Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Larson Christmas Party

Last Saturday was the Larson Christmas party at my house for the half of my family that could make it. It was so fun! We went sledding, decorated cookies, and played a white elephant "lefty-righty" game. We ended the night with Ethan's preschool Christmas program which was a riot. I've never laughed so hard at a program before but get a bunch of 2, then 3, then 4, then school age kids to perform on stage can be quite entertaining. Below is the story I wrote for the Lefty-Righty game. It's long but there were 12 people to include!

Christmas time is here again and it is nice that the weather is finally right for a party complete with sledding. It wasn’t right that we couldn’t celebrate Christmas and Grandma’s birthday together last week because the weather left everyone in the cold.

This has been another busy year for the Larson family. Irene has been right on track at work and made several trips right up North to Aironn and Sunnie’s. She also traveled right past Idaho and into Oregon for baptisms and blessings. She left her fear of travel abroad and signed up for an exotic trip to Egypt this coming March. I hope she filled out her passport application right! This summer, she did what she thought was the right thing by lending her car to her co-worker for a short trip and was left with a few minor dings that needed to be fixed. The other lady must have been using her left, not right, foot to drive with!

Brandon left the life of a farmer and turned more into a rancher this year with the addition of more cows, chickens, and a kitten. We think he is right on track with the organic wholesale beef business. We are just glad he left his old butcher behind and chose the right one this year! He studied hard this year and became a very valuable asset to the Larson clan when he answered all the test questions right and became an EMT. Do you think he left his doctor kit at home for this party? I hope not!

Sunnie decided it was right to stay with third grade again this year. It has been nice to have someone right at our fingertips with homework help. Do you think she knows the right way to add multiple digits? She left Idaho this fall and jumped right into hunting pheasants. With the right advice and the right location and the right gun, she knocked birds right down. Brandon also tried to get her hunting deer but they were left without one. She did learn the top-secret right way to make salad for the Streadbeck Thanksgiving dinner though.

Ryan left Mom’s upstairs and moved right into the downstairs apartment after the other tenants left. It is the right spot for the gang of poker players to gather and every once in a while he has the right hand to take home some money. He has been busy building a number of things in his wood shop for family and friends and, believe it or not, he still has all of his fingers left! This summer, he left Utah and moonlighted in Oregon. Didn’t he learn that Oregon isn’t the right state for him? I guess he still knows how to operate all the equipment right.

Connor has been very busy this year. He learned the right way to play tennis, the right plays in football and the right girl for his girlfriend, Whitney. He left third grade for the challenges of fourth and is learning all the right answers to Utah history this year. We loved listening to him sing for the right Rock Band song over Thanksgiving. He left home this summer for Cub Scout Day Camp at Jeremiah Johnson’s camp and left with several things passed off in his scout book. He also left Utah for several out of state journeys to Oregon and Idaho with his Dad and Aunts and Uncles.

Austin left something great behind the last little while. He left his shyness when he left gluten behind and is quite the prankster. He thinks this party is right on track with scheduled tubing, since it is one of his favorite things to do. He hates that he left his girlfriend, Kim, in Utah but it was the right thing to do to come to Idaho. He is reading all the right things in first grade and is turning into the right kind of athlete with football games this fall. He is also right on track with Rockband and plays better than many adults in the family!

Gary left home for California a few times this summer and also left for Florida in February. It wasn’t the right kind of fire season to keep him in Idaho. He finally got the right kind of lay-down blind to help him slay the birds and the right hunting buddies to keep it interesting in Tom and Logan. He got the right motorcycle this year and spent many days enjoying the right way to get to work. Now it just needs the right paint job and he needs the right jacket to complete the deal.

Aironn did the right thing in driving the boys to all their sports games and practices. She also left Primary and moved right into Cub Scouts. She left the garden to fend for itself this summer and was left with not very much to can. I guess the right thing to do would be to spend some time out there.

Thomas had a right busy year. He played baseball with the right league and used a pitching machine, learned how to play flag football right and earned an award of offensive rookie of the season. He also learned that it is good to choose the right when he was baptized in January. He has made the right decision to join Gary on his hunting trips and hopes to learn to shoot a gun right to hunt birds next year. He is right on track in Cub Scouts and earned his Bobcat and Wolf this year too.

Logan left the clean-cut missionary hair do behind for a longer version. I think it looks right good on him! He was a star soccer player kicking goals right in and defending the goal which left the other team without as many points. He is right on in reading and math and that has him in the top groups at school. He also learned all the right moves playing basketball this spring and even left the ground shooting some times. He loves to play with his friends that live both to the left and right of our house!

Ethan, Ethan, Ethan. What is the right thing to say about him? He left home for preschool two days a week and left his teacher bewildered at his talents. He will be leaving nursery for Primary soon too. He picked the right girls in primary and preschool to be his girlfriends and soon he will see them both right by him at church. He has learned the right way to sound out words too. He has left his mom and dad smiling when he says funny things every day like pirouette and this pan is stuck on my head help!

Dylan has learned it is alright to be the youngest. It is fine to be left out of conversations because he can get what he wants without too many words. He left crawling behind for running and running was left for climbing. It isn’t right that he is always on top of the table! He doesn’t think it is right for Gary to go to work and is right at the window to wave bye and right there again when Gary comes home.

The rest of the family couldn’t make it this year so they will just have to be left out of the story! We hope you’ve had a great Christmas party and we can do it the right way next year, at Grandma’s house!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Kids Say and Do the Darndest Things

Me: Logan, what did you have for lunch today?
Logan: Nachos and chocolate milk.
Me: Are the school nachos good?
Logan: Yeah! They are really really really damn good.
Me: (Trying not to be both shocked and laughing a little.) Damn good? Did you know that "damn" is a swear word?
Logan: (Looking shocked and horrified at the same time.) No... I won't say that again.

Later in the day we were driving to the kid Christmas party at Gary's office when Logan asked out of the blue, "Why does it say under like under a table and rest like you are having a rest?" (For those who take a minute or two to put it together, he was talking about policemen putting someone under arrest.

Ethan and Dylan were playing with all the pots and pans the other day so I took a chance to check email downstairs since I could hear every pan hit the floor right above me. After a few minutes, Ethan came downstairs yelling, "Help Mom! I'm stuck. Mom, help me. Help me Mom!" I looked over to see a sauce pan stuck on his head. He had been trying to get it off by pulling on the handle which pulled the pan on an angle and it wouldn't come off. After I quit laughing, I pulled it up evenly and it came off easily.

Tom was giving Dylan a piggy back ride around the house the other day and passed by Logan. Tom looked over and said to Logan, "When you were two, I gave you piggy back rides too." Logan replied, "I don't think so, you were only four!" The truth is that Logan was almost as big as Tom when they were two and four and there is no way Tom could have given Lo a piggy back ride!

Kids really do keep it interesting. I can't wait until Dylan can talk and add to this list!

Monday, December 15, 2008

With Every Calling Comes a Release

Yesterday the Primary Presidency I've been serving in for 3 1/2 years was released. It was kind of bitter sweet. The kids are amazing and Ethan will be joining Primary in a couple of weeks. It's been fun getting to know each of their personalities and watching kids that were in Sunbeams when we started, grow into little school kids who can read and answer questions. It is a very rewarding calling in most ways. It's also been a great place for me to serve while I've had Ethan and Dylan. Ethan was just a baby when we started and it worked well when he needed to be taken out or fed. It was the same for Dylan. He started Nursery for real last week so now I am kid free for two whole hours on Sunday. Weird. I don't remember the last time I was in Relief Society or Sunday School. That will take some getting use to. Sitting still for a whole hour without a baby to rock or take out. I am looking forward to hearing spiritual messages each Sunday and getting to know some of the new people in the ward that didn't have kids in Primary. There are so many faces that I don't have names for yet. I was reminded of a quote by President Uchtdorf that said, in part, every time you accept a calling, you also accept a release. It makes change a bit easier knowing that the four women replacing us are amazing and more capable than I ever felt. They are so full of love for the little kids that it radiates from them already!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Party Wrap-up

The neighborhood party went great. We had about 25 families come and donate food and money for the food bank. We borrowed a fire pit from the Mullen family and everyone went home smelling like a campfire but it really helped people to mingle a bit more than last year. Santa came and handed out candy canes to all the little kids. (THANKS SANTA!) All in all it was a fun evening with neighbors that you don't see much during the winter months. Gary took the loot in to the food bank this morning and reported that they were very happy for the donation. It's a great way to get your neighbors out, regardless of their religion. It seems like there can be such a division between Mormons and non-Mormons for some reason and it's nice to have an event that isn't church sponsored but still helps with the greater good. Hopefully next year we'll have an even bigger turn out! Thanks to everyone who came and donated so generously!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Neighborhood Party

Tonight is the neighborhood Christmas party and food drive at my house. It is a bit nerve racking wondering if anyone is coming and if they realize it isn't IN my house but outside in the garage, driveway area.

Last year was the first year we tried it and we had about 20 families participate. This year we are hoping for an even bigger turn out with promises of Santa and reminder signs at the two entrances to the neighborhood.

The concept is pretty simple. I think I got it from the Family Fun magazine last year. Instead of taking neighbor gifts around to everyone and everyone swapping their plate of cookies for yours, you spend that money on items for the local food bank and get together with everyone one night for hot cocoa. Everyone brings just one plate of cookies to share and the food bank gets a load of food to help out the less fortunate.

This year we already have about 1/3 of the food we collected last year in the garage from people who can't make it tonight. It really is heartwarming to get together with everyone and see how a little here and a little there can add up to something that really makes a difference. It's also nice to have something my kids can participate in that goes to helping rather than getting at this time of year.

So, if anyone is reading this from the neighborhood - or just wants to contribute - TONIGHT IS THE NIGHT!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Cards and Shopping and Parties and Travel and and and and and

Christmas time is definitely here whether or not the snow is coming. Last night, we continued working on our Christmas cards - the ones that I was going to have stamped and ready before Christmas. The shopping is just about done. All we need to do is take the boys out individually to shop for the brother they drew this year. Then there is the neighborhood Christmas party that I keep forgetting about. Oh, it's in OUR garage. Guess I better remember. It's really not too big of deal. Everyone brings cookies to share and canned food for the food bank and then, as an added bonus this year, Santa will be joining us.

Gary and I sat down last night to talk about our holiday travel schedule that had been all worked out prior to the announcement of a preschool Christmas program on a Saturday night we had reserved to be in Oregon. Honestly. It looks like we may have to bump Oregon by a month and hopefully Dad will understand. The holidays are CRAZY when you have four kids with schedules and family in four states this year and shipping deadlines and only so many weekends and.....I better stop. I feel my blood pressure rising.

I do love Christmas and what it is really about though. Hopefully, amid all the hustle and bustle, we can all take a moment and think about the reason for the season and, as President Hinckley said, "Try a little harder to be a little better."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Let it Snow

I am NOT a cold weather fan. I don't ski or snow board or do much of anything outside when it is cold but this year I am ready for it to start snowing. It is hard to get in the Christmas spirit when it is 50 degrees outside. The ever so trustworthy weathermen say there is a chance of snow today so I am keeping my fingers crossed. I should be waiting until after Saturday to hope for snow because we are headed out to cut down our Christmas tree but I think I am ready for it to start snowing RIGHT NOW!!! Is there an ancient snow dance we could all do or something?

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Smell of New Babies

Thanksgiving was great. We went to my mom's house in Highland, Utah and spent the day with almost all of my siblings. My youngest brother and his family came over on Friday night, so in the end we got to see all my siblings and thier kids. It was great. My boys love love love spending time with cousins and since my brother lives there with his X-box, and my mom has her Wii, and there is a pool table and movie room, there is seldom any complaining that there isn't anything to do, even if the weather is cold and wet. We had a great time visiting with family and playing games as well as eating yummy food.

Friday, we got to go over to Gary's brother Kevin and his wife Amy's house to visit. They have a cute little 2 1/2 year-old, Cohen, and a brand spankin' new baby, Truman. I have been waiting for two weeks to snuggle into that little man and finally got to meet him Friday night. He is so adorable and there is something about the whole new baby smell. They hold so still and love to have you snuggle them in. Watching each of my boys hold and cuddle him was precious. The look on their faces as they would hold him was complete joy and love for such a little man.

Tom was pretty funny when he held him. He was rubbing his hair and came across his soft spot and knew he couldn't touch it. Then he looked at me and said, "If his head was harder and he didn't have a soft spot, I'd give him a very gentle noogie." Couldn't help but laugh.

When we got back to my mom's house, my brother Oliver and his family were there. They have a little man too named Ryder that is about two months old and so incredibly cute. I loved on him for a while and just wanted to snuggle him in tight. He is such a chunk! When he would get fussy, I'd hand him to Gary who always has had such a way with babies. He would calm right down when Gary would hold him and then when he was happy again, Gary would give him back to me to snuggle.

Mmmmmm, babies smell so great!