Wednesday, January 25, 2012

sOmeThing oLd, sOmeThinG new, someThing borrowed and thE fLu!

That’s how the saying went at our house this year anyway.

Yes, our holiday season was a magical mix of old traditions, new traditions and borrowed traditions.

And . . . they were also laced with all sorts of sickness.


Old Traditions:

Alright, I’ll come clean.  We are those people.  The ones who pull out the Christmas movies, decorations and tunes right after Halloween.  And I’ll tell ya a little secret, our Daddy’s the worst one!! 

To us, the whole season is just too short, (although I swear it is way longer when you are a kid!  Cruel how quickly it passes by as an adult!)  so we lump it all together to lengthen the celebrations.  I mean, Thanksgiving and Christmas evoke similar sentiments anyhow, right?  There’s giving, gratefulness, family togetherness . . .

I have lots of memories of kicking off the Christmas season with The Forgotten Carols on Thanksgiving weekend.  (Though I haven’t made it back since becoming a Mom!)

And who could overlook the kickoff of serious Christmas shopping on that same weekend??  This year was the mother of all Black Fridays  Thursdays for me as I stood in Target’s line for over 2 hours, not even sure what I was after!!

My kids knew every word from Home Alone 1 and 2 and all the Christmas song classics.  C liked to sing about “the most favorite reindeer of all,” E’s favorite was “par um pum pum pum” (for obvious reasons), and M enjoyed correcting them both when they sang the songs incorrectly.  He also enjoyed repeating every obscene phrase you hope your kid doesn’t hear from Home Alone, and C knew all the funny lines by heart and always pulled them out at the most hilarious of times!

(hoping if I have pictures of it all it won’t be so much work next year!!)

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New Traditions:

We decided this was the year to forego/sell our branch by branch tree and invest in a pre-lit beauty from Costco.

We were lovin this new addition (see all my pictures of it above!) to our home all season long, though we may not be doing so if there comes a day those lights go out!!

And since we made this purchase long before Thanksgiving, we naturally had to go ahead and put it up early- with the rest of our decorations!

We also got my new camera lense in the mail- that unfortunately came with a learning curve.  More blurry pictures to come.  (Not so lucky when it comes to the entire camera business)

We spent the first part of December finishing up watching our star basketball player and our star performer in recital.

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Borrowed Traditions:

We borrowed a lot of our Christmas d├ęcor items from friends and websites.  We are glad others are creative, cuz we are not!!


Hello Frasure kids, so nice to see you!!

Santa sent me here, with a big job to do.

I get to live with you each day,

And watch everything you do and say.

Each night I fly back to the North Pole,

To tell Santa whether to bring you presents or coal.

So you’d better be really good girls and boys,

If you want Santa to bring you toys!!

I’m real excited to have friends for myself.

And super glad to be your “Elf on a Shelf!”

(I have a mind to tell you there’s a good chance the elf was completely sleep deprived when she wrote this)

I give you, Princess Ivy!!

(The children adored her!) 


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(Making snow angels in sugar)

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(drinking syrup)

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(fishing for goldfish)


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(making Lego houses)

These are just a few of the shenanigans our little friend was up to, and my kids’ attitudes were amazing!  C especially, carted her around like she was a live baby and stopped throwing any and all tantrums.  (Our elf could be touched)

This tradition will definitely stick!


And The Flu:

It started one morning when E came in our bed and stuck his foot in our faces, saying “owee toe.”  There was a small red spot forming, but we didn’t’ think anything of it.

Next, I started noticing blister-like sores on his diaper area and diarrhea.

The sore on his foot turned into a blister, and D  popped it for him.  Yowch!!

But then it multiplied and he began complaining when we put shoes on him.  His hands were also beginning to get blisters.

About this time, I pretty much figured I could diagnose him, as we’d had sick cousins already.

But E further solidified my thought process when he began refusing to eat.  We found huge blisters inside of his mouth, which made it official. 

Hand.  Foot.  And mouth. Disease.

Ok, so not the flu yet, but I’ll get to that.

The other kids got it a little too, but not nearly as badly. 

We kept them out of primary and 1 day of school just to be sure, but they were healthy enough to drive me nuts, so we sent them back!

One night, we got out  the camera and flashlight to see the inside of C’s mouth.


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Thursday, January 19, 2012

thE biG baD woLF!!

In the early morning of December 1st, I was dead to the world, yet vaguely aware of loud noises occurring in my dreams.

I woke up and realized D wasn’t next to me, and that the loud noises weren’t in my dreams after all, but the howling wind outside my window.

As I lay there, trying to remember what day it was and where D could be, I heard men’s voices yelling downstairs.

A few minutes later D burst into the room, threw on some clothes and said something about everything outside being blown up. I asked him what was blown up and he responded “Everything! Playsets, fences, there’s trampolines everywhere!” I immediately thought of my cute Christmas throw pillows on our porch chairs that had blown off in the past and asked if they were still there. He reassured me they were, and then he was gone again.

Panic and confusion set in and I wondered how on earth the children were all sleeping through the loud noise.

C was the first to finally come in and tell me that the wind awoke her and the other two weren’t far behind.

For some reason when D told me stuff was everywhere, I didn’t think he meant our stuff, so I was shocked as we made our way downstairs to see bits and pieces of fence missing, the playset on its side and the trampoline, gone.

D explained that the makeshift stakes on the trampoline had not held and it had taken off and then settled in the corner of our yard, where he had assumed it would stay. But moments later, he and the neighbor witnessed it lifting off again, clearing the fence and then slamming into the neighbor’s overturned playset. 

So the two of them had had to move quickly to disassemble it, in the freezing wind.

Our plastic Playskool playset had rocketed through the neighbor’s fence, leaving a giant hole, so they also gathered that.

As the wind relentlessly roared, I continued to gasp at each discovery through the window:

The shattered glass on our patio from our blown over picnic table.

Dumpsters flying down the street at dangerous speeds.

Gates broken off completely.

Trees uprooted.

D went to check on my pillows again and by this time, they were definitely gone.  Likely all the way to the lake.  I mourned the loss!



(What was left of our stuff)


(Notice the neighbor’s playset)


D said the wind storm had started in the night and continued now at speeds between 80-90 with gusts up to 105.

Semi trucks were overturned.




Freeways and public transportation trains were shut down.

Trampolines were hitting cars.

Shingles and Christmas lights were ripped from houses (including ours) and windows were getting broken by debris.



(Notice the neighbor’s tramp with the stakes that did hold up.  Unfortunately, the frame did not)

Garage doors were being blown inward,

Our power flickered off and on.


And yet our unwavering school district plunged full steam ahead as usual, even though the ability to get a bus out or not was unknown.

C’s preschool was cancelled and after talking to my sister in law and my sister, I determined I was not about to send my 60 lb kindergartner into the storm in hopes he was not pegged with debris or lifted off completely.

And driving him was simply out of the question.



We learned that another sister in law was left alone at home while her playset slammed into her house and threatened to break the windows.

So D, not daring to open the garage, brought his bike inside and exited through the back door, off to her rescue.

I couldn’t resist but hum the tune from the wicked witch of Oz as I watched him peddling off in the wind!


While he was gone I got online and read the many fb statuses people were posting.  The one that made me giggle most was “I just went outside to get a chicken out of our tree, and I got hit in the face with a picnic table!”

Somewhere around 9 or 10 ish our power went out and stayed out.

We were told not to plan on it again for 24-48 hours.

The house cooled off very quickly.

Meanwhile, one school sent kids home and and the men of our neighborhood all returned from work only to learn that there was not a lot they could do as long as the wind held up.

I wish I had pictures of these grown men trying to walk in the wind.  While going against it, they looked like they were getting nowhere, and while going toward it, they were literally being blown forward.

With no power and a cold house, we decided to take our greasy selves out to lunch for awhile.

We literally gasped at all of our surroundings and I pulled out my phone numerous times for pictures; the town was unrecognizable.

And then I ran into Target where I saw half our neighborhood shopping and D watched dozens of cars get pummeled by shopping carts.




(the lines of semis forced to pull over to avoid further accidents)




(The damage done to some local apartments under construction)









(Full grown trees uprooted at the golf course, leaving it virtually unrecognizable.  They lost 400)








(What was left of some of the neighbors’ fences)





(When we got back, the Elder’s quorum had placed our playset back upright.  Considering how ominous it looked blowing around the ground, it actually fared pretty well!)

Everyone was making plans to escape the cold for the night.

Most plans included running away to family or hotels.

Luckily for us, we live next to Bear Grylls with 2 generators.

He gave us one, and we invited my sister and her family over for dinner, movies and treats to spend the night.

We felt awfully indulgent being one of only a couple houses with power in the entire neighborhood, and as I sat on the couch and checked fb on my phone, to my surprise, I read that the power was back on.

We tested it and found it to be true, so after a night of hanging out, we all got to sleep in our warm beds after all!

But we will always remember the storm of 2011 and how it taught us to be grateful for things like heat in the winter and light when you use the restroom.

It also taught us that things could always be worse.

But most importantly, it taught us that stuff is just stuff, and it’s people that matter most!!

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