Dec 31, 2013

Down and Out

I had every intention of posting yesterday. We also had wonderfully fun family time planned that included a similar stay in a cheap hotel like last year. But then I woke up.

I can only recall one other time when I had a headache so badly that I was disoriented and I just wanted to throw up. That was
after Sport was born on his blessing day. Right after he was blessed I took him to the nursing room and then I couldn't even stand up to walk to the car, I was so dizzy. I threw up in the nursing room garbage and my sweetie took me straight to bed. Which was crazy because we had a huge family gathering that day without me. It turned out that I had a middle ear infection and antibiotics took care of the problem.

So yesterday I tried to recover, but every time I opened my eyes the pounding would begin again. I crawled back in bed and pulled the covers over my head to block out the light. I was miserable. My sweetie kept coming in to check on me. "Should I cancel the reservations?" he must have asked me a dozen times. I didn't want to disappoint the kids so I just kept begging him to wait for one more hour.

By 4:00 I could finally open my eyes. I was sweaty and shaky, but at least I could get out of bed.  We decided to postpone the trip until it could be fun for all of us. The kids took the disappointment better than I thought they would. They were all just concerned about me.

As a consolation prize we decided to use our free coupons for Applebees so we all went out to dinner. Can you believe I fed all ten of us at Applebees for $46 and that included a $10 tip for our server? Then we came home and watched Monsters University. I hadn't seen it before, but it was Princess's gift to the family for Christmas. I'm not a Monster's Inc fan, but it was cute and a nice distraction.

When it was over I came in the office to give you an update but our internet service was down. I waited for half an hour and then decided I'd better get some sleep. Thanks for being patient with me. I still want to put up my 4th quarter review, so you will hear from me again later this evening. I hope you all have a Happy New Year!

Dec 29, 2013

Guest Blogger: Belated Light Display of Christmas by The Dog Walker

A Light up Wreath to put on a car
I'm sorry I haven't got to be able to write a post about the holiday display that we have done this year. I was a little worried that it was going to take too long to write, but I guess I could tell you a few things about it. Some of the times, I loved working on the display and some of the other times, I ran out of ideas of what I should put up next. It was a little fun to put up a display that would be appreciated by the neighbors.

A lot of things make people happy, especially people who have been driving right by us. Here's one thing that I'm about to tell you first. Before the week of Christmas, Dad bought something very intense that would be added to our home. He bought a live wreath with a set of battery-operated Christmas lights. He thought it would be cool to add to some of our cars and use them to drive over to Spanish Fork to see the Festival of Lights, just like we do every year.

There is something else new that I bought myself and I added to the display. I bought four different colors of porch lights from the Home Depot to add to the display. Two red and two green. those lights were okay to use, because they weren't part of a big problem that I'm about to tell you right now.

A lot of things, however, have been going a little stressful while putting up the display for the holidays. Whenever I get excited about putting up more lights or blow-ups to be shown to everyone who comes, this crazy and annoying thing happens. The circuit blows itself out whenever I plug in a bunch of lights that would turn on whenever dusk comes.

I've been stressed out about how I'm going to be able to set up a big display without blowing a circuit and making it seem that it's a big deal to kind of overdue the entire thing and try to please the neighbors a lot more. Even along with new lights that Mom buys to add to the display, the circuit still thinks that I'm overdoing it too much and it thinks that I have put on enough lights.

Since I've been so stressed out about how I was ever going to plan to put up lights on the house again next year, Mom and Dad were thinking that they're going to buy a new circuit to add to the house so that it won't be a stressful moment to have around this time of year. I was a little worried about Mom and Dad saying that kind of plan to make for next Christmas, because I know about my parents wanting to save enough money on their bills on every house appliance and everything else that a big family could ever have.

Even though that Dad has a good salary at his job, and Mom has a good job working for Tupperware, they still want to save enough money for their needs and save enough to budget on wants so that we can learn how to manage a life like they do.

I guess that I should get over myself and let Mom and Dad do what they have to do in order for me to not stress or cry over a blown-out circuit on Christmas lights. I hope that you enjoy the rest of this and the pictures I took of the display. I hope you all had a Merry Christmas!

Dec 28, 2013

Family Christmas Party

I know Christmas is over, but I wanted to share just a bit more from our celebrations before we head into the new year.

On Sunday we had our extended family Christmas party. My sweetie made Cafe Rio-style pork and fixings for regular tacos as well. We got everything all set up by the time family started showing up around 5:30, and by the time everyone arrived, we had about 40 people here.

It was crowded and crazy and fun! After dinner we spread paper over the tables and each family was given a gingerbread house kit to complete that my dad generously purchased for us. He even offered a $5 prize to the most creative house!

When we were finished with the gingerbread houses, Santa (aka sweetie) stopped by for a visit. He handed out fun little gifts for each child under the age of 18. I teased Princess a little, reminding her that this was her last opportunity to sit on Santa's knee at the family Christmas party. I think it made her a little sad.

After Santa made his way to the front door, we served up the eggnog shakes and family members exchanged gifts. My youngest brother put together a huge binder for each of us full of family history stories! I have had a little time to go through it and I am very excited to share it with my kids.

It was about 9:00 by the time the last family members climbed into their cars and headed for home. Hosting a Christmas party for my siblings is one of my favorite traditions. Like many families, we just don't get together often enough and I love this excuse to have them all over to catch up on our busy lives.

Did you get a chance to meet up with extended family over the holidays?

Dec 27, 2013

Our Fantastic Christmas Day

I just love Christmas!!

I love everything about the wonderful magical season. Even though this year was busy and crazy (as usual), we spent tons of time together as a family attending concerts and parties, baking and wrapping, shopping and planning.

All of that fun and excitement culminated in a beautiful Christmas morning that started about 7:30 AM. We've had this long-standing rule that the kids can't wake us before 7:00, and since we kept them up late on Christmas Eve, they didn't get up as early as usual. I heard later that Bossy's kids didn't get up until about 9:30!

After tearing through the various packages and being spoiled rotten by Santa, I headed back upstairs for a little nap while my sweetie made Belgian Waffles. Curly, Scout, and Sport all got Legos for Christmas and they were anxious to see if their instruction sheets would actually help them make the promised vehicles and buildings.

I came back downstairs around 11:00 and after sampling my sweetie's delicious breakfast, we opened the rest of the family gifts. Many of the kids had done homemade gifts this year so we took our time, admiring Prima Donna's homemade key chains and Crafty's darling necklaces for the girls and rubber band shooters for the boys. 

Curly put all of his gifts in his Santa bag and handed them out one by one. Baby Doll presented her gifts to each sibling and then helped them open it! They just love the giving part. I only had one child (who shall remain nameless) who was distressed about having to work off the gifts I helped buy. And even s/he came around eventually, made the commitment, and presented gifts.

Bossy and Gamer and their kids showed up around 2:00. Teach had her time to call us from Texas scheduled for 2:30 and none of us wanted to miss that! I haven't had the opportunity to hear her voice since Mother's Day back in May and I knew it would be difficult for all of us, but so nice too.

She called within 2 minutes of her scheduled time. She only had 40 minutes for all 17 of us, so I gave each of the kids a minute to a minute and a half. My sweetie put her on speaker so we could all listen in as she sobbed her way through quick conversations with each sibling. I knew missing Christmas with the family would be the hardest part of her mission, but she managed to stay strong and she and I got the last 13 minutes all to ourselves.

She sent a little box of things for the family, but the gift she sent us that I have enjoyed the most (besides our chat, of course) was this video. I had never seen it before, but it has really made me think about what I'm teaching my own children about love and service to our fellow men and women. 

After our time with Teach, we continued to prepare dinner and the kids watched a new movie. My dad showed up eventually and we exchanged gifts with him as well. He loves making his last stop at our house since he is addicted to my sweetie's rolls.

We all sat down for dinner together around 7:00 and then we cleaned up and visited until it was pretty late. It was a beautiful, happy Christmas day.

I hope yours was the same.

Dec 25, 2013

3rd Quarter Review

I have to confess to feeling a little guilty putting up the link before it is actually completed, thanks for checking back with me to see my real review.

Third quarter was a crazy busy time for us! Summer is always like that. Dog Walker, Princess, and Prima Donna were all going to college full time and that really kept things moving. We had 3 birthdays in June, swimming lessons, the dance recital, and our quest to see concerts for the girls' music class.

Because we are on year-round school, we hardly got any vacation this year. We moved from D track to A track and that only gave us 3 weeks to plan any family time together. The only possible week we had for any type of vacation was the first week in July, so we took advantage of it.

 Our first night took us to Cortez and Mesa Verde. Then it was on to Albuquerque where we spent the 4th of July. The next day we drove to Phoenix, then the Grand Canyon and we spent our final day in Kanab, Utah. It was a fun trip, but very quick.

The girls went to Girls' Camp and on Trek. We spent our Pioneer Day in a fun and different way that I am hoping to make a new family tradition. Then it was back to school for my little ones just as the older kids finished up their college classes.

In August we took our Girl Scout troop to Tuacahn again. They love the theater down there! It is just outside St. George and even though this year we saw an inside show, they were so excited to share that experience.

Probably the biggest change ever for our family this year (besides sending Teach on her mission) was gaining a granddaughter when Bossy and Gamer brought home Fajita from Texas to live with them permanently. 
Crafty completed her Girl Scout Silver Award by making baby quilts for charity, and we celebrated my sweetie's 50th birthday. Sport started playing football again and we put the rest of the kids back in school. Summer came and went so quickly! I try to pack as much family and fun as I can into every day of my life. I don't want to have any regrets. My family is my whole world and I want them to love and serve each other.

This is such a fun link up! Looking back over what we have accomplished throughout the year helps me set new goals and make plans for next year. Now if I could just get it done without wanting to reread everything...

Have a Wonderful Christmas!

I was up until 5:00 AM making pj pants last night and I'm afraid I didn't get a chance to put together a post for you. I was hoping to do my 3rd quarter link up with Emmy and Shell and my other blogger friends, but that didn't happen. I was up again about 8:30. There is just so much to do!! My sweetie insisted I lay down for a quick nap this afternoon, but it's nearly 2:00 a.m. now, and I must confess that I'm tired.

To help make my life easier, my sweetie is helping with this post. He wrote the family history story I promised a few days ago about the sleigh bells.

"A couple of days ago the sleigh bells were mentioned and the story behind them. I’m not entirely sure of the history of the bells before the late sixties and early seventies, but what I do know is that they belonged to my grandfather, and he said they came from a real and actual sleigh. He kept them in a closet under the stairs, and we would get them out and jingle them. 

We loved them because they sounded and looked just like the bells that Santa carried when he came to our church meeting on Christmas Eve. Every year Santa would come and give all of us kids a little sack with peanuts, candy, and an orange, and he always had the same bells that looked and sounded just like my grandfather's bells. 

All of us kids knew the difference between the fake Santa that was at the stores downtown and the real one who showed up at the church on Christmas Eve. He was loving and thoughtful and knew our names and was so sweet. He would often show up at our homes an hour or two after the program. I still remember the time he came to my house and told me he would bring me some Legos later that night...  Sure enough, the next morning there were the Legos! As the years passed, the real Santa must have gotten too busy because one year Santa sounded a lot like Bishop Hardy... and a few years after that I saw bishop Hardy come and borrow the bells from Grandpa a few hours before the program... 

My mom eventually got the bells from her Dad, and I borrowed them to play Santa once. After a few years of that they just stayed with me and my Santa suit.. Which is perfect because they look and sound just like the real Santa’s bells."

We hope you have a wonderful happy Christmas full of love and laughter.

Dec 23, 2013

Post Number 1000

Can you believe that I am actually writing my 1000th post?!

The pressure of trying to do something cool and important is terrible! Prima Donna is in the kitchen sweeping the floor and shouting out ideas. She suggested that I reminisce a little bit about what prompted me to start writing in the beginning and talk a bit about how the blog has evolved over the last 3 years.

I started blogging about 4 years ago in a private blog Drama Queen set up for our family so I could keep everyone informed of activities and upcoming events. I wrote once a week around Sunday or Monday. It was fun and it got my creative juices flowing again. I remembered that I loved writing!

Then Bossy graduated from college and was having a hard time getting a job. That's when we created Twelve  Makes A Dozen. At first it was a collaborative effort between the two of us. I did the writing and she did all the technical stuff. I think I paid her about $20 a month for her assistance. Since she wasn't working, we enjoyed the time together thinking up memes and trying out ideas like Food for Thought and Friday Freebies.

At first my sweetie was terribly nervous about letting people know who we were, so we created the blog names for each of us. But as the months slipped by he became less worried and he bought me a camera and allowed actual pictures of us rather than just clipart. I thought about using our regular names, but by then we all identified with our blog names and our real names are so similar I thought it would be harder for people to remember who I was talking about.

I think at first Bossy and I were hoping to go viral and make piles of money on our little project. It didn't happen. I spent way too much time visiting other blogs and trying to bring people by to see mine. After a while I realized that I needed to live my life, not just write about it. That freed me up to stop trying to please other bloggers and just write what I know which is all about family. We stopped our memes and I quit spending hours looking for followers. I found a little local advertising group that pays a tiny amount  and I settled into just writing a quick  post every day. I still visit a few other blogs, but mostly because I have made some friends.

Bossy eventually got a job and left me to my own devices. Teach helped me until she left on her mission, and now it's just me. 

I love blogging and sharing my life with all of you! Thanks for being part of my world. I hope y'all hang around for the next 1000 posts. :)

Dec 22, 2013

Utah's Polar Express Christmas Train

Today the Drama Queen presented us with the second gift of Christmas. She has been planning this for over a month and although it didn't go off exactly as planned, it was wonderfully fun and magical!

Last night Drama Queen came home to spend Christmas with us. She was so excited to share her gift! She had taken the time to create beautiful red train tickets for each of us and then she announced that tonight we would all be driving to Heber so that we could ride on their Polar Express Christmas train. The kids whooped and hollered and could hardly wait!

At 4:30 we piled in the two vans and began the hour or so trip up the canyon. Just before Park City, Bossy and Gamer's van started having trouble. It was overheating and the engine was thumping. This was so troublesome for us because they lost the transmission in their other van just over a week  ago and they had only owned this used van for a few days.

We took them some anti-freeze and a quart of oil and they got a few more miles down the road, but it wasn't long before we realized something was seriously wrong. My sweetie ran us into Heber and then drove back the several miles to pick up Bossy and Gamer's family.

When we were all finally at the depot, we picked up our tickets at Will Call and hunkered down to wait for the train. It wasn't long before we were boarding. Baby Doll could hardly sit still! She was jumping up and down in the seats. She was so thrilled to be sharing this adventure with ALL of her siblings except Teach who is still in Texas.

The train finally fired up and we were on our way! We sang songs and the kids danced in the aisles. We were served hot chocolate and cookies as the train made its way across the valley. After about 45 minutes the train stopped. Shortly afterward, we could see what appeared to be the North Pole with Santa waving madly at the passing children.

A bit later, Santa appeared in our train car and spoke with each child and gave them a bell. We sang our hearts out all the way back to the depot. The girl with the microphone kept everyone involved, she even had the Gym Rat and Dog Walker running up and down the aisles!

When our ride was over, we piled all 18 of us into the 12-passenger van and drove into town to get something to eat. It was almost 9:30 by then and the kids were hungry. They loved this train-themed hamburger joint! In the meantime, Bossy and Gamer called roadside assistance and arranged to have their van towed. That meant we were all in for a long ride home. The Gym Rat offered to ride in the very back with the boys as we all crowded in.

After a fervent prayer for safety, my sweetie drove us slowly home and in spite of the settling fog, we arrived without incident. Tomorrow is our huge extended family party and I still have tons to do. Hope you are having as much fun with your holiday as we are with ours!

Dec 21, 2013

Guest Blog: Girl Scout Christmas Party by Prima Donna

My mom's busy wrapping presents so she asked me to write about our Girl Scout Christmas party today.

I don't know if Mom has told you but Princess is an aspiring baker. She is really good too! She hopes to own her own cupcakery/bakery. So naturally, she's been practicing. Her specialty is cupcakes, but one time she decided to make cake pops for Gym Rat. He is known for his delicious cookies and soon he was bragging to all his friends about how good his sister's cake pops were. He actually brought all of his co-workers some for Christmas.

So my mom had this idea that we would make them for the Girl Scout party. We made them into snowmen and they turned  out so cute and like all snowmen they were all so different and fun. We had some extra cake left so each scout made enough cake drops (cake pops not on sticks) for the people in their families. I rolled one in coconut, and it was so delicious!!

Besides that we made these cute little butterfly necklaces. They were a lot harder to make then I thought they would be.  I finished first so I was deemed the "all-knowing helper" when I honestly couldn't remember how I did it. Oh well. They turned out super cute though.

Mom and Bossy (who is the assistant scout leader) gave us these really cute socks as Christmas presents. I got them and have been wearing them since they're really comfy. We also got some of the Girl Scout patch ornaments we made for Festival of Trees because we didn't end up using all of them. Then all the girls got a candycane from our famous candycane garland and were on their way.

It was such a fun day and a great way to start of the Christmas weekend!

4 Days 'til Christmas!!!!

Dec 20, 2013

That's What Christmas is All About

Curly has a new identity. He wants to be Santa Claus! Young and innocent, he loves being part of anything and everything about the holiday season. He found this Santa hat and the bag, then he filled the bag with some of his own toys. He was so excited that my sweetie let him carry the jingle bells around for a while.

Did I ever tell you about those bells? That sounds like a story for my sweetie to share...

Since Gamer's baptism last week he and Bossy have been so sweet to each other. It is almost like when they were dating. No, scratch that, it's even BETTER than when they were dating. The part you can't see is the mistletoe just above the camera line. Oh, I'm going to be in so much trouble for putting this on the blog! :)

It's so easy to get caught up in all the other parts of the holiday celebrations. And I love the hustle and bustle, the shopping, the cooking, the wrapping, the giving...

Much love and laughter and tenderness, pure and sweet. I love that part of Christmas!

When we remember the life lived by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and we try to be more like him, that is the true beauty of the season. That's what Christmas is all about.

Dec 19, 2013

Singalong and Temple Square

I've been spending so much time living my life that I haven't had much time to share it with you. On Monday night, we headed downtown even though it was pretty foggy and picked up my sweetie from work before we made our way to the Energy Solutions Arena. Sport was having a fit that we were about 30 minutes later than we had planned. You see, at the singalong, they give every person an envelope full of coupons until they run out and he definitely wanted some! Last year each envelope had a couple of tickets to see the Bees play as well as some other fun things.

But it turned out ok because as we slipped through the door, we were each handed a doughnut and one of those coveted envelopes. Imagine our surprise when we opened them to find that each one had two Bees tickets and two tickets to see a Jazz game!! Sport was beside himself with excitement!

While we waited for the event to begin, my sweetie and I headed for the concessions stand. We had heard that there were reduced prices just for the event, but we had no idea that we could each get a hot dog, a bag of chips, and a drink for only $3.50. Even I can afford that much once in a while for a fun and easy dinner. So we fed all the kids. The girl behind the counter about passed out when we told her we wanted 15 of the dinner specials!

The show was fun and exciting. There was lots of singing and the special guest was Kurt Bestor. I love his music! Then Santa showed up and it was actually our neighbor who does such a terrific job; real whiskers and everything. When the singalong was over, we hopped on Trax and stopped at City Creek. The kids were excited to see the window displays with the huge ornaments made out of candy.

Then it was off to Temple Square. The only trouble was that some of our girls were freezing. They really hadn't dressed for the weather and they were just miserable. After about 10 minutes, we parted company with Bossy's family and they (who had hats, coats and gloves!) got to see ALL the lights while we made our way back to the van.  (Do I sound a little bitter? I'm sorry...) But I do love Christmas lights.

I just love that family time and all the fun things we can do together! Now if we could just figure out how to clean the house together and get the same level of enjoyment...