Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Counting Our Blessings from 2013

Counting our Blessings
2013 in NUMB3RS

Glen and I celebrated 20 years of marriage in December
Spencer is 19 months in remission from leukemia
With Emma's 13th birthday in October, we became parents to 3 terrific teenagers
Ellie turned 8 and was baptized a member of our church
I pulled the youngest 2 kids out of school to be homeschooled
We logged 3000+ miles this summer on a road trip to Boston, Acadia NP, PEI, and Quebec City
Lara has the privilege of spending time each week with 26 fabulous young women at church
We join with 5 other families to participate in a fun, educational homeschool co-op that is the key to mine and the kids' sanity this year
Cami left us for 2 weeks at Christmastime to help build houses in Mexico
We spent about 6 weeks without a kitchen, while ours got stripped down to the studs and rebuilt (we still need to paint and refinish the floors)
Glen gets to be the song leader for  100+ primary children each week
Cami is taking 3 AP classes which is about equal to the number of hours she sleeps each night
Emma finished the 6th grade and graduated from elementary school
We finally replaced the deck that sent Glen to the hospital last year to get 7 stitches
Adam won 1st place in the pinewood derby and went on to place 4th in districts
We consider the friendship and love of family and friends to be among our most PRICELESS blessings!

Happy New Year!!!!


"We turn with hope...to Him who walked the dusty paths of villages we now reverently call the Holy Land, to Him who caused the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the lame to walk, and the dead to live. To Him who tenderly and lovingly assured us, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life'(John 14:6)." 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sparkly Smile and a Flashback

This past summer Emma sat in the orthodontist office all prepped and ready to get braces.  She'd been wearing spacers for a week and she was very excited to get the teeth straightening process started before middle school began.  As the last minute prep was being done, I innocently mentioned to the finance person that we were changing  insurance companies  in a month, not thinking that it would matter to them as both companies had  partial orthodontic coverage.   Alas, I was naive in my belief and they literally stopped everything in its tracks and refused to put the braces on.  While I was relieved that they saved us from potentially having neither insurance company being willing to pay for part of her braces, we both left there a little disappointed.  

Fast forward six months later with our new insurance fully in gear, we decided it was time to get the  tinsel ball rolling again.  (Our flex spending account needing to be used up by the end of the year helped the inertia factor pretty significantly!)   Now I'm happy to report that her Crain-inherited crooked teeth are on their way to noncrowded bliss.

Now her gums hurt, her lips hurt, and she can barely eat...

but she can take heart in the fact that at least she is waaaaaaaaaaay cuter than I was back in the day! 
Lara--7th grade

Friday, December 27, 2013

Mexico and an Art Project

I was so excited to see this picture come across my Instagram feed yesterday.   

It was posted by one of my acquaintances whose family is participating in the
same service project as Cami.   Cami's phone doesn't work there in Mexico, except where there is wifi coverage, so it's the only glimpse I've been able to see of what they're doing  there.  
This picture is of the Christmas dinner they served to the natives.  
Yesterday they started building houses!  

I can't wait to hear all about it when she gets home.    
In the meantime, this quick late night facetime call she made from the
hotel last night will have to do.    
We sure miss our Camikins.


On a completely different note, here's a glimpse of a very cool art project we did a couple weeks ago.  Adam's is top left, Ellie's top right, and Cami's is the bottom one.
 I absolutely loved how they turned out and am thinking about getting them framed. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Card 2013

So we went a little silly this year with our Christmas card.
Usually we plan to take a family picture either by photographer or self-timer sometime in the fall for the Christmas card.  With Spence at college though, we didn't have a chance  we were hoping for and so for the first time ever we used last year's Christmas pajama picture for this year's card.  It wasn't ideal that the photo is a whole year old, but we figured other than the kids being a little taller and us being older, grayer, and chunkier we pretty much look exactly the same.  Next year we'll have to plan better.

This year our Christmas pajama picture is poor quality (too washed out) and was missing Cam, so it is our intention to recreate it when she returns late next week.  There's no way I'm using it for next year's Christmas card though -- because of the aforementioned  reasons mentioned above.

Speaking of Christmas pajamas....
On the drive down from Utah to Mexico, Cami created this awesome collage of the last few years' of our Christmas pajamas.  Too bad she didn't wait until next week's version with all of us, but it is still awesome nonetheless.  Our 2011 pj picture was the most epic of all of them and that photo is still one of the top hits if you do an image search on google for "matching Christmas pajamas".  Too bad it kind of holds bad memories for me, as it was the last family picture we have before Spencer's diagnosis.  It was two weeks before the fateful day and he looks so thin and sickly in that photo.

On a brighter note, my kids love the pajama tradition and they are already making their request that next year's pjs be the zip-up footie variety.   I, however, don't love freezing to death whenever I have to use the facilities in the middle of the night, so I'm hoping they forget that request over the next 11-1/2 months!

 Hope you enjoy the day-after-Christmas!


Christmas letter:

G. Gazette 2013
For more see http://wawasmusings.blogspot.com

Glen ran and fundraised for two Team in Training events, but has since fallen off the treadmill and now is looking for a new event to train for and help whip him back into shape again.  

Lara has had a proliferation of gray hairs, desperately needs more sleep, and is expecting to soon be arrested by the Christmas Card Police for violation of long-standing rosy posy letter writing principles.  

Spencer (18) is 18-months in remission from Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a freshman at James Madison University, and is the major source for his mother’s aforementioned gray hairs.  

Cami (16) has waist-length hair that is her pride and joy, sleeps approximately 23 minutes per night, and will likely soon break the world’s record for deepest held hatred for AP calculus.

Emma (13) is a clarinet playing-opera singing teenager now and with her almost daily treat and hot breakfast making is to be blamed for approximately ¾ of her mother’s extra pounds.  

Adam (11) has a penchant for turning anything and everything into a science experiment and was recently found to be responsible for the rash of cold weather in the DC area due to his undying fascination with trying to figure out how our new ice maker works.   

Ellie (8) is still the happy little princess fashionista of the house, but instead of lacy dresses and perfect little curlicues, she’s that princess with the unbrushed hair that you can usually find all rosy cheeked and out of breath from chasing her brother.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Only Thing Missing....

A little glimpse at our Christmas this year.  It was only missing one major detail.

Christmas Eve:

making our final 12th-day elf delivery and a look at the Christmas tree right before going to bed

Spence and Ellie posing for the perfect "selfie"....

Adam and AnnaLisa during our Christmas devotional of reading scriptures and singing songs...

Watching Christmas videos with daddy....

Christmas morning:  

Christmas breakfast made by Emma (orange breakfast bread, eggs, bacon, and OJ) ....

Opening presents...

 Spence got practical gifts....

It was almost perfect....

The only thing we were missing was....

this beautiful girl who is entering into Mexico as we speak, so she can spend her Christmas vacation working with this organization to build homes for the people there in the Rocky Point area.

Despite missing her fiercely, especially today, we are very proud of her and her unselfish desire to serve those that need it.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Just Talking about the Weather

On Dec. 10, temps were in the 20's and school had been canceled for 2 straight days because of  ice and snow.  

This past weekend (December 21-22) the thermometer looked like this and I was within a hair of turning on the AC on Sunday night.

Yesterday and today, it was still really warm, but also quite rainy.  The dew points were in the 70's and the barometer ...

 blah blah blah humidity blah blah blah

So why all this boring weather talk?

Because I needed a good lead-in to talk about our stupid elf on the shelf.   I don't know if it's the rain or the unseasonal warmth, but not only has our elf started going a little bonkers with his crazy antics of hanging from the entry way chandelier and flying through the air attached to the kids' ceiling fan...

but I think a couple people...no names mentioned (glenellieadamlaraemmacami)...are already looking forward to Delph's arrival again next year!


Heartbreak--Eight-year-old style

Yesterday was our church Christmas program  and it was amazing.  Our choir director is one part  passionate, one part hard-working, and the other part pure talent.  It's a great combination and it's been astounding to see how she has brought the ward choir to a whole new level in such a short period of time.  My favorite was the final performance of "Peace, Peace."  The choir and primary children had parts, then the congregation joined in with, "Silent Night."  It was pure loveliness.

The only hiccup of the day was during the Primary performance of "The Nativity Song," when Ellie had a seizure at the exact moment she was supposed to hold her sign of Baby Jesus up.  Her friends were all nudging her, but because of her seizure she didn't hold up her sign until the very end of her part.  She immediately realized what had happened and was completely heartbroken.  She held it together for the rest of the performance, but collapsed in a sobbing heap into my arms the second it was over.  The poor girl sobbed for 20-minutes straight, during which I shed more than a few sympathy tears as well.  She was completely convinced that her ill-timed seizure ruined the whole performance.  We tried to reassure her by letting her know that other kids held up their signs equally as late as her just due to inattentiveness, but she was still devastated.   In true Ellie form though, before long she washed her face, found some treats in my bag to share with her friends, and went back to class and hasn't said another word about it.

 practicing her part                                         after church

Man, I sure love this girl!


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Lights and D'oh-nuts

We have an annual tradition each Christmastime to see some of the houses listed on the tacky Christmas light website, then to Krispy Kreme for some fresh hot doughnuts.  It's a fun tradition my family loves! 


Friday, December 20, 2013

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugh-ly

The good...

Glen and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary on Wednesday! 
As per usual we spent our anniversary date doing some Christmas shopping,
before heading to a favorite restaurant! I sure am grateful to have had Glen
 by my side for the last 20 years!

The bad...

I put Cami on a plane to Utah this afternoon and we will not see her for another 2 weeks.  Although she is beyond excited about going on this service mission project in Mexico (with my aunt, uncle, and family), I am quite sad about her not being around this Christmas.

 The ugh - ly...

We got an Elf on the Shelf.
Okay, perhaps it's not actually ugly, but I have always had some inexplicable vendetta against the overpriced, trendy little elves. In the end, Ellie's enthusiasm and storytelling about her friends' elves made us decide that for the sake of our daughter's Christmas memories, we could swallow our elf-hating pride for a while.  "Delph the Shelf Elf" as the kids named him has only been here a day so far, but already he's winning his way into our hearts and I envision lots of fun adventures with the little dude.  

The really ugly...

There is no picture of this monstrosity, but I went to a white elephant gift exchange on Tuesday night where the hot gift of the night was a LIVE RAT!!!  It was contained in one of those rodent balls, but it still gave me the heebie jeebies from across the room and the distinct notion that next year we will be instituting a no live animal rule.  Or at least a no rodent rule!  

On a slightly different note...

The whole white elephant rat debacle reminded me when, as a freshman in college,  I was visiting my young cousins who lived not too far from campus.  I had lived across the country from them the whole time I was growing up, but was now visiting  them a few times a month to eat dinner, do laundry, etc.  One day they brought me to their basement and very excitedly introduced me to their new pet rats, one of which they had named Lara--named after me they made sure I knew.   All these years later and I still wonder whether to be complimented or insulted by that!


Monday, December 16, 2013

Multitasking My Way through Christmas

I'm writing this blogpost tonight while hoofing it on the treadmill.

I should find more devoted time to exercise...
and to blog for that matter,
but this is one of those times that I'm just glad to have a moment
to do either and so multi-tasking will have to suffice. 

My Christmas shopping is probably 70% done, 
which may not sound so horrible (or maybe it does) except
that I have no clue what I'm getting for two of my family members.

Amazon Prime has been my best friend through most of the process,
but some people <cough>GlenEmma<cough> 
just didn't give me much to work with this year.  

One of these days I might actually have to brave the mall.

In the meantime, I just spent this last weekend completely ignoring shopping 
and working on these instead....

Any of you who knows me well, knows that Christmas cards 
are one of my favorite parts of the whole Christmas season.

I love seeing all these smiling faces of friends, old and new, adorning our walls all month.
However I do miss the letters that seem to be going by the wayside
 more and more these past few years. 
Even the impersonal newsletters are seeming to be more of a rarity, 
yet alone the handwritten notes that I treasure! 

Speaking of cards and letters, ours this year are goofy, goofy, goofy.

I figure after last year's super serious card filled with news about 
life-threatening illnesses and unemployment
that I would try for a little levity this year. 

I'll publish it here in a week or two, but in the meantime
if your Christmas card collection is looking a little boring this year,
feel free to request your very own bit of silliness
delivered directly to your doorstep!
email me your address:  goolds@verizon.net

Alright, the kids are making fun of my 24 minute mile pace,
so I guess I'll sign off for now and amp things up to like 3mph 
before I go make some brownies.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Selfies on the Bridge and Other Random Finds

Here are a few undiscovered photographic gems that I recently found when going through my photo organizer.  Before they get lost again, I'm putting them here on the blog so that they will be preserved forever  in our yearly blog book.  The first one is my favorite!

Selfies on the Bridge

Chef Glen Flipping the Birthday Crepes Like a Pro

Who Says Dogs and Crocheting Don't Mix?

Testing Out the Christmas Lights....How Did This Happen?

But I'm Not Cold, Mom!

He's SOOOOO Cute!

Monday, December 9, 2013

More Ice Pictures

Here are a few more of my favorite ice pictures from today. 

I took my camera with me and was shooting pictures everywhere we went.  In the grocery store parking lot, at the church, after pulling over on the side of the road, etc.  We were enraptured by the beauty of the glistening icicles and although the temperatures hovered just above freezing all day, I was not disappointed that the ice took all day to melt off the branches.

Now they're predicting  3-6-inches of snow for tomorrow and school is already canceled....an announcement which was welcomed with much rejoicing at our house.

If the forecast actually pans out, it will be the first time in nearly three years that we've had more than 2-inches of snow.   

Ultra-cool ice creations from the ice storm notwithstanding,  the kids are exceedingly excited about the potential of some decent sledding and snowman building.

That and another day to sleep in and you won't find anyone at our house complaining about the weather! 

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