Friday, December 26, 2008

Halloween's Snow Claus

There is so much anticipation and excitement built up for Christmas morning, then everything is pretty much over in under two hours. Has anyone else noticed that?

The afternoon excitement here in Aberdeen yesterday was the creation of a snowman. We have been pretty much snowed in all week, with huge snow drifts and lots and lots of wind. Craig (Chris's dad), Michael (Chris's brother), Brenda (Chris's sister) and Chris (Chris's self) spent a good two or three hours out in the yard. I, on the other hand, was taking a nap. Jane didn't sleep well on Christmas Eve. Apparently she was practicing for future years when she knows what Christmas Eve is.

Anyway, here is the result of their handiwork:

No official measurements have been made, but the estimate is that Snow Claus is roughly twelve feet tall. They used a ladder to create some scaffolding in order to reach the top, and I believe they actually divided some of the snowballs in half in order to heft them to the upper layers. Snow Claus is distincting less red today after the night's continuing snowfall, but he is still there. He is leaning slightly to the right, though...

For just a moment of bragging, my surprise Christmas gift from Chris was a Nintendo Wii. Hooray! I am very excited, although Chris and Michael have played it much more than I have in the last day and a half. The only games we have so far are Wii Sports and Wii Play, and I find that I get bored quickly playing the same very short games over and over. I think I'll have to invest in some other games when we get home. But I am very excited. :)

I did promise a few pictures of Jane opening presents, though they aren't quite her cutest. She was quite content to rip the paper off, but she was very careful to hand every piece of wrapping to someone else before she would tear off any more. And by the way, I did buy her a very cute "Baby's First Christmas" outfit, but I accidentally left it in Logan. To make up for my mistake, she wore her Halloween outfit instead. A holiday is a holiday, right?

The other project of the week is re-covering all the white keys on the piano. The original ivory starting cracking and breaking off in large pieces back in the day, and shortly after we were married, Chris and I spent a day sanding all the ivory leftovers off once all the big pieces had been removed. This week (yes, it's been a while), everyone has pitched in to affix the new plastic covers to the keys. It involves several steps, using tools including school glue, rubber bands, and tongue depressers. The project isn't quite done yet--a few keys had to be glued a second time, and everything still needs to be filed and leveled so the keys are all even and free-moving. But all told, the piano is starting to look very much like a piano once again.

One of my other gifts that I am very excited about is the Primary Children's Songbook. Thank you, Janet! I'm looking forward to the piano being fully assembled so I can break in my new songbook.

Merry Halloween!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Stockings

We made it safely home from Salt Lake back to Logan. The canyon was the worst part of the drive--it was the only place where it was even snowing, but the roads were very slick and it was hard to see very far past the car. But we made it alive. Twice, actually.

First, a little background. My grandmother knits all of our Christmas stockings. My family has all had our stockings since we were born (right, Mom?). When we get married, Grandma knits a stocking for the spouse. When a child is born, she'll knit one for the new great-grandbaby. This year, she knitted one for Jane. She had borrowed mine to measure so they'd be the same length. Both mine and Jane's stockings were at my parents' house, ready for us to bring them home and then take to Aberdeen for Christmas.

Well, while we were bringing everything into the house after getting to Logan, Chris was first to realize that we had forgotten the stockings. I found myself surprisingly devastated. Not having our stockings had the potential to ruin Christmas. (I know, I know...I'm kind of lame that way.) For one, it's Jane's first Christmas. Doesn't every child need their own stocking on their first Christmas? Chris said we could go buy stockings, but it just seemed so wrong. How can you have Christmas with any stockings other than Grandma's? Yes, I was devastated. Christmas was ruined.

To deal with my grief, I locked myself in the bathroom and cried. (I know, I know...lame...and yet I'm confessing this to all of you...and I'm not even sure who all of you are... ... ) While I was crying in the bathroom, unbeknownst to me, Chris called my dad. Shortly thereafter, Chris and I were driving back through the canyon. We met up with my dad at a McDonald's in Ogden and he delivered the Christmas stockings.

Thank you, Dad. Thank you, Christopher. Christmas is saved. I must be loved.

* * * * *

We are now in Aberdeen, Idaho at Chris's parents' house. Luckily, we made that trip safely, too. When we arrived, we discovered that Jane, Janet (Chris's mom) and I were all matching. We had to get some pictures:

Jane has also recently learned to play peek-a-boo, and we managed to get a picture of her covering her own eyes. She'll start playing spontaneously, and she'll sit there with her eyes covered up (although she's always still looking at you between her fingers) until you say something like "Where's Jane?" or "All gone!" then she'll pull her hands down and laugh. It's very cute.

* * * * *

Merry Christmas to everyone tomorrow! Jane is rather amusing when opening gifts. I'm sure I'll have some cute pictures to post tomorrow to show off my cute daughter.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter Wonderland for Sale

We have been visiting my parents in Salt Lake since Friday. Today is Chris's Air Force physical (keep your fingers crossed that he passed...he isn't back yet), and we have been planning to leave sometime after he gets home. The plan is to hang out at home tonight, do some laundry, then pack again tomorrow and head off to Aberdeen for Christmas. Unfortunately, I just heard that Sardine Canyon, the most direct path between the freeway and Logan once you get to Brigham City, has been closed due to snow. Now, unlike other states that aren't used to heavy snowfall (sound familiar, Jess?), Utah can usually take care of a lot of snow quickly. I'm just hoping they can do it quickly enough that the weather doesn't interfere with our plans.

My sister Amy is moving out of my parents' house and into her own apartment. In the short time that she has been staying here, a lot of her stuff has been stored on a patio off the side of the house. When she went to start move, she found some pretty cool icicles:

Here's another shot from the side. The icicles were all the way down to the ground and creating a large ice puddle:

I don't know about any of you, but I thought that looked pretty cool. Michael and Amy took a cane to them after they took pictures. Goodbye, icicles.

Chris just called. His physical went well. While the final word is not yet in, there is no reason to think he didn't pass.

And by the way, Chris earned a 4.0 for fall semester. Hooray, Chris! We are going to go to his favorite Chinese place in Idaho to celebrate. That is quite the occasion because I don't like Chinese food, but I'm willing to eat it for him. Love you, Chris!

I've had a request for pictures of Jane in her new Christmas dress. After I took the pictures, I realized that she didn't have her cute new church shoes on, but she was quite done with getting her picture taken. Maybe another day.

And for a moment of parental excitement: Jane is starting to talk. She can very clearly say "uh-oh". Less clearly, but still understandably if you're listening, she can say "ank oo" and "daddy". They could easily be just more sounds that she makes while experimenting with her mouth, but she says them at all the appropriate times. If she drops something, "uh-oh", if you give her something, "ank oo", and if she wants or sees Chris, "daddy".

Oddly enough, that brings a question to my mind that I would like to put to all of you. I am uncertain on how to punctuate quotation marks around single words, like "uh-oh"... should the period/comma come inside or outside the quotation marks? I know if it's an entire sentence, the punctuation goes inside. I've heard that for single words, it goes outside, but that always looks wrong to me. Anyone know for sure? Pass this along to Jerilynn if you know her. Maybe she can answer that question.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I was looking again through the pictures of Jane's chocolate escapade and found a picture of her with the candybar still wrapped. Apparently we really were that unobservant.

Chris spent the day at Hill Air Force Base today. He is in the process of joining the Air Force, for those of you who didn't know, and he went down to the base today to meet with some of the engineers. He ended up waiting for over three hours before anyone was able to talk to him, which is too bad, but that's life. He said the Burger King on Base is quite nice.

Everything he learned today was good news. In all of the joining the military discussions, I've been most concerned about the possibility of him getting deployed. Logical wifely concern, right? Well, it looks like it's a very small possibility. In order for him to be deployed as an engineer, he would have to specially request it. Engineers who want to be deployed have to take a special course in battle whatever training. If you don't have that training, you don't go. If you don't request that training, you don't get it. I'm alright with that.

Here's a timeline of our current five-year plan: Chris will join the Air Force now, and for the next year and a half, they will pay him to finish school. He'll graduate in spring of 2010 with his bachelor's in computer engineering with minors in computer science and math. After graduation, he'll spend three months at Officer Training School. Then he'll be stationed at whatever base around the country that they send him to. He'll do whatever they say for four years, then his contract will be up. We will most likely leave the military at that point and find him a career position somewhere.

I will keep teaching up until he graduates, then I'll be a stay-at-home mom. We can't go with him to Alabama for OTS, so I'll probably go to Salt Lake and stay near/with my parents. That will probably be the least exciting time in all of this...that's a long time for us to be apart.

But, that's not for a year and a half. We'll worry about that when it gets here. For now, I think Jane needs some attention. She doesn't it like it when I'm on the computer for too long...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Chocolate, anyone?

We have a couple new toys at our house. We bought a really nice digital camera yesterday (our old one has completely died) and Chris also received a new iPod nano as a gift from his old boss. Last night, I was playing with the iPod and Chris was playing with the camera. Jane was in the room with us, but neither of us were really watching what she was doing. We knew enough to know that she wasn't hurting herself but not so much of the specifics...

This is what she was doing, courtesy of our nice, new camera:

Luckily, we had a nice, new camera amazingly handy to capture the moment.

The Symphony bar was a gift to me from one of the teachers I work with.

We weren't watching long enough that she managed to bite through the wrapper, figure out what was inside, and get the wrapper completely off. Observant, aren't we?

And I think this last picture is just priceless. Jane was watching as Chris took the candybar into the kitchen, out of her reach. Then she looked at me.

Chocolate, anyone?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

one more thing to celebrate...

4. Jane can stand!

Ok, maybe not with any real confidence, but I went to set her down on the floor and when I let go, I realized that she was standing. And not just the these-things-called-feet-got-in-the-way-of-me-and-the-floor standing, but actual I-think-I-want-to-be-taller-for-a-moment standing. And she sat down slowly and on purpose. Yay, Jane! Yay for no broken bones!

Hooray Day!

Three reasons to celebrate December 13, 2008:

1. It's Mom's birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom!!
2. Jess is graduating from USU with her bachelor's degree. Yay!
3. It snowed. The wind is blowing. It's freezing outside. I have a furnace. YAY!!!! No wood burning stove!

I had to go out to the garage this morning to get my school stuff out of the car, but I was seriously conflicted about whether or not I wanted to open the garage door. The snow was blowing directly on it. (Unfortunately, the flakes were too small to see in the picture, so you can't tell that it was actually snowing pretty hard when I took this.) There was a cool effect with the snow piled up on the doorknob and deadbolt. I took a picture to save the moment, then went in anyway. The other unfortunately is that Jane followed me outside and did an accidental face-plant in the snow. I confess, I laughed. Then I changed her clothes.

We have had our Christmas tree up since about a week after Halloween. We figured that since we were going to be gone during most of the actual Christmas season, we needed our tree up early to be able to enjoy it before we went traipsing around Utah and Southern Idaho.

I'm getting excited for Christmas. We have all of our presents wrapped and arranged neatly on top of our entertainment center. (That seemed a safer place than anywhere within Jane's reach...) It's different being the parent now. I know what all of the presents are, seeing as how I bought and wrapped almost every single one (except for Mom's--Yay Grandma! And Happy Birthday!). There is one gift that as yet remains a mystery... Chris has gotten me something that has become quite the conversation topic, mostly because I have absolutely no idea what it could possibly be. I don't even remotely have a guess. Way to keep a secret.

Jane has a huge scratch across her cheek, courtesy of herself. I believe I shall take this opportunity while she is quietly enjoying her bottle to break out the nail clippers.

Happy Birthday Mom! Congratulations Jess! Yay Furnace!

Friday, December 12, 2008

digit swap

Chris and I went to a Christmas party tonight for his almost-former employer (he stopped officially working for them a few months ago, but he has been helping here and there with a few projects--they've finally found someone to replace him, so after Chris does a little training next week, he'll actually stop working for them, officially or otherwise). It was a pleasant evening, with good food and a rather amusing bit of entertainment from a high school choir group.

After the party, we made a trip to the grocery store for some allergy medicine and to fill up the gas tank. I was very grateful to find that it took less than $20 to fill our entire gas tank. We weren't completely on empty, but... well, put it this way. We thought we had a 12-gallon tank, and Chris was able to get in a little over 13 gallons. I guess we were empty. Anyway, the remarkable thing about that is that it only cost $20. Just three months ago that same amount of gas would have been more than $50.

Is anyone else as grateful about this as I am? We paid $1.43 tonight. In August, we hit $4.13. It's amazing how the order of the same three digits can make such a difference.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Goodbye to an Old Friend

When Chris and I were first married in 2006, we bought a two-pack of tinfoil from Sam's Club. Each roll contained 250 feet. For comparison sake, that 70% of a football field. We have regularly used that first roll of tinfoil in the two years we've been married.

Tonight, I pulled out the tinfoil to cover my cookie sheet before making tostadas. I was shocked and dismayed to discover only six inches remaining. That one box of tinfoil lasted us approximately 2 years, 2 months, and 17 days. (I say approximately because I am fairly certain we didn't buy it on our wedding day.)

Farewell, tinfoil.

On to bigger and better news. Jane had her cast removed today. Hooray! For those of you who don't know, Jane broke her left leg two days before Halloween by falling off of our bed. She started with a large orange cast that went all the way up her leg.

After three weeks, that was swapped out for a shorter green cast.

Today, before we went to the doctor, my entire fifth grade class signed the cast. They quite enjoyed that, and Jane remained surprisingly calm through the process.

As a celebration of no more cast, Jane had her first real bath in six weeks. Hooray! Clean baby!

And here's one more picture just because I think Jane is cute...

And thus we join the blogging world, cast and tinfoil-free.