"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Thursday, December 31, 2009


I'm drinking wine, watching movies, and am quite possibly slightly delirious with exhaustion from too many late nights and early mornings over the past few days. But I had to make just one last post tonight in order to hit 100 for the year.

New Years always makes me introspective and way too philosophical. So I'll be brief when I say it's been a good year and challenging year.. filled with high highs, much learning, and even more growth. We are happy, and we are blessed.

If you haven't seen all my recent pictures, you can view them here, here, here, here, and finally, here.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and peaceful 2010.

Recipe for the New Year

Take twelve whole months,
Clean them thoroughly of all bitterness, hate, and jealousy,
Make them just as fresh and clean as possible.

Now cut each month into twenty-eight, thirty, or
thirty-one different parts,
but don't make up the whole batch at once.
Prepare it one day at a time out of these ingredients.

Mix well into each day one part of faith,
one part of patience, one part of courage,
and one part of work.

Add to each day one part of hope,
faithfulness, generosity, and kindness.
Blend with one part prayer,
one part meditation, and one good deed.
Season the whole with a dash of good spirits,
a sprinkle of fun, a pinch of play,
and a cupful of good humor.

Pour all of this into a vessel of love.
Cook thoroughly over radiant joy,
garnish with a smile,
and serve with quietness, unselfishness,
and cheerfulness.

You're bound to have a happy new year.

~Author Unknown~

Monday, December 28, 2009


Christmas has come and gone, like it always does, in a flash of food, fun, and new toys. Christmas Eve was wonderful, and I truly think that Christmas morning was the best we've ever had.

There's a scene in an episode of Friends that I love. The gang is sitting in Monica's apartment, about to watch the video that will tell them who made a pass at whom the night that Ross and Rachel were working on Monica's wedding invitations and ultimately conceived Emma. They were not going to watch it, and Rachel almost destroyed the tape, but in the end they decided to view it together to settle the question. Joey was so excited that they were going to watch it that he turned to Chandler, in his pure, completely childlike, Joey fashion, and simply said "I'm so happy!"

I felt like Joey on Christmas morning. Just... HAPPY. Something about experiencing the magic and excitement of Christmas through the eyes of the four children that I so deeply, deeply love. Watching Spencer shoot all his Nerf guns, seeing Tegan making tea in her new kitchen, playing Life with Paxton and Toss-Across with Everett. Hearing people chatting and laughing and just generally enjoying the day.

The house was full on Christmas day... even Julie and Getty came over with their tiny 8 week old Genevieve to visit for awhile. Mom and Dad were here, Sandi and Mitch and the kids, Barbara and Skip. It was big, noisy, and peaceful.

The day after Christmas we relaxed at home, venturing out only to buy the completion of one of Paxton's presents - a beautiful, candy-cane baby corn snake. Yesterday was just the opposite: We left at seven in the morning to head down to Tucson. We went on a tour of the Biosphere (amazing!), went out for lunch, toured the Titan Missile facility, did a couple of caches, stopped at Denny's for dinner, and finally arrived back home at 9:30. It was a fun day, and a full day.

This morning, we rest again. The kids have been happily playing, I've made a second pot of coffee, and the house is quiet. We're recouping, relaxing, and breathing.

I'm so happy.

P.S. Pictures coming soon.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

I'd let the stress get the best of me, and I don't know why. I was feeling the pressure of getting everything done in time, and the anxiety over being being sick for the holidays. Today, one day before Christmas, it has all come together as it always does. Today has been warm, calm and peaceful. The kids have been so excited for tomorrow, and they couldn't wait to bring over the plate of the cookies they'd made for our friends next door.

I had a moment this morning when we were all mopping the floors, off all things. We had Christmas music playing, everyone was working together, and I just felt suddenly, and blissfully, happy. I do so love the holidays. And as much as I enjoy Christmas day, with everyone visiting and the presents and food and fun, today - Christmas Eve - is by far my favorite day of the year. I love the anticipation, I love the time spent with just us and the kids, I love the traditions of watching The Santa Clause and reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. I love putting out the milk and cookies. Christmas Eve is sacred.

Today we finished up our Jesse tree, and placed the last two ornaments: Christ in the manger, and the the Chi-Rho symbol

And this is our Christmas tree, before Santa has come:

Merry Christmas a day early to all my friends and family. I wish you all much peace, joy and love.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Day 22 - Make Christmas Cookies

Another day over in a week that is going way too fast. I'm trying to resist the panicky feeling that comes with having too much to do and not enough time to do it. We were out for much of the day again today (we have so far been to the grocery store 4 days in a row now... plus the bank, Fed Ex, Target, T-Mobile, Blockbuster, the dollar store.... a restful vacation it is not.) and when we were home it was blend, blend, blend, and mix, mix, mix. All the dough is ready and waiting in the fridge, but we so far only got to cook and decorate the sugar cookies. Tomorrow we hope to actually stay home all day, get the cookies and treats finished, wrap some presents, and get everything clean and ready for Friday.

The kids are crazy excited (and at times just plain crazy) for Christmas, and can't believe it's only three days away.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Away in a Manger

Day 21 - Go Geocaching

No new pictures for today, other than our friendly little snowman. Today was... ok. We went out for a few geocaches, braved the grocery store to prepare for Friday, and I tried not to be completely bummed out by the fact that vacation has begun and I'm still sick.

Here's a picture from Saturday night's show though, both because it was a visually beautiful presentation, and because it provides a nice reminder of the "reason for the season." It's really not about me and my illnesses. Shocking.

That's my sister as Mary, and my brother in law as Joseph. The animals were all real, but baby Jesus was not. Tegan was still enthralled by him, and couldn't wait to go up and meet him after the show was over. I love that all my children are taking their own paths to come to know and love Jesus.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Colds, Part 2

Day 18 - Have a pizza night

Day 19 - Drive around to look at the neighborhood Christmas lights

Day 20 - Have a campout by the Christmas tree

Tegan, the one who brought this ick home, is just about back to her normal silly self. I'm on day 5 of feeling utterly lousy, Mike's all achy, and Paxton can't stop coughing. But it's Christmastime, we're here altogether, and I feel happy and blessed.

Yesterday we went out for a few errands, colds be damned, and came home with:

I had been wanting to get another one for awhile now, so Bailey wouldn't be alone. She'd been without a roommate since Miley died, and rats are social creatures who do much better in pairs. I'd been thinking about it a lot in the past couple of weeks, and hearing about our friends' new rats fully ignited the flame. So yesterday, Penny joined the family. She is a sweet, calm, and curious albino dumbo, and the perfect addition to our menagerie.

Last night we went up to Anthem to watch Sandi and Mitch in a lovely living Nativity presentation, complete with live animals, a beautiful set, and much to the kids (and my) delight, a lavish spread of free refreshments, cidar and hot chocolate. We took the long way home, weaving in and out of several different neighborhoods for our annual Christmas light viewing. Tegan especially loved it this year, and "wow"ed, laughed, and pointed at all the lights, Santas, and reindeer we passed.

Today was decidedly low-key, with lots of Christmas movie-watching. Our only project was helping the kids work on some Christmas gifts they are making.

Tonight it's cold medicine all around, the season finale of Survivor, and a campout in front of the Christmas tree. Life's good.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Colds

Day 17 - Go out for icecreams after dinner

We had so far managed to stay so healthy this holiday season... I never even said it out loud, not wanting to jinx it! Alas, it appears it has caught up with us, as 3 of the 6 of us are now down with colds. We're in good spirits though. Tomorrow is Friday, the week will be over, and vacation will have officially begun.

Tonight is icecream, and while it may not be the best choice for our physical health, it is the best choice for our mental health. Can't put a price on that, especially this time of year.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gingerbread Houses and Cheeseburgers

Day 16 - Make Gingerbread Houses

The kids are getting tired. I feel badly that the ever elusive time of rest before Christmas has yet to come to fruition, and am so thankful that Mike is officially on vacation as of this Friday evening! We're all needing that time together as a family.

Tegan has caught herself a cold - which while making her understandably want to be extra close to me, has oddly made her less grumpy instead of more - so we stayed close to home again. The boys made gingerbread houses, while Tegan played with the crackers and frosting and ate the candy. There were some frustrations (see my previous paragraph about everyone being over tired) but they were all happy with their end results, and cheerfully snacked on their houses all morning.

Mike had a Christmas party at work tonight, which because of the budget did not include spouses this year. So the kids and I were alone, and did something we rarely do and got fast food takeout for dinner. It was an unexpectedly nice little treat, and ended up refreshing us all.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

And then there were ten

Ten days till Christmas, and I have been losing blogging steam, and just steam in general. My plan to rest before the holidays has pretty much fallen by the wayside, as rest usually requires sleep, and sleep has been hard to come by. But we're plugging along. Today's advent calendar activity was supposed to be for the kids to make Christmas presents for some relatives, but it's been moved till tomorrow (or this weekend) when it doesn't seem quite so daunting. Hopefully Tegan is feeling a little more festive soon, since she's been been spending quite a good portion of her days being, well, grumpy and unpleasant. She's indescribably amazing and funny and beautiful and I love her, but I just had to announce to the world - or my two readers in any case - for the sake of total disclosure, that she's sometimes a grump, as of course we all are at times.

Still, we're having fun as we move closer to Christmas. The past two days I've been playing with my own new toy, my phone, when I can get it out of the hands of the kids (who are absolutely loving all the free games I've been downloading)

And just to end on a happy note, here's a random, token picture of a (cheerful!) Tegan, snapped by one of the boys yesterday:

Just a week and a half until Christmas morning.

Merry Christmas

My project for the day! Love to all.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Christmas Race

I feel like we've been running a marathon the past few days. A fun marathon, but a marathon nonetheless. In 48 hours, we drove 375 miles, played in the snow, took a train ride to the North Pole to see Santa, spent the night at my parents', logged 14 geocache finds, went to a Christmas party, and watched a 45 minute Christmas light display. Even today, a day that was supposed to be devoted to decompressing, was largely spent out and about - running errands, getting last minute Christmas things, and picking up the new phones that turned out to be Mike and I's Christmas presents to each other.

On Friday afternoon, we headed up to Williams to take the kids on the Polar Express. I was beyond thrilled that we'd been able to keep it secret since booking the tickets a month ago, and the boys' reaction did not disappoint! They were so excited for not only the train ride, but also just to see, play in, and experience the snow. We got to drive through a small squall on the way there, they saw a snow plow in action, and they collectively threw about 38265 snow balls.

The train ride itself was fun too, although the trip would have been worth it just to see how happy the kids were to see the snow! Everett and Tegan especially loved seeing the buildings all lit up at the North Pole, and were happy to give Santa a high five when he boarded the train. We all enjoyed the soft cookies and hot chocolate, and the kids were singing carols with the best of them on the way back to the station. I could not have asked for a nicer night.

Here are a few pictures, and I've posted more on Facebook.

After the train ride, we spent the night at Mom and Dad's, thankful to have a midway point at which to crash instead of driving the three hours home. On Saturday we spent most of the day geocaching in another beautiful mountainous area of the state. We got up close and personal with cows (and their poop), cacti, an awesome assortment of rocks, and curious highway patrol who watched from across the street as we found our final cache on a Stop sign.

Saturday night we stopped at a Christmas party hosted by my parent's minister and his wife, and enjoyed some more good food, hot cider, and visiting before we left for our last adventure - a 45 minute Christmas light display in Cornville. It was an amazing combination of lights set to music, and even in the cold (and at times, wet) night, the 45 minutes passed by in what felt like half that time. This is just a small clip of his display from 2007, although he has upgraded in many ways since then. It took approximately 8 to 10 hours of programming for each MINUTE of music. Awesome.

We got home at 10:30 last night, exhausted but happy and ready for bed. Now that our recent stretch of being go, go, go is momentarily over, this introvert is looking forward to what I hope will be a calm and peaceful 12 days until Christmas. No big plans beyond cookie making and hot chocolate sipping, resting and enjoying the remainder of the season.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Milk Shakes and Cookie Parties

Day 9 - Make milkshakes for dessert

I officially missed my first day of blogging of the month. Yesterday was pretty much a lousy day for me, as I spent the entire day out of commission and feeling sick to my stomach again. I ended up going to bed at 8:00, and completely forgot about updating the blog. The kids had a good day though, and thoroughly enjoyed the mint oreo shakes they made with Daddy after dinner.

Day 10 - Go to a Moms 'N Kids Cookie Swap Party & Have a Carpet Picnic For Dinner

Mike had the day off today, as a furlough, and it worked out well because we were on the go from 8:00 in the morning. We dropped off his truck to get the a/c diagnosed, stopped for a quick snack and coffee at Dunkin Donuts, and came home for a couple of hours to get ready to go out to a holiday party. It was a cookie swap party hosted by a friend of ours, and though we were only able to stay for an hour because we had to get Spencer to the orthodontist, we had a great time.

The afternoon was filled with orthodontists, the mechanic's (again), and grocery shopping. Finally, we settled in for a carpet picnic and Finding Nemo. The boys capped off the night with legos on the carpet, while the Mike and the girl and I finished off the last little bit of online Christmas shopping.

Busy day. Good day. Looking forward to tomorrow.


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