Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas at the Westin Hotel

The Westin Hotel does a great thing every Christmas.   They host the Holiday Legends party with bells, cowboy poets, choirs, and snow!

It starts in a grassy area in back of the hotel where a local choir sings and the kids admire the view and freak their mothers out by leaning over the ledge.  This year we were lucky enough to go with cousins!  (Seriously, having Alec and Dixie nearby is beyond wonderful.  Henry loves his cousins so much and I love my sister-in-law.  And Alec is our dedicated BYU football buddy.  Games are so much more fun with him!)

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After the choir warms us up the cowboy Makin Dust comes out and starts telling us some Christmas legends.  Like what the first settlers used for Christmas trees and where the whole idea of decorating cookies came from.  And the kids all get a small bell.  Remember the bell.  It’s magic.

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From the grassy area we move to fire pit near the pool (no pictures of that since I was too busy trying to keep Henry out of the pool.)

Then we move to a rocky area behind the hotel where some more tales are told and songs are sang.

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And then the kids all close their eyes and ring their bells and…. IT SNOWS!!!

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Then when the hands get too cold from throwing snowballs we head into the warm lobby for hot cider, sugar cookies, and fine chocolates.  Yum!

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dingo

Okay it was really a coyote.

The other day on the way to take Henry to the bus we decided to drive instead of walk because it was cold and drizzly.  As we pulled out of the garage I saw a shape on our front door and wondered if we had a package I’d missed (glorious amazon.)  When I angled the car so the headlights were on the front door I saw two beady little eyes staring back at me.  Icky!!!! There was a coyote on my door mat!!!

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(and no that’s not a red bandana on him, that’s the wound that kept him on my doorstep.)

When Lizzy and I got home I quickly called wildlife rescue and they sent a sweet volunteer out to try and catch him.  He was skittish so it ended up being me, the volunteer, and two neighbors that got him into the kennel that would take him to the animal hospital.  I’m glad he got cared for, but I sure threw that mat away fast.  And cleaned the whole porch.  Coyotes are really mangy looking.

Santa Lucia Day

My family has some Swedish blood and so my mom usually tried to have us do some Swedish traditions.  The favorite is Santa Lucia day December 13th.  The oldest daughter dresses in white with a crown of candles on her head and brings her parents sweet rolls in bed.  All her siblings carry a candle too and sing.  It is to celebrate the return of light as the days start to get longer (technically that should be the 21st, but they’ve always done it on the 13th.  Guess things are different in Sweden.)

This year we managed to remember Santa Lucia day and made the traditional citrusy braided bread.  Then Henry donned a star hat and carried and candle while lizzy who was too young for a real candle wreath on her head wore a hat that had plush candles on it.  We then went caroling to a few of our friends to drop off the bread.  Henry loved getting to carry a real candle and blow it out at each house.

 

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Bethlehem

Took the family to Bethlehem to be taxed.  Okay, not really taxed but this wonderful church in a small small town north of here does the most amazing thing every December.  They turn the town square into Bethlehem.  The baptist church there turns the town square into Bethlehem.  Real bethlehem.  There are full sized buildings, a wall around the city, and hundreds of people-- adults and children-- dressed in biblical clothes.  And the people stay in character.  Bartering for persimmons in the marketplace.  Reporting to the romans to pay taxes, and sometimes being thrown in jail for not paying.  Making rope, putting kids to bed, having a simple family dinner, it's all fabulous and you feel like you've stepped back in time.  There are even camels!  And after walking through all the hustle and bustle you pass the over crowded inn, the roman soldier eyeing all the rabble with suspicion, turn the corner and amid the sheep (real ones) and the group of men haggling over something, is a cave where a man, a woman, and a baby sit among the hay, and a star hangs overhead, and people dressed in parkas and gortex stand quietly and reverently.  Then people walk silently (there's no rule about this, but it somehow just seems to happen) out of the city walls to where sweet baptists give hot chocolate and cookies to wake us back up.  It's amazing.  Temple square-like, only earthier.  (And with yummy bread to eat.  The bethlehem baker does some amazing stuff over a fire.  And I love that all the bethlehemites have Texas accents.)

The front gates of Bethlehem

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Dell and Lizzy bundled up because it was COLD (for us anyway, it was like 40!)

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Henry driving a roman chariot.  Look at that grin!

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My cute bundled up kids

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We’re still here

Sorry for the long hiatus.  We journeyed to Utah for Thanksgiving.  Dell presented a poster at the biggest radiology conference in Chicago (great job dear!) and got to spend time with his parents who were also there for the conference and our good friends Sarah and Amiel who live in Chicago.  Needless to say I was very jealous that Dell got to see all those wonderful people and I didn’t.  But Dell’s parents are coming in January and he’s going to send me to Chicago in the spring to see Sarah so it’s good.

Dell has pretty much been on call since he came back from Chicago so we’ve been in survival mode—do the bare necessities and let things like blogging fall merrily by the wayside, but Dell is actually not on call today and will not be tomorrow either so partying and blogging are back on.  So here’s what we’ve been up to.

I had a sewing day with a good friend Lucy who taught me how to make cute skirts for little girls.  Lizzy models hers here.  Oh and yes she stands now—even unassisted.

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Henry started Karate—here he is getting his white belt.  He actually was so excited and overwhelmed he started to cry and couldn’t start.  Poor tired tender kid.  In the car I asked him why he was crying.  He said “I don’t know” in such a sincere, confused voice.  I asked him if he would cry next karate he class to which he wailed “I hope not!”  He’s been dealing with emotions like this a lot lately.  I think Christmas is a little overwhelming when you’re 4.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

covered in love

I wish I had the camera so you could see a picture of what I'm about to explain, but alas, the camera is with Dell in Chicago where hopefully he is taking all sorts of great pictures.

Today Henry and I played the Curious George helper game which is a great kids game where occasionally you get a card that says "ask another player if there is anything you can get for them." That's Henry's favorite card and he will play it over and over again. I sometimes have a hard time thinking of things I need after the first 3 times. Well the fourth time he got the card I asked for a blanket because hey, it's like 45 degrees outside now. Brrrrr! So Henry opened the hope chest and got me a big blanket. But that wasn't enough to make me "warm and comfy"-- his words. And so he got every throw pillow in the room, 2 more blankets, stuffed animals, tissues, a ball, two toy reindeer, part of an amazon box, a bowl of apple slices (that I had gotten for him when I had the what can I get you card) and a pine branch that he's been treasuring since our trip to Home depot to get our tree. Then, as I sat buried and bundled and surround by love Henry fanned me with a little paper fan so I could smell the fabulous pine smell better. I am the luckiest mom ever to have such a sweet sweet sweet little boy.

(He also, while I was dropping a goodie off at a friends house, dumped an entire container of cereal puffs on his little sister. He says it was the only way to get her to stop crying. It sure worked, but she was buried in cereal puffs. Hmmmm, maybe he was just trying to make her warm and cozy.)