Family Christmas Countdown

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas mental health tip

If I get too stressed to enjoy Christmas, I just remind myself that Christ wasn't really born in December, so if I totally freak out and miss all the Christmas stuff because I'm too tired or too broke or too crazy -- I just make plans to celebrate again in April. 

We also have this great saying around our house for those that freak out about the actual holiday itself..... 

 works every time.

I was reminding Alicia that Saturday is Fruit Cake day - the day she makes fruit cake with her dad - and they always love baking together.  At first I just said it would be fruit cake day - and she seemed to find that humorous on many levels.....  

ENJOY and stop stressing.  The holiday will come whether you are a mess or not, so don't let it make you into a mess.  Lots of LOVE.  

Snowy blizzard girls

Here are our girls enjoying the snow storm. They really love the snow!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Cookies

Alicia, our wonderful Christmas elf has been very busy this month.  This week she is making cookies and now candy and caramel corn.  We came across these cool bowls in our local warehouse store and bought all of them to fill with goodies for our neighbors and home teachers and such.  Even bought a couple for myself.  They were about the same price as those plastic snowmen and santas that we usually buy.  They will make wonderful trifle bowls and I'm sure you all know my obsession with finding the perfect trifle bowl and recipe.....  even though I've actually only eaten trifle once or twice...  So we put our Clementines in one and they look really pretty.

Alicia's "new" mixer getting broken it - I think I see flour on it ! ! !

Real eggs - just like Martha Stewart uses

Stacks and stacks and trays of cookies.  Today she made chocolate cookies that look just like these ginger snaps.  We watched a Paula Dean cookie special and learned a new way to cool these cookies in a roll and then slice and roll them.  Much quicker and better looking than the old way we have always done them of scooping them by hand and then rolling them.  A REAL time saver, too.

The bowls turned out to be made by IKEA ! ! !  Since we don't have access to an IKEA in Alaska, it was so exciting to have something from the coolest store in the nation without having to go to the biggest store in the nation to find it.  double score.

Monday, December 14, 2009

no time to think.

I don't have much time to really stop and think about it, but today I got test results back to say that my gallbladder is completely normal and functioning. No stones, no inflamation of the gallbladder, or the bile ducts- They were able to get clear pictures, and everything on the sonogram looks quite healthy.

They did find a small (tiny) kidney stone, but said it wasn't something I would necessarily even feel, and it should pass (and it wouldn't be linked to my symptoms either).

So that's good news. Not really holiday or Christmas news- but it's the only news I've got so I thought I'd share it here on our family blog. Luckily I'm not really feeling the same kinds of pain now, so I can just imagine that this was all a bad dream. If the pains come back, however, I'll have to really try to figure out what the issue is.

This week I've got so much going on that I'm really not feeling in the holiday spirit... more like a rushed panic that I'll never get work done.

Trying to keep fear away with Faith, keep sadness away with Service, and keep Hope alive all season long as we continue to remember the reason we celebrate Christmas. Hope this week is a satisfying week for all of you as you strive to make crazy preparations for the holidays.

Love you all-

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Our Tree 2009

When I get up in the mornings, the light shines in on the Christmas tree and it is so pretty, I always think, "I should have Alicia get a picture of that". But this year, in my effort to become more independent and active, I thought, I should get a pictore of that so I grabbed the camera and I even put the pictures into the computer and cropped them, all by myself. Baby step, I know, but I'm kind of proud that i could do it myself.
I tried some of the pictures without the flash to capture the light coming in from the window and then some of them I took some with the flash to show the cool ornaments. Last winter when we when to Anchorage for medical tests right after Christmas, we went out to a remote Walmart and found these cool giant silver and blue ornaments at super clearance prices and then this winter found the tiny one inch size. We have been working on this collection for about 10 years it seems and I think we finally have the perfect mix of small, medium and large.
A little Alaska note : Getting after-Christmas clearance prices doesn't happen in Homer. The Russian community have their orthodox Christmas 7 to 10 days later than western religions, so anything that is left after our Christmas or Easter is then snapped up by the Russians ( who outnumber the rest of us by about 2 to 1) so after holiday sales don't happen down here. There is never anything left to sell.

Let the Yuletide Yowling begin

What cat doesn't love a giant empty box in the middle of the living room ? ? ? Scruffy has to be in the box during the entire set-up of the Christmas tree. As soon as the box is taken upstairs and he discovers the tree sitting in the corner, he crawls under it and stands looking at the wall and the yowling begins. He usually isn't a yowler and this corner always has big plants in it so it isn't someplace we have taken away from him so this behavior is just so mysterious to us. He doesn't play with the ornaments or climb the tree - he just stands under it and yowls. It is so funny.

Friday, December 11, 2009


A few nights back, I had a strange attack of some sort in the middle of the night where I felt very nauseous and had a feeling like a tightness in my chest. I also was burping a lot... I called a nurse in the middle of the night, and she listened to me explain my symptoms and told me to go to a doctor first thing in the A.M. I got tested for H. Pylori, to see if I have stomach ulcers, and will hear back the results for that soon. I'm also waiting to hear back from the doctor's about whether or not my gallbladder is doing ok. I had an ultrasound of the gallbladder area this morning. I'm hopeful to hear back before the weekend. I don't want to have to wait to hear the results. I'm also on medicine for reflux in case that was what caused the issue. Since the one attack, I've felt very tired, and a smaller version of what happened the first night happened the next two nights as well.

I'm tired, busy beyond belief, and trying not to get vastly overwhelmed by this all. Last night I had a blessing from the elder's of our church, and felt some comfort from their faith and blessing.

I hope this weekend isn't too bad. I have a LOT of work to do this weekend to catch up from the missed time I've had this week trying to get this diagnosed.

My wife and kids are being very helpful to me, and very loving. I'm so grateful for the kindness and care my wife gives me.

Hope you all are doing well this week. I know that life gets crazy and hectic with the holiday season. I'm trying to remember the reason for why we celebrate, and concentrate on that some each day.

Happy Friday everyone.


Monday, December 07, 2009


I'm very glad to have Mom here for a few days to visit. It's been very good for me to have a little time to be with Mom. It's also fun to have our first house guest in our new home. I have been quite bummed that this year we are not going out of town for Thanksgiving or for Christmas, and that I'll be working much of the break while my co-workers are in exotic locations like the UK, the Panama Canal, Florida, New Orleans, etc.... (anywhere but here). I think that for some reason, my attitude has changed a little the past few days, and I'm more excited to enjoy our home holiday. I will miss all of you, but hopefully will make some great memories with my wife and little girls.

I'm grateful for this crazy crazy year we've all had. I think we're coming out stronger because of it. Although I'm not there yet, I imagine that someday when we can look back with hind-sight, I'll be really grateful for the things I've learned in this year.

I love you all- and really do miss you all. I think that's the most important part of Christmas- our LOVE.


Friday, December 04, 2009

Actual countdown to Christmas 2009

We are sort of in our post-Thanksgiving hurry up and wait phase.

The prime rib for Thanksgiving was a great hit, but there weren't any turkey leftovers for sandwiches and middle of the night protein to balance out the pie eating. So that did cut down on the pie eating and we ended up with lots of leftover pies (I know we made way too many, we just couldn't all agree on what flavor we would want to go with beef).

And for the record, I saw leftover prime rib leave the table but never saw it reappear so I think some mice of the male presuasion had some midnight snacks.

so this week, we had to cook a turkey because I was really craving some turkey sandwiches. It was a tiny 10 pounder we had gotten free last year and it turned out really good - moist and just enough leftovers for a couple sandwiches and then it was gone. didn't have to suffer thru turkey soup, casseroles and pot pies, ad nauseum

We are still debating Christmas dinner, but I'm voting for ham and since I usually plan the shopping, I'll probably win....

Alicia and Charlotte went to the annual Christmas party for Relief Society (which is the women's organization of our church ). Alicia made a beautiful set of Christmas pillowcases for her gift and in the melee' that is our gift exchange, she got them back for me. I felt a little bad because she didn't want to exchange the gift I had, but I really wanted those pillowcases. I actually had her take them back from a little old lady, that is how cut-throat this party gets. Those women are brutal.
The week after Christmas, one of our pretend grandchildren is getting married in Utah. We really wish we could come down and see our family and go to the wedding, but it isn't going to happen this year. Wish we could see all of you.

Had a huge snow storm this week, finally. We had less than an inch of snow this year so far. then it started to snow and in 5 hours we got over a foot of snow. It is so beautiful and clean and white and with the full moon on it, makes everything so winter wonderland-ish. And last night, the kids were walking the dogs about midnight, in the full moon, and here came a great big wolf trotting down the highway. Thankfully Justin saw it first and had our dogs hidden so they didn't see the wolf and he didn't see them. But Alicia and Justin watched him for a bit before he heard them and took off out of sight.

What a year for wildlife - our neighbor across the street called a couple months ago because her husband was out of town and 2 great big black bears were trying to get into her front door. YIKES. They ran off and haven't been back and none of these animals have bothered our little farm here.

Still didn't get my tree up yet. There is that window Thanksgiving week, and then it is gone until well into the middle of the month of December, and I had that silly flu Thanksgiving week again.
We hope we have paid all of our homage to the H1N1 for this year and that it will leave us alone for a while. Love, Charlotte