Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas 2013

December 2013

As I sit here pondering on the many things we have been blessed with this year, my heart is full. I will attempt here to list our years events – and I hope I don’t forget anything.

First and foremost, I have a wonderful family that loves me and I love them. As grandparents, we have been blessed again, and again, and again, and again, and will yet be blessed again. We have added 4 grandchildren to our growing mound of blessings and will yet add another next year.
  • ·         Cynthia Katherine (Kate) was born to Mahon and Cindy on March 25. She was named after her mother Cynthia, her grandmother Cynthia, her great grandmother Cynthia, and her grandmother Katherine. She was a miracle baby from the start – Cindy was blessed to be able to take a new drug to help her with her Cystic Fibrosis and that has been a blessing for her and for her pregnancy. Kate was a full-term baby weighing in at 9 lbs 8 oz and was 21 inches long and Cindy’s health was better in the end than anyone could have anticipated. What a miracle! 
  • ·         Chayce Hazen was born to Chris and Chantelle on July 15. He was named Chayce to keep the tradition of the “Ch” sound going (Chris, Chantelle, Chelsea, Chayce) and Hazen after his great grandpa Olsen. He weighed 8 lbs 9 oz and was 20 inches long and was blessed when he was 2 weeks old. The Baldwin family reunion was that same weekend and we all enjoyed cuddling him. Then he was a star of the show at the Johnson family reunion the following week. He was a good eater right from the start, but didn’t like a pacifier. He would take a supplementary bottle though, and they discovered he has a lactose intolerance just like his daddy. I think that very soon he will be bigger than his sister.
  • ·         Jane Lael was born to Devin and Julie on October 9. She was named after her grandma Henderson. She was watched over very carefully in utero because she only had one artery in her umbilical cord – so she was photographed and measured and photographed some more. She weighed 6 lbs 10 oz and was 18 inches long and is a very contented baby. She joined Anna and Nick, who I’m sure can’t wait for her to grow up so they can play with her.
  • ·         Kenzey McKayla was born to Kyle and Kathy on December 13.  She weighed 7 lbs. 3 oz and was 20 inches long. She was named Kensey to keep the “KKA” tradition going (Kyle, Kathy, Ashley, Kaite, Kami, Alyvia, Kensey). We were surprised, as were her parents, of her upcoming arrival. As we were visiting their home for Kyle’s birthday in June, all the girls were wearing white t-shirts with writing and drawings on them. I thought nothing of them because I knew their family is always thinking of ways to keeps those girls busy. But then when Kaite was sitting on my lap and showed me what was written on her shirt “There are 5 of us”, I thought “No, there are only 4”. Then Ashley showed me her shirt and she also had written something about 5 of us. Then I looked at Kat and she had a sheepish look on her face. A fun way to announce it. Five girls – kind of reminds me of five boys. And we love them all.
  • ·         Missy and Briant will add a girl to their family in May – they just found out the gender this week. We are so excited for them.

The Baldwin family reunion was a big event of this year. Missy was planning to come to Utah for a Giles family reunion and wanted to make sure that our family had a reunion while she was here. The weekend she planned to be here just happened to fall on August 2-3. Vic and I celebrated 40 years of marriage on August 3  – so I asked Kat to make us a Banana Nut cake, which was the kind of cake we had at our reception 40 years ago. It was delicious. The kids all went in together and got us a mirror etched with our names, the Logan temple and the date we were married. We love it!!! You can read more about our reunion on the August 16th blog I wrote.

Vic was diagnosed in July with Alzheimer’s – we knew it was coming, but really didn’t want to admit it. So we are working through things a day at a time. And I am so happy that we wrote his life story a couple of years ago. There are so many things that we have done together and I will always be grateful for the 40 full years we have had. Now, as we adjust to this new phase of our lives, we say “I love you” with greater meaning, we have gained greater patience, we truly do value each day to its fullest.

We were released from our scout callings after 32 years of service. Vic was the Cub Committee Chairman and I was the Pack Trainer. Scouting has been a great part of our lives and we truly have learned and grown from the experiences we had there. Kathy enjoys playing the piano in primary and is working full-time as a secretary for Seminary & Institute. It has been a blessing to have an assignment change and can work in Idaho Falls now – closer to home.

Gene is happier than he has been for awhile. He has found a new job that he likes and enjoys helping Sharon with fix-it jobs around her home. Do I smell a wedding in the future? Maybe… We love it when he is able to come visit and bring his kids. Sydney turned 16 this year – can you believe we have a granddaughter who is 16? And Cole who turned 6.

Kyle built a deck on the front of our house and is also putting on vinyl siding. He is doing a good job and we are so happy with the results so far. Kyle was been so busy this year.  He has been a full-time student for the past 3 years and will graduate on Dec 20 with a Bachelor’s in Construction Management and an Associate in Architecture. Besides that, he is working full-time for the City of Rexburg and is being a good husband and father to his family. We are so proud of him! Kat is a typical “mom chauffeur” with Ashley 11 – who is taking ballet, Kaite 9 – who is in gymnastics, Kami 5 – who is taking ballet and started kindergarten this year, Alyvia 19 months and Kenzey 1 week.

Chris and Chantelle keep very busy with Chelsea 3, and Chayce 5 months. Chris was released as scoutmaster, but still serves on the Roundtable staff. Chantelle is a nursery supervisor over 4 nurserys in their ward.

Devin and Julie are busy with Anna 5 – who started kindergarten this year, Nick 3, and Jane 2 months. They enjoy raising a garden and canning the results. Devin was released from scouting recently and received an Innovation award from where he works.

Mahon and Cindy are enjoying life with Kate 9 months. Mahon  sings Primary songs to Kate in German and Cindy enjoys photography – I think Kate may be the most photographed baby in history. I love it because I have been able to watch her and keep up with her progress on facebook and blogs. But I still enjoy the visits where I can give her lots of hugs and kisses.

Missy and Briant are in their 2nd year of graduate school. Briant interned this summer in Hershey, PA in his hometown. He was offered and accepted a job at Hershey where they will move in July 2014! Hurrah – it will be sad to have them so far away, but we are so happy for them! Andrew is 2 1/2 and enjoys trucks and grandma kisses. I love talking to him on the phone, but wish he weren't so far away. A baby girl is expected in May next year.

May the true spirit of Christmas fill your hearts now and throughout the year.  As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, we are reminded of all the wonderful blessings we have. We are especially thankful for friends and family who share our love and are among our choicest blessings.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

High Wind Warnings

We do live in Idaho so when they say we will have high wind warnings - I don't think too much about it. After all, the wind blows all the time in Idaho. I explain it away to others that it is a great way to rid the air of pollution so we have plenty of fresh air. Note: A good reason to live in Idaho.

But the reason for this blog is that on Monday we did have some pretty high winds. I was at work and received a phone call from Vic. He told me that the styrofoam (that Kyle is using for insulation on our siding project) was blowing out of the pile. I told him that Kyle and I had already thought of that during another windy day and had put a folding table on top of it to hold it down.

Then a second call from Vic during which he told me that he had used some of the chairs on the deck to hold down the pile of foam. I thought that was good that Vic had taken the iniative to go out and insure that the syrofoam was stablized and wasn't blowing any more.

What a surprise when I arrived home and was immediately usherred out to the back deck and noticed the pile of styrofoam - very haphazardly piled with chairs and boards all over it. That's my Vic!!!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Familly Reunion

Wow! We had a great time at our Family Reunion! It was good to be with our kids and grand kids. We enjoyed just sitting around talking and much, much more. We just enjoyed being together. It was good to have Missy here from Pennsylvania, but we missed Briant! Here are some of the highlights as I remember them:

We all gathered at Kyle & Kat's place. Of course, everyone backed in as they arrived - a Baldwin family thing. Let me insert right here and now that Kyle & Kat were great host and hostess for the weekend of fun! They had plenty of room and if we forgot something, were very willing to offer more. I know I brought chicken and Kyle added more from their freezer so we would have enough.

The babies were a big hit: Kate at 4 months was really fun to play with. She had cute smiles for everyone and loves to cuddle. She is a fun baby and we had fun passing her around. Chayce at 2 weeks was also fun. We all had a turn at holding him, I especially noticed that Sydney loved to hold and cuddle him. And you can ask Missy if you should bounce a baby just after he has been fed. HaHa! Watching Mahon with Kate is always a real treat - you can see the love and tenderness in his eyes as he holds her, plays with her, shows her off. He is a great dad! And Livy is so good - she sits in her high chair while her mom prepares food and cleans up. She is a happy girl.

The kids had a great time on the trampoline and on the new swingset Kyle built. They were always on the go and tired at the end of the day. And the pipe was a big hit (see Missy's blog) - even the big kids enjoyed that one. It was fun to watch the cousins play with each other. And a ride on the 4-wheeler is a must!

Ashley enjoyed telling jokes and I tried to remember a few good ones. "If a rooster lays an egg on the top of a roof, which side will it roll down?" Answer: roosters don't lay eggs. "If a plane crashed on the border of the United States and Canada, where would you bury the survivors?" Answer: you don't bury survivors. And of course, Vic's favorite: "If 33 and 1/3 cents is a third of a dollar what is a third of a dollar and a half?" Answer: 50 cents.

We enjoyed games: Gene brought his bow and enjoyed shooting that. I know that everyone needs a hobby and it is good that Gene loves archery. He has also taught his kids how to shoot and takes Sydney and Cole to competitions. Hobbies are a fun stress reliever. I enjoy jigsaw puzzles (see Kat's blog) so we had contests with 24-piece puzzles. I think we will do that again.

We ate good! I enjoyed cooking with Chris and Kyle. We cooked on the stoves in dutch ovens and on grills. For breakfast we had pancakes, sausage, eggs, and hash browns. For dinner we had dutch oven potatoes and catalina chicken - yummy! I enjoy visiting as you are cooking - the best talks happen while you are working together.

One of the biggest highlights of the reunion was that our 40th anniversary fell on the Saturday of the reunion. I asked Kat to make a banana nut cake (which was what our original cake was). It was so yummy. The kids surprised us with a mirror etched with the Logan temple and the date of our marriage. Thanks to all of you for making our day special!

Then on Sunday Chayce was blessed. We all gathered for a picnic afterwards! It was good to see Chantelle's family again.

Yes, it was a busy weekend; but a very happy weekend! Thanks to all who made it special!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Family Home Evening

In our Ward, we have Family Home Evening once a month with a group of couples. Ironically, we are called the "Empty Nesters." Vic & I were invited to "Empty Nesters" before we were officially living without children at home. The couple that invited us told us they had a special speaker and we "wouldn't want to miss this one." Then if we chose, we could continue coming and if we didn't want to, we weren't obligated. Well, we enjoyed it and the first thing we knew we were on the list to be hosts once a year in our home. That was 6+ years ago and we are still attending.

Vic and I are probably, no, we are the youngest couple there. Most of the others have filled missions as Senior Missionaries. We have watched as our group has dwindled as some of the men of the group have passed on and their sweethearts have moved on to join another group in our ward - the widows group. They meet every Monday night and enjoy the association with each other. We have also watched as new couples have moved in and have joined our group.

Well, over the years, we have had a "Cowboy Poet" in our midst. He often recites poems that he has memorized. I am so amazed at the fun poems he chooses and recites. Last night, Monday, we were privileged to hear yet another of his poems. What fun we had as we listened to him - for over 5 minutes (it was a long poem and he remembered it all). We were also very blessed to have another friend there to sing and play his guitar. He also leans towards the Cowboy side of things and is an accomplished Yodeler. When was the last time you heard someone yodel? Well, he must have sung 6 songs that had yodeling. Both of these guys go regularly to Cowboy gatherings and perform there. How lucky we are to have them as friends.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Mixed feelings

Today, I am happy yet sad; excited yet deflated; anxious yet scared; knowledgeable yet unknowing. In other words I have mixed up feelings.

I now have keys to the Idaho Falls Institute and the Idaho Falls Seminary and I do not have keys to the office in the Hinckley on the BYU-I campus. I now have a laptop for work to carry around between programs.

I will no longer have 40-minute drives to work, but will miss listening to books on CD during those drives. I definitely won't miss those drives on snowy mornings or in the dark. I like being closer to home.

I have trained the secretary that will take my place and have been given training for my new position.

But, each time I start new things, I am a little anxious until I get the hang of things. Wish me luck!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Another catch up????

I had plans this year of doing a blog a little more often - so far that hasn't happened. So I will do another catch up entry.

Maybe one reason I don't have time to work on blogs is because I have been spending a lot of time on "Memories of Home". Since my last "catch up" I have finished 2005, 2006, 2007 and am currently working on 2008. 2008 was such a big year - lots of events: 3 weddings, 2 new grandbabies, 2 funerals, etc. So I have gathered and gathered and gathered information before I printed. I am making a lot of progress - still more to do before the finished product. I guess what I am trying to say is that I enjoy it more than a lot of other things I should be doing. 2008 is all but done now - I have printed it and just a few minor changes to fix. Now I can move on to 2009

Brother Belnap is a friend I work with. His birthday is April 19 - he is just a couple of months younger than me - he was born the same year. He is a tease and is constantly reminding me of how old I am and we have a good laugh about it. Well, this year and a couple of years ago, he put signs on my office door "Where's my cane?" "O2 in use" "Speak loudly". So I pay him back and put signs on his door. This year was special in that I didn't plan to be there on his birthday so I put them up the day before. When he arrived (before 5:00 a.m. - he is an early bird), the janitors stopped him in the foyer and asked him if he was OK. They kept telling him that he looked a little pale and that they were there to help him to get to his office. He wondered what was going on until he got to his office and realized that the signs said "Do you want to borrow my cane?" "What did you say? - speak loudly", etc. Hurrah, I got him back.

Baby Kate was blessed. See Cindy's blog for pictures. Mahon gave her a beautiful blessing. She is a beautiful baby. I love her hair and her wide eyes. She is truly a miracle baby. We traveled to Utah and enjoyed time with the kids there. They were all there except Missy.

Then on Monday, the day after the blessing, we were in Ashton. We enjoyed playing with Kyle's girls: sending Kaite off to school, and helping with breakfast while Kyle & Kat were with Ashley. Ashley got her tonsils out. See Kat's blog for pictures. We drove home in a wind storm - so much dust was in the air.

We watched the movie "Secretariat". Brother Matt Taylor, one of my many bosses, has a movie poster of Secretariat on his office wall. I asked him about it and he told me I needed to watch the movie and watch for why I thought he would promote that movie. Well, Secretariat was a horse who won the Triple Crown in 1973. As they were training him, the owner told the horse "You do your part and I'll do mine." That is all we can do when we are teaching. We provide the right atmosphere and the spirit does the teaching. Great movie - we enjoyed it. The Kentucky Derby was coming up so we watched it. Orb came from behind and won just as Secretariat did in 1973.

Mother's Day - I always wanted to be a mom and a secretary and I got to do both. Being a mom was the greatest achievement I have ever done. I love my kids and now my grandkids. They are the best jewel in my crown (if I get a crown). Vic bought me a hanging basket and I got phone calls from all the kids. Chris brought me a Bonsai plant - guess I will learn how to care for that too.

We had Stake Conference and were counseled to be "Deeply Converted."

On May 25th we (I) planted part of the garden - the peas, onions, carrots, radishes and greens. It rained a lot that week.

May 25th we watched Kaite and Kami do gymnastics. They are really getting good. They were both going at the same time most events - so we had to rely on videos to see it all. It is always fun to be with the kids.

Livy's 1st Birthday was the 26th and we went to Aston for cake and ice cream. She is such a cute baby - so little for her age, but so good natured.

Memorial Day we put flowers on my Grandma & Grandpa's grave in Firth, then stopped to visit Max and Fay Howell, my cousin. We stopped in Shelley to put flowers on Kirt Oler's grave. Then we met Chris and Chantelle for lunch at Sizzlers. We then went to Lincoln to the cemetery and put flowers on graves there too. We spent a few minutes reminiscing about my dad and the fun times we shared with him. Then Chris, Chantelle and Chelsea came over and we put the air conditioners in.

Ashley's ballet was May 31st - "Aladin". We enjoyed being culturally fed. The dancers were all good, and we especially enjoyed Ashley - we had to wait until the end to see her, but worth the wait.

The tulips in the garden were beautiful this year, the lilacs were gorgeous. then mid-June when the peonies and irises were blooming, it was especially pretty.

Congratulations to Kyle for getting a full-time job with the City of Rexburg. Now they have benefits too. Kyle is working full-time + going to school. He goes early and stays late - fitting work around his classes. We are so proud of you Kyle. He will graduate in December.

June 8th I planted corn, beans and set out the tomatoes and peppers. The corn and beans were barely coming up when it froze on the 15th. Perfect timing. My mother always said to watch for a 10th of June frost - this year it came on the 15th.

Vic and I went to the movie "17 Miracles". It was about the handcart pioneers - very good. The first movie we have gone to in a long time.

June 9th was Kyle's birthday and we headed for Ashton for cake & ice cream. The girls were all wearing shirts alike - they had stuff written on them. I didn't even read them - until Kaite pointed it out to me. Hers said "There are 5 of us". I said "There are only 4 of you". Then Ashley showed me her shirt and it said something about 5 too. So I looked at Kat and she had a funny smirk on her face. Then I got it. That was a fun way to announce it - too bad I am so slow and didn't notice.

Chantelle's baby shower - I guess I had better finish the quilt.

Missy moved to Hershey and really misses her family. I talk to her almost every day. Andrew is growing up so fast and I am missing it. Can't wait until she comes in July for a visit.

I have been transferred to Idaho Falls. I really loved my job in Rexburg (except the drive). I asked if I could move to IF when the secretary there retired. So I have been cleaning out my office and training  a new secretary. I am going to miss working in the Preservice Program (teaching students how to be seminary teachers), but I will be closer to home. I won't have a 40 minute drive twice a day and I will be able to come home for lunch.

Devin and Julie are having a girl - Jane Lael Baldwin. Congratulations! She is due in October, but may come early. See Julie's blog for details.

Well, until my next catch up. HaHa!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Eight to Three and Counting

We have eight granddaughters and three grandsons + two more grandchildren due this year. So I got thinking  about the day I found out that I was going to be a grandma. Gene and Betty married just three months after his mission (November 1996) and soon called to tell us that Sydney was on her way. I had a hard time thinking about being a grandma. I told Gene that "I wasn't even used to being a mother-in-law yet." But it didn't take long before we were hooked. Sydney Katherine arrived in August 1997 was named after her Grandpa Sydney Pendle and Grandma Katherine Baldwin.

Vic often says "If I knew how much fun being a grandpa was, I'd have done that first." or "Grandparents are God's gift for not killing your kids."

But the second took her time coming. We waited for 5 years before Ashley Nicole joined the ranks in September 2002 as our second granddaughter, followed by Kaitlyn Bonnie 2 years later on Pearl Harbor Day December 2004. Ashley's middle name is the same as her mother's middle name. Kaitlyn's middle name is Bonnie after her great Grandma Baldwin.

So - we have three grandchildren - all girls. But if you wait long enough. . . Cole Hazen was born on 16 October 2007 - Hazen & Guila Olsen's (his great grandparents) wedding anniversary. He was followed 6 months later (April 2008) by Kamryne Lily who was named after her Great Great Grandma Lillie Rebecca Robinson. And followed 6 months later by Anna Beth (October 2008) who was named after the Anna's in the family and great grandmother (Beth). So now there are 6 grandchildren, 6 children and 6 spouses (until Gene & Betty divorced, and then it was 5 spouses). We thought it was interesting that we had 5 sons and 1 daughter and had 5 granddaughters and 1 grandson.

2010 brought 2 more: Chelsea Ramona (Ramona is Chantelle's and her mother's and grandmother's middle name - 4 generations of Ramonas) born in September and Nicholas Olsen (Nicholas after his great, great grandfather Nicholas Thomas Henderson and Olsen after his father, Devin's, middle name and his grandmother Baldwin's maiden name) in November. Now the count is 5 granddaughters to 2 grandsons.

But wait - 2 grandsons in a row? Wow! Andrew Michael Giles was born the day after Missy's birthday - June 22, 2011. The count is evening up a little 6 to 3. Interesting sidenote: 3rd grandson - 3 is Vic's favorite number; and 9th grandchild - 9 is Kathy's favorite number.

Alivia Kylie (named after Kyle) was born in May 2012. We are up to 10.

Number 11 - Cynthia Katherine (Cynthia after her mother, grandmother, great grandmother and great great grandmother - 4 generations of Cynthias, and Katherine after her Grandmother Baldwin) was born 25 March 2013. The score is 8 girls to 3 boys.

2013 will be a big year: #12 will be born in July and #13 in October - the closest spacing so far - three in one year. We are excited each time we add another - we love them all.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Catch Up

I am so far behind so I thought I would just add a few highlights of the past few months:
  • Hosted Empty Nester's FHE. Had Jeremiah Martin (in our bishopric and also a Seminary teacher) speak. Enjoyed learning about Moroni's visit to Joseph Smith and how he laid out the whole plan of the restoration at that time.
  • A Winter storm in January when we got a foot of snow & I stayed home from work.
  • the battery died in the car, the van wouldn't start and we had to get a ride to church. Brrr!
  • I received a copy of Mahon's mission pictures that he uploaded to Dropbox and I actually enjoyed the technology of downloading them a half hour later (it took 1/2 hour to upload and only a few minutes to download them to my computer).
  • A steak dinner with Vic to celebrate my birthday and phone calls from all the kids, siblings and friends
  • Boyd is engaged to marry Rachel.
  • A semi accident on the Snake River Bridge that blocked traffic for 12 hours and I had to detour to get to work. I now know a shorter route than I took that morning (I went 30 miles, could have done it in 15).
  • Chris & Chantelle are having a boy! due in July. Congratulations!
  • Kaite's operetta - Three of a Kind - March 10
  • Enjoyed Kyle's handiwork of the tile around the wood stove in his basement.
  • March 17 - Kathy talked in Sacrament Meeting on "Living a More Christ-like Life".
  • Finished 2003-2004 of "Memories of Home". I read and reread all of Mahon's mission letters. What a great, testimony-building experience. Two years down, eight to go.
  • I will have a new assignment (for work) next year in Idaho Falls. I am so excited not to have to drive to Rexburg every day.
  • We had a new granddaughter - Cynthia Katherine (Kate) born March 25, 9 lbs. 8 oz and 21 in. long. We are so excited for Mahon & Cindy. I believe her birth and Cindy's health are the biggest miracles of our family this year. She is a real doll with all that dark hair! That makes #11 for us - the 8th granddaughter.
  • enjoyed movie, popcorn, and games with Ashley, Kaite, Kami, and Livy while Kyle & Kat enjoyed an anniversary date.
  • The best kind of April Fool's Joke from Devin: "Julie's not pregnant. April Fools." She's due in October - congratulations!
  • Went to Utah to visit - Devin and Julie invited us down to watch conference with them. We enjoyed our time there and meeting our new granddaughter. Vic went to Priesthood with 3 of his sons: Devin, Gene, & Mahon.
  • Kami's 5th birthday. I still can't believe she is 5.
  • Enjoyed the u tube video of Devin and Gene putting together a swingset in Devin and Julie's yard.
  • Puppy sat Esau for Chris & Chantelle while they went to Canada for Chantelle's sisters mission farewell.
  • And last, but not least, I love talking to Missy on the phone almost every day. I love it when I hear the words from Andrew "Hi Grandma".
These and many more things have been keeping us busy. I am finding it a real challenge as I continue to work on "Memories of Home". As the kids have married and started families of their own, it  is harder to collect photos, etc. But the days of digital cameras makes collecting them a bit easier. I am enjoying following them on Facebook and blogs and check almost every day - I am a little disappointed when they don't post. So keep up the good work, kids. Thanks for all the fun times over the last few months.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Christmas 2012

Christmas Traditions have always been important in our lives. When I was a little girl, some of our traditions included having a Birthday cake on Christmas eve for my dad. My mom always tried to keep his birthday an important occasion for him. Other traditions included an orange in the toe of our sock and the rest of the sock being filled with hard tack candy and nuts. To take a little of the edge off our anticipation, we were allowed to open one gift on Christmas eve. We always went to Grandma Robinson's for Christmas dinner. After dinner was over, we opened our gifts from Grandma. She usually gave us underwear or socks. My mom liked to make peanut brittle and carmels.

Vic remembers spending Christmas eve with his Grandpa & Grandma Cozzens. There were 5 families - grandma & grandpa Cozzens and 4 of their children that all lived by each other. They all got together for gift giving and singing on Christmas Eve. They all had Christmas dinner separately in their own homes.

When we started raising our family, we started a few traditions of our own. We continued the tradition of having an orange in the toe of our socks and took away the candy and nuts (too messy). We had Christmas dinner with my parents because they lived close. We sometimes had it at their house and sometimes at our house. One year when Gene was little, we did make it to Montana and shared Christmas with the Baldwin family. After Vic's dad retired, he spent a few Christmases with us here in Idaho. Other traditions included setting up the nativity on the first Monday of December, driving around to see the lights on the last Monday before Christmas, and we "drew Buddy names" because the kids only had to buy one gift instead of a gift for each of their brothers and sister. We made carmels & fudge and peanut clusters for my dad's birthday.

When our boys were on missions, we tried to send a chocolate orange (the real ones would spoil).
As our kids started getting older and getting married, our traditions have changed to keep up with the kids. We still have a Christmas dinner - mostly on Christmas eve so the kids can have Christmas to set their own traditions. The kids still draw "Buddy names" so they buy a nicer gift for one of their siblings. The biggest change has been for Vic and I. We still hang up the socks and Santa puts an orange in it. We still put up the nativity and drive around and see the lights. In 2011 we started a new tradition. Chris and Chantelle invited us to spend the night. We did it a week before because they spent Christmas with the Johnson family in Utah. But we pretended it was Christmas eve. We woke up to gift opening with their family and a nice Christmas dinner.

This year Kyle and Kat invited us to spend the night. We had a wonderful Christmas eve dinner with their family and Chris & Chantelle. We watched the girls open their Christmas pajamas on Christmas eve and sang songs. We hung our stockings alongside Kyle's family stockings and Santa found us there. There were chocolate oranges in the toe. The next morning was very nice as we watched their family as we all opened gifts and enjoyed the fun. We had Cinnamon rolls & later a nice crock pot casserole and played games. We definately enjoy this new tradition of spending it with our kids. Christmas is more exciting with kids around and we had a great time this year.

We left Kyle's house and spent a few hours with Chris, Chantelle & Chelsea - mostly putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

Unfortunately, I am having trouble getting pictures to load. So check out Kat's blog - there are plenty of great shots there.

Dad and I had our share of gifts too. The only thing dad wanted was socks so that is what he got. He gave me sweaters. We also gave each other a record player, CD player, cassette player.
Thanks to all those who gave us gifts:
Book of Mormon commentarys and a dutch oven cookbook from Kyle and Kat
Kathy got an oven mitt & glass stick ons from Ashley and Kaite
Vic got an insulated cup and a caribineer hook from Ashley and Kaite
Hickory Farms meat and cheese from Chris  and Chantelle
Spot it game for Vic from Devin and Julie
"The Ugliest Sweater" book for Kathy from Devin and Julie
Devin and Julie also sent peanut clusters because it was my dad's 100th birthday
Fruit breads and hot chocolate from Mahon and Cindy
Sugar free candy for Vic from Missy and Briant
A jigsaw puzzle - a collage of family pictures for Kathy from Missy and Briant
Hazen and Guila story telling disk from Pam

We all had a great time together. Thanks to all!!!

The most important part of Christmas is remembering Christ's birth. We have read the nativity story from the time we were children, through the time we read it to our children and now we watch as our children read it to our grandchildren. Merry Christmas Jesus!