Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas With Our Family. . . and Small Miracles

Our Christmas this year started out with our Ward Christmas party.  Lots of fun, food, love, and talents were shared with one another.

Tanner (who is the only one young enough to still sit on Santa's lap, telling Santa what he wanted for Christmas. . .

...Tanner, still giving Santa an earful....

Finally, after Noelle hollering at him repeatedly to smile for the camera....

...and now he is finishing giving Santa his 'list'.

We also got to go to Bonner's Ferry to the Carey family Christmas Eve-afternoon party.   They did their traditional Pinata, with all of the kids 10 years old and under taking a turn smacking it.  I wish I had some photos of everyone and all of the food that was there. 

And special Christmas memories were shared with one another, and Rachel sang "Silent Night" for all of us. 

                CHRISTMAS MORNING

The traditional "top of the stairs" pose.

Isaac, checking out his new backpack.  (I have a little story about that at the end of this post, after most of  the photos!)
Noelle, with the bag that Rachel got her

Tanner, unwrapping his new blanket.  We LOVE blankets around here...

Thanking his mom...

I don't remember what or why THIS happened...guess we were just having a really good time!

Me, with the gift basket that Rachel and Noelle got for me.  They won this ginourmous gift basket FULL of brownie mixes, cake mixes, frostings, sprinkles, cookie cutters, etc etc that they won at the high school's Christmas Concert raffle.  They were SO excited to give it to me, cuz they know how I love the Brownies!

Rachel, with the new Michael Jackson CD

...and the quilt I made for her...

This year has been especially hard for us, financially, as it has for a lot of you as well. 
So several months before Christmas, I let the kids know that there wouldn't be a lot under the tree for them.  They are good kids, and took it in stride.

So, here is a funny little crazy story -

My husband and I went to a friend's Christmas party, one that they traditionally have every year.   And one of the traditions at this party is to have a white elephant gift exchange.  You all know how it works:  each person brings something crazy or fun or super cool or random, wrapped up as a gift.  Everyone gets a number and chooses a gift in order.  Or, the next person can "steal" a gift from someone who has already unwrapped a gift.  And the third person to snag that gift gets to keep it.  

So when a genuine Air Force backpack (complete with flight suit. jacket, sleeping pad and bag, and long johns) was unwrapped, my husband figured out a way so HE could be that third person to get that gift.  Once he got it, he presented it to our host friend (who happens to be involved with the Explorer Scouts).  He laughed and said, just keep it, we already have more than enough donated backpacks for the Scouts.

So, after discussing together whether it was tacky or not to give a white elephant gift to our son, as a real present, we decided that Isaac would think it was such a cool gift that it wouldn't matter. 

Here was our dilemma - Isaac was getting this "big" gift, when we didn't really have the funds this year to do the same for the rest of the kids.

I took the girls aside (Tanner is still young enough not to care or notice) and let them know how and when we got this gift for Isaac.  And that things might seem a big lopsided in the gift department.

They completely understood.  Or so I hoped.

They understood more than I realized....

There is something I need to explain here so that you will realize why this is such a touching moment for me.
Over the years, I manage to do EVERYthing for the Christmas holiday - bake, shop, wrap gifts, send out the cards, everything, (Christmas Tree Nazi kinda covers it all) and not including the rest of the family like I should have been. 
I realize that now.

But what warms my heart about this Christmas is how the kids all took time, thought and care about getting  gifts for EACH OTHER.  Santa's pockets were pretty empty by the time his sleigh landed on our roof, but the kids came through for each other and for their dad and I.   
They truly saw what Christmas was all about, the Giving and not the GETTING.

And you know what?  I think that they had the best Christmas ever! 
( A couple of them may have told me that, so I know it's true!)

So, along with that Christmas Miracle, re-purposed items, and misc gift cards & store credits that I discovered in my wallet that I'd forgotten about,
(and a big splurge on my husband's behalf -for me- that he had planned for months)
we weren't lacking for anything at all this Christmas!

P.S.  The only reason there isn't a photo of my husband in this post is because he took just about all of all the photos and I didn't realize it until now!  Whoops! 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

There is Going to Be A New Member of our Family . . .

....and no, I am not pregnant.  Why is that what everyone always thinks of first when this type of announcement is made?

The Newest Member of our family will be Elena, the girl Chad brought home for Thanksgiving.

Were any of us surprised?

Uh, no, not at all.

She is a great girl who will bring lots of fun and joy to Chad's life.

The wedding will be next spring, sometime in April.  And they are getting married in the Mesa temple, as is the tradition for most of her siblings (she has 7).   Woo hoo!  I love that girl!  (And I love Arizona in the springtime!)

The ring.... congrats, Chad and Elena!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The START Treaty

One of the reasons that I haven't been posting much lately is because a lot of what has been on my mind has been about politics.    And since the mid-term elections, I had decided to not be so political here on my blog. 

Well, I am a fail on that decision, since this one IS about politics.  But it is also about more than that.  It is about our national security.  And no matter what your political leanings may be, I think that we all can agree on one thing:  We want America to be a strong country.  

That is why I am so concerned about the START treaty.  It is too important of a subject matter to be pushed through during this lame-duck session.   So many other bills and concerns have been the topic that it has been neglected from public notice, and now it looks like it will be ratified by the Senate today or tomorrow. 

I have mentioned before that I am glad that I live in Idaho, a state that so represents the values and concerns of my husband and I.    And and in an area that a visiting General Authority told us would be "a gathering place, and a safe haven".   

Last week, I wrote my Senator and told him of my concerns.   Here is his response:

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Carey:

Thank you for contacting my office regarding the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) signed by President Obama and Russian President Medvedev in April. I appreciate hearing from you.

After the treaty was signed, President Obama sent the treaty to the Senate for ratification. As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, I have spent months reviewing the details of the treaty and have deep concerns with it.

It is unfortunate this treaty embraces an outdated 20th century Cold War style of arms control, while ignoring the flexibility needed for the threats America must confront now and in the future. Under this treaty, President Obama accepted limits on missile defense as well as conventional capabilities, while accepting weakened verification measures. Whereas Russia already is below the warhead and delivery vehicle limits set forth in this treaty, the U.S. is not and will need to make many difficult choices about our military in order to comply with the treaty's provisions. Despite repeated inquires, it is still unclear what concessions were made by Russia.

I am also deeply concerned by the fact that the minority was denied its requests to hear from witnesses it requested, access to documents was delayed and questions were rarely answered in a timely matter for thoughtful deliberation. A recent meeting of the Foreign Relations Committee to amend the treaty greatly improved the resolution of ratification and I was glad the committee accepted one of my amendments; however, several other key amendments were rejected. Even with my amendment, the treaty did not do enough to protect the United States and I subsequently voted against it in committee.

I really value your effort to get in touch with me to share your thoughts, as many Idahoans do. Pease do not hesitate to contact me in the future on this or other issues.

Very Truly Yours

James E. Risch
United States Senator

I really hope that something will happen in the Senate today that will stall this vote until after the new year, until Representatives who are going to be there for more than another few days can review it and negiotiate the necessary changes to it.  Since there isn't sufficient time to do that, I hope and pray that the vote will wait.  However, it looks like it could be voted on and passed today or tomorrow.  

Do you think that all any of our sitting Representatives have our best interests and the interests of our country at heart?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Hero!

See this young man?  He is amazing, in general, but the other day he did what no one else had been able to do:
He found my camera!

Stand by for a lot more posts than I have been doing lately, Complete With Photos!  Yay!