Monday, December 30, 2013

Merry Christmas!

What a wonderful Christmas week we have had!

We did end up having a White Christmas - yea! - but it was a foggy White Christmas!
Here's us going shopping!  (I'm working on being playful - ha ha).

On Monday we went shopping for so long that we had to stop in at Taco Bell.  We had a good laugh over this arrangement of "hot sauce" sayings:
Will you marry me?
Why say no when you can say yes?
If you never do, you'll never know.
It only gets hotter from here.
Things just got real.

Mary and I had the privilege of running into these great people in one of the stores!
David and his two sisters, Alicia, Lorena, Libby and Jose Roberto!
Jose just got back from his mission six days ago.  He served with Joseph in the Utah Ogden mission.  He said he spent a day working with Joseph, and that Joseph was a great, hard-working missionary.  This family was in the Spanish branch wish us five years ago.  So fun to see them again!

Christmas Eve found Jesse and Peter out in the snow!

We had the Spanish Elders over at 3 pm for an early serving of Pozole, because they had so many homes to visit that day.  Our official Pozole dinner began around six pm.
After that, we went out and delivered our friend gifts and did some caroling.  It wasn't the right time for it, and resolved never to do that again.  Then it was time for the Nativity Scene!  I already had a good cry over Joseph not being there to be "Joseph".  So Peter had to step into the role!
And Mary, of course, stepped into her role nicely, as she always does.
Jesse was the angel, as she always is, and the Inn Keeper and Wiseman too.
Libby was the shepherd and the Wiseman.
The little robe that used to fit the kids for the shepherd is a little too small these days!

Bruce read the story.

So "Joseph" took Mary to Bethlehem on a donkey (oh yeah - Libby was the donkey too!).
And there was no room at the Inn.
Until a place was provided.
And Mary brought forth her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes.
And there were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night.  And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them.

For behold, unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ, the Lord.

And then the Wisemen came.

What a beautiful story!  It makes me very happy that our children still love to act it out.

And then - Dad found some presents from Santa!

I love these pajama pictures.  They are my favorite every year!  And here's one more.  I didn't get any new pajamas (have enough!), but I still like the picture.

Christmas Day was fun fun fun!
Opening presents went a lot faster this year with only six of us!
And then the BEST part of the day - talking to our missionaries!  Joseph reached us first on FaceTime.
He showed us the blue skies outside, which make him so happy.  He loves the sunshine, even the heat, in Argentina!
I love this picture of Bruce and I.  We love our boys!!
Then Josh Skyped us later in the afternoon, and we were able to have both boys on briefly.  The whole family together (albeit electronically)!
We struggled with slow bandwith, so finally Joseph had to get off (wrenching).  But then we got a few minutes just with Josh.  Wonderful!!

He bore his testimony to us in Spanish and it blew me away.  It was tangibly different than his testimony a year ago at this same time.  And the one last year was wonderful!  But the power and authority, and plainly the Spirit, that accompanied this testimony was a witness to the change that comes over a missionary as he serves diligently and faithfully.  This is definitely the best Christmas present - to speak with our boys and see their happiness and growth!

Yesterday, Tori and Tyner, who have been hanging still, even though Erica left, arranged a dinner with us, their two families, and Erica's family.  (These are all dear friends of ours anyway).  We had a soup and bread potluck dinner.  What a great idea!  We thoroughly enjoyed having them over!  I snapped this shot of Tyner and his brother Ross, who are friends with Josh.  They both looked really good!  Ross is serving in the Army, and Tyner will be going back to BYU-I in January.
Well, we've had a very Merry Christmas!  Looking forward to the New Year!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Wonderful Christmas Concerts!

Libby had a Piano Recital this week!  It was at the home of our dear friends Laren and Caralee.  Libby played Joy to the World, and then asked Jeff if she could play "Waiting", a song that Jesse composed in 8th grade.  Libby played it beautifully!  Later, Jeff told me, "She is really a performer.  She was completely at ease up there performing that piece."  I thought so too!  Afterwards, I took this picture for Joseph. 
These are two of his favorite people on the planet - Devin and Lysse.  It's always so fun to be in Laren and Caralee's home.  I was sitting on this same couch, listening to all the beautiful Christmas music, watching Jay and Leah and their family (the cousins of this family) who were right in front of us, and at one point Mindy put her arms around Austin's neck and looked over his shoulder in wonder at the Christmas tree and the lights.  She was so beautiful, and the setting so perfect that I was filled with joy - peaceful and happy from the top of my head to the tips of my toes -  I was so grateful to be there and enjoy such a moment.  I didn't get a picture of Libby at her recital, unfortunately!

Mary's Choir concert was the next night! 
Libby on the way in
Peter - selfie while waiting to get in
Some of Jesse's best friends from her Senior year of High School - Holli and Brianna
Mary sang "Battle of Jericho" with the Madrigals, and then they sang the rest of their songs with the Nordic Choir.  Because of their performance with the local college at the beginning of the month, they didn't have time to prepare any Christmas music of their own, so they enjoyed singing with Nordic!

Then it was time for Show Choir!  They started out with the traditional "Once Upon a December" from Anastasia.  Mary's friend Hailey got to be the main character.

This is such a beautiful number - they do it every year, and I never get tired of seeing it.

Next, they did a number to "Eye of the Tiger".  I like this one of Mary!
Finally, they ended with "In the Mood".  Mary was front and center for this one, with Will, who is also on her Ballroom Dance Team.

Half of the fun on this dance was to wear the dresses in which you can shake and shimmer.  Haha!  Mary's friend Nicholas came to the Recital to see her, and also his cousins.

The next night (yes - a concert four nights in a row) was Peter and Libby's band concert!

Both of them did a great job at their concert!

Peter is front and center in the Santa Hat.
Peter also had a Choir Concert on Thursday night, but I missed that because on I drove down to Utah that day to pick up Jesse and go to The Frying Pan at 3 Key Elements in Salt Lake.  I was able to do a Raindrop for Jesse's friend Clarissa on Thursday night.  I stayed at Gale's condo, which is super condo, and then went to Frying Pan on Saturday.  This was a great experience, and Ann Washburn, the trainer, helped me figure out that I need to play!  Play like a child.  Doing this is practicing the creative process.  I need that!  I had a fun dinner with Lorna Kay on Friday night at Texas Roadhouse, even though I was supposed to be Christmas shopping.  Eating out was a lot more fun!

On Saturday morning I did two Foot Zones and also a Balance.  It's exciting to have a clientele building up in Utah!  Our drive home was  fun - Jesse was determined to make me "play".  ha ha  She started beat boxing and I had to rap.  "I am Lorena...  we are on the road... to Boise..."  It didn't end up very well.  She laughed and laughed.  I told her not to mock my creative process, but I was laughing too. ha ha

 The night we came home, Brighton came over to practice a song with Jesse, and Jill came to visit too.  I had to get a shot of these three college girls home for Christmas Break!

Yesterday we had our Ward Christmas Program.  Bruce, Mary, Peter, Libby and I all sang in the choir, and I accompanied the choir singing The First Noel.  Jesse joined in on O Come, O Come Immanuel, and then she accompanied the choir singing Handel's Hallellujah Chorus!  I got to conduct that, which every year is an absolute thrill!  Our little ward choir swells in numbers, and we definitely have the angels to sing with us!  It is amazing!

We started our Book of Mormon Reading Challenge last night!  Last year we read the whole Book of Mormon in two weeks after Joseph challenged us to do the same thing he had done in one of his classes.  It was such a good experience that we decided to do it again!  We popped some popcorn and went upstairs by the fireplace and listened to it at 1 1/2 x speed from Gospel Library.  I gave Peter and Jesse a Foot Zone during it.  Wow, I do love the Book of Mormon.  I love it!  Such great stuff - applicable in every way to our life in 2013.

We've also been doing our Twelve Days of Christmas project all week.  That has been SO FUN!  It is such a great part of our family tradition.  Bruce has been pulling the e-break in the snow a little too often on our way over there, but other than that....  it's been fun.  ha ha ha
Well, two more days until Christmas!!  Yeah!!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Recitals and Parades!

Libby's Winter Dance Recital was this week.
She is on the front at the far right. 
She danced beautifully!

Peter and Libby also marched with the Middle School Band in the Christmas Parade!  Peter played the saxaphone and Libby played the flute.  They stayed pretty warm because they were marching, all except for their fingers!

We happened to run into our friend Marci, who went with us on Trek, and we had fun standing by her and her daughter Isabel during the parade.  Mary was on a date with Nicholas, so it was just Bruce and I.  That was weird.  Not the part about it being just Bruce and I.  The weird part was that this was a "family" occasion, and it was just the two of us.  Again. weird!

The highlight of the parade, besides the band, was a big wagon pulled by two big black Shire horses.  Man, that was something else!  It reminded us of Willard and Ethyl who had Shires, also.  Beautiful horses!

Mary looked gorgeous on her date with Nicholas.

They went to Nicholas' Winter Formal.  (He doesn't go to our high school, which is a good thing - ha ha).  She had a fun time!

I taught a class on the 12 Oils of Ancient Scripture last night!  There were 13 people there and it was a really enjoyable evening.  I set out crackers and cheese, summer sausage, and Karen's Healthy Fudge.  Bruce made some delicious wassail from our own apple cider, and that was delicious!  We had some great insights come up through the discussion.  I am grateful to have these wonderful essential oils that give us so many benefits and blessings.

Jesse played for her juries on Friday and did well!  She felt good about her performance!  What a relief.  She has worked SO HARD to be able to play well for these juries (and that is an understatement).  She played a Chopin something or other (that's embarrassing - I really need to find out) and a Mozart Sonata.  Way to go Jesse!

We also started the 12 Days of Christmas for a local family.  We went tonight and Peter was our stealth man.  We parked the car away from the house, and Mary was watching through the binoculars and texting him about when to go up to the door, etc.  When it was time to go pick him up, we couldn't find the keys.  (How do you loose them in that short of a time?  I don't know, but it was Bruce driving, not me.)  We texted that to Peter and he wrote back.  "Ha ha.  Wow. "  Oh man, we had a good laugh over that.  We did find the keys, but not before the "get away" car's reputation was seriously damaged.

I hope you are enjoying this wonderful Christmas season!