Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy Birthday, CK!

 Christmas day is extra special for us because it is also CK's birthday.  He LOVES having his birthday on Christmas and I am so glad.  After all the presents from Christmas, we ate birthday dinner (stuffed hamburgers) and then we had birthday presents.

 Neither CK and I like cake so much.  This birthday, CK chose cherry pie for his dessert.  It was super yummy!
Happy birthday to the love of my life.  I am so grateful that you have come in to my life.  I am blessed beyond measure because of you.  I am so excited for today, tomorrow, this month, and this year, this decade, this century, and eternity...I get to spend them all with you.  Happy birthday to you!  I love you, sweetie!  :)

Christmas 2011

 I love having Christmas on Sunday.  What a great day.  Here is the classic kids coming out of the room to see what Santa brought.  First, we read scriptures (Luke 2) and had family prayer.  What a great way to start our Christmas celebration!
 After church, we opened presents.  The best is watching the smiles on the faces of the kids as they GAVE their gifts to their siblings.  :)

And, my Christmas present, more than anything, was having this man by my side.  He is mine forever and ever and ever and I am so blessed!  :)

Christmas Eve Morning

 I am the luckiest woman.  My sister lives about half an hour away.  I cannot count the number of times that that has been such an incredible blessing to me.  Since we were both leaving to go out of town shortly after Christmas (they even thought of leaving on Christmas day), and since Christmas was on a Sunday so we had church to attend, we decided to get together Christmas Eve instead.

In order to allow ourselves nuclear family time, we decided on brunch.  It was YUMMY!  Thanks, Sis!  The kids were besides themselves with excitement to open presents.  We had such a great time.  I wish I would have taken a picture of the beautiful table that S set up or the kids all sitting calmly for a picture (hmmm....did that ever happen?), but, instead I have pictures of these kids and opening their presents.  Still super cute!

 This year, we each have four kids and so each cousin drew a name of another cousin.  It was fun to see them look for the perfect gift for the cousin that they drew.  I wish A could have been with us to see C open the present that she chose for her!
 Isn't my sister absolutely gorgeous??  I think she is so pretty.  She is also smart, kind, funny, and all-around awesome!  I am so blessed.
I have no idea what CK is laughing at, but I love the joy in his face in this picture.  :)  He is a good sport to encourage me to post whatever picture I want.  I think it was because he was surprised.  In our family name-drawing, S and P did not have him, so he assumed he would be present-less (and more than fine with it!) this day.  Wrong!  His birthday is Christmas Day and S and P had chosen to get him a present for his birthday.  :)  Again, aren't they awesome?

Real Christmas Tree

 This year, we decided to get a live Christmas Tree.  I have always wanted to, but we never have.  We made a trip to our local Lowe's.  Not quite cutting it down ourselves, was a live tree nonetheless.

The kids were not certain they wanted a live tree.  There was a lot of talk of our fake tree being "tradition" and that they didn't want to change anything.

Not so when we finally got there.  They were all excited to get the tree.

 The tree was just over 8 feet and somewhat shorter than our 9-ft fake tree, but it fit perfectly in our living room.

  Here is K smelling the tree as we untied it and let the branches loose.
 And, here is our beautiful tree Christmas morning.  I loved everything about it.

This picture was taken Christmas Eve.  Aren't these three so handsome/beautiful?  I am a proud mama.  We missed A this year and we are ready to get on the same holiday schedule with her. 

Some unexpected perks to having a live tree:  set up was tons easier, clean-up was easier-we did have a lot of needles to pick up, but no taking apart the tree branch by branch, it smelled great, and it looked great.  I loved it, loved it, loved it!

Gingerbread House

 I have a dear friend that invited me over to work on making a gingerbread house.  I really never have....not to this extent at least.  I am not very creative, so it was a little bit of a challenge, but it was so fun.  :)  I had to copy another friend's roof since I liked hers so much.  It was a tough decision to figure out if to go or not since it had been a crazy week and I love to spend time with my family.  I am glad that I chose to go.  I need that socializing with my dear women friends.  It was a great time.  Thanks, T, for the invite!

Living Museum

C is involved in a lot of things at school.  One thing that he does is the Gifted and Talented program.  They had a living museum day where they talked about all the research they had done on Egypt.  J and I went and visited.  It was very cool.  They had a lot of different demonstrations they had set up from how they made mummies to how they got water, to how they played games and more.  It was well done.  C was the one that talked of the geography of Egypt.  I learned a lot from listening to him.  As a 5th grader, I wasn't sure he would be okay with a picture, but he let me take a quick one.  I am glad.  It is definitely something to be remembered.  :) 

Christmas with A

 Earlier in the month, we went to see A for our December visit with her.  One thing we did together was put up this little Christmas tree.  The week before we had set up a Christmas tree with K, C, and J.  It was a difficult time for CK since he missed putting up a tree with A.  So, I bought this little two foot tree and stuck it in my suitcase and took it with me to Missouri, along with some lights and A's ornaments.  It was so fun to decorate together.  I am glad we did it.

 We try to find hotels with indoor pools since A loves swimming so much.  This one had one, although it was extremely cold.  I was only in there for a couple of minutes.  A and CK have fun together and I was happy to be the photographer!

 Sunday, after church we opened presents.  A was so excited it was difficult for her to wait.  We talked of the true meaning of Christmas and then showed our love for each other through our gifts.

 It was so much fun.
 It was difficult to say good-bye.  We love our A.  She is such a dear part of our family.  We are excited to see her again in January!  :)
Side note:  CK and I got up at 4 am and left to go on an early-morning flight home.  We got on the plane, pushed away from the gate....and then the problems started.  First, the power went out, then an engine died.  After being on the plane for an hour and a half, they determined the plane was not safe and we all sat in the airport for hours until they could get us another plane.  It was a long day.  It felt so good when we finally got home.

One Year Ago Today

A year ago today he asked me to marry him.  A year ago today I said yes.  This is the best decision I have ever made.
(Picture taken yesterday in Portland, Oregon)

House Hunting

 CK and I are looking at purchasing a new home.  It is time.  We have seen some houses that we like, others that we don't, and still more that are trashed and in repo.  I cannot believe how trashed a home can become.  :(
 Right now, we are trying to decide on what we want most and where: more space?  More fancy?  More upgrades?  Same ward?  Different ward?  Same schools? (K would say YES!!!!) But, maybe different schools.  We have one that we are leaning towards, but nothing is certain yet.  I just know it is time. It is definitely bittersweet for me.  I have lived here for over 8 1/2 years.  I love my home.  I love my neighborhood.  I love the ward.  I love the schools.  Yet, it really feels like time.  We definitely need the space.  We only have 1600 s.f. and CK works from home.  And, we want 2-3 more children.  Yep, definitely time.  I will have to let you know how it goes! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thanksgiving, Funeral, and Family

 As I noted before, we came home from Nauvoo and immediately went to Idaho for Grandpa's funeral.  A is such a trouper.  We did sooooooooooo much traveling and she handled it all with style.  Here we are flying towards Utah.
 What Thanksgiving would be complete without some friendly family football?  They all had a lot of fun.  I joined for a bit.  It was awesome. 
 Some of the cousins.  When K saw this picture, she was so sad and wishing that she could've been there.  A is 2nd from the left.
 Cousin A's birthday was during this Thanksgiving/Funeral time.  She was so great about sharing her day with everyone.  Of course, Grandma made it a special time for A, complete with a chocolate fountain.  :)
 Saturday was the funeral.  It is awesome that Grandpa gets to be buried here where he lived, loved, and worked for his entire life. A small town boy through and through.
 All the funeral pictures with CK were so heartbreaking.  He loved Grandpa and the sorrow on his face was very well captured on film.  I only included a couple:  here he is putting his boutonniere on the casket.
 Grandma really held out better than can be expected.  I am so glad that she had so much family there with her.  This is her with CK.
 All the K siblings.  I love them all.  CK is very blessed indeed. 
 A last picture with Grandma.  She always tries to cover her face, but she was willing to let us actually see her face this time.  :)

 Grandma K was wonderful to us.  One thing she did for A was give her this craft to work on.  After we drove for 2.5 hours to get to the airport, the flight was then delayed for a couple of hours.  A used this time to complete this craft.  She loved it!  Thank-you, Grandma.

Finally, I added this picture to this blog.  I took this picture last Christmas.  When I saw these three men sitting on the couch together, I loved the resemblance that they shared.  None of the three were thrilled with this picture, but they let me take it.  I am so grateful. None of us expected that Grandpa would be gone before the next Christmas.  This picture will be forever treasured by our family.

As we did all this travel and spent all this time with family, I was reminded yet again how important family is.  There is NOTHING more important.  Well, our Savior, Jesus Christ, and God our Father, of course, but they are part of our family, too-Our Eternal Family.  I am so blessed to have THREE families that I love with all my heart.  :)