Friday, December 31, 2010


Yesterday Rob spent the day at the hospital with Robbie for a scheduled outpatient surgery of which I have no photos or post, at Robbie's request. Today Robbie was recovering nicely, and we all ditched him to go try out our new snowshoes up Millcreek canyon. In spite of the 10 degree temperature we had a great time, and the kids were smiling non-stop. I took 88 photos before my hands were too frozen to take another. I'm in the market for a pair of warm gloves with good mobility if anyone has any suggestions...

Here are a few of my favorites.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Freezing Photo Shoot

With Rich & Sandra and Matt & Anne both in town, we wanted to take a family photo—our last one was twelve years ago! But no one had made any arrangements, so yesterday I called my sister Cara, who agreed to this insanity. After another 45 phone calls to try and coordinate colors, then a trip to the mall because Robbie grows out of everything in about three weeks these days, we were set. We met at Memory Grove at 9:30 a.m. The lighting was just right, but we all had to hold our breath in so we wouldn't appear to be smoking. :) It was definitely cold. Cara started with our family while we waited for everyone else to get there. This may end up being next year's Christmas card photo.

Stringhams were next. Looking good, if you ignore the fact that Amelia is turning blue. :)

And here's the whole family, minus Joe, and Lisa. Hoping to photoshop them in.

Rich and Sandra's cute family, with Ralph and Judy.

I think this photo with just the kids turned out great.

Poor little Clara was done, but still looks cute.

The photo with the grandkids was kind of a joke. Shawn got video of us all being silly, trying to make them smile, and that was the real gem.

The outtakes are always fun.

Afterward we all went to see Ralph and Judy's new downtown high-rise condo. I didn't get any great photos. They have a nice view of the temple.

Then we went to lunch at The Lion House. I didn't take any photos there. Sometimes I think I don't even deserve the title of Photo Nazi. Jeez.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Burning Down the House

No, this is not a reference to the Talking Heads song, just a near disaster. FYI, those Santa hats are super-flammable. Ainsley tossed this on a lamp, and then pulled it off minutes later, when it started smoking. Luckily she was not burned, and was scared enough that she probably won't throw anything else on top of a lamp. Our house smells lovely.

Christmas posts coming soon...

Better Late than Never

I know many people who have given up on Christmas cards, and I can't say I blame them. I was pretty tempted to let it go this year, but I love to receive them, and I also love looking back at our cards over the years.

So even though we didn't manage to get a photo taken in December, I found this one from regional conference in October and made sure to pick a card with Happy New Year on it. I put them in the mail today, so hopefully they'll be there before then. :) No letter, but anyone can find out more than they ever wanted to about us here.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Wrap-up

These recent posts are really my least favorite kind—lots of photos and a this-is-what-we-did summary. But sometimes it can't be helped.

The girls were excited to wear their matching dresses to church today, and I even let them bring their new dolls just this once. Someone in our ward (who obviously doesn't know me well) asked if I had made the dresses. Ha!

After church Robbie had fun with the boys' new balance board. This is supposed to help link the right and left sides of the brain (although normally he does it on a hard surface, and without shoes).

Then we went over to Davy and Emma's for the Riley family party, which is always the Sunday after Christmas, since Chris is busy at the bakery up until Christmas. We had a yummy non-traditional meal of Bruschetta, Lasagna and Salad, with Soda Cracker Pie for dessert.

Ellie got another matching doll dress.

Robbie and Joey loved their Hex Bugs.

But the most fun present there was the one Chris gave Christine—this cute Yorkie-Poo puppy. Even Ainsley, who is terrified of dogs, big or small, held her.

So, that's the last of our Christmas parties, and though I love the whole season, I always look forward to having everything cleaned up and put away, and slowing down our pace a little. Oh, and winter can go ahead and end now too.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

I took 183 photos today...

So it was a tough job to pick a few to post. Here are some shots of what was waiting from Santa:

And our gifts to each other under the tree:

I was the first one awake this morning at 7:20, and quickly called my grandma to tell her to plan on 8:00 instead of 7:30, since no one was up. Good call, since I woke her up. By eight the kids were all lined up and waiting, semi-patiently.

These were a few of our favorite things:

Ellie, and Lucy.

Joey's favorite was a Wii game, of course.

Robbie was easy to please.

Ainsley loves her doll too. She still hasn't settled on a name, but someone is seriously lobbying for the name Rob.

It was fun to have my grandma there for all the fun.

Rob, making his best ebleskivers ever. Must be the gansta love cooked in.

My mom and dad joined us for breakfast casserole, fruit and ebleskivers.

Ralph and Judy made it over later that afternoon.

And then we headed to the Backman's at three, for an early dinner and nativity. It was great to have Rich & Sandra and Matt & Anne in town.

We had a wonderful day.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve, Part II

Our dog died, our cards did not get mailed, and we had a few neighbor gifts still to deliver, but Christmas Eve "came just the same," and we went on. We don't have any extended family traditions that night, and have been discussing what our traditions should be. Rob suggested going out to dinner, and I thought that sounded perfect, since we already have plenty of prep for breakfast. We decided to go downtown, see the lights at Temple Square and go to a restaurant at Gateway. Since Doug & Cathy were out of town this year, the Stringhams joined us.

Trax is definitely the way to go.

It was cold, and we decided to eat at Nauvoo Cafe rather than walk to Gateway. It wasn't the greatest, but anyplace that can accommodate thirteen people at the last minute deserves some credit. On our drive home from the Trax station we guessed who our secret service person was, and it was fun to hear all the acts of kindness discussed and thanks expressed. Love that new tradition. Here's a photo of our manger filled with straw. We actually ran out of straw before the week was out—a good sign.

Opening pajamas is a well-established tradition that the kids love.

We ended our evening with one more new tradition that is also a keeper. Melissa made these cute boxes and gave them to us on December 13th so we could count down the 12 days of Christmas. Each box contains a scripture that refers to the Savior and a simple activity. We usually read each scripture just before bed, so we didn't do the activities in order, but we did do most of them. Another great way to focus on what matters most this season.

The kids must have been worn out, because they went to bed fairly early and did not get out of bed once. Luckily, Rob and I had no gifts to assemble, and very little wrapping to do, because we were wiped out too. It was a nice ending to a tough day.

Jamaica Marsh, 1996-2010

I should be mailing my Christmas cards, delivering neighbor gifts, and wrapping presents. I haven't blogged about most of December, but I'll have to catch up later.

When we got home from our family party last night, Jamaica had a seizure, much worse than her usual. We went to bed last night knowing that she might be dying. This morning she was still breathing, but unable to stand or walk. Rob carried her to the tree for this photo before loading her into the car. We had the kids say their goodbyes just in case she didn't return from the pet ER. Rob spent a couple of hours there while they performed x-rays and blood tests. They found large tumors in her lungs and spleen and Rob held her while they put her to sleep. I'm glad I didn't have to watch that.

I've complained about the dog poop in the yard, how stinky she is, how I feel guilty for neglecting her. But now that she is gone, I miss her. I'll post a photo collage when I have more time. RIP Jamaica. What a good, good dog.