Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Holdman lights

Remember this crazy house of lights? Well, they are finalists in a KFC Christmas light contest. If you want to vote for them, go to and follow the links. Today is apparently the last day, so click away!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tradition # 12 - Give Christmas tree tours

Our current family

Tradition #12 - Give Christmas tree tours to any poor soul who asks about our tree and ornaments

You did ask, didn't you?

Our tree is a walk down memory lane for us. When we go somewhere, do something or experience something new, we buy a Christmas tree ornament to commemorate it. We find it really cuts down on souvenirs. And putting up the tree is so fun and memorable.

So take a seat and please keep all hands and feet inside at all times. We'll start our tour with our new ornaments. We brought back two from Hawaii,

one from Maui

one from the Polynesian Cultural Center

a homemade ornament painted by Scott at preschool.

and an inherited bird from my Matthews Grandparents.

We have ornaments from vacations (Newport Beach, CA)

another Newport one.

a business trip to Africa

Our girls' first experience going to the Nutcracker

a nativity from Jerusalem

My very own list making Santa (not the naughty and nice list)

A time capsule

Because we like singing around here (plus for Matt's stint in the Tab Choir) This is his favorite.

When we moved into our current home

From graduating from that great institution

We have lots of kid theme or made ornaments. Dawn made this last year.

Celebrating Rachel's birth (I love this one and the next, both made by the same talented person I don't know)

Scott's birth

Andrew's birth

There are lots and lots more, just come on over and ask, or don't and pretend you did. Thanks for enjoying the show, and please deposit all garbage in the trash can on the way out.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sledding on the golf course

Saturday we took the kids sledding on a fabulous hill on the Cedar Hills Golf Course. There were a slew of kids there, but still plenty of room. There were big hills for fast, long rides and littler ones for the smaller kiddos. We had a fabulous time. Dawn liked the fast ones, Rachel and Scott liked the medium ones and Andrew only liked being pulled around by his mommy.

Pretty presents

I LOVE it when my tree is surrounded by wrapped presents. I usually try to get them done earlier so I can enjoy them longer. It is deep in my blood to wrap pretty presents with beautiful bows, dating clear back to my Grandma Nina, maybe longer. So now my Christmas decor feels complete.

And here are Dawn's birthday presents. I haven't been this happy with the wrapping results for a long time. Could it have something to do with all the pink and silver? Naw.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Tradition #16 - Read Christmas books

Tradition #16 - Read Christmas books at night by the tree

"But the Grinch who lived just north of Whoville, did not."

Tradition #14 - Tab Choir Concert

Tradition 14. Go to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert!

Well, Friday was the big concert day. We went with Matt's parents
and our friend Lindsay,

and Dawn!

It was her first year. She had a good time I think, despite the late hour causing a little sleepiness. The concert was wonderful as always. The King Singers were so good, but as usual, my favorite parts were the Tab Choir songs. With songs like The First Nowell and Angels, from the Realms of Glory by Mack Wilberg how can you go wrong?

I think that the Christmas spirit happens to emanate from with the Conference Center and Temple Square. The closer I am to it, the happier I feel. (See how crazed I look in that picture.) Luckily my home holds that same feeling for me. In fact, on Saturday morning after the concert, I could swear that it was Christmas day at our house. We were up at 7 with our kids, it was still dark out, and we all had a cookie for breakfast. The Christmas music was playing and all was happy and bright. Oh, what a great day. But Saturday is another post for another day.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Tradition #11 - Be Crazy

Tradition #11 - Crazily try to get everything done

Dear Mom,

No, don't worry about sending the tickets for Sunday. No one needs them. And no, I haven't been out to look for boots are you kidding? Yesterday Julie left about noon when I went to lunch with my VT friend for her birthday, got home just in time to have our garage door repaired, had Dawn babysit and felt enormous guilt leaving her to run to the post office to mail Julie her wallet she left (I didn't want to wake Andrew up), then clean up the house a little, receive the cousins for a night of babysitting at 6:00, Matt returned from work at 6:30 and I ran to Enrichment, when it ended I stayed at the church to do Primary work until 9:00 when I cam home to utter chaos. We got kids to bed then Mike and Rochelle returned and we did a little work before falling into bed.

Two days ago, I showered at 9:15 for my Primary meeting at 9:30 which lasted until 11 when I jumped into the van to pick up Julie. We got home and visited, no shopping. Oh, and I forgot that Rachel came home sick from school among all this.

Tuesday, I have no idea what I did at this point. It's that bad. Oh, wait, Rochelle and Janice invited me to come to Gardener Village but I declined to stay home and clean up for Julie, and clean a few pairs of underwear for my kids (about 9 loads actually). From about lunch until dinner I was on the computer doing Primary stuff. After dinner we cleaned bathrooms and on and on.

Monday we did some shopping I think, maybe just laundry. But that night for FHE we went and visited Matt's Grandma Curtis. It was a really good thing to do.

Ha, you weren't asking for all that were you. But I just thought I'd share! I love you and this crazy family. Thanks for having me in your crazy family!
See you in 11 days. ;-)
Love, Brooke

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tradition #2 - lots of lights

Tradition #2 - lots of lights

This may not be exactly the definition of "lots of lights" for you, but we feel pretty good about it. Our real light overload occurs on our indoor tree which has a bazillion lights strung on every branch. That's just how we role.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tradition #13 - Parties

Tradition #13 - Attend several Christmas parties, at least one church and a one work party.

This tradition all joined together this weekend with the Generations Network party on Friday in Midway at the Zermott Resort and our ward Christmas party on Saturday at the lovely Stake church building gym. Both were totally fun, though completely different in every way.

Friday we headed off for a night of celebrating at Matt's work party. It was held at a charming "Swiss" resort in Midway, Utah. There was a great buffet, a fun band, a hilarious magician and a comedian we never made it to. There were also some games with prizes. We ended up winning two $25 gift certificates, one to Best Buy and one to iTunes. We also got a 1 gig thumb drive. We failed to win the cruise or huge tv, but it was certainly charming and fun.

As we started our drive earlier in the afternoon, the roads were wet and just rain was falling. But by the time we got to Midway, it was big fluffy snowflakes falling. All night long the snow fell outside the windows while we partied. It made for the perfect holiday atmosphere.

But the real treat was the "surprise" Christmas gift from Matt - a night at the resort sans kids. (Thanks a million Mike and Rochelle!) We didn't have to worry about the roads, so all we did was love it! We had a lovely room with a gorgeous view up into the mountains. Here it is the next morning.

Matt with our gelato snack and key lime tart from the bakery in front of the hotel.

After a lovely night of holiday joy, quiet and a great LONG night's sleep, a delicious room service breakfast of brie stuffed french toast with panceta and Matt's fancy omlet of some kind, we checked out of our holiday room of love.

We decided to drive around Midway for a few minutes at least. Everything is very Swiss looking, or so I suppose having never actually been anywhere near Europe. Even the LDS chapel there was adorable.

Our drive home was safe and beautiful with all the new snow (at least 5 inches). This is just one happy view on our drive home.

It is hard to explain the happiness of the day. It just felt so perfect and happy. By far my best Christmas present!

The next night was our ward party. It was full of kids and potluck food and so many good friends. After eating, we had a program full of beautiful music (one which Matt sang in) and a great Nativity with all 160 of the Primary kids as either a shepherd or angel or if you were lucky (Sunbeams) a lamb. I didn't get great pictures, but here are a few highlights.