Wednesday, December 19, 2012

christmas in our town

The 5th grade put on a "December in Our Town" play, and showed some of the traditions from the different religions here in The Swamp. They included Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, a Mexican fiesta, a manger scene, and a rockin' santa number.

Ethan was a Jewish boy and danced the Hora while he wore a Yamaka and a Santa scarf.

Then he got to play one of the inn keepers in the manger scene (in the video, he's the one in green and blue).

When he danced the Hora, he was on the back row at the very left, and you can only see him when they move back and forth.

Enjoy his two festive scenes, and have a happy hanukkah and christmas!
And totally ignore the misspelling of "Holidays" at the end of the video. It's there for keeps ...

Friday, December 14, 2012

we need a little christmas

Just thought I'd share some of our Christmas traditions with you:

 This photo snow globe has a picture of grandpa hiking in the grand canyon.
He and grandma gave us the globe several years ago.
We stuck that picture in because it was handy
and we wanted to see what something inside the snow globe would look like.
We never thought to take it out and put a different picture inside.
Now it's just part of our tradition to look at grandpa's snow globe, I guess.

Our Christmas tree is full of tradition.
We add things to our tree (as long as they are red, gold, or silver, usually) that have meaning to our year or our lives.
Chris's boss used to give us a new ornament at the Christmas work parties each year.
Believe is one of my favorites.

 This was an ornament from my family's tree when I was little.
I loved staring at those kids in their hard wooden bed and wonder what it was like to be them.
I also have some shabby loved Raggedy Ann and Andy ornaments,
but everyone thinks they're creepy and they always end up in the back of the tree
where nobody can see them.

 When the Olympics came to Utah in 2002, Chris was heavily involved with it through his job.
So involved he was almost never ever ever home.
But because of that, we earned some great memories.
We got to meet amazing people and go to unique events.
My mom found this little golden decoration with the mascots for me.
I love that little ornament.

 A few years ago Chris's dad built a cabin.
He studied our plans in architecture books, he helped draw up the plans, and he even helped build it.
He and Grandma attached the key to a rabbit pinecone ornament and wrapped it in a fancy box.
The cabin is one of our favorite places in the world, and the kids smile when they hang it on the tree.

 Our time in The Swamp has given us a whole bunch of new memories,
so we hung a few seashells on the tree to help us remember our time here.

Josh (who is playing with his new Christmas train here) is too young to remember many of the stories that go with nearly all of our ornaments, but someday they'll mean something to him, if we tell the stories every year. Whether he likes it or not...

This holiday post is coming from someone who hates decorating for any holiday. But now that our kids are big, they put the ornaments on the tree and I sit back and listen to them.
"Hey I remember this one!"
It makes me smile.

Now these two random pictures are just for fun. Chris's mom sent us a package with the train (in Josh's picture), and some goodies, and this nightlight. Unfortunately, all of the outlets in our apartment were installed upside down. So santa gets to hang there until January, when we'll relieve him of his duties.
His upside down-ness will be another holiday tradition as long as we live here.

And Ashley loves trying out new hair styles. She wanted me to make this bow-bun we saw on Pinterest. Totally easy and pretty cute. Maybe it will become a holiday tradition, too...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

a cub scout cake

The same night we had YW in Excellence, the scouts had a cake-decorating contest. We were supposed to bring a cake that Ethan decorated himself, with a scout theme.

Being the creative kid he is, he wanted something unique. So he eventually decided to make scouts hike up a mountain. It was pretty cool.

 I like how these guys seem to be having a hard time deciding how to get up the last portion of the really big mountain (which happens to look a lot like Darth Vader's helmet).

Here's the award winning recipe (Ethan won the Most Popular Cake award), if you ever want to make your own cub-scout-hiking-up-a-mountain cake (or a Darth Vader helmet, I guess...)

*a box of spice cake mix
*a small can of pumpkin
*dark chocolate frosting
*crushed oreos

Mix the cake mix and pumpkin together until there aren't any lumps. Put a little of the mix in a Corelle cereal bowl (or one that can go in the oven), and the rest in a round casserole dish. Cook at 350* until a butter knife comes out clean. It was about a half hour for the small cake, and over an hour for the larger cake.

Cool, then arrange your layers however you want them. Then frost the cake and sprinkle cookie crumbs all over the cake, making sure to press them down so they don't cause a rock slide later. Don't forget to add your Lego scouts.

Cut, eat, enjoy! Just make sure to not swallow any Lego scouts while you're at it. I hear they are a choking hazard.

Get your Shiny on!

This past Wednesday we had our YW in Excellence program. We wanted to end the year thinking about the 2012 theme Arise and Shine Forth, so we decided to do an Oscar-type awards show. What better way to shine than to be stars, right?
I was the host, Chichi Stumpenmeyer (a name Ethan made up when he was 2).
You may have seen me in the fabulous film, Chichi loves to Chacha?
It was a classic.
My hair that night was sponsored by Bump-it.

My prom dress seems to have shrunk since HS, so I wore it like an apron, on top of my clothes.
It made me look as good as when I was in the marvelous movie, Chichi eats a Churro.
I'm sure you've seen me in that one.

 One of my amazing counselors made these vases for the girls.

 She and one of the young women also made the cake.

 We had a little "bubbly" to celebrate the stars.
 We also had our own walk of fame, with sparkling names and a glittery red carpet.

My secretary decorated the room, keeping it simple and elegant, and she made these glittering headbands for us to give to the girls instead of trophies.

I made a video of the girls as part of the awards show. We borrowed the church projector and showed it on The Big Screen. The girls were good sports and answered silly get-to-know-you questions with quick humor. My favorite part was that they each bore sincere testimonies about personal progress and the Book of Mormon on the video. It was beautiful.

After the "awards" part of the show, I read parts of Elaine Dalton's talk, Now is the Time to Arise and Shine, and also Elder Holland's talk, To the Young Women, where he talks about true beauty and the challenges girls face in the world today.

Our YW group is small, but they are amazing people. They already know how to arise, shine and sparkle, and I'm so happy I get to watch them grow into even more amazing women.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Thanksgiving part 3 -- aka The Beastly Beach

After checking out the sea turtles, we went to a nearby beach to play. 
Unfortunately the flag was red, warning us that the waves were dangerous. So we decided to hang out on the rocks and sand, and not get too wet.

 This picture makes it look like a gray, cloudy day. But as you can see in the other pictures, it was sunny with blue skies all around. But lots of wind and mist and waves crashed into the rocks.

After a while, the waves crept farther onto the skinny beach. And they crashed higher. Without warning, one giant wave splashed over the rocks and nearly washed away our chairs and beach things and my sister's 4-yr old! We packed up and ran off the beach. Even though it was low tide, the water was already covering the first few steps to get off the beach.

It traumatized the kids. They were scared about almost being washed away. So we ate lunch and played on the playground on the other side of the hill, by the beach parking lot until they dried off and calmed down a little.

This is the note we found later...
So I guess that was our last beach trip ever.

But think about the memories we made -- our kids will always say, "remember that Thanksgiving when we got sucked into the ocean by a rogue wave?" And we'll all chuckle and nod.
Good times!

Thanks for letting us visit you, Merryberry googenheimer.
It was a great Thanksgiving, despite nearly losing our beach chairs, sand toys, and Benjamin...

Thanksgiving part deux: checking out the sea turtles

While we were down in southern Florida with my sister's family for Thanksgiving, they took us to a rescue center for sea turtles.  
 Did you know once baby sea turtles hatch they waddle to the water and look for seaweed, where they hide for several years as they get bigger and stronger? These tubs are filled with seaweed and cute baby turtles hiding in it.

 The kids loved looking at the rescued turtles through the windows of the tanks. One turtle was missing a front and back leg, but managed to swim around despite his disability.
 Approximately only one turtle out of the bunch of hatched eggs lives to reach reproducing age. So Marlin had every right to be worried about Crush's offspring, when Crush says, "The little dudes are just eggs, we leave 'em on a beach to hatch, and then, coo-coo-cachoo, they find their way back to the big ol' blue."

This picture made me laugh, not only because of Josh's fish face, but because we didn't know we were standing in order by height. Although I do see a few tip-toes going on.

While you're checking out rescued turtles, don't forget to see the mermaids with two colors of hair, and scuba divers with one hand. Totally worth the drive.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Thanksgiving with merryberry googenheimer part 1

I didn't post this earlier because my blogger account ran out of picture space. I've been trying to figure out what I wanted to do about it. For now I'll post with Chris's gmail account (after this last post, of course).

Anyway, my sister's family was nice enough to throw a huge Thanksgiving feast for us this year. Even though we've seen each other plenty since we both moved to the swampy south, we haven't celebrated Thanksgiving together for at least 6 years.

They live almost 5 hours south of us, but it was still a freezing 70* or so this weekend. Brrr....
 The next day they took us on a nice long walk before the feast. Thanks to Grandma, these cute girls got to wear matching shirts. I'm glad they're still at the age where they aren't embarrassed to show up wearing the same outfit someone else is wearing.

 We ran walked around the nature preserve, and it was windy and cold enough nobody complained about being hot or tired. They even climbed up to the top of the lookout tower without a single whine.

As you can see from Josh's "Justin Bever" heart-hand pose, he really loved being up there looking down on the world. Andrew had to do a double take to make sure Josh wasn't really Justin Bever. Luckily neither of them actually know who Justin Bever is.

 I just realized that Clark took this picture, and neither the host nor the hostess was actually in the picture with the feast they worked so hard to make. But Maryann (aka Merryberry googenheimer, or Mo in some circles...) did break out the family heirloom fine china for the adults. The kids upgraded from plastic plates and cups to Corelle dishes. Maybe in a few years they can use our ancestors' fine china, too.

and here's a picture to show you things to come in the next post...
(Chris is so in love with me, he can't even keep his eyes open!)