Monday, December 31, 2007

Weekly Top Five 12/31/2007

My last top five of the year! These are the top five Christmas songs that I hate.

1. "Please, Daddy, Don't Get Drunk This Christmas" by John Denver. Think I'm making this one up? I'm not. My mom's family used to sing it and she hated it too. Check it out here.

2. Any Christmas song sung by *nSync or Backstreet Boys or any boy band. I don't want to spend one more Christmas listening to their music.

3. "Santa Baby" by Madonna or Eartha Kitt. The epitome of materialism.

4. "Blue Christmas" by Elvis. I don't like pretty much anything by Elvis. Especially Christmas music.

5. "Christmas Eve on Woodward Avenue" by Karen Newman. Woodward is the last place on earth I'd want to be on Christmas Eve. I really dislike local celebrities who think they are something great.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Band Geeks

Saturday was our friend Jon Chapman's wedding to Kristen Drennan. It was a beautiful ceremony and reception. The very best part was getting to be with my bestest friend, Jodi, who is Jon's sister. She looked beautiful in her bridesmaid's dress. I felt like a goof next to her in my regular clothes. The picture of us is so cute. At least, her half is!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Movie Review

Last night, we saw the movie, "The Great Debaters." It starred Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker and some other people I don't know. It was an awesome movie. The acting was so good. I enjoyed every performance but especially Nate Parker who played Henry Lowe. Not sure if I liked his acting or his smile better. Being a white person, I don't know much about Black History except what I was taught about Martin Luther King, Jr. Even then, I was in school before they really started teaching much about it. Of course, I've seen movies like "Ghosts of Mississippi" and read books like, "Caine River," so i've been exposed to the injustice inflicted upon black people. For some reason, it hit me harder watching "The Great Debaters." I can't imagine living in that environment and raising a family with that kind of oppression. Watching it made me feel so blessed to be who I am, living in the time that I do.

I am glad to have seen this movie because I'm sure it will be nominated for awards and usually when we are watching the award shows, we haven't seen any of the nominated movies. It will be nice to have one to root for for a change.

I recommend this movie to adults. There is one scene that is sexual in nature but it is brief and doesn't show anything. Also there is some violence. Other than that, it was clear.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Gee, SquidWard, maybe Santa will bring me a dictionary so I can understand what you just said.

Christmas has come and gone already. I feel like I spend so much time gearing up for it and preparing and then, Whoosh!, it's over. We had a very happy, fun and wonderful few days. It started on Saturday with a nice visit from Chris' cousin and his family. They live in Kansas and we don't see them very often. We all met at Buca di Beppo for a fun meal and time to get reacquainted. Chris' aunt and uncle from St. Ignace and his cousin and family from Livonia were there also, in addition to Chris' dad, grandpa and brother and family. Chris' grandpa turned 90 on December 13 so we were celebrating his birthday as well. It was fun times! PS: The food at Buca di Beppo is great but the ambiance is a little risque. I don't think we will be returning anytime soon. Christopher refused to go into the bathroom because of some "Inappropriate" pictures.

Jeff, Jay, Lynn and Chris
Morgan and Emily
Stephenson and Vos boys

On Sunday, we went to Church and enjoyed our ward's Christmas program. It was nice listening to the children sing. Poor Calvin hates getting up in front of a group and he hid the best he could behind taller children. They did a great job.

On Monday, we made our usual trek to Mecca...I mean Toledo...for our annual Ideal Hot Dog meal. In attendance were our family and the Onofrios. We headed out comfortably (for the first time ever!) in our 12 passenger van and had great weather conditions for our drive. We arrived in Toledo and made our way to Heatherdowns and Eastgate where lies the best dive restaurant ever. We ordered tons of chili mac and garlic bread and left with full bellies. This tradition started many years ago when my Dad still lived in Toledo and we have been keeping it alive ever since. I think Lucy must have loved it because she gave some beautiful smiles while we were there. The best thing about chili mac is that you get to burp it up and retaste it all night long!

What should I order, chili mac or chili mac?

This is the best thing I've ever eaten!!

After Ideal Hot Dog, we opened presents together. Anna, Tony and Lucy loved their blankets I made them. Lucy cuddled up in hers and went right to sleep. The kids loved the presents they received. It was fun. After presents we prepared the Christmas Snacks. Anna and I decided that we would rather eat appetizers from now on that regular meals. They are much more fun! We awarded our treats with fun names.

Best Newcomer: Pizza Dip
Returning Favorite: Seven Layer Taco Dip
Fan Favorite: Mini Egg Rolls
Best Use of Seafood: Crab Dip
Best Use of Pickled Bologna: Pickled Bologna

Emily with her blanket

Lucy nestled all snug in her blanket.
The piece de resistance

Anna and Tony left and we packed the kids off to bed. In the morning, we ran down to see what Santa left. Everyone was thrilled and excited! Spencer gets the award for most enthusiasm. He proclaimed everything "awesome!" It was fun watching them be so excited.

Awesome! I got Spongebob Legos!

Chi-chi-chi Chia!

Christmas morning we went to Grammy and Grandpa's house for traditional egg bake and presents. We had fun eating, opening gifts and playing with cousins.

Christopher and Grammy playing Speed Stack.

Tyler with his Jeff Gordon blanket

Yesterday, we treated the kids to an exciting surprise and took them to Chuck E. Cheese with the Heiners. We had been promising them a trip to Chuck E. Cheese for over a year but never wanted to spend the money on it. We pooled our Christmas money and treated them to a fun evening. They really enjoyed it!

Now the celebrating is over but we are still having fun. The kids have enjoyed putting together Spongebob Legos with dad, playing on their Nintendo DSs, playing Uno Attack and having fun. I will be sad when they go back to school in two weeks.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

His moment in the sun

Today, Spencer did the cutest thing at church. He volunteered to be the reverence child before Sacrament. This entailed standing with his arms folded in front of the congregation as a reminder for them to be reverent as they entered the chapel. He did an excellent job. When it was time to start the service, the bishop spoke to him and thanked him and asked him to return and sit with his family. Spencer didn't want to sit down though. The bishop opened the meeting and thanked Spencer and let everyone in the congregation know that Spencer didn't want to leave the stand. Spencer was very serious as he stood there and the bishop jokingly tried to get him to sit down; he even offered him a seat with the Bishopric. Spencer didn't want to budge. He was going to be the reverence child and no one was going to move him! Finally, Chris went up and took his hand and walked him back to our seat. It was cute!

Friday, December 21, 2007

It's the timeless art of seduction

Apparently, we have a budding photographer in our midst. When I was uploading the cookie picture for my last post, I came across these photos recently uploaded to my Picasa account. Looks like they couldn't get Cameron to pose for his sitting. My kids are the best!!

Puke? That's a funny word. Can I use that?

Yesterday was Christmas cookie baking day! Anna and I went to my friend, Jodi's house to bake various treats and have fun together. Anna was making cookies within cookies which ended up being very yummy. I made some date bars and Hungarian pastries. Jodi was making an apricot/white chocolate fudge that looked so good! We weren't even half-way done when I got a phone call from the elementary school. Calvin threw up in his classroom and needed to be picked up. Such a bummer! So we packed up our half-done stuff and left. I had to finish my Hungarian pastries at home. The recipe for these delectable cookies was given to my mother by our next door neighbor growing up. She was Hungarian. She made them every Christmas and I can remember being so excited when she would knock on the door with the plate of cookies for our family. They are so great! They come apricot or walnut filled. The ones I made yesterday are good but not as good as Ann Gasser's. Hers reign supreme. She also used to make great Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage. As I child, whenever I heard her pressure cooker whistling through an open summer window, I knew there would be stuffed cabbage for dinner. She would always bring some for our family. I have that recipe too and it is one of my very favorites. Enjoy the pictures of my cookies because that's all I have to share. The cookies are going fast!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thankful Thursday 12/20/2007

1. Christmas cookies

2. Christmas Snow

3. Christmas Cards

4. Christmas Presents

5. Christmas Eve

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I'm cute! I'm CUTE!

Last night, we watched "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" as a family. It is a very strange holiday movie. Poor Rudolph and his family are ridiculed by other reindeer and Santa himself for a birth defect that couldn't be helped. To quote Santa, "Donner, you should be ashamed of yourself." Poor Rudolph and family, made to feel like outcasts because of their sons deformity. I hate Santa at that moment. Little Hermey is an interesting character. He wants to be a dentist. We knew someone in our student ward that looked just like a grown up Hermey. He was our Sunday School teacher and Chris would mutter under his breath to me, "I want to be a dentist" all through class. Funny thing is, the guy is a dentist now. I'm pretty sure that Hermey needs to be on the same shelf as the Gay Elves. (See previous post.) The island of misfit toys is quite disturbing. I want to know what the elves were smoking that made the train with square wheels, the squirt gun shoots jelly and the dolly that may or may not be a cross dresser. In spite of it's oddities, or perhaps because of them, this is still one of my all time favorite Christmas movies.

It's not going in the yard, Russ. It's going in the living room.

We finally got our tree/house decorated! My Weekly Top Five for this week is My Top Five Favorite Christmas Ornaments on our Tree/Decorations around the house.

1. My mom's creche. I know it is just from Home Interiors and not very expensive or fancy, but it is not Christmas without this nativity set up on the piano.

2. Wooden Snowman Ornament. My parents made a ton of these wooden, hand-painted ornaments for their first Christmas tree. This is the only one that is left.3. All of the wonderful plastic canvas, beaded, wooden hand-made ornaments by Chris' grandma.4. Emily's "Baby's First Christmas" Ornament. It is a momma bunny holding a baby bunny. So precious.5. These are a snowman couple that my mom made for a Relief Society project. I don't know how many more christmas' they can survive. You can see the styrofoam cup peeking out of the bottom of the one on the left. They are cute!

Honorable Mention: Willow tree nativity

Stockings Chris and I made our first Christmas together.

Another of Ma's Handmade ornaments

One of Chris' Snoopy ornaments

The Gay Elves. They are very Gay. And I don't mean happy.
Chris as a little boy
Baby Jesus ornament that my 2nd grade teacher gave me.
Ornament from my parents' Hallmark collection
Handpainted ornaments that Chris loves

Dumbledore. Maybe he should go with the Gay Elves.

Our wedding Every ornament. Very fancy!

The finished tree. Very beautiful!!

I got myself as secret santa. I was supposed to tell somebody, but I didn't.

Our family is being Secret Santa-ed by two separate groups/people/persons this year. Chris' company has been struggling financially pretty severely for about a year and he finally closed in August. Since about January we have been living on pretty much na-da. Financially, this was the roughest year that we have ever faced. (Things are looking up. Chris found wonderful employment in November.) However, everywhere I look I see blessings from Heavenly Father. Some small, some gigantic, all appreciated. The latest are our two Secret Santas.

One Santa brings us a gift every day. The gifts coincide with "The Twelve Days of Christmas." Here's what we have received so far:

1st Day: Beautiful bowl of pears "Partridge in a PEAR tree"
2nd Day: Bag of Dove Chocolates and Ben and Jerry's "Turtle Soup" ice cream. "TURTLE DOVES"
3rd Day: Gift Card for McDonalds to buy French Fries "FRENCH HENS"
4th Day: 4 books all having to do with birds in some way "CALLING BIRDS"
5th Day: Connect-o-Round Game "GOLDEN RINGS"

Today is day 6 and I'm not sure if the 12 inches of snow we are still receiving is going to stop Santa today. We will wait and see.

The other Santa dropped off a box of beautifully wrapped gifts, numbered 1-12. The letter said we should open one gift a day. Here's what we opened so far:

A lovely "Polar Express" Santa Ornament
Snowflake Window Clings
A boxed set of Christmas Movies including: "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," "Frosty the Snowman" and many others.
A box of 64 crayons and 5 coloring books.

These sweet acts of giving bring tears to my eyes every time I think of them. Someone out there knows we have struggles and wants to lighten our burden. This morning, I was cooking breakfast and listening to Christmas Carols and tears just streamed down my face as I pondered all the ways our family has been blessed this year. Thank you, Secret Santas! I love you.

The kids loving the coloring books and crayons this morning.

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