Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Hardest Night of the Year to Sleep

Actually, I don't have much trouble sleeping any night. Head meets pillow and they are off on wild sleepy adventures together. Maybe that will change someday, but for now I will enjoy my body's ability to sleep with ease.

As for the littles, they are much more excited on Christmas Eve. Ivory was probably awake the longest, swearing that she would never be able to fall asleep, but she succumbed to Mr. Sandman like everyone else.

I was most worried about Robyn. Robyn was sick most of the week before Christmas. I believe on Christmas Eve Eve (the evening before Christmas Eve) she was up half the night watching movies because she couldn't sleep. But even she found a good rhythm that evening. Maybe it was the jammies. (Or the NyQuil.)

Gotta have Christmas Eve jammies. I wonder if my kids will ever get too old for jammies? Even if they do, there will be grandkids someday. For now, the kids are still super thrilled to open their one gift on Christmas Eve. Pearl scored two nightgowns...she was stoked.

Robyn still likes to use her teeth to open gifts sometimes. Let's keep that to a minimum this year, you sickie.

Some people are so excited that they don't even leave the room to change.

Eventually everyone is ready to go. Go to bed, that is.

We didn't forget to leave some treats for Santa. The petite fours (thanks Grandma Dargan) are coveted at our house, so Santa is very lucky to get some. Ivory left a carrot for each reindeer. And Daisy left Santa some cocoa and apple cider. (He probably likes both.)

I got to stay up a little later with this handsome guy. He makes Christmas Eve just right.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Light at the End of the Train

We have a sort-of Christmas bucket list. We have the things we usually do and those things that we try to fit in somewhere. (Like watching The 4th Wiseman. Which, by the way, I missed out on because I was making yucky sugar cookies. I did get to hear most of it from the kitchen.)

Going to see the lights at Temple Square really isn't on the list any more, since we have missed it for so many years running. But Mark wanted to do something with our family and he suggested the lights. I'm certainly not anti-lights at the temple. We usually just don't find time. But this year we had it planned back in November.

We decided to take the train up to Salt Lake because we have few train opportunities and that solves all parking problems and most traffic problems. (On the way home, we were going faster than the cars on the freeway.) We left in the late afternoon when the sun was starting to set.

Hey Mark. Bet you didn't know I was going to take your picture.

It was plenty dark by the time we arrived. The kids were pretty well behaved on Front Runner, but there was plenty of switching seats. (I think it is exciting to be walking around while the train was moving. And NO seat belts!)

Mark had his three boys with him. Those are the extra people in this group shot.

I liked the red/orange fire tree, but I admit the light was better under the white trees. Thanks Robyn for the picture.

I wasn't trying to choose favorites, but Robyn ended up in more pictures simply because she was my assigned buddy for the evening. When you are buddies with the camera lady, you accept the inherent photo risks.

This red tree was amazing. I took a photo right into the middle of it. Sure, it is basically just lights, but I love it.

More cute people in front of lights.

The coolest part was the nativity in the middle of the reflecting pool. There were little floating lights on the water. (Ivory called them glowbes :) It was beautiful. I heard they have done that for several years, but it was new to me since we haven't been.

Whereas I put people in my shots, Tyler went around taking photos of the temple. I loved his pictures.

And the panorama he took was great too.

It was chilly, but not too awful. We didn't stay long, because we needed to get back for dinner. On our way back to Front Runner, a stranger reached into a bag, grabbed something and thrust it into my hands as she passed by, followed by a "Merry Christmas!" I was so startled, I didn't even have time to say a proper thank you. Turns out she gave us a Minky. Minkys are super soft blankets, and they aren't always so cheap. It was very nice.

All the girls were very excited about it, but I already knew that we wouldn't be keeping it. After all, it looked to be baby size and even though I have many kids who still love small blankets, there was one blanket and five kids. Instead, we sat and thought about where the blanket should go. We finally decided a young couple in our ward expecting their first baby (a boy) should get this soft teal blanket. It sure feels good to give. (Some day I want to hand out gifts to random strangers on the sidewalk.)

Our ride back was nice and everyone was ready for a good meal and an evening sleeping under the tree.

Sleeping under the tree is a recent tradition. We did it last year and the kids seemed to really enjoy it and the parents didn't totally hate it. (That is the important thing.) So we snuggled them all under the tree and I read a new story to them. It was very cute, Mortimer's Christmas Manger. I didn't get a picture that evening, but amazingly, I was up before everyone the next morning. Oh how peaceful a house full of sleeping children.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Busyness (Not to be confused with Business)

Part of me feels guilty putting so many things into one post, but the other option, of posting each thing individually, sounds more exhausting, and fatigue wins over guilt most days. (It's a parent thing.)

This season has been a wondrous one. We have had so many fun things to do, and possibilities for traditions that we will carry on in the future. You never know what might strike your we try new things often.

Gift Exchange

First up, we did Grandma's fun gift exchange. We added another family (the Hulse's) in for variety. The kids seemed to have a really good time. There were a LOT of gifts out there, but all fairly simple things. The bonus was that I hid five dollars in one of the gifts. I didn't take pictures before, but at the end, here we are opening gifts.

I don't think Tyler ended up with the headbands, but he sure looks good in one.

The funniest part was June trying to trade a pair of black gloves. No one would take them. I finally whispered that maybe she should look closer at the gloves and she would like them more. (You guessed it...the five dollar bill was inside.)


Naturally, there are many Christmas concerts around this time of year. We attended June's orchestra concert and enjoyed it very much.

June is getting very good and I'm excited to see whether she makes advanced orchestra next year.

I do feel bad that we didn't see the entire concert. I am not one to leave early, but we had our one rehearsal for the song for the ward Christmas party and there was nowhere else to squeeze it in. (This season sure gets busy.)

Scoresby Party

Possibly my favorite part of the year is the Scoresby party. It is my night to kick back, be silly, and hopefully come home with a good prize. This year, the request was ugly sweaters. We tried our best. We accept that we didn't walk away with any awards for our attire. (Yes, the kids drew pictures and Tyler pinned them to his sweater.)

Gotta have a good selfie before leaving the babysitter for the evening. And what would we do without June and Robyn. The holidays are so much more fun when you aren't shelling out extra cash for sitters. (Just saying.)

At the party we were supposed to take a picture, put it on FB, and see how many 'likes' we could get by the end of the party. Unfortunately, I don't even have FB on my phone. (Well, that's not really unfortunate.) But we will share our photo with you and you can 'like' it now. (And by like, I hope it makes you smile.)

As for gifts, we came out winners. They played a game where each couple blindfolded one person. Then Steve hung a gift card from the ceiling. The person who was not blindfolded had to yell directions to their blindfolded partner. You wanted them to eventually reach up and grab the gift card. You can imagine the chaos. There were so many voices, Tyler couldn't really distinguish mine from the others. There were so many people yelling right and left that he was constantly turning away from the goal. Ingeniously, he finally held up different fingers -- one finger to his right and two fingers to his left. Suddenly, my voice yelling, "TWO, TWO!!" was easier to find amidst the "lefts" and "rights." We won...eventually. And I think we deserved it. (Made me feel better about my hoarse throat the next day.)

Tree of Life

We heard about a phenomenal willow tree in Draper that has 40,000 white lights on it. They nicknamed it the 'Tree of Life' like the one in Lehi's dream. I thought it would be really neat to take the kids to see it. We went out on a snowy evening and sang Christmas carols all the way there. Upon arrival, it didn't take long to see that the tree was not lit, but we had come so far, we had to let the kids get out and explore. There was so much snow and it was nice and deep. Check out Ivory playing.

There was a sign saying the tree sometimes didn't work depending on weather conditions. It had snowed all day and was still snowing while we read the sign, but it didn't seem too bad to me. Oh well. Maybe next year. We did take a picture on the lighted bridge we crossed.

Choir Concert

Another concert,but this time June wasn't in it -- none of my kids were. June has to report on a concert each term, so she chose choir.

It helped that we went to see Hannah. She is practically family.

Work Christmas Party

Went to Tyler's work party. It was fun and a little different this year. They held it at a huge events center. I think it went well. The food is always yummy, although I like the salad the most. Each year, the salad gets bigger on my plate and other items disappear. Next year, I believe it will be all salad. Might as well eat the stuff you like. Oddly, there was another ugly sweater contest, but we didn't hear about it and were happy to ignore it. I just enjoyed a night out where I didn't have to cook.

Competitive Prizes

At the ward Christmas party, there were poinsettias for sale. Every year they sell them for $5 and use them for center pieces. They are pretty, but I have to admit that a yellow poinsettia just doesn't seem very festive to me. Neither do the washed-out pink ones. (Yes, I seem to be suffering from poinsettia discrimination.) I wanted a red one if I was going to spend five bucks. I'm guessing many people felt the same way because by the time I was able to focus on flowers, there were a whole bunch of yellow and pink ones left. There was however, one interesting mixed one in the batch. Terrie and I both had our eye on it. So we did the fair thing and played rock, paper, scissors. She said 2 out of 3 and I agreed. She beat me the first round and immediately wished she hadn't offered the extra two rounds. I sure she wished it even more when I beat her the next two. And let me tell you, I have really enjoyed my poinsettia. It is really pretty and brings me warm fuzzies whenever I look at it. Thanks Terrie for making it that much sweeter. (Yes, I am a tad too competitive, but she also brings out the best in me.)


It is a good thing there wasn't a baking competition, because I would have gone home with a green ribbon this season. Green for gross. I wasn't sure where my go-to sugar cookie recipe ended up so I tried a new one. TOTAL FAIL. The dough was strange, but it seemed to roll out okay in the end. However the cookies came out with a strange bumpy surface. (That has never happened before.) I wish I could say that the taste made up for the texture, but it was a fail in both departments. I threw out dozens of cookies and all the leftover dough. We stuck to fudge and toffee this year.


We made the goodies to go caroling and once again I didn't think to take one picture. Typical. We still had a great time.

Puzzling it Up

Don't forget our Christmas puzzle. I found a puzzle and it wasn't too Christmasy, but it needed to come home with us. It actually ended up being a really fun puzzle to do, although entirely too easy for my crew. I'm glad I started it early, because it was finished in less than 24 hours once the troops were on to me.

We really like slug-bugs around here. We aren't allowed to call them anymore, because Dad was fed up with the competition in the car, but I'm pretty sure many of us still call them in our heads. June and I agreed this one was our favorite. Classy.

Well, there you go. Lots and LOTS of fun festive activities. And guess what...I'm not even finished. There are still a couple that will get their own post. (I told you we have been busy.)

I'm looking forward to a week of nothing on my list besides blogging, reading, and checking my monsters. (Yes, it is still the current addiction.)

Friday, December 25, 2015

A Carol, Christmas and Otherwise

Merry Christmas! I hope your day has been fabulous. We Cazier's are having a wonderful day filled with lots of snow and gifts and playing. I can't officially blog about Christmas because it isn't over and we haven't even eaten the fantastic jello/pretzel dessert yet. (I am really looking forward to it.) So, let's blog about something equally festive. How about school Christmas performances.

Oh, don't roll your eyes. Sometimes they can be fun....sometimes.

I usually just expect large crowds and lots of people holding their phones up for extended periods of time. That is how parents get an arm workout. They should really make phones heavier so we can build more muscle. I, myself, am more of a still photo girl. I like the modified version. Lift, focus, click, done. Phew...harder than it looks.

But well worth the results. Let's see what I captured the last day of school. Each grade prepared a song to sing. Kindergarten went first. They had pajamas on because they were doing the Polar Express in class. Pearl was looking pretty cute in her jammies.

You can tell I wasn't in the front row by the amount of heads in my pictures. I'm going to let you find each child. I'll give you a hint -- look in the middle somewhere. Pearl sang Here Comes Suzy Snowflake, the traditional song for the Ks.

Next up (of my kids) was Ivory. She dressed up as a snowman. I think she is pretty darn cute.

Their class sang a medley of Once There Was a Snowman. You can see a similar version here. They were so cute. It was a favorite among the parents. Good luck finding Ivory. She is still pretty small. Look for the hat.

Daisy's grade was also doing jammies that day. My kids love robes, so Daisy wore hers to school. Pretty adorable and not too granny-like if you ask me.

They sang Up on the Housetop. Second grade is a pretty cute age for anything.

Finally it was time for the sixth grade. It is my favorite when my kids are looking for me in the audience and I am right in front of them taking pictures.

Robyn wasn't too hard to find. She was on the side where we sat and right next to the wall. The sixth grade sang Shake Up Christmas by Train. They did a great job. I hadn't heard the song before. The video is pretty cute. Check it out.

That performance was in the morning, but we were back before too long because Robyn's class was performing A Christmas Carol in the afternoon.

Robyn had the part of Mrs. Cratchit. If you recall, June's class did this play when she was in 4th grade and she was a Cratchit child. Robyn had lots of lines and she was fabulous. She projected very well and remembered everything.

Here she is welcoming her oldest daughter home for the holidays.

One of her best friends, Shayleigh, was the ghost of Christmas present, showing Scrooge the scene of the Cratchit home.

Robyn was all sweetness until 'Bob' mentioned Scrooge. She wanted to give him a piece of her mind. (I know for a fact he wouldn't like that.)

The class did such a great job. They pulled it together very quickly and I hear up until the end, there were some worries of disaster. As an audience member, I couldn't tell at all. All the kids did such a great job. Here is the Cratchit family when tiny Tim has died in the future. (Are those real tears, Robyn?)

Scrooge, played by Kale, was really good. I could see this kid going into acting. It can't be easy memorizing that many lines in a short time, but he was a quick study. The play went as planned. Scrooge felt his remorse and changed his actions and desires to line up with one who celebrated the true spirit of Christmas. Reminds me that there is hope for all of us.

The cast sang at the end. Can you see my cute Robyn up there?

Sadly, I didn't have my wide angle lens, so this isn't quite the full cast. There are a few more people off to the left. (And right.)

Yay! All finished!!! Time for Christmas break.

I really like Robyn's teacher. She is creative and ambitious. I think this was a great experience for the kids and probably a big headache for her. Teacher's deserve a lot of love all year round. Thanks Mrs. Spadafora.

God bless us, every one.