Gift Ideas

Good old Woman's Day. They have a really fun Holiday Gift Guide in their latest issue and I"m betting you can find something for everyone there. These are just a few of my favorites. Check them out.

Don't you love this? It's a "timer that sings. Mimicking the look and functionality of a blender, when the brownies are done, the timer dices, liquefies and chops it’s marble ingredients, all while belting out an assortment of 1970s game show jingles. Perfect for the young soul.$15.99 at perpetualkid.com". Check out this apron. Love the vintage look -- find it at here. Bowls. I love bowls. Always have. Always will. Find these here and note that they are on sale right now. Oh, Isaac. I love you and I love these shoes. Especially with ongoing feet issues, these look like a winner to me. From Target, where else?What a fun idea. A personalized recipe box and an embosser for the recipe cards. Where else but Williams-Sonoma?Happy shopping!


Christmas Quiz

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper

2. Real tree or artificial? Fake
3. When do you put up the tree? After Thanksgiving - I used to wait longer than I do now just because it's so dang much work but with the kiddoes around, I want the sparkle going early.
4. When do you take the tree down? New Year's Day or thereabouts. If I'm sick of it, it might be the next day or two after Christmas. This year I have foot surgery scheduled for Dec. 28 so who knows when it will happen?
5. Do you like eggnog? In Tib's words, ack, no!!
6. Favorite gift received as a child? I remember a Chatty Cathy doll that I loved and I think I've even seen her on a Geico TV commercial this year. Go figure.
7. Do you have a Nativity scene? I have the Willow Tree one that I love
8. Hardest person to buy for? Mark and our parents. He's so satisfied with what he has and never really wants anything, and our parents don't need or want anything to add to what they already have.
9. Easiest person to buy for? The kiddoes. Everything I see I want to pick up for one of them.
10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Maybe it was the year that I got luggage. I saw the wisdom of it later on but it sure seemed like a dumb present to me then.
11. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards? I like them any way I can get them but I do like to revisit them after Christmas so maybe the regular old mailed cards.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Nora's Christmas Gift - I have loved that movie for years and the message is wonderful. If you haven't seen it, do it. I make everyone watch it every year.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Late September/Early October in sort of a random way.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Probably, although I can't pull up a specific example
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Fudge and home made caramels that I don't do any other time of year.
16 Clear lights or colored on the tree? Our tree has clear ones on it but honestly, I just love Christmas lights so it doesn't matter much to me.
17. Favorite Christmas song? There's a song on the Carpenters Christmas album that I love -- I think it's called 'Christ is Born' and I love it. But anything on that album and John Denver and the Muppets could be called a favorite.
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home although I'd like a trip during the Christmas season to see the lights at Temple Square. It's been years and I want to go back. But to travel somewhere for Christmas? No.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? I sure can -- including Rudolph! hee hee!
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star. Always a star.
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? One traditional present on Christmas Eve which is always new PJs and then the rest in the a.m. The pj tradition started when I saw our Christmas morning pics one year and the kids looked awful so we got new pjs every year, opened them the night before and the next morning they looked good in the pictures!
22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Crowds and traffic. Amen, sister.
23. Favorite Christmas tradition? The Mason Family Pajama Race. We get new PJ's on Christmas Eve every year, followed by a race to change into your jammies. And no matter what Natalie says, I never win. No matter what I do. Mark and I have tried cheating, wearing the pjs under our clothes but we got caught doing that. I have even considered sewing other people's pj legs together -- but so far, even if I just strip down where I am, Math and Chris C. seem to win. Sigh.
24. Up early or sleeping in? I keep thinking we will be sleeping in the older we get but I'm sensing that it will never happen. Up early and we love it that way.
25. Who hands out the gifts? Always Natalie. The boys harrass her every year and threaten to take over the Santa duties, but mostly that's just them blowing smoke to make her mad. I'm thinking it will always be that way, and that too, we like.
26. Does Santa wrap your gifts? No. Gifts from the family are wrapped and under the tree, but Santa doesn't wrap his gifts. We started by not wrapping any of the Santa gifts, but then the kids asked us how come we didn't give them any presents. So we do one big Santa gift and the stockings and the rest is from family, under the tree, wrapped.
27. Do you tell the Christmas story? Yes, on Christmas Eve. Mark reads it from Luke, we sing some Christmas songs and I like Natie's idea about acting it out now that we have someone who could be Joseph and Mary besides us old people. We did that some when the kids were little and now we could do it again.
28 Do you leave cookies for Santa? We did when our kids were younger. Maybe if I did it again now, I'd get more presents. Aha!

This was fun!! I want to see your answers on your blogs. Do it. Tag. You're it!



Last night we had more of a marathon Primary presidency meeting than usual, as we tried to organize for the new year. I work with wonderful women who enjoy each other and sometimes the meetings are lengthy as we catch up on each other's lives. We laugh a lot. Last night, though, the time was mostly spent handing off second counselor duties from Jane, my counselor who is moving to LA, to Natalie, who is my new counselor. (this is Natalie Scott, a dear friend and someone who has been a great asset to Primary already).

I suppose what I want to say is how I love Jane, who has been an unbelieveable support as she has handled everything concerning Cub Scouts as well as the classes she supervises and the children with disabilities. She has been creative and fun with her Sharing Times and has a great love for the children in our ward. She is down to earth and funny, easily touched by the spirit, and completely honest and sincere in all she does. She has been not only a wonderful counselor and help, she has become a dear, dear friend. I have already told her that when she leaves, there will be a hole in my heart that will never be filled and I will miss her tremendously. I love her dearly.

And I'm thankful for Natalie, who has already stepped in and is picking up where Jane leaves off. Natalie is wonderful. She is organized and efficient, funny and honest, and she too has the quality that I value most in Primary -- she loves, loves, loves the children. Her biggest concern was her release from teaching her sweet class of 5 year olds to take on this new calling. She has a wonderful heart. She volunteered to do Sharing Time this Sunday. She is someone I already love and I know she will be a great asset to our Primary.

I don't like change so much. Change hurts. Change is difficult. But change can be good. Jane's family is making a good change, and I am thankful for that opportunity for them. For me? Not so much.

But Candice, Natalie, Mariann and I will keep on. We have to. Because we love the children.


Lists and More Lists

For the past little while, I've been picking up this and that for Christmas and stashing it in our closet. Last night, I figured it was time to see exactly what was there and sort of catalogue the gifts I have bought. (it's amazing how quickly you forget something once it's buried in the closet!) I was pleasantly surprised at what I have already accomplished for Christmas, but after I made my list (and checked it twice!) I was somewhat dismayed at what still needs doing.

The good news is that Thanksgiving was early this year so there's still the rest of this week to do things even before December appears -- and with the tree up and the house decorated, I'm feeling like maybe I will have the time I need to get Christmas taken care of and also make sure Primary is organized for 2008, itself no small task.

On the upside also, we've now made it past our October/November celebration season (starting with Maya's birthday in early October, then Mark's, then Natalie's, then Chris and Tara's anniversary, then both Chris M. and Chris C.'s birthdays) and now I can focus on Christmas. (our anniversary is sandwiched in there too, on Dec. 21 but it usually gets overlooked as we're just plain too tired to care much by then!)

And Primary. It occurs to me that Primary is sort of like laundry -- it's the gift that keeps on giving. It's never far from my mind. But unlike laundry, for me it's never a chore. I love it.

More lists required!!


Hello Kitty Indeed (or, Thanks, Mel!)

Yesterday when I picked up the mail I was tickled to open and find the ornament had arrived from my swap partner, Mel. It's completely adorable -- pink, of course -- and since Miss Maya just happened to be with me when I opened it, we were both completely excited because it's none other than our favorite friend, Hello Kitty!!

My little Daniel hung it on the tree for us today and it's adorable. Thanks, Mel!! You're wonderful. We love it. I hope you love yours too!


More Gratitude Give Me

What a great outlook -- to take the good and the best of what I have here and now and be thankful for it. I must not waste time thinking about what might have been or what could be in the future. I need to look at today, find joy in it, and be grateful.

I have much to appreciate in my life -- and I am thankful.


A Thankful Heart

In all the shopping, preparing, cleaning and organizing that comes with a big family Thanksgiving, I have also had a Sharing Time to prepare for Sunday. As you might guess, the theme is gratitude. I really have been blessed as I have pondered the topic and loved this quote. I am trying to develop that thankful heart.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.


Fun Times in Primary!

Our Primary program is over! (insert a big sigh of relief here!) The children did a wonderful job - apparently most of them took our repeated counsel (commands?) to heart and really memorized their parts. Miss Maya was #1 on the program and had her part down - -she started it off in grand style. The spirit was so strong, which meant, of course, that when I had to wind it all up with a Primary president-ish speech, I got all choked up. No one was surprised in the least.

After sacrament meeting was over, we had our regular Sharing Time but planned to spotlight each of the teachers. We had begged some crowns from Burger King and made a 'throne' with chairs piled up and collected information about each one. In turn, they each came up, sat on the throne, were crowned, and then we learned about them and sang their favorite Primary song. It went perfectly with the monthly theme of gratitude -- because I am so grateful for them.

I love the privilege I have of spending my time thinking about, praying for and loving the children and Primary workers in our ward. It doesn't get better than that. I think that if Jesus were to visit our ward, he'd probably be found in Primary.


Sprinkling Stardust

"Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children." (Alex Haley)

Can I tell you just how much I love this quote? Grandparent-hood is the nicest thing that's happened to me since my own children arrived. There is no greater source of joy in my life than these 4 wonderful little people. There is nothing sweeter to me than a set of little arms reaching out for me, love so clear on little faces, or the knowledge that these precious little ones want to spend time with me.

Such a gift! I liked the way Alex Haley expressed his thought: grandparents sprinkling stardust on the lives their grandchildren - -but he didn' t mention the stardust that gets sprinkled on our lives in return. When the phone rings and a small voice says "Grandma! I want you to come over to my house!", or when the door opens and your arms are suddenly full of a precious little one demanding a hug -- well, it's the greatest blessing I have ever experienced. My heart feels like it will burst sometimes with the love I have for these sweet, bright little people.

How thankful I am at this time of year and always for the gift of Grandma-hood. I yearn to be a stardust-sprinkler for a long time to come.


Bite Your Tongue

As I browsed through the new Oprah magazine, I ran across this quote:
"One of the main reasons we . . . complain is to make ourselves look better by comparison . . . When I point out your faults, then I'm implying that I have no such faults, so I'm better than you are. Complaining is bragging. And nobody likes a braggart. Here's another bit of sobering news: you wouldn't notice the faults in the other person if they were not also in you." (Will Bowen)
There are some good points here -- but for me, it's (again) a reminder of how much I am blessed. I have nothing I should be complaining about, for any reason. That's why I bought my beautiful 'blessed' pendant (that, by the way, has arrived, and is even more beautiful in person than it was in a picture!). I must remember that and knock off my complaining.


My Grandpa is my Mummy!

After church on Sundays, Maya generally comes home with us and we spend the afternoon doing crafts, playing games, and really just having fun with her. We love it although it does preclude afternoon naps. Our theory is this: there will come a time soon enough (probably way too soon for us!) when she won't want to spend Sunday afternoons with the old folk. So we enjoy every second and figure we can nap later. When we're really old!

Anyhow, I digress. This Sunday, I was in the kitchen and heard some pretty dramatic screams coming from our bedroom. Looking up, I was amazed to see a mummy growling and chasing Maya. She was hollering and running -- and loving every second. (you know, 'stop it some more, Grandpa!').

How silly is a man who will wrap himself in Ace bandages, become a mummy and harrass his grandaughter? Pretty silly, I think. What a good Grandpa! Fun times.


Magic Mirror

I want a mirror like that one!


Sleep tight!

We've had (I think) one or two days that sort of felt like fall weather and are now back in the 80's again. But those few days pushed me in the direction of some nice, warm, fall jammies. So when I got my PajamaGram catalog in the mail, I was jazzed. Such cute stuff and so many choices. I think my favorite thing, though is the fact that every pair of women's PJs come with a personalized gift card, a keepsake organiza hatbox, a Do Not Disturb sign, and a lavendar sachet. They're a little pricey (for me, anyhow) but awfully cute. Check them out here.


I'm Happy!

Our ward's Relief Society president is a saint. She really is. She has had that calling for 3+ years and still has a smile on her face every time I see her. WhenI do, she will say, "Hi! How are you?". And when I answer, "I'm fine, how are you?" her response is always the same: "I'm happy!"

At times, that has bugged me, because who is really happy all the time? But as time has passed, I have realized that someone is - -and (you guessed it!) it's Mary, our Relief Society president. So why is she happy all the time? I think it's because she's figured out what Buddha already knew:

"Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others." (Buddha)

If that's the criteria, then it's no wonder that Mary is happy -- everything she does is of benefit to others, and then thus to herself.
I need more of that in me.

Rude Awakening

Mark's alarm went off at 6:30 this morning. I had been lying there trying to convince myself to leave my warm cocoon and take a fast trip to the bathroom before he got in there (he like his potty time in the morning). So when the alarm went off, I threw the covers off and limped (yup, still limping, especially when barefoot) into the bathroom to have my turn first. (I'm fast!)

I'm not sure exactly what happened -- if I tripped, or if I lost my balance somehow -- I really don't know. Somehow I found myself thrown against the back of the toilet tank, there was a loud crash and then water everywhere. (that got Mark's attention pretty quickly!) Literally there was a river of water all over the bathroom in what seemed just seconds. He came running in and managed to find the shut-off valve in the back.

By that time, there were inches of water all over the entire bathroom, and when we looked at the toilet, the above (yes, that's my bathroom!) is what we saw. And I truly have no idea how I did that!

The postive in all this? My bathroom floor is now cleaner than it's ever been and all the mats and towels we own are also very clean (in the dryer now!). On the down-side, of course, we have to go out and find us a new toilet tank which Mark assures me are not 'too expensive.' I think I'll believe it when I see it. And the real downside? It means another trip to Home Depot. Not my favorite store.

What a way to start your day -- a 6:30 a.m. wake-up call for sure. And now I need a nap!


Happy Birthday, Natie!

"If I had my child to raise over again,
I'd build self-esteem first and the house later.
I'd finger paint more and point the finger less,
I would do less correcting and more connecting,
I'd take my eyes off my watch and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less and know to care more,
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites,
I'd stop playing serious and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars,
I'd do more hugging and less tugging,
I'd see the oak tree in the acorn more often.
I would be firm less often and affirm much more,
I'd model less about the love of power,
And more about the power of love."
(Diane Loomans)

Every time we celebrate the birthday of one of my children, in my mind I go through the whole long list of things I know I could have/should have done better. I'm always so thankful for the people they have turned out to be, even though I know I could have done better as their mom.
As Natalie celebrates her birthday tomorrow, I'm filled with gratitude at the wonderful person she is despite the things I know I could have done better (see the above!)

She is a joy to be with, she is a creative, loving and fun mom to Maya and Mason, she is a wonderful, supportive, loyal wife to Chris and she is a precious daughter and friend to me. She has a strong testimony, she is a hard worker, a devoted friend, and a great example to all of us. I'm so thankful to be a part of not only her life, but of her everyday life. She is a treasure, a gift and a jewel. I love her dearly. Happy Birthday, sweetie!



Happy Thanksgiving!

Ran across this and thought it would be a hilarious way to do a TG turkey -- all you'd have to do would be to be artful and careful in the placement of the aluminum foil. I loved it!

Done! (well, sort of!)

I survived yesterday (longest day of my life, I"m sure!) with all the hunger, light-headedness and general nastiness that goes along with colonoscopy prep (I liked the comment asking if everything had come out all right -- and the answer is yes, EVERYTHING did), and headed to the hospital this morning at 5:45. It's the same place my little Mason was born nearly 2 years ago, and now as then, it was the most positive experience possible (at least under the circumstances!). They must only employ the nicest people -- or at least it sure seems that way. Anyhow, once you get to that point in the colonoscopy process, it's a breeze.

I was in bed, IV'd up and ready for action by 6:30 when the doctor breezed in, making his usual butt jokes. (I figure that when colonoscopies are your bread and butter, it must be a requirement to have lots of butt jokes on hand 'cause he sure does -- but I like him and I even like his cheesy jokes). He wheeled my bed down to the room himself (there's service -- the doc himself pushing your bed!) and after that, it was lights out and naptime for me.
The up-side is that it's done -- the down-side is that (dang it!) they found another polyp so this experience will be repeated again in a year. Sigh. But this time the polyp is different than last year's -- it was much smaller and seemingly of a different variety, less worrisome, I think. Last year he made a point of having me come to his office and was very clear in his instructions that I schedule Round 2 in a year, as well as insisting that I notify my siblings to get tested as well. None of that this time around. I am supposed to call to get the lab results next week.

So for now, smooth sailing! At least I have a year off. And I keep telling myself that it's better than the alternative.


I'm Pooped!

OK, this will definitely be dubbed as over-sharing -- but for me, today is colonoscopy prep day. Yippee. You are lucky if you are too young to be dealing with this yet -- but just FYI, it's not fun. Today I've already taken a laxative overdose, later on will be required to force down some nasty liquid stuff that induces more action, and can only take in clear liquids all day. (And of course, I'm starving already -- it's only 10 a.m! Long day ahead!) After midnight, I can have NOTHING at all -- even when I brush my teeth tomorrow a.m. I've been cautioned to spit out every bit of water. These instructions are anal (hee hee -- get it?) and very specific. I guess they want a nice clean colon (is there such a thing?) to check out.

Thank goodness I report to the hospital at 5:45 a.m. It will be nothing but a not-so-fond memory by 8 and life will continue as usual. For today -- like I said, I'm pooped! But it's better than colon cancer, right?



This past week, Mark went out to get into his car to head to work and found his rear window smashed. We had heard rumors that this was happening in our neighborhood -- our neighbors had it happen to them last week and their next door neighbors had both cars vandalized a month ago, and one of them again this time around. It's one of those things that you can't do a thing about but that really raises the blood pressure.

Ours cost a mere $366 -- the neighbors' was closer to $1000 (they have an SUV and we have a PT Cruiser) -- and I get really cranky thinking about their neighbors and the 3 times they have had to buy new rear windows for their cars.

The point to all this? We have spent the past couple of days cleaning out the garage, throwing things away (that should have been trashed years ago, I'm sure) and rearranging it so that Mark's car can go in the garage next to mine. It looks like it will happen - -maybe even tonight.

How's that for taking a lemon and making lemonade? (GRRRR!! I'm still mad about the cars!)


"A person will worship something, have no doubt about that. We may think our tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of our hearts, but it will out. That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and our character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping, we are becoming." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

I found this as I browsed blogs today and it really jumped out at me. What do I worship? What matters most to me? Where do I spend my time? More importantly, what am I becoming? It's all the same thing. It bears consideration.