What We Believe

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Traditions, Parties and The Nativity

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. We definitely did. There is nothing like the Christmas spirit within a family. I love it. I will be posting about our Christmas...but not this post. I know, I know I am very tardy regarding the "Christmas post", but I have other events that came first and I got behind (me? no way!) . So, I am plugging on with the pre-Christmas festivities and hope you all can bear with me.
This Christmas season we have had ample opportunities to bring treats. W decided this year to try our hand at the ever famous Grandpa Cookies. We have dabbled in making them in the past, but this year we tried hard to make them as close as we could to Grandpa's cookies. Grandpa passed away last Christmas season and making the cookies this year was especially important to Phillip. So, making cookies we did! We had a lot of fun making them and even put our own little spin on them. They are shortbread cookies and tend to be a more adult cookie (think Sandies w/o the pecans, although my mil makes some with pecans and I l.o.v.e. them). We decided to add colored sugar to the tops before we baked them and they became more of a cookie that kids would enjoy. I have to say, they turned out well and I think Grandpa would've been proud.

Phillip, Greyson and Cooper making the dough warm before they rolled it out.The boys taking a picture break in their jammies.

The next thing on our busy plate was Cooper's class party. It was fun to see Cooper with all of his friends. He really seemed to enjoy me, Greyson and Ella there. Cooper and I signed up to bring a "sweet treat" for the party, so we brought some of the sugared Grandpa cookies. His class seemed to enjoy them.

Cooper trying to unwrap a Hershey's kiss with snow gloves on. I thought that it was a fun twist on the game.

Cooper at his desk with his goodies.

Cooper and some of his friends hamming it up for the cameras.

Ella sitting on my lap during the party.

The night of the Cooper's class partythe boys' school had a Winter Solstice Sing-Along. My children enjoy singing and music in general and wanted to go...so we did. I am glad that we did, because Cooper's grade performed a song. It was fun to see him perform.

Cooper is in the front kneeling (if you couldn't find him). If I remember correctly they are singing "Up on the Housetop" and using actions...very cute.

Cooper sitting with some of his friends during the sing-along.

Greyson after the sing-along was done and we were eating some refreshments. If I remember, this was right before some hot chocolate was spilled by my children. This has become a trend as you'll later see.

The next day was Greyson's class party. Ella and I were able to come. It was fun to see Greyson interact with his class, as well, but he tends to stay a bit closer to mom.

Greyson sitting at a table making an ornament. Note he was sitting at Graham's desk...not his own. ;)

Ella having a grand 'ol time eating a candy cane sitting in a chair that is near her size. I think she was ready for me to sign her up for Pre-K.

That night the Stillwater wards put on a Live Nativity. It had been a few years since we had had one because we were out of a building. It was very nice to have it back. I had missed it. I was asked to help the members of the cast with make-up, and so I went early. Phillip and the kids met up with me a little later and we had a great time. Not only is there a Live Nativity, but they put out Nativities from members of the ward. They display them beautifully and they usually have a children's room with things the children can play with. This year they outdid themselves. It was wonderful. There was more then ever. They had many Little People Nativity sets, dress-up, coloring pages with stickers of the Nativity and puzzles of the Nativity. It was great. So many times I have to tell my kids "no, don't touch!". So, it was really nice for them to be able to explore and learn about the true meaning of Christmas.

The kids playing with the Little People Nativities. All three of them really enjoyed it.I was able to catch Ella's smile in this one.

Cooper playing with a Mobile Nativity (how cool is that!). I had no idea they had a Nativity.

Greyson putting together a Nativity puzzle.

Ella having lots of fun in a room where she could explore!! I think I caught her playing with the Little People set...her favorite.

Cooper dressed up as a member of the Nativity...a Wise Man or Joseph, maybe? I can't remember.

Greyson dressed up as a Shepard.

After the kids had played we went to the cultural hall. They had it decorated just beautiful! They did it in hot pink and green. They aren't colors you would've expected, but it was gorgeous. The refreshments were really nice. My boys thought everything was pretty...and wanted to touch everything...especially because they had just came form a room were they could. In the middle of the tables they had mirrors with silver and pink presents on them. Cooper wanted to touch, so he did, then Grey, one touch wasn't enough so he touched again (I said no) and then Greyson had to follow suit (always). I saw it coming a mile away. White tablecloths and hot chocolate...you guessed it, spilled hot chocolate on the tablecloth. The whole thing was done so classy and here my child spilled hot chocolate... I was mortified. I tried so hard to mop it up, but there is only so much you can do with a damp paper towel. Sigh. So, with that we left...after apologizing profusely. Looking back, I am glad we went anyway...spills and all.

Ahhhh, you made it! I am so sorry it was so long, but I wanted to document it (as some of you have noticed, I am taking my posting pictures seriously in light of past events). So, I won't feel sad if you breeze over them. Thanks for sticking with me this long. The Christmas post will be on it's way...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Catch-Up

As promised in the last post, I said that I had Christmas catching-up to do. We have been quite busy with the holiday season. The first of the month we were invited by my mom and Whit to the First Ward Christmas party. It was fun to kick off the season with a Christmas party. We had some fun with a dinner, Christmas carols and...Santa! The boys still are trying to figure out how come all the Santas are just "Santa's helpers". They are pretty good at detecting "frauds". Greyson, of course, was scared of Santa and Ella wouldn't let Phillip go. After all who would want to go to a huge, strange man dressed in red with a big beard??? Not me.Cooper letting Santa know what he wants for ChristmasThis is about as close as Grey would get to Santa's lapAuntie Whit and out little Ell-Bell at the party
The Daddy's helping the kiddos decorate some ornaments
Whit and Spence went to Utah for Christmas to visit his family, so we all wanted to squeeze in a visit to Chickasha to see the lights. It is seriously the best light display I have ever seen. We haven't missed a year that we have lived here. It is one of the best things about the season, for me. It was great weather to be outside. It was the night before a really big cold front moved in so it was calm and mild.
Here is a picture of my kids before we start the walk around the park

Here are all the kids sans Scarlett (she was bundled up in her momma's sling). I could hardly believe that they all looked at me all at once...Christmas miracles do exist.My boys in front of one of the displaysMy fam.Me and little Ell. We are on the bridge, which is one of my favorite displays. You get to walk under a canopy of lights...so pretty! She's just too darn cute!A rare picture of both me and Phillip. It's rare that both of are on one side of the camera together...thanks Spence!

Our next little cram-in session included making gingerbread houses before Whit left. We decided that baking the gingerbread was just too much so we opted for graham cracker houses. It was a great compromise. The kids all had fun and it was fun to see what they came up with. My bil Spence, who is an engineer, helped Ez construct quite the house. Needless to say it was very structurally sound.My little men before they decorated their housesA glimpse at the aftermathGreyson showing off his finished product Cooper showing me a piece of pull n' peel...which was part of his "genius" plan

We had a great time and it is fun to have the graham cracker houses to decorate our home. It was also fun to celebrate some family traditions with Whit and her family. With both of our moves looming closer I find I am a bit more nostalgic about the traditions.

Alright, this has been long enough. I have more to show off...but I'll break it up. Thanks for sticking with me this long. I hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas season. It is truly a special time of year.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

While I've Been Away...

There has been so much going on...as I am sure there has been in all of your busy lives. 'Tis the season.
Since I posted last, my family and I were able to go to historic Nauvoo. It was such a treat to visit many of the sites with my children. Cooper, especially, has always had a strong interest in Joseph Smith and it was very special to be able to walk the streets that out beloved prophet walked with my family. My boys were thrilled to see the temple and we would drive by it often as the place we stayed was quite near it. They were very excited to see the sun stone and understood that it was on the temple. We were able to pet the oxen and take a ride on the wagon pulled by them. As it was quite cold there and combine it with the "off season", we were given one-on-one treatment. It was so much fun. My boys were so excited to be able to make rope, get prairie diamond rings and a horse shoe. There was so much to do and see. We were able to spend a week there, so we could see many of the sites. I did however, learn that Ella did not share the excitement we all had going into the historic homes. She understood quite well that when we went into the homes she would not be put down. She would hoot and holler about it. The poor little sister missionaries would try to teach us through he yelling, and they generally did a wonderful job. Many of them would give us the Reader's Digest version, though. While we were there the Walker Family Reunion took place and we gathered together to have Thanksgiving dinner and a talent show. Cooper was able to have a small part in a play that my mom-in-law put on. He was super-proud of himself. I wish I could share pictures...more on that later. Also, another highlight of our trip was going to Carthage Jail. It was so neat to be able to see Cooper read the plaques that held the history of Joseph Smith. I think that we all had our testimonies strengthened on the sacrifice that our prophet endured to restore the gospel. It was such a wonderful opportunity for me, as a mother, to be surrounded by so many tangible teaching moments. It was a very special trip for me, and I am so grateful we were able to go there.
Now, for the explanation for the lack of pictures... I took many. There were fantastic, too. You know, the ones that after you take them you make a mental note that you're gonna frame them? Well, there were lots. Phillip and a colleague of his have been tinkering around with our laptop trying to put a program on it to aide Phillip in his dissertation. Thus, the lack of posts. The computer had been out of commission for a couple of weeks while the tinkering had been taking place. Long story short, they decided that the program just wasn't going to work on our computer, so they had to fix what they had done. In doing so, they had to restore the hard drive. Part of the tinkering had been to separate the hard drive into two sections and when they started to restore the computer they realized it was wiping my computer clean...all of it. It had been my understanding that my husband had been backing up our hard drive from time to time. Not so. I had at least two years of pictures on my hard drive. Needless to say, I am quite devastated. So, Nauvoo pictures, Ella's blessing, birthdays... Never has there been a time that I have been more grateful for the few pictures that I have blogged. So, let this be a lesson to you small bear, back up your hard drives. I am trying not to dwell, and am blogging my pictures and definitely backing them up!
Another huge highlight that I have been anxiously waiting to post is the next chapter in our lives.
We have accepted a position at West Texas A&M University. We couldn't be more thrilled. We actually accepted the position quite awhile ago, but wanted to make sure all the t's were crossed and all the i's dotted. We will be heading to Amarillo, Texas later this summer after Phillip graduates. Phillip and I have really felt the Lord's hand in this decision. We are excited to see what is in store for us there. A great perk to moving to Amarillo is that we will be quite close to family. Phillip's parents are about 4 1/2 hrs. away and mine will be around 5. Phillip is also going to be able to teach exactly what he loves. How neat is that?! He couldn't have written a better deal for himself. We feel extremely blessed.
In order not to bore you all to death, I think that I will break up my posts. I have a Christmas party and a trip to Chickasha to post on. That will come soon. For my sister's benefit, because I have been a horrible poster, I will put in a cute picture of my kiddos.
I took this today before church...so this is a fresh one. :) I hope you all are having a blessed season and I'll be posting soon!