Saturday, December 27, 2008

More Christmas Fun

While making Christmas goodies, I had the kids stand in line to take turns, and it actually worked. Usually cooking with the kids is chaotic, but this time, they were so eager that they actually cooperated. The goodies turned out pretty good, too.
Aaron likes to wear Hannah's boots...should I be worried?

It's like living in a marshmallow world...
Christmas Eve, showing off their stockings and Santa's treat....Christmas morning, showing off their haul...We think that next year we'd like to make sure we have more family or friends to share Christmas morning with, but we (Christian and Robyn) were pleased that the kids stayed entertained all day so we could read and relax.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Nativity Photo Shoot

Christmas Eve feels like a holiday to me. I really try to do as little work as possible (oh, wait, that's everyday...) and plan on getting into the holiday spirit.
In the early afternoon we took goodies to neighbors and friends (about half of them weren't home), and then enjoyed our traditional Christmas Eve dinner of hamburgers (due to the snow, we had to grill them inside), french fries, salad, and rice pudding. Christian made a fabulous batch of rice pudding this year. Then, we had our Pagent/Photo shoot. We've reviewed the Christmas story several times this season and did our formal scripture reading last Sunday, so we decided to act it out with costumes and the whole deal.
Rachel was Mary (her stuffed bear was the baby Jesus).
Daddy alternately played a donkey, a shepherd, and a wise man.
Nathan played Joseph, a shepherd, and a wise man.
Hannah played an angel and a wise person.
(I played the photographer)
Aaron took a very short turn as a shepherd.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas past

Are you feeling festive? I'm still looking for that perfect holiday moment (it usually comes on Christmas Eve after Santa has done his thing), and I've been thinking about some of my favorite Christmases from my childhood.
Each year the kids would take turns deciding where to put the tree...and what color lights to use (Christian and I still have this debate). My favorite was to have the tree in the downstairs family room, right next to the fireplace, with white lights, so I could have that perfect Christmas Eve moment, watching a fire in the fireplace and enjoying the twinkly white lights on the Christmas tree. My brothers always wanted the tree upstairs in the family room with colored lights. Why my brothers cared where the tree went, I don't know, but its true--they did. (Christian and I compromise with red, green, and white...yellow and blue just don't have anything to do with Christmas!) The worst was when my younger brother got old enough to care, and my Mom would let him put lights wherever he wanted. One year he covered the fireplace with a multi-colored light strand--I felt like nothing was sacred. And then there was the year we used Christmas lights to spell "spam" in our bedroom windows....("sp" in Brian's window, "am" in mine)
I remember the year we got our Nintendo system--the original Nintendo. We played a lot of Ninja Turtles and Dr. Mario (but I don't think we were very good at Ninja Turtles--I certainly wasn't). From then on, a big part of my Christmas mornings were spent watching my brothers play video games. I always liked watching more than playing. I also remember the year I got the complete boxed set of Anne of Green Gables, plus the Emily of New Moon books. Christmas without books just isn't complete, in my opinion.
As we got older, my brother and I spent Christmas Eve playing Santa. Mom would usually try to take a nap after the younger kids had gone to bed, and Brian and I wouldn't trust her to wake up and get it all done in time (one year, we woke up before she had finished wrapping presents....don't let her know that we remember that). We really enjoyed setting the presents out, even writing a letter to the kids from Santa and stamping boot-prints all over the floor around the tree (using soot from the fireplace). We would even take time to take the sound chips out of particularly obnoxious toys before our siblings got their hands on them.
I particularly remember the Christmas I was in 6th grade. That year, as with most years, we didn't have a whole lot of money, but at our ward Christmas party they announced that they would be adopting families to do Secret Santa for, and I really wanted to do that. My parents were very reluctant. I think my Mom knew that we were on the list to be Secret Santa family ourselves, and I heard Dad say that he didn't think he should be doing that kind of thing when he didn't have enough money for his own family. I really wanted to, and I got my way. I think we only actually bought one or two things for them...really, we just served as a collection spot for other families to bring things they had purchased for the needy family. But we also got to deliver the goodies, and that was what I was most excited about. My Dad went with me...and as I recall, he wasn't very happy about it. The family was a single Mom and her 5 or 6 year old daughter. After we brought in the first load, she said thank-you and gave us a plate of cookies. We told her that we weren't done yet. We brought in load after load of stuff--wrapped presents, a garbage bag of un-wrapped "Santa" things, food, and a laundry basket full of household things. Remember, none of this actually came from me, I just got to give it. By the time we were done, the Mom was in tears. I was just having fun. And my Dad was really quiet. I don't think you can have experience like that without being affected. That year, we probably were on the receiving end of some other families Secret Santa project--we usually were. But I'm so glad I could give a little, too.
Lately, we try to keep Christmases small and be grateful for the things we have. Its been fun to go over (and over and over) the Christmas story with the kids and see them starting to catch on. What are some of your favorite Christmas memories?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Happy 7th Anniversary!

7 years seems like really long time..but when I think about all that has happened in the last 7 years, I can't believe we've had time for it all.
I spent this evening scanning in a bunch of photos from our dating/engagement/wedding (pre-digital camera) and thought I'd share.
Anyone remember these things? My very diligent home-teacher taught my apartment how to play a hymn for ward prayer by banging these hollow tubes on our heads.Before we were dating, Christian and our friend, Joey, came to Washington to visit my friend, Joy, and me. One year later, both couples were married.The night Christian proposed, he enlisted his younger sister, Bethany, and brother, Peter, to be our servers at a dinner for us and our friends.Our engagement photo:Halloween during our engagement: Tony the Tiger and his Frosted Flake (so many uses for that Tigger suit--so sad we can't find it!)Outside Mt. Timpanogos Temple with our family and friends (on a very cold day...
With Christian's parents (who were kind enough to share their anniversary with us)With my family...gee, he's kind of tall, isn't he?Shotgun wedding....Just kidding--that's my nephew, SpencerOpening presents--I included this picture because it would embarrass Bethany (love the braided pigtails) and because I love Christian's mother, who did so much for us as we planned our wedding day, and just because she's amazing. (For those who don't know, she passed away about 4 years ago.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Husband Tag

Thanks, Catherine, for the tag. This is especially good timing, because he is out of town and I can say whatever I want.

5 things Christian loves:
1. me, of course
2. cheese, cooking, and cooking with cheese
3. politics and online news sources
4. learning about things--although he is already an expert on most topics (just ask him, he'll tell you its true), he loves to hunt down information and understand how things work and how things happen
5. witty comments and attention (mostly from me, but when he's in a good mood he loves to get a good laugh)
can I add #6? Himself (Hey, Green family...isn't his theme song-- "Whenever I hear the sound of my voice, or look at my great physique/whenever I hear my marvelous wit, or the wisdom displayed when I speak/Whenever I think a brilliant thought that never occurred before/ I know why I'm here in this beautiful world/ I am here for mankind to adore")

5 things on his to-do list:
1. Visit neighbors in Shelby, NC (where he is currently traveling for work)
2. Clean out the drier vent (so we don't have to run the drier twice for every load)
3. start training for the 1/2 marathon he wants to run this Spring (there, now I've made it public, so you have to follow through!)
4. shovel snow in the driveway (oh, he's gone so I had to do that...)
5. ummm...I used up more than 5 on the last question...

5 Snacks he loves:
1. cheese
2. diet soda
3. "raid the fridge" cheese
4. Andes mint cookies
5. vanilla ice cream

5 things you may not know about him:
1. He enjoys watching romantic/classic movies (when we first met, he begged me for months to watch the Pride and Prejudice miniseries)
2. He is very musical. He likes to arrange music and sing, wishes he could play the piano better and could still play the string bass, and served as ward choir director when we lived in Provo (and did an amazing job)
3. He wants to own his own business someday...and have it work better than it did the last time we tried that.
4. He enjoys woodworking and helped build his Father's kitchen cabinets and those of a friend
5. He went to real Kindergarten--in Germany, where, like Hannah, he started when he was 4

5 places he's lived:
1. Alabama
2. Utah (Salem, Provo)
3. Germany (military base)
4. Mountain Home, Idaho (military base--why else would anyone live there?)
5. Budapest, Hungary (mission)
there are more, but I'm only supposed to say 5...

5 quirky things about him:
1. he likes to pick me up and throw me around the house--just to make me squeal
2. he likes to be cold
3. when he holds his arms out straight, I fit underneath his arms (he picked a short girl--I'm armpit height)
4. he has a 7-foot arm span
he cut off the tip of his finger while he worked Housekeeping at a hospital (they re-attached it, but its still dead on the end...)

5 people to tag:
Jennie Johnson

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A few more things...

'Tis the season for...finally decorating my house! I am very reluctant to spend money on stuff for my home. Not because I don't want to--or because I don't know what to get--no, simply because once I start buying for my home, I'll never stop. So for now, I'm trying to make the best of what I already have, a design skill I learned from my Mom. Just after we moved here, my lovely children ruined the frames we used for our family pictures and a special finger painting Christian and I had done on a date soon after we were married (and had it framed a matted, just for fun). That sort of de-railed my plans for decorating my home. But finally....
I hung my star where it was always supposed to go...and hung a mirror (another hand-me-down, and something I don't necessesarily love) and swag (wedding present--has seen better days) where the star used to hang, and actually dusted (who knew dusting would actually make a difference?). This little peice of wall used to remind me of all that I had yet to do with my home. Now, even though it isn't exactly how I'd like it to be, it makes me happy to know that I've done something, and for no cost).
Here are a few more holiday crafts--
the stockings I made before Nathan was born...and I just finished one for spiffed up entry hall (I just might leave the red berries up all year--I just love them!)I still need to get some furniture for my entry...but I don't have anything around the house that will suit the purpose, so that will have to wait for now.
P.S. I'll know I'm an expert blogger when I can post super-nice pictures..but for now, sorry that the pictures are dark and maybe oddly colored...)

Daniel Deronda

For those of you who are Jane Austen and Masterpiece Theater fans, may I suggest watching Daniel Deronda (its on Netflix Watch Instantly, too!). Christian watched it and recommended it to me--its very interesting, very well done. Not quite as chick-lit-flick-ish; its somewhere between Dickens and Austen, probably. I'd recommend it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Homemade, Hand-me-down Christmas

When I go too long without blogging, I forget what I like to write about. So sorry for being somewhat MIA.
We finally decorated our tree. One of my favorite things about the holiday season is having the opportunity to make stuff. I have never been in a Relief Society that has done a crafty Super Saturday, but I'd love to....I'd be willing to move again just to go to one of those. In the meantime, I do my own thing. Here are my latest ornaments... my young women said they looked like fungus.And some of my favorites from the past few years...Several years ago I made this snowman advent calendar. This year, rather than put a piece of candy in each pocket (and have the kids fight over it), we put one Christmas activity in each pocket. That way, we have something Christmas-y to do everyday...and its mostly working.
I love this wire art hanger (from Pottery Barn Outlet) it is somewhere between Thanksgiving turkeys, winter snow flakes, and Christmas pictures.One thing I've learned from these projects--they have to be done out of love. In the past I've tried to do homemade projects to save money, but its rarely cheaper to do things on my own, and the projects are rarely as cute or nice looking as store bought things. I do projects because I enjoy doing them.
We are sticking to a rather tight budget this year. I've been very thankful for hand-me-downs. I just pulled out some 4T things for Nathan, all hand-me-downs, and I love it cuz I don't think I'll have to buy him anything this winter (and the stuff is in great condition--he's such a cutie in his new stuff!). My friend Jessica passed along some toys we plan on giving Christmas morning (blocks, doll, leap pad...). How cheap am I? I hope someday I can pass along things after my kids are done with them, but I'm not sure anything will survive the four of them! I do love knowing that kids' things, whether I've bought them or just used them, have been well worn, well used and well loved.
Happy Holidays! Are you in the mood yet?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

That's my man

Christian is a computer gamer. He likes Civilization, Command & Conquer, and others I don't keep track of. But lately, he has a new obsession. Last night he stayed up past 11:00 playing...Webkinz (his excuse--earning Hannah lots of Kinz Cash--over$1100). He's been buying her new games and searching around to find out which games award the most money. He and Hannah have spent hours playing battleship (excuse me, Bathtub wars).

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Just looking for a good time...

(This is the last of the Thanksgiving posts--next time I'll have something of more general interest)
In other massive family vacation news, we had Aunt Alexia watch the kids while we old married folk To Best Buy (and sampled the Wii), Walmart, and Sam's Club. Then on Saturday, we finally saw Twilight! Christian wanted to go the opening weekend (for his birthday), but we postponed, got a babysitter, and went with Jonathan and DeAnn. We all agree, it was pretty good. I liked it better than I liked the trailers, and maybe even better than the book in parts. Very fun.

Our favorite activity was our game nights. Back when we lived in Provo, we used to have great family nights playing Rook, Canadian Cabbage, Rummikub, and others with all the siblings or Grandma Noble. We missed have Daniel and Jeni (well, we sort of missed them....they cheat!), but we always have a good time. (We found a new favorite game night treat: Nestle break and bake chocolate lovers' cookie dough, baked a little more than halfway, served warm with a scoop of Dreyer's slow churned caramel ice cream. Divine.) Hoopla is a favorite, and we combined three Rook decks to make a Great Dalmhudi deck, and we played Alexia's strip game (as in, strips of paper), and 5 Things, but perhaps our favorite game was If, Then.
Here's how to play: Pass out paper and pencils to everyone playing. Write "What if..." and something about one of the people in the room. For example, "What if Christian changed all the poopy diapers for the rest of the week?" Then randomly pass the papers around and have someone else answer the question with "Then...". Example: "Then Robyn would put out an APB for her real husband."
To play the game, have one person read their If question, and have the person sitting next to them read the then statement. Sound simple? It is...but it gets really crazy. Here are some of our favorites:
(I'm still trying to make sense out of our papers...sorry guys, I should have done this while we were together)
What if... Christian was secretly a drag queen?
Then...The look in the mirror more often and smile more.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cousin Craziness

I love getting all these kids together. They may not see each other very often, but they play so well together. The big kids were into Star Wars and Kung Fu, Webkinz and their game, "Cute King Isaac," who gave commandments like, "No Killing" (A generally good rule to live by). The little people played cars dress-up, horses, wrestling...and mostly just got along.
Here's the fort they built togetherBonding with Aunt AlexiaPlaying with toothbrushes in the bathroom (makes you wonder where those toothbrushes have been....)Smothering the babies Taking 12 kids to the librarymaking chocolate covered pretzels (they were supposed to be sent to Peter--but, oops! they didn't last very long)Bonding with cousins they don't see very often

What I learned from Thanksgiving

We had a full and crazy house for Thanksgiving. In addition to our visiting family (Adam and Jennie + 4 kids from Boston, Jonathan and DeAnn + 4 kids from Milwuakee, and Aunt Alexia from D.C.), Christian invited his co-worker and family--an extra 4. More than the added people, the real difficulty was that they were vegetarian. We really didn't realize just how much meat and meat products go into Thanksgiving! Whe knew that Jell-o wasn't Veg? We had to make two kinds of stuffing, two kinds of sweet potato caserole (marshmellows aren't veg), and we had to make a grocery-store run early in the morning when we realized mousse (for chocolate mousse pie) wasn't veg (and neither is pumpking pie). Then, of course, it turned that they aren't strict vegetarians and don't mind egg in only the sweet potato pie and jell-o wouldn't have worked. They brought some indian dishes--basmati rice, chick peas, and some spinach thing that Christian loved. Really good food. The best thing about having company over is that we actually behaved better--we cleaned house, showered, and had a calmer dinner that if it had just been family. Next time, we think we'll do Thanksgiving a little mac and cheese for the kids and we'll eat after all the kids are in bed...we might even go for Papa Murphy's rather than all the fuss of turkey and trimmings...we'll see.
Here's the tabel set-up--we were so glad we actually had room in our kitchen to seat so many people (do you like the High School Musical and Transformers table cloths? That's how I decorate!).