Sunday, May 12, 2013

Christmas in Utah

24-31 Dec, 2012:

We had a white Christmas this year. On Monday (Dec 24) it snowed all day. It meant shoveling the walks and driveway several times during the day. Most of the day was spent preparing for Christmas: Andrea sewing gifts, Diane making peppermint popcorn to take to the neighbors, and Paul wrapping gifts and shoveling again. We decided on fondues for our Christmas Eve dinner, including: cheese, pizza, chocolate, and caramel fondues.

We started Christmas morning in the basement then came upstairs and turned on the Christmas tree lights in the living room. The kids started handing out presents. It was supposed to be two at a time, but the excitement soon carried them away. It was a nice morning. Andrea and Jason left with their family about noon to spend the rest of Christmas with Jason's family. Everything was certainly quieter in the afternoon.
Our Christmas tree

10 stockings in a row

Christmas smiles
Having most of the family in Salt Lake gave us some time to clean out and inventory the food storage and get some other things done around the house, like finances and organizing. The family returned on Friday (except for Jason who hopes to work a little in Salt Lake). Paul and Hanna went to a youth dance. Hanna was able to dance with several boys and even reserved a few for her aging grandpa.

Saturday was an emergency repair day. Diane put some stale cornflake crumbs down the sink and clogged the drain (clear down into the wall). In the process of unplugging the pipes the sink started leaking so we had to replace the insert for the garbage disposal. We finally got all the pipes put back together and the leaks stopped. It took from 9:30 am to about 3 pm to get it fixed. Watch out for bread crumbs! It's a good thing Diane married a plumber.

Sunday didn't seem very eventful until Diane hit the wrong key on her new iPad and it started reading the scriptures out loud during Sunday School class. She rushed out of class and finally got it fixed. Such is our world of technology.

Monday (Dec 31) was the last day of 2012. This has been quite a year. It started with a transfer from Toronto to Trent Hills. We then came home from our mission to a full house. It will be interesting to see what 2013 brings. We stayed home and played some games to welcome in the new year.
New Years Eve games

Choir concert

Dec 17-23, 2012:

Another chaotic week. It started out great on Monday. Hanna went to school. Kamary got off by herself. Diane took Alyssa and Kohler to school. Jason headed for Salt Lake in the van about noon. Then at 1:30 pm, Jason called saying he was stranded in Mantua. After spending $2000 to get the van fixed it died and could not go on. Rain turned to snow as Andrea and Brinlie went to rescue Jason. Diane picked up Hanna from the high school then Alyssa, Kohler, and Lauren from the elementary school (Kamary was able to make it back on the bus). How do you handle a day like this? Andrea and Jason took their family caroling followed by Family Home Evening and Hot Cocoa Krispies.

It has been so busy it has been hard to do any Christmas shopping. We finally got a chance on Tuesday and Wednesday. While Diane scoured the stores at the mall, Paul watched Lauren and Brinlie at the little play area in the mall. Fortunately, Diane was able to go to book-club on Wednesday night for their potluck dinner.

On Thursday evening we went to the Hillcrest Christmas choir concert at the middle school. Each age group got to perform several musical numbers. It was a good break from running around all week.
Kohler - farthest right on front row

Alyssa - 3rd from left on front row

Kamary with her friend Valerie
On Friday we decided to go to Salt Lake to see the lights at Temple Square. After dropping Alyssa and Kohler off at school and stops in Ogden and Layton we were on our way to Salt Lake. We were able to see the new City Creek Center that replaced the ZCMI Center and Crossroads Mall. It was fun to walk around and at least see the expensive stores. We especially wanted to visit the Disney Store for a gift for Alyssa, but they were sold out. We were able to see the lights at Temple Square and talk to some sister missionaries from Brazil. Diane actually had the courage to say a few things. It was a good break.

Diane at the City Creek Center
Saturday was the eagle court of honor for Brooks Kendrick who is in the teacher's quorum president. Brooks is also very eager to lead out.

Sunday brought our sacrament meeting Christmas program for the ward. The choir did very well (in spite of very rough rehearsals). Diane also substituted on the organ. This was the 4th advent so we had a German dinner with red cabbage, mashed potatoes, and a brownie/raspberry trifle for desert. We read a story from the life of President Monson then lit the 4th advent candle. We then all went downstairs and watched the movie "The Nativity".

Snow in Logan

Nov 10-16, 2012

It looks like winter has finally come to Logan. It's exciting for the Arizonians to have snow. It has also been a hectic week for Diane who had an added responsibility taking care of grandchildren since Andrea has had a lot of extra activities. Piano lessons have also been added to the mix. It is difficult for Diane to get her house in order after the mission. She has been able to attend a DUP luncheon and a Relief Society dinner, however.

With the cold weather outside we have been walking with Leslie (our DVD walking coach) in the mornings. On Thursday evening Paul took Kohler and Lauren to the university to see the senior projects. They had a good time watching the robots and talking to engineering students. Hanna was able to start school on Friday just to have a seizure in her first class. This has been a tough few weeks for Hanna.

Christmas time is coming faster than we are ready. Saturday we walked around downtown looking at the gingerbread houses in the stores. This is one of the nice traditions Logan has for Christmas.

Sunday was full of meetings, our regular morning schedule, a frustrating choir practice, and conflicting meetings in the afternoon. Fortunately we had a few moments in the afternoon for family pictures and time in the evening for making gingerbread houses
Arizonians in the snow

They need to get some coats

This is enough to be scary

Gingerbread house in the making

Kohler is baptized

Dec 3-9, 2012

Monday (Nov 3) was the first day of school for most of the children. Kamary is going to Mount Logan middle school. Alyssa and Kohler go to Hillcrest elementary school. Lauren also goes to Hillcrest, but is in kindergarden and only attends in the afternoon. Hanna will be going to Logan High School, but needs to wait until they set up a special program for her. For family home evening we went through the book "The Christmas Train" narrated by President Monson. It set a good tone for Christmas. We then decorated the Christmas tree followed by cake and ice cream.

Decorating the Christmas tree
This has been a week of adjustment. Kamery needs to catch the bus to the middle school by 7:40 am, unless the bus comes early (or Kamary is late) in which case someone needs to take her to school. Meanwhile, Alyssa and Kohler need to be to school by 9:00 am (unless one of them decides not to feel well and needs to be taken later). Lauren needs to be to school by 1:00 pm. Hanna is still waiting for the high school to determine her schedule. This has made it difficult for our morning walks. Meanwhile Andrea's van broke down and will need extensive (meaning expensive) work to make it safe to drive. Of course, this makes everyone on edge (which edge, I don't know).

Fortunately there were a couple of diversions this week. Diane was able to have lunch with some of her FUFF friends at the Apple Spice Bakery on Tuesday. On Thursday we (Paul & Diane) were able to take a break and go to the mall. We also had the ECE Department Christmas dinner at the Coppermill. Paul and Ron Harris were in charge of the program, which included some jokes (no puns, of course) and games. We also had the ward Christmas party on Saturday. There were a lot of people we didn't know, but it was nice anyway.

Sunday (Dec 9, 2012) was Kohler's baptism in Salt Lake. Diane has been trying all week to find a new suit for his baptism. She has had new dresses for the girls when they were baptized. She finally found one on Saturday that would work and a white shirt in a different store. On Sunday we went to church, choir practice, then got a quick lunch before going to Salt Lake for the baptism. We had a soup dinner (with several types to choose from among) at the Smiths and then went to the church for the baptism at the stake center in the evening. It was a delightful occasion for us to see our only grandson baptized. After the service we returned to the Smiths for cookies then drove back to Logan. We were thankful that we had good weather with all of the traveling.
Soup time

Happy family at baptism

the Family Grows

Nov 26-Dec 2, 2012

When will we get our house back in order? It will probably be awhile. Rich and Ginny came to help us on Monday (Nov 26). We pulled things out of the attic, got the WiFi router working, and moved filing cabinets. Diane's visiting teachers (Ginger Cannon and Linda Frodsham) stopped by to visit with her and it isn't even the last day of the month (oh, that's home teachers). We went with Rich & Ginny for dinner at the Coppermill. Too many good dinners for our waistlines. The work continued on Tuesday.

Time for rearranging the house

Our family quadrupled on Tuesday evening. Andrea and Jason moved in with their family of eight. We arranged the basement so they have a place to live. While Andrea went around to arrange getting her kids in school, Diane pulled out supplies from her office for them to make clothes-pin dolls. We thought grocery shopping was expensive in Canada, but now we need to shop for 10 and don't yet have the basic supplies in the house.

On Friday, Diane worked on organizing her laundry room and office while Paul went to Ogden to arrange for part B of Medicare. He had sent in the papers long before, but they lost them, so he had to visit the Social Security office in person. Andrea and Jason have a tradition of "Pizza and Movie Night" every Friday. At least no one asks, "What's for dinner".

Saturday is "clean the house" day. Even though the jobs are divided up for everyone to help, poor Diane gets the brunt of making sure everything is cleaned correctly. It makes for a tiring day for her. We let the Francis family take care of our organ while we were on our mission. We got it back today.

Getting the house "organized"
Sunday was Kohler's 8th birthday. There is a whole new dynamics in the house for Sundays. Paul started with a 7:30 am young men's presidency meeting. It was fast Sunday with some of the older children fasting and the younger ones not. At choir practice after church Diane was asked to help with an organ part (you would think she should know to carry her organ shoes and glasses everywhere she goes). The afternoon included home teaching for Paul, a mini recital at Nancy Jensen's, then visiting Brooke's Kendrick to teach him how to play "O, Holy Night" on the piano.

Kohler missed out on the roasted chicken (they smelled bad and were discarded), but got frozen chicken breasts (after they were cooked, of course) and a pirate-ship cake. He didn't seem to mind.

Pirate ship birthday cake

Are these candles or cannons?

Kohler looks happy enough
Being the first sunday in December, we celebrated the German advent tradition of lighting candles leading up to Christmas. Only one candle for the first Sunday.

Brinlie and Lauren admire the advent wreath 
So, we have begun a new chapter in our lives. We will see where it takes us.

Thanksgiving in Washington

Nov 19-25, 2012:

After being home from Canada for six months we finally decided to use the blog as a family blog instead of just a mission blog. That means there is some catching up to do. There seems to be fewer photos, but we should be able to correct that in the future.

With our mission talk in sacrament meeting over and little time to rest after our trip across country, we left early Monday morning (Nov 19) for Washington state. It has been a long time since we have seen Diane's parents so we planned to join them for the American Thanksgiving. We were able to stay at Blair and Janae's bed-and-breakfast (which included wonderful dinners) while we were in Washington. Blair has a new job in Spokane, but their house has not yet sold so we were able to enjoy Janae's hospitality.

On Tuesday we were able to help Mom set up her computer to handle her embroidery patterns. In the afternoon we visited with John and Karen then went to Yoplicity (a frozen yogurt places run by Johnny - Diane's cousin). This was followed up by a delightful pork roast dinner at Janae's, for which we were very thankful.

Wednesday was cleaning and baking day. We pulled out Mom & Dad's media center, rearranged all the cables so it now works (kind of) and cleaned behind everything. While Mom and Diane baked some pies, Paul raked up leaves in the yard. This was followed by another delicious meal at Janae's, this time with Don and Nadine for company.

Thanksgiving day finally arrived (Nov 22). Even though we had two thanksgiving meals over the past two days, the official Thanksgiving meal was even more spectacular. It was good to have Blair back from Spokane. Hopefully they will be able to sell their home soon, but we really enjoyed staying there for the week.

On Friday we returned home. We left about 6 am and arrived about 5 pm. We stopped in Nampa to visit Darwin and leave some Christmas packages. When we got back home we were tired, but started sorting through old mail collected over the past 18 months.

Riding off into the sunrise

Many of our things have been stored away in the attics. On Saturday were were finally able to start looking through the boxes. This was followed by running around town to take care of odds and ends.

We met with the high council early early Sunday morning to report our mission. It only took about half and hour including another missionary who was reporting. As we went to church we noticed a new sidewalk had been put in on the corner. It has been a hazard for many years. I guess it takes going on a mission to get certain things done.