Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Piano Recital 12.17.10

Christmas Cookies 12.16.10

Christina and her kids and Ashleigh and Holden came over for some cookie decorating madness.  Fun (and much sugar) was had by all.

Deck the Halls 12.15.10

The girls' school has a night of singing to celebrate the holidays.  (I'm always surprised they focus entirely on Christmas, without a Hanukkah song in earshot.)  Last year I left crying because I missed the old school so much.  This year I figured out a way to skip what I'd hated about the year before (mainly the insanity of the crowd) and managed to get through the whole thing dry-eyed and had fun waving at the kids I've gotten to know through helping in the classes every week.


Running Away 12.14.10

Ben decided he didn't want to be part of our family anymore.  He said he wanted a new family.

Sophie talked him off the ledge and asked him if he'd rather just live outside in a tent.

He agreed that that sounded like a really good plan.

So sweet Sophie made him his own little tent on the back deck with noodles, cocoa puffs, blankets, and a pillow.

Yes, in December.  Yes, in Utah.

And he lasted and lasted and lasted until it started to snow, and she convinced him to come inside.

We're glad he decided to be part of our family again.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cello 12.12.10

Josh had his cello recital at the Main Library.  Nicole (his teacher, my friend) recently recorded a few tracks for a CD for Deseret Book.  (It's lovely, by the way.)  She asked if I would accompany her on a couple of the same pieces at the beginning of the recital.

I love playing with Nicole.  We've been playing together since college, and the connection is really easy.  It doesn't take a lot of work to feel pretty confident.  So we decided not to worry about rehearsing.  I showed up and we performed.

We decided a run-through might have been smart when she played a different version of the Thais Meditation than the one for which she gave me the accompaniment.  Hers ended 16 measures before mine.  Oops.  She decided to do some long harmonics for a couple of measures to see if I'd figure it out, which I eventually did.  We ended mostly together.

Josh needs a new cello.  He's needed a new cello since the early months of 2010.  He's playing on a 1/2 size.  He needed a 3/4 size.  Now Nicole says he needs a full size.  I guess not buying a new cello came in handy...we just get to skip a size.

Except did I just mention that now he needs a full size?  Why oh why didn't I insist no one in our family could play a string instrument?  We already own three pianos.  We should have said "Piano ONLY.  No exceptions."  I guess I'll be selling one of the three to buy a cello.  Anyone want a piano?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Apple Peeling 12.11.10

Kids with morning eyes helping me make applesauce

We held our neighborhood Swedish Pancake breakfast on the 11th.  We asked our street to come have breakfast with us and in lieu of neighbor gifts this year, to donate to either the Food Bank or local families in need.

It was wonderful to laugh with my neighbors and feel so much more at home than we did a year ago.  There are shared memories now, laughs, teasing.  Many friends told me it would take a year to feel comfortable in a new home.  They were right.  It's still not like the family we built around us in Sugarhouse, but at least we're starting down that path.

Another Orchestra Concert 12.9.10

Josh had his junior high holiday orchestra concert.  He's first chair in the upper orchestra and looks so confident on stage.  I can't believe how much more he loves the cello than he did the piano.   I also can't believe I went back on one of my first parenting decisions: that my children would play the piano until they could play every hymn in the LDS hymnbook.  There are only so many battles I can fight, though, and since he's still learning an instrument, I've decided to let go of the guilt.  I think I'll bribe him to learn hymns next summer: $75 if he can learn and perform 10 hymns well by the end of the summer.  It's cheaper than a month of lessons, and he ALMOST made it this summer.  I think he'd learned seven.

Puzzle 12.6.10

For Family Home Evening, we finished Kate's 750 piece puzzle.  We were all kind of blown away by Ben and his amazing puzzle eyes.

The Midway Creche Exhibit 12.5.10

Our tradition on the first Sunday in December is to have dinner with Dave's mom and sister and attend the wonderful creche exhibit in Midway.  It's my favorite way to start the Christmas season and helps remind my little family that Christmas is about the arrival of our Savior on earth, not just about getting a whole bunch of stuff from a guy in red (which is fun, too.  Not knocking Santa or anything.)  

Ben started dinner a little before the rest of us.  He ate yogurt.  We ate roast, potatoes au gratin, orange rolls, green beans, and I don't remember what other amazing food David's mom made.  We had the better end of the deal.  Wish I knew why this kid won't eat real food.  He told me to take off the crust from his orange roll...  SERIOUSLY, kid.  Get over it already.

The boys decided that dishes sounded like more fun than waiting in line to have the kids' picture taken in costume.  I think they were wrong, but I didn't complain.

Monday, December 20, 2010

And Christmas Officially Begins 12.4.10

Saturday we finally got into the Christmas spirit. We picked out our tree and set it up, ready to decorate at home.

Then we went to the ward party to see a guy about some presents.

And after we'd had all the hot chocolate we could drink, we headed home to finish the decorating.  David talked us into putting the tree downstairs for a change.

The Blizzard that WAS 11.29.10

Remember how Tuesday's blizzard fizzled?

Sunday's blizzard did not.

Thankfully, we have neighbors with snowblowers who like us enough to clear our driveway twice.

Snow is Too Cold 11.28.10

The snow was fun.

At first.

And then it wasn't fun.

And Then Everyone Went Home 11.27.10

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lights at Temple Square 11.26.10

After sledding, we headed downtown to see the lights on Temple Square.  Holden was sick, so we had to go without Kurt and Ashleigh.  We bundled way up, thanks to the record cold, and decided to take Trax to avoid having to park downtown.


It was FREEZING!  We all lost feeling in our toes and fingers in a very short time, but big puffy jackets took care of the rest of our bodies (right, Ananda?)

I know I already posted this one, but it just makes me happy.

The brothers took turns carrying EACH of my kids on their shoulders.  Yup.  Even Josh.

My heart ached watching them so happy together.  The last time we went to the lights, Brent was with us, carrying the kids on HIS shoulders.

Abby, Brent, Kate 

I'm constantly surprised how happiness and grief live in my heart simultaneously and how both combine to paint the simplest scene in more intense color.


Earlier in the week I'd found out that the pictures on my hard drive were irretrievable.  Well, maybe retrievable with a big enough investment, but no guarantees there, either.

Then, when we got home from the lights, I didn't close my camera bag.  Ben picked it up and, well, dropped my most expensive lens onto the tile floor, glass first.  I heard the shatter and let loose a little wail.  My f/1.8 50mm is pretty much dead (it is actually falling apart), my kit lens stinks, and then this...

Ben really felt terrible.  I collected myself, hugged him, and told him I knew it was an accident, and besides that, it was my own fault.  He hugged me and said he was so so sorry.  Sweet little man.  I looked closer at the lens and saw that my filter was the only thing that shattered, although the rim is bent and I can't get the filter off, and there's a little scratch on the lens itself.  That was reassuring.  I took a picture of the little mischief-maker to see if the lens would actually still shoot, and it did.

I won't even say "What else can go wrong?" anymore, because I've found that there's always something worse that can (and often DOES) go wrong and asking fate what else there is around the corner isn't really the best use of my energy.

I'm just glad I remembered that material goods, as important as they can be, are so much less important the feelings of a little three-year-old darling.  But man, wouldn't it be nice if my world decided to settle down and be easy for a while?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sledding 11.26.10

Sledding is fun.  Sledding with my family is super fun.  Sledding with my family and Baz, Steven's awesome Alaskan sled dog, is super duper fun.