December 25, 2009

It's Official...Christmas is HeRe NoW !!!

What crazy person sits around on Christmas day in the morning blogging? This one. The gifts are made (whew!), wrapped and under the tree, Miranda put the cookies and milk out and Santa is on His way. Steven is in a LOOOOONG hot bath to relax from this CrAzY week at work and I am here in the living room - sipping hot herbal tea, enjoying the warmth from the fireplace, listening to the radio next to our beautiful tree. I am realizing how short a time I have left of Miranda's "childhood"...she was out in a flash in her pink froggy footie jammies to pick out cookies. Sariah was asleep on the couch - aloof as a teenager would be. Tallen is pure child...the wonder on his face and his sweet voice singing "Jingle bells". LOVE IT!!!

Crazy! NOW that my projects are complete and I have time to enjoy the Christmas season and it's over! I always feel a let down. People are nicer to each other, the decorations and music...everything about Christmas is good. Except maybe finding a parking spot at WalMart! hahaha And then the DAY comes and people forget to be nice, the radio stations play the same yuck they do all year round again, the decorations go just ends!! I felt that way as a child on Christmas morning, too. We'd sit down to open gifts and tear through them. We didn't take turns and get to see what everyone else got. That's why we do what we do in my family now. We did numbers a few years ago. That was fun!! Sariah got at a time...3 numbers or so apart. Our Christmas is pretty modest. One or two from Santa, one from each person in the family and the stocking.

We got money from Grandpa so we used it to get a new camera for the family. The kids' needs are met and the tree looks full under there so, I got a camera. Canon SX120 IS. SwEeT!!!! I got it last night and am loving it! It's compact - compared to my Casio - and soooo easy to use! I can zoom really (too) close and the clarity of color is fantastic! I have to remember to wear makeup....that skin tone is killin' me! I'll post pictures after our opening in the morning and our trip to Mimi's in Ohio.

Happy Christmas!!
What family traditions did you start??

December 22, 2009

Christmas once again

I love Christmas! I always have and I think I will forever...or at least until the children are grown. I woke up one year at 2am. I was old enough to read an alarm clock, so my parents, who had JUST gotten to bed...(that was the year for the "Walton's House - some assembly required", sent me back to bed until 4 or 6 or some really late hour!! I couldn't sleep and didn't want to get in trouble for peeking so I lay there in a tortured state of anticipation. Awful!  Fast forward to now.  I am JUST as excited every year!  I wake up early, not 2am early now that I'm on the assembly team, but early...and I wake the children, because I can hardly wait to see what Santa has brought.  I know, I'm twisted.  I think that I will wait for the kids to get me up this year (I think they did last year as well.) We usually have the missionaries to breakfast on Christmas morning - and most folks do dinner, so we've been free to do so.  This year, someone from the other congregation beat us to the Sisters.  So it will be just the 5 of us in our cute jammies enjoying a FAMILY Christmas. 

We went to the Ward Christmas Party last Friday, 12/19, and had a great time.  Here are a few fun shots taken by Lovice, a friend of mine.

Here is Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus in his Dad’s arms.

13959_237052072353_638662353_4260731_5995435_s Justin P., Miranda B. & a baby doll









Miranda made a beautiful Mary


me getting in some peaceful knitting time







Steven relaxing as wise guys do

the king of bling 

The “King of Bling” holding court!

Michael S., Brian M., and the rest of the gang. 

3 friends @party


Odd, how the boys of all ages REALLY got into the dress-up…

oh and and the little kids…



And then the “Special Guest” arrived, in a police car!


Tallen was a little nervous about the whole sitting with Santa deal.  so he had to check it out…

2 helper, 1 boy and his friend


He circled…

and watched.








And at last the moment arrived…he got up on "HO HO's" lap and told him his sweet list! 

tallen on Santa's lap







t on santa



I did it!  and got candy... He DID IT!! And got candy from the Elves as a reward!

Tallen sat on Santa's lap!  It must be the magic of 3yrs old.  He has cried the other times.  We don't have TV channels and we don't take the paper, so I guess we are a little "UNCONNECTED" to the mass toy shoving that begins in September on TV.  Tallen has been compiling his "HO HO" list for about two months.  A new train, lots of cars and trucks and a race track.  I think that's it. I’m so pleased that he got up there and spoke to Santa!

The girls did not get up Santa's lap as they got to be the ELF Helpers this year. I'm actually tearing up with pride and shock over how fast they have grown up!  Here they are helping some of the other kids.





helping the scared ones






asking for a car


I had to put this one in here…it cracks me up!  This is 16 yr old Chloee B. asking for a CAR from Santa.  Too Funny! Her comment afterwards was, “I’m getting a car by July, anyway!”  She cracks me up!





Well, my break is over.  I have to get back to work on the Christmas goodies I am making…and I WILL get the labels on the cards TODAY.  I had them made in Mid November and then got busy with the other parts of preparing.  Oh well. I’ll do better next year – MAYBE.  I guess I am who I am and there’s room for improvement.

Happy Christmas to all and

to all a relaxing New Year!

December 2, 2009

Much to be Thankful For

The girls went to Grandma Bykofsky’s with their dad for Turkey Day.  They always do. It’s in the divorce decree actually… I’m thankful they had safe travels there and back.

They went down on Wednesday – he drove up from Atlanta to Cincinnati, slept a bit and then continued all the way up to get them.  I’m thankful I didn’t have to drive them down to Ohio and then turn around and travel the same route on Thursday.

Steven, Tallen and I went down to Mimi’s for Thanksgiving.  My sister and her family were also there.  Jaden is getting so big and running around more.  Mom cornered him for a few pictures though. Tallen moves too fast, too much or something…there aren’t many pictures of him - ever.Edwin and Jaden Megan and Jaden





Me and my Boy (Tallen)

Edwin's 1st pumpkin pie





My brother made the pie Me…trying to get him to eat

I see the “change of the guard” as it were. I remember always going to Grandma Gnew’s for the holidays and then my Mom took over as the years went on.  Now Megan, Edwin and I are taking a greater roll each year and I’m OK with that.  Grandma is not remembering things very well anymore and our days with her here are growing fewer and fewer.  I am thankful that I have had a chance to know Verna Gnew.  She is a good grandma.  I remember getting the cards every holiday with the quarters stuck in it.  Did you get those?? I know, I’m OLD.  The girls remind me often. Meg and I would play downstairs with the piano, the games and watch movies on the TV while rocking on the sofa.  Yup- rocking on the sofa.

I am VERY thankful that my Mom is a great cook and that together as a family we put together a mean Thanksgiving Meal.  Turkey (of course), dressing from inside the bird – it’s the best!, cranberry sauce, green beans, mashed potatoes…I’m sure I have forgotten parts. Meg brought fresh veggies to keep us healthy – but noone had room for them at dinner! My Brother-in-law made cornbread stuffing. I made cranberry-sauce Jell-O cups VERY GOOD and I made 26 AwEsOmE rolls.  There were 4 left when I went home.  Everything disappeared rapidly and then we sat around and talked and watched the boys play and the nocturnal-men sleep in front of the TV.

Adam brought the girls BACK up on Friday for the evening Fantasy of Lights parade.  Miranda sang with the Children’s Chorale before hand and Sariah marched with the middle school band.  I’m thankful we stayed relatively warm…more blankets next year!  I am also thankful that we all stayed SAFE!! Adam changed the “pick up after the parade location” and caused quite a fright for the Mama as I was searching for my first baby as SHE searched for his car on a VERY bust street.  All turned out OK – but we won’t be doing THAT again!! Thankful for text messages, too - so I could express my…disapproval…of the happenings.

I’m thankful for my computer which is becoming more of a tool and a bit less of a toy.  A little bit anyway…I still love to check in with everyone on Facebook and checking out the blogs on my reading list. 

I have of course saved the best for last.  My famiy:

I am thankful for my parents who did the best they could with the child I was.  I’m still not perfect and may never be the person they had planned on me being…but I do my best to live right, to live the commandments, and be the person that my Heavenly Father would have me be. 

I learned to be handy and use tools from my Dad.  And so many times throughout the day, my thoughts go to him.  I SURE do miss him! He was so good at so many things.  Just today, a friend said the same thing to me.  I was so surprised at that!  I feel so un-developed as of yet.  I guess Dad may have felt that way too.  Thus he “never decided what he wanted to be” and kept reinventing himself. He’s been gone for 13 years now and there is still a Dad shaped hole in my everyday life.

I guess I learned how to be a “Woman of the 90’s” from my Mother.  In essence it is to be true to one’s self.  I learned – through trial and error- how to cook in her kitchen.  NOW I’m told that I’m an amazing cook!! I got my first job there in PA when I had just graduated.  I worked for Nora at her home based business “Herbs For Healthful Living” and that alone has made a VAST difference in who I am today. 

I learned from my Mom all the everyday things that moms teach their daughters: To always think before you speak, to sit up straight, that family is MOST important of all, to go to church every week, how to clean my room (I don’t always USE the information…mind you).

I am ever thankful for Megan.  The best sister a gal could have.  We may not see eye to eye (she’s taller) but we weather the storms together and help each other where we can. I am thankful she found her soul mate in Sam.  They are so suited for each other!!!  Sweet Jaden is such a blessing to our family.

Edwin – my 28 year old BABY BROTHER – is a rock to my Mom and Grandma.  He’s one of the sweetest guys I’ve ever met!  I guess that part of that is, that by the time he was old enough to argue and fight with, I had left home…so we get on pretty well.  I like him, he’s neat-o!

Of course, there’s MY rock.  Steven is the best friend I could ever want.  He stands by me no matter what and yet calls me on my mistakes and flaws.  He works hard for our family and does his best. ALWAYS!  THIS is how marriage is supposed to be!  He is an awesome Daddy to all of my children.  For that I am VERY thankful.

My children!  I am in awe of the people they are becoming.  Sariah and Miranda are beautiful young women now!  Where did my babies go??? And Tallen…I can’t keep up with his mind!  Always into things…making a way to get what he needs.  He reminds me of my Dad.  I need to keep an eye on my tools, he’ll be taking apart my appliance soon no doubt!

Did I mention I have MUCH to be thankful for???

Now – to gear up for Christmas!!  Have fun…I know I will.