Friday, December 31, 2010


Hair: before and after

How is it that I can drag myself out into a blizzard for a haircut but cannot for the life of me make myself go to the grocery store? It's been way too long around here and we are fishing things out of the freezer and storage room. I really, really do not want to take 3 kids to the store and yet when Joseph's home in the evening it is just too cold and dark to venture out.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Morning

Can you tell that Beans and Livs (my early risers) had to wake up Cares (my sleep late girl) so we could discover stockings all together? The next picture says it all...

Love this classic pic.
Next year I will try my hardest to get PJ pics on Christmas Eve
when all are merry and bright :)

Livs showing off her new snowman slippers from Santa while chowing on a sucker from her stocking. She also got a 10 pack of bubblegum (sugar free of course) and ate 5 pieces in a row. Made her such a happy Christmas baby!

Caroline's Pet Vet gift from Joseph and me. We consider it our handmade gift because we found all the little parts/tools/bandages at various locations and then Joseph designed the labels.

Cares, animal lover that she is, has played with it for hours each day since and I love seeing her growing slew of animals all bandaged up in different ways.

Over to Nanny and Grandpa's for brunch and family time and more presents.

Love this crew all snuggled up on the couch

Grandpa and baby Anders

Joseph and Johnny

and a pic I had to steal from Krista's blog--Bentley displaying his new bank from Nanny and Grandpa. All the kids received one along with crisp new bills to fill up the sections. My little boy was thrilled about handling money and eager to spend it--only he had trouble finding the "spending" section...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

I am a huge fan of family traditions, especially when it comes to Christmas, and I owe much of that to my mother.

When I was in college, for a Western Lit. final project, I collected my favorite family recipes, one for each letter of the alphabet. I then compiled a recipe book and each page consisted of the ingredients and directions for each dish, as well as my own reflections/memories related to that particular food. The recipe book earned me an excellent grade in my class (this was in the days before Picaboo and iLife so the whole thing was hand made—with the help of my graphic designer husband of course.) I made a copy for my mother as I finished up finals, and have since made copies for each of my siblings—because the recipes are among our very favorites.

This year was my first time making a classic from the book: my mom's cinnamon rolls. And the smell, the taste, the flour all over the counter and dough rising by the heater vents will forever and always remind me of Christmas. This is a portion of what I wrote about them in the recipe book:

"I love to watch my mom make cinnamon rolls every Christmas Eve. She's always happy to be in the kitchen and creating a treat we have all come to love as part of a family tradition. I wonder if she remembers watching her own mom do the same thing as she knowingly kneads and rolls the dough. Carols accompany her rhythm and sing of her favorite holiday."

Those tasty treats are a key part of our Christmas celebrations—along with huge handmade stockings, German carols sung by Heintje, Wechtersbach dishes, and reading Luke 2 on Christmas Eve, gathered together as a family. I love that each tradition is rooted in a specific part of our family history: my big sis, born in December, came home from the hospital in a stocking big enough to fit a new baby—so my mom made each of us a big stocking to set out each year; we lived in Germany for 3 years when I was very young and all learned to speak the language fluently—German carols became so familiar and we learned to sing many of them...) I fill my home with these same things each year, in part to remind myself of the happy Christmases of my childhood but also in the hopes that they bring my darlings the same joy, the same anticipation, and the same reverence that I felt, and feel, every year.

*For the original recipe click here

Monday, December 27, 2010


We started our day with sibling gifts in the morning—a great way to entertain the kids until our real festivities began later in the day. Bentley and Caroline have really caught the joy of anticipation and were eager and excited all day.

All dolled up
This girl's daddy could not get enough of her and took about 50 pictures of her big, beautiful curls (he said he was just testing out the new camera's settings...)

Handsome boy all ready for Christmas Eve

And finally to Grandma Bobbi's for
our traditional Christmas Eve:

This picture had great potential.
I sure love my silly boy.

A focused and doting Mary, my Caresie was so loving and tender. Her reverence and peace were so beautiful that night.

The littlest (adorable) angel.

Chatting with Heid and Ben's family (in Minnesota) on Skype

My only nativity shot with Mason and Connor (kind of) in it. Can you tell that Sam the cat was much more exciting than being a sheep...

Happy girls with new dolls from grandma and grandpa

Livs was so excited to have her very own big girl dolly too

Tye and Stacey's family

Cec and Chad's family

A very merry Christmas Eve.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Eve Angels

A glimpse into our special night.
And yes, the angels themselves are a sweet sight, but all of those children were (and are) our Christmas angels.

including darling Max who beautifully sang along with us as he joined us on Skype
(and the slumbering Sadie and nimble Mason who only managed to get his foot in this clip)

More to come later. Much more. All the family gatherings have kept us quite busy these past few days—and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Let it Be...

"Let Christmas be a time that lights the eyes of children and puts laughter on their lips. Let it be a time for lifting the lives of those who live in loneliness. Let it be a time for calling our families together. Let it be a time of forgetting self and finding time for others. Let it be a time for discarding the meaningless and for stressing the true values. Let it be a time of peace because we have found peace in His teachings.

Most of all, let it be a time to remember the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the Wise Men."

—President Thomas S. Monson
from the First Presidency Christmas Devotional 2010

Rembrandt's Adoration of the Shepherds

Merry, Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

All About Santa

A little something my hubby created for work this week:

The Origin of Santa Claus [Infographic]

(click on the image to see more of his work)

You should see the homemade Christmas gifts he created and designed this having him around this time of year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Remember This Baby?

Not to give anything away, but Joseph and I made Maggie and Justin's wedding video for them for Christmas this year...a mere 5 1/2 years later...

While going through all our footage we realized there was indeed a 3rd main player in all our coverage that day--our cherubic little Bentley. We could not get enough of him back then and it was all we could do to leave his presence to a minimum in the video we made for Mag and Justin. Doesn't everyone want to see that deliciously fat and happy baby boy all the time?!

I made this little montage this morning to keep for ourselves. Love how we made Maggie come film segments with Beans just so we could film more of our own babe.

Mag—I promise you and Justin are very much the focus of your beautiful wedding DVD (it is beautiful and I feel no shame claiming it as such because it's the bride who makes it so.)

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Friday night: Date night at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert

We loved the concert: the perfection of the choir and power and clarity of David's great vocals made for a memorable night. It was crazy busy at the Conference Center and we almost didn't get any seats at all. Luckily, we hung tight and scored amazing seats on the floor level in the center section. Such a beautiful concert and so very Christmas"y." We walked through Temple Square after the show—but we moved quickly because it was quite cold out and we still had a long walk back to our car.

Saturday: Cleaning in the morning, Tangled in the late afternoon, and Christmas projects all evening.
Darling show. I am a huge fan. And all 3 of my kids were transfixed. Livs especially loved the horse—but she does love anyone (anything?) named Max so he had that going for him...

Friday, December 17, 2010


Letters to Santa at IKEA

Other favorites so far:
La Pieta (certified copy) at St Marks hopsital--
(it's beautiful and perfect for remembering the Savior)
swimming at the South Jordan Rec Center
watching ELF
making beaded snowflake ornaments

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Toy Room

Monday's cleaning project: the upstairs toy room. We have been sorting out old/broken toys as well as ones the kids are willing to donate. The process is nearly impossible for Bentley--he is a saver just like his dad. Although he has over a hundred Hot Wheels he could not bear to part with a single one. He did say that if Santa brought him 5 more, he would then choose 5 to give away...hmmm, think he's missing the point. We're still in the process of finding more to donate, but it helps tremendously to have a clean room to work in.

Sadly, this will not last more than 24 hours, especially if/when Livs heads in there to play. She prefers empty shelves and baskets...

Cares arranged her tea sets and kitchen just so. She is a dedicated little organizer. Love it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The First Gift of Christmas

Actually, the gift of Christmas for Joseph and me...a new Nikon! (D3100) We had high hopes of buying a new lens for the old one sometime this year--one that could zoom in much closer than what we had. But, we'll settle for simply replacing the old one (you know the one that was lost or stolen or whatever...seems like so long ago it's hard to remember exactly what happened...or who's to blame...right?)

We got to open and assemble our new beauty on Sunday night at my parents' house--they are gift givers extraordinaire and we are so grateful. My mom knew we'd want to start using our camera as soon as we could--and we certainly need it for Christmas Eve! I am falling in love all over again. The last few months using a point and shoot have been hard on my soul. Seriously though, upgrading to an SLR makes a huge difference and I am thrilled to have one again.

All the better for capturing my Christmas babies:

Monday, December 13, 2010


My yard thinks it's spring with the mild temps we've had all weekend. These roses are ready to bloom in the middle of December. I spotted them out the window while I ate lunch today and was clearly reminded of a lovely Christmas carol we've been learning in YW:

When blossoms flow'rd amid the snows
Upon a winter night
Was born the Child the Christmas Rose,
The King of Love and Light

— from Gesu Bambino

A simple and beautiful reminder of the Savior in the middle of an ordinary day.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Dinner and Lights

Christmas lights at Gateway

gotta love my purple pinhead in that hat

Next year I am checking out the home game schedule for the Jazz and planning a night downtown when they are not playing here. Too. Much. Traffic. But we had a lovely evening and met up with my little brother for some pizza at CPK. I'm sad we didn't do any shopping--love the stores at Gateway--but the kids had other plans. Meaning they were done with the day and ready to be home. And everyone knows they run the show (but don't tell them!)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


So much running through my mind today that I thought I'd just write what I can. None of it really flows together or belongs in the same post. But that just happens to be my Tuesday this week...

Have you seen this month's Friend and the cute little scripture ornament tree? It's perfect for my young family and we have been using it for our scripture reading each night during December. I think we'll hang on to it and use it for several more years to come.

I cannot express how much I love the book of Luke in the New Testament. I remember studying it during a college course on the 4 Gospels and I suddenly discovered how beautiful it was. I particularly love the 1st chapter and the exchange between Mary and Elisabeth when they are both pregnant. Such pure and holy women those two. (click here to read Luke 1) And who doesn't love Luke 2? Choice words for the world's most important story.

Bentley worked on a school report last week that focused on Panama. He got to choose a Panamanian holiday to research and present on and so we learned all about Dia de los Reyes Magos--or Three Kings Day. What a cool idea, honoring and remembering the 3 wisemen who traveled far to worship the Savior. A funny thing they do to celebrate is make a cake with the baby Jesus hidden somewhere inside it. Whoever gets Jesus in his slice must throw a party for everyone there. More parties--more fun!

Olivia and I ran errands the whole time Cares was at preschool today (2 1/2 hours). We were on the hunt for some sea life creatures Bentley wants for Christmas. We saw them at the aquarium last week but I didn't want to go all the way back to buy them. But, eventually, I did. They were nowhere else to be found. And at least I got a discount with my membership. Livs was devastated that we popped in, bought the dolphins/whales tube, and then left. She was crying as we left and saying "sharks" over and over--very endearing. Sorry Livs!

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Finding the elves at Gardner Village:

Our elf hunt earned us free sugar sticks from the candy shop!

As always, Gardner was decorated with holiday splendor. Such a festive spot to run around this morning. I thought we'd get the kids' wiggles out for sure, but they seem to be flying off the walls this afternoon and giggling and wrestling like crazy...I better send them out to play in the snow.