Tuesday, December 30, 2008

[Our 'Unusual' Christmas Eve Tradition, Explained]

When I posted my "Pictures From Our Christmas" post, I didn't stop and think about what kind of reaction I would get to our Christmas Eve Pinata tradition. Guess I should have, 'cause it is kind of ~ no, it's really un-traditional.

This is how it got started:

Every Christmas Eve, we would go up to Bonners Ferry, which is about 60 miles north of us, where my husband grew up, and where a couple of his brothers and a sister still live. A good number of the kids and grandkids (and great-grandkids, when Grandma Evie and Grandpa Marv were still with us) would all get together up there, and have a big meal, lots of treats, sing Christmas songs, and re-tell the Christmas story. It's always a great time, and we love to go, but couldn't make it up there this year because of the bad weather and terrible roads. ...mad dash for the candy...

So, we decided to stay home and do our our own Christmas Eve. One of the fun things that always happens in Bonners Ferry is the Christmas pinata filled with candy (like they need MORE sugar, but they do have a great time!). I don't know how it got started, exactly, but I have a suspicion it had to do with lots of loud kids in one home, and an excuse to take them outside. For quite a few years in BF, it was strung up on the basketball hoop, but since the weather was so bad at our house, we opted to stay inside and find SomeThing to hang it on. Since the kids involved are still pretty small (in BF I think the age limit was 18?) Mark's back-stretching-thingy seemed to be the best bet. ...look close - the Zebra has a Christmas bow around his neck! So he's all Christmassy, OK :P

And since it was a last-minute idea, and we already had the zebra pinata, we decided that it would work just fine for us. And it did...

And, yes, we do normal traditional, too!

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Unstoppable Virus

I thought you would want to know about this email virus. Even the most advanced programs from Norton or McAfee cannot take care of this one. It appears to affect those who were born prior to 1965.


1. Causes you to send the same e-mail twice.
(Done that! )

2. Causes you to send a blank e-mail!
(That too!)

3. Causes you to send e-mail to the wrong person.

4. Causes you to send it back to the person who sent it to you.
(Who me?)

5. Causes you to forget to attach the Attachment.
(Well fooey!)

6. Causes you to hit 'SEND' before you've finished.
(Oh no - not again!)

7. Causes you to hit! 'DELETE ' instead of 'SEND.'
(and I just Hate that!)

8. Causes you to hit 'SEND' when you should 'DELETE.'
(Ohhhh Noooo!)


This is a cute email forward that was sent to us by a good friend who understands my problems....hahaha.

My apologies to everyone who I have sent any and/or all of the above types of emails!

Friday, December 26, 2008

<~~~Pictures From Our Christmas~~~>

Christmas Eve Pinata Tradition
a little fun to burn some energy before going to bed!

Tanner's taking a whack
Dillon's a little more timidDillon's thinkin' about his gift...
Cute kids
Hannah's in charge of the suckers while her mom opens her gift
Isaac is following in his dad's footsteps!New DVD's!This is the face of a girl who just opened a Twilight soundtrack!Kayla & her family (Where's Tommy?) Oh, there he is ~~~ sittin' in a bowl!Evalie and her new doll...Noelle & Rachel enjoying their gifts...


Sunday, December 21, 2008

USUAlly He's Pretty Compasionate . . . . . He's A Missionary! ~~Plus~~ Whatever Happened to Stick?

Here is Chad with his new mission companion. He reports that he is working really hard, eating almost as much as a Thankgiving dinner at member's homes almost every day, but is still staying thin, thanks to 8+ months of walking everywhere they needed to go. He is now enjoying (?) a bike area with Huge geographical boundaries.

In my last couple of emails to him, I have been telling him about and sending him pictures of our crazy white-out winter. So he writes back and says ---

(look how tan he is!)

"it's kind of cool that you are all freezing right now, because I'm chillin' in the shade of a tropical paradise. It is about 80-90 degrees and I've got a nice farmer's tan, and I'm drinking pineapple juice. It is far from a white Christmas this year. In fact, the coldest it's ever gotten here is like 35-40 degrees"

What a turkey!

Speaking of turkeys, last summer (seems sooooo long ago) I posted about my garden, the chickens, and our turkey, Stick, that we were raising for our Thanksgiving dinner. Well, we didn't end up eating him. We gave him to our neighbor friends because he was eating all of the chicken food. They kept him for a while, then ate him.

The funny part of this story is:

Last night we went to the Pearson's (adults only) Christmas party, where we play games and have a White Elephant gift exchange. This is always fun because everyone tries to out-do, out gross-out and out-create with the W.E. gifts that we bring. Well, Missy, our friend, neighbor, and mom of the family who ate Stick, created these really um, well, 'great' Christmas tree ornaments.

(Here's what's left of Stick)

Yep, those are turkey feet Christmas tree ornaments. A matching pair. (So this is what happens to suburban families who move to the country. . . ?)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's Official--Athol is Covered!

~~I didn't mean to bore you and write so much about the weather here.
~~My first post on it was merely a comment about how mild the weather had been so far. Ha!
~~The second was slightly notable because of the party that was cancelled, and our heating situation.

~~But this time, it's because a new record has been set . . .
the news weatherman just said that not since 1881 has Athol seen so much snowfall in one storm. Wednesday morning the snow began to fall, and from this system which has just left our area, we received Thirty-Four inches of snow---almost 3 Feet! Records were set all over the Spokane region.
Tanner went out this afternoon to play in it, but came back in after just a few minutes (no surprise that it took longer to put on his snow gear than the time he spent out there.) He said 'I came back in mom, because I was drowning in the snow!"

Our deck, and Tanner, last winter-----
After This Storm---
Our new hot-tub cover-------

The day before the storm, Mark thought it would be a good idea to stack some wood on our front porch, out of the weather. (That's what porches are for in rural north Idaho, right?)
So he backed up the loaded pickup truck up to the porch and took care of business. Then the truck didn't get moved (and I didn't have the key)before the storm started, because Mark got busy getting the plow truck ready to plow people out. (This picture was taken from the porch)
A little hard to get to the outhouse in this weather, eh?
Just a little craziness from little ole' north Idaho. If you have ever been here, you know it is truly beautiful. But if you live in Athol, ya gotta make fun of yourself just a little bit.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Why, In the Middle of Winter . . . ?

I mentioned a few days ago that we were working on a stone wall behind our gas heating stove. What I didn't mention is why we were working on it IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER!!
Last month, some friends of ours were facing a deadline to finish building their home. I had previously offered to help them do some tile work, which I have done quite a bit of in our own home. So I helped them with that, and Mark helped a little bit to install the carpets, which he also has some experience in doing.
As a thank-you, they offered us some stone that they had an excess of, plus some cedar shakes, which we will put on our house in the spring. I called my son Jake, who does this kind of work for a living, and since it is his slow time of the year, he had a few free days to install the wall.
Before . . . And of course I had to get in there and help a little. Probably slowed him down more than anything, but he showed me how to do it, and we had a great time together.
During . . . His labor is our Christmas present from him this year. Pretty great!
Wall is complete! And it is beautiful! And I got to spend some great quality time with my son Jake! I think that was the best gift of all...
(Now if we can get the dang stove to work. Something happened to it when we moved it, or we aren't hooking it back up correctly. So the stove people have to come out and work their magic. So it's still cold in there!)

A Couple Random Cute Pictures...
Evalie and Tanner by the Christmas stockings...

Tanner and Isaac thought this was a really cool piece of wood. So Tanner posed while Isaac took the picture. Funny kids!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Baby, It's COLD Outside! It's A Big ONE!

Just when I thought that this winter might be more mild than last year . . . the winter that buried us for 6 months . . . we got hit. Friday it started to really snow, not just flirting with it like it has been for the past month. At one in the afternoon, there was just a dusting, and within 3 hours, there was 4 inches on our deck. And it just kept snowing throughout the night.
My kids kept waiting for me to moan and cry NO! Not snow! Not Yet! like I had several times before this past few weeks. But believe it or not, I finally was ready for it. It is time . . . we have to have snow for Christmas in north Idaho!
Our driveway at 4:15 pm.
But the bad part of the timing of this storm was that our ward Christmas party was called off. Rachel and Noelle were so sad... They had been working really hard on the Christmas songs they were going to sing. I hope the Bishop can find a way to reschedule the party! Heh heh...

A lot more snow than there was the day after Thanksgiving!

The next morning, on my way to do errands. The picture doesn't show what it was really like, but the roads were a sheet of slushy ice. The worst to drive on. Thank goodness studded snow tires are still legal in Idaho.

Right now as I am typing away, I am FReeezZzingg. And we have the gas furnace and the woodstove going. In our family room that we converted from the garage, we have been working on putting up the rock wall behind the gas stove we put in to heat that huge room, 600 sq feet with 11 foot high ceilings! So we had to disconnect the stove. A big room with no heat! (Of course we couldn't do it in the summer-what fun would that be?) We were doing pretty good, until the temperature dropped! Right now it's ONE DEGREE!!! BBBBRRRRRrrrrrrrrr! My toes are frozen inside of my socks and slippers! But the wall is going to look great. I hope we can finish it tomorrow, since we are supposed to have a whole week of single-digit or below lows, and teens-to-barely-in-the-20's highs.
I will post pictures when we are done. If we haven't all turned into Popsicles :o

Thursday, December 11, 2008

'Tis the Season To Be Trolley!

Last night, the four of us who are home alone this week, plus one really great friend, went on an adventure...

We hitched a ride on this Trolley... Which took us around downtown Coeur d'Alene and the Resort to see the Christmas lights.... of course, it was impossible to get any good pictures of the lights, but-
Here is a cute one of the kids on the trolley-
Rachel and Taylor, at Dockside Gooey's, eating their world-famous desserts...
Noelle eating her sundae-
fa la la la la la la la la....

Having a jolly old good time!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

This is Why We Live in North Idaho

Best part of all.... it's early December, and no snow has stuck yet....

But that's supposed to change this weekend :P

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I Am a Christmas Tree Nazi, Reformed! (almost...)

Yes, I must confess, it's true. Beginning somewhere early in my marriage, probably about the time that my husband started trying to help me decorate it, I was stuck with this unfortunate nickname.

And as my children were born and as they grew, they learned that at Christmas time, don't mess with mama and the tree.

My poor husband's dreams of a wife who lovingly and sweetly spent time with her children, patiently instructing them on the fine art of Christmas tree adornment, singing carols and sipping peppermint hot cocoa, were dashed at the start of every season.

First, the fight about how many limbs to trim off the bottom to make it perfect.
Then, you must put on the lights on the trees, wrapped around each individual limb for that glowing, almost burning effect. Another discussion begins, on the subject of how many strings of lights are too many .

Then, more opinions offered - the angel or the star?

Next, put the garland OR ribbons on, looped amongst the branches in a very even and organized fashion.

Then, my idea of decorating a perfect Christmas tree is to place an even-numbered quantity of each type of ornament on it, equally spaced.

My husband and kids like the random approach. Just pick up what-ever and put it where-ever. This upsets my equilibrium, and I just end up moving everything around that they put on it. I have even been know to re-decorate the tree completely after said husband and kids have gone to bed. And yes, they noticed. Boy, did they ever!

So finally, the tree decorating was delegated to just mom, and only mom. It had been that way for the past, oh, say 7 or 12 years now.

Then something changed. Something called 7 growing kids with ever-expanding activities, lots of responsibilities, and stress. I no longer had the need for perfection; just the need for completion and contentment among the troops. Last Christmas, the tree missed the mandatory day-after-Thanksgiving deadline by Two Weeks! This year, by only one...

So this year, I relinquished the crown of sharp pine needles that I had bestowed upon myself.

After putting together the ten-thousand piece artificial tree and lighting it, (a huge job in itself), and making sure the angel was placed on top (my husband's preference), I enlisted the help of my sweet 11-year-old Noelle (how fitting; just don't ever sing that song to her) and her two best buddies to finish it off for me. If you can believe it, other than at the very tip-top, I did not put a single ornament on the tree! I let them do it all!

Can't promise that I won't add an ornament here and there, and here, and there, though. Just to give it that motherly touch, you know...