Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year

Christmas starts in 3 days. Oh, I know, there are some of you out there foolish enough to think that we still have Thanksgiving. We do have Thanksgiving, but just as the Bloomin' Onion is the tasty appetizer for a terrific steak dinner, Thanksgiving is the tasty appetizer for Christmas.

So as I gear up for my favorite time of the year (if only someone could do something about the dreadful cold and snow!), I share my top ten favorite things about the Holidays:

1. The busy-ness. I like to be, shall we say, anxiously engaged in a good cause. I love making gifts, even if I typically take on too much. It all gets done in time. Despite my best efforts, there always ends up being "just one more thing" and somehow it gets me all jazzed.

2. 24 Hours of a Christmas Story. Yes, I watch it over, and over. Or at least it's on in the background while I clean up the schrapnel from Christmas morning and slip into my Christmas Day Goodie induced coma.

3. Being able to freely use the phrase "Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins" and have people knod knowingly instead of looking at me quizically.

4. Christmas Trees. We have graduated from 1 tree to 2, and I'm seriously thinking that we might just need 3. Yes, I'm almost possitive that we need 3. Christmas trees must always have multi-colored lights, and lots of 'em. Not a big fan of the clear/white lights. If your tree doesn't have AT LEAST 6 strings of lights on it, you're not trying hard enough. Get it together. You shame yourself.

5. A Charlie Brown Christmas. It almost makes me cry every year. I love his Christmas tree.

6. Getting out the Christmas stuff. My kids still think this is tremendous fun, and it is, because they have been around now for enough Christmases that the ornaments and other decorations have meaning to them too. We have to discuss almost every ornament before it goes on the tree. Lots of memories there. We are getting so many ornaments now, that a 3rd tree perhaps could be a necessity. See how I rationalize?

7. Christmas Cards. I love the newsletters. Keep sending them! I know some people don't like them, but I do. I read them all, and after Christmas they all go into an album. Except the 2009 cards, which are still in the cardholder on the entryway table where they have sat since last Christmas. Don't worry - they'll get into the album eventually!

8. Video Games. There aren't a lot of video games that I play, but I will play at Christmas because once the gifts are open, there isn't a lot to do. The void left in my life from 2 months of Christmas Panic needs to be filled, and mindless video games seems a good way to fill it.

9. Our collection of Christmas books. It all began with one of our most treasured Christmas items: A lovely hardbound copy of "Polar Express," a gift from Greg and Tara many years ago. It has a special place under the Christmas tree, front and center, with nothing stacked on top of it. Over the years, mostly thanks to Scholastic Book orders coming home from school, we have added and added to our Christmas book collection which goes under the tree with, but NEVER on top of, Polar Express. We get at least 1 new book each year but I have become more discriminating in recent years and get nice ones from Seagull Book. Who knew that such a simple thing could turn into one of our family's most important traditions? This, more than anything else, has shown me that traditions are mostly not planned things; they just happen accidentally, and that's what makes them so precious.

10. Christmas morning. As we all stagger in on Christmas morning, eyes not fully open and no one quite able to walk in a straight line, it's fun to see how everyone reacts. Taylor is now old enough that she curls up on one end of the couch and pretends she's going back to sleep. Jack sits as patiently as he can, acting like he doesn't care much one way or the other, but in the end unable to contain his own excitement. Addie is still young enough that she just bounces non-stop until we have the camera ready and can begin the official Present Opening. Everyone is in their brand new cookie pants that were a gift on Christmas Eve, there is a fire in the fireplace, and Christmas music is playing.

I can't wait.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Where is that ship?

I finally got the last of Addie's medical bills paid off tonight. That was almost $900 I wasn't planning on spending this close to our vacation and Christmas, but we got it paid and it's good to have that over with. We meet again with the cardiologist on December 13 so we are hoping that if he needs to do anything else anytime soon, he can do it before the end of the year so we won't have to put out much more money on her this year. I didn't opt to use the insurance offered at my job during 2010 because it didn't make much financial sense to, but because of the increase in out of pocket expenses in our plan for 2011, I think I'll opt in. Hopefully the one will pay whatever the other one doesn't. I really do hate to complain much about the cost of insurance and copays/coinsurance, because we take out lots more in benefits than we pay in to the system. We're just glad we've always been blessed with really good insurance.

I got a little bit of Christmas shopping done this weekend (a few more checkmarks on my far-too-blank list) and have most of the Christmas sewing cut out during the BYU football game. I don't enjoy the cutting out very much, but it is nice to have it out of the way so I can just sew and sew and sew. Until I run out of thread and have to make a trip out. Only to come home and realize that I was also out of elastic. So I run out again. And the I discover that I don't have enough interfacing. So I run out again. Hopefully I have averted this disaster by buying extra elastic and thread when I purchased my fabric and made a special effort not to plan on sewing anything that requires interfacing. But there will still be something, and I will have to run out to Walmart for that one stupid thing, and stand in that long line, and listen to the unknown and unseen child in the distance who always seems to be screaming.

The September-ish October weather has rudely changed to October-ish October weather. I expect there will be snow soon and I have to drive in it now all the way over to 800 North. Bleh. If there is anything I hate more than driving (and believe me, there are few things I hate more than driving) it is driving in snow. I really need to have my ship come in so I can hire a chauffeur. I've been waiting for that dang ship for a long time now, so I think I'm due. Overdue.

Will trade cupcakes for driving service.

Monday, October 18, 2010


I have nothing of any consequence to blog about (do I ever, really?) but since it's been a week since my last post I feel compelled to say something. So here's the rambling musings of Lari:

I made THE. MOST. GORGEOUS tomato sauce ever on Saturday. So pretty, in fact, that we are not allowed to eat it. It's only for display purposes. Everyone who makes the error of coming to the house is forced to admire said tomato sauce while I gush about it's absolute lovliness. It happened by accident, to tell the truth, but there it is and now that I know I can make gorgeous tomato sauce I will only make gorgeous tomato sauce even though it took the whole live-long day to simmer and I only got 2 quarts. I don't care. Totally worth it.

Christmas is coming. Coming soon. Coming very soon. Have I made the prototype of my Christmas card? No. Do I even have a design in mind? No. Have I made the list of gifts? Kinda sorta: the list is made with all the names of people I need to gift and a few, very few, even have notes by their names. Even fewer have checkmarks next to them indicating the gift has been made or purchased. October is nearly gone - Christmas Panic will be coming early this year. I may start to freak out the day after Halloween when the Christmas music starts. In fact, I think I will plan on freaking out, that way it won't come as a surprise.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Finally - my 15 micro-seconds of fame

KSL news was at my office recently to do a story in conjunction with the Herriman fire insurance claims. Unbeknownst to me, I made it into the clip. Well, the back of me made it into the clip. I was probably the token female since there are only 2 of us on the entire 4th floor. But here it is - it sort of explains what my company does:

In other boring news, we are anxiously lasting out these last 5 weeks until our cruise. We booked it a year ago, so it seems like it has been coming forever! At the 30 day mark I start piling clothes, etc to go into the suitcase and make lists of lists of lists so I don't forget anything. It seems like a long time coming this year, but hopefully that will make it even that much better. So while you are are cold and miserable here in November, think of me fondly while I am soaking up the sun in the Carribbean.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

It only took me a year

Since it's been a full year since Jack left Cub Scouts, I thought maybe it was finally time to organize his stuff into a display. I decided it had been sitting in a neat pile in my sewing room long enough. So I finally went and got a shadow box to put it in, and then left it sitting all neatly arranged ON TOP OF the shadow box for about 2 weeks in my kitchen. So in the spirit of family service as mentioned in Conference today, I finally got it done. No, it isn't well centered. Yes, I probably could have arranged the Webelos pins in a more balanced fashion. Yes, it would probably look better if I had spray painted the frame navy blue. No, I don't think that's all his belt loops - he was forever taking them on and off his belt so I'm actually happy we have retained this many. Yes, I am proud of my former Cub scout and his achievements and glad that we have a visible reminder to those 3 really fun years.

In other musings, despite my last posting, I really do consider myself a reasonably intelligent person. For the most part. Early mornings excluded, of course. I can get around a computer fairly adeptly. I understand most of the computer jargon. I can figure lots of things out through trial and error . . . and error . . . and error. I'm not my mother who firmly believes she can singlehandedly bring down the entire internet. I'm not my sister who recently learned how to open an email but still can't send one. Nor am I the compuer whiz that my father, brothers and other sister are. But I do ok. I manage. And I have chosen to surround myself with family and friends who know how to fix what I break.

But that blasted iTunes is seriously the bane of my existence. I'm pretty sure the program changes format every single time I access it. There is no other program that I have ever used (and I'm running Vista on this computer, people!) that befuddles me like iTunes. I worked with PeachTree accounting software at a job a long time ago that was pretty messed up. But seriously, iTunes confounds me. Even my more-techno-savvy-than-me kids hate it. LOVE the iPod, DESTEST iTunes. Surely there is someone out there that gets it - surely there are a lot of people out there who get it. One of you needs to volunteer to come to my house once a week for iPod maintenance.

"Will trade cupcakes for iPod servicing"

Maybe I should hang a sign in my front window. But then some 8 year old child would show up, get everything perfectly synced and running and charged in 5 minutes and then my feelings would be hurt.

And I am a really good pouter. It's an art form mastered by Walkers. Lane knows when it's coming. He'll say, "Oh great. Here come the Walker eyebrows." I don't know how to explain it because it isn't a learned behavior. It's a gift. Addie has it. I don't think I've seen Taylor do a good Walker pout. Jack doesn't pout because he's pretty much happy all the time. The best Walker pout I've seen belongs to Calvin's daughter Marissa. She had it mastered as a two year old and has refined it since. Luckily, no one has seen it in a long time because she is quite smitten and recently engaged so she smiles all the time.

How did we get here? Oh yeah. iTunes.

Did you see at the end of conference today the app mentioned? It's called Mormon Channel (this is probably old news to everybody but me. I don't browse iTunes/App Store because of the aforementioned iTunes hating). But I did download that today which is handy because it has audio sciptures and all the Ensigns, not just the Conferece editions like my other LDS app. Plus it's FREE. I love free stuff.