Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas happenings

This is why I love going to Eric's house to open Christmas gifts on Christmas morning. After Grandpa Glen fixes Christmas breakfast and we play with the toys, we go home to a wrapping paper free house.

Toby enjoyed an exciting morning of more than enough presents for several 5 year olds.

Heather is showing her most requested gift from Santa. Part of her present from grandma and grandpa was a trip to Los Angeles and other parts of California with her grandparents. Main destination, The American Girl store in LA. That made her scream!

Julianna was a true Santa's helper and slept through all the Santa madness and gift unwrapping. She was pretty tired after spending Christmas Eve at our house eating chimichangas with the extended family members, making bells jingle, trying to make the step down into the living room, and presenting her best dance moves. It was a jolly good time.

The evening after Christmas we enjoyed the luminarias and musicians at the Desert Botanical Gardens. We got there just as the sun was setting but stayed until long after dark. It was a beautiful night to wander through the gardens.

Our house guests came with us. Next on the agenda for these proud parents is the San Diego wedding of Kyle and Janae!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy "1st"

Happy Anniversary
Nate & Nichelle

Congratulations on a great first married year together. I hope that you enjoyed your day. Your future as a family looks very bright!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Doughnut day

Eric and Susan let the extended family invade their kitchen today for our annual doughnut making day. The granddaughters (in aprons) and Heather's friend also got in the act.

Little Sadie was finally old enough to enjoy the process. This was also Nichelle's first experience with homemade doughnuts. We were so excited to learn the results of her ultrasound yesterday.

It's a boy!

We keep the Bosch mixer humming and Grandpa Glen frying for hours. We used 30 pounds of flour, 2 dozen eggs, 2 lbs. of butter, lots of yeast, and 8 lbs. of powdered sugar. Cute bags of homemade doughnuts have now been delivered across Mesa and Gilbert.

I can't help but think of my mom, Velva, on doughnut day each Christmas season. She started it all 50 years or so ago when she made doughnuts on an Idaho Christmas day when we got snowed in and couldn't go visit family. After moving to Arizona, it became our treat of choice to share with the neighbors each year. TJ asked me, "How many generations have made doughnuts, Grandma." Why, counting Sadie, that would be four!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A double special day

Happy Birthday Susan!
Today is Susan's "thirty something" birthday making it a very special day. I took a picture of she and her hubby at the temple this morning as they waited for the bride and groom to exit. Eric's cousin and my niece, Lisa married her Kenley this morning for time and all eternity making it a "double" special day.

It was a beautiful ceremony and Lisa and Kenley were all smiles as they exited the temple to the claps of their friends and family.

They are such a lovely couple who are so kind and gentle with one another. It will be a wonderful life.

The Ray family gather around for a group shot.

There siblings and cousins gathered to greet them - Logan, Daniel, and Rachel. Logan had journied west from Leavenworth, Kansas with his parents.

Mark is very delighted with new baby girl, Emma.

Grandma Ina and Grandpa Dewey Ray were in attendance. Emma is their "13th" great grandchild.

Ashley and Grandpa Donald smile for the occasion.

In honor of the two siblings currently serving as missionaries, Daniel wore a missionary name badge.

Bunker cousins Gary, Logan, and Brittany traveled from Provo for the festivities. Brittany, who do you think will be the next Ostler cousin to marry? ;)

More cousins - Jenny, Pam, and Simone. Pam and Simone drove in from Albuquerque.

Lisa's 2nd cousins, Heather and Julianna were also at the temple. As part of Susan's birthday, Eric and Susan had a date to go see the Arizona Ballet Company perform the Nutcracker in Phoenix at the Symphony Hall. Julianna was pretty much beside herself upon her parents disappearance. Luckily, big sister knew just what to do.

She sang a special Christmas song right into her ear. Sisters are special!

Congratulations to Lisa and Kenley!
For more pictures click here.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The zero at the end

My middle son, David, turns the big "3" "0" today. This has been bothering him for over a year. All he could think about last year was that if he was turning "29" then he would be "30" on his next birthday. I can understand his angst. I have had a hard time with those "zero" birthdays, too. It feels like you just jumped ahead a decade or something. My last "zero" birthday was "50." It was sobering to think that I more than likely had lived over half of my life and who knew how many birthdays were left.

Today I have been reviewing David's "zero" birthdays. When he was born it was a joyful and wonderful time of year and he was a warm, snugly Christmas present; by "10" he was an engaging 4th grader who loved his friends; at "20" he was serving his Lord in far off Peru; and now at "30" he is a wonderful husband and father who loves his family more than anything, one of the best examples of a great 30-year-old that I know.

Happy "30th" Birthday David!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A lull in the storm. . .

This week was a time for cleaning, Christmas decorating, shopping, and wrapping. Emelia spent Monday afternoon helping me to deep clean. Look what we found under the furniture. Can you tell that little boys were in the house? It's been quiet, almost too quiet.

The bedrooms have been laundered and cleaned in preparation for our next house guests, my sister, Lynette and her family who arrive tomorrow. There are two family weddings over the next two weeks with Christmas sandwiched in the middle. Niece Lisa will wed in the Mesa Arizona Temple on December 22 and nephew Kyle will wed in the San Diego Temple on January 2. Busy, good times!

There has also been a bit of gardening. I just love my window box this winter. I am really enjoying this mix of petunias and stock. The stock smells amazing in the house when I open the window.

And here is the winter garden. Plenty of greens and the broccoli is coming along nicely. I kept the tomatoes on the basketball court this year (more sun), and we've had a few cherry tomatoes. Highs have been in the 70's this week, so hopefully some more fruit will set.

That's been my sort of quiet week. Now let the parties begin!

Monday, December 14, 2009

5 am activities

It was a very smooth airport run this morning with a few tender mercies; no traffic, parking right next to the elevators, three luggage carts just waiting for our use, no line at the check-in counter, and two very compliant boys.

This is rather remarkable because it took both the Tahoo and the Matrix with seats folded down to stow all 8 check in bags, 4 carry-on bags, 4 personal item bags, 2 car seats, and a stroller - and let us not forget the passengers.

It looks a bit frantic, but it really wasn't. We took a handful of pens so that all 4 adults could fill out luggage tags - so efficient!

Janae sorted out the the carry-ons. It still took 2 luggage carts to get them to security.

These two will soon be ditching their sweatshirts. There will be little need in Florida or on St. Kitt's. Janae and I decided that it will much simpler to send them on missions!

The medical school adventure has officially begun. It took some big time prep! Our prayers go with them!

(Notice those camo shorts and Crocs. They did not get to go to St. Kitt's. NOT allowed on the island. The squirt guns didn't get to go either :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Besides eating clementines . . .

I enjoyed a busy long weekend. We have very much enjoyed the citrus from our dwarf trees in pots. These clementines are especially flavorful.

On Friday morning, Janae and boys as well as Toby went to the McCormick Railroad Park in Scottsdale. Toby thought the little train was loud so this is how he sat for the entire ride.

It was a cold morning, so we bundled up. I hadn't been to the park since my children were young. We rode the train then, but there have been many improvements.

We also took a spin on the carousal. The big boys rode the big horses.

Henry rode the little horse, but he was still a bit unsure about it all. The boys enjoyed the large playground and then we had lunch before venturing home.

Saturday, I decorated the inside as the men did the lights outside. We were preparing for our early Christmas dinner and nativity play. Janae and family leave next Monday for a Christmas in Florida before going on to St. Kitt's for their medical school adventure.

This little angel showed up to help us with our nativity play.

My grandchildren were so sweet as they took turns holding or kissing the baby Jesus.

TJ is definitely getting older. He stayed in the background helping Grandpa Glen narrate Luke 2. Julianna was in the audience this year, too big to be baby Jesus and not quite big enough for the little angel costume.

This is our annual after nativity play photo with all the grandkids and grandpa and grandma. Last year we fit in the oversize chair, but this year had to move to the sofa. Lucky us!

AND next year, 2010, we will have "10" grandchildren! Ten in 2010! What could be better than that?!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Grinchy Grandma

No, we haven't been swimming. It is finally winter in Arizona, after all. The boys were helping their father wash down the back patio and of course, it got a bit out of hand. They needed a bit of warming up.

December is here and the Christmas decorations are partially up outside, but inside it's pretty bare. I love decorating for Christmas. So why am I being a grinchy grandma? I think it has something to do with the two handsome live-in grandsons pictured above. It's given me pause as I contemplate the ceramic Christmas village created by Glen's mother and her friend over 30 years ago or the tree covered with Hummel figurine ornaments in honor of my own dear mother. Do I dare expose them to a determined (and charming) two year old? Apparently not for a box has yet to be moved from the closet. Maybe this weekend?

But I have not been totally without Christmas spirit. These are the ornaments I stitched together after Thanksgiving. Lynette and I found the pattern and wool felt in Utah last summer then cut out all the pieces during my visit to Kansas. They were a delight to stitch together. Lynette will be so proud of me for finishing them, AND by December 1st no less!

Today my family met at the Mesa Arizona Temple for family pictures. It was a sunny but crisp December day. It felt so good to be there with everyone. As the sun went down, the Christmas lights came on. Perfect! Glen and I decided to stay for the concert by the Arizona Institute Choir and an English hand bell group. How could any grinchy grandma stay grinchy listening to beautiful Christmas music?