So as I get ready to leave for work, The Doctor is in the shower getting ready to play video games all day. The children are already playing video games. I get to go out in the cold and be away from them all day. Then I get to go to the dentist.

Life really sucks sometimes.

I try to remember that it could be worse. It really could.

But sometimes I just like to wallow.

See you later.

I have to leave for work now.

I'm really going...really.

in Five Short Chapters
by Portia Nelson

I walk down the street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in
I am lost . . . I am helpless
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street,
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in . . . it's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.
I am sure I won't be on for a few days, so I just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas! I hope you get something you wanted!
Remember back in May, how I fell in love? Well, it has happened again.

But we need to start at the beginning.

Way, way, way back in 1990, The Doctor bought a video camera. I wasn't around yet, he just wanted one. It was cool because it could record on full size VHS tapes. After we were married, I loved it because after we taped things, we could just stick them in the VCR and watch the movies. I loved it.
Ours wasn't quite this cool because it didn't have a flip-out view finder.

Well, in 2002 it was on it's last legs. It would still record, after you flipped the switch on and off several times. And then the viewfinder quit working. Well, what good is a camcorder if you can't see what you are recording.

That Thanksgiving, Wal-mart had their sales and they had a VHS-C camcorder for $208. I was pumped and pretty much told The Doctor we were getting one. And I did get it! I was very happy. I just read in my journal about how light it was and how wonderful.
I know, that's really small picture, but at the time, that is how it felt...small and compact!

Well, I think you know where this is heading. I have been getting the itch again. I see people with their teeny tiny camcorders and I have been coveting them. Yes, coveting.

But I knew I would have to wait. It's hard to buy frivolous things when your husband is out of work.

However, my grandparents gave each grandchild some money this year. I did not want to just spend it on bills or such, and suddenly I knew exactly what I was going to use part of it on. I did some research and today I dragged The Doctor to Sam's Club and bought this beauty...

It looks big, but trust me, it is teeny tiny! It fits in the palm of my hand! It has a 35x optical zoom, and has a 30 GB hard drive. No tapes, no discs! Even on the finest quality, it will record over 7 hours of video! And we got a great deal on it, because it included a remote control, carrying case, and tripod!
I am so excited to have it! I am in love again!
Thank you, Grandma and Grandpa. Everytime I use my camcorder, I will think of you. I love you both.
You know it's time to shave your legs when your daughter rubs them and says, "Ooh, you're fuzzy!"
Who knew my brother was so talented? Get ready to laugh out loud!

The Nutcracker in Four Acts
So when I was growing up, I thought the tradition of opening one present on Christmas Eve and it always being pajamas was unique to my family. Since then, I have discovered that just about every family does it! LOL Here are a few pictures of my kids through the years in their new pajamas.

2002 - Superman

2003 - Dinosaurs and Space

2004 - Superheros

2005 - Pajama pants and white t-shirts, and a cute pink sleeper!

2006 - Pajama pants again (they think they are too grown up for regular pajamas now) and pink hearts!

2007 - They all had so many pairs of pajamas, that we did slippers this year. Aren't they cute?
I wonder what will come this year? Hmmmmm.........
Oh, I guess that's me! LOL I am now 36, and I am on the downhill slide to 40. Yuck. But I still love my birthday because I get presents!
My favorite present was my new monitor and chair last year so working from home would be easier. I had been sitting on a folding chair and my back would hurt all the time. This chair was a lifesaver, considering I now work about 10 hours from home. I have a wonderful husband!

So for your present to me today, tell about your favorite present you have gotten for your birthday and why it was so special.
When I was little, my dad memorized the story of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." He even made props. And he would act it out every Christmas Eve. And we loved it! He even came and did it at my elementary school one year. I am sure he was mortified.
Once we started having kids, we demanded that he continue. The grandkids love it as well, and he does it every Christmas Eve. He tried to stop when the movie came out, but the movie is horrible.
Here is the Grinch, stuffing things in his sack.

And this is Cindy Lou Who getting her drink of water.

I love my dad for doing this and I love that my kids love it. I look forward to many more years of it!
If you haven't watched The Biggest Loser finale yet, don't read this.

Walk away.

Because I went to bed last night with a smile on my face.

Michelle won! I am so happy! Life is good.
This was taken from The Friend, Dember 1985. I have changed it a little, choosing songs that are in the current Children's Songbook (CS). It was written for a child to be in charge.

Directions: This program can be presented with your family during the Christmas season.

Assign the parts, and write each reader’s name by his part. Make copies of the parts so that everyone can practice reading slowly and with expression.

Ask someone to lead the music and someone to play the songs. Practice the songs before the program begins. As the director, it is your responsibility to help everyone do his part well.

Song: "Oh, Hush Thee, My Baby" CS verse 1 pg. 48

Young Child: The best part of December—My favorite time, by far—Is when we read the story--Of the Baby and the star.

Narrator 1: At Christmastime we all love to read from the Bible the familiar story of the birth of baby Jesus.

Narrator 2: The Book of Mormon also tells about the birth of Jesus and about the star. People on both sides of the world knew of the coming of the Savior.

Song: “Beautiful Savior” CS pg. 62-63

Narrator 1: A few years after Lehi and his family journeyed to America, his son Nephi beheld a vision of the city of Nazareth and a beautiful virgin who was to be the mother of the Son of God.

Nephi, the son of Lehi: And it came to pass that I looked and beheld … the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white. And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms. And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! [1 Ne. 11:13, 1 Ne. 20–21.]

Narrator 2: Later the Nephites and the Lamanites were also told of the coming of Jesus by Samuel, a Lamanite prophet.

Samuel, the Lamanite: Behold, I give unto you a sign; for five years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name. And behold, this will I give unto you for a sign at the time of his coming; for behold, there shall be great lights in heaven, insomuch that in the night before he cometh there shall be no darkness, insomuch that it shall appear unto man as if it was day. And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you. [Hel. 14:2–3, 5.]

Song: “Samuel Tells of the Baby Jesus" first verse only CS pg. 36

Narrator 1: Many Nephites did not believe Samuel. They threw rocks and shot arrows at him. But Samuel was protected until he had delivered his message. Then he returned to his own people in Zarahemla. Some of the people, however, did believe Samuel’s words, and they repented and were baptized. Nephi, the grandson of Helaman, was a leader among those who believed. When five years had almost ended, the wicked unbelievers said that they would kill the righteous people if the signs prophesied by Samuel did not appear. Nephi prayed for the people who believed in Jesus Christ. He did not want the wicked people to kill them. He prayed all day, and then the Lord spoke to him.

Voice of the Lord: Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets. [3 Ne. 1:13.]

Narrator 2: It all happened. Here is how Mormon recorded it from the Large Plates of Nephi.

Mormon: “And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled, according as they had been spoken; for behold, at the going down of the sun there was no darkness; and the people began to be astonished because there was no darkness when the night came.
“And it came to pass also that a new star did appear, according to the word.” [3 Ne. 1:15, 3 Ne. 21.]

Song: “Samuel Tells of the Baby Jesus” second verse.

Young Child: I love the Christmas story, I love the songs we sing, But most of all I love the Savior—Jesus Christ, the King.

Song: “Once Within a Lowly Stable” CS pg. 41 (A girl dressed like Mary could pose holding doll while family sings.)

Narrator 1: The star had risen. The prophecy had been fulfilled. And faithful people in both hemispheres saw the sign and understood. Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

Song: “Christmas Bells” CS pg. 54
So as I was growing up, one of my favorite traditions were our candy chains. A woman my dad had worked with made these "chains" using macrame. Macrame is yarn crafting using knots. She created these long "chains" and then put yarn in between the knots. At the beginning of December, my mom would buy candy (or use the candy she stole from our Halloween buckets I found out recently) and we would tie one piece of candy on for each day in December. Then every day we got to eat one piece of candy, and we could see how close to Christmas we were. Think of it as an advent calendar, only much more delicious (and fattening).

So after I was married, no more candy chains. Well, my Mom gave me mine, but with only one chain, no else got any candy. So I have had the desire to learn how to make them for several years. Well, in 2004, I finally looked at mine, and looked online, and looked at mine, and looked online, and I figured out how to do it! I was so excited! I made our family's chains in 3 days and got them up for that year.

So then in 2005 I thought it would be fun to make them for my whole family. Most of us were married and had kids and we all loved that tradition, and I thought I would make it possible to continue it on. So I started working. I could do one chain in just under an hour, and I only had 12 to make. Plus some for our neighbors. Plus extras for when more babies are born. I don't know how many I ended up making, but I still have like 12 left over.

So that Thanksgiving, when supper was over and cleaned up, I asked everyone to gather around. I gave each family a wrapped box and told them to open them. When they did, they were all so excited. But the kids didn't get excited until I pulled out 2 giant bowls full of candy. I had brought all the candy and yarn so they could tie them on and have them ready to go. It was so much fun. I had been looking forward to doing that for several months, and it was totally worth it.

Following are pictures from that evening when we are getting them all put together. I looked through all my pictures and I have never taken a picture of the chains hanging on the wall! So next year, I will take a picture and then post it. So don't go anywhere!

Cutting the yarn to put on the chains. That is the worst part...threading the yarn around the knots. That is why I bought yarn and made them all do their own!

I did 3 different patterns: red and white, green and white, and red and green. I pretty much chose who would get what (except for Ashlee who know I was doing them, and I let her pick her colors. Shhhh.)

My brother Reece helping kids kids choose their candy.

Some people just put their candy on randomly, some create a pattern. So there is a lot of hard work in deciding what candy to use!

My chains were done at home, so I was supervising. If you look in this picture, my siblings are the ones having fun, and the in-laws are the bored looking ones. They didn't appreciate them at the time. I hope they appreciate them now.
This was so much fun! I loved seeing how much fun everyone was having. I was so excited to be able to continue a beloved tradition from our childhood!
See Mother.
See Mother laugh.
Mother is happy.
Mother is happy about Christmas.
Mother has many plans.
Mother has many plans for Christmas.
Mother is organized.
Mother smiles all the time.
Funny, funny Mother!

See Mother.
See Mother smile.
Mother is happy.
The shopping is all done.
See the children watch TV.
Watch children, watch.
See the children change their minds.
See them ask Santa for different toys.
Look! Look!
Mother is not smiling.
Funny, funny Mother!

See Mother.
See Mother sew.
Mother will make dresses.
Mother will make robes.
Mother will make shirts.
See Mother put the zipper in wrong.
See Mother sew the dress on the wrong side.
See Mother cut the skirt too short.
See Mother put the materials away until January.
Look! Look!
See Mother take a tranquilizer.
Funny, funny Mother!

See Mother.
See Mother buy raisins and nuts.
See Mother buy candied pineappleand powdered sugar.
See Mother buy flour, dates, pecans, brown sugar, bananas and spices.
Look! Look!
Mother is mixing everything together.
See the children press out cookies.
See the flour on their elbows.
See the cookies burn.
See the cake fall.
See the children pull taffy.
See Mother pull her hair.
See Mother clean the kitchenwith the garden hose.
Funny, funny Mother!

See Mother.
See Mother wrap presents.
See Mother look for the end on the Scotch tape roll.
See Mother bite her fingernails.
See Mother go.
See Mother go to the store ten times in one hour.
Go Mother, go.
See Mother go faster.
Run, Mother, run!

See Mother trim the tree.
See Mother have a party.
See Mother make popcorn.
See Mother wash the walls.
See Mother scrub the rug.
See Mother tear up organized plan.
See Mother forget gift for Uncle Harold.
See Mother get hives.
Go, Mother, go!
See the faraway look in Mother's eyes.
Mother has become disorganized.
Mother has become disoriented.
Funny, funny Mother!

It is finally Christmas morning.
See the happy family.
See Father smile.
Father is happy.
Smile, Father, smile.
Father loves fruitcake.
Father loves Christmas pudding.
Father loves all his new neckties.
Look! Look!
See the happy children.
See the children's new toys.
Santa was very good to the children.
The children will remember this Christmas.

See Mother.
Mother is slumped in a chair.
Mother is crying uncontrollably.
Mother does not look well.
Mother has ugly dark circles under her bloodshot eyes.
Everyone helps Mother to her bed.
See Mother sleep quietly under heavy sedation.
See Mother smile.
Funny, funny Mother!
...when I am freakishly busy! Argh! I can't believe how much is going on! For the last two weeks, seriously, every time my kids came home from school, one of them had something to add to my calendar. Here is what December looks like:

1 - Family Home Evening...go and see the lights on Temple Square.
2 - Wow...a gap! Nothing on the calendar!
3 - My boys received awards at the Reflections contest, so I went to that assembly. Then that night was dance practice for The Princess.
4 - The Chocoholic's birthday, The Teenager had to be at an elementary school at 8 am for a concert tour. I had to be at the school at 2:00 to pick up cookie dough, scouts for one boy at 6:00, combined activity for the other two at 6:30, pick up the first boy at 7:00.
5 - The Chocoholic's birthday party from 3:30-5:00, and the ward dinner at 6:00.
6 - Start working on neighbor/coworker/friend gifts. 4:00 my work party.
7 - Tithing settlement at 10:00, 2 boys and dh fast offerings at 11:00, church from 1-4, dinner at Mom's at 5:30.
8 - Dress rehearsal for The Princess. Supposed to be from 6:30 - 7:00 for her class, we were there until 7:30.
9 - Dress rehearsal again. Supposed to be from 5:30-6:00, we were there until 7:30 again.
10 - The Teenager had to be at his school at 5:00. 6:00 was pack meeting, leave early at 6:30 and rush over to the school to be late for concert. Come home for 45 minutes, leave again for second concert for The Teenager, finish at 8:30, head over to the high school for The Princess' dance (The Nutcracker). Stupid dance. Doesn't finish until 10:15, don't get my 4 year old into bed until 10:45 (along with all the other kids).
11 - Make the executive decision to skip the dance tonight. Huge weight off my shoulders. At 10:00 have to meet with Primary President to go over music for next year. 6:00 Enrichment Night, which I can now go to!
12 - Take The Princess to Grandma's at 4:00 for sleepover, The Doctor teaches tonight, I think I might go to bed early.
13 - Finish neighbor/coworker/friend gifts.
14 - church
15 - The Princess has a birthday party.
16 - Preschool program in morning, Stamp group party that night.
17 - Band concert
18 - Scouts/Mutual
19 - My birthday, 3 boys sleepover at Grandma's

From here on, my calendar is clear. But on top of everything going on, I am crazy busy at work doing engagement letters and huge projects, plus trying to get some Christmas presents made.

I am going to need a nap soon!
I never knew how opinionated people were about the word verification on blogs. And I want people to like me and to comment, so...

I took it off. But if I get a bunch of spam, it goes back on!

Merry Christmas to all those who hate it!

The Chocoholic is 10 years old today. Tomorrow he is having a friend party, themed around chocolate, of course. Chocolate cake, chocolate frosting, chocolate ice cream, chocolate milk, chocolate games, etc. We will all have quite the sugar high when it is over!
I love Christmas music. It just makes my heart glad. Everything about it makes me happy. I have left my list of my favorite albums on several blogs, so I decided I had better make it official.
My favorite Christmas albums:
  • "A Christmas Album" by Barbara Streisand (1967) - My mom had this album and this is what we listened to every year as we put up the tree. I LOVE how she sings "Jingle Bells!" And the song, "The Best Gift" is why my mom bought the album. She heard it the year she was pregnant with me. Several years ago I discovered that it had been released on CD and all my siblings now have a copy. It is THE BEST CHRISTMAS ALBUM EVER!

  • "Christmas Interpretations" by Boyz II Men (1993) - I love their rendition of "Silent Night."
  • "A Crocker Christmas" by The Crocker Sisters - These are LDS girls and have amazing harmony. We heard them sing at a CD signing at Deseret Book and immediately bought their CD.
  • "Christmas at Home" by Donny Osmond (1998) - I gotta have me my Donny. I love his voice. I also happen to think he is really cute! The Doctor took me to a concert once and I was in heaven!
  • "What if Mozart Wrote 'I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus'" by The Hampton String Quartet (1989) - They have taken Christmas songs and "made" them classical. It is fun to listen to, and perfect for Sunday afternoons.
  • "Joy: A Holiday Collection" by Jewel (1999) - My sister introduced me to this album because of the song "Hands." I think Jewel has an awesome voice, and I love her singing with herself on "Rudolph." So cool!
  • "The Forgotten Carols" by Michael McLean (1991) - This came out the Christmas I was away at college for the first time. I know, I'm that old! I have the book and I had the cassette tape it came with until I bought the CD several years later. I love everything about The Forgotten Carols.

  • "Brand New Year" by SHeDAISY (2000) - I don't care for country music at all, but my husband loved this album so much, he bought it two years in a row, forgetting he had already bought it! And it has really grown on me.
  • "Mary's Lullaby - Christmas Songs for Bedtime" (2007) - I love how they have taken Christmas songs and made lullaby's out of them. This will put you to sleep and give you wonderful dreams!
So there you go. I have ton more Christmas albums, but these are my absolute favorites!
I wish you were here right now. We have a childrens book about The 12 Days of Christmas, and The Princess adores it. She is sitting here reading it. She is singing each verse correctly, and it is so cute! She is up to 11 pipers piping. We sing it in the car all the time, and she sings the whole thing with me. I am in heaven!
When I was a kid…

…if we wanted to call someone, we had to stick our finger in the right hole of a round dial and spin it around for all seven numbers! And if you screwed up, you had to start all over again. Your finger really got a workout!

…if we wanted to call outside our area code, we had to ask our parents if we could use the long distance. Then we had to keep the call super short or else that darned Bell Atlantic bill would be outrageous! We didn’t have cellphones with unlimited long distance, or VOIP that lets us call across the world for free!

…we didn’t have electronic address books, much less contact lists programmed into our phones. If we wanted to call someone, we had to memorize their number or look in a phone book!

…if you didn’t know someone’s number outside of your calling area, you had to get connected to an operator and actually have a real conversation to get the number! There wasn’t an internet where you could look up anyone’s number in seconds!

…if you were lost somewhere, you had to find someplace with a phone. Sometimes you even had to put change in that phone to make it work. NO ONE had a cellphone! Driving down a dark road in the middle of nowhere had a whole different meaning.

…if you wanted money from your bank account, you had to take a bank passbook to a live teller and ask for the money. There were no ATMs!

…if you wanted to see a movie, you had to go to a theater or hope one of the 3 channels (no Fox) would show it in the next year.

…I was halfway through grade school before we got a VCR where we could rent a movie from a store. And movies didn’t have “Special Feature” sections. Those were called the credits!

…a “big screen TV” was 20 inches, and probably surrounded by a fancy wood casing. If you were rich, you could get a mammoth projector TV with 3 light bulbs displaying the picture.

…if you wanted to create a professional document, you had to use a typewriter. Yeah, you try fixing mistakes with a special ribbon that you had to line up perfectly, you spoiled brats! There was no Delete key!

…my first music player was a 45 record player. It came in a little suitcase-type box and I could listen to my mom’s old Lettermen singles or Alvin and the Chipmunks!

…blank audio tapes were your only way to record music. There were no MP3s back then!

…if you wanted to record a song, you had to sit at the radio until it finally came on the air and hit the record button just when the DJ stopped talking.

…I was in college before CDs came out! And there was no computer to rip the music. You actually had to protect those discs or else go spend another $25 at the music shop.

…if you wanted to listen to your CD on-the-go, you couldn’t move an inch or else it would skip. I was in college before anti-skip technology let me fart while listening to MC Hammer.

…if you wanted popcorn, you needed a popcorn-maker. We didn’t have a microwave, much less microwaveable popcorn!

…if you wanted to do math, you needed to know math! You couldn’t whip out a calculator in grade school and figure out 2+2! And not because they were expensive, but because we actually valued knowing how to solve a problem, not just how to get the solution.

…if you wanted to pay for something, you needed either cash or a layaway option. Most people didn’t have credit cards. You needed to be able to afford what you bought! (as a note, layaway is coming back)

…if you wanted to “text message” someone, you wrote them a letter or postcard, mailed it and waited a couple weeks for a response.

…you actually had to know how to write well because you only had one chance to get your point across.

…if you wanted to know how someone was doing, you actually had to talk with people. There was no Facebook or IM. You had to know how to say a response while the person was standing there looking at you!

…any toy that required batteries was a luxury. You had to use your imagination when playing! Now every toy requires batteries!

…if you wanted to buy something, you either had to go to the store or order from their catalog. There was no online shopping!

…if you wanted to take a picture, you had to make sure it was worth it. You couldn’t take 2,000 pictures on a single memory disk. There were no memory disks or digital cameras!

…if you wanted you car window down, you needed to wind it down yourself. If you wanted your door unlocked, you had to wait for the driver to reach across and unlock it.

…we didn’t have computers.

…we didn’t have the internet.

…we didn’t have cellphones, or even touch tone phones.

…we didn’t have iPods or CDs or MP3s or auxiliary ports in our cars.

…we didn’t have credit cards or ATMs or online banking.

So be thankful for all the conveniences you have today, rather than complain that you don’t have the latest plasma TV, game console, music player or other gadget. And be thankful you only have to memorize your own phone number and not every person’s you know.

Be thankful, because I know I sure am.