End of 2012

I need to get one last post in before the new year! Our December has been really busy and I’ve been neglecting my little blog.

December 8: Christmas Recital

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We look forward to these. The kids work on their piano pieces for months leading up to this moment. This year, Max chose “Do You Hear What I Hear?”. As soon as my mom played it for him, he just knew it was his song. He worked hard and had it memorized by November.

Bethany chose a version of the song “The First Noel”. It was short, but difficult. It was a bit above her skill level, but my mom felt confident she could do it. She’s a hard worker and she’s got a gift for the piano. She didn’t memorize it, but she played it beautifully. She’s starting to really feel the music. She’s able to feel when the music should get louder or softer.

December 8: Bethany’s Birthday Party

After the recital, we headed over to Golden Corral (Beth’s choice!) for her birthday lunch with my parents and my sister’s family. She was so excited to get her very own iPod.

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The discovery of the cotton candy machine was the very best moment ever.

December 13: The Arrival of The Other Christensen Family

This is the day that we got a Christmas card from another Christensen family. Lucy insisted on having that card with her whenever she ate. She would set the card right next to her and talk to her “friends” while she ate.

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We eventually had to throw the poor, mangled, VERY LOVED Christmas card in the trash.

December 16: My Dad Goes Sledding

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I don’t know if we’ll ever again live in a place with a super awesome hill like this one.

December 23: Sugar Cookies for Santa

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December 24: Christmas Eve

We made plans to spend Christmas Day at home – for the first time in twelve years. We thought Lars would have to head back to Vernal Christmas night and we didn’t want to spend the whole day driving around to the different families. We found out the Friday night before Christmas that he’d actually get the 26th off, but we had already bought the food and made the arrangements so we kept things as planned.

Monday morning, we put dinner in the crockpot and left for Salt Lake. Our first stop was my parent’s house. My aunt and uncle were in town and we had a nice lunch together. We all opened gifts and chatted for a bit before we took off for a visit with the Christensen family.

We were able to stay for a couple of hours before heading home. It snowed pretty heavily all day and we wanted to drive home while it was still light outside.

We had dinner, frosted our cookies, and piled in the front room to watch A Muppet Christmas Carol.

December 25: Christmas Day

I made our traditional Danish for breakfast. We had a nice, lazy day just playing with the kids and watching movies. I have some pictures but not a ton.

OUR 2012 RECAP!

Celebrate2012-web

Upton Christmas Party

Last Tuesday was our annual community Christmas party. There aren’t very many of us, but MAN! We love to party!

The ward took care of the dinner, but each family was to bring their favorite cookie for dessert. This was an easy one for me since there’s only one cookie I can make. Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. For the first eight years of Bethany’s life, she thought that cookies had to be eaten with a spoon. Once the timer would go off, Bethany would come tearing into the kitchen yelling to the rest of the kids to “grab a spoon! cookies are done!”. And then they’d proceed to scrape the large mass off the pan so they could eat it.

Poor things.

A few years ago, Lars started a super fun game called “Guess That Cookie”. Prize for whoever could name the cookie I just created. I’ve made Lemon Crinkles that exploded in the oven. Snickerdoodles that went UP instead of OUT. Chocolate Chip cookies that looked like little UFOs – all the chips stayed in the middle while the rest of the cookie spread to the edges of the pan. And for a few months, in a misguided effort to make cookies healthy, I started using pinto bean flour instead of regular flour. They were just as bad as you’re imagining them to be.

Here’s the recipe for The One and Only Cookie I Can Make

OatmealChocolateChipCookies

I used my phone to take pictures so I could send them to Lars – he was upset about missing it – so that’s why they’re all kind of blurry.

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Lucy made sure to save a seat for “Sister Bannette” (aka Lynette), her nursery teacher. She loves Lynette so much. They had dinner together and it was very cute.

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We did some sing-a-long stuff and there were a few performances – Max got to play his recital piece – and then Santa came!

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Lucy was hysterical. She stuck her little nose in the air and put her fist on her hip. She was really just trying to be brave, but it was so funny!

A Turn for the Better

I honestly thought we’d be gone by now. We were so optimistic about finding housing that we went ahead and packed up most of the house about three weeks ago. Something I totally regretted this week when I had to open seven boxes and move a dozen more to locate some herbs for an infection I’ve been dealing with. All while in pain and with a fever. And now I need to tackle the ginormous mess I made in the basement. Oy.

All this time, I’ve been planning for Christmas in a new house – maybe one big enough for a Christmas tree AND the furniture! – where we’d be able to put lights outside and meet the new neighbors when we take them plates of treats. It would’ve been perfect! But when the latest house fell through, Lars and I knew that we’d be spending Christmas here in Upton. I was kind of bummed.

But then I was happy. Really, really happy.

Because it’s beautiful here. And the people are incredible. Upton has been like a three-year vacation for our family after the long and difficult road through college. We needed this time away from the city and the rush rush rush and the busy busy busy. We’ve learned what real work is and what it means to really be part of a community. We’ve also had time to add two more little ones to our family and have grown closer because of it. I can’t think of a better place to be – all tucked up in these mountains.

So, yeah. I’m happy – no – thrilled that we’ll get to spend this Christmas season in Upton.

Friday night, after I’d put the kids to bed, I went down to the basement to dig out our Christmas tree.

I should say here that I LOVE fresh Christmas trees. Nothin’ better. But we made the decision to nix that as long as we live here after our disastrous experience that first year. We now have an artificial tree and pine-scented plug-ins. And we’re all happier for it.

So I managed to get the heavy box down from the highest place Lars could find to store it (ugh) and then it took me what felt like forever to drag that heavy box up the stairs. But I did it!

I was in the middle of assembling the thing when Lars got home from Vernal. So we finished it together. I really wanted the tree to be a surprise for the kids when they woke up, but I think they have little radars. They can sense when secret and exciting things are happening and they each came to get a sneak peek.

Saturday morning, we woke up, had breakfast, got ourselves ready for the day, and then set to work decorating the tree.

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Most of our ornaments aren’t fancy – they’re from a bargain bin at Party City and look like little disco balls. But they’re very durable. And can withstand drops and bangs and slobber and teething babies.

We do have several special ornaments and those are carefully unpackaged and placed high up on the tree. And when the season’s over, they’re packaged up and put away just as carefully.

My Max was named for this Max.

My Max was named for this Max.

Lars and I spent our honeymoon in San Francisco

Lars and I spent our honeymoon in San Francisco

The Christmas Season is officially here!