Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Big day

Sunday was a big day around here.  What kind of blogger am I?  I only took one picture and it was of the ugliest birthday cake in the world to text to Luke. (Everyone needs a nephew to text pictures of ugly cakes to.  Too late, I realized I texted him during his church time.  Oops.  Now I'm that aunt.)

Sometimes I get too busy living to document it but I guess that's OK.   I'll tell myself that's OK...and I'll try to get a picture or two from my parents.

Mark was ordained a deacon on Sunday.  I am proud of that kid and glad he's mine.  We were thrilled to have Geri, my parents, my grandma, and Ammon and Melanee and family all there for the occasion. 

After, Braeden drove to BYU to get Clarissa and we all had dinner at our house.  It was wonderful.  We set up a long table and it was elbow to elbow, people I love.  We introduced Cormac and Azure to our new Christmas bear.  Happily, Mark took a picture of Azure with Zephyr.  Because I didn't even think about a camera.

I think they like each other.

Cormac and Azure inspected our trees.

I was showing Cormac our straw goats, which in Finland are called pukkis.  "What are they called?" he asked.

"Pukki. Poo-key."

"Aunt Thelma?  Poo is not a nice word."

Ammon said, "Hey, try not to be a bad influence on my son."

Besides that, I think there were a lot of good influences happening.  Mark was surrounded by grandparents that love him and has a lot of good men to look up to (literally and figuratively).  

I love the good and righteous man I'm married to.  I love the brother Mark has to follow.  He's pretty worthy of emulation.  I love the grandfathers Mark is so much like--whether they're on earth or in heaven.  I love the uncles Mark has.  They are examples of goodness.

Families are pretty great.

This cake is not.

It's a Minecraft cake, the idea was conceived by Mark and executed by us both.  I did the baking.  It would qualify for one of those Pinterest "Nailed It" pictures.

  For the record, Luke thought it looked good.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The new Christmas bear

Saturday night, Adam gave the kids this year's Christmas bear.  They had to answer a bunch of trivia questions first.  In the beginning, they were trying with the questions but it disintegrated into everyone trying to make everyone laugh.  It was a lot of silliness.

Adam and I sneaked in the purchase of the new bear at Disneyland.  He was in the gift shop next to the Grizzly River Run.  We love him.

I've been a dismal photographer all week but luckily Geri took some pictures and shared them.

The fur coat no longer fits the long armed boy but he can still make it work at key moments, like posing with the new Christmas bear.

No pictures of Emma and bear because she got the sickness I had and wasn't in a photo mood.

After considerable debate, we named him Zephyr.  He's a good little bear.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Pikkujoulu 2014

I was feeling under the weather and it all felt like more effort than I wanted to do, but it was Pikkujoulu and I mustered my energy and did the work.

I messed up one of the types of cookies which is nothing new.

I realized that morning that I didn't even have an idea in my head about what we were going to do as far as a program.  Our programs are low key at best but I had not even thought about it.

Everyone rose to the occasion and participated in the program.

I set a festive-ish table.  Not my best effort.

We ate and then Braeden played the piano.

It occurred to me that Braeden won't be here next year.  And this year felt so mediocre.  I wanted a do-over.  I wanted to make it nicer.  I want Braeden around forever, not just a few more months.

Braeden put on a sport coat because he likes to dress up.  Mark does too.

Mark had more of a pajama clad shepherd vibe going on.  What would I do for entertainment if I didn't have such weird kids?  It would be a dreary world.

Mark showed us a video on the laptop about Christmas which was nice.

Emma played the piano.  Well.  I told her I wanted her to sing too so she and Braeden sang their funny version of Baby It's Cold Outside.  He sings, "You really can't stay."

She answers, "But Baby, it's cold outside."

I like it.

Grandma Geri did a little presentation with M & Ms.  Anytime you involve M & Ms, it's a winner.

I read, A Wish for Wings that Work, a perennial favorite.

Adam did his contribution last.  It's reading the story of Christ's birth, both from the Book of Mormon and Bible, with Silent Night playing in the background.  It's beautiful.

Finally everything felt right.  Christmas washed over me.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
It was the best news ever given.  I felt the light of season that represents the Light of the World.

 Joy to the world.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Mark's birthday

Emma left a trail of sticky notes for Mark to find when he woke up, leading to a gift from her and Braeden.

Sisters are nice.  Emma and Adam and I picked out the gift (Legos naturally) the night before.  When we got home from the store, Emma proudly showed Braeden the selection.  Braeden said, "Yeah, that's a great set.  It is put together downstairs.  Mark already has that."

So, brothers are nice too.  They can actually keep track of the Lego sets.  (We should have taken Braeden to the store with us.)

Mark didn't want to return the duplicate set though.  It has good parts.  And that's the whole point anyway.

In the late afternoon, we picked Grandma Geri up at the airport.  Mark thought that was the best birthday gift ever.  I think we all did.

We went to Temple Square in Salt Lake City to see the lights.

Lot's of pictures, but they're so pretty...

We went to Cracker Barrel for dinner, at Mark's suggestion.  French toast.  I can't sing it's praises enough.

When we got home, Mark got to open the rest of his birthday presents.  He was happy with a Leatherman tool from his Grandma and Grandpa Dahl...

 ...and some Tardis soap from Aunt Whitney and Uncle Kelly

 and I don't know...maybe he was happy with this gift from Grandma Geri?

Thursday, December 11, 2014


They are just a delight.

I love that Hyrum reads my blog.  He commented that he would rather have fudge than go Christmas caroling.  It made me smile.  (When Clarissa was over on Sunday, someone came to the door and I told her if it was someone caroling, she would have to go to the door.  She said, with characteristic Clarissa enthusiasm, "I love carolers!")

This isn't about Clarissa though.

It's about my nephews.

When Hyrum was here last week he tuned our little guitar--Azure is the main one who plays it lately--and sat and played it.  Just strummed away.  I love talented people that share.

I had a shirt Mark had outgrown.  (It used to be Leif's so it was hard to part with.)  I gave it to Morgan though, who is smaller than Mark.  He took the shirt and solemnly hugged me.  In the dictionary, under sweet, there's a little picture of Morgan.

And then there's Luke.  Because he and Isaiah are Enoch's sons, they're into basketball.  They are both really good at it which is probably in part because they inherited athletic ability from Enoch, he is a good coach and has taught them, and they watch a lot of basketball games.

Enoch coaches his kids' teams and the girls' high school team and who knows what else.

Lately Luke has been commandeering his mom's phone during games and then he texts me.  It's been a highlight of my life.

He is great at play by play textcasting.  (Yeah, I made that word up.)

Here's where I was doing my aunt duty.

Incidentally, Luke got a milkshake after the game...

I just included this one because Luke told me he loved me.  It's not every day an eight year old boy does that.  I love him too.

Being an aunt.  Not a bad gig.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


My baby.

This one:

Is twelve today.


Have you ever been looking through old pictures and not been able to stop yourself?

Because that's kind of where I am today.

Mark is sweet.

And funny.

And contemplative.

He likes a good adventure (and water).

He really likes water.

His brown eyes slay me.

And he makes me laugh every single day.

He's a jumper.


We share a piece of this cake every time we go to IKEA.  I like a boy who appreciates chocolate.

Happily, I get to spend my days with Mark.  The other morning for school, (science specifically, which means Legos which means it is Mark's domain and not mine) Mark built a cart and was experimenting with different sized wheels and loads.

He said, "I think I know of a way to modify it.  I'll disable the pulley and..."

Then it started sounding like the adults in Charlie Brown cartoons.  I had no idea what he was talking about.  He did something to his cart and it went twice as far.

Then he did something else, all the while giving me a commentary about it that I didn't understand.

And all the while dressing in his jumble of patterns.  (Pajamas and bedhead for school.  Don't be a hater.)

I love this kid.

Happy Birthday to my favorite ginger.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


We had a festive weekend, as all December weekends should be.


Marianne and Robert and Ammon and Melanee and all their lovely children (except Clarissa because she was getting ready for her concert) came here for pizza.  Adam thought that if I got Papa Murphy's pizza and cooked it here it wouldn't be done in a timely fashion.  He wanted to bring home something precooked. I disagreed and bought Papa Murphy's anyway.

Adam was right.  I know, I know.

We went to the concert and true to form, it was fabulous.  Seeing live music performed well is unparalleled.  It lifts my soul and makes me happy.  Afterward Ammon offered to buy us all ice cream somewhere.  That brother...we told him we could get our own ice cream.  Someone suggested Chick-fil-a for the peppermint shakes.

Ammon ordered first and got one and then--they ran out.  Marianne had never had one before and I....have, so he gave his to her.

He's such a gem.

We went to Macey's, the grocery store with big and ridiculously low priced ice cream cones.  They had mint.  Halfway through our admittedly lengthy order they ran out of mint ice cream.

Dear Utah County:

Stock up on mint ice cream.


A concerned citizen

While we were eating ice cream, Braeden mocked me for the way I was talking and said I "regress" around my siblings.

Regress? I think that was unfriendly of him.


Adam and I started doing errands and ended up buying a new couch.  Just goes to show you never know what will happen when you start doing errands on a Saturday.  Emma went to a play with Marianne's family and we had Morgan with us in exchange.  I forbade any Nerf battles--too many Christmas decorations at risk--but they had fun otherwise.


After church was over, we had Clarissa over for fudge making and tree decorating.  Last year, Adam remarked how much easier setting up the tree was since Braeden is so much stronger.  This year Braeden carried the tree in from the garage alone.  And that thing weighs a ton.  It seems a cruel fate to get used to relying on your children when they are close to growing up and leaving.

Emma and Clarissa and I made seven different varieties of fudge because too much of a good thing is wonderful.

I love these girls.

They are alike and different in delightful ways.

Adam photographed while we decorated the tree:

I don't know what Braeden is thinking here but my best guess is, "Are you taking a picture of me from outside?!?!"

From lots of different angles:

Here we are with big smiles, either because we are happy and we know it, we are decorating the tree, or we are about to sample seven different varieties of fudge.

Maybe all of the above.


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