Friday, December 23, 2011

All I Want For Christmas is a...

Believe it or not, my ONE Christmas wish involves a ring...but not of the jewelry type. In less than 48 hours I get to talk to my missionary son via the telephone. He's been gone now for 7 months [plus 5 days and about 6 hours --but who's counting?]

I get the rules of having missionaries focus on their service efforts and not on what's happening at home. Typically, LDS missionaries get to call home three times the first year they are gone.

I got cheated out of phone call number one!

My husband feels pretty bad about it, maybe because I kind of blamed him for missing the call. My son called from the Atlanta airport as he prepared for his final flight to Belgium. Only problem is that he called the wrong number (Due to some wacky schedules, Dad got the first phone call and suggested that son call my work # even though I had been tethered to the home land-line all day waiting for the call.)

I will NOT miss phone call number two!!

I share the story of the first phone call only because it relates to phone call number two. Yesterday we got the necessary information so we could contact our missionary on Christmas morning. Hubby must be feeling a bit anxious given the events of the last contact so he wanted to make sure everything was working properly. What does he do? He calls the number. Yes, he does. He calls the number and guess who answers? A very shocked missionary son. Hubby quickly hung up so I could enjoy the surprise on Christmas day!

I did get an early Christmas present from a new friendship that has developed out of the Netherlands. T recently had a birthday. This sweet family threw a birthday party for my son and video taped it so I could enjoy the celebration.

Now I just wish I understood Dutch!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

More Christmas Memories

When I was a little girl, our Christmas tree was decorated with homemade ornaments, most that were the edible type. It was such a temptation. By the time Christmas arrived, you would be hard pressed to find an untouched 'ornament'. One year, I remember my little brother actually pulled the tree over trying to discretely remove a decoration.

I had BIG plans for this year's tree. I really thought I'd have time to locate all of my mother's old cookie recipes and decorate the entire tree with recipes and homemade cookies. That didn't happen, but I'm still LOVING what I DID ACCOMPLISH!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Long Live Traditions!

I love traditions! Some years I'm better at keeping up with the list of traditions our family has deemed all important than others, but this year I noticed that even the simplest of traditions go a long way to creating the nostalgia that is associated with the holidays.

As my kids get older (and less wanting to help me decorate the house for Christmas) I have found myself cutting corners on the decorating aspect of our traditions. I keep thinking to myself "What goes up, must come down!" This year I almost skipped a few of the decoration boxes. Some of our decorations are now 20-plus-years old (when did THAT HAPPEN?) and are looking more ratty than festive. We have an advent calendar that I made when T was just a little tike. I can still remember those chubby little fingers anxiously moving our Mary and Joseph 'counter' closer to the town of Bethlehem to announce the special day. I honestly didn't think that anyone would notice if it didn't grace the pantry door where it has hung every year since we moved into this house. It's really isn't anything special...

Or it is?

It seems that this calendar is an important part of my kids memories. My 14-year-old was not only genuinely happy to see this treasured decoration, but has faithfully moved the marker forward every day since December 1. In four days he'll move Mary and Joseph to their positions right outside the stable. Once the Babe is placed in the manager, I'm sure his thoughts will turn to the loot stashed under the tree, but at least for a few seconds each day in December, my teenager has been reminded of the reason for the season...and famly.

What are some of my favorite family traditions?

  • Christmas Eve pizza
  • The Hughes Neighborhood Christmas Concert
  • Going downtown to look at the Christmas lights and store windows
  • Secret Santas
  • Having Uncle Earl over for Christmas dinner
  • Opening one present on Christmas Eve...and always finding new PJ's!
  • Putting out my Woof-n-Poof collection and remembering each gift my hubby gave me over the years

What is the one Christmas tradition that you couldn't live without?

For me, it wouldn't be Christmas without the reading of the first Christmas story taken from the pages of Luke.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Wind Storm To Remember!

Two nights ago, I was awakened at 3:30AM to the sound of howling winds. It wasn't really the sound that was disconcerting, but the rattling of the roof above and the jarring of the floorboards beneath that kept my heart racing. I have lived through a couple of earthquakes and tornadoes in my lifetime, but I was not prepared for the hour after hour of assault on the home that was protecting nearly everything precious to me.

Surely the storm would abate once the sun came up?! At 7:00AM, I drove my 17-year-old to school, mostly because school was still in session and I wanted to make sure he got there safely. The high school is next to a major freeway and it was eerie to see all of the semi trucks pulled off to the side of the road in an effort to remain upright. We pulled in to the school's parking lot. Everything was dark but kids were swarming around the campus so my son hopped out to join the confusion. Despite the howling winds, downed trees and power outages, life seemed to be moving forward so my youngest prepared for a day of school. His trip across town to the middle school was harrowing as they witnessed the strength of the wind. His school was also dark, and as many of the students attend classes in portables that were shaking to the beat of every wind blast, the school officials had already determined it best to turn the kids around and send them home. It wasn't much longer before they closed all the public schools in the area and the kids rejoiced in their first official weather related holiday (A BIG DEAL here as the kids complain that school's NEVER closed for weather!)

Suni lives closer to town and felt the effects of the storm more strongly. We turned the disaster into a holiday by having Suni's family over as it would be nearly 48 hours before their power was restored.

The word that came to mind as I drove around town looking over the extent of the destruction was 'somber.' I nearly cried as I drove through the Bountiful cemetery and witnessed all the 100-year-old trees that had been ripped out of the ground. Kevin's ancestors are buried in that cemetery and most of their resting spots were obliterated by the fallen trees.

Gratefully, trees can be replanted. Headstones can be replaced. In reality, we were really quite lucky. The Bountiful area has been known for intense winds over the centuries and we had gotten off relatively unscathed. A similar event in 1864 resulted in a much harsher outcome.

On February 10, 1864, the fifteen-month-old son of John Rigby became very ill. The nearest medicine was in Salt Lake City, fifteen miles from his home in Farmington. On his return home, he encountered a terrific east wind that had been blowing since noon in the Davis County area. The lower road had drifted full of snow, making it impossible to follow, so he attempted the mountain road. {We know it today as Orchard Drive.} When he reached the Heber C. Kimball. Mill at the mouth of Mill Creek Canyon {less than a block from where Suni lives} his team and wagon broke through the frozen crust of a snowdrift and was rendered useless. He unhitched the team, tramped a path for them, and then started for home, still 6 or 7 miles away. After leading them for nearly a mile and a half, he realized he was slowly freezing the death. He made it as far as the John Corbridge home in Bountiful and was put up for the night. With the winds still howling the next morning, he pressed on towards home. He found his team of horses frozen to death. One of them was frozen in a standing position.

Rueben Blazedell, then a small boy and neighbor of Rigby's, had been playing at the Corbridge's home when the storm hit so he was compelled to spend the night. Knowing that the boy's parents would be anxious, John Rigby took the boy with him. Reuben was freezing and John had to drag him and shake him to keep him alive. He found that if they dropped to the ground during the most violent of gusts and then ran as hard and fast as they could when the wind drew breath for its next attack, they were able to move in a forward motion.

When they arrived at the Centerville store, John learned some very sad news. His wife and baby had been blown into a fence and pinned there while trying to get to a neighbor's home after the roof had been blown off their cabin. They had frozen to death. He also lost two hundred head of sheep, six horses, ten cows and 4 pigs. All that was left was a calf, a colt and a black dog.

{Here's the part that shows the gumption of our forefathers and provides the true message of the story}

Although understandably bitter, John did not leave the area but stayed and started a new life.

The City Bountiful, by Leslie T. Foy, Carr Printing Co., Revised 2005. Page 54.