Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Fingernails

Since Logan and Jensyn are both out of school for the next 2 weeks, and in child-like anticipation for Christmas in 2 days, I decided to make it a FUN 2 weeks for them. I went over to Ulta today and bought some sparkly red, green nail polish so that I could paint the girls' nails and toenails. Don't look too closely, but we had a lot of fun decorating their nails. Tomorrow...sugar cookies.

Jensyn's hands

Logan's hands

I think that maybe on Christmas, we will do hot chocolate and sit by the fireplace together and read some stories or play bingo or something. I'll really have to ponder that one.

I decided that I want to PLAY with my cute kids and get back to their level for a bit. I think it will be lots of fun. I am so lame!
A few weeks ago, I bought a ginger bread house kit. I also spent a small fortune on additional candy for the house. Unfortunately, I COULDN'T get the danged things to hold! The roof and all of the sides kept falling off. Funny thing...I just told them to decorate the "gingerbread cookies" instead. We still had fun eating all of the candy and decorating the cookies!

You are my Sunshine

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
You make me happy, when skies are gray.
You'll never know dear, how much I love you,
Please don't take my sunshine away.
The other night dear, as I lay sleeping
I dreamed I held you in my arms
When I woke up, I was mistaken
And I held my head and cried.

Early this morning, cute Jensyn came into my room. She stood to the side of my bed and started singing this song to me. She got through the first few lines when I finally let her jump up into my bed. Once I let her in and pulled the covers over her, she kept singing the rest of the song to me!

That made for a great day for me and J. I love her so much. Jensyn loves me to sing this song to her, but she makes me tickle her when I sing it. I was surprised that she just woke up to sing me that song--manipulation to get in to my bed, do you think?

The Russell Family Party

Once again, we hosted the annual Russell Family Christmas Party. We decided to keep it simple and easy so we heated the crock pots with Chili. I made my FAMOUS breadsticks (3, double batches) All 3 batches tasted great! They are SO easy and it is one thing that I can bake under any circumstance! We exchanged white elephants which turned out to be fun, but in my opinion should have been divided into an adult group and a children's group. The kids didn't really want to get all of the hilarious white elephants, they really take their Christmas Gifts seriously. Two years ago before Calvin (John's cousin) went on his mission, he gave John a pair of "large underwear" that had the words "Dream Catcher" on them. Pre-mission humor, I guess. His dad, a bishop at the time, and he thought that was the funniest white elephant to give. Well, this year, Calvin returned home and guess what he got back this year from John? Bring out the whiteys! He totally forgot that he gave them to John. It made for a hilarious night. Cute Sue, Calvin's mom, always is thinking when it come to these white elephants. She puts together these "kits." One bag she gave was like a "romantic evening gift." It included several silk boxer shorts, a black bra, a book, and a bottle of Viagra! What a hoot. I seriously love the Rudd's and the Russell's. They are a very fun group, and I can't wait to get them back up to the cabin.
During the party, Aimee had Calvin talk about Christmas on his mission in Nebraska, and then his cousin Travis talk about Christmas in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Hawaii. He served on the front lines and we are so glad that he has made it home safe. He came home in October. I also called Scott in our ward to come play my favorite Christmas song on his Clarinet, O Holy Night. This I did to try to bring in the Christmas spirit to EVERYONE at the party. He is amazing. It turned out to be a fun night.

John's cute cousins: Becca, Natalie, CeCelia

Grandma and Grandpa Shipp

I don't know if it is possible to have a better set of grandparents! My grandparents live in Logan, which is where I got Logan's name from. Her middle name, of course, came from my Grandma as well since her name is Ann. It is our understanding that Christmas Day is going to pose quite a threat for traveling, so Kirt, Leslie, Grace, Fischer, Logan, Jensyn, Jack, John, and I went to visit them on Saturday. We ordered some Fredrico's pizza (a favorite) and spent some much needed time with them. Speaking on kindness in my lesson on Sunday, I cannot think of better examples of people who show kindness towards everyday people than Grandma and Grandpa. They are well over 90 years old and are still holding pretty strong. Grandma always used to call me her "chocolate chip eyed girl," and that I remind her so much of herself when she was younger. Grandpa has always been a trickster. He would kick me, and I am sure everyone else, in the hind and say "oops, my foot slipped," and then chuckle all the way down the hall. I wish I would have written down all of the funny jokes that he tells because they are hilarious! Grandma and Grandpa, I will love you forever!
The weather always makes me nervous when it snows and I am in the car. This trip was no exception, either. On the way up, we watched as a 4-runner slid back and forth in Sardine Canyon, almost wiping out several times. Naturally, I wanted to get back in the car and get home safely before dark and the ice set in. We made it through the canyon fine, but once we got in to Brigham City, all of the freeway traffic was being diverted onto, I think it is like Highway 89.(?) Anyway, there was a 22 car pile-up headed southbound on I-15, and then in the same spot, a 10 car pile-up headed northbound. ALL traffic was to be diverted to this highway. It took us over 4 hours to get home, but I am grateful to have gotten home! I welcomed the slow driving since it ensured our safety.

Grandpa just got some more cancerous spots burned off of his head, so his head is in the healing process.

Pearl Harbor Day

Although we are always busy and doing something, I don't feel like we do much. I was going through my camera and realized otherwise! This December has really been quite busy and very fun. My birthday is in December, Pearl Harbor day. (I have decided that I may change my name to Pearl.--I'll have to think about it a while longer.) John took me and the girls to Rodizio Grill, which is something John does most every year for me. I love it there! We were lucky enough to have Casey stay with Jack-Man. He slept in his crib for her the whole time. Logan and Jensyn also loved the food. They have quite expensive taste, I would say. They are not going to be cheap dates, sorry boys! We had the Ward Christmas Breakfast where, again, Santa presented himself. He brought with him his horses and this time the kids got to go on a ride with him. They loved it.

November's Lesson Thought

"The greatest achievement mankind can make in this world is to familiarize themselves with divine truth, so thoroughly, so perfectly, that the example or conduct of no creature living in the world can ever turn them away from the knowledge that they have obtained."

--Joseph F. Smith--

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Santa and Toy make an appearance.

There are MANY, MANY reasons that I love living where we live. Honestly, living on horse property on an acre of ground really wasn't where/how I really pictured myself living. However! I am so grateful that John felt the Spirit the way he did after seeing this home over 3 years ago. I literally get goose bumps to think about the circumstances, and Johns sure knowledge that this was indeed where we needed to be. When John and I first heard about the house, it was about 8:30pm one evening. John and I were stopped at the stop-light on 12300 South and 1300 East. My cell phone rang, it was Casey-(a realtor, and my sister.) She knew that we were always looking for a new home, but not really in the market to make the big jump at that time. She told us where the house was, and we drove over since we were only a few minutes away. This house, when we drove up, was the scariest looking house that I have probably ever seen. The house was no lit up, the trees were overgrown, --and it was so horribly --70's ish. That was just the outside. We walked around the house and looked through the windows as it was clear that the owners of the home had moved out. John decided that he wanted to walk through it. We called Casey, who in turn, called the owners. It was this poor old man who we got out of bed! He told us that he would be over at about 10:00-he needed to get ready. We waited for both him and Casey. Finally, he arrived and showed us the home. The carpet was horrible gray, the walls stark white, the kitchen cabinets-- seventies walnut. I'm not sure that there was anything that, at first I was OK about and that I actually liked. In my mind, we were just walking through this old, old, unkempt home. The only thing that went though my mind was that the house kept going on, and on, and on. Just when you thought you had seen it all, there was another door with yet another room. John had his own thoughts on the place. He was in heaven!! When the owner showed us the house, he also showed us a part of the property that was also part of the deal. AND!!, it included a 900 square foot barn with about an extra 1/2 an acre of property which we didn't think was part of this house. John talked to the owner and told him we would have an offer the following morning. I could not believe that he was really interested in this place. We didn't really talk about it much that night. The following morning, I received a phone call from Chelsey-(my neighbor and sister and friend.) I was still sleeping and she asked me why there was a For Sale sign in my front yard, one that wasn't there yesterday. I sat straight up in bed and was shocked. John had put our home up for sale! I called him and he said that this is something that needs to be done, he would take care of the rest. Did he not remember that we still have a home? That if it didn't sale, we would have 2 house payments? I was floored. We made our offer that morning. We gave them, I think, until 5pm that day or maybe the next to either reject or accept our offer. His wife called us back a little before 5 and told us that another offer had come in as well that day, and were wondering if we wanted to have the final option of the home. Could we make our money stretch? We told her we wanted the home and would love to know if we were outbid. We were waiting patiently for the call to come in and let us know what our future was. She called back around 7pm and told us that they had really contemplated the 2 offers. The other offer happened to be a higher offer, and they wanted to close sooner than us. My heart sank. She said that after very much thought and prayer (funny, huh! That is what she said.), that they have decided to give us the home. I could not believe it. They accepted our lower offer. After we closed, we were talking to the seller. He said that his decision had much to do with seeing our little girls, a young family, and potential to a great home. It also had to do with my next door neighbor, Debbie, who without meeting us-chose us. The cute seller took both our offers and family descriptions to her for her input. She chose us. Honestly, we were meant to be where we are-I believe in divine intervention when our hearts are in the right place. I don't think that either John or I was real spiritually "in-tune" ever while living in our Draper home. We struggled with church, callings, etc. We went, and when we went it was only as part of routine. In part, I believe that Heavenly Father was answering our prayers, but also had his own agenda. I don't believe it is coincidence that we are where we are today. I believe that this home was hand-picked for us by our loving Heavenly Father. Spiritually, we have grown tremendously in this ward. I am seeing the power of service of ward members to other ward members. I see the miracles that go on all because, seriously, the ward cares about each other. Kindness, love, charity, humbleness, are all words that I would think of when I think of our ward and neighborhood. My testimony has grown more than I even realize. I feel VERY blessed to know the Featherstone's and have them in our ward. The General Authority, Featherstone's. I believe a large part of my testimony came from Vaughn and Merlene. I am so lucky to be assigned Merlene's visiting teacher. Actually, I am so lucky to be assigned the ladies I have been assigned to! I also get to visit Sharon and Barbara. For this I am grateful. It makes me wonder what I possibly have to help them advance and be better. Regardless, I am happy. I am pretty sure that not many people read this, but if only there was a way I could express the depth of my gratitude when I speak of this area. I will be forever grateful.

ANYWAYS!! That was just one of the reasons that I love where I live. Each Christmas, Santa and Toy make a stop to our street. The kids go outside and get to be with Santa and his horse. Each year, I try to have a few people over and eat until Santa comes. This year was no exception. This is another reason that I love the "horse" area.

I was glad, too, because John heard someone singing the other day and looked out the window. Down the bridal trail, he saw probably about 15-20 horses, and their riders were singing Christmas carols. John gathered the kids and me and we headed to the backyard and listened to them. The horses had jingle bells and were all decorated for the holidays. That made me happy.

I think it is the small things.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Once in awhile we do fun things.

The day after Thanksgiving, we braved the trek downtown (on Trax) to see the lights turn on. We decided to start at Temple Square. We got down there at 5:20. I was ticked because, in broad daylight, Temple Square's lights were already turned on! I thought they do a big spectacle the day after Thanksgiving. I guess I was wrong. The lights were still beautiful, the Temple was still beautiful, and we still had a fun time together as a family.

I don't do Black Friday shopping, and I don't think that I ever will. I feel like I would rather pay the extra or full price than to wake up early and be in crowds. I feel too claustrophobic around people. People make me nervous, in general. Really, what it comes down to is I am not brave, and I am not exciting.

I was shocked that I actually followed through with taking the kids downtown. The idea is nice, but usually is defeated because of the crowds. It was a fun night, and we were able to get a beautiful picture of the Temple. --Next year, I won't go the day after Thanksgiving-and I won't go on Trax. (Way too much Riff-Raff on board.)

What do you mean, I like change?

You think that just because I cannot stay on one background for 5 days means that I like change? I guess you are right. I don't know, it just bugs me seeing the same old, same old. That is the thing that bugs me about decorating my house, painting, buying a new car, etc. Just after it is sealed, signed, and delivered, I decide that I want something different. Everything seems so...I don't know...like I need to have it that minute, but if I wait 5 days, then the need will go away. Then, I decide that I want what I had originally. Did this make any sense? Really, it is all about the background that brought this all up.