Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Afton's First Christmas

Well, we had a fabulous Christmas this year! I wanted to make it special, seeing as it's Afton's first Christmas, and at 9 months, she's old enough to at least participate. She sure liked the wrapping paper! Some people told me not to get her much cause she's too young. I blatantly ignored them. My baby girl needs toys! And she got them! We had a great time with both sides of the family. Isn't this outfit the cutest ever, by the way? A gift from Grandma Nielson! I was glad we spent some time with Trevor's Grandmas Luzenia, just newly widowed at this horrible time of year. I remember last year Grandpa was putting Christmas bows on his head and making the grandchildren giggle. We all missed him a lot this year--no one more than poor Grandma! Well, here are a few highlights from this season...

1. FOOD - We had some awesome food this season! I think I got a little crazy because Trevor and I have "decided" (meaning, we'll see when it happens) that we are going to eat healthy starting in January. So we pretty much gorged in December. We had Cindy's awesome macaroons, which I got pretty addicted to. I also made my standard quiche for Christmas--it's my Aunt Carm's recipe and it's AWESOME. I always make two of them, and we eat them at my mom's, and at Trevor's parents. Afterwards, there wasn't a lot leftover. So--well, I made ANOTHER one after Christmas and Trevor and I eat it every morning. I just wanted to be SURE there would be some weight to lose in January, 'cause I'm so skinny already...

2. PARTIES - We've had a lot of parties to go to! Or, just plain old "game nights" since we've gotten pretty board-game happy. We've spent a lot of time at our friend's Ryan and Anna's playing new games. Then we've played with the Snow's, my sister Jen and her family, and tonight we are playing with the Stoddart's! Then of course there was my Nielson Familiy party--which is absolutely CRAZY. Kids everywhere. Really loud. People screaming and laughing and crying and running into each other. And here is my darling baby sitting on "Santa's" lap!

3. THE TREE - I'm proud to say I got my tree up on Thanksgiving day (Trevor was gone the day after so we had to do it early!) and I got it DOWN on the 27th! I was SO ready to have my living room back! Mom gave me her old Christmas tree, complete with decorations, last year. So I actually have a darn cool Christmas tree. Afton was a big fan of the tree, though not as much as our stinkin' cats. Sometimes, I wish they'd both get run over. There's some Christmas Spirit for ya!

4. GIFTS - For me, I got a TON of good stuff! I'm so domestic! First, Trevor got me some gorgeous new pots and pans, and he got me a dehydrator, and my mother-in-law got me a breadmaker! I'm already obsessed, for all I've only made two loaves, and although they tasted good, they were all concave on top. Not sure why. I think the first time its because I used cold yeast, and the second time is because I used too much--well, I used what the recipe called for but since it rose huge and then POPPED, I suppose that's a hint. Trevor got us both Snuggies. Now I know that snuggies get a bad rap--but let me tell you. They rock. I LOVE MY SNUGGIE. I may look like a monk in it, but I care not! I'm a WARM monk!

Ok, and I also have to add this picture of my baby. Trevor got her this adorable Seahawks onsie, and she looks so cute in it! For Trevor's big present, he, of course, got another sword. This one is the Sword of Boromir. Now, if I didn't know my husband better, I would breathe a sigh of relief and think, "Well, he's got all the swords for every hero in the show now, so he'll be all done." No, that's just not how it is. Not when there are banners and helmets and shields and all kinds of other stuff. However, it DOES look pretty darn cool on the wall, so I don't complain too loudly. Oh--and in the picture--no, he's NOT slicing his mother in half...

5. TOYS - And last, I had to add a little video of my baby girl, playing with one of her toys. She has several that she loves, like the little piano from Grandma Rees, and the stacking toys from us. But the blocks she got from Grandma Nielson are also a big hit! This video is kinda long and maybe you'll find it boring after a few minutes, but I just couldn't cut it--I just think she's so cute! I love how she is just giggling!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What I SHOULD be doing...

Today I was going down the stairs and I saw my scriptures lying at the bottom of the stairs in a forgotten pile, where I'd put them last week after I hurried home from church, eager to feed the baby, get her down for a nap, and have a couple of minutes of silence. I didn't remember that I'd put them there. And the fleeting and brief thought crossed my mind, "yeah, I should read those."

The dreaded SHOULD. I hate the shoulds in life, and it seems that the older you get, and the more responsibility you take on, the more SHOULD's come along. Sometimes I get so tired of feeling guilty for all the things I SHOULD be doing.

*I should be reading my scriptures every night.
*I should remember to say my prayers every day.
*I should hold my baby longer before I put her down--I should be enjoying her more
*I should be calling so-and-so
*I should be getting those last Christmas presents
*I should be making dinner tonight instead of making my husband fend for himself--AGAIN.
*I should play with Afton longer
*I should be working on my scrapbook
*I should be trying to lose weight
*I should be trying harder to improve my lesson plans and raise test scores
*I should go to bed instead of stay on Facebook forever reading crap about people I haven't talked to in years

It goes on and on. And I guess that's good--I mean, imagine if you were a person WITHOUT shoulds? You'd never go to bed, never work, never improve yourself. You'd be like--well, like some of my junior high kids. I swear, some of those kids are TOTALLY lacking in shoulds. Like the boys the other day who HONESTLY believed their lives would be better if they didn't have to go to school. Seriously? Are you an idiot? Isn't there a SHOULD in there somewhere saying, "I should get an education" "I should make something of myself" "I should have some sort of purpose in life." But I digress.

Yes, I grow weary of the shoulds. Because I know I can't just throw them off and say, "I'm doing fine!" because then I would never improve. But guilt is so heavy sometimes. And I know that it's only going to get harder, as Trevor gets further into school and is gone more, and as the number of children in the house increase and the income DOESN'T, those shoulds are just gonna pile up until I'm totally smothered. I don't think you are ever free of shoulds, no matter what your age or situation in life. Though, sometimes it seems there are people in my life--people I don't know very well or intimately, who seem to be doing EVERYTHING right and have no shoulds at all. But I know they do. They MUST. Somewhere. Everyone has shoulds, right?

Still, I'm glad I have shoulds. If I didn't, my life would have no purpose or direction. Having shoulds means I know what's important, even if, at the moment, I'm not really doing it. Having shoulds means that I am assessing my life and making an analysis on how I'm doing. Some people have absolutely no ability to that. Well, it's 10:30...

*I should be going to bed.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Here you go Cindy

My sister Cindy told me today that she's not sure why she has a link to my blog on her blog because I never update. I pointed out that I updated four days ago. Oh well. Maybe I don't have to wait for big things--I can just post for no real reason.'s a picture of my baby that I took today.

It's her official 9 month picture. I take a picture of her on the 15th every single month for her scrapbook. You know--maybe I'll just post them ALL?

Awww...isn't she the cutest EVER? I love to see the age progression--her hair just gets thicker and thicker with every picture. Maybe I'm biased, but I think I've got a darn cute little baby girl!

So there. I updated. *sticking tongue out*

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Passing of a Patriarch

So I've taken three days off work this week so that I could attend the funeral of Trevor's Grandpa Rees. He was an incredible man. Trevor comes from such an amazing family of strong, yet gentle and loving men. I didn't know Spencer very well, but he was always kind to me, and I know how much Trevor idolizes him. I know that he was a wonderful father--because he taught Trevor's dad, Stan, to be a wonderful father. And Trevor and his brother David are both following the tradition. It makes me hope fervently for a son of my own, so the tradition can pass on. It's a powerful legacy that Trevor comes from. We looked up his Grandma Violoa, Spencer's mother, one time on the church database. That line has been in the United States since the 1600's! I'm only a 4th generation here in the U.S., it's amazing to me that Trevor's family has been here so long.

It was a sad funeral. I have been to funerals before, but never one quite like this. Usually at the funerals of older people (Spencer was 89) there's a sort of "it's for the best" feeling, and you hear a lot of "He's in a better place," and "he was ready to go." Not the case for Spencer. Although his health was failing, no one thought he'd go so soon. He was so loved by his family, and clearly had a very personal relationship--not just with his children, but with each and every grand child. Although my four grandparents were (are) good people and they loved me, I don't think I had a relationship like that with them. I don't have a lot of one-on-one personal memories. I don't want to sound ungrateful, though. I spent time with them and enjoyed visiting them over the years, and I know that they knew me and loved me.

But the love this family had for him was so tangible. I didn't cry because I missed him--I didn't know him well enough for that. I cried because everyone ELSE was missing him so much. How could I not sob when I saw how heart-broken Spencer's wife of 65 years, Luzenia, was when she saw them close the casket? When she would just quietly sob suddenly, when her shoulders went slack as if she remembered anew that he was gone. Its the day every woman dreads--the day she is left alone. My heart just aches for poor Luzenia, and yet how lucky she was to have such an amazing husband, and to have him for so long!

Anyway, I wanted to dedicate a post to the man who made it possible for me to be happily married to the man of my dreams. His legacy is a part of Trevor--without him, Trevor wouldn't exist, and he wouldn't have the compassion, strength, and love that he is so blessed with. Spencer taught those lessons by the way he lived, and Stan learned them from him, and Trevor learned from both of them. Thank you Spencer. You are missed.