Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Eve

We opened new pajamas.

We made homemade pizzas.

Ben's delicious pepperoni and olives.

Jake's pizza face-I love the bacon hair.

Rachel's heart pizza.

Dave's masterpiece-which was the most delicious of all.

We read the Christmas story from the scriptures and used the ceramic nativity to re-enact it.
We danced to Christmas music.

We gave thanks for the birth of our Savior and another spectacular year with our family. Then we slept like babies while visions of sugar plums danced through our heads.

Christmas Season Procrastination

People often mention that Rachel and I look a lot alike. I think it's sweet that my little girl looks like me when I was little. I realize it will probably not always be true so I enjoy it now.

This post proves that she is like Dave in a very concrete, undeniable way--she knows and embraces the art of procrastination.

On December 23rd Rachel, Dave and I were at the mall for Dave's last minute shopping and for Rachel and Dave to get hair cuts. Rachel was watching Santa from behind the fence as we have done many, many times this Christmas season when she announced that she MUST sit on his lap. We have been to the mall since Santa has been camped out there no less than 20 times. Each time she would stare from afar and tell me that she was NOT going to sit on his lap. But at 6pm on December 23rd she decided she must see him up close and personal.

Now the line was winding around the mall and I was ready to go home. Rachel threw a fit as only she can do, chanting over and over again while crying inconsolably, "but I want to see him."

Some of you may not have any children who can throw mind-boggling fits, I was in your ranks until Rachel arrived, but this was one to make note of..."but I want to, but I want to." Relentless and very loud.

I got her to the car and distracted her somehow and said that maybe in the morning we could try to come back to see Santa. Little did I know that she would awaken on Christmas Eve morning and ask to go to the mall right away. She's my baby so what could I say? We'll go to the mall, right? No big deal. We'll see Santa and then have the rest of the day to look forward to his visit...We arrived at 10:20 expecting to be near the front of the line only to find that 30 families were ahead of us and Santa wasn't due to arrive until 11am. Uh oh. Rachel is not the most patient person alive. Dave rescued us after he finished at the skate park and brought some lemonade. We made it to see THE MAN where she asked for a puppy dog and swimming baby. No surprises there-whew. We were out of there by 12:30.

Little did we know that she would be so thrilled with the gifts she asked for and received from the big guy. She actually knew what she wanted and was not just influenced by TV commercials. I never knew how many people wait to see Santa on December 24th. That was crazy but worth it. I sure love her in spite of her procrastinating ways! (The tantrums I could live without.)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Don't get shocked

The energy in our house is downright electric. I can't say I remember having things so keyed up before (as a parent) so early in the week. Since Sunday the kids have been absolutely giddy. The packages continue to arrive from our beloved family and Amazon. Treats are being delivered from our friends and neighbors. All the while we're baking and wrapping up a storm. It's really quite exciting. I'm hoping when Christmas arrives we don't all feel disappointed...but of course that's just silly because we've never been disappointed.

Rachel is a little skeptical of this guy. But she has asked for a swimming baby.

Dave has this whole week off (again? you might say, yes, again!). We love to have him here for all the merrymaking, plus the new skate park is officially open. That may be adding to the giddiness. He is IN LOVE with Team Pain's self-proclaimed "masterpiece".

Here we are at the grand opening ceremony on December 13. Sort of a belated birthday present to Dave from the city of Colorado Springs. Happy day.

We painted our ceramic ornaments yesterday and it was great fun. As the kids get older they appreciate more of the traditions we keep and it makes it even more special.

The favorite tradition by far though is "promises". At the start of the month I fill an advent calendar's pockets with promises of things to do or allow for that day. It takes a bit of planning and commitment in the execution but it is the kids' favorite thing in December. I try to promise things that I would like us to do anyway, like ceramics or gingerbread houses or driving to see the lights. This year's favorite promise was a trip to the grocery store where the kids could pick out 5 items each. The boys got their own cart and a spending limit. It was way better than when I have taken them in the past (this summer) and they stay with me and ask for things every ten seconds. They got to see how much their junk really costs, make some careful choices and have fun. Promises make the whole month a delight. (I have a story that goes along with the whole concept, from my mom, if anyone wants a copy.)

Oh, the love and anticipation! Electric.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cub Scouts Rule

Ben earned his Wolf badge before his 9th birthday and finally received his award at the December pack meeting. Our very own Dr. Dave is the Cub Master. This month he really went all out with planning and execution. We love his entusiasm and commitment.

He's a perfect match for these crazy eight- and nine-year-olds!
P.S. - This is my 100th post. Hugs, kisses, yelling lectures about procrastinating, stains removed, watercolors painted, footballs thrown in the house and whispers of "I love you" are the other things that have hit the 100 mark this year in our home.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

We Celebrate

In December we celebrate Dave's birthday and Jake's birthday. We also celebrate Dave's dad's birthday and my nephew's birthday and my sister's birthday. Though we don't do much to SHOW our celebration to our out-of-town loved ones we celebrate with prayers and thanksgiving and many happy thoughts sent their way. We know it's not the same as a fancy card or gift, but it's what we offer.

Some people complain about birthdays at this time of year because it's so close to Christmas but I feel lucky. Of course, Dave is impossible to buy for no matter what the occasion, so there will always be that dilemma, but I love focusing on family traditions and celebrations while I'm in the mode.

This year Jim and Sharon were here for Papa's 65th birthday. He makes qualifying for the senior discount look easy. We took them to our favorite local restaurant, Marigold's.
One of the highlights was when we ordered dessert (duh). Ben was able to enjoy creme brulee for the first time. This doesn't seem like it would be a significant event except that Ben has been saying that he wants creme brulee for a couple of years now. In fact it's his go-to answer when asked what he wants to eat almost any time. A sort of standing joke with him. "What should we make for lunch?" "Creme brulee!" He insisted we document the occasion and I'll have to admit I celebrated a little that he actually liked it after all the talk. Delicious.

For Dave's celebratory dinner we had chicken piccata and carrot cake with extra nuts and cream cheese frosting. Yum.

Here's to celebrating those we love with food, gifts, prayers, and occasional text messages.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Lots of Gingerbread Houses

Rachel is such a fun age. We went to playgroup at Lori's to make gingerbread houses and Rachel had a great time decorating hers. I couldn't believe how focused she stayed on the project. Our playgroup is full of so many darling kids. It's nice to be able to do such fun things together.

As per Newton family tradition, the next night, we decorated more houses for Dave's birthday. Dave shared with Ben this year and managed to get along nicely. We now have our own little village with candy leftover. Rachel continued to deck hers out and it now weighs as much as she does.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Renaissance Man

To honor Dave on his birthday I want to write about how terrific and diverse he is...he digs, gardens, composts, clears trees and their stumps, chops firewood, moves boulders, knows how to make me feel warm all over, pulls frontside airs, kills mice, cooks delicious Chicken Tikka Masala(and a lot of other things), researches and invests in stocks, helps with homework, plays with "a good doggie", gives amazing, thoughtful gifts, runs, swims, cleans(mostly just dishes, but what would I do if he did everything?), plays the guitar, oh, and he saves lives.
Happy 39th Birthday, David! We love and appreciate you so much.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Jake's Cell Project

Jake had to make a 3-D model of a cell for science class. As with many school projects this typically involves some help from the parents. If I didn't weigh in on these things I'm afraid of what he would destroy in the process. I'll have to admit that it is getting easier to let him do it himself since I trust him with the hot glue gun and Dave lets him use the drill. Both were employed in this project.

Can we save these for when Ben goes to 7th grade?

Friday, December 5, 2008

A little levity

The best part of this picture is the fact that I had to order online to get us all matched. I now receive emails from the "Tye Dyed Shop", and who can resist opening an email with "Tye Dye Winter Fashions 2008" in the subject line? I mean really-FASHION? Here's my favorite WINTER FASHION 2008 (Is this different from 20 years ago?):

It really just cracks me up every time I open up one of their emails. Silly, I know. So while the rest of you receive actual fashion emails from Anthropologie and Banana Republic, I'm just cracking up with my fashion advisors at the Tye Dyed Shop.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend

We started Thanksgiving with the traditional trip to the bowling alley with our ward where I managed to drop our camera and break it. Oh, man. Right before Christmas! I'm sad to say goodbye to that little guy. He's been through a lot with me.

We followed up with a trip to the movies. The kids went to see Bolt while Dave and I saw Four Christmases. It was hilarious! When we returned home I tackled dinner and the rest of the crew hit the hot tub. Followed up with some football. It was a low-key, fun-filled day. I love my family.

Dave and I did a bit of shopping on Black Friday, mostly to buy a new camera so I don't miss out on documenting our exciting Christmas season. Merry early Christmas to me. Dave and I rented Run Fat Boy Run and laughed A LOT.

Snow fell and fell so Ben went sledding with Evan. Rachel built her first snowman with Dave and went sledding for the first time. This is the part of winter we all love. It's still novel and fun and the hot chocolate really makes it all warm and wonderful when you come inside.

We visited the pool and made homemade chocolate chip cookies. We bought and decorated our tree. Grandma and Papa will arrive for a visit tonight.

Jake is being a "Scottish man" with the tree skirt, which apparently involves cursing and growling. Nice.

Ben is much more amiable in his kilt.

Devil eyes.

November continues to be my most content, peaceful time of year. "Because I have been given much, I too must give..."

Birthday Recap

I know it's been a whole month since my birthday but I am going to give a brief recap anyway.

I started celebrating early, as usual, with a package from my mom that included this fabulous wall hanging handmade with love. She sent it early so that I could enjoy it all month long. I did. Thanks, Mom!

I celebrated early in the month at breakfast with my girlfriends, lots of gifts and heartfelt wishes. Thanks, girls!

I got two cute vests. Which I will not show because I don't want to model them. Thanks Dave and Jim and Sharon! And I got an Annee original bag from Korea. Annee made this for me. Amazing--perfectly functional AND beautiful. Thanks, Annee!

M & B sent money to go out to dinner so I convinced Dave to take me to PLATE World Cuisine Restaurant. I used a coupon so I bought some new jeans with the savings. Thanks, Mertz and Bertha!
All in all, it was a celebratory month to remember. I'm a lucky, happy girl indeed. Thanks to all those who love me and make me feel special!