Monday, December 29, 2008

The Blessing Box-A Report

I wanted to write a summary of our Blessing Box(Click here for more info) experiment. I got this idea in a wonderful email from my Sister in Law at the first of the month-just in time to start a 24 day long excercise in counting our material blessings. I had several people tell me they, too, were doing the BB and I would love to hear their experiences also.

We started off pretty strong. We had an FHE to make the 'Box.' We started with a shoe box and covered it in construction paper. Elise made some cute decorations for it.

The box was left on the kitchen table all month so we would remember it and for the first several nights we were quite diligent. I have to say that it took only a few nights for this excercise to really sink in with the kids. They were stunned at the totals we came up with each night. Counting the socks in the house is what really drove home the concept of abundance to me. I was amazed at the quantity! Of course with 5 kids and a husband who still has socks from 15 years ago, you know the number is going to be pretty high. We had over 100 pairs of socks-granted, some were weird, rarely worn, or sport specific-but still, over 100! It was actually physically counting them that changed the abstract idea of 'lots' into a concrete realization that we DO have SO, SO much abundance in our material lives.

Then we got kinda busy and missed a few nights. Then we did a few. Then missed a few. It was actually after Christmas that we finished. We all split up and made quick work out of counting the remaining items. We didn't do it nightly, but we did do it all.

Overall I think it was an outstanding excercise. The kids loved it. They loved checking drawers and cupboards for every last toothbrush or bar of soap. They worked together and all wanted to donate money to meet our final tally. So by adding pennies, nickel, and dimes together each day as we counted our material blessings like vegetables, TP, and water faucets, we came up with a grand total of $53.38 that we will use to buy supplies for school children in Tobago. But maybe even more importantly, we all came away with a renewed sense of how blessed we really are to live in this country at this time in history. The Blessing Box truly helped us to count ours!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Rest of the Break

Christmas is lovely. Christmas is nice. Christmas is only 3 days in on a 2 week vacation! Now what do we do?!

We could definately work on eating all the treats that come with the Holidays.
Snowmobiling is fun-even funner is you can talk someone into being pulled behind it on a sled-this is Gabe and his friend Collin.
Sledding is always a winner, Jackson and his friend Sam at Grandma's house.
The well we get our water from got a faulty switch somehow so John worked on it, outside, in the snow, all day.  He managed to do a patchy repair until the 'well guy' was off vacation.
The water situation didn't slow our rate of Hot Cocoa consumption. We went through a Costco sized container.
Snowball fights.  Yeah-it has snowed a ridiculous amount here lately.
We watched a few movies while Elise played with the timer on her camera.
And of course we went up to the Mountain-we met up there with the Mann Clan. Here is a picture of Elise, Karver, Afton, Me, and Kaeli. I was afraid I wouldn't remember how to ski, but apparently it's like riding a bike...

Lots of stuff for us to enjoy! It is our tradition to have a big New Years Eve Party with lots of small children playing with fire, but we skipped the fireworks in the back yard this year and packed up for SLC to visit with all of my sisters.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Morning

I have always enjoyed Christmas Morning, but having kids makes it really great. And if kids make it great, then having one of them be a 3 year old is just the icing on the Christmas Fruitcake. This year Jebb is our 3 year old. He is old enough to 'get it.' Free stuff..all wrapped up...I can now rip it open to find my free stuff. Merry Christmas.

Maybe I like 3 year old gift opening because it makes me feel like such an extraordinary gift giver. Who would squeal and giggle over unwrapping church socks? That's right-the 3 year old. Jebb even got up and showed them around. All of the kids were actually really terrific. Very gracious, happy, excited, and grateful at all the right times. I really loved seeing them open the gifts form each other. The giver and the receiver rejoiced together. That's the idea right? (Good thing I kicked myself out of bed to take them shopping yesterday!)

I didn't get a lot of good pictures, but Elise got a camera as her big Santa gift this year, and she had a few. She also had individual pictures of each item in her stocking as well as every item she unwrapped. Very well documented sweet heart! ;)
Of course we had to get a new wii game-John tries it out.
OK, I am going to kick Santa's butt for these. They actually talk and change your own voice into a 'Trooper' voice. John smiled as he told me he would have LOVED these as a kid! Good pic Elise!
Grandma and Hank came over (they actually got here before the kids were awake-Grandma was freaked out that the kids slept in as long as they did). Hank got everyone a gift and put a lot of thought into each one. This is what he got John for the boat next summer. Way to show me up Hank!
Here is another Elise picture! Me and the Man.

I always find it mind boggling that the mountain of ripped paper, discarded bows, and tons of those little wires they use to hold action figures in place, all used to fit neatly under the tree. Merry Christmas everyone! I hope Santa was good to you!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

This Christmas Eve I was feeling, well, snowed in. Our attempt at doing our traditional Nativity Play went badly (see Monday's post). I had the costumes. I had the scripts. But I let my enthusiasm get away from me.

As I was trying to figure out how to get the kids to agree to go to bed at 6:30, the doorbell rang. And who, to my wondering eyes did appear? It was Greg and Lanae and their 5 kids so dear (I even got my Christmas rhyme on!). They arrived and immediately breathed new life into my Christmas Spirit.

We got out the costumes. We got out the scripts. Everyone brought their enthusiasm. With both of our families and Hank, we had just enough characters (a few non-readers needed some help) to reenact the Nativity Story.

Angel and Narrator
Innkeeper and Wife
Wisemen with gifts
Singing to Mary, Joseph, and the Baby

It was so much fun and I was so glad the Manns helped me get back my Nativity mojo. They headed out and we were left to open our one present on Chirstmas Eve. Surprise!! It's pajamas!! We all play along as if we don't know that's what I am going to let them open each year. The big boys all got pajama pants, the little boys and Elise traditional pj's and John and I watched. Then it was off to bed. A perfect Christmas Eve.

Our Nativity Play

A Nativity Play
By, Michelle Gilleland

Wiseman 1- Wow! That was one LOUSY hotel!

Wiseman 2- No Kidding! That place is so crowded, I had to share a floor mat with HIM! (pointing to WM 3)

Wiseman 3- And you snore like you have the sands of 1000 deserts stuck in your nose. (to wiseman 2)

WM 2- At least I don’t pet your head in the night and call you ‘Fuzzy Knees”

WM 1- (to WM 3) Isn’t that the name of your camel?

WM 3- Do you have a problem with that?

WM 2- (chuckling) No, no problem.

WM 1- O.K. you two-- remember why we’re here. We are on an important errand.
The Wise Man Association of the Far East has sent us to find the New King

WM 2- Yeah- it’ll be nice to find Him----that Herod fellow is a real fruitcake! I heard he was dropped on his head once too often as a baby--he has issues!

WM 3- Maybe he stood out in that hot Bethlehem sun too long. haha

WM 1- Let’s stay focused on our task. This definately would be a bad weekend for the prophecies fortelling the new King to be fulfilled.

WM 2-- I have never seen Bethlehem so crowded! I should have made our reservations for a few more days, but every Hotel and Inn is booked from here to Nazareth!

WM 1- It’s that crazy tax system Caesar came up with- How does He expect the whole world to be taxed?!

WM 3- Looks like we might be sleeping with the Shepherds tonight, men.

WM 2- Don’t worry, we’ll have Fuzzy Knees

Narrator: Luke 2:1 and Luke 2:3-5

Enter Joseph and Mary

Joseph- Well Mary, this is Bethlehem, where my family is from. Of course, it isn’t usually so crowded. It’s typically a great place to raise a family.

Mary- Oh Joseph, I hope it’s a good place to START a family because I’m afraid it’s time.

J- You mean?!! (points to Mary’s belly)

M- (calmly) Yes, Joseph. I think we had better find a place...quickly.

J- Every inn we’ve passed has turned us away. This town is packed! This is the only inn left. Don’t worry Mary- I’ll just explain the urgency of our situation- they can’t turn us away.

Narrator- Luke 2:6

Inn Keeper- Sorry-- Can’t you read the sign? NO Vacancy

J- But, sir, please..

IK- Sorry son! Caesar’s decree has brought in half the Middle East to Bethlehem. David had lots of decendants and they ALL want a room!

J- But my wife... she is expecting our first child

IK- That’s too bad my boy, but honestly, I couldn’t even find you a room if I wanted to. Why even MY room is wall-to-wall with my in-laws!

J- But sir... my wife is expecting our first child RIGHT NOW!

IK- What?! Oh dear! Let me get my wife. We have 8 children of our own-- all sleeping on the floor in the storage room. She’ll know what to do.

Wife- Hello my dear. My husband told me all about it-- Don’t worry darling. Our inn is so full you wouldn’t even be able to find a spot to lie down- and we need some privacy. I have an idea. I told my husband to clear us out a spot in the stables.

J- (Worried) The stables? Oh dear... Mary... I...

M- (calmly) Don’t worry Joseph. It will be alright.

J- But the stables...?

M- It will be more peaceful than the crowded streets.

Wife- And a little more private, dear. My daughters are getting a place ready. These stables have housed the horses of royalty-- I think they’ll be suitable for you. Leave it to me- We’ll have hot water and swaddling clothes ready!

M- Thank you so much for your kindness.

Wife- Of course dear, now come with me. Joseph, you put away the donkey--here this way!

Narrator- Luke 2:7

Wife- (coming out of stable smiling) It’s a PERFECT baby boy!

Narrator- Luke 2:8

Shepherd 1- WOW! What a night! I never get tired of looking up at the stars.

S 2- We’ve looked at these stars since we were boys and I don’t remember seeing a star like that one (points to the loft) Is that new?

S 3- Yes! That is one crazy, bright star! I think the sheep will never fall asleep it’s so bright!

S 4- Can you believe how many people have come to Bethlehem?!

S 1- It’s those darn taxes! We have relatives of relatives we’ve never met staying at our place.

S 3- Us too! My crazy second cousin showed up with his 14 children-- He said the hotel lost his reservation!

S 5- Maybe with that new star shining so brightly my wife’s sister will be able to find our house. She has NO sense of direction.

S 4- I guess we’d better settle in for the night-star or no star.

Narrator: Luke 2:9 and 10”And the angel said unto them”

Angel- “FEAR NOT! I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

Narrator: Luke 2:13-14

Narrator: “And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven the shepherds said unto one another...”

Shepherd 1- “Let us now go even unto Bethlehem. The sheep will be fine for a while

S 3- I’m glad that angel opened with “Fear Not” because I addmit I was a little shocked!

S 2- I think the sheep liked the music. I sure did!!

S 1- Come on you guys, let’s go...with HASTE

Narrator- Luke 2:16

Wise Man 3- Look! There it is!! It’s the Star! The guys in the Wise Man Association are never going to believe this one!

WM 2- They can probably see it themselves!

WM 3- Good point

WM 1- Let’s not waste time it doesn’t matter how crowded the streets are, we have got to follow that star! Hurry! And get the Myrrh!!!

Narrator- Matt 2:10-11

Shepherd 1 (stands and addresses audience) We have seen the Child just as the angels told us.

Shepherd 2- Will you join us in singing for the baby?

All sing Silent Night

Narrator Luke 2:19-20

The Start of a New Tradition?

This morning I woke with inspiration. I have not done well helping my kids all get presents for one another. It has been troubling to me, but this morning was Christmas Eve Day and I obviously hadn't found a solution yet. So this morning I hopped out of bed and ran downstairs to wake all the kids. John thought he was dreaming when he saw me up before him. I kicked him out of bed too.

I marched around warning everyone we were leaving in 10 short minutes to go to Wal-mart. All children would be given a $20 budget to buy sibling gifts (this breaks down to $5 per gift since each kid has 4 siblings). I was pleasantly surprised as their groggy looks turned to smiling excitement. 12 minutes later we were on the road. Because it was only 8:00 in the morning, Wal-mart was still extremely quiet considering it was the last shopping day before Christmas.

We divided up. Gabe, Seth, and Elise got their own carts and John & I took Jackson and Jebb in our separate carts. With my help Jebb got his 4 gifts picked out and we self-checked them out. After double bagging them, we went to find the other kids. One by one, I took them up and checked them out, and carefully double bagged the goods to maintain secrecy. It was SO FUN! The kids all had a blast! They were really excited about the things they had picked out and they were excited to get home to wrap their treasures up.

We made one more stop before heading home. Since we all missed breakfast, we decided to go to Denny's. Yum-a-roo for breakfast! It was so fun.I did have one complaint-Denny's has one of those hook machines that cost $0.50 and my kids are fascinated with it. Gabe plucked an Iron Man doll out of it last year on his first try, so all of my kids think that's normal.
Elise always has cash for these kinds of things. Wouldn't you know it?! Gabe plucked out a donkey...first try!

When we got home, each kid came into my room with me and wrapped their gifts. They happily ran out and placed them under the tree-this was the signal for the next kid to come in and wrap. I am SO pleased with how the morning went-I think this could be the start of a new tradition!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Me and My Bright Ideas

Leave it up to me to come up with a really swell idea. A couple years ago I wrote a Nativity play requiring lots of kids to fill the parts. I was feeling a little stir crazy with all this snow (did I mention that we have gotten LOTS of SNOW?) so I figured I'd invite some people over for a theatrical FHE. I quickly contacted the 3 craziest, spontaneous, up-for-danger, have-several-children-old-enough-to-read-a-part-in-the-play women I knew. This was all somewhat last minute and thrown together, but I offered to stick some chicken in the crock pot and we'd have dinner and a show to celebrate the Season's Peace on Earth and Good Will to Men. Simple enough, right? On a normal weather day-yes.

But this was no normal weather day. It had literally been snowing all day and it was really starting to accumulate by dinner time. I wasn't too worried. John was on his way home from work in the plow truck, and I was sure our good government was right on top of traditional road clearing. I mean, shoot, it HAD been snowing all day, certainly they were well ahead of it. I had heard off and on throughout the day from different people that road conditions were tolerable. The roads weren't quite cold enough to freeze while the sun was up. Unfortunately, our little soiree was due to begin at sunset. Conditions apparently changed quickly.

Coincidentally all moms and dads from the 3 families would be taking separate cars to get here (I guess their husbands all have jobs). My first hint of trouble came when Mom 1 arrived in her mini-van. She said the road she had taken was still quite snowy. Hmm. The next hint of trouble came when her husband arrived in a borrowed 4WD and was perplexed at his wives boldness in driving down our steep, snow-quickly-turning-to-ice covered driveway. (Sidenote: I rarely ponder what a burden it would be to be the Man of the House. I think all men instinctually feel a strong sense of responsibility for the well being of everyone living under their roofs. It seems many Dads take on the roll of 'Fixing' situations especially when the safety of their beloved family might be an issue. I feel for Men and the burden they must carry.) Dad 1 immediately set about trying to fix the vehicle situation. He decided to get the mini van up the driveway to make it easier for his wife to return home after our Magical Christmas Evening together. Sadly, the driveway wasn't going to let him out easily. There was lots of tire spinning, slipping, sliding, and general loss of traction on the uphill exit. He slid into the center island where he dug for quite sometime in an effort to free the 2wd beast. Mom 1 and I were somewhat oblivious to the details of Dad 1's wrestle with Old Man Winter as we were inside the warm house talking about important matters as the kids played together in the basement. Gabe had taken the opportunity to get in on the action and fired up the tractor and got to plowing the driveway.

Sometime during this, Mom 2 called and said Dad 2 was driving downtown on the icy roads. He advised her not to take their car out in the weather. Since Dad 2 had errands to run, Mom 2 let me know she would have to miss our FHE. I was sad, but understood.

Mom 1 and I decided we'd better see what kind of progress Dad 1 was making and we went outside just as Mom 3 arrived in her burly 4wd. When she pulled in and asked me for my camera, I felt a knot in my stomach. Apparently Mom and Dad 3 arrived at Dreamy Draw (our road) together. Mom 3 made it in fine, but Dad 3 was not as lucky. A car coming down the county road didn't slow down on the ice, and crashed into Dad 3's company car. Mom 3 was going to get pics because the police wouldn't come take a report unless it was life threatening (thankfully that was not the case). The knot in my stomach was making me feel a little nauseated. I think Dad 1 was laying in the snow digging to free the mini van from my center island during the majority of this exchange.

My instinct at this time will shed light on what a fiercely independant and resourceful woman I am. I longed to call John to come fix it all. Luckily, he had arrived in the plow truck and came to give Dad 1 a tow. Mom 3 unloaded the kids and headed out, camera in hand. John then commenced in yanking and towing Dad 1 out and eventually up the sheet of ice that had been our driveway. Poor Dad 1 was drenched by this time. I walked Mom 1 to the top of the driveway to see what we could do. John had zoomed off to help Dad 3. Since the snow hadn't let up, Dad 1 was in no mood to wait for the weather to improve. Who could argue with a wet, tired, practically minded Dad 1? After I tried to lighten the mood with some ridiculous attempt at humor, the deal was sealed and they loaded up the kids and caravaned home. (Sidenote: Why do I feel compelled, almost beyond my will to resist, to attempt to make jokes during stressful situations? So obnoxious!)

Mom 3 returned from her photo session and we commenced in feeding the remaining children. In spite of the trauma, I must say the meal was most enjoyable. Mom 3's cornbread and the soup Mom 1 left behind were a lovely compliment to the chicken. The kids were all having a fine time. Just then the phone rang and it was John. He sheepishly asked me to send Gabe to come down the road to pick him up in the Teryx. He had slid off the road in the plow truck. (Sidenote: John is in his glory when he is out pulling others from stuck spots. Gabe is John's small twin.) John pulled out the truck with the Pinzgauer (I guess this storm demanded 6wd).

Then finally, finally, Dad 3, John, and Hank (he had dropped Kristine off for dinner then went to help rescue) arrived to eat what was left of our Holiday Meal. We never did get out the scripts for the play, but I think the hot cocoa worked it's soothing magic, and we were all able to reflect on this blustery night...and laugh. We realized we had all been kept safe (M&D 1 made it home) and the kids had fun hanging out. While it wasn't the Night of Nativity I had pictured, the knot in my stomach was considerably reduced by the time it was all said and done. Maybe we'll give it a try next year-weather permitting.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Early Morning Concert

Seth and Elise had a concert this morning before school. They both play violin in the orchestra. We have them to school at 7:15 twice a week which I have found surprisingly pleasant. In our pre-seminary days, John was really great about reading scripture with the kids every morning. Now that I am in charge of the morning mayhem, we have failed miserably in that department. We do pray every the car. We make it on time every morning, but not without the mad rush factor.

Orchestra is so early that they won't let Jackson into the school. Morning person that I am not, you would think I might catch a nap in the parking lot, but I have found something we all like better. Twice a week during orchesta, I get to sit in the car with Gabe (who also waits as he is there long before the transfer bus to the Jr. High arrives), Jackson, and Jebb and we read the Book of Mormon Reader. Although still not ideal, it has been a surprisingly pleasant way to spend 15 minutes in a parking lot.

So this morning we got to see what Elise and Seth have been learning while we parked. Their teacher Mrs Wiley sure bragged this group of kids up. She said she had to borrow music from the Jr. High to challenge them. Of course I loved hearing her and ate it all up with a beaming smile. The concert was really nice. This group really IS doing well. Now I will brag a little. Seth, like Gabe, seems to have a knack but not much desire for playing stringed instruments. I can't imagine what Mrs. Wiley would say if the kid actually practiced. Elise is only in 3rd grade (only 4th and 5th graders typically are allowed in orchestra), but she is solid. If she will stick with it she's got big potential!

There's not a lot in life that makes me hop happily out of bed early in the morning, but these orchestra mornings certainly get me to roll out with a smile before I crack the whip. I love seeing my kids grow and learn new things. Some things really are worth getting up early for.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Congratulations Seth and Elise!

I found out today that both Seth and Elise were selected as 'Citizens of the Month' at Florida Mesa Elementary School. Two children are selected from each grade. Seth is in 5th and Elise is in 3rd. Apparently it is in the newspaper, but since I don't subscribe, I decided to 'publish' it here too! I am very proud and grateful for these two kiddos! Way to go!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Achievement Day Creations

Tonight was my first time meeting with the Achievement Day girls. These are Primary girls ages 8-11. It was so fun! I have a great bunch of girls (including Elise) and they are at a fun age when they are excited about everything. I decided to do something involving candy-always a sure bet. I went for a country variation on the traditional gingerbread house and I assembled log cabins from pretzels with graham cracker roofs. I glue gunned the basic structure together in advance so we would have more time to decorate.

Thank goodness for that had the frosting recipe. That stuff is like white concrete! I separated it up into ziplocs for each girl. I encouraged each girl to bring candy and I of course brought lots of different stuff. We sat around a long table and as each girl opened her candy and put it in a cup, she had to tell us something great about herself. It was sweet to hear what each girl shared as we went around 3 times. I then related the idea that although each of us brought candy, it all looked and tasted a little different. It was all going to help make our homes fun and beautiful. We are all daughters of God, but we are all a little different. This is what would make Achievement days fun and beautiful. The girls did terrific.

I must say, there is something I find immensely enjoyable and satisfying about decorating small brown houses with candy and white frosting. I decorated my first gingerbread home as an adult, only a few short years ago. Lanae had our family over and we decorated for an FHE. I loved it! It's the best to take those delicious raw materials to create something whimsical and yummy. I think I am going to like Achievement Days.

Monday, December 15, 2008

FHE at the Casino

Here in Durango we do things a little differently. We are somewhat on the 'fringe' of Mormondom. That being said, you can only imagine what it is like in Ignacio. Haven't heard of it? It is the small community 20 minutes from Durango in the Rural direction. It is the town that John grew up outside of. It is also the homeland of the fabulously wealthy Southern Ute Indian Tribe. What does all of this equal? Let's add it up. Rural+rich Utes+fringy+Monday night=New Casino where we had FHE tonight!

That's right. For Family Home Evening tonight we went to the new Casino. Before you panic with visions of my young impressionable children playing the slots with glossy eyed stares, it's important to know that the 'Rolling Thunder Lanes' Bowling Alley was included in the new construction. That's right, our county once again has a bowling alley thanks to the new Casino. Our previous one at the old mall was taken out years ago and replaced by a weird department store. The stale cigarette smell lingered in the men's department as a remembrance of lanes past for years.

I don't consider myself a bowler. I feel really excited if I break 100. My children have only been bowling at family reunions in Utah (we are culturally deprived). So this was a treat. There is something really nice about bowling at a new facility. My favorite thing was the new bowling shoes. They looked like I was the first one to wear them (size 11 womens-maybe I was the first...). Bowling balls were abundant and easy to find in various sizes. I loved the computer scorekeeper and the auto-bumpers that come up for the little guys. Everything was still clean and shiny.

We invited Hank and Grandma along and we split up into 2 lanes. We had a GREAT night! I couldn't believe how busy it was on a Monday night. We expected it to be busy because of the new/novel factor, but there also happened to be a blizzard revving up outside. The roads were terrible, but it didn't keep everyone away because 80% of the 24 lanes were full! The computer would tell you how fast you bowled and we all laughed when Jackson and Jebb's throws were clocked at 1.5 mph. One time the ball stopped half way down the lane and a worker had to retrieve it! They didn't have those cool contraptions that you can roll the ball down like they have in Utah! :) The other kids did fine and enjoyed turning off and on the bumpers. We lasted for 2 games before heading out.

I think everyone had a good time. John explained to the kids how our company put all of the dirt under the casino and built all of the parking lots and the new intersection out front. Our crews worked on the casino for over 2 years. Since we don't gamble (we're not THAT fringy) it was fun to be able to go there and enjoy the more wholesome fruits of John's labors.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Off Again, On Again

Relationships are complex things. There is give and take. Ebb and flow. Taking off a mattress. Putting that super heavy mattress back on. That's right. I am giving THE ONE three more days to win me over. I am going to try a fatter pillow. There are lots of factors involved. I want John to be happy. We get bored on Sunday afternoons. We have to return THE ONE to Albuquerque (this is the main reason). I am indecisive and somewhat kooky (this is the REAL main reason).

Honestly, my fickle affection wouldn't be so bad if THE ONE didn't weigh like 14,000 pounds. I think that memory foam is made of lead. Hank was John's partner in pain as they lugged that sucker around. Well, I guess the fact that John already repacked THE ONE in it's box kinda added to the 'drag factor' too. He did a really great job packing it up last night-very thorough. This gives some insight into what my dear, sweet husband has to deal with on a daily basis. Anyone that has to manage me and keep me happy (which John does SO well) is going straight to heaven (I'm such a good wife-getting him to heaven and all)!! I almost named this post: John is a poor, poor b****rd.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Breaking Up is Hard To Do

Tonight we are home. It is the Holiday Season and as would be expected, we have plans tonight. So why, then, are we home? Well, I have a headache, stemming from my shoulder ache. Not a great reason to stay home. Not even a good one. Besides, I am a Ross. This means that if there is a ward function-I'm there supporting it. But alas, I am also now a Gilleland. This means that I can skip now and then (I hope that doesn't offend you honey). Normally this means I would skip a choir practice. Or maybe a wood cutting project-oh wait, never mind-a Gilleland would never miss a wood cutting project. OK, so usually I would feel OK missing a choir practice...if I felt really comfortable with my part...and there were still several more weeks until the performance.

All right, so this is not normal. We missed the Ward Christmas Party! They were collecting presents for the Women's Shelter and I DID send those to the party with our neighbor. Listen to me rationalizing why it's not so bad that I ditched. I mean, I know my Eternal Salvation doesn't hinge on the Christmas Party 2008 attendance, but I don't skip stuff. Oh well. It's too late now. Skipped it I have. And not just alone, I have brought all of my impressionable children along in my handbasket.

Why then have I fallen off my attendance wagon? That would bring us back to the headache-stemming from the shoulder ache. I have had a nagging pain in my right shoulder that started about 3 weeks ago. A couple of days ago, I had the nagging pain spread to my left shoulder. The combo has been a recipe for a pretty sweet headache. By 'sweet' I mean 'effectively painful.' I have resorted to carrying a little bottle of candy coated pain relief (ie Advil) around in my purse when I most certainly prefer peanut M&M's. But I digress.

So what happened 3 weeks ago to cause my discomfort which lead to my eventual fall from Party attendance? I know the answer, but I have hoped it would go away or resolve itself. Alas, it has not. 3 weeks ago, John brought home THE ONE. His new mattress he found and fell in love with. His memory foam-topped piece of sleeping joy. Yes, that's right. I am not adjusting well to THE ONE. My wide shoulders don't like the firm feel. They say it takes a while to break in foam, and happily the funky foam smell has faded. But we only have a 30 day trial period. If we don't exchange it before then, we have THE ONE forever. And forever is a chance we have decided not to take.

John has handled the whole thing like a champ, pretending he doesn't mind. OK, he has cried a little. OK, a lot. But between my aches and funky-foam-smell-induced nightmares, he thinks we can find a better compromise in a mattress. So tonight, on the night of the Christmas Party, we packed up THE ONE. After a moment of silence, we decided to have a little movie night with the kids to soften the blow. 'Fred Claus' wasn't as cool as watching our kids lip sync a Primary musical number, but munching popcorn and soda while we all snuggled on the big red couch helped.

I hope John can learn to love again. He deserves a great nights sleep too! How can you not just love a guy who is so willing to pose for pictures that make me smile?!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The C&J Co. Party

Tonight was the long awaited company party. Every year I get to hang out with a bunch of tough gravel guys (most of whom I don't know) and their wives/girlfriends/baby mamas. You can always count on a colorful evening. We have had it in a variety of venues over the years but have gone to the Strater Hotel for the last several. The kareoke is better once everyone has had a few drinks.
Here we are on our way, you can sense the anticipation... you can see John holding me back.

Each year we give out gifts with the bonus checks. This year we went with knives and gloves. These are the office gals that get it all organized. They do a great job every year.

Hank shows me his knife. If you look closely, you can see the little C&J logo. Cute.

Everyone pitched in to get John a GPS. John and Perry.

One really fun thing is the dancing. One of the dirt guys grabbed my camera and took this of us. We realized we hadn't danced since the last Christmas party.

There were over 100 people there last night. I kinda miss the days when I knew everyone and we went bowling for the party. Although it isn't easy to shoot the sheesh with so many strangers, I really am glad we have the party each year to thank everyone that works with us. I appreciate the nice things everyone says about my husband. I know since he's the boss their comments are tinged with 'sunshine,' but I still like it! :)

Another party done. Until next year-I think I would like to have it at the new Casino so we can bowl!