Family Christmas Countdown

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Holiday time

I'm very very glad to be off work this week. It feels nice to have a break from insanity of one kind for insanity of a different kind :)

The day after Christmas Laura's Dad came to town, and I think that he's here through Thursday morning, and then Cory and Joanna's family are coming up on Thursday through Sunday.

We will be going to the bowl game to watch BYU play this week on Friday in Dallas!! We got tickets for both Joanna's and my families... so it should be fun with all 9 of us there. It will be Lydia's and Lucy's first BYU game! Go Cougs!

I'm just real tired from all the pre-holiday deadlines at work, the pre-holiday prep at home, the holiday itself, and now the post-holiday work that's got to be done before I go back to work next week, including a freelance project I do for a local high-school. But I am also very glad for the rest that comes from being able to be at home with my family. I love them each dearly. Eating more than my fair share of chocolates, fudge, turtles, caramels, caramel corns, and candies, cookies, and cakes. I should probably lay off all that goodness since the holiday is over. It's time to go back to being a responsible-eating adult.

Alli is loving playing with her new soccer goal in the backyard, and Lucy is loving her new bike, zooming around the cul-de-sac whenever she can get an adult to go supervise her out there. It's been less rainy this week, and a welcome bit of sun in a dark season. Temperatures in the mid 50's most of the week. We finally lost most the leaves on our tree out front, and our grass has finally lost all it's color with a few freezes this season already.

Tuesday next week I start back at work, and also start teaching seminary again, hopeful to finish out the school year in teaching the Old Testament.

I'm looking forward to having the Ellis family up to visit. I love having them closer to us. It's nice to know they're close enough to be around for important times- and for our kids to get to be close as cousins.

I love each of you very much. Hope each of your breaks are somewhat restful, and I'm praying for the Alaskans to all stop puking and get some rest from that nasty bug :(

-happy holidays-

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Another Christmas on Howard

It was the Christmas when he had been gone on storm to Houston for like three months. I'm guessing I was in fifth grade? Or maybe sixth? We waited to get the tree until he got home (on the 23rd?). There's a picture of us somewhere hanging ornaments on this Charlie Brown sort of tree while wearing our PJs. our main presents were things he brought back from Texas/Mexico. We all got carved leather shoes. And I got this beloved little blue and cream transistor radio that just transformed my life. I would fall asleep at night still wearing the earphones, get all twisted up in the middle of the night. We had the pink silk tablecloth that Aunt Evelyn had brought with her from Japan on our table for dinner. That's all I remember

Alaska 2011

Happy Christmas Eve to all of you.  I know you all feel as I do that there is a big gap in Christmas this year with Grandpa Ted being gone.  This is a new phase of my grief - I guess it would be passing into acceptance but the main thing I keep thinking is just how weird it is to not have him here.  Like Sandy, I have been thinking alot of Christmas past and how each one was different.  Too late to write them all here tonight...  but I can see them all like they are inside little different snow globes on a mantle. 

We are all coming down with somekind of bug so it will be a very low key weekend for us.  We are making Monkey Bread for our Christmas Eve meal ... with of course, bacon and sausage and eggs and juice and hashbrowns.  And this year Alicia and Brian are into experimenting with pies so they have plans to bake pies all day tomorrow.  We'll see what all they come up with.  Pictures will be posted after the baking.

On Christmas day, we have a giant beef roast that a friend bought for us this fall that we have been saving.  I had a friend on facebook ask this week what people did with left over prime rib and I just said, What ??  how do you get leftover prime rib....  at our house, we put it in the fridge after dinner and then in the night it disappears. 

And of course, this year, I am so focused on the Oregon Fighting Ducks playing in the Rose Bowl, that I am sort of bypassing Christmas and focusing on New Years.  QUACK !!  QUACK!!

Hope you are all safe and surrounded with love.  Our hearts are with you all..   
Love, Charlotte

Monday, December 19, 2011

Moose Christmas

Just a picture of Mya in the snow, so that this wouldn't be a pictureless post :)

I've probably already shared this story a bunch of times, but I've been thinking about it, as I always do at Christmas, and thought I'd share it in case its new to someone. The year we moved to Alaska we got here in the fall, after dad had been here all summer fishing. So we had a freezer full of fish, but no meat. We had always lived on what we could hunt or fish, but we weren't able to bring out meat with us. So we were living on the fish, with a little bit of other meat as we could afford, which wasn't very often. So we ate fish. Pretty much every day. Every Day. We even ate salmon spaghetti, which was horrifying enough that after almost 18 years I can still remember it. It was some sort of white spaghetti sauce, nothing tasty like alfredo, much more spaghetti'ish than that.

But anyway. We were eating fish, and lots of it. It was Christmas eve, 5 months into the great fish-o-rama. We were making our usual Christmas eve dinner of breakfast (sausages, eggs, cinnamon roll, etc), and I still remember I was setting the table, mom and dad were cooking, and we were just hanging around, trying not to be sad our first Christmas in Alaska. As we were standing there the phone rang, and it was the dispatcher calling to see if we wanted a moose, and that we had moved up the list because it was Christmas eve and no one wanted to go out after a moose. We had no such reservations! We turned off the burners, found our knives and went to work. It was just around the corner from our house, and we got the whole moose. It wasn't a big moose, but it was the most wonderful Christmas gift ever. I still remember the joy of that night, and the overwhelming gratitude I felt.

Whenever I'm at a party or visiting this time of year and someone asks what my favorite Christmas was, this is the first that comes into my mind. The second would be the last Christmas we were in Joseph when Blake came home for the last time. We had a great time just farting around, we rented a video game set up from the video store in town, and we went to the little shops, and watched movies, and just had lots of fun.

This year hasn't been a very good year for us, but we've been trying really hard to keep a positive outlook and to keep pushing ahead. Thursday night, or early Friday morning, we got a call from the dispatch asking if we would be willing to get a moose that was less than 2 miles from our house. Another Christmas miracle, and I'm very grateful for that, and for the gift of love and kindness it is to us, and to me.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

We made it to Germany

Johanna and I are just headed off to bed after being up for the last 28 hours, so please forgive any spelling mistakes etc.

So far everything has gone pretty smoothly. Flights on time, luggage showed up, busses were easy to find.

The rooms weren't quite ready when we got here, so we hopped the bus down to the Christmas markets. It's pretty crazy with people jammed into the streets. We bought a couple ornanets and some ginger bread. A local choir was singing Christmas songs on the steps of the church, so we listened for a bit. But we were both tired and a bit cold, so we headed back to the ship.

The dinning hall is all set for large tables, so we were forced to talk to the other passengers instead of being our normal anti social selves. :)

Any way the people seem nice and the ship nice. Tomorrow we tour the Nazi rally grounds and are going to the Toy Museum.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas the year Earlene was born

I've been thinking a lot about the Christmases of childhood lately, I think cuz of Dad being gone.
Anyway, I thought I would start with Christmas 1955, the year Earlene was born. We were still living on Ashland Avenue. I'm pretty sure mom and Earlene were in the hospital for 2 or 3 days, so it would have been the 22nd or 23 when they came home. We waited to set up the tree and everything so everyone could be there. There was a big drama because Baby Jesus was lost in the process of setting up the manger. We found him , but he had a chip. We covered him up w a little blanket so it wouldn't show. That year Earl and Eileen gave the three kids (5, 3, newborn) a real slate chalkboard--the easel kind with two sides to write on. I still have the santa in a silver slipper that they tied to the board as decoration. I remember our talking about how special it was that we had a little baby at home, born so close to Jesus's birthday. . .

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas is real in my heart today.

I went to the temple last night here in Dallas, and when I was there, I read in the bible in Romans chapter 5. I loved the verses, and they put me in the Christmas spirit.

1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

I thought I would share this for family- and let you all know that I'm glad for the spirit of Peace and Love that I feel as I think of each of you and as we unite as family. I Love You each very much.

Love, Jed

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Cruise

Hey all

For our Christmas this year Johanna and I are taking a cruise down the Danube river from Nuremberg to Budapest.

We are going to see the famous Christmas markets.

After our cruise we'll be stopping in Amsterdam for two days to see the canals and check out the Van Gough musuem. We're leaving this Friday and we'll be back December 29th.

I'll try to post pictures as we go. We'll see how good the internet access is on the ship.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Our Home All Decked Out

We are rarely real serious about decorations outside our home, because it's hard to climb up on our 2 story roof to put the lights up there, and we've yet to make that kind of an investment of time and money. But, we love to deck out the inside of our home from top to bottom.

We always have holiday matroshka dolls from Russia all over the home-

Decorate the chandelier and doorways with garland and poinsettia flowers

Put out the Nativity Set.

This year we added the beginnings to our own Christmas village. I always loved Grandma and Grandpa Whisler's Christmas village, and to me- no Christmas was complete until we went to go visit them to see their village. So I decided to get some pieces to start my own village and hope to add some to it each year for a while.

Then there's decorating the mantle and fireplace...

I didn't get any good pictures of our tree up close, but you can see in this wide shot... we actually have 3 trees in the living room (and another one upstairs).

Hope you enjoyed a small tour of our downstairs decorations :) Hope each of you are basking in the warmth of love that the Christmas season is all about.

Love Jed, Laura, Allison, Lucy and Lydia.

Friday, December 09, 2011

The Works

Our tree has a little bit of everything on it this year, new ornaments, old ornaments, tinsel, beads, glitter, shiny, colored lights, everything we could throw at it (literally we threw some of the tinsel at it). The only thing we didn't get on was the new topper I got on clearance last year, the tree was too tall, but that's okay, Justin was able to kind of toss the end of the light strand at the top of the tree and it caught, so it's lit all the way to the top, which is cool.

I would have posted this under my login, but I don't have it with me right now, so I'm posting under mom and dad, but this is Alicia posting. :)

Adding Names to blog

for some reason, I just noticed that on this blog, it doesn't say who the post is posted by - so perhaps we can remember to add our name in our hello or goodbye.  Love, Charlotte

Our tree 2011

Feeling sentimental this year, we all felt the need for a real tree this year.  We have thousands of tiny seedlings that we have been nurturing for the past 18 years.  Our land was totally bare when we bought this land so we have worked really hard at becoming tree farmers.

So Justin snowshoed out into the back and found this beautiful tree.  It is over 10 feet tall and perfectly symetrical.  Alicia put up a perfect mix of new red /gold balls and a select few family ornaments.  Also, colored lights this year instead of white.

Christmas Time

I'm glad this year that Christmas is coming closer. I always look forward to this time of year.

This year we got our 4 fake Christmas trees out the day after Thanksgiving. We lit the trees, put up lights, and all the decorations in one day. I also started this year to do a Christmas village like Grandma always does. Hers is a lot bigger and cooler, but I started with some pieces, and will hopefully add another item each year for a while.

I'll take some pictures soon- and post them hopefully. The issue now may be that our kitchen ceiling will need to be ripped up a little probably before Christmas. We found a leak from our master bathroom upstairs (which is directly over the kitchen) and the way we figured it out was that when someone is upstairs using any of the bathroom drains, that there's a dripping sound in the ceiling. Fun times, Fun times.

The old saying that when it rains, it pours...

We've had a lot of blessings this year, but also a lot of drama. So to me this Christmas has to signify hope that things will be less dramatic next year- and that I'll be more in control of some of the situations I find myself in.

I thought I was crazy to have a lot of Christmas shopping for my kids done this year in July and August- but now I'm happy I did. I don't have time, energy, or money to do so- so it's good that we had a LOT of that done already before our baby got here.

Lydia is really starting to learn to smile. It's cute. She doesn't smile for long periods of time- but her quick little smiles are sincere and genuine.

She is also trying to make noise (talk). It's funny because if you sit and talk to her, she moves her mouth open and closed, and sticks her tongue in and out at you- she is watching your lips closely, and its almost as if you can see the wheels in her head turning as she carefully ponders just how is that dude making those sounds with his mouth.... hmmmmm.

I'll try to post more as the season goes along.

This Christmas we are spending at home in TX. We had thought of making it up to NM this year, but without a reliable long-distance car, it would be a bit of a stretch to make it that far. We'd probably be ok. but it's no good testing the limits that way with a newborn and no space in our tight 5 seater car... so it's a homey holiday at home this year.

Love you all.
very very very much.

What to eat

I think we discovered the most expensive treat we make at Christmas is ChexMix.  It shouldn't be expensive -it's just cereal and nuts and crackers, but we get the different parts at different stores at different times....  usually wait for the traditional coupon for the cereal; buy the nuts at Costco or someplace like that.  So the overall expense isn't the problem.  The problem is that because we never end up with all the parts home fresh from the store on the same day people around here decide to eat their ChexMix deconstructed.  In fancy cooking contests, deconstructed dishes are all the rage, but around here, it just means that somebody decides to have a couple bowls of cereal in the middle of the night; or someone gets a craving for nuts or crackers; and voila' - we are short about half the ingredients for ChexMix so have to go repurchase them.

yesterday coming home from Anchorage, we stopped at a couple different stores and ended up with all the parts in one place at one time, so Alicia and Brian whipped up a big batch today.  We added Wheat Thins and Cheezit crackers, pretzels, nuts, cherrios, chex and double the spicy butter. Very Very yummy. 

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Early Christmas 2011 report

I was happy to get our tree up Thnksgivng weekend and have been enjoying it every night. And I am happy for it not to be drying out from running the heat every night, etc. The gas furnace w the blower in a lot more drying than the old one was. But I miss the liveness of the live ones.

Still haven't done my mantel--maybe this yr. And maybe we will even post some pictures.
I've started driving around on the way home looking at the houses that are decorated. Some blocks don't have any, and some have 4 or 5--more each day.

Wish there wasn't so much to do at work, so I could enjoy the runup more. . .
Love you all, S

Christmas 2011

Looks like I'll be the first to post this Christmas.  I got the idea from Blake on Grandpa Ted's facebook blog that we should be sure to post together about Christmas this year.  It is weird to not have him here to oversee our Christmas preparations and fun.  He did love Christmas so much and did keep it in his heart all year. 

This year we felt the need to have a live tree instead of a plastic one - so Justin snowshoed in our back property and then took the dogs and his snow machine out back and got a perfect Christmas tree.  It is over 10 feet tall and is the most symetrical, perfect wild tree any of us has ever seen.  Not decorated yet.