Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas 2009

Tito's sister, her husband and their son arrived from California on the 23rd to spend Christmas with us. Margie had asked for snow and it was snowing when they arrived and snowed through the night. We did not get the big storm, but enough to make them happy. On Christmas Eve we went to Candlelight service at church. I love this service - the music, the candlelight, the message.
I asked the kids to come over after church. I wanted to give Kaiden's gifts to him before the craziness of the next day. He wasn't too interested in the packages, we had to take the gifts out of them for him.
We gave him mostly clothes since he is growing so fast. Tito had to give him a vest and t-shirt with a motorcycle!
Our tradition is to have brunch on Christmas morning so the kids can go to the other families later in the day. We then play a Crazy Christmas stocking game. Throughout the year, we gather items for the game and everyone always has a good time. Tito and Margie's cousin, Barbara and her husband, Gary joined us.
The game begins with all the presents heaped on the table from one end to the other

For me? You shouldn't have! Sorry, Margie, we didn't. The game is played with dice, for each 1 and 6 you roll you take a gift from the table.

And just when you think you have a good pile of gifts - you roll two 3's have have to put everything back.
Or, people start taking your gifts, which is what happens when all the gifts are gone from the center of the table. Some of the gifts are passed back and forth many times and you don't even know what is in the package! This goes one until the timer goes off. Then you get to open the packages you end up with and see what you fought so hard to keep.

The gifts range from small gift cards to restaurants, bookstores, and the highly sought after Starbucks, to free samples sent for in the mail, to items such as dental picks, toothbrushes, chap stick, socks and even a dollar bill thrown in. Some of the gifts are very gender specific and this year there were baby items so there is wheeling and dealing going on after everything is opened. But the one gift everyone anticipates is one that comes back year after year.....

This lovely ceramic shoe. The anticipation is who is going to get stuck with it! This year it was Gary who left it behind because it didn't fit.
We had a wonderful Christmas day with all the family and have had so much fun with Roger and Margie and David.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from all of us.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Memories

One of the many things I like about Christmas is the memories of past years. I have so many items that always make me smile when I unpack them... I received this little Santa at my 2nd grade gift exchange. I believe our spending limit for gifts was 25 cents so I am sure he came from the dime store. He is marked Japan on the bottom. He used to hold a candle in his hands. I have not had any luck finding a candle that fits the opening so he just stands there looking a little odd.

I copied this Advent Calendar from a neighbor in 1974 or 75. Judee is very artistic and cut her ornaments from felt and they were adorable. The ones I cut out looked like a pre-schooler had found his mother's scissors. Drawing anything, including a straight line, is not a talent I possess. The year I was pregnant with Nathan, I made counted-cross stitch ornaments and threw the felt ones away. The year Nathan moved out I gave him the original calendar and made this one for me. I hope Kaiden enjoys it as much as Nathan did. My sister made one for her great granddaughter - she is three. On the first day, her mother explained they would put on ornament up each day and when they were all finished, Christmas would be tomorrow. Sammi wanted to put them all up that day.

I was a Pioneer Girl when I was growing up. A Pioneer Girl is like Girl Scouts but through the church - it has been replaced by Awana these days. All the Pioneer Girls were given Secret Pals who prayed for them throughout the year and usually gave them a little present on Christmas and their Birthday. The first year I received the most beautiful present I had ever seen in my life. My mother told me it had been professionally wrapped at a department store. I had never heard of such a thing, we wrapped at home reusing the paper and ribbon year after year. This Candy Cane was attached to the package. I do not remember what was in the package but have hung this on my tree every year. Our pastor's wife was my Secret Pal.

This is a little plastic nativity set which my Kindergarten Sunday School teacher gave us for Christmas - the first nativity I ever owned.

This is the Sleepy Time bear from the Celestial Seasonings Sleepy Time tea box. The headquarters is in Boulder, CO and we took a tour with the kids and Tito's parents one year at Thanksgiving. The scene from the tea box is recreated in the lobby. There was an incident with a toy truck on the fireplace mantle that our family still laughs about. Carrie gave this to me for Christmas that year.
My sisters and I used to go to a Christmas celebration in Georgetown (an old mining town in the Colorado mountains) every year. We loved browsing through the little stores and the open air marketplace. We bought the best homemade bread every year from a bakery and always had brats and sauerkraut for lunch from one of the booths and would stand around the fire pit while we ate. We tried roasted chestnuts one year and none of us are fans. I bought these mittens there one year and they hang on my snowman themed tree (you need mittens to build a snowman).
This is a salt dough snowman Nathan made in preschool that hangs on the snowman tree.
Long post - but I have quite a few memories.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Yesterday we all got together to make tamales for Christmas. Actually the work started before that - Tito cooked and shredded the pork
and went to the Mexican market and bought the massa. We have never made our own massa - it is easier to buy it premixed.

The corn husks soaking in hot water, the pork with the chilies and onions added

The process, the massa spread on a corn husk, the filling added, wrapped in the husk and tied
The assembly line
Kaiden helping by playing
A pot of the tamales steaming
The reward!
We all ate, the kids took some home and the rest went into the freezer for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I spend last weekend baking for Christmas. I made pumpkin, zucchini and eggnog breads and pizzelles. It is all finished. My cards have all been sent, the decorating is done, we had our family outing, gifts taken care of. One more weekend before Christmas and it will be busy. Our Sunday School Christmas Dinner Theater is Friday night, we make tamales on Saturday and somehow the house has to be cleaned and the guest bedroom made ready for our company. My sister-in-law, brother-in-law and nephew arrive on the 23rd.

The kids stopped by on Sunday on their way home from shopping. I have a dancing and singing penquin that I put down for Kaiden. At first, he wasn't sure about it, but later was laughing at it.

The kids put this hat on him while they were shopping - I love the blue eyes.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


This Christmas decoration brings back wonderful memories for me. I came home from school when I was in 1st or 2nd grade and there was a package. My mother had ordered these for me, probably from Cappers Weekly (does anyone else remember that paper?) I am probably telling my age but they say Japan on the bottom not made in China.

They were packed away in their original box for many years until it completely fell apart. They survived a fall from the rafters of our garage. If you look closely you can see the O has been repaired.

When Nathan was pretty young, he figured out, if you rearrange the letters you get...

Leon. So every year at some point during the season, I find this and it always makes me smile.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas

It is snowing outside, nice big fluffy flakes slowly coming down. Very nice to sit here and watch. It snowed last Wednesday and has stayed very cold since then. Last Friday my work group had our Christmas lunch. Friday night, my Bunco group had our annual Christmas bunco night - a crazy gift stealing game. It is something we plan for all year long.

For our family gift this year, we decided to go to the Botanic Gardens to see the Blossoms of Light and then out for coffee afterwards. So with temps around 25, we bundled up this little guy

and went to see the lights. The pictures do not do them justice. These were taken by Dave, he is much better at this than I am. There were thousands and thousands of lights throughout the garden and it was just stunning.
The lights in the fountain changed colors

I liked the reflection on the partially frozen pond

This blue tree with large lighted snowflakes was my favorite

This morning our Women's Group at church had our annual brunch and ornament exchange. It is always fun.
I try to stop everyday and make sure I focus on the real meaning of this season. I liked our Advent sermon this morning - preparing our lives for Jesus. So in my busy life that becomes busier during December, I stop to look at the snow falling and say a prayer of thanks for all the blessings my family has and to remember why. I hope it is beginning to feel like Christmas in your home.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Ten Months

It is also my New Favorite Photo. This is from the family photo shoot. The photographer gave him the ball in attempt to get a smile from him. He wouldn't look up. My husband said, "you can't even see his face." But how can you resist those cheeks?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Great Idea

When I was unpacking my boxes of Christmas decorations, I kept taking items out and telling my sisters - I don't remember were I put this last year. I remember were I put them in our old house - but not this one. Millie said she had a friend who would take pictures before she took her pictures down to paint so she knew how to put things back. So after the house was all done, I walked around and took pictures of each room. I'm sure I'm not the first one to do this, but what a great idea! Now I only have to remember that I have pictures when I get ready to decorate next year. I will have to put a note in the storage box so I don't forget. I do that all the time so I spend less time looking for things. I have a note in my box of autumn decorations that a pumpkin and scarecrow are in with the Easter items. If I didn't I would be wondering what happened to that scarecrow next October!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Thanks to these two - I found some interesting ornaments on my tree....

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Busy Weekend

We had a wonderful, busy weekend with family. On Thanksgiving we celebrated in 2 stages as the kids had other places to be. Throughout the day my sisters were here, both kids, a cousin and of course this little guy. Janice gave him the Bronco outfit to wear for the big game and wanted a picture of him. This was the best one we could get, he kept pulling the hat off and crawling away. The day after Thanksgiving, Tito and I decorated the house. No shopping on Black Friday for me. I don't like to shop anyway and not at all with crowds. On Saturday night the kids came over to put the decorations on the tree. I love unwrapping each ornament and remembering were they came from and listening to the kids and their memories of the different items and Christmas over the years.
I was a little worried about Kaiden and the tree, but he was only interested in it when someone was holding him up to the tree (so far at least - we'll see how long that lasts).

He was much more interested in the storage box

pulling himself up

and pushing it across the floor.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Birthday, Millie!

On a Thanksgiving years ago, my mother cooked the meal, but didn't get to eat because my sister, Millie was born. This year her birthday is on Thanksgiving again. Millie is on the left

In her Air Force uniform

Most of the current pictures I have of Millie are with our other sister, Ruby. Millie is smiling in this one. She has the best smile and laugh. I love you Millie. Happy Birthday.

She has a grandson, born on her birthday, on Thanksgiving. So, Happy Birthday, Christopher!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Earlier this month, my niece posted on Facebook a challenge to update your status each day starting Today I am thankful.....

I took the challenge and have found that each day I am looking at how blessed I am. Several others have taken the challenge and I have been amazed at the wide variety of things people are thankful for - the bargains they found while shopping, the love of their spouse, the fact their parents taught them manners, the technology we have today, jobs, family, pets, old photos, phone calls from friends far away to name just a few.

Here are some of mine:

  • Tito has dinner ready when I get home from work
  • Carrie and David and the sense of adventure they bring to the family
  • Tito does much of the housework so we can play on the weekends
  • Nathan and Stacy and their sense of family
  • The last budget leaving my desk (yeah)
  • My bunco buddies
  • Nathan and Stacy believe it is important to bring Kaiden to church

I have enjoyed this challenge and plan on continuing to look each day at how blessed I am in not only the big things such as family and friends, but the little things everyday. Like the wonderful smile on this little guy's face.