Thursday, December 25, 2008

Waiting for Santa is so exciting!

Stockings, all 8 of them hung up with care.

The tree, before Santa's arrival.

Santa's cookies and milk. Made by little hands with big hopes.

The tree, after mid-night. Merry Christmas!

Just what I "Hoped" for

Peyton meticulously opening her presents

Sommer lining up the loot

Tony's guitar, ha ha, that's funny. Get it?

Tony, Kimmie and Peyton

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's almost Christmas!

The benefit concert for Efrain Ballesteros was beautiful. The Mt. Carmel Theater Club, Manta Band and Pacific Winds Orchestra performed wonderfully. We are so blessed to see the spirit of giving alive and well in the face of such tragedy.
Sommer and Peyton take a breather from Christmas shopping. The kids always buy each other gifts on Christmas and I spend my time driving and watching them seek out that perfect gift.

We had the Saipan Christian Church come by to sing Christmas carols. The little girls were asleep, but Hope, Wayne and I enjoyed the beautiful music and got a chance to give to a great church family.
We wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas. It's been an interesting year, full of surprises and mostly growing experiences. There 's a lot of great people left in this world and much to be thankful for. Hope you enjoy your holidays as much as we do. It's off to baking cookies for Santa tonight!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dinner at Sam's

We had a great evening with good friends at "Sam's" the other night . It's actually Samsomethingorother, but I can't pronounce or spell it. It's the newest Korean restaurant and I hear they have $6 lunch specials. I can't tell you all that we ate, but it was exquisite. I don't drink beer, but the Amber Bock was so good I didn't even mind. I wish I'd taken some pictures of the place to show you how nicely decorated and immaculate it is inside. A very nice ambiance for intimate dinners and lively conversation.

It's always interesting to go into bathrooms at establishments. This one had an ottoman with magazines, hand moisturizer, hair gel, sanitizers, mouth wash, q-tips and a cute little sticky pad that read "if you need sanitary napkins, just press the button. Thank you" Now that's what I call service.
Thanks HJ and Jus, we had a great time!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

That's What I Said Thursday!

Are you on Santa's nice list or have you been naughty?
Nice or naughty? What for?

Click on Rules to learn how to play!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Trimming The Tree

This year we've decided not to put lights on the Christmas tree. I thought maybe I'd hang some glow in the dark stars, but Wayne thinks the tree needs just a little splash of color and doesn't require lights. I agree. It's our way of saving and using our electricity wisely. Our tree is an artificial tree. There are a couple of ways to be eco-friendly this season: you can buy your tree from a place that only grows them for Christmas harvesting, buy one with root ball intact so that it can be replanted or use your old artificial tree over and over again. Only one of them is a feasible option here. I know it isn't bio-degradable, but we'll use it as long as we can, cut the plastic needles off and turn in the metal scraps to the recycling center. It was a smarter alternative than buying a "fresh" tree that had to be shipped over and are so overpriced because they then have to be kept "fresh" in air-conditioned rooms.
Every year we get one more house or building for our Christmas neighborhood. This year, we haven't done that yet, but I'm hoping there's a nice restaurant out there. We've got a few stores, a church, some houses and a bridge to a department store right now.
I sewed stockings for my four kids when Hope was born 13 years ago. It was a good thing I never threw anything away because I had to sew two more for Peyton and Sommer when they were born. I'm thinking this year I may buy four more for our ever expanding family or commission them out because I no longer have a sewing machine. Anyone make stockings? We need four for kids.
This year we went with silver and gold but I think we may be adding a little red. What do you think?
Sommer helped string and separate ornaments in the afternoon. The place is looking a lot more festive. Deece wrote a post about traditions. This year I've had to reflect upon keeping old ones and making way for new ones, but that's another post. This is our first year as a family, me, Wayne, and our eight kids combined. It's hard to know what should stay and what would hurt to go. I need some advice from anyone out there who's ever managed a blended family.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Truly Green Christmas

Last week I came down with a bad case of the holiday blues. Truth be told, I was being a bit of a butt head. I missed the San Diego Christmases, the cool air, the smell of cinnamon, sound of music everywhere, the colorfully lit malls. I wanted to drive by electric displays in neighborhoods and watch lawns twinkling with Christmas cheer. I was so busy griping about the nothingness of Christmas in Saipan, the "it's all about the sale" mentality that put a price tag on joy, the commercialism of Christmas here, the outrageous cost of a fresh (cough) tree, the lack "spirit", blah, blah, blah. This lasted about two days then....screeeech!

What the heck was I doing?
What was I thinking? Christmas is not about what you don't have, it's about sitting back and taking inventory of all the blessings around you, and it doesn't matter what you can't afford because the things in life that mean the most can't be bought or sold.
So, when Middle Road asked to share what I'd be taking off my Christmas list this year it made me reflect upon what really needs to go. We'll for sure be scaling down, no one can afford an extravagant season, but what really needs to be cut out? That's the question. Here's the answer. No whining about lacking anything because I know I've raised my kids well enough to be sure the gifts that matter the most to them will be a home filled with love. No lamenting what we can't afford under the tree when all that really matters is who sits around it. I'm cutting out the one thing what will surely kill the Christmas spirit, and that's a bad attitude.If there's one thing I want my children to remember about this Christmas, it's that we are blessed. If there's one lesson I want them learn, it's that giving feels just as good as receiving. So, I ask you, what are you going without this Christmas?
There may not be much to do here, but like this guy, we should all be dancing with joy for the things we do have. Wayne and I spent this evening at the Paseo with half of our kids, to watch the lighting of trees in the Green Christmas celebration. Who woulda thought discarded pieces of styrofoam, plastic and tin would make so many people so happy? Hmmm, a lesson to all of us, I guess, is that recycling can be a spiritual process as well. Merry Christmas to all of you. Love one another and count your blessings while you can.

Sommer's Song

Hope manages to catch the cutest candid video of Sommer. Here she is belting out a tune while making herself pretty-ful. I just love this kid!