Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Years Eve!

So For New Years Eve this year I went to our regional young single adult activity. In years past it has been a formal affair held at a really fancy house outside of Santa Maria. This year however it was changed to a more casual affair held in a workshop. It was a good time. My uncle was in charge since he is in the SM singles ward bishopric and my Dad did the BBQing so dinner was great. Then there was dancing, interspersed with live band performances. Here I am (above) with my friends Diana and April and (below) with my cousin Katie and a family friend Marie who came with me. It was a great way to ring in the New Year with family and friends!Happy New Year everyone!

Christmas Day!

This Christmas Day was a little strange for us because we had been up so late on Christmas eve talking to my sister Brianna who's on a mission to Romania that we slept late... and for the first time in my memory there were no pictures taken on Christmas morning (which for those of you that have ever either a. lived with me or b. seen me in the am before my shower...you know that those pictures are never good of me anyway). So the only pictures I have of Christmas Day are a few that I took at my Aunt and Uncles house latter that day. Here's one of my Grandma and Grandpa playing their guitar and harmonica respectively. I've always loved listening to them play...there's something comforting about it. It was a very Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve!

Every year we spend Christmas Eve at my Grandma Shirley's house. We visit, we eat, we open presents, and we have the family talent show. Well this year my aunt Lynn bought some special plastic tubes that make a noise (musical note) when you whack it against something... she started out the talent show by passing out the tubes not telling us what was going on (note: this is how she tricked my grandma into participating) then she set up the color coded music on her handy music stand and we went for it...needless to say it was hilarious as you can see from the photo above we are quite the talented family, especially my Dad and I.

Last year I started a talent show tradition for myself by sharing a family history story and also sharing what I learned about how they celebrate Christmas in Norway (where the ancestors in the story came from) so this year I decided to share about another family of our ancestors and share how they celebrate Christmas in Sweden. According to my research they decorate their trees with their flag and also with wooden hearts (to show that everyone is lovable at Christmas) so here I am with the flags and wooden hearts that I made one of each for each member of our family (it's really only 11 since I only made one for each couple).

Last we open presents. We started a tradition a few years ago that all of the adult participate in a gift exchange where we each purchase a present for 25 dollars, rap it and bring it to Christmas eve dinner. Then after "the kids", which now only consist of my 2 cousins, open their presents (here's my family waiting for the adult portion of the evening to begin...Callie looks especially bored because it's her first year being an adult and not getting presents from everyone) then we go into the living room and everyone draws a number...then we go in order from 1 to ? you can either pick a gift from the middle or steal from someone else. It's always a good time and we've gotten pretty good at picking things that anyone would like!

Picking our Christmas Tree!

Since this was my first year home for Christmas in several years I got to pick where we went to get our tree. Growing up we always went to a Christmas tree farm and cut down our tree...unfortunately my family over the past few years have fallen into the habit of going to a big box store and buying a pre-cut tree. I say "BOOO" to that so I insisted upon going to the only Christmas tree farm within a 50 miles radius and cut our tree down. While looking for our tree I came up with the brilliant idea of finding trees that "looked like" each of us and taking pictures with them. Above is Dad with his "twin" tree.

Here's Callie with her tall and skinny "twin" tree.

Here I am with my "shorter" "rounder" tree...notice my hat comes to a nice point...we really are "twins". Good times at the Christmas tree farms...may they never going out of style. (Note: Mom's "twin" shot didn't turn out unfortunately)

Sing Noel!

So every other year our stake puts on a special musical program entitled "Sing Noel". It's pretty intense: first, the stake music people begin in late summer to call and send out letters to invite people to participate in the choir (my sister Callie-to my left and I were invited via our Dad who is known in the stake for his musical talent), next practises start the first week in September and continue every Sunday evening for 2 hours until the performances which usually happen the first week in December. Although at I was a bit apprehensive about giving up every Sunday evening for 3 months I decided to make the commitment knowing it may be the only time for awhile that I'll be around to participate. It was a wonderful experience! I made new friends, developed musical talent and knowledge, and was able to increase my feelings of the Christmas spirit.