Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Draper Temple

We have a little family tradition that goes something like this:

Whenever we pass a temple, we stop and take our pictures in front of it. Very simple.

We hadn't been to the Draper Temple since it had been announced and dedicated, so while we were out one day we scooted by to take our pictures.

Unfortunately, the temple is on top of a ridge and it was freezing!

So if our pictures do not look like we are having fun...we were...somewhere deep in our hearts we were happy to be at the temple. But outside our bodies were turning into popsicles and we just wanted to be in our van with the butt warmers turned on!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Papa's Surprise

Papa was very anxious for us to get the decorating finished. He had a big surprise for us and it was happening at 4:00pm! No one knew what it was but everyone was excited!

The tree was finally decorated.

And then the door opened...and with a hearty "HO! HO! HO!" Santa walked into Papa's house!

The kids were so surprised...even Katie. Santa himself was in their house! He sat in the chair which had been mysteriously placed in just teh right spot for lap sitting. Each of us took a turn sitting on Santa's lap and talking to him. Katie asked him for an iTouch, Emma-Rose asked for a TV, Sam asked for Devastator. He made no promises but thanked them all fro being good this year.

The adults even took a turn on his lap. I told him the kids had been good all year and had done well in school. John told Santa he was a kid at heart and still wanted Star Wars toys as gifts. Papa told him that he was grateful that his whole family was home for Christmas.

I remember when I was a young child and Santa visted my sister and brother and me. It is as vivid today as when it happened. Through the eyes of a child we can see things with pure joy. I am so happy that my children had this same experience. I know they will remember it when their own children get their visit from Santa!

Memories is what it is all about and I love that my little family can make so many of them together!

Thank you Papa for allowing us to make this one!

Decorating Papa's tree

When we arrived at Papa's house, we discovered that he hadn't put up his tree. The kids were excited to decorate the tree for him. John dragged the tree up from the basement and the kids took out all the old ornaments to hang.

They had so much fun! And it was a great service to Papa. He really wanted the tree to be perfect because he had a big surprise for the kids later in the day!

The kids each had a favorite ornament to put up.

Katie loved the crystal ones that Grandma added to her collection just before she died.

Emma-Rose loved the angel.

Sam loved the bear.

Daddy put the angel up.

I took pictures...even a self portrait or two. (Look into the ornament.)

While we were decorating Katie serenaded us with some Christmas music...The Chipmunk Song, of course!

We hung our stockings by the chimney with care.

But most of all we just enjoyed being together as a family.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Almost there for Christmas!

This is the year we go to Papa's house in Utah for Christmas!

The kids have been so excited to go and have literally counted the days until we left for the long drive. The first day went smoothly...almost no fighting or murmuring. We drove from Oklahoma City to Denver and stayed at our favorite on the way to Papa's house hotel. (nothing exciting, just the Holiday Inn Express in Wheatridge). The second day we finally made it to Utah. And we were met with snow everywhere. This made the kids so happy, because they always want to see snow when they go to Utah for Christmas. It always makes it seems more like Christmas if it is white. So here are a few pictures of us entering Utah from Colorado.

We are almost there!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Way to go Skittles!

Emma-Rose's volleyball league ended today. They had their official awards ceremony and I am proud to say that the Skittles got 3rd place in their age group!! Yay!

In these pictures she is posing with her volleyball buddy Briana. They are quite a hoot together. Both girls have such a passion for the game. Briana's mom, Melissa is their coach.

I am so proud of Emma-Rose and the effort that she has put forth to become a better volleyball player! She is amazing to me! She got interested in volleyball because Katie played for her junior high school. But she stays playing because she is good at it and she loves it! She is a great server and is starting to work on her overhand serve. She is also a good setter. She is not great at the net, but that could be because she is only 4'11"!

Congratulations Skittles!

Lunch with the Ellisons

Today Katie and I went to lunch with Nina and Aaliyah Ellison and Nina's mom, Ms. Nichols. The lunch was provided by the women of Nina's church for the women of the church. The tea luncheon was held to help the women bond and to remember the true meaning of Christmas.

There was singing, laughing, crying, good food, good conversation, excellent lessons and great friends. Katie and I were a little out of our element since the worship part of the lunch was different than anything we experience in our own church, but we felt the Spirit and cried a little together.

I am grateful for Nina Ellison and her daughter Aaliyah. Katie (aka Mallet) and Aaliyah (aka Ninja) became friends last year playing volleyball. They have truly become best friends by sharing their very different perspectives on some issues and relishing their very similar views on others. They bond over their love of music, marching band, and boys. But they are good examples to one another. It isn't often that a parent finds another parent who they trust implicitly with their own children. And I feel that way about Nina. I know not only will Katie be loved and cared about while in their home, but she has a fine example to look up to in Nina.

So for the Stringham girls we learned that Christmas isn't about what we buy for one another, but it about what we give to one another in our time, our service, our love and our examples. We found all of that in the Ellisons and are thankful that we got to spend a girly afternoon together.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

To read or not to read?

I've come to realize that I am not a great blogger. I have a lot to say. And most of you who know me know that I will talk your ear off. But for some reason I can not get myself to post here reliably. I want to put pictures up. But I wait so long to get them off my camera that by the time I have them uploaded it is way past the event and I figure no one cares. So I am going to a different format. I am just going to post my random thoughts here and simply forget the pressure to add pictures. Someday perhaps I will add pictures...or even go back and post past events. But for now, I will just write my thoughts and you can choose to read or not to read.