Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holiday Memories

So as the Christmas holiday nears, and I only have one final left, I am taking the time to reflect on some Christmas memories. There are so many that there is no way I can post them all. The list is gonna be big...
  • My mom would always make homemade candy canes and yummy fudge. I remember buttering up the marble slab and dropping the hot candy onto it. 
  • One time Santa came to our house to visit. I was pretty little, but I remember I brought out all my stuffed animals to show him for some reason. Santa then said, jokingly, that he didn't know if I needed any more toys. I was worried. This is Santa and I on that very night.
  • One Christmas season my sister and I had a chain counting down the days till Christmas hanging on our bedroom wall. It just so happened that while we were hitting a volleyball around, it knocked the chain down. Right then, my little brother walked in and seeing the chain was gone, exclaimed with delight, "It's Christmas!" 
  • We have this one on video (it's one of everyone else's favorites). It was when I was about 9 years old and wanted a bike from Santa and didn't get it. Sadly I was a grinch (no wonder I didn't get the bike). All throughout the home-video you can hear comments from me like, "Where are all the presents?" and "I didn't want that for Christmas". My sister on the other hand was only about 3 or 4 years old, and you can hear her screaming ecstatically, "PANTIES!" as she unwrapped her new package of underwear. Since then my sister, Ginger, told me that just like the grinch, my heart grew; so that is comforting to know.
  • I remember singing a less known carol solo of "I Wonder as I Wander" when I was in the West Weber Elementary Cowboy Choir at Christmas Village and the Union Station in Ogden. I decided to go home with my friend and her family after the performance at the train station, but it turns out that everyone in the choir thought I was lost and stayed for hours to see if they could find me.
  • I remember one year it snowed so much that when my Grandpa Calderwood plowed our driveway with the tractor, he stacked all of the snow against the shed. He then made us an igloo out of it. It was big! We brought all sorts of things into it, like the kitchen rug, and some of our little chairs. I also liked to make all sorts of snow things around this time of year. This is a pic of me and the bunny I made one year.
  • The old Lee Christmas party always meant that we would play the present exchange game. It was so fun to steal a beautifully wrapped gift, get it stolen, then steal it back. After you opened the present at the end of the game, you realized you should've gone for a different gift. The other Lee party always has a candy game. Too fun!
  • One year we stayed at my Grandma and Grandpa Lee's on Christmas Eve. I was soooooo worried that Santa wouldn't find us. Turns out he is always watching and knew. Thank goodness.
  • One year, my little sister, Jane, was plotting to catch Santa. Basically that is all she wanted for Christmas. After much begging and consulting with my dad, they left a camcorder out to catch him on tape. The next morning, that was all she could think about, and guess what! She caught him! He looked at an ornament on the tree and then noticing the camcorder, he walked right up to it and turned it off!
  • We always slept in the same room on Christmas Eve. We weren't allowed to leave the room until everyone woke up. Then when we finally left the room, we had to line up youngest to go first to the oldest to go last. It was so intense when my parents made us go in one at a time. I was always last.
  • The Christmas before Gary left on his mission, we went to see the lights at Temple Square. I think this is when I realized that I wanted to wait for him. Then he ended up waiting for me too.

  • One year we made a nativity home-video with a nativity set my mom made. We set up the camcorder and moved the pieces between frames so you couldn't see our hands. My little brother wanted to help so his toy truck got to be a part of the set.  
  • The kids sometimes got together after we read the nativity story on Christmas Eve and made a skit. One year we dressed one of us up (usually my sister Abbey) like Santa, with tons of pillows. The skit was about how he was so fat, he couldn't get down the chimney. We used a big cardboard box as the chimney. We were laughing so hard when we all piled on "Santa" to help him get down the chimney, and it broke. Another year we did one about Santa delivering presents to an assisted living place. The nurse wouldn't let him leave cause she thought he lived there, and he had to convince everyone that he was Santa so he could deliver the rest of his toys. One of my favorite lines was when Santa is talking to one of the residents trying to get them to believe, "Don't you remember how on Christmas Santa left all that money to start your new franchise?" The resident's reply, "French fries?"
  • One year we went sledding with a bunch of my cousins. I was walking up the hill, and my cousin Kurt came flying straight toward me on his toboggan. He got me right in the face, and my tooth went through my lip. I had a huge lip after that for a while. Here is a pic of me tubing with my cousins, but it wasn't the year I got a fat lip.
  • Last year, I wanted a tree so bad to go in our apartment. Gary made me think we weren't getting one, but then he surprised me to go pick out our tree. After Christmas was over and we took the tree down, we had pine needles everywhere for months because our vacuum broke.
  • One year, my sisters and I carefully wrapped all of our presents in garbage (clean garbage). We thought it was hilarious.
  • Last year, we went with the Turners and Grandma and Grandpa Schaugaard to the live nativity at Tuacahn. I remember watching it and being so grateful for the real meaning of Christmas.
  • We used to go ice-skating every New Year's with all the Calderwood cousins. My grandpa was always so good. He could've been a pro. This is my cousin Elena, me, and my cousin Mike.
  • Even before Gary and I got married, and before our missions, we started painting a Christmas Village piece at his mom's each year. Each year it gets bigger and bigger. 
  • We like to make gifts in my family, and it was so fun hiding in a room making someone's gift trying to make it a surprise. One of my favorite homemade gifts was The Keep Your Hands Warm Window Scraper. I hate when my hands get so cold and turn red, and my sister Jane sewed a warm fuzzy hand guard and connected it to a car window scraper so my hands would stay toasty. Also when I was a kid, I remember the Jacob's Ladder toy we made.  
  • Last year I made a Christmas Card for Gary like how Michael on The Office made a Christmas card for the girl he was dating. He took a picture that she had of her two kids and ex-husband when they were skiing, and photoshopped his head over her ex-husband's. It ultimately freaked the girl out. So I photoshopped Gary and my heads over someone else's family photo. Apparently those are our future children.
  • When I just got into the mission field just right before Christmas, we had just opened an area for sisters. Two of the families in the Monahans, Texas branch totally took us in even though they had hardly met us. I felt just like a part of their family. Each of the kids in the Witcher family played an instrument and they put on a Christmas performance for us. The Bells also invited us over and gave us each a stocking filled with little Christmas gifts.
  • The next year for Christmas on my mission in Alpine, Texas, there was a girl, Sandy (one of my best friends now) who lived in our apartment complex. She would always give us rides if we needed, and we would always sing Christmas songs in her car. Somehow, she managed to get word to Santa where we were. When we woke Christmas morning, we realized that Santa had found us. Last year, Sandy was able to come to Salt Lake while we were there for the holidays to visit Gary and I. 
  • This one didn't happen to me, but one of my companions. I thought it was funny though. They found this "hot chocolate" in their apartment that the elders had been in before them. They decided to put some in little decorative bags to give away to their investigators for Christmas. One morning they stopped by one of their investigators to make sure they could go to church, and the wife asked the sister to make some of that hot chocolate so everyone could have some before church. Turns out that the "hot chocolate" wasn't really hot chocolate. It was dried beef powder. So the sister panicked and dumped it down the drain. Turns out it clogged their pipes, and the people had to call a plumber the next day to fix it.
  • When Gary and I were in high school, we went to a "Let it Snow" winter dance together.
  • Last year I tried everything to hide Gary's present. For those of you who know, he guesses everything. It is so frustrating. I went to the extent of having my sister-in-law, Sandy, take it up to Salt Lake so he wouldn't find it.
  • One year when I was little I got a doll that grew hair. My cousin Elena, and my sister, Abbey, got one too. 
  • Gary says that his favorite Christmas memory is when he was torturing me. But so he isn't left out, here is a picture of him getting a play gun for Christmas when he was little. Funny, he wants a gun this year too. Except this year, I think he might be old enough for a real one. 
  • Here is also a picture from a Christmas on Gary's mission.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Finals and Holidays

This will be short because I have tons of work for school to get done. Finals! Why do they load it on you around the holidays? I just want to make gifts and get into the Christmas spirit! But for now, I have to study. I am just looking forward to next December when I won't have to worry about finals because I will be done with school! 

Here is a little something for some holiday fun...

You gotta love Dwight's resistance even though it's cold outside.

Now here's a look at the real meaning of Christmas!

I hope that we all keep this true meaning in our hearts all through the busy schedules we have this time of year. It is something that truly gives me joy to think about. It really is joy to the world.