family always has a Christmas party. I can remember this back to before I can remember much of anything else. My cool, hip, young exotic aunts, who I always wanted to grow up to be just like, were a big part of my memories of Christmas. My Grandma always had the most beautiful Christmas tree. I even inherited a wreath that she made. Now I just need to convince my hubby that he loves pink and wants to hang it on the front door. (he really does, I'm sure, but he loves to fight it!)

So...back to the subject of traditions, this weekend we have the Baxter Christmas party! A lifelong tradition and always so much fun! Three years ago I got invited to my new family's Christmas party and it is this Saturday. This one is really fun too. Such cute little kids running around and my hubby's oldest daughters wonderful children. So the start of new tradition.

One tradition that I have kept since I was a teenager is reading the book, "Two From Galilee, The Story of Mary and Joseph" by Marjorie Holmes. Marjorie Holmes is a wonderful Christian authur. She writes uplifting, inspirational books that I love. (you should also try "I've Got to Talk to Someobody, God!") I highly recommend this book to everyone. It is the original Christmas story. Well, actually, the pre-Christmas story. This is a love story. The love story between a young 13 almost 14 year old girl and the 21 year old man she loves and cannot live without. It has been called the Greatest Love Story of all.

Even if you don't believe in Christmas, this is a touching and heartwarming book and I highly recommend it. If you have already read it, read it again. If you have never read it, you can borrow mine in a couple of days!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Where Can I Turn For Peace?

Over the years of my life I have lost friends and family to death.

Some I have grieved for and continue to do so to this day. Some I was glad their suffering was over and they were off on a new journey.

Others have made the choice to leave us. I used to sit and shake my head and wonder why we couldn't help. Why we couldn't stop them.

I believe from the bottom of my soul that every person living on this earth today, those who have gone before us and those who are yet to come, make their own choices. I believe that is God’s plan for us. To choose our own way.

Two weeks ago on November 23rd a friend of mine made the choice to leave this world behind.

I have known her and her family for 30 years. I knew her when she was a frazzled young mom, a harried mom of teenagers, as a proud Grandma and an even prouder Great Grandma. And I knew her as her life started to unravel.

I taught all five of her children in church. Her daughters were like my daughters. I love them like they were my own. Her son was involved in the youth programs I taught in. And now my heart aches for them.

I understand the depression that can grab hold of you when life just seems too hard. I can understand wanting to leave it all behind. To leave those you love. To leave the world you love and to really want to go back to your heavenly home. I made it through my depression. Others don’t, even though they try hard to see their way back.

This sweet lady went through hell. She fought hard, her family fought hard and her friends fought hard to keep her here. But she couldn't take it any longer. Her family says she has let them know she wishes she would have stayed. We all wish she would have stayed.

At her funeral we sang a hymn called, “Where Can I Go For Peace?”. I had another friend pass away from Breast Cancer 9 years ago this month and this was her favorite hymn. It helped me through those dark days when I didn’t think I could make it. It helped me when my sweet friend died 9 years ago and when we sang it at the funeral of my friend who left us, it helped me there too. She knew she needed help and she tried, she really did. But her choice was still to leave us.

Her family has found their peace. They have great faith. They know they will see their wife, mother and grandmother again and that she is close by and watching over them and telling them to hold onto that faith.

Every single time I saw this friend she would kiss me on the check and tell me she loved me. She made me feel loved and special. Turns out she did the same thing with everyone she loved. How blessed I am that she shared this beautiful side of her with me? I will miss her and the love she shared.

Here is a video done by Mormon Missionaries of the song "Where Can I Turn For Peace?" This is not a professional performance, but this is from the heart. I hope you enjoy it and it gives you all a little bit of peace especially during this crazy busy Holiday Season. I wish all of you Peace in your lives.

I would like to encourage everyone who reads this to share the kind of love that my dear friend shared. Tell those you love that you do love them, now, while they are here with you. I told my friend everytime I saw her. And I know that she loved me. She shared that with me everytime we met. Lucky, lucky me!!

Psalms 30:5

.. weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Annual Migration

I took a little sabbatical (again) from blogging and maybe my next blog will be about that (and thank you Tracy for noticing I was gone.).

In my family it is tradition that the first Saturday of December is set aside for the "girls" to go shopping. I'm not sure how long we have been doing this, maybe 12 years. We started when Madie and her cousin Ashley were little girls. We'd get up WAY TOO EARLY (because my sister Marrla is a morning lunatic!) and we stop for a Krispy Kreme donut and then head off for shopping.

Here we are at Krispy Kreme. Did you know that Krispy Kreme has Pepsi and not Coke. I should write them a letter! From the left is Marrla and Ashley, then Madie and Chelsea and the whole gang: Kristin, Mom, Chelsea, Madie, Marrla, Madalyn, Ashley and Jill.

We always go to the same mall. Provo Towne Center. One year we went to the Gateway, which is an upscale outside mall in downtown Salt Lake. We froze. So we are sticking with the old stand by. Provo may seem a strange choice but it is our choice because we actually have to travel a bit to get there.

This year we (hubby did anyway) rented a 15 passenger van. After we picked it up I thought I'd better try driving it since I would be putting my family at risk with me driving. Alex was with me and I kept asking him if I was in the lane. I honestly couldn't tell. The van was a beast compared to my Honda Civic.

Here is my view of the van. It looks (and felt) like a bus! Madie here wtih Kristin who I know is probably wishing she could have stayed in bed a little longer on a Saturday.

Saturday morning Madie and I drove over to pick up Kristin. This is Kristin's second year of shopping with us since she only joined the family 16 months ago. First thing she wanted to know was why we had to leave that early. We all know it's Marrla's fault. Normal people don't get up before the chickens but Marrla does.

Here are Madie, Marrla, Madalyn and Chelsea pretending to be mannequins. They look so natural don't you think?

We then met up with my mom, Marrla (the evil morning person), Ashley, Marrla's granddaughter, little sister Jill, her daughter Chelsea and Chelsea's friend Madalyn. (Kristin's step daughter, Bronwen, couldn't make it this year...bummer.) We pulled into the WalMart parking lot and loaded up the van while the South Jordan police watched us.

We were off for some hot Krispy Kremes and then off to the mall. We stopped at Penney's and by 10 AM I was in desperate need for Diet Coke. McDonald's, I love you!

Here is Madie at McDonalds trying to drink upside down to get rid of her hiccups! (Once again, thank you Tracy!)

We shopped until those of us almost 40 and older were draggin around and the girls and the teenagers were still gun ho for more.

We had quite the time and I am very glad that no one got car sick in a van that was possessed by an evil spirit and weaved while I tried to keep it under control and my knuckles turned white. We all got home safely!

And here we are at the end of the journey! And see it looks like everyone is smiling and still in one piece!

We dropped Madie off to meet up with her boyfriend and though it would be great fun to embarrass her. What else fun can you do with teenagers? We all went into the pet store to meet him. He was a good sport and even took a picture with us.

Now I can't wait until next year!