Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Attn: All Private Bloggers

Somehow, in the hustle and bustle of Christmas and layout changes, I lost all of my private blog links. I've been meaning to go through all of my comments to find you (don't you just love the fact that every time a comment is made, the name of the commenter is a link to their blog!), but when I started today I realized that it was going to take forever. (You really should comment more!) :) And I know I've deleted some of the actual invitations out of my e-mail...so that wouldn't help.

Fortunately, I can keep up with you through blogging but, unfortunately, it's sometimes the only way I keep up with you...and it makes me sad to think I've lost someone! So, if you've sent me an invitation to your blog (or have been meaning to), will you please leave a comment here so I can get your blog address again? I miss you all and want to know how your month has been! You don't even have to say anything in your comment...just a simple 'hey' will do!

And, if you happen to be reading this months after I actually posted it, still reply! I'll get it in my e-mail. (I've noticed that many private bloggers tend to check other blogs less frequently...so I'll be expecting you later!)


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Zippo - The Happy Flying Elf and Christmas, too

"McKenzie, wake up! Let's go find Zippo!"

This is the sentence I've been waking up to almost every morning for the past month or so.

Meet Zippo. Our happy flying elf.

All through December, Zippo has been an important part of our family. He sits up in high places, silently taking notes of the childrens' behavior. Each night, he flies all the way to the North Pole to report to the big man himself about what he saw in the Alder household. When he returns, just before the children awake, he sits in a new place and waits for the new day.

When the kids wake up, they storm through each room in search of their new friend and, once he's found, they laugh and point, jump up and down and shout, "Good morning, Zippo!" Zippo smiles back.

I don't find it a coincidence that my kids have been exceptionally well-behaved this month. After sharing a toy or completing a chore without whining, I frequently hear, "I bet Zippo was watching!" I've been a little affected by this happy elf as well. Often, when I start reaching my temper-threshold, I see that little red hat and those bright blue eyes flash into my mind...Zippo has kind of become a symbol of a real belief I have: I am being watched and silently encouraged to make good choices!

Zippo flew back to the North Pole on Christmas Eve after everyone was asleep, and didn't return on Christmas day. We suspect he's going to take a long nap and then start making the toys for next year. We're sure he'll come back to us at the beginning of December next year to help us all remember to be on our best behavior always, even when surrounded by the comfort of our own walls, and especially to those we love the most.

Zippo's reports must have been alright, because Santa came and brought the kids some great treasures. (Yes, a mop included...)
Lest you think Santa spoiled the children...these are not all from Santa. Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles spoiled the children. (Thank you!) :)

And now, for my Top Ten favorite things about Christmas this year:

#10 - Eating great food

Yes, it is a beautiful pie...but I didn't make it. In fact, I've never even attempted a pie like this. I leave that to my favorite pie-maker, Katie. :)

#9 - Making homemade popcorn and eating it out of our new popcorn buckets

#8 - Having sugar cereal on Christmas morning

Here I am, slaving away in the kitchen to prepare what we really all want for Christmas breakfast!

#7 - Having just the right amount of wrapping paper
This is seriously all we had left on Christmas Eve. After we cleaned up, we found one last present that needed to be wrapped, and Brian had to go rummaging around in the garbage can OUTSIDE to find all the scraps! I should have gotten a picture of that present after it was wrapped...it looked kind of homeless with all the different pieces taped together...

#6 - Opening presents

#5 - Watching the Nativity put on by kids

#4 - Quality time with the kids

#3 - Spending time with great friends

(I know, I know, I need to be better at taking group pictures with our friends!!!)

#2 - Staring at this handsome guy for a whole week

#1 - Kid Cameras!!!
It has been SO FUN to watch these kids get into my obsession. :) This picture above captures my favorite moment of the Christmas season this year. (Don't worry, I'll get to telling you what the picture is...) On Christmas day, we decided to watch one of our new Disney movies (thanks to my brother Brian). We popped popcorn, brought the beanbags upstairs, turned the lights out and cuddled together with soft blankets as the kids watched Beauty and the Beast for the first time (sad, I know). Towards the end of the movie, the kids were shocked into silence when they thought the beast had been killed. They didn't move a muscle as Belle came and cried into the Beast's fur. Then, when the beast started rising from the ground, encircled by rags of clothing and magical sparks, Carson jumped up from his beanbag and shouted, "Oh! ... Oh!" He put his hands up in the air and ran out of the room as fast as he could. Puzzled, I asked after him, "Carson, where are you going?" And, from the other room, his little voice replied, "I have to get mine camwuh!" He came running back into the room holding his little camera and started snapping pictures of the television. (Yes, the photo is upside down...he won't believe us that he's holding the camera upside down, so we just let him be.) McKenzie joined in the fun seconds later, and Brian and I tried to muffle our laughs as flash after flash exploded from their cameras to capture this moment in time as the Beast turned into a prince.

I hope your Christmas was wonderful, too!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ho Ho...Huh?

Santa: What can Santa bring for you this Christmas?
Kenzie: I would like a wallet, a mop and a camera.
Santa: Oh...*furrowed eyebrows*...well, that's an interesting list.

Santa: And what can Santa get for you?
Carson: Ummm....*palms turned up to the sky, head cocked and shoulders shurgged* ...a pwesent?
Santa: Okay. What kind of present?
Carson: Ummmm....*looking around*...like....*pointing to a shiny wrapped package next to Santa's chair*...like dat one?

My kids are easy to please this year. :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

All you can talk about is weather?

We've been having some awesome weather around here lately, I just can't help but want to talk about it! Weather and nature seem to scream about God's presence more than almost anything else to me. Especially if it has to do with water (rain, snow, clouds, ocean, ice...).

Take a look at this - I think I may have just found Care-a-Lot.

Have you ever seen this before? It's a random rainbow floating in the clouds without a hint of rain! You can sort of see the sun is just off to the right of the photo...and I'm guessing it's position in the clouds somehow created this - but however it happened, it looked pretty awesome!

And, fog. I just love the smell of fog! Sometimes, on really hot, humid days, I can smell a similar smell through the vents in the van if I turn the air-conditioner off and just let the regular, humid air flow in ("Mom, stop turning the cold air off!"). But the smell of a real cloud is quite unbeatable.

The kids have been quite disappointed in fog. The concept of walking through a cloud is much more awesome than the reality of it. No, we can't build a slide out of this cloud like the Care Bears did, and, well, no, we can't even walk on top of it. Sorry. But doesn't it smell good?!

And then the real excitement of last night and today is that...it snowed.
And it stuck. It's still sticking, in fact! It's been almost 9 whole hours! Even though the flakes started falling after dark last night, we couldn't resist venturing out there to build a little snowman and freeze our toes off!

What do you mean, Carson is wearing a pink jacket? His mother would never subject him to that humiliation...

Sunday, December 13, 2009


McKenzie crawled up into my lap during church today and for the first time I thought, "She's getting too big for this." She didn't fit quite as comfortably as she used to...especially since she was wearing a skirt, so keeping both of her legs together was a must. I started rocking her gently and kissed her cheek, and then as my lips passed close to her ear I whispered, "McKenzie, would you please stop growing?" She smiled a proud 'I'm-getting-bigger-and-I-like-it' smile as she shrugged her shoulders. And, just then, I felt torn. Torn enough to say, "No, just kidding. I like that you're growing up because I love seeing all the new things you're doing." She smiled a more sincere smile, snuggled into my chest, and gave me a squeeze.

I glanced up a few rows to a family that I love in the ward. The mother was lightly rubbing her 9-year-old son's neck and he looked bigger to me than the last time I saw him (last week). I thought about how she always refers to her 9-year-old set of triplets as her 'little kids', yet here I am feeling that my 5-year-old is turning into a 'big kid'.

In Relief Society, our teacher (who is also one of my very best friends) briefly mentioned the fact that she's 29 years old, and I couldn't believe that 30 is just around the corner. (Even though I'm only 27... :))

After church, another lady in the ward came up to me and said, "I was walking down the hall when I heard your husband turn around and say, 'Come on, Carse! Come on, Carse!' (which is what we often call Carson for short)" This lady has her own Carson who is now married with a child of his own, and she said it took her back in time for a second and she thought, "I used to have a Carse..."

What!? What's going on with today!? It's not like they're growing any faster today than they were yesterday...so, why is it on the forefront of my mind? Well, whatever the reason, I'm remembering today that my kids (and I) are totally growing up. Someday I'll think of my 9-year-old as my 'little kid', someday 30 will seem very young, and someday I'll remember back to this time and think, "I used to have a Carse."

You know, it's a good thing that these things just are. Some days I feel like growing up is really exciting, and other days I feel sad, like time is being robbed from me. And, I guess I'm just finding it interesting today that these two thoughts can co-exist.

Random. I know.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Sometimes, I swear my memory has narcolepsy. It will forget to wake up with me at the beginning of the day, and then spontaneously switch on and off at the most inconvenient times. It's on these days that I usually create extra problems I then have to solve.

Yesterday was a memory narcolepsy day which provided not one, but two, opportunities for me to refine my problem-solving skills...fortunately, lady luck chose to be my companion. It started before I even opened my eyes with a panicky sob from my 5 year old, "Mom! Mom! Mom!" She came running into my room just as my eye-lids were reluctantly separating. "Honey, what's wrong?" I groggily asked. "My...my...*sob*...my-tooth-is-not-under-my-pillow-anymore-and-there-isn't-any-money-there-either!"

Oh dear.
That forgetful Tooth Fairy forgot to make an appearance.

Thankfully, the kids were obedient and sat on my bed while I went to go 'investigate' (they couldn't come with me, you see, because Miles was still sleeping in their bedroom and it needed to stay extra quiet). What do you know?! That silly tooth fairy left the money under one of the other pillows on her bed! I guess McKenzie's head must have been right on the edge of her pillow and the Tooth Fairy couldn't squeeze the money in under it! As for the missing tooth? Well, luckily McKenzie just didn't happen to see that it was still sitting directly under the middle of her pillow. I'm still not sure how she missed it... but, she was thrilled to pull up the other pillow and see that the Tooth Fairy did, indeed, remember her.

The next little while seemed to go on without much of a hitch. I got McKenzie ready just in time for our neighbor to pull in our driveway to take her to school. "See you a little earlier today!" I called out to our neighbor. I wanted to make sure she remembered I'd be dropping her little girl off just after the early release of 1:30.

1:40 came along, and I was parked on the couch finishing up some e-mail when my friend, Katie, called, "Hey, Linds. Are you already through the carpool line? Did you already get McKenzie?" My eyes shot to the clock, "Oh-my-gosh!" I exclaimed. "I TOTALLY forgot!!! No! I'm still sitting in my house - - - I am so glad you just called me right now - - - early release wasn't even on my radar!" She asked if I could pick up her boys for her, and I flew out the door dragging a shoe-less Carson, carrying a just-awoken-hungry Miles, and leaving an unfinished e-mail on the computer.

It actually ended up being a good thing, though, because Katie and I decided to meet at a park to play away the afternoon.
I'm not sure exactly why I love this so much...it kind of looks like a picture that would be on the front of a fairy-tale book...with the dark forest in the background...

I seriously love this little guy's hair! Look how red it is - and that sweet little curl that's sticking up in the middle of his head...precious!

All I really need on days like that is a good nights sleep - sleep somehow reboots the system. Hopefully I won't be forgetting other important things in the next little while...

But, I'm not making any guarantees.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Raindrops keep fallin' on my head

It has been RAIN-ING this fall. Seems like every time I see that the blankets of leaves covering my yard are dry enough for the leaf blower, that's the afternoon the heavy, dark clouds roll in. "No problem...I can just wait until they dry out again," right? Except they're not drying out because it keeps on raining!

My laundry room flooded (yeah...), there are several spots in my driveway that are oscillating between standing puddles and soft, goopy mud, my cement parking pad is turning a lovely shade of green (I suspect mold has something to do with that), and the potted plant out on the front porch died long ago from drowning. *Sigh*

It rained again all last night, and I was beginning to wonder if we would ever dry up. But, the sun came out this morning and reminded me of just how brilliant the rain can be.

Water fascinates me. How can it be so breathtaking and peaceful here in it's simplest form, yet so magnificent and powerful when combined with all the other droplets of the ocean? Crazy!

I do like the rain...I just wish it would clear up once in a while so my leaves can be taken care of...and so my laundry room can recover. :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Out of Practice

There was a time in my life when learning something new was such a common experience that I hardly recognized I was doing it. It was expected to be quick, sharp and studious. And it was fun to feel new knowledge click into place.

"A new chemical reaction, huh? No problem!" "Columbus sailed the ocean blue in fourteen-hundred-ninety-two" "Derivatives, Fractions, Carry the one, Divide" "You want me to memorize every cranial nerve and facial muscle? Sure! I'll learn all the tendons too, and I won't forget where they originate from either..."

My learning muscles were on a regular exercise program, and they were toned and ready for more work!
Well. School was completed. The books were put on a shelf. And my brain started focusing on other things like which outfit I should dress my new baby girl in, and what would be the fastest method of vacuuming my carpets, and what was the bare minimum of sleep required for me to still be able to function the next day. It's sad to realize now that my learning muscles are quite, quite flabby. They act upset at the fact that I want to use them in learning about this camera...and I think they're rebelling.

*Sigh* I've learned for myself what I already knew: a better camera doesn't guarantee better photos. But, hopefully, my learning muscles will quit dragging their feet and help out! My perfectionist personality is telling me that I should wait and only post 'perfect' photos...but if I wait until I get one, I may never post another photo again! So, I'm combating that perfectionist impulse and going for what I have always done in the past: posting pictures that help tell the story of our lives...blurry ones, weirdly lit ones, shadowy ones and all! At least I have three adorable subjects to make up for the imperfections... :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Perfectly Dinky

My Christmas Tree.

I don't remember how many years old it is... all I know is that it was mine long before I was married. In all it's 5-foot splendor, it makes me happy. Every Christmas. Some of the branches are hanging much lower than they should. Others would probably fall off if they weren't being suspended by strands of lights. I think in all it's years I have bought one small box of ornaments for it, yet I can't help but notice each Christmas how much harder it is to find room for them. Homemade from Kenzie, beautiful WillowTree ornaments from my in-laws, fun hand-me-downs from my parents. If I had to give this tree a theme, it would be 'pieced together from love'. There's just something satisfying about the fact that this little tree would feel entirely out of place on a department store show floor...

Maybe I love it so much because I can relate to it - - - I often feel like the branches of my personality are drooping. And sometimes, they definitely need to be supported by some outside source. I, too, would feel entirely out of place if I were on display. And, though I may not provide happiness and joy to the multitudes of people walking through the department store, I like to think that I do bring happiness to my family and others who are willing to stop and take a look.

As always, we had a wonderful time decorating the tree this year.
"Mom, these angels are weird. Why don't they have faces?" McKenzie asked as she pulled a few Willow Tree ornaments from their boxes.
"I don't know. They just came that way," I half-heartedly replied.
When I walked back into the living room hours later to scan the tree again, I gasped when I saw this angel... then, I laughed out loud.
One of my WillowTree angels is no longer face-less...and I have a pretty good idea who fixed that.

It's fun this year to have a baby in the house. Miles is so sweet, and completely adorable.
Happy December - and Merry Christmas!