Friday, December 26, 2008

Our Merry Christmas

We had an amazing Christmas this year! I was looking forward to it so much, and I wasn't disappointed. We spent Christmas eve at the lodge with all of Paul's family. We all got our kids bundled up and got things set up for some fun sledding behind the "Prowler." Charlie did not so much enjoy the actual sledding, but did enjoy riding along in the passenger seat as the other cousins were pulled behind. I felt bad that we didn't bundle him up quite enough, but he stuck it out for quite a while! He was definitely ready to come inside. All the kids were. The dad's managed to stay out longer racing along a course they plowed out and timing each other. I'm proud to announce that Paul was the fastest driver!... though, HIS dad is confident that he would have won had he been participating.

We ate a yummy dinner of hors d'evours (did I spell that right?) which was great, though I never bothered to look up how many points shrimp and cocktail sauce would be! After cleaning up a bit, each family put together their own gingerbread house out of those awesome kits you can buy. The cake decorating class I took as a freshman in high school really came in handy! My boys were all about doing exactly what was on the box. Ours wasn't the most creative, but the icing on it looked better than some of the others!

We put together a nativity with the grandkids acting out the parts. Our family is structured beautifully with a perfect Mary, Joseph (Andy), three 5 year old wisemen (Canon is one of these), two little girl angels, Charlie (whom I didn't worry about trying to get him involved - someday he'll make a great shepherd boy) and a bunch of (four) little babies that we could take our pick from for the baby Jesus. After this, Grandma and Grandpa gave out their presents to the grandkids. We headed home at about 10:00 and had the kids open their Christmas jammies. Paul and I got new pairs of scrub bottoms as well. Once we got the kids in bed, we proceded to discuss (for about an HOUR) just how we were going to do all of the Santa stuff.

Paul and I come from complete opposite ends of the spectrum where Santa is concerned. In my house growing up, Santa filled our stockings and hid them around the house, leaving clues as to where to find them. Finding the stockings was my favorite part of Christmas, even if he usually only brought crayons, mittens, socks, and small stuff. My parents really downplayed Santa, and that was fine with me. Paul's Santa brought everything FUN! The most expensive gift and anything actually entertaining was always on display in your corner of the room. The gifts they opened from his parents were things like sweaters and clothes, etc. So we had some compromising to do, and though we didn't fight about it, we definitely didn't agree. It provided a pretty annoying buzz kill for the night. We did end up displaying the bigger gifts they asked Santa for on the couch, and then hid the stockings, leaving at least the coloring books in there!

On Christmas morning, I made our traditional Christmas breakfast casserole that needs to cook for 1.5 hours. I was surprised the boys slept in and we ended up waking up the boys at 8:00. I was excited to get the morning started. After saying a prayer together, we let them find their toys on the couch. The magic of Christmas is not lost on children, and it's so fun. Then we followed them around with the camcorder as they looked for the stockings. We then opened our gifts and realized just how spoiled we all were this year. We bought Andy and Canon a DS, and they were both so excited about it. We laid down some very stringent rules about their use and where/when they'll be allowed to play with them. We're planning on using them as parenting tools... Can you say "leverage"? I, too, was spoiled because Paul went one gift too many overboard in buying me a new "big girl phone." I am now the proud owner of a used Blackberry Pearl and it's a nice little thing! I got some new jewelry, an MP3 player, and was given the green light to get some stampin stuff the previous week. I also got some workout equipment (yoga mat and a body ball) to assist in some at-home workouts I've been doing. Paul also got a little spoiled when he got a GPS watch, new tires for his tri-bike, and some biking accessories. To say the least, we all found it to be a blessed and lucky Christmas morning!

We played with our stuff for a little while and finally got showered and ready to head back over to Paul's parents house to join the rest of the family for a few more gift exchanges and Christmas dinner. Instead of drawing names this year, the siblings decided to exchange FHE ideas. Melanie and I gave Rhyll a quick meals cookbook and some frozen meals for her to try on her busy evenings. I also enjoyed giving all the sisters and neices a headband that I sewed over Thanksgiving break. It truly is more fun to GIVE gifts than it is to receive them!

We played some games throughout the afternoon and evening and ended the night later than we should have. It was a fantastic day and one I'll remember a long time. I'm so grateful for the Spirit of Christmas that we (or at least I) felt this year. How blessed we all are for the gift of the Savior and for the chance to celebrate His birth each year. I hope you all had a great Christmas with your families as well!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Just call me Liz!

Today in sacrament meeting, the ward choir got to sing 4 songs that I picked. For those that are not aware of this, I am my ward's choir director. When I was initially issued this call of service, I dreaded that I would be stuck in this calling forever... our ward has a tendency to do that. But after today, I can see why my mother has enjoyed a lifetime of directing Christmas programs for church.

The songs we sang included: Sally Deford's, "And His Name Shall Be Called Wonderful"; a sweet melody line and my group sounded great. "If this Child were Born Today"; again, another nice melody with parts of "The First Noel" and "Away in a Manger" thrown on top of it here and there. A hymplicity version of "Oh, Come all Ye Faithful"; meh, not my favorite, but it was good to toss it in to the mix. And lastly, Craig Petrie's arrangement of "Silent Night." This was by far my favorite and it sounded better today than it ever has.

Our sacrament meeting program was great. The bishop had asked two young mothers in our ward to speak and they both did an excellent job. Jocelyn's talk kept making me cry, which was just killing me! Then, before we sang "Silent Night," the bishop stood up to make some remarks about charity and how it is the pure love of Christ. He mentioned the part of "Silent Night" where it says, "son of God, love's pure light," and how blessed we are to have His love. Well, we got up to sing the song and everything was going along PERFECTLY!! Then we got to the best part... the last verse where we sing "son of God, love's pure light" and I totally lost it. The choir sounded so beautiful, the Spirit was so strong, the tears started flowing and I couldn't even sing with them (I did keep my arms moving, though!). Unfortunately, I have a couple criers in the choir and I felt AWFUL for making it harder for them to keep it together! Embarassingly, my mascara was everywhere... oh well!

The reason I labelled this post, "Just call me Liz" is because my mom has done this so many times! I have watched my mom lead the choir most of my life and as I direct MY choir, I channel her a lot (as well as all my other past choir directors, but mostly her). I know I hold my hands the same way, move my arms the same and cut them off the same as she does. This was the first time, though, that I started crying hard enough to barely finish the song! Thanks, Mom, for teaching me so much about music, but no thanks for passing down the "crying boob" gene!

I wanted to say, though, that I'm so grateful for this chance to lead the choir. Today was so fulfilling for me. I've had TONS more support from the ward members this fall/winter and I love being able to work with talented singers. I know there are so many more out there in the ward, and I'd beg and plead if it would help to get them to come sing with me, but I understand that we are all really busy. It's not easy adding one more appointment/responsibility (especially on Sunday) when we all have so much going on, but I couldn't be more grateful to those who come despite all this. I'm grateful to have an amazing accompanist who can play everything I throw at him with ZERO notice. Jay Butterfield is a member of our bishopric and it is such a blessing to me that he offers us his talent at the piano. He is one of the best examples of selfless service that I know. I'm also grateful that Paul often will pick up the slack on performance days when it should be my turn to teach the sunday school lesson to our primary class. I intended to teach today without even looking at the lesson manual first (he's taught the last two lessons), but he sat down with the book and the class and took care of it. He also let me take a super long nap after church today because I wasn't feeling well. I sure love my sweetie! He amazes me, too!

So, I hope you all had a great Christmasy Sabbath day, like I did. So far, this Christmas has probably been my very most favorite!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ugh! Cars, women and snow don't mix well!

I'm so ready for the snow to stop falling already... oh, and for the wind to stop blowing as well. I REALLY HATE driving in snow. Here's a little story as to why.

Last night I wanted to get to my Weight Watchers meeting early because last week it was packed. We have gotten a LOT of snow recently, so the already precarious parking situation at the Presbyterian church where the meetings are held was worse than usual since you couldn't tell where the lines were. At this church, the parking stalls along the road (there is no parking lot) are diagonal. This guy had parked his sedan a little too straight, not leaving enough room between him and the other guy for someone to park, so I kept going to park on the other side of him. I honestly don't know how it happened, but as I pulled in the next spot, I somehow clipped his back bumper with SOME part of my van... though I still can't tell where. In my defense, him being parked badly was part of the problem, but I obviously pulled in too close and didn't judge well how long his car was. I think I scratched the paint more than dented it, but either way, I felt terrible! This guy was PISSED and really rude to me, even as I became more and more vehemently apologetic. It was an AWFUL moment for me, full of adrenaline and some unshed tears. I gave him all my insurance information once we got inside the meeting and he cooled down a bit. By the time the meeting was over, he was much more civil and even admitted that it probably didn't do much damage.

When my insurance agent called me this morning, he reported that the guy estimated very minimal damage. Since it won't likely be a very costly repair (at worst, some paint touch-up), we'll be able to take care of it privately. I'm still just so frustrated that it happened in the first place, and very confused that I can't even tell from my own car how/where it happened! Oh well. I'm just so grateful that it wasn't worse and even more grateful that I have a husband that is an excellent driver in the snow! I will avoid driving for a little while! Glad I'm done with work for a couple weeks!

At least going to the meeting wasn't a total waste. I lost 1.4 pounds. I was shooting for an even 2 pounds so I could reach the 25 lb loss mark, but that will give me something to shoot for in a few weeks after the holidays are over. I really don't want to show a GAIN this time like I did after Thanksgiving. So, for now, I've lost 24.4 pounds! Now, I just need to get through a handful of delicious parties.... (sigh!).

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Breakthrough!

Charlie can now say "Canon"!!!!
For a very long time, Charlie has called BOTH his brothers, "Andy." I'll give it to him, "andy" is easier to say, but Canon's name is not Andy. I'd even sit down with him and a picture of each brother and ask, "where's Andy?" He would point to Andy and say, "Andy." Then I would ask, "where's Canon?" and he'd point to Canon and say, "andy." I'm sure he just decided that "andy" was the word for brother. But today, he was walking down our stairs to give something to Canon and he just kept saying it over and over and over... "canon, canon, canon!"
Maybe now, he'll learn to say "yes" when he means yes, instead of "no" for when he means yes AND no.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Spirit of Christmas Strikes AGAIN!

This Christmas season has been incredible so far. We've been very lucky to be able to go to two different "major production"-type Christmas programs already and both times they have been absolutely AMAZING! Early in December, Paul and I went to Glenn Beck's show, "The Christmas Sweater" when it came here to Salt Lake City. It was a two-man show (if you don't count the orchestra on stage) packed with emotion. I listen to Glenn's radio program a lot, went to his Christmas show last year, have read his book "an inconvenient book," and every month I read his Fusion magazine. So, I feel like I know a little of Glenn's story. This program, and the book it was based on, are basically his story but told in a fictional way. He did an excellent job taking a life changing moment in his life and turning it into a story that others can connect and relate to. It's the story of redemption and how the Lord is who will help you travel through life's storm(s). It's a story reminding us all that we are worth the journey to the other side of those storms. It was very powerful in a nontraditional way. After the show, I was happy to find and impressed to see this website called Face Your Storm to read some of the stories others have shared of the storms they've faced. If you've got a minute, it's worth a little of your time.

I wanted to add something here... I'm grateful for the help I've also received from the Lord as I've passed through a few little storms in my life. Compared to many, it may seem like I haven't passed through any significant storms, but we all have, and all do, and all will pass through storms. I know the Lord is not done with me yet, and that undoubtedly, there will be storms yet to come that would make me shake and tremble if I were to know them in advance. I admit to being somewhat fearful of this fact of life, however, I truly BELIEVE. I believe in Christ. I also trust Him. I've seen His hand perform many miracles in my own life and in the lives of many I know. When those storms come, He'll help me be ready. What peace that brings me.

Moving on... The next weekend, we luckily got the opportunity to go to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Christmas concert. It's cliche to say it, but it was very powerful. I've always been impressed by incredible talent, and this concert was PACKED full of it. The special guest singer they brought in was broadway star, Brian Stokes Mitchell. I had never heard of him, but now I won't forget him. This man had such an incredibly versatile voice, and he had arranged some of the songs they performed that night. The people behind putting this show together should feel an immense feeling of satisfaction... they did an incredible job. The power behind the orchestra and the choir as they sang some of my favorite songs about the birth of Christ brought many tears. What can I say, I'm just a big fan of Jesus! I'm so excited about this upcoming Christmas.
Another cool thing happened while attending the MoTab concert... I had one of those moments when you realize that you truly have a dream. A dream that with all your heart, you hope it will be fulfilled someday. I may or may not have the talent required to fulfill it, but I truly hope that SOMEDAY I get the chance to sing in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I don't know that we'll live in Utah the rest of our lives, and right now would not be the appropriate season of life to pursue it, but I'm going to throw it out there to the Lord and the "universe" that this is something I really want. I've sung in several great choirs, but they have all been small scale. I truly have a love of choral music, and listening to the choir perform live just stirred up a desire to join my voice with theirs. It's one thing to sing in a church choir, another thing to direct a choir, but there is nothing like immersing yourself in beautiful music with hundreds of other voices and presenting something so powerful to those willing to listen. I've had a few moments like this in my life, and would love the chance for more. There it is! I hope the Lord and the universe are reading my blog! While I'm talking dreams... what are some of yours?
Paul had one of those "I have a dream" moments on Saturday watching the end of the Ironman race in Kona on TV. He just said, "someday," and I knew how he felt. I'll do what I can to support him in accomplishing it, though I dread the idea of how many hours upon hours of training that will take away from our family! YIKES! I don't know, singing with the choir sounds a WHOLE lot more fun than killing your body for 10+ hours! Right?!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Oh, what a "filling"

As mentioned in my last post, I had the lovely opportunity to visit the dentist this past Monday. I have shamefully admitted to a couple friends how long it's been since I last visited the dentist, but I still won't admit it here on the blog. Anyway, the dentist and his assistant were impressed that it wasn't worse and even commented that I must have been standing in the right line in heaven when it came to picking "dental genes." Apparently, I have very "cleanable surfaces" and strong teeth. I'm also willing to give some credit to my Sonicare toothbrush! Unfortunately, there was a bit of a shadow on one of my molars (that already had a filling) and I needed to get it redrilled and refilled.
So I had the work done on Wednesday morning, and I had forgotten that it takes a LONG time for nerve blocking medicine (such as novacaine and whatever epidurals are made of!) to kick in full force for me. I waited and waited for the first injection to work and since my tongue was numb, he got started until I was wincing at every touch of the drill. So he gave me more and I waited and waited some more. Even though my lip wasn't numb yet, I told him to go ahead and do it. I felt WAY more of the drilling than I wanted to and once he was done and I was leaving the office, my tongue, gums and lips were finally COMPLETELY numb... and stayed that way for the next 4 hours. Nice. Sidenote, this was the reason I was willing to try delivering Charlie natural, without epidural. I hated being numb for hours on end after the baby was born. I ended up getting one, unfortunately, due to the pitocin situation, but oh well.

Now I have a new filling that isn't quite low enough and it feels different than the others I have. It feels like I always have food in that tooth. Yuck. But I AM counting my blessings that my situation wasn't as bad as it could have been. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for blessing me with good teeth! I really appreciated it this week!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Just an update... nothing exciting.

I've never done just a boring blog like this one is about to be, but I just feel like documenting this week because it seemed so busy and just flew by.

Monday- spent the day driving home from Colorado. Despite some bad weather at the beginning of the trip, we made it in some decent time. Got back in time for Paul to take Andy and Canon to a little of a Flash basketball game. I stayed home and put Charlie to bed!

Tuesday- went to work at Channing Hall. Got home and set up the Christmas tree we inherited from my sister. This sucker is huge (not too tall, but really fat & round)... no wonder she got rid of it! She gave me some ornaments to fill it up, but I'm not a big fan of blue Christmas decorations, so it stood lit, but otherwise naked for a couple days.

Wednesday - struggled with the decision to spend my morning working out or cleaning the house. Ended up going to the gym. Picked up carpool, dropped off the kids and went to work at Merit Academy for a couple hours to see what kind of caseload I've got there. Thankfully, it's small to start with! Let's hope it stays that way. Took the kids up to Orem for a playdate while I ran some errands to pick up an audiometer I borrow from an old classmate and to Costco. Found Charlie's main Christmas gift and some smaller things. I'm ALMOST done! Ended the night by stopping by the ward enrichment night bake-off, but I didn't eat anything. I was too nervous about Thursday's weigh-in.

Thursday - went to work at CS Lewis. Afterwards, went straight to Parent/Teacher conferences and was VERY happy with the results. Andy has moved up 2 groups in spelling and was doing just what he needed to in math and reading. He's now perfectly average!!!! YAY! Canon is also starting to calm down a bit lately and is able to focus and learn more this way! Phew! Last conferences weren't this positive. Later, went to my weight watchers meeting and had gained 2.2 lbs. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. So frustrating, but it could have been worse, I guess. Finished off the night with putting our old ornaments on the tree. I'm in some serious need of revamping my ornament collection.

Friday - went to work at Channing Hall again, then straight to Provo Canyon to see three of my students there. Got home at 4:30 and got the house more presentable for our primary students to come over. We took three of them (only half could make it) over to my in-laws for pizza and a movie. We watched Kung Fu Panda with them and kept it low key. We needed to reward our 11 year-old group for fully participating in the Primary program in November - they're at that age where they're just too cool for school! We really like our current class and will miss them in a few weeks when they (and we) move on to the next group.

Saturday - went swimming with Paul and ran a mile on the treadmill in the morning. Took the kids with me to Melanie's (SIL) so we could discuss and plan out our Christmas gift for Paul's mom and dad. Hung out at home (which means cleaning) until about 5:00 when our babysitter came over. We got tickets to go to Glenn Beck's Christmas show, "the Christmas sweater," and made a nice date out of it. Got chinese food for dinner and drove up to SLC for the show. I'll give a review of the show in another post. It was AMAZING. You should read the book! What a great Christmas message.

Sunday - slept in AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. Went to church, taught the lesson, yada, yada... Held choir practice (which Emily didn't come to AGAIN!!!!! You're so gonna get it!) and then headed over for my birthday dinner with Paul's family. Both Melanie and I (the two girl-in-laws in the family) have December birthdays. Last year, with the hustle and bustle of the season, we didn't get a birthday dinner. You may be saying, "what's the big deal with that?" Well, in the Croshaw family, for your birthday dinner, we go around the table and everyone says something nice about you. Lately, we've been picking one word that describes that person the best for you. So, Melanie and I have had to, I mean gotten to say nice things about everyone else twice without hearing something nice in return. Even though this family is incredibly inclusive, it's natural to feel like an outsider with your in-law's sometimes. I really missed not getting my dose of positive reinforcement last year. So today, it was great to hear some good feedback from these family members that I love and get to spend lots of time with. Nobody even visibly struggled to come up with something for me... well, maybe Preston squirmed a little coming up with "enlightening", but I don't blame him! I always tease that they'll have to say something like, "hygenic" or "punctual" because they can't think of anything positive to say! But, as I already said, it was nice and everyone was wonderful.

So, there's my week. It was a little over-packed and I realize that I didn't get to spend as much time with my boys as I would have liked. At least this upcoming week, I'll get to follow more of my "normal" schedule with some more time off. I really struggle on the weeks I need to work every day. Tomorrow I get to go to the dentist! I won't admit how long it's been, because it's positively shameful. Wish me luck! I'm sure I'll have something to blog about after I get through it.