Sunday, December 11, 2011

Happy Now-Dec. 11

1. December 1st Tradition:  I'm starting off my Happy Now 10 this week with a happy moment that actually belonged in last week's post.  As I was getting into bed after writing my post last week, I realized that I had left out one of the happiest moments of the week.  I couldn't just leave it out, so I'm leading off with it tonight.  Ever since I can remember, my family has had a holiday tradition of celebrating Dec. 1st in order to kick off the Christmas season.  Growing up, we would have a nice dinner and my brother and I would receive Christmas pajamas and an advent calendar.  While Darren and I couldn't be gathered around the table with my family this December 1st, we were still able to celebrate thanks to my parents who sent us pajamas in the mail and e-mailed us a beautiful Jacquie Lawson London Advent calendar for our computer.  I love this tradition and am so glad that we have been able to keep it up despite the distance that separates our family members.

2.  Darren's help with trees: I mentioned last week that I was making a set of paper trees for a decoration exchange I had been invited to attend.  The trees ended up taking much longer than I expected, but I was fortunate enough to have Darren to help cut circles and come up with creative solutions.  When the trees were too top heavy to stand up in the thread spools as the directions said they would, I was about ready to throw in the towel.  Darren saved the day (and the trees), however, by suggesting we glue the spools to an extra square of green card stock and then anchor the trees with some extra Christmas saltwater taffy we had.  Here's how they turned out:

3.  Decoration Exchange:  Sara did an amazing job of organizing the decoration exchange and preparing a lovely setting and delicious food in her apartment for the event yesterday.  As much work as I had put into my decorations, I still felt like they looked like popsicle stick ornaments compared to the other crafts that had been prepared.  I would not blame the other girls for depositing my paper trees in the nearest trash receptacle, but I am grateful for the crafts I got from them that I can, and currently do, use.  Here is what I received:

From left to right: felt Christmas tree wreath, snowflake ornament, "Silent Night" musical note ornament, Santa belt ornament, homemade carmel apple dip and an apple, "Let It Snow" painted mug, flower coat pin

Our "family room" with our new wreath and tree ornaments

I wore the flower pin on my coat to church today.
4.  Christmas Pillowcases:  Darren and I have been meaning to put these festive pillowcases on our pillows since we returned home from Thanksgiving.  This week we finally added them!  We received the pillowcases for our wedding last year and I love how it brings a little Christmas into our bedroom.

5.  Dinner with Whitney and Kelly:  My parents knew Whitney's parents before we were born.  Whitney and I have grown up together and then moved to Utah together as she started college at the University of Utah and I went to BYU.  She has been a great friend.  Darren, my mom, and I were able to attend her wedding to Kelly in Salt Lake last August.  Last night we got together with the Whites for dinner and had a great time catching up with these two.  I'm so glad to know that this friendship will continue to grow as we meet together as couples and future families.

6.  Warm(ish) Winter Weather:  A few weeks ago I mentioned being grateful for a thin layer of snow outside.  Now, any sunny, relatively warm day can make me immediately smile.  Today it was 45 degrees outside when we left for church.  That's not exactly balmy, but it's definitely warmer than it has been.  Did I mention that we will be spending our Christmas holiday in CA where it stays in the 60s during the winter?  Can't wait!

7.  Christmas shopping:  I LOVE Christmas shopping.  I love trying to find the right gift for loved ones and anticipating their reaction on Christmas morning.  Yesterday, Darren and I had a fun time walking around the mall and finding little gifts for some family members.

8.  Visiting Barnes and Noble:  Darren and I go into the Orem Barnes and Noble any time we are in the area.  We rarely buy anything, but there's just something about bookstores that we both love.  Maybe it's the smell of the books or being surrounded by other people (kids and adults) who find joy in reading.  We have even talked about how fun it would be to own our own bookstore a la The Shop Around the Corner from "You've Got Mail."  I may even have a name picked out for our little bookstore and a sketch with what the inside would look like. :)

9.  Chats with Parents:  I've had some great chats with my parents over the phone recently.  I feel like I've hit the jackpot when I can have both of my parents on the line at the same time.  We've shared quite a few laughs and have had some inspiring talks about the future this week.  Thank you, Mr. Graham Bell!

10.  Family History:  This week, Darren created an account on and was able to trace part of his lineage back to the 1300s.  So cool!  I wanted to have a share in the fun so I jumped on and started doing some research on my family tree.  I only read names and dates, but I immediately started to wonder about the personalities and lives associated with those names.  Genealogy is such an exciting work, and I am looking forward to learning more about my heritage on-line and through conversations with family members.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Happy Now-Dec. 4

Here are my Happy Now 10 from this week:

1. Wedding Album Proofs--On Monday we received the first proof of our wedding album, which we were able to approve later this week.  We should have our copy shortly after Christmas.  Yippee!

2.  Awesome Article--I read THIS article shared by a friend on Facebook.  I could completely identify with falling into the trap of talking to little girls about the societal "girly" things (clothes, hair, etc.).  I loved this article for encouraging us to think about a girl's mind and less about her appearance and the message we send by the topic of conversation we choose.

3.  Compliment from a Parent--Every now and then, a parent will say something kind to me as their student's teacher.  This week I had a parent of one of my students from last year pay me a compliment as a teacher.  I will never get over how much that kind of feedback means to me.

4.  Crafty Moment #2--As you may recall, crafty moment #1 came last week after about a 15-year hiatus when I sewed 4 pieces of fabric together.  Well, since then, I have been on a crafting roll.  On Thursday, I got together with some other women in our Relief Society to make some projects as gifts or for our own home decor.  I made this sign with lines from Primary Songs, which I think will be fun in a future little boy's room.  The project only required sanding, painting, and applying a big sticker, but that still left a large margin of error (for me) and I was pretty happy with how it turned out. :)

5.  Crafty Moment #3--I was invited by a friend to participate in a Christmas decoration exchange next weekend.  After scouring the "easy Christmas crafts" websites, I found a guide for making some cute paper Christmas trees. I started on the craft this week and have had a lot of fun.  Stay tuned for some finished products next week.

6.  Guest Speaker--This week I finished teaching the Amelia Earhart unit to my Reading Class.  I found out about an awesome opportunity to have a female pilot from the local aviation program at UVU come speak to my class about Earhart's contributions to aviation and about her own experiences as a pilot and a woman.  My students were really excited to hear her present and to ask her their questions.  Our guest speaker was raised to superhero status, however, when she handed out a poster, t-shirt, and model airplane from UVU for each student.  It was a complete surprise to me and, while I could appreciate the marketing motives behind such a generous gift, I was so excited for my students and appreciative of this woman who brought so much excitement into my classroom.  About half of my class is now considering a future career in aviation. :)

7.  New babies--Yesterday, Darren and I had the opportunity to visit a young couple in our ward who had their first son this week.  He is absolutely adorable and I am so happy for Kareena and Chris.  What a sweet thing to have a newborn baby around Christmas time.  It reminds me of the excitement we had about this time last year when little Parker Hyde joined our extended family.  Such happy times!

8.  Homemade Bread and Jam--We were given a gift of homemade bread and jam this week.  Few things taste and smell as good as homemade bread.  Unfortunately, Darren agrees.  We have tried making the little loaf last as long as possible between the two of us.  It is almost gone but, boy oh boy, have we enjoyed it!

9.  Sunday Dinners at Mary's--My Dad's cousin, Mary Wintch, lives in Springville and has been kind enough to host me and many others over the past several years for Sunday dinners.  Darren and I have been lucky enough to have frequent dinners with her recently, and I am grateful for the time and effort she puts into hosting us.  We ate with her again tonight and she made a family favorite--a Danish recipe for Frikadellers.

10. First Presidency's Christmas Devotional--After eating dinner with Mary, she served us some ice cream and sat us down on her couch to watch the annual First Presidency's Christmas Devotional.  I love gathering on the first Sunday of December every year to hear Christmas messages from the leaders of my Church and to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing the beautiful and familiar Christmas Carols.  It is a wonderful way to kick off the Christmas season and is a great reminder of the true reason behind this festive time.

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