family pic

family pic

Sunday, December 28, 2008

a palm tree obrien christmas uncharacteristicaly done

As many of you know our little fam took off to palm springs for the christmas holiday.(for those of you that didnt know we did not post it, afterall the blog is still public which brings up a whole 'nother topic about to or not to go private!)

we started out on our journey on sunday the 21st. the drive was pleasant, kids were quiet and uncharacteristicaly good. we got to vegas in good time where we checked into the monte carlo (would not recommend!) for a little rest stop off before we headed all the way to springs palm as saylor would say it. the highlights of our sin city visit included but was not limited to these .... (after all what happens in vegas stays in vegas .... oh come on what can you really do with 3 kids at your hips!)

a trip to the bellagio gardens a must do on audrey's list. to seek inspiration and enjoyment and oggle at the enormous floral creations like this family of snowmen built out of white carnations.

and of course there was a visit to the fountain show to see the dancing waters that grace the front side of the already named and desired hotel bellagio, one stop on the way into the gardens and one on the way out. saylor was initially afraid of the dark waters and couldnt grasp the imagery of what we were trying to explain would happen, until of course it happened and then there was sort of an again again theme. we also almost got kicked out of our spot that we had strategically waited in by an onery and rude elderly woman! the nerve ........

we topped off our appetites at the ESPN zone grill. the boys were in sports heaven with 12 huge huge huge screens of sports for their eyes to feast on and our own little private flatscreen at our table that worked like that of an iphone but sports like. pretty happy fellas.

the next morning we slept in, had mcdonalds for breakfast (what would a road trip be without a little mcdees for morning chum?) and headed out to springs palm. pleasant drive where nate realized the speeding capabilities of our new little scion and a deserted desert road. our shortcut typically takes us 3-4 hours to get to springs palm from vegas, but going over 100 most of the way got us there in 2.5. there was no vommiting and yet again the children where very uncharactersitically good. hmmmmm storing up?

we arrived to a sunny but still a little chilly springs palm where glen greated us with eagerness. my dad joined us later that night. for the next few days the kids & nate swam, and swam, and swam some more. saylor conquered a swimming feet and now does not hold onto us at all. her newfound best friend is named noodle. its fun to see her kick and be on her own, free in the water. a feeling i am sure can be surpassed by little if we could only but feel what she does. My dad cooked up his mothers traditional christmas eve feast and all felt as old. we feasted and feasted and feasted. xmas eve brought a welcome suprise with 3 kids who went to bed early and actually went to sleep, and slept. there was little for me to help santa with seeing how so much was just simply shipped in advance but i rearranged the gifts under the tree and helped santa fill the stockings with love. the girls made cookies and gingerbread houses with my dad the night before and so they set them out with notes of curiosity and love for the big red man. saylor is curious as to why he wears a hat? interesting that child. they also opened their traditional pajama gifts!

then once again seriously uncharacteristic the kids slept in. did not wake until eight. this is what they found.
this christmas magic was there as it always is for the kids and though i was happy to be with my dad and on a mini vacay i wasnt feeling it. perhaps the lack of snow? who knows. christmas morning brough the most desired gifts for each including an orange ipod for our nearly teen daughter, football things of all natures for stock, and a cuckoo clock, a pink one! for saylor. one that got little attention after the initial opening! i suppose that pink DS trumped the cuckoo clock quickly.

nate and i both agreed that this was the year that nothing need be done for each other. finances really didnt allow it and really did we need it? so all that we opened was from parents or the kids. this made it really special actually. the kids picked up some very thoughtful gifts at the school store and we were pleasantly surprised.

with the ending of a year and a little more time on my head (yes i meant head) then usual came some reflection. nate really got me far more than i got him. this man was full of service, and service with heart! no complaining came out of the mouth of the man who really was primarily responsible for entertaining the kids, letting me nap and mope a little, and selflessly giving up one of his cherished activities all the while having it shoved in his face! golfing. the clubs simply would not fit and money did not allow. a far cry from our last visit. he may be the primary reason for cheer in my soul this holiday season.

christmas evening brought a movie for the fam, but split we did so audrey and nate could see something worth while, benjamin button. my dad took the kids too ...

which they thorougly enjoyed. my only unusually intellectual critic slept through it. expensive nap. nate and i spoiled ourselfs with this ...

ok, ok I spoiled myself with this. but nate surprisingly really liked this film! its a long one, that stays with you. its magical and interesting and really well done! loved it.

then there was more swimming, and eating, and swimming, and wii playing. teaching my dad and glen to play wii bowling was a highlight worth the trip as well! i think they like it enough that i wouldnt be surprised to find a wii in the home of these two grown men when we come back for a visit. i think that us being there was best for them and that warmed my heart. i found myself uncharacteristically fighting enjoyment. it took my most of the trip to find out why and then deep in my soul i came to the realization that perhaps my health and the bags of caramel, fries, and burgers that have added 20 something pounds to my body were impeeding my ability to have fun. sad realization. not that i didnt know the extra poundage was there but it really hit my like a ton of bricks in the springs palm house of mirrors. and so with deep regret we headed home and suddenly the usual characteristic emerged.

we flew through the desert as we had before but not without a quick stop at the shoe tree. i have posted before about this interesting tree. but never have we thrown shoes upon it. stocks shoes were worn, and they have horrified nate since their birth anyway so a new pair were purchased solely so we could hang the old pair to rest in piece among its fellow shoes.

this tree got me to thinking though about what a shoe tree is about? really its an embodiment of america. started by a lone soul searching for some sort of release as he lets go of a little of himself to adorn a lone highway type tree. sometimes it catches on and other times it doesnt. what determines that and why i dont know. now the tree becomes a little bit of american history. and so we have addded, the obriens where here. christmas 2008.

and the trip concluded with one speeding ticket, lots of throwing up! a bloody nose, a much needed and necessary in and out pit stop to add to the poundage and everyone back to their good old characteristical selfs. what was really important? this

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

a refugee christmas

So my siblings and my parents have this really great tradition, in fact it got me thinking last night about how much more we could do to help those in need if my other side of the family also participated in something of this nature, or if we all did rather then fuss over silly gifts for each other. every year we pick a charitable cause to contribute our time, money, and energy into rather then buying gifts for each other. this includes the parents buying gifts for us and us for them and siblings exchanges etc. each year a different member of the family is in charge and also picks the cause to which we are contributing. we pool all the money we would have spent, wether its a little or a lot, whatever we have to give that year and we do something more valuable with it. we all know that as hard as times are there is always someone who needs much more then we do.

this year my sister kully picked a family that is here legally through a program for refugees. they have escaped the perils that they faced in burundi africa. they have 6 kids so a family of 8. speak no english and have very little in the way of anything including basic needs like TP, clothing, dishes, bed to sleep on, couches etc... our family was in charge of the gifts for the children and together with my mom and dad clair we picked up a new, cute outfit for each including socks and undies, some accessories and a toy. i also gathered up anything and everything i would consider taking to DI anytime soon and sent that as well. it feels so good to do something meaningful. it feels so good to do whats right and realize that as much as we are hurting right now we arent hurting in near comparison to many others.

on the way home from our family get together to celebrate the season and our efforts to serve i started to worry about what to get nates brother and wife who we have for gifts this year on nate's side of the family. though i like to give to family as i contemplated this task to get done i thought about how much we were able to give this burundi family with what money we would have spent and started to consider what if every extended/big family did this?

below is a picture, one of inspiration, a man in burundi (not the one we helped) in a concocted wheelchair, who is happy to have the simple means he has and be getting some kind of education. he is happy even though his body does not work, he is fighting for life! so amazingly inspirational to me.

merry christmas

Saturday, December 13, 2008

christmas flower arrangements

would you expect anything less from the creator behind studio stems? perhaps that i make them would be more like it ... life just doesnt allow so once again enjoy some inspiration ....

love this arrangement. so etheral. easily done with some birch paper. mind you i was going to mix this one up for you and of course for myself's own decor ... love my writing? anyhow couldnt easily find birch paper and after several stores i gave up. so if anyone finds any, let me know where!

this great design would require a little pale blue paper and some red craft wire. these are amaryllis a seasonally christmasy flower that is divine!

this weekend we ventured to the small town of spanish fork for a fun filled quant family party with my best friend and her getting much larger then mine family. we have been friends for so long, sisters really. most days its rare if we dont talk, unless of course things are as chaotic as they have been lately so it was good to spend some time together and let the kids spend some time together. we watched ELF, one of my favs for the season. in the morning we headed to the spanish fork wrestling tournament where stockton took first place ... again. it was a good rebound and confidence builder from last weeks downfall. we had a good time, i like being there with him. i dont like the seating arrangement, the crowds, or the smell. and sometimes i dont like the people.

things feel more stable and under control with the exception of some intense nausea i am battling along with a double wammy infection of a girl type nature accompanied by a kidney infection. fun stuff.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

a bleak early winter day

so i am blogging on nearly no sleep and wondering if you all will just indulge my sad post of pathetic complaining cause really deep down we know we are so blessed! but these last few months have just been filled with challenges of every nature it seems, i feel desperate to see the bigger picture to draw on its energy but i know its against the rules so i endure, probably not well but i endure.

this is lanette shindurling, nate's "other mother" in many ways! she contributed to the raising of my beloved mate in large quantity and means a great deal to him. She passed away on sunday at her home in midway utah. Nate is just trying to absorb and i am sure passing regrets in his head about why he didnt follow recent promptings to visit. interestingly we read in the scriptures last night with the kids about mourning those you love when they pass. thats what we will do today. mourn.

and we will do it on nearly no sleep. nate stayed out in the cold bleak winter night to work in the garage until nearly midnight. i stayed up studying and working on english until about that time as well (which mind you is stressing me to a deepness!), then to bed only to be woken by a wide awake 5 year old at 4am who refused to go back to sleep because she was haunted by thoughts of a flying elf. let me explain ...

my mom gave my kids this early gift for the holiday season. its a shelf elf. many of you may already participate in this tradition but generally its an elf, with a book that explains what he is. the one rule is you cant touch him or he will loose his "magic"! he watches the children of the house he is in during the holidays and flys home to santa in the night to report and then returns to his temporary home. he moves around the house "magically"! well we read the book and got our elf out of his magic box so now he works and we named him ... "buddy" like from the movie elf they said. anyhow she couldnt stop thinking about the elf. she wanted to see him fly cause i think she is a little spooked by him and unsure, she seems a little anxious to me. so she didnt sleep well thats for sure! so beware of this tradition if you value your sleep and have an inquisitve 5 year old.

why are finances bleak for just about everyone i know? man this economy really bites and why is it that this sort of thing depresses, dont we have each other, we do right that should be enough. i think of my friend who just found out her husbands work is closing and he will be out of a job as of the 23rd, another friend whose husband has work but in idaho and goes weeks and weeks without him, and then we know countless without jobs right now, and then there are so many in our lives including ourselfs that are struggling with serious medical challenges that all come with immense financial challenges wether its a good economy or bad but when its bad its soo compounding. ok i cant take it anymore no more complaining i should restart a gratitude post ... maybe tomorrow.

Friday, December 5, 2008

xmas project ... not done by me

so this is one of the things i was hoping to get to but dont think i will. cute fun project with the kiddos that they cant really screw up. you could use the same glitter/sand mix that i use for everything and modge podge. i think the really white sand is best here though cause it would look so snow glistened. go on a hike and do some work to obtain some free branches or pick some up at the craft store, doesnt matter the color, get the cheapest thing with the shape you want but make sure its made of a wood material and not plastic, it doesnt stick well to plastic. then affix these cute little birds to the branches and insert into tree even looks way cool or in a fantastic container filled with earthy rocks etc.. get creative! i have some branches if any of my peeps would like to come get them to do this project. they are perfect for it and my cost was $15 each bunch.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

paper or plastic

paper first ... so the christmas cards are beginning to pour in! yeah! love this, its one of my fav parts, to see my friends faces and/or words in print. so i had big plans to include a card holder as one of my holiday crafts to share with you but most of my holiday crafts have fallen by the wayside due to the seriously chaotic state i am residing in currently. so rather you get my inspiration pics, those are better anyhow right!

check out our card this year ...

of course created with the help of my uber talented friend megan at pinkpiggy

onto plastic ...

the antics of a darling five year old ...
saylor "mom i know what your made of!"
me "oh really, what would that be?"
saylor "plastic"
me "really, how did you figure that out?"
saylor "well because plastic doesnt break so that must be what we are made of, except of course when we bleed then we are made of blood."

interesting coming from a girl in her circumstances. later that night i put all the kiddos to bed and set up shop to wrap gifts and get a few things done in my room in front of the TV. i was in and out of the room a bit here and there but mostly in my room. an hour or so later i went to check on saylor, to no avail she was not in her room. she crawls off on occasion so i went on safari for her and found her here ...

under my bed on the hardwood floor asleeeeeep!

more plastic in my life ...

the most inconvenient phone of my life has finally arrived in all its plastic glory. clear back mid nov when my phone broke i ultimately decided to buy a phone off ebay and chose the blackberry i wanted brand new but unlocked for a nifty price tag. merry christmas to me i thought! so i got shipping confirmation on nov 20th, i paid for expedited shipping of course, my phone was on its last leg. well the last few days have been full of frustrating phone calls and emails between me, the seller, usps, and ebay. here it is the 3rd. how many days later? are you serious? talk about loosing a package .... holy macaroni! luckily my other phone kind of made it, on its last toe thats for sure. not the best experience!

i could also switch back to paper and go on and on about medical bills and how money donated to PCMC doesnt really help families who really need it, it helps families who live here illegally with no insurance pay docs for kids who have stomach flu! ok ok so it probably helps a few families that really need it here and there but we dont ever get help and i really feel like we really really need it .... anyhow the whole system is political and corrupt and causes me tears on most often occasions including this week. somehow someway it will work out, it always has.

medical update on stock .... did the swallow studies and it has been confirmed that it is indeed severe reflux that has damaged his vocal cords. the radiologist was pretty surprised at the severity considering his age. i still cant believe it! so odd. anyhow we are working on a plan that coincides a big diet change and meds to heal his cords and get this under control! fun stuff!

Monday, December 1, 2008

3 profound books ...

on a seriously controversial note ...

this is a pamphlet published by the church of jesus christ of latter day saints, its focus ... same gender attraction. Controversial topic for these political days we live in. its a must read for EVERY member. my guess is you will be surprised and your perceptions and judgements will change if you read it with sincerity of heart. i suspect it has been available for some time but the knowledge of it has been limited to those who are directly affected by this challenge, yet i think with what is going on politically in this world today it is a must read for every member. we need to change our perceptions, we need to live what we say we believe.

this pamphlet led me to reconsider the depth of a novel i read earlier in the year. actually prior to reading the pamphlet had been thinking about how much better of a novel it was then i originally gave it credit for, why? cause it sticks with me. so it must be so much more to me then i realized. the pamphlet made me realize we all are here at war with ourselves. our physical self vs our spiritual self. let me say that again ... WE ALL ARE HERE AT WAR WITH OURSELVES! we all go to battle over different issues but we are all here doing it, perfecting and overcoming the natural man. this comparison i think is exactly what this book is about.

are we here to see through each other? or to see each other through?

on a lighter seasonal note ...

reading this comic joy to my children for the season. one of my fav xmas stories when i was a kid and i just cant help but read this hysteria to my loved totts. we are really enjoying the antics of the herdmans ... a highly recommended read!

we started our countdown to christmas unwrap one gift each evening tonite. i successfully found the best wrapping paper ever, its printed with pictures like this ...

i aquired it where else but wallyworld! our little present advent calendar allows one member of the family to open one gift per night leading up to christmas. this is all the not so fun stuff to be honest, like clothes. it makes those things a little more exciting though and the countdown a little more fun. this is also a great solution if your traveling for the holidays and your concerned about the logistics/traveling of a load of gifts too and from.