Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Top 10 Favorite Christmas Movies/Shows

I love to watch Christmas movies, I am a Christmas movie junkie. I have a very large collection of them. Cartoons, puppets, live actions- everything. It was actually really hard to narrow down to just ten. In the process I left out some great ones like- 'Its a Wonderful Life', 'White Christmas', 'A Charlie Brown Christmas', and many others. I love 'Christmas Carol' movies, and watch multiple every year, but I didn't want to list all of them. I love all these too, watch them every year- but they just didn't make my top ten of the day. Some of it is I want to share favorites that mean something to me and that you might not know about.
  • 10- Stalking Santa (2006): This is just fun. there is no seriousness about it. It takes all the major paranormal conspiracies and makes them all about Santa.
  • 9- In the Good Old Summertime (1949): I was trying to leave off the list movies that just happen to take place around Christmas (Meet Me in Saint Louis, Serendipity, While You Were Sleeping, Little Women...) but this particular film made the list because it always makes me all happy about Christmas. Yes the title is deceiving. The film does begin the the spring but you follow the characters through the year until the climax on Christmas Eve. If you haven't see it, you may have seen its modern remake, 'You Got Mail'.
  • 8- The Nativity Story (2006): There are many great short films showing the events of surrounding the real meaning of Christmas. But when it comes to a full length movie, this one is the best.
  • 7- Jim Henson's The Christmas Toy (1986): This movie is the original 'Toy Story' movie. As a child we loved this movie. We were in awe at it and kept trying to see if we could catch our toys being 'alive'. Why is the movie so special? Because it contains real magic.
  • 6-Elf (2003): I was on my mission when this movie came out. As a missionary I heard and knew nothing about it-yet my family kept quoting it to me in letters and then after I got home they quoted it all the time. If you haven't caught on my family quotes movies, there is normally one movie that most of the quotes come from and until a new movie comes out that takes the cake, that one gets all the quotes (order in time: 'Chicken Run', 'Elf', 'Napoleon Dynamite', 'Meet the Robinsons'). I made a point of seeing this movie so I could laugh and quote it. Its a dang funny movie, and again just plain fun.
  • 5- Miracle on 34th Street (1947): I do enjoy both versions of this story. But if I had to pick one that I enjoy more it is the Maureen O'Hara. I think the black and white of the original makes it all that more nostalgic.
  • 4- Noelle (2007): I know I've wrote a review on this movie before (December of last year). I'm a fan of independent films, especially ones that are done really well. This one is done well. It moves a little slow, but the message is so heart warming. It is just a beautiful story.
  • 3- Muppet Family Christmas (1987): Again with the Muppets. I just love the Muppets. I'm about as much of a Muppet junkie as I am a Christmas movie junkie. This one is chaulk full of Holiday songs, jokes and fun. Can anything be more fun than the being at home with the Muppets.
  • 2- The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (1983): My family loves the book. We read it every year. It is a tradition. This movie isn't word for word of the book, but it certainly is completely true to it. Its a story of a church group, that has a family of rowdy mean kids come in and take the main roles of the Christmas program. Too adorable.
  • 1- The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992): I love the Muppets and I love A Christmas Carol. Wow the best of both worlds. Plus Michael Caine is the best Scrooge. A Christmas Carol hasn't been as much fun, witty, and inspiring since Dickens wrote it himself. Best ever-that's why its my number one.
Merry Christmas and I hope you and yours can enjoy some great Holiday films.


Arizona gets snow every year, most of it though is in our mountains (there are a few ski resorts here). We have mountains behind our home, and they have had snow for a few weeks now.
We woke up this morning to snow on the ground. It was much more than just a dusting, but not enough that we'd have to shovel. Too bad my husband didn't get to stay in bed too. The gate to post was still open. Baby Al just looked at it not knowing what to think. I didn't take him outside to play in it because we don't really have any "winter/snow" cloths.
Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Singing Time: Decorating our Christmas Tree

I made a tree. Construction paper. It is three sheets high.Then out of construction paper, markers, and a few stamps (thanks to my mother-in-law who got the stamps for me) I made ornaments. I numbered each of the ornaments and had they children draw them out of a bag. I then glued them to the tree. I made enough ornaments for two Sunday's worth of songs for both primaries. That way our tree will be full. That came to 26 ornaments. I didn't pick 26 different songs. In fact for each week, the pianist and I made a list of about 8 songs (mostly Christmas) that we were going to do that week. The child would read the number on the back of the ornament and I would repeat the number to the pianist and she would tell us what song we were singing. The children never know the difference. And this way each ornament just represents that we sang that many songs.
Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Merry Christmas

Hello and Merry Christmas from the our family, now with 50% more of us over previous Christmas letters! Al was born on May 1st, and at the time of this writing is soundly asleep (sigh!) in his crib. He is the most amazing blessing, and raising him is both the most rewarding and most humbling experience either of us has had to date. He is adorable, especially with an audience – indisputable proof of his lineage.

When not fawning over our son, we’re happily busy with our new home. We bought a house on an acre, and positively love it. Both of us would love to stay in the Sierra Vista area, and hopefully we’ll be able to raise our children in this beautiful and roomy house. In addition, Cory is still in school, expecting to graduate in September 2010, and still loves his job. Tasanee continues to throw herself into her calling as Primary Music Leader, coming up with inventive new lessons for the primary children.

We have been so blessed in our lives, and are deeply indebted to God for His mercy and generosity. We hope the same can be said of your lives. We’re excited to hear of the exploits of all our friends this past year. Until then, and until our next missive, Merry Christmas and my God bless you and yours with all your needs.


Our family

Our Christmas Tree

Last year our angel had to bend in order to fit in our home.
This year in our new home, Our tree sort of looks short. When it comes time to get a new tree, we could easily get one that is taller.
These are my favorite ornaments that we got this year.
I picked this one because my husband loves stain glass and it has that sort of look to it.
The other ones have Al and Cory on them.

Shiva and Baby Al

Baby Al loves to watch the cat, he giggles, and squeals, follows her around the room. Our cat, Shiva, is skidish of small humans. The whole time I was pregnant I told Shiva that is she dared hurt my baby- she was going to regret it. To our amazement she has been wonderful around Al. She lets him pet her (more like grab her), she puts up with him chasing her around the room- granted he doesn't actually crawl yet. He does the army crawl and pushed up and launches himself, and he rolls. My goodness he already has me on my toes and it will only get more hectic as he learns to move faster and faster. Each time he is touching her a little too much, she gets up and moved out of arm's reach. Then Al will move closer, and Shiva will move away. She hasn't hurt him back, even with all the fur pulling and tail grabbing going on. She has hissed at him, warning nipped, and cried out. She is so patience with him. Something that she has not allowed other small humans that same grace to.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My Brother's new Film work-After Today LIVE

My brothers are all amateur film makers. They do short clips mainly and music videos. This has been their project for almost a year now. The goal was to make a live action most exactly like scene from "A Goofy Movie": the song After Today. It has taken a lot of work and special effects.Take a look:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Advent Calendar

I was thinking about the felt nativity advent calendar that we grew up and was wondering how I could get one for our family. I didn't find one online that I liked, but I found something much more fun. I found a sight ( paper Nativity that can be used as an advent calendar. You print it out (for free). It can be printed in color, or in Black and White to color yourself. You cut them out out, find a place to put them up and put one up every day. There is a suggested daily order. On the same site is a link to a nativity advent calendar that was in the church Friend Dec 2000. But if you go to this site I found they have enlarged the version of the one found on the church website. These could be used as visuals for a sharing time or singing time or to use them in your home.

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Arizona Girl and The Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Thanksgiving Weekend

The Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Thanksgiving Weekend started out promising. I had no idea it was going to be a nightmare for me. After all I wasn't thrilled with having to drive to Phoenix Thanksgiving morning. I wanted to leave Wed. night, but my husband didn't want to deal with the horrid traffic we dealt with last year (two extra hours to drive the normally only two hours between Tucson and Phoenix). Since I didn't want to miss the morning, and cooking with my family we decided and compromise by leaving around 5am (miss the morning traffic). We went out to dinner, and then got my husband a new cell phone.He decided to go with the Sprint Moment, it runs on Google's android programing and has a qwerty keyboard. I think I might get the same when it is my turn to upgrade. But I digress.
Part I: The accident and hospital
Well I baked my pies -mint chocolate cheesecake and an apple pie with an apple crisp/crumble topping.This is where the whole day went wrong. First I forgot to put vanilla in the mint cheesecake pies. They still tasted okay, just not great because something was missing. Then after finishing the apple pie I realized that the recipe I used didn't call for cinnamon and although it was too late to add-it would have been better with it. I then was happy to go to bed. Since we were going to leave around 5 and at this point it was already midnight, I wasn't expecting much sleep, but I was happy to get it. My husband had already gone to bed so the bedroom light was off. I stood in the bedroom, in the dark for a moment to decide if I wanted to remove my contacts or sleep with them in. I decided it was best to take them out-even if it was only going to be for a few hours. On my way to the bathroom, even though I was going slowly to try to no bump into a wall, I stepped into a laundry basket (too short to pass the wall test), lost my balance (nothing new for those who know me) and fell down (nothing else new there either). What was new was my hand hit something on the ground. My screams of pain and surprise awoke my husband. I told him I was fine and asked him to turn on the light. That was when I saw the blood on a pant hanger-you know those clippy ones you hand pants or skirts onto.Even at this point I was thinking it was just a small cut, and then I saw my hand, the gushing blood and, gaping hole. Everything else comes through
as though I was watching me on TV or such. The only thing I actually felt was the pain and insanity. I was not myself. My husband rush around getting dressed and trying to get someone on the phone to help give me a blessing and some to watch Baby Al. I tried to think of who was still in town, since everyone had gone. We went to the emergency room. They wouldn't let Baby Al in the building. The front nurse was not nice or sympathetic about it (she needs series training). I was hysterical (remember I felt like I was
watching all this happening, not that
I was the one balling in the ER screaming that I needed my husband by my side.) My husband is trying to tell the nurse (at this point still calm) that I needed him and he couldn't leave me and that we didn't have anyone to watch him because everyone is out of town. She then told my husband to put our baby in the car and lock the door (this is when he lost the cool, he had been doing so well with since it all started). Thank
goodness for members of the church who are head nurses. He is in the Elder's Quorum with my husband
and heard his voice. He took me back, helped calm me down, we had been able to reach the EQ president to help give me a blessing. So the EQ president ended up watching Baby Al out in the car, and the brother who is the head nurse helped my husband give me a blessing. I am thankful for the power of the priesthood in my life. I can always count on a blessing to give me peace and comfort. They were unable to do it right away and the doctor was about to stitch me up. I asked him to wait and allow them to give me a blessing first.
He was respectful of this. When it was all over I had 5 stitches, a Tetanus booster, a numb hand that hurt like all get out, and a husband so pumped up on adrenaline he didn't want to go back to bed. I already hated this Thanksgiving the most
in my life (I've had some lousy Thanksgivings) and it was only 2:30am. I gave my husband the option of staying home, no one would blame us if we choose not to go up. But he said- lets go.
Part II: Thanksgiving the day
We left right away. My husband was wide awake until the half way point at Piccacho Peek where we pulled over and slept (not like I could drive since I was told "no driving" at my discharge from the hospital). When we arrived in Mesa it
was around 6am. We woke my youngest brother and he let us in. Baby Al was not in a mood to sleep and my bum hand made feeding him extremely hard and impossible. The whole day we were so tired and having trouble enjoying anything. We drove so much, up to Mesa, back to Casa Grande, back up to Mesa. Then my sister keeps telling me she is on the way to my parents
with her family to spend time with us, we wait, hold off going to bed and wait for 3 hours before they make a show. We need to go to bed so much.
I was so tired and no happy.
Part III: Black Friday is Right
I actually enjoy going out on Black Friday. This year I wanted a new camera. Mine sucks through batteries. It makes posting pictures here really hard. There were also other things I wanted too. I've been promising my husband all year (since last Black Friday) that he would not have to go out with me- I had to break that promise. Since I'm not allowed to drive he had to take me. I have such a wonderful husband. I got my camera, but not much else of what I really wanted. One item we wanted we found out the style is no
longer carried "in store" and had to go online to get it. That was a great use of my time that morning. Then at Joann we waited for over an hour-just to get fabric cut, I finally gave up on some of the prints I wanted so I could go through the express cut line. We had family pictures in an hour and were not ready. Since my baby brother is leaving next week to report to the MTC
we were doing family pictures. Good idea and this time we tried to match. Well I hope they look okay because I felt like junk. I couldn't do my hair with one hand, I had a huge pink bandage on my hand, I can't fit into anything because I'm nursing-if the item fits me in the waist it most likely doesn't in my bust. To add to my trama,
my baby is being so cranky and had enough with the taking pictures before we got started. We spend the rest of the day nursing a fever of a 7 month old. Besides being cranky, he seemed fine-except for the fever. We'd give him Tylenol- 4 hours later it was back up. He was wanting to feed every 3 hours (though the night). Again no sleep. Before going to bed we called our Pediatrician-who listened wonderfully and said if he is acting fine, just wait out the fever, use the Tylenol to relieve him, if he gets worse take him to an urgent care.
Part IV: And I thought it couldn't get any worse Saturday
In the morning Baby Al seemed to be better. 6 hours since the last dose of Tylenol and no fever. My husband and I left him with my parents and went to the temple. We missed 2 sessions we wanted to try to make trying to get there. I had such a hard time with my bum hand, thank goodness for helping sisters. When the session was over we came home with the intention of going to the ASU vs UofA game only to learn that our baby's temp was 102.5 and the Tylenol had been given an hour ago. We then made the choice to go to the urgent care instead of to the football game. I guess its for the best ASU lost,
in the same lousy fashion they have lost all their games this season-having it snatched from them in the last minute. The urgent care doctor told us its most likely a virus (well duh I could have told him that), and to wait out the fever and give him relief with the Tylenol as needed. Now why did we pay money for that? Why did we miss going to the game for that? Why is this weekend getting worse by the minute. For the rest of the night, Baby Al won't let me put him down. He won't sleep anywhere but in my arms, he won't eat anything that I'm not feeding him. Not daddy, only mama. To make it worse, may I remind you I have a bum hand. I can't hold him or do anything for him with my left hand (its also making typing this really awkward). He keeps us up all night-again no sleep.
Part V: A day of Rest, Rest in Peace
Around 3am we think part of his fever broke. He was soaked and hungry. We fed him and then we slept for 3 hours, Hallelujah. The rest of the morning he seemed a bit better, a little warm to the touch, but the thermometer read normal. We took him to church (my brother's farewell) sat in the back, didn't let anyone hold him but us and left after sacrament meeting. But he spent the rest of the day: refusing to sleep, cranky, a little warm, peckishly eating. I said good-bye to my baby brother, won't see him again for 2 years.
Then we drove home to sit in lots of Thanksgiving traffic. To make things worse, we put Baby Al to bed after feeding him, he slept for about 15 minutes, awoke, and proceeded to cry for 2 hours straight for no apparent reason. So again no sleep. I wish we stayed home, in bed all weekend. I spent it all feeling horrible, in pain, helpless, and reminding myself everything could still be worse. Yes I'm thankful I'm still alive, that I cut my left hand and not my right, that we didn't get into a car accident, that we have a good Pediatrician, that we have Urgent Care available to us, that the hospital here is at least competent, that we know the head nurse and he knew how to calm us down. But I'm not grateful I had to think about any of those things, being thankful for them-in this case means the slightly less bad option did happen. Can I re-wake up Wed. morning and do it right this time?