Dec 10, 2019

Christmas Lights

Ever since Dog Walker was in double digits, he has been the one to decorate our home for the holidays. He loves making an amazing light display for the neighbors and people will often drive slowly down our street just to see his magic.

These lights run all the way around our kitchen... I'm guessing about 80 feet of lights, garland, and candy canes.

But you all know that this year the Dog Walker has been concentrating so hard on finishing up his BS degree that he only had a couple of hours while we were in Canada to put up a few lonely strands of lights on the outside of the house. Fortunately, the kids have all picked up their efforts on the inside of the house and things are looking pretty festive here.

It takes the entire rail to get all 12 stockings up for the kids. The kids know that they will always be here with us.
So I thought I would share a few of our inside lights with you just so you know that we still love Christmas and the light of Christ burns brightly on the inside even if it is difficult to see sometimes on the outside.

I made this advent calendar back when Bossy and The Beast were both still in diapers.
Sport and Drama Queen put up the Snow Villages and my sweetie took care of the trains. Fortunately, this is a prelit tree and all we had to do was pull down the bag and plug it in. It took us about 2 weeks to finally get all the ornaments on it...

What kind of kid doesn't want to decorate a Christmas tree???

Only mine, apparently.
Things are very busy here and we are loving the season just like we always do. It just doesn't show up as much on the outside this year. Happy Christmas, everyone!

Dec 8, 2019

Guest Blogger: The Book for Capstone by the Dog Walker

And now, this is the moment you've all been waiting for! I have finally been able to get my story all written and illustrated! This is the first book that I ever wrote to have a professional hard cover. This is a new series book that I came up with. I'm pretty sure you might like to know what the name of this book series is called, or you can probably tell from the picture of the book.

Samy Kind is a character that I came up with when I was a kid, because I thought there weren't many characters that would have "Kind" for a surname or even a character that would show kindness. And now at this moment, I'm planning to write a series about him. This is considered the third volume of the series. And there's a reason why that is.

It was a long progress to write the story and draw the pictures. Then Mom and Drama Queen helped me with some editing because I didn't quite understand why it was a big deal, until they told me that my story had to show evidence about what autism is really like. As an adult now, it's quite hard for me to go back to acting like a kid with a little bit of confusion, curiosity, or even some untreated speech therapy. So after I finished writing the story, and digitally drawing the pictures, I had Drama Queen and Mom check on my story to make sure it was all ready before the Capstone event that happened on the 3rd of December.

 After all the story was finished, Drama Queen and Mom went onto the Shutterfly website to try to make my book look professional like any other book. It was a long and hard progress for them, because the Shutterfly formatting is a bit tricky with Docs formatting. Every page had to go in one at a time. When they finally were able to get it all on Shutterfly, sadly, it wasn't going to come the house until the day after the Capstone event. It got me and Mom worried about that, because I was so excited that when it was ready, and I could show it to the judges.

We ended up hoping and praying that it would come sooner after my mom made desperate contacts with the Shutterfly company to try to send it over to us. They promised to help us, but after all the shipping that went around for the whole week, all we ended up getting were my illustrations laid out on photo sheets. At least it was still better than having nothing at my Capstone display to show the judges.

By the time the event came, I still didn't get the book, so instead I used my laptop to show my book like an ebook. I set up the illustrations all around my table, along with my other things that I planned to use. I took my turn to present my PowerPoint presentation about the process I did throughout the semester. I got a lot of positive reviews from the judges. As a matter of fact, all of them said that they loved the presentation I made and they thought my message was inspirational. And another thing they told me...THEY WANT A COPY OF MY BOOK!

Even though we were a little disappointed that my book didn't make it to the event, everyone did tell me that they really liked the way I set up the booth and that I got to show them all the hard work I put in throughout the semester. Mom and Dad were so proud of me for showing all the hard work I did on the story. On the day after the event, the shipping was showing either still packed or en route. Maybe the production teams was slacking off on trying to get my book shipped to the house.

Finally, my mom got a message that they said it would come by Monday. But coincidentally, Scout, Teach, and Twizlet, told me that it came just today! I came up to open the box from Shutterfly and it turned out to be the book that I wrote. I was quite surprised about the size of it. I thought it would be like the size of any other chapter book that is like vertically 8 1/2 in and horizontally 5 1/2 in. But, I shouldn't complain or even judge, because a book is still a book, no matter what size it is. Besides, this was a fun process.

Since this is the third book of the series, I'll have to start writing the first two books of the series, but for now, I think I'll have to wait until the holidays are over. I'm really looking forward to getting this book published for everyone, along with my other future books.

Dec 5, 2019

Package for Sister Crafty

I think we have been up to date on Sister Crafty, haven't we? So she has been in the Mission Training Center since October 30, but on Saturday, December 7, she will be flying to the Philippines.  I wanted to send her a box for Christmas, so today we finally got everything into it so I can run it to the UPS store in the morning. For an amazing price, they make sure my missionary will get her Christmas.

I thought you might like to see a pic of our box before I sealed it up. Most of the kids slipped a little something in there before we sealed it up.

I hope she will be very pleased.

Dec 2, 2019

Cutting a Fresh Tree

There are several things I would recommend you NOT do when you are out to chop down your own Christmas tree.

1. Make sure everyone has their snow gear, especially your 14-year-old daughter who somehow missed the memo and showed up in shiny boots and ripped jeans. (It's important to be fashionable, even if you are in the mountains.)

This daughter left her cute new snowpants home, but at least she double layered in jeans and leggings.
2. If that said daughter wants to borrow your brand new insulated overalls, DON'T LET HER!! It may work out that somewhere out in the slick area where the snow is nice and deep, you will trip on a tree branch and find yourself on your butt in the cold and snowy air.

Yeah, when she fell down SHE stayed warm!
3. Buy chains! (This is optional, but make sure your tie downs have the ratcheting mechanism or you will be making an extra quick trip to WalMart that you had not planned.

4.  Keep your own permit with you at all times! If you don't, you might just find that it is locked in your daughter's car, back at Grandpa's house in town. Thankfully, they weren't checking tags too closely on Saturday.

Recognize her from Utah's Adventure Family? That's my cute sister-in-law.
5. If you find a super cool tree with a double trunk, walk away!! It's impossible to cut them cleanly so they stay together and even if you do, odds are it will never make it that way to the truck, let alone on the long trip home tied to the top of your car. On the good side, you now have 2 somewhat scrawny trees to decorate.

But mostly, spend the time with your family and enjoy this beautiful season and all it brings. And have a lovely good old fashioned Griswold... uh I mean Christensen family Christmas!