Wednesday, December 31, 2008
To let James know we were thinking of him--while he is on his mission in California--on December 28 we made brownies, sang for his birthday, and we all helped blow out his 20 candles.
We also sent him some things to open--hoping it didn't blend in too much with his Christmas package which probably arrived at the same time.
Happy Birthday, Elder Meiners!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
I also made Kara's slippers--to wear to the hospital for her baby.
Kara and Luke. Kara is 6 months in her pregnancy.
We had a great time being together.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
What other traditions did we continue this year?
Christmas Eve--We discontinued our live pageant last year, but we read the Christmas story and Luke and Kara shared a true story of his ancestor who rode 8 hours in freezing Canadian weather in a horse and carriage to bring supplies to a needy family for Christmas.
We had something like a Danish dinner with the red cabbage that we have purely because it's tradition.
We had our rice pudding with the almond. The winner no longer gets the Danish marzipan (almond paste) pig, but a large almond chocolate bar. We further bend the rules and let everyone else split a second bar.
Another tradition is to help a family or two who are in need. It is always wonderful to see how much it is appreciated--though sometimes we do it anonymously. This year our family was also on the receiving end of a special gift.
On Dec. 19, Luke's birthday, Kara came home to their apartment to find it robbed and ransacked. All of Luke's wrapped presents and their Christmas presents were taken from under their tree--along with their two computers and other electronics and items. That was pretty "Grinchy", but we also saw the Christian compassion of people in their ward who made a collection a couple days later of several hundred dollars that they presented to them--as well as a new computer! That was so kind of those people who mostly anonymously gave to them because they consider them part of their ward family.
Of course we hung our stockings. This year James' stocking was out but unfilled--although Santa did find him in California. We got to talk with James for about an hour on Christmas day. We were surprised by his Spanish accent, but it was great to hear his voice! We are very proud of the work he is doing to tell others the glad tidings of Jesus.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Andrea was one of the older children this year in the nativity and singing.
I was recently released as our ward Relief Society (women's group) President after serving 4 1/2 years. This party was the first time I directed in my new calling as choir director.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Andrea got to put on the star this time. Again, it's tradition to have this plastic star--although we got it at a yard sale the year we got married, so we don't even know how old it is.
Julia was disappointed because we had to cut off a couple limbs on the bottom for it to fit in our stand--thus making it seem too high off the ground for her taste.
Daniel was with us--though we missed James, Erika and Kara. We usually listen to Christmas music and once the lights are on everyone helps with the ornaments. I thought back to our decorating session a few years ago when the whole family danced together to, "All I want for Christmas is you."
Friday, December 5, 2008
It was lots of fun. I played my guitar for a sing-a-long of a couple carols, and Julia and I did a family favorite duet--'Baby, What you going to be?' with Deborah Hirschi accompanying us--among other music and stories.
Daniel and Julia--leaving the house one night of their 2-part concert.
Daniel played with the Jazz Band where he is first chair trombone.
Daniel sang with the Men's Chorus.
Dan is part of the Men's Quartet.
Julia did a nice job singing with the Womens' Chorus.
To cap off the evening, Daniel and Julia performed with their fantastic Symphonic Band. Daniel is first trombone and section leader.
Julia is also section leader, just bumping up (several bumps!) to first chair clarinet.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
My friend Claudia is certified to teach Creative Journaling--which uses the expressive arts and journaling for self-discovery. She invited me to a training workshop in New Jersey the first week of December.
I could only attend on Friday and Saturday, so I drove up with her Friday morning (a 3 1/2 hour drive).
We arrived at Lisa's. She is an artist with an amazing home.
Our first art project was to make a hat.
Another project I enjoyed was cutting/pasting a landscape picture with tissue paper. Claudia holds hers, and Lisa holds mine on the right.
We also did a collage--cutting pictures from a magazine that represent our life timeline, and explaining it to the group. It's a fun process that I can get lost in.
We also did a group clay project where we, without talking, connected our ideas. It turned into a very interesting village.
This is Lisa's art gallery in her hallway.
Friday night we were all invited to an interesting event in this 200-year old house. It was a fundraiser for a project in Haiti. We were all served Haitian food. This fireplace mantle was decorated with pineapples and exotic fruit. We heard about the project from two people who had recently been to Haiti. The non-profit had made simple water purifiers. The people only had to put their stream water into it and the water sifted into layers of sand and gravel and within a few hours was purified.
Haiti, very close to us geographically (a 4-hour flight) is a 4th world country. Teaching children about hygiene and giving them these simple tools has produced results that the local people can replicate even when the organization leaves. They had brought back art objects made by children and people of Haiti and I participated in the silent auction. I bought a painted planter.
The other participants of the workshop were very friendly and I had a great, relaxing time. I was happy that Claudia drove and I could just visit with her on the way home.