Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas Missionary Skype

Søster Barrett called home at about 7:30am on Christmas.

Isn't she cute?

Her Mission President didn't set a limit to how long they could talk, so we had plenty of time together!

Things I loved about the call:
She seems so happy.  She had lots of fun stories to tell.  She still seems like herself.  She is adorable.  She is great at speaking Danish!

She sent a package to us and we opened it with her.  She sent lots of Danish candies and sweet little gifts for each of us.  She also sent a roll of Mustache Tape:

We stuck a piece of tape on the computer screen - doesn't she look terrific!

Hannah and Emily

Sydney giving Hannah a kiss

Hannah giving John a kiss

Love that girl!

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Christmas is Coming

We hunted for a tree this weekend, and I'm sure glad we did it while the weather was nice.  It is 11 degrees F today with a windchill of -15.  Snow on the ground.  Brrr!

But this weekend was lovely!

We went to lunch at the Sugar Shack to get ready for the big tree hunt.  The Sugar Shack is a little tiny greasy diner out in the middle of no where...  You can sit at the bar, or you can sit at one of 3 tables.  It's great!  Great burgers.  Great cocoa!  Too many fries!  Mmmm!  On our way in we stopped and talked to an old cowboy.  He told us that we better get our tree today, because cold weather was on it's way... he was right!

After lunch, we headed into the hills to find the perfect tree.

Em and John on a log

We had a bad storm at the beginning of October, and though the snow was mostly gone, the damage to the forest was unmistakeable.  There were huge slash piles, and trees down all over the place.  Also, the brush seemed more tangled a tougher to walk through than usual.

Sydney crosses a creek

We hunted high and low.  And finally found the right tree!

John cut it down all by himself!

John - cutting down the tree - 10 years old!

John and Sydney, hunting for our first tree in the Hills - John is 1 year old!
Our tree is a little wonky and sparse, but I think it will be lovely.  I just wish someone else would come put the lights on!  Okay.  I can do it!   Today!

Emily and John carrying out the tree.
Sydney told me it was our best year of tree hunting ever! Yay!  I blogged about tree hunting in the past here, and here.  We have made a lot of fun memories finding Charlie Brown Christmas trees in the Black Hills. 

As we were looking for our tree, we laughed about the time we went tree hunting with some friends, a couple of years ago.  Nathan was deployed over Christmas, and some friends generously offered to let the kids and I tag along with them and find our trees together.  It was cold and snowy, and we only had 2 pairs of really good snow boots.  I guess that's not true - Emily and John both had their own boots, but Hannah, Sydney, and I had only two pairs of boots between the three of us - we all wear about the same size shoe.  

So, one of us had to wear just regular boots - don't get me wrong - they were nice boots, just not good warm snow boots...  We had to hike a ways to find our tree, through lots of snow.  Did I mention it was cold?  And the person with the regular boots started to get a little bit grouchy.  

When it took a while to find juuuust the right tree, she got a lot grouchy.  So as soon as we chose one, she cut down that tree fast, and pretty much ran back to the car with it, mostly carrying it on her own (which didn't help her mood) to the car, through the deep snow.  (these trees are really very light, just sort of awkward to carry on your own.)

By the time the rest of us (our family and our friends' family) got back to the cars, she was in the suburban crying!  Waaaa!  So embarrassing for her, and for me, too!  Our friends kept asking if she was okay, and I had to keep saying: "She's fine."  "She'll be better in a few minutes..."  Being (and having) a teenager is sometimes not easy!  It's making me get a little choked up just thinking about it!

By the time we had all eaten some cookies and had some cocoa, she was just fine.  And her feet were okay.  So we went to the Sugar Shack for lunch and finished the day in better spirits.

We have 4 good pairs of snow boots, now, in size 6 1/2 - 7.  And we've both grown up a little!  I wonder if she and her companion have a little tree in their apartment?

Monday, December 02, 2013

It's Monday

After I dropped the kids off at school, I moved a load of towels from the washer to the dryer, then i sat down at the computer for "just a minute".

I just noticed that the dryer has finished drying that load of towels, and I'm still sitting here at the computer.  I think that means it's time to get going.

In my defense I did spend some time updating my budget numbers on YNAB and paying bills.  So that's good, but I have a lot to do - why am I still online???  This week is PTA week* for me, and that means I don't have time to waste.  

(PS, while I was finding the link to You Need A Budget, I noticed that their budget software is on sale today half off.  I know it's silly to pay for a budget program when you are trying to save money, but I really love this program.  I have used it all this year and it has been life changing!  And I don't really think I did a bad job budgetting before...)

And I'm still online.  

So here's my To Do list.  I'll check back at lunch:

add in numbers to my budget
exercise (before I do anything else) (I almost died.  seriously.  should have kept up with exercising over the holiday...)

post up Søster Barrett's blog for the week (I love that missionary!)
call phone company and figure out why our internet is wacky
clean up turkey stuff
pull out Christmas Things
move around some furniture to make room for the TREE (Thanks John!)
which means I have to: 
and sweep

wash two loads of laundry
sew something
go to meeting at noon - take the computer - make sure you print minutes from last month
track my food
go on a walk this afternoon
don't forget that the Sister Missionaries are coming over at 4pm (unfortunately, they had a plumbing emergency and didn't make it.)
Turkey Noodle Soup for dinner

AND if you have a minute:
wrap up a gift or two
clean your room!

It's dinner time.  We are ready to set up the tree, but I need to do some clean up around the book shelves and little tables to make room for decorations.  I feel like I got a lot done today, especially this afternoon with John's help!  I think it helped that I did my best to stay off of the internets...

*PTA Week = meetings on Monday and Tuesday at the Middle School and Elementary School respectively.  Then I have to get my notes from the Monday meeting edited and posted to the website. AND I have to gather everything from Tuesday's meeting for a newsletter that should be submitted by Friday.  That takes most of Thursday morning.  I know it's all silly stuff, but it takes time.  TIme I would be wasting online apparently...