Monday, February 28, 2011

Seriously Spoiled

So I know I write a lot about how wonderful my Mr. Wonderful is. But I just can't say enough. He's not perfect, but he is truly perfect for me! We've gone through our tough times- marriage is hard work- but it's only made us stronger and more united as we've learned from our mistakes.

Jon has always had a serious tendency to spoil me- like almost overboard spoilage- (not that I'm complaining :)). Here's a quick explanation of how he went ALL OUT to make our recent celebrations special and memorable-

Anniversary:
Our anniversary tradition is to take a trip to a new temple each year to remember the covenants we made to each other and to the Lord. So we take turns selecting the temple and planning the accomodations. This year it was Jon's turn. So besides planning and executing a 5300 mile motorhome trip across the country (with 5 kids in tow), he also planned a trip to the Portland OR temple for us.

And he chose this charming bed and breakfast: Ok- it turns out it was originally a floating bordello (a whorehouse) that is supposedly haunted. Nice, huh? Haha! But we got a good laugh about it. And it was really was wonderful- no ghost sightings... a cozy room, fireplace, hot tub, and delicious breakfast, and we could actually sleep-in without being awakened by babies or the kids crying 'cause they wet the bed. It was just the getaway we needed to recharge our marriage and renew our closeness. Thanks to Nana and Papa Sasnett for watching the kids again to make it possible!


And here's the Portland temple surrounded by Evergreens. So beautiful, and clean, and sacred. I just love the temple and the serenity I feel there.

Then for my 30th birthday, he showered me with gifts- including a little light reading...

So I came across this article from Time magazine recently specifying the 10 greatest books of all time, and it inspired me to read all these books at least once in my lifetime. (I'm trying to become more well-read and more familiar with the classics, and I figured this would be a good start). So I mentioned my goal to Jon a few months ago- without expecting him to get them for me. It was a great surprise to unwrap them- and a little daunting.

Then he took me out to dinner and on a surprise birthday outing to see these guys perform their live improv tour!

This is Colin and Brad from "Whose Line is it Anyway?" They are absolutely brilliant! I really love clean and wholesome humor- it's hard to come by these days. I laughed so hard my cheeks hurt. I don't have a mind that works that way- so I really admire anyone who can think on their toes the way they can. A-mazing.

So if all that wasn't enough- on Valentine's Day this year, I got a special delivery- gorgeous fire and ice roses (my fave).


Then he took me out to dinner that night, and as we were enjoying a meal together, these guys surrounded our table and began to serenade me!! He hired a barbershop quartet to sing 3 romantic numbers for me! I mean, c'mon! How could I not be touched by that. It made me cry- big time.

Here I am just beaming. Love that man!!

The thing is, I really don't expect much at all. Honestly, I would be perfectly content with a card, or a hug or some small acknowledgement of our special days together. I feel seriously undeserving of his adoration- but it sure is nice!!! And I truly appreciate his efforts to make me feel special and cherished.


So Mr. Wonderful spoiled me as usual this year. Mother Nature however, wasn't so kind...


Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Gift of Music

I first started teaching Celeste piano in November when she first expressed an interest. I assumed she would be like me as a child- that I'd have to pressure and persuade her to practice- but she's totally self-motivated and she LOVES it! It's the first thing she does almost every day after school. When Nana and Papa came to visit for Thanksgiving, Celeste was thrilled to show off her newfound skill.


My children have been blessed with a rich musical legacy from the generations that came before them. It warms my heart to see them develop their own love of music. Here's Nana- the most gifted musician I know- giving her a few basic pointers.



I seriously can hardly believe how much she has learned in just a few months! I'm so proud of her for being so diligent and I'm thrilled that she's developing a gift that will bless others throughout her life. I know she will be a great example to her younger brothers and sister as they look up to her and develop their own gifts.
I hope my children always seeks to use their gifts, whatever they may be, to bless others and glorify God- He is the source of all that is good, and the giver of all gifts.

video

No Regrets

A few months ago, we found out that Jon's "Graham-cracker" was diagnosed with cancer, and that the disease had spread througout her body. Her health seemed to be deteriorating quickly, so we were all very concerned about her. We had already been considering taking a motor home trip to see our family and friends in WA, since it had been years since we had spent Christmas with them. But after hearing this news, we decided the trip was a must.


We made some unforgettable memories and truly had the time of our lives out on the open road together. In our opinion this is definitely the way to travel with young kids. Granted, it was a lot of work, planning, and expense. But I could prepare meals, play games with the kids, and take care of everybody, and even sprawl out on the bed and take a nap while Jon was driving. :) No potty breaks, no hauling around luggage, no hassling with delays and waiting in lines at the airport, etc.



We had such a wonderful time reconnecting with loved ones. And we're SO glad we took this opportunity... especially since a week and a half after we got back home, our dear Graham-cracker passed away.







Cost of Motorhome Rental: $2500



Cost of Gas: $1500


Cost to use the generator when we got stranded in a blizzard: $300


This moment in Jon's life...

Priceless.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Random Funnies

So I was in a bit of a funk the other day. I was feeling a little discouraged and upset with myself cause I was running late again... why is it that I forget something or someone has a dirty diaper every time I need to leave the house? And why does someone always have to stop by when the kids just finish trashing the living room? Anyway, so I was letting the little things get to me. And then Charity walked in like this...




I mean seriously, how could I possibly stay in a bad mood after that?! This little girl is such a hoot! I love her quirky sense of humor! Here are a few random funnies that have brightened my days recently:



Charity: Mommy, can we pwease have Roast Beast for dinner?


On Jakey's birthday, Celeste asks if she could open one of his presents. Jakey: NO! It's MY birthday boy!


Charity (At the top of her lungs): OH WHAT FUN IT IS TO RIDE IN A ONE HORSE OPEN EGG! ?

Daddy during an FHE lesson: So kids, we need to learn how the Holy Spirit speaks to us- the language of the Spirit.
Celeste: Oh, so does the Holy Spirit speak Spanish?

Charity during a prayer in the sweetest little voice: And pwease help us not to punch someone in the face.
(The girls played dress up with baby Jarom the other day, and dressed him up like this, haha!)


Charity: Mommy, I think I'm allergic to snow. You know why? My hands get fweezing when I touch it.

And you'll never guess what was on her Christmas list this year.  She asked Santa for a Liahona.  (Sorry- only Mormons will get that.)



Benny: "Can we please have some yucky charms?" (I was seriously so disappointed when he learned how to pronounce his L's.)
Benny's blessing on the food recently...
"Please bless us to drive home safely (We were already home), and thank you that Mommy made this nice dinner (Daddy brought home Boston Market that night), and please help us have a nice weekend. (It was Tuesday night) Haha!
Sometimes you just gotta laugh! I like this quote by Sister Hinckley, "The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache."
— Marjorie Pay Hinckley

Go Packers!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Christmas Traditions

(Ok, so I know it's nearly Valentine's Day, but I'm still trying to get caught up on Christmas memories! This year was such a whirlwind with our trip and everything, so I'm still about 2 months behind.) :)

Christmas is truly a magical time of year. Rich family traditions unite the family and make the season even more meaningful and memorable. I thought I'd share a few of our favorite Christmas traditions:

Each year while I was growing up, my Aunt Linda (who I admire SO much) would send a special package in November. The package would always include an advent candle and a folder filled with Christmas stories- most of which were serious tear-jerkers. I remember looking forward to this package every year. We would gather around the candle each night and my parents would read us a story while we burned the candle. Our family was very busy with musical theater rehearsals, and the usual hustle and bustle of the season, so it was really a wonderful way to help us slow down and spend some time together. I don't remember many of the stories, but I will never forget the strong spirit that was present each evening as we read. So we have continued this tradition with our own family. This year, we missed a few nights due to other activities, but that just meant we had to read longer the next night to make up for it. And we didn't let our motorhome trip stop us! We took it along with us, (and thankfully didn't burn down the motorhome.)


Then after we read the story, the kids take turns opening the Hudson service advent calendar. (I have a thing for the whole advent idea... building anticipation and excitement is SO fun for kids!) So it's nothing elaborate... just a simple act of service that is expected to be completed by the following day. Here are some examples:

Help mommy make dinner.
Draw a picture for your grandparents.
Write a thank you note for a teacher.
Pay for the person behind you at a fast food restaurant.
Shovel a neighbor's walkway (since it's pretty much guaranteed that we'll have snow here.)
Leave extra coins in a vending machine for a stranger.
Read a story to a brother or sister.
Tell each family member how much you love them.

I like how this tradition reminds us that the true spirit of Christmas is about charity- it helps us look outward and focus on serving others. I think next year I'll include a small treat in each date too... a little positive reinforcement for an act of service wouldn't hurt.


The last tradition is a new one for us. I adopted it as one of our own after hearing this poem at a Relief Society activity. I'm so thankful for inspired church leaders!


Twas the night before Christmas as I walked through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The presents had been wrapped and placed under the tree
I paused, tired, excited, and then giggled with glee.

The stockings were hanging and were beautifully filled
No one had been forgotten, though the credit card was billed.
As I looked at the scene with the stockings on the ledge.
I noticed one was empty, the one on the edge.

Where’s the Spirit of Christmas? What have I done?
The childrens stockings are all full, except for this one
It was the stocking intended for the child of Bethlehem.
The White stocking for Jesus that was hung up by them.

Of all the people at Christmas, that might be forgotten
How could I not remember the Fathers Only Begotten?
Only He had been left out of the festivities.
As we planned and prepared all, for our families.

As I pondered, I realised this just was not right!
It was His birth that was being celebrated, after this night
I resolved then and there to remember the Lord
And quickly made changes that were easy to afford.

I hung the white stocking in a special place in our home.
And corrected the atmosphere to provide a more spiritual tone.
On Christmas morning I gathered the family together
And each of us wrote on a special piece of paper,

We gave Jesus a gift which we placed in the stocking.
A sincere change of heart, not there for the mocking.
The white stocking hung in our home as a symbol for us
Of the true meaning of Christmas, the Saviour, The Lord Jesus

So take your white stocking and hang it with pride
Remember the Saviour, put his gift inside.

-Unknown


We had the opportunity to begin this tradition with our extended family on Christmas Day this year. After all the gifts had been exchanged, and things were settling down, we asked everyone to share a gift they'd like to give to our Savior, and Nana read them all aloud. It was a touching and sacred way to end the day. This was Benny's simple gift: "I love Jesus. Say Sorry."


I think it's so important with the increasing secularization of the Christmas season, that we seek to create lasting traditions for our families that bring us closer to each other and most importantly closer to Christ.

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