Sunday, December 30, 2007

Star Wars

My boys have officially moved on from the Peter Pan phase to the Star Wars phase. Samuel has declared his new alter-ego to be nothing other than Obi-Wan Kenobi.

James, continuing with his trend in the darker side of things, is Darth Maul.

Should I be worried?

The funniest part is that John and I are assigned characters who use lightsabers which correspond with our Samuel-assigned favorite colors. (Remember my favorite color is purple) Can you guess who I get to be? That's right, Mace Windu.

Can you see the resemblance?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas???

John pointed out an interesting trend in the Christmas cards we received this year. Of all the cards we received from members of our church (aka people who we know believe in Christ and who celebrate the true meaning of Christmas) about 70% of them said "Happy Holidays." Yet all of the cards we received from members of different churches or people who are not religious at all said "Merry Christmas." Why is that?
I wondered if members of the church were trying to show respect for people of other religions or maybe they didn't even notice what the cards said. I don't know. Any ideas?

Monday, December 24, 2007

a little birdie

For Christmas this year we took the kids to Target to get their pictures taken so we could make our Christmas cards. The appointment was in the afternoon and the kids were tired and a little over hyper to say the least. Anyway of the dozen or so pictures that were taken, only about 3-4 were actually worth printing. The cutest one of the boys has them hugging each other and looking out at the camera with huge smiles on their faces. As I was admiring the picture and selecting it for our Christmas cards John pointed out a little flaw...
John: "Umm, honey, did you notice James' hand?"
Erin: "No. Why?"
John: "James is flipping people off!"
I looked for a minute because I clearly hadn't picked up on it, and decided,
"Nobody will notice."
I was wrong! It is the number one comment about our Christmas card. Not "Oh, the boys look so cute!" or "What a nice family picture." All I hear is, "Umm, Erin, did you realize James is flipping the birdie?" I guess next time I will listen to John!
So if you were one of the fortunate few to receive a card from us, check it out - if you haven't already noticed! Consider the big laugh you get out of it our gift to you!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


We decided to reduce my depression meds last week to see if it would cut down on the exhaustion I am experiencing every day. So far it hasn't helped too much (although I haven't fallen asleep while driving so maybe it does help a little) but the anxiety I am now experiencing is not worth the possible benefits. I think I must be going crazy. I am going through my life analyzing everything - my decisions, my direction in life, my relationships, my parenting skills - everything!! Even the knowledge that it is the change in medication that is making me feel this way does not help. John says it takes about 3 weeks for the body to regulate itself after a change in medication. I guess in the meantime I will just wait and hope and pray that I will survive till then.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

life changing moments

I wrote a paper on JFK's assassination in a sociology class in college. Admittedly the paper wasn't that good but it got me thinking about an interesting subject - how national or world events affect our personal lives. I interviewed my bishop and his wife about where they were and what they were doing when they heard JFK had been shot. It was a major moment in their lives and they remembered not only where they were but what they were doing and how they heard of the shooting. My generation was not alive at that point, but I bet if you ask anyone my age where they were on September 11 when the twin towers collapsed, they could tell you precise details. I know I could! These moments leave a permanant mark on our lives and have far reaching impacts in our lives even if we did not know anyone personally affected by them.
The reason I have been thinking about this lately (and good luck following my logic) is because I find that I react the same way to the personal tragedies of others. These moments become imprinted on my brain. I am an emotional person (not like I am a walking basketcase all the time - although sometimes that is true) and as such cannot help but respond emotionally to bad news before (and mostly after) my logical brain kicks in. Case in point: I talked to my mom tonight and she told me that the father of a close friend died of a major heart attack today. My first reaction was tears. I wasn't crying for myself but for my friend and her family who I know must be completely devestated by their sudden loss. My friend's father was one of the kindest and most generous men I have ever met. He is one of those people with whom you are instantly at ease and his home is a place where you want to be because you can feel the love and warmth of the family radiationg from its walls. My logical mind - when it finally kicked in reminded me that he is in a far better place now and although his family will miss him terribly, they will be comforted by the fact that he was a good person and has returned to Heavenly Father. However, I can't help but feel sad for his grandkids, that he won't be there to see them grow up and I am in agony for his wife and kids who now have a gaping hole in their lives where he used to be.
I know I am ultra sensitive right now anyway - a couple weeks ago I learned that a close family friend is dying after a prolonged and painful illness. Again my emotional response wins out. I know it will be a good thing for her not to suffer anymore. But I also know that she is as close to her brothers and sisters - not to mention her parents - as I am to mine and I can hardly imagine how they can pick up the pieces and move on after this. I know they will be able to (they are all strong, confident, intelligent individuals) and that they will be grateful she doesn't have to suffer anymore, but my heart aches for them.
Maybe it is the depression resurfacing, but I can't seem to stop hurting for my friends who are suffering. I feel helpless and frustrated. The world seems a little bit darker and a little less hopeful at the prospect of life without these two incredible people.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas Tag

I got this off a friend's blog and it looked like fun. Consider yourself tagged!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Definitely wrapping paper! My mom even uses real ribbon for the bows so that is how I like to do it too.
2. Tree-- real or artificial? I actually prefer real (I love the smell) but we have an artificial tree. It is beautiful but not as much fun.
3. When do you put up the tree? Black Friday of course!
4. When do you take the tree down? After new years day. My parents actually left their tree up all year this last year. I wonder if it will get taken down this year...
5. Like egg nog? Nope!
6. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes! John and my mom bought me the Willowtree nativity one year. I love it for many reasons but my favorite thing about it is that Mary is holding the baby Jesus. Every other Nativity I have ever seen has the baby lying in the manger. I like to think that Mary was holding her baby that night. I would have.
7. Favorite gift received as a child? My brother Jared bought dart guns for everyone in the family one year; they were the kind that shoot rubber, suction cup darts. We spent Christmas morning in all out warfare. My brother-in-law Tracy (in the Army National Guard) built barricades out of gift boxes. It was great!
8. Hardest person to shop for? My brother Tyler. I can never find anything for him- and he never has any suggestions either! We usually end up getting him BestBuy gift cards.
9. Easiest person to buy for? I have two- Samuel and James. They want any and every toy they see.
10. Worst Christmas Gift? I can't think of one of mine, but my Grammy once gave Lisa a pair of hot pink silky old lady slippers. They actually passed them back and forth for a few years if I remember correctly.
11. Snail mail or email Christmas cards? Definitely snail mail! There is nothing that can replace a tangible expression of love from family and friends who are far away.
12. Favorite Christmas movie? White Christmas with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Whenever I have time. Sometimes I will pick up presents in the summer if I am on vacation.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Not that I can remember. Wedding presents, yes.
15. Favorite food to eat on Christmas? Mom's homemade rolls.
16. Clear or colored tree lights? The obsessive compulsive side of me likes clear but we have colored lights on the tree.
17. Favorite Christmas Song? The Christmas Song, Silent Night, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, What Child is This, and pretty much all the others too.
18. Travel during Christmas or stay home? I grew up traveling during Christmas so I always feel like that is what we should be doing. However, my siblings decided not to do Christmas together anymore because it is too much craziness traveling with kids and presents and bringing germs from all over the country. Bah Humbug! I miss Christmas at home!
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Of course. Forwards and backwards!
20. Angel or star on top of the tree? Angel.
21. Open presents on Christmas eve or Christmas morning? Christmas morning! Although we used to open one present on Christmas eve. I would like to start that tradition with my kids.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Rude shoppers.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I am chocolate

I found this on my friend's blog and had to try it! Of course I am chocolate!

Christmas in the Philadelphia 1st ward

Christmas in our ward brings a whole host of opportunities for service and showing love for our brothers and sisters. We have many new converts who are recent immigrants from West Africa. They are doing their best to make a home for their families and to provide for them as well as they can, but extra money for Christmas presents is not usually within their means. That is where the rest of us step in.
Our Relief Society president makes a list of the families who need Christmas and then ward members pick a family and do the shopping. I take a different approach. I call my mom and sisters' wards in Utah and present them with the opportunity to serve. Their wards are more financially able than our student/new member ward and often don't get to be a part of such service so they are excited for the opportunity to help. This year Keri's ward is providing for five families (16 kids). Mom came out to do shopping for Christmas baskets that are provided for many of the families as well.
Boxes have been showing up on my porch all week. I act as the coordinator and distributer for whatever is sent from Utah. It is the coolest thing! I get to witness first hand the generosity of members of the church for complete strangers who live 2,000 miles away. I also get to see the joy and gratitude of our ward members as they receive these unexpected gifts. This is what the Christmas season should be for everyone!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Grandma Liz is coming to town

My mom is flying out to visit tomorrow. For me this is even more exciting than Christmas. I haven't seen mom since the beginning of October, but the kids haven't seen her since last Christmas! I wish I could capture the smile on Samuel's face every time I remind him that Grandma is coming. He is as excited as I am. :)

I love living where I do, but I wish I got to see my family more often.