Monday, December 13, 2010

We Have an Elf On Our Shelf

The Elf on the Shelf has been a Tradition in our family for over 4 years.  My Mom gave us our Elf as a present. I don't 100% remember how she knew this person.  But she knew one of the authors and got us a signed copy, not that it meant anything at the time.  I think at the time the two authors had paid for the first printing and they were selling them at craft shows or something.  My mom would know.  Now they are a New York Times Best Seller at Christmas and have been  for the past several years.  Pretty cool, right?  My kids love this book and they LOVE their elf.  His name is Herman.  He Travels to the North Pole each night to tell Santa how well the kids behaved that day.  Herman comes back each morning and hides in a different spot and the kids get to find him!  We have our own little tradition with the book.  We all give Herman a kiss the first time we set him out to wake him up!  When he gets put away after Christmas we all kiss him to put him back to sleep.  Lilly swore that she felt him kiss her back.  She was soooooooo excited!!  As soon as he woke up and we put him out the kids ran and got their Christmas list to read to Herman, that way he could tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas!

I was telling a lady at church all about our elf the other day.  Apparently they have a simalar tradition with thier own elf (not the Elf on the Shelf).  But then she starts tearing up and crying because thier son turned 10 last year so they felt obligated to tell him that Santa wasn't real.  Needless to say, from what she was telling me, her son did not take it well.  And what he was most upset about was that thier family tradition of the elf wasn't magical anymore.  I could almost see her point.....she said that they decided that if they kept saying Santa was real then he would get confused becuase they also told him Jesus was real.  Apparently his childlike mind wouldn't be able to handle the complexity of the situation. Therefore it was better to destroy all the childhood magic in his life and ground him firmly in the age of 10.  I am 32.  I'm still not grounded in reality.  Her mind might have said it was right, but the tears in her eyes (even a year later) obviously tell a different story. 

I am here today to say that Santa IS real!  Think about it.  A concept, an idea, and when we act upon that concept we keep it alive. (Seriously, have a little imagination people!!)  Every year my parent's insisted that Santa was real.  Even when I was a teenager I loved to hear my Mom and Dad tell us that Santa was real.  It became tradition in our family but it also helped teach me what Christmas was really about. And what's that you ask?  It's about family,traditions, being thoughtful to others, having fun, and most important of all, the Savior!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's a Wrap!

It's that time of year again.  Tree Decorating Time! And Christmas! David asked me the other day why we couldn't just have traditional colored decorations for the tree or at the very least Christmas colored wrapping paper.  Christmas colored wrapping paper!!! That wouldn't match the tree!  Wrapping paper this year will be gold and brown foil.  The brown foil is really pretty because it has gold glitter leafs all over it.  It goes with my "Woodsy" Christmas Theme.   I did  tell him I would be more than happy to decorate the tree with traditional Christmas Colors next year.  I think I thought I saw his eye twitch a little as he quickly said "NO!  What we have is fine.  Just find something from the decorations we already have."  The response might have something to do with bringing in bin after bin (after bin) of Christmas Decorations just to have me look inside and say, "Nope, this is for a different tree.  I don't need this one.  Can you put it back please?"  David wanted to know why I had to look in all of them if I wasn't even going to use what was in them this year.  Well obviously I had to look in all of them!  I might have needed something out of one of them or been inspired to use something that was in one of them.   

David did admit that this year's decorations are his favorite out of all of them.  I think he's really going to like the red, white, and green tree that is already forming in my head for next year!  Then he can have Christmas colored wrapping paper to his heart's content!

Monday, November 1, 2010

My last day in Purgatory

I am finishing up my THIRD week of sick kids.  All three of them are home from school today because I decided they all needed one last day of rest before going back to school.  It's 3:30 and now I am wondering why I did that to myself.  It seemed so logical and sensible at the time.  One last day of rest and recuperation for their little bodies to be fully recovered before going back to a germ infested school.  Now I have three kids running around the house like a tornado because they have too much pent-up energy.  I'm taking a wild guess that perhaps they might have been well enough to go to school today.  Tomorrow can not come soon enough.

It is now 3:48.  Earth Shattering, I know.  I have just remembered I have to take dinner to one of the sisters in the ward.  I never really volunteer for these things because, seriously, nobody wants to eat what I can cook.  No false modesty here folks.  I think I did a post, or I was going to do a post on Mother's Day.  The kids bought me all this cooking gear because they thought it would "help".  But, I am one of her Visiting Teachers so exceptions to the rule must be made.  I figure I can go get her some Panera Bread for Dinner.  Who doesn't like a good sandwich and hot soup?  Way better than anything I could ever make.  At least the kids will be getting out of the house for a little bit!

Monday, September 27, 2010

How to Out-Fox a Special Agent

  "New training tools!  The Commander likes to keep me in top shape to battle any potential hostiles!"
 "Rolling maneuver practice!!  ROLL.  ROLL.  ROLL.  To the left!  ROLL.  ROLL.  ROLL."

 "Hello! What do we have here? Some sort of climbing apparatus.  I must study this further."
"Hey Tara, whatcha doing?"
"The name is Agent 59 Grace, sheesh how many times do I have to tell you that!"
 "I don't know, anyway, whatcha doing?"
"Can't you see that I am determining how to best utilize this climbing apparatus.  I'm just taking a quick look under the hood to see if I am missing anything."
 "Cool, sooooo you wana play Tara?"
"No!, The Commander is counting on me to find at least 5 ways to use this for training drills. Now leave me alone."
 "Awww, come on Tara.  Play with me. Please Please Please Please  puh-lease!!!"
"I'm sorry Grace, Glory and Honor call softly in the distance and I must answer!  I don't have time to play right now."
 "Ok, well how bout I just...get my head....under here.....and then......"

"wiggle my way over here......until finally I......."
"KI YA!  Haha, gotcha!
"Soldier! Those are fighting words.  Prepare for BATTLE."
"Muwahhahahah, Just try and catch me Tara!!!"
 "It's AGENT 59!!!  I'm gonna get you Grace!"
*A mighty battle is fought*

"What are you laughing for, Grace?  I'm kicking your butt Soldier!  You need more training."
"Whew, this is just so much fun.  I glad you finally decided to play."
 *gasp*" I am not playing!! I am a *sniff* soldier.  We are doing *sob* training exercises!!"
"Hey, where are you going......I thought we were having fun?.......  Sheesh, what a mama's kitty."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My Obsession With Fish

"One of the days we were in Disney World I made sure to take the girls to a brunch where you get to meet all the Disney Princesses.  I had to make reservations weeks in advance and even then the wait to get in was terrible.  Everyone wants to meet a princess I guess.  Lilly was on cloud nine.  Isabelle tried to play it cool but was almost bouncing with excitement when Cinderella started to get close to our table.  Chase could have cared less and refused to take any pictures with the princesses even though they all asked very prettily."
If you can't tell from the pictures Isabelle was super happy to meet Cinderella and Ariel.  Considering she is crossing her eyes in the picture with Snow White and looking away in the picture with Princess Aurora, I don't think those two impressed her much.  Now that I think about it....I'm not even sure she knows who those two really are.  Lilly was in love with all of them.  They spoke in "Princessy" voices and had on pretty pretty dresses.  They had her at "Why, hello there princess!" *curtsy* The kids all got a huge kick out of me talking like a princess to them the rest of the day....even Chase!  

p.s. Just between you and me....I got super excited when Ariel started to get close to our table. ARIEL!!!! When I was a little girl I had that movie memorized; every line, every song.  When our family went on road trips my sister and I would recite and sing the whole thing (over and over and over...and over again).  Now that I think about it....that must have been incredibly annoying.  But hey, it was better than us fighting. Right? When it finally came out on VHS (getting a little choked up here)  that was the BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!  Or so it seemed at that particular stage of my life. I LOVE YOU ARIEL! Whew, had to get that off my chest. Promise you won't tell?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I didn't know I had ANOTHER brother!

 This is the story of what inspired me to put my 'Summer Vacation' book together. This part is right in the middle of the book and it is surrounded by all of the Disney World pictures and activities for maximum effect.  I really wanted Bradley to be surprised when he saw it. 

So you might be wondering, why are there pictures of Bradley-going-on-his-mission in the middle of your Disney trip? Excellent Question!!  I can totally answer that for you.  First of all....those are the only pictures of Bradley that I have, so naturally those are the picture that I would use.  The second reason is much cooler.  So, after a long day at Animal Kingdom we rushed across Pleasure Island to get to our restaurant where we had dinner reservations. And when I say rush across Pleasure Island, even rushing it still took 20 minutes.  That place is huge.  When we got there, there was a very nice young man at the front desk.  I told him we had 8:30 dinner reservations but that we were the first ones there.  We were still waiting for David and then all the other employees attending the conference, as well as their families.  The very nice young man told me he couldn't seat me until at least a majority of the party arrived.  I went and called David and asked him where everyone was, when they would get there, blah blah blah.  So I went back to the desk to give the young man the update.  So I'm looking at the guy and then it hits me.  Weird! He looks SO MUCH like Bradley.  So I tell him, "this might sound kinda strange, but you look just like my brother.  I swear I'm not trying some weird come-on."  He was like, "huh, ok."  So, I say "no really!" So I pulled out my phone, which still had all the pictures I took of Bradley going-on-his-mission, and I showed it to him.  All of his co-workers crowded around to take a look.  They were all like, "whoa, you really do look kinda like her brother!"  "You know they always say you have a twin out there somewhere!"  So then the guy laughed.  And he laughed like Bradley!  I asked him if I could take his picture so I could show my mom and he said that I could.  I left him alone after that...I didn't want to freak him out or anything.  I went and stood by the door to wait for everyone to arrive.  I have to admit I got a little teary eyed while waiting.  It really made me miss Bradley.  With him being the youngest and me being one of the oldest we hadn't really been close.  But before he left on his mission we really started to build a relationship and bond! I am horrible about sending email and writing letters.  That is why I have put this book together.  I wanted to share my summer with Bradley.  It's like getting a whole summer's worth of mail at once and he can take it everywhere he goes!

 I LOVE YOU Elder Williams, keep up the great work!! This book was made for you!

                             Tada! It's Bradley and his Twin!

Pretty cool, right?  The experience really made the whole trip special because it was an inspiring moment.  It really made me think of Bradley and how I wanted to share the experiance with him.  I knew he would think it was as cool as did. And becuase I thought it was so cool I really wanted to share it with him in a really fun way.  I didn't want to just write a letter to him with some pictures, sure letters are fun but where is the WOW factor!!  Plus there was so much about our Disney Trip and our summer that I wanted to share with him. (Did I mention the book was 101 pages?  I could have kept going but Shutterfly caps you at 101 pages. Bummer.)  Writing and putting the book together has been an awesome experiance.  After sending the book I have done a better job at sending letters from me and the kids. And if you think about it, it's really all thanks to Random Disney Guy (who happens to look like my brother).

Monday, September 20, 2010

What can I say? Summer Happens.

I know, I know, it's been forever and a half since I last posted. This summer was probably the busiest summer our family has ever had!  And then I was totally an awesome mom and made a book about it!  I made a book for two reasons.  The first reason was because I wanted to have our summer memorialized so the kids could look back and remember all the awesome stuff we did.  The second reason was so I could send a copy of the book to my brother Bradley.  He is currently serving a mission for our church and I wanted him to have something special from our family.  I can't send all of you guys a copy of my summer vacation so I have decided to post sections of it instead.  Most of the book is about our trip to Disney World so here we go!:

For some reason Maelstrom is a "popular" ride.  I use the term popular pretty loosely because once you get into the back of Epcot, past all the cool stuff, and into all of the "Countries"  there are only a handful of rides.  Maelstrom is one of them.  I guess it's "popular" because you get a mini thrill before riding through a bunch of animatronics telling you all about Vikings and how they lived.  Thrilling!  Maelstrom is a boat ride that starts by taking you up a mini incline.  I guess we should have known we were in for a little more than just Vikings when the ride stopped half-way up the incline.  No worries though.  After a few minutes we were on our way up the incline again, oh wait, no we weren't.  The ride stopped again.  We chilled out on our inclined seating until the ride started up again.  Finally, we were up and over the incline to.. BEHOLD!! Vikings in all their ancient glory!  Hammering with.....hammers!!  Sawing with....saws!!!  Boating with (wait for it)  BOATS!!!!  This ride was truly wondrous to behold.  And this was only after rounding the first corner in our little boat! What other wonders could be waiting for us? Alas, we would not find out (at least not then, we went back and rode it the next day....still lame) because our boat stopped!  Oh yes, the ride stopped .....again.  I figured we would get started again in another minute or two, but when another minute or two turned into ten I started to question how long we would be stuck in our boat staring at animatronic Vikings with hammers.  When all the lights on the ride turned on suddenly and "Maelstrom is now closed until further notice.  Please exit the line" came on over the intercom system I figured we might be there for awhile.  About every five minutes someone would get on the system and say "Keep all hands, arms, and legs in the boat.  Do NOT stand up.  We thank you for your patience."  I wondered if they were required to say that every five minutes or if some boat in front of us was having more fun than we were.  Finally after about 25-30 minutes of staring at Victor the Viking and his Vicious Boat they announced "Please stay seated.  We are coming to assist you out of the boats."  Out of the boats!!  Out of the boats and onto the actual ride!!  Right next to good  ole Victor!  They helped us out of the boats and onto the attraction then walked us out of the ride.  It was the coolest thing EVER!! Every time I go on one of those I have always wondered what it would be like to get up there and walk around.  I GOT TO GET UP THERE AND WALK AROUND!!!!!  Best. Ride. Ever.

Here we are at Epcot having fun!