Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Family

Last weekend Rob's brother Ryan, his wife Julianne, and their boy Sam came to visit. We haven't seen them for almost two years. It was so much fun to see them. It was our first time ever seeing Sam. In all the excitement, I must have forgotten to take pictures. Yes, unfortunately, this is the only picture I took- of Sam and Russell. It is even blurry on Sam. Sorry Ryan and Julianne- don't judge our value of you based on the pictures we took.
Continuing the lack of pitcture taking theme- Saturday my piano students performed a recital at a local retirement home. This is the only picture I took of that event. (I know- I seriously need help). Russell was having trouble holding still so I guess Rob put him on this older gentleman's lap. I was surprised that Russell was okay with that, but he was (it was all about the cane). The gentleman seemed tickled pink to have a youngster sitting on his lap.

Christmas is two days away and I still have some shopping to do. Agh! Oh, and could my last present I ordered from Amazon please come in the mail tomorrow- please!!?!


One more item worth mentioning: Rob and I celebrated our 10th anniversary on Sunday. Wow! Actually, I don't think we really celebrated it- that is coming later (cruise!), but it happened. That night I was thinking where we would be in ten more years... Seth will be 18, Brenna will be 16.... Whoa! I had to put on the brake. That is way too old. Let's just keep them 8 and 6 for now.

I sure do love this guy. I am grateful that somehow I fit it in my busy schedule to marry him ten years ago :) I am looking forward to many more anniversaries to come.

Seriously- this year has been a big one- I hit 30 and now I have been married for ten years!? Oh, yeah, I have also spotted SEVERAL gray hairs on my head...

Friday, December 18, 2009

In the Bleak Midwinter

Our very good friends from Oregon had a link to this video on their blog. They said it is a new (to them) favorite for the season. I watched it and was so touched. The sound of the choir is amazing- such pure pitch, and the venue is beautiful. I enjoyed it so much I am posting the link here so you can enjoy it, too.

Enjoy the season. Merry Christmas everyone.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Winter

Last week was unusually cold. It finally warmed up (you know, to the 30s) so the kids could go play out in the snow that fell earlier that week. They had a good time trying to make a snow fort and sledding down the hill in our backyard.

Monday night we made our annual gingerbread houses. We each made one this year, except Russ. It was a fun sugary, sticky time.





















Rob's was once again the most creative and the best looking.
I cannot believe that Christmas is just around the corner. I am enjoying this season so much, I do not want it to be over- plus I still have some shopping to do! I hope all of you are more prepared than me.




Monday, December 7, 2009

Russell Muscle

That is my nickname for Russ. Here he is a cute video of him. Even though he is a novice walker, he can already dance.

video

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lots

I have a lot to write about.

I better get started.

On November 14 we had the girl's cross country team from Central Point, Oregon (where we used to live) spend the night at our house along with a few boys and two parents.It was quite a crowd of energetic, noisy teenagers- but loads of fun! It was fun to see some of the kids we knew in Oregon. One of the boys had been my piano student. They had come to participate in a multi-state race in Boise.

They were freezing here in Idaho so Rob made them all some hot chocolate.

The following Wednesday Russell and I flew to Philadelphia to visit my twin sister Wendy in New Jersey.

Here is Russell in the airport.

When I arrived I noticed that Wendy and I were wearing the same color shirt! The night I arrived Wendy's ward had an Enrichment activity. She is in the presidency, and they do not have a coordinator or committee, so she needed to be there. So her husband picked me up and took me straight to the church. When I poked my head in the Relief Society Room everyone gasped, looked over at Wendy, and then back at me and then "twin...twin...twin..." was whispered around the room. What fun!


I went to see Wendy that particular week because their stake was putting on an Interfaith Choral performance and the Stake Music Chairman asked Wendy if she could just double herself so that she could both play the organ and sing. When Wendy smiled and said that she did have a twin who had been wanting to visit, the lady didn't believe her at first. So I received a formal invitation to visit both from Wendy and her stake music chairman. I couldn't refuse!
As a result- when I was there we HAD to go to the church and practice. I admit I was nervous. My mom had been talking up my organ skills to Wendy since I recently played a solo in my ward. I am sure she expected me to be better than I was.
Here I am after practicing the organ for a while. Wendy had been asked to perform a piano solo so I was watching the babies while she practiced. Wendy has three kids: Kenneth, 5, Shannon, 3, and Vanessa, almost 1.








I loved being in New Jersey with all of the trees!!! Wnedy kept laughing at me because I kept saying how beautiful it was. The trees had just recently lost their leaves so Wendy thought it was funny that I liked them so much. She kept saying- "You should have seen them two weeks ago...". I got to help her rake leaves which was very fun.
Here is Russ doing his little "shifty eye" thing. He would hold his head still but move his eyeballs back and forth. He liked the reaction he got from people- especially on the plane.






Russ, Kenneth and I.




Little Vanessa is only happy when her mommy is around. Whenever Wendy would walk into another room she would cry and cry. Every time. Shannon was like that too at her age, but Shannon would let me hold her. Not Vanessa. She wasn't fooled by the twin thing. Here she is one time when Wendy left the room for a second:





Vanessa did get fooled one time. Sunday, Wendy and I both had on black skirts and a solid top for the concert attire. We were both in the kitchen but then I stepped down the stairs to the family room. Vanessa started crying just as she would for Wendy. We both walked over to her and tried to tell her that her mommy was still there. She just looked back and forth between us for several seconds before finally deciding that Wendy was her mom after all!
Wendy and I had fun whipping together an organ/piano duet to play in her ward on Sunday. Wendy had a book of duets from our Grandma. Some of the arrangements were quite entertaining with their flowery, schmoltzy passages more popular a generation or two ago.

Russ and Vanessa were mostly indifferent towards each other, but here they are having a little fun together.


A happy girl when her mommy is near!
The concert was so neat. I am so glad I was able to attend. They had invited choirs from other churches. There was a Jewish choir, a Filipino choir, a University choir, and a Muslim reading from the Koran as well as their stake choir. At the end all the choirs combined to sing The Lord Bless You and Keep You by John Rutter. Wendy's husband Mike led the choir. She would have loved to do it as well, but he was asked and he did a great job. I was so impressed with the missionary minded approach. There was talk of doing it again next year at one of the other churches. I had such a fun time seeing Wendy and her beautiful home and wonderful family.

On my way home I had a four hour layover in Salt Lake City. So I called my sister Sarah and she came and got me and took me to lunch. Russ was able to sleep at her house for a good nap which he desperately needed. It was fun seeing her little guy Eli.





We couldn't get both of them looking at the camera at the same time!





The day after I got home, my parents, sister Heidi, and sister Sarah and her husband Jeremy and baby Eli came to my house for Thanksgiving. Rob was so sweet and had cleaned the house with the kids while I was gone so that really helped out.

Here are Russ and Eli, now at my house.






Wednesday Sarah and Heidi and I made six pies!! Yummm! Brenna and Grant wanted to help.



I put my mom in charge of the rolls for Thurday. She was fantastic! I put my dad in charge of the turkey complete with stuffing and gravy. ( he is really good at that!) Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of his masterpiece. I bought a 28 pound turkey and it was delicious!


Sarah, Jeremy and Eli.




Eli and Russ on the couch.



Hands in the mouth- I love it!



At one point we took several pictures of everyone. Then Grant started crying and crying. I went to see what was wrong and he had just wanted someone to take a picture of him. So, I obliged.



We borrowed Rob's sister Kristy's high chair. They look like twins!




The feast! We put our two small table together to make a large square table. It worked.



The food was so good I had to take a picture of everything. On the left we have Spinach Gratin, then the turkey, raspberry and apricot jams, and the most delicious sweet potatoes ever.



Yummy- green beans, green salad, mashed potatoes, and fruit salad, also homemade cranberry sauce.



My dad taking a deserved rest after dinner.



Rob feeling that turkey!



Pie time! Grant had been asking me for two days if he could have some pie. So around bedtime, even though I still felt so full, I brought the pies out so he could have some. Of course, he didn't even like them.




We have from the left: blackberry, raspberry cream, pumpkin, apple crumb, pecan and another pumpkin.





My dad with Seth and Grant.



Sunday my parents flew out before church, but Sarah and Heidi were not leaving until after Sacrament meeting. I had asked them to sing with me in church. Heidi was not feeling well, however, so she decided to accompany Sarah and I. It was so fun to sing with her. We sang O Divine Redeemer. Here we are practicing and holding the babies. Heidi di a great job at the piano despite not feeling well.


Monday night we finally got our Christmas tree!! We are ready for the Christmas season! I have been excited to decorate this year in our new house! Last year we moved in the middle of December. That combined with a new baby meant no real decorating last year. I tried to rein myself in and not spend too much. I put some tinsel on the stairs. I used some of the tree boughs that Rob cut from the bottom of the tree to put on the mantle with some lights. Then I just hung the stockings from the branches with ornament hooks- it worked really well and I love how it looks! Now I just need to get busy and Make Russell's stocking!








I should have cleaned around the tree before taking this picture- oops. Do you see the ribbon on the floor? Russ pulled that off the tree. Luckily it was a separate piece than the rest of the ribbon on the tree. Maybe I should just leave it off of the bottom :)


This morning Seth and Brenna played together for the first time one of the piano duets I am having them learn for Christmas. They did a great job. I was so excited! I gave Brenna a hug and told her that I have been waiting for her to grow up and be able to play a duet with Seth.
I know I always enjoyed playing duets with my sister. Aren't they cute?

That is it for this post. I have an adorable video of Russ walking but I will post it another day. I figure that if you are still reading this long post, you need a break.
Thanks for reading!