Thursday, December 30, 2010

I'm "Nesting" again!!!

I went to lunch with some of my favorite Missionary Moms on Monday. As we visited, one Mom (whose son returns from the Jacksonville Mission in May) asked me when I started the countdown. After my first completely honest answer of, "The day she left!" I revised that to about 100 days.

With the Christmas break off from school and Bob taking this week off to be home with me, we decided it would be a good time to get a lot of things done to get ready for Sammi's homecoming. Funny part is, one of the Missionary Moms equated this feeling/obsession/whatever you want to call it with
As weird as that sounds, that's what I'm feeling! There are so many things I want to get done "just right" before she comes home; it feels like I'm preparing for a baby! I guess it's true though...I've given my "baby" to the Lord for eighteen months and now it's time for me to prepare to "get" her back. I want everything to be just right. Yes, I know she was here a few months ago, and believe me, she let us know what needed to be fixed, cleaned, straightened, etc. But now it's MY turn to make sure it's all good. Plus, with her homecoming needing to be inside (instead of out in the backyard like all our other big events), the house needed to be cleaned and many things need to be fixed. There will be a lot of people who I know won't judge me but I still want it "just so." 

So, before the Christmas break, I started my list. It keeps growing but we're also able to cross of a few of the projects. Over the next six weeks (FROM TODAY!!!!), I hope to cross them all off so we can thoroughly enjoy her when she touches down in SLC!

My list:
1. Paint upstairs hallway. CHECK.
2. Hang new individual pictures in hallway. CHECK.
3. Paint white (which also evolved into painting the red) walls in kitchen and stairway. CHECK.
4. Hang new family pictures over stairway. CHECK.
5. Order and hang new wall words over the stairway. CHECK
6. Update Sammi's pictures on the "Mission Board". CHECK.
7. Buy new blinds for the sliding door in the kitchen.
8. Wash all walls and blinds in the living room.
9. Downstairs bathroom:
    a. build wall in hallway to the bedroom. DECIDED NOT TO DO IT.
    b. fix walls. CHECK.
    c. fix ceiling tiles.
    d. paint. CHECK.
    e. buy new towels/rugs. CHECK.
    f.  make valance and curtains. CHECK.
10. Buy new rugs and towels for the upstairs bathroom. CHECK.
11. Clean Sammi's room and find a place for everything we've stored in there for the past 18 months. :(

OK...I'm exhausted now. I know there's more but I'll have to add to it later!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Fun!

We've been really blessed to have some GREAT Christmas activities this year. There are wonderful plays/performances and the LDS Church has several programs in December that you register for their "lottery" of tickets. I've never hit the window of opportunity before and, somehow, lucked out this year!

First Presidency Devotional
First of all, we got tickets to the First Presidency Devotional!! What an AMAZING way to start the month on December 5. After a "sing-a-long" opening song with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, sweet President Uchtdorf gave his talk entitled "Seeing Christmas through New Eyes."

 It was absolutely delightful as he drew analogies between our vision of Christmas and the Grinch. 

How cute is that?? 
He totally pulled it off and really opened our eyes! 

The Choir sang again and then we were able to hear from President Eyring as he spoke on "The Gift of a Savior."

He's always so tender and spiritual...we LOVE him!

Another beautiful song by the Choir led into President Monson's talk, "A Bright Shining Star."

I've used quotes from this talk on our Ward's AMAZING! How blessed we are to have such wonderful men to lead us in the path of righteousness. How blessed we are to be able to sit in the same room and listen to their words and feel of their AMAZING spirit! We're so grateful!!

Our seats weren't the best...Terrace Section 12...but just being there was enough. 
The "set" for the stage was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!

We took "the kids" with us...Maddi, her friends Allie Stevens, Andrew Palmer, and our cute nephew Randy.

Walking out of the Conference Center, it was quite foggy. The lights at Temple Square were beautiful but the Temple itself was STUNNING in the fog! The little dots of light in the picture are the flash bouncing off the mist in the air. It was BEAUTIFUL!!

The Forgotten Carols
In December 2000, I took my Mom and the three girls (ages 15, 12, and 10) to see The Forgotten Carols at Weber State University. I'd heard the music, read the book/story and loved it so I bought tickets. It was a great performance even though we were on the top row of the Dee Events Center. Several years ago, they made a DVD of a performance at Cottonwood High and it's become my tradition to watch it each year. The girls don't have the love for it that I do so I usually watch it alone. When Kenzi joined the family, we started watching it together...she attended a performance years ago and loved it! 

On December 6, I got an email from Deseret Book saying there were still tickets available for the performances at Cottonwood High. I texted Kenzi and we decided at the last minute to go! What great fun!!! We love it!! Such an amazing story, BEAUTIFUL music, and it has such a great spirit throughout the play. We decided this will become our tradition even if the others don't want to go with us. Just us... (Sad I didn't get pictures of us year!)

I did find this on YouTube...I LOVE this song!!!

Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert
with David Archuleta and Michael York
The next AMAZING opportunity we had was to attend the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert with guests, David Archuleta and Michael York!!!!! OH MY GOSH!!!!! We only got four tickets (the max allowed) so it was quickly decided only the "girls" could go since the "boys" wouldn't appreciate it...and there weren't enough tickets for them.

Reports on the news said the Thursday concert had left many out in the cold even though they had tickets. Evidently, they figure 20% of the tickets for the free concerts go unattended so they over-"sell" tickets by 20%. Unfortunately, David Aruchuleta was a HUGE draw here locally so EVERYONE came! It was sad for those who didn't get in!! It's always recommended that you be there about 45 minutes early and must be in your seats a half hour early so they can let in the stand-by people. Well, that DID NOT work Thursday!! Friday and Saturday concerts seemed to go better (we didn't hear much on the news) but we didn't want to take any chances with Sunday morning. So...we got up at 5:30am, left the house by 6:40 and arrived in Salt Lake shortly after 7:00. We had a ticket to park about 3 blocks away, which I wasn't happy about, so we started looking on the street or for lots closer. Mallorie was going to drop us off across the street from the Conference Center and then go look for parking. Well...there were street spots open right by the gates to Temple Square, covers on the parking meters, so why not? We pulled in and parked right across the street!! SWEET!!! We found out door to enter and ended up the second group in line under the cover the building so we didn't have to stand in the rain (it rains LOTS in December in Utah!! Who knew??). When we were allowed in at 8:00, we ended up first in line at our assigned door to the auditorium! Even SWEETER!! We were able to get second row in our assigned section of Terrace 13 (NOT great but at least we were there!).

Me and my beautiful daughters!
I could not be a prouder Mom!!

They did a complete run-through of the program for Music and the Spoken Word to check for sound, timing, lighting, etc. which was fun to listen to. We could even applaud after each song which you can't do for the broadcast. After that, Lloyd Newell, the voice of the Spoken Word, talked to us, Spence Kinard, former voice for the Spoken Word talked, took a rest, etc. We also were allowed to move down closer to the stage to help fill up the seats. While we couldn't see the choir, I was excited to be that much closer to the "action." An added bonus was David Archuleta entered and exited the stage right in front of us!!

Finally, just before the broadcast started, Lloyd came out and gave us the instructions for behavior and etiquette during the broadcast. As he was talking, a guy walked up to him, whispered something in his ear, and then walked away. Lloyd said something to the effect that, "I'll finish what I was going to say in just a minute. Ladies and gentlemen, we're pleased to welcome our beloved Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson." WOW!!!! How cool he came to see the production with his daughter, Sister Ann M. Dibb!! I'm always amazed at how INSTANTLY SILENT it becomes with 21,000 people in a room when he walks in. It's absolutely AMAZING!! After President Monson sat down, Lloyd continued with his instructions and then the production began. It was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!

The following photos are from the LDS News website.

Words can't describe the broadcast and then the "mini-concert" afterward. David Archuleta is absolutely AMAZING and then when you realize he's ONLY 19 YEARS OLD it makes it even more AMAZING!!! He's got an amazing spirit about of sweetness, innocence, and a testimony of the Gospel. You can see it in his face! Michael York is one of my favorites as well. I have a DVD I show my 9th graders when we study Shakespeare of him reciting Sonnet 29, I believe, that is absolutely wonderful! He also plays Tybalt in the Franco Zeffirelli version of Romeo and Juliet. (The kids remember him as Basil Exposition in Austin Powers...I prefer to remember him doing Shakespeare!) He told the story of the beginnings of the Tabernacle Choir and then read Luke 2. It was WONDERFUL!!! Such a GREAT accent/voice!!!

After the performances, they did some presentations and asked President Monson to come up on stage. It was so fun to see him in a relaxed atmosphere...meaning not a church meeting. Even though the Spirit was there the whole time, it was much more relaxed and "fun." It did seem odd, though, to see the Prophet applaud and be able to applaud him after he spoke! It was GREAT!!

I can't wait for the DVD and CD to come out for next Christmas so we can watch it and be able to say, "We were there!!" Three things have definitely become a new tradition at our house! (Providing we can get tickets!!)


Friday, December 17, 2010

Our little peanut--Week 12

We can't believe how clear we can see our little peanut! Can't wait until next month when we might be able to find out what he/she is! Can't wait to "officially" buy stuff!!!!