Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve in the morning...

...was consumed with Origami-
thank you Grandma Tomi-it brought several hours of much needed quiet.
                                         Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Annual Family Christmas Party 2010

Hosted by the Backus family this year, we partied hard,
like until 8:00 or something...
(and I obviously wasn't using the red eye feature on my camera) 

 Judie and Hannah get the party started!!!

 Cassidy and Julie
(bonus points if you can find the the Archuleta Christmas ornament above Julie's head...)

 Christine is a little confused and thinks it is Halloween...

Eskimo Bingo for the kids was tearless this year;
wish I could say the same for the adult version...

Kyle was soooo thrilled with his lovely parting gift! 
I just can't remember what it was...

Oh, the adult game was intense.
The blue package in front of Michael was superbly fought for!

But in the end, Janis was Eskimoed...
by Michael none the less!!!

Until next year...
Mele Kalikimaka!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Could it be more fitting... celebrate Bethany's fifteenth birthday by seeing David Archuleta perform with the 
Mormon Tabernacle Choir?
He was stunning-in his element. He was born to sing this way...

 We ate at Costa Vida...

 rode TRAX to temple square...

and sat on the hard benches of the tabernacle.

Beautiful night.
Beautiful music.
Beautiful girl.
Happy Birthday Beth. I love you.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Kaylie had a birthday.

Kaylie turned 11 this week... and decided to have a Brown family first...
 crepes instead of a birthday cake.

The excitement is almost more than she can handle.

Have you ever seen candles in crepe filling before? 
She's an original that Kaylie!!!

Greatest accomplishment of the night? Cassidy has surpassed Janis in height!!!
Christine, Jake, and Will are catching up fast.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I love these thoughts.

If you have a little time, and need a little help getting into the spirit of Christmas, read this beautiful talk by Elder Holland: Maybe Christmas Doesn't Come From a Store.

It's definitely worth a few minutes...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My Favorite Gift So Far...

I never really "got" the whole Handel's Messiah phenomenon. I guess I always thought it was for the musical elite to fact, on Sunday, I decided to play our practically unused copy again to see if we were yet able to grasp it's magnificence. It only took one song before the kids were practically plugging their ears and begging me to turn it off. So imagine my surprise as to what happened Tuesday night.
     It had been a rather melancholy day for me. My shoulders felt heavy as I had  immersed myself once again in the goings on in the political scene. It was more than just the really seems as if that great war in heaven has just changed settings, and the adversary is doing his best to take away choice after choice. Stunning policy is being passed through this lame duck session of congress-and it is breathtaking in its far reaching effects. With all that on my mind, I attended an orchestra performance at Michaela's school, where her choir had been invited to perform the closing numbers . I felt sad that the beautiful Christmas music was set against the backdrop of my mood of hopelessness. When they began the concluding number, I realized that it was Handel's Halleluja Chorus.  I quietly slipped to the aisle doors  with the intention of  staying there right up to the end, and then make a quick exit before the crowd dispersed. As I stood there listening to the choir, the most amazing thing happened. A powerful witness of the Savior penetrated my whole being. It was electric. And as they sang "and He will reign forever and ever" I just began to weep. I knew and felt with my whole soul that it was true. He reigns. Not Satan. Not the President. Not any person. Once again I was reminded that He is in control- all things are His. I  felt all of that hopeless just wash away. Embarrassed by my emotional response, I looked around and saw others wiping  their eyes obviously touched by the music.
It was beautiful, and it was just what I needed.
Handel, I am now a believer.

For some beautiful insight on Handel, read this.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Look who dropped by!

We love Taylor Hicks 
but between you and me, he hasn't aged well.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I have a new calling:

I am Cub Master...
Trial by fire this Thursday night-my first pack meeting! 
 I am freaking out a little...
On the agenda: pure fun. 
At least that is the plan.
Let's hope it translates.
Most importantly? No more yellow den leader shirts required. Whew!
Wish me luck.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Black Friday

While most people were out buying computers, T.V.'s and I-Touch's, I was, of course, couponing at Rite-Aid...
Here was my Black Friday haul:

2 ConAir blowdryers
8 boxes of Raisin Bran
6 boxes of Rice Krispies
2 boxes of Apple Jacks
2 boxes of Frosted Flakes (total of 18 boxes of cereal...)
8 cans of super stack multi-grain Pringles
2 bags of Christmas M&M's
4 Reeses candy bars
4 packages of Carmex
1 Got 2 B hairspray (I actually got paid 2 dollars for this one)

All for less than 25.00.
I may not have any Christmas shopping done, but dang- I feel good!

Friday, November 26, 2010

This was our Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving itinerary: A little food, a little conversation, a little dodgeball , and a little Harry Potter 
(Tangled for the young and squeamish).

 I think there was almost this much food left when we were through.

 Some cousins expressing great thanks!!

 The cool table...

 Steve put  on a brave face to eat with us despite feeling quite out of it. 
I think he requested a couple of times for someone get a shotgun...

 Are words needed here?

 Her mouth was full a second ago...

A little pie anyone?

Happy happy Thanksgiving...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

5 things I am really, truly, grateful for.

Every Thanksgiving I toss around in my mind the lists of things I am grateful for, and they are many. This year, my gratitude feels a little deeper for many reasons but here is my list of top 5.

1. Ever since one humbling, emotional college crisis I have known, felt, and understood that God knows me. I have not doubted it since, and many times over in the following years, He allows me to feel His love as often and as powerfully as I need to. And I need to. I am so grateful to know that I am His.

2. 18 years ago, I made the frightening decision to marry Michael. Even though I felt that it was the right decision, I was scared of the commitment and told myself right up to the day we were married that I could back out if I wanted to. I didn't. He has been the level-headed complement to a woman who runs on stress. He is  kind, thoughtful, and still makes me laugh after all of these years. He has matured into a man who thinks deeply and serves the Lord with much sacrifice. I am grateful for my husband.

3. I never wanted to raise teenagers. I was certain that the Lord's second coming would happen before I had to face that challenge. I was wrong. Here I am on the brink of having 3 teenagers...and I have loved being their mother. Yes, it has its moments but they are actually fun. We laugh alot and battle sometimes but so far so good. Of course, my two non-teenage children are perfection...:) I am grateful to be a mother.

4. I didn't think at my age that I would still need my parents as much as I do. It is obviously a different kind of dependency but still very strong. I love being able to talk out gospel questions with my dad and share my new favorite scripture passage with him. I love having the relationship with my mom that we never had when I was a cold-hearted teenager :). I value their opinions more than I ever have, and constantly ask myself "what would my dad or mom do in this situation?" I still want to be just like my mom when I grow up. I am grateful to be their daughter.

5. Number 5  is the most surprising of all this year. Over the past 2 years, I have immersed myself in learning about the establishment of this great country we live in. I have read our founding documents, and read of Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin. My heart aches for a return to the principles upon which we were founded and for leaders who emulate the great founders.  I love the United States of America. I feel so privileged to live here and I feel a responsibility to help preserve its freedom. I am grateful for my country.

That's it. Just a short list. But I am owning it!!! Happy Thanksgiving to you- 
remember, it's more than just pies made with real sugar!!!  
( I have to keep reminding myself of that!)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Time to hunker down.

We are awaiting a blizzard here in Provo, Utah. The pre-hype has been eternal. It was supposed to be here first at 11:00, then 3:00, then 4:00. and now 5:00. It's now 4:35 and the sky is getting darker and it feels ominous...wish I had a real, honest to goodness fireplace.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The superficial thing I am thankful for...

 For some inexplicable reason, my life is easier without sugar, but I have to have a deadline in order to do it.
 So, once again I have been going sugar free eagerly anticipating my Thanksgiving Day deadline.

Remember this pie from last year that Alicia made?

I am making it for Thanksgiving this year.
Except I will remember to bake the crust...
(Love ya Leesh.)

Janis is also making sweet potato pie. With a  caramelized pecan crust on top.
Happy Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fresh and fruity...

Somehow over the years, a pomegranate tradition was begun with Aunt Judie. Each fall, she brings a bag full of pomegranates and we chow down till the table, floors, teeth and fingers are stained bright red. Sounds thrilling I know- but we love it.  Thanks Judie!

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Beautiful Saturday...

Beautiful cake
(thank you Ashley)

 Beautiful birthday girl 

Beautiful friends!!!

A wonderful way to spend a Saturday.