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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

***{Jesus Christ}***

As with every season there is an end, how many of us pack up our charity and good will, with the Christmas decorations? Of all the symbols of Christmas, Jesus Christ is the most important, He is the reason for this glorious time of year. And the most wonderful thing is that He lives!! And yet as winter fades to spring the great day of His birth is forgotten and put aside. So for that reason I waited until after Christmas was done before posting this. Jesus Christ is not like the pretty things we pull out of the box for December and then put away again. He is the reason we are here, He is the reason that our salvation has been paid for. Because he was born we can live again
It's hard sometimes for me picture Jesus Christ as a child, mostly because there is not much said about him. But His birth holds so much meaning!

"... a manger is a box made to hold food for animals, a feeding trough! ... I imagined a manger filled with oats that beasts of burden hungrily devoured. They, like me, would eat and in a few hours want more. No matter how nutritious earthly fare is, it is never enough. The next day, even the next hour, the stomach growls for more. In my mind’s eye I saw hands brushing away the last few oats. The same hands filled the manger with fresh straw and placed the Babe in the feeding trough. Words leaped to mind: “He that cometh to me shall never hunger” and “He that eateth of this bread shall live for ever” (John 6:35, 58). The heavenly fare offered in the manger was not only eternal but capable of lifting us to God. How fitting that Mary should cradle her son, the Bread of Life, in a manger.

I thought of Mary, His mother. The intense emotion of birth was familiar to me, but Mary was the mother of God’s child. I thought of the joy and the sorrow she bore and wondered what her feelings were as she wrapped the Son of God in swaddling clothes.
Oh, the swaddling clothes! As Mary beheld Him in the manger, did her heart race with premonitions of a time when she would see Him wrapped in linen and laid in another cave, called a sepulchre? In a stable-cave Mary gave Jesus mortal life, and from a sepulchre-cave Jesus came forth to give Mary and all mankind immortal life. Both caves are mortal reminders of Jesus’ condescension, or of His descending “below all things” (see 1 Ne. 11:16; D&C 88:6).

His condescension is difficult to understand. He was God “but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Philip. 2:7). The same verse in the Greek New Testament does not mention reputation but instead says that He “emptied himself.” He was God, yet He emptied himself of power to begin anew, growing from grace to grace. He was the Word, and yet He came as a wordless infant. He was the Almighty One, and yet helplessly He took nourishment at Mary’s breast. He was King of Kings, and yet He came as the servant of man. He, the great I Am, condescended to be the beast upon which all burdens would fall, born among animals at Passover time.

I thought of the significance of the Passover. As families throughout the land prepared their symbolic meal of lamb, the Lamb of God was being born, and because of His living and His dying, the nullifying effects of death would pass over us." {Ensign 1998 "The Bread of Life"}

I hope that through out this next year we keep the Savior close to us. Remembering that because of His birth, His death, and His resurrection, we can live again with our Heavenly Father.

{Pictures by Joseph Bricky and Del Parson}

Thursday, December 25, 2008

HO, HO, HO, Merry Christmas!!! Our festivities started with seeing Santa at the mall... can I tell you... DISAPPOINTING! I took a couple pictures and then... nothing. That's right nothing. So we left. {Do you see the faces of the boys}

On to better things! James was really worried that Santa wouldn't be able to come in our house because we didn't have a fireplace. So we made one. And what is a fireplace without stockings? So we added those, but not until they dried for a day. Tommy wanted to make mountains with his glitter glue.

Fortunately, Santa came back to redeem himself Christmas Eve. {Notice Tommy's cap}
The biggest treat of the evening was Steve reading "T'was the Night Before Christmas" That's one of our traditions Christmas Eve, and it was one that we didn't want to miss. So the phone was on speaker while Steve read and the boys looked at the pictures. {you can see the phone in Tommy's hand}
Christmas morning started bright and early. {much to early for me, and the boys could not be talked into snuggling for any amount of time} So we made our way down stairs to excitement and joys of Christmas morning.
I tried to get the boys to stay in one general area so that the video camera could be on them. Isn't this picture of Tim just great!
After presents we had breakfast. The rule about Christmas breakfast is that you have to eat a muffin and a piece of fruit, and then it's free game to what ever anyone wants to eat {the ginger bread house, chocolate from the stockings, and candy canes from the Christmas tree}. Christmas Eve I spent the day baking.... muffins, and cinnamon rolls, which my the way if they are WAY better if you add the carmel bottom to them, so we has a lot to eat.

As you can see Tommy ate his muffin and fruit and attacked the ginger bread house. Well no the house really just the candy on the house.
Here is James being James. When ever I ask him to look at me, he turns and looks at me with his huge eyes, opened even wider.
Here is Tommy attacking the ginger bread house. {What am I going to do with him?}

Because I don't sew, even though I wish I did.... maybe I should learn. Anyways, my mom made the boys these fabulous pj's and matching quillows to go with. Well what a great time to take some cute pictures. Here are the boys being serious

Here is a good one by the Christmas tree.

Here is the true essence of my children. Looking at the camera with their finder in there nose. The picture only a mother can love.

All in all it was a really good day, and the boys were completely worn out at the end of the day. Curled up in their new blankets and jammies watching a movie. It was a day filled with fun, smiles and laughter.

...The ginger bread house never stood a chance...

Monday, December 22, 2008

... And {Tommy} in his cap...

Tommy and James were in a little preforming group called Show Biz Kids where they would sing and dance. {I'll blog about all that after Christmas, James is made for acting and Tommy is such a ham!!}

Anyways, one of the songs was "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" and with that they wore these cute little night gowns and little caps. Tommy has been asking {...begging} me to let him wear his night gown. I kept telling him after his performances are done. Well they are done and Tommy was ready to wear his night gown, and boy does he look cute! I think the hat really makes all the difference in the world.

***{All the others}***

Who else plays a role in the birth of Christ? I've posted about Mary and Joseph, the Shepherds and the Wisemen, who else is there? There are others that are a part of this story too.

There is Simeon (Luke 2:26), he is promised that he would not die until he saw Jesus Christ. So when Mary brought the Christ child to the temple, he knew that when he saw the face of that infant, he was looking into the face of his Savior. The same goes for Anna as well (Luke 2:36), she heard and believed the prophesies about the Savior. When he was brought to the temple she "spake of him to all them that looked for a redemption in Jerusalem" (Luke 2:39) Again, like all the others, what faith they had.

During the time when Christ was born it was not a custom thing for men to help in delivering babies. So I wonder if there where other women there helping Mary deliver her infant. Did they know that this child would grow to save the world? To redeem us all from the fall? To break the bonds of death? Did they know that he was born to die for us?

There were many other people around during this time. When they saw Joesph, and Mary carring her child, is that all they saw? Or could they feel that this baby was special? That he would walk on water? Raise the dead? Heal the blind, and the deaf? Were they aware enough to feel the spirit that surrounded him?

I hope that during this time of year {and really all year long} we are willing to search out our Savior. Preparing ourselves to meet him, as Simeon and Anna did. And I hope we can be aware of His spirit when it is near us. And that when He comes again we will know Him.

{picture by Greg Olson}

Saturday, December 20, 2008

We have Success!!!

Do you see that???? Look again, look at the bike.... there are no training wheels!!! James did it! And pretty much on his own. I gave him his first little push and off he went. He tipped over a couple times but no major crashes. I'm so proud of you James!

We needed to celebrate so I made brownies to mark this momentous occasion.
Tommy was happy for James.... And so was Tim. Just a short post to let you all know what happen today.{Yes, that is James with no jacket... it got warm}

(ps. Don't tell Steve, James wants to surprise his dad when he comes home in March for his R&R)

Friday, December 19, 2008

***{The Wise Men}***

The thing I admire most about the Wise Men is there faith. They probably heard these stories handed down from tradition (a lot like the Nephites) and they believed that the Savior would come. Then after seeing the star in the heavens they departed to find the "King of Kings."

The term "Wise Men" is so appropriate, how many of us would notice a new star? They were aware of what was happening, and following the story that had been handed down sought out the child. It makes me wonder, how aware am I to the signs and wonders that I see. Do I take notice or do I shrug it off? When I do notice do I act on it?

"...the Wise Men. Of all the stories associated with the birth, their story intrigues me most. They must have had scriptures or an oral tradition that prophesied of Christ’s birth, or they would not have recognized the sign or known where to go once they saw it. We are told they saw the sign in the East and then traveled west to Judea. It was a long journey, and once in Jerusalem they began to inquire, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him” (Matt. 2:2).

News of their inquiries concerning a king reached Herod, and he sent for them. He was troubled by prophecies that another would rule Israel—after all, wasn’t he the king of this land? But the Wise Men knew that he was not the king they sought. After they left, they followed the star until they reached Jesus, and there they presented their gifts to Him.

And what marvelous gifts they were! We don’t really know how many Wise Men came, but tradition claims three because there were three gifts: gold, the metal of kings and symbol of a celestial world because of its refined purity; frankincense, used in making incense that was burned on the temple altar as a symbol of prayers arising and connecting God and man; and myrrh, an aromatic gum used to make incense, perfume, and ointment for embalming. I remembered a picture of a myrrh plant and was startled anew by its spike like thorns. Even at the Christ child’s tender age, the gifts given Him bore testimony of who He was and what He would do. Gold for the King of Kings, frankincense for the Mediator between God and man, myrrh for the body that would be buried for us." (Ensign 1998, "The Bread of Life")

Again I wonder, what gifts am I bringing to the Lord. Are they truly acceptable for a king? Am I giving my all to him?

These men set out on a journey to find their Savior, and to bring them the most precious gifts they had, am I doing the same?

(picture again by Liz Lemon Swindler)

Monday, December 15, 2008

***{The Shepards}***

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night." (Luke 2:8)

Of all the people that the angle could have come to, it was the lowly shepherds in the field that night. With so many people coming into the city to be taxed I'm sure it was a quiet break for them to be away from the commotion that was going on. And then... an Angel came to them and told them what was going on. That the Christ child was born. Feeling the need to see this babe they made their way to the stable where the child was. I wonder if they understood the significant of them being there. Christ, who would become our shepherd, and leave the 99 to look for the one {me}, was being met by these simple men.

"As families throughout the land prepared their symbolic meal of lamb, the Lamb of God was being born... But Passover also meant springtime—lambing season. A few miles away, shepherds were helping to bring new lambs into the world. Deemed by the upper classes as men of naught, the shepherds were nevertheless saviors to the sheep. Besides assisting in the births, they nourished, gathered, comforted, and protected their flocks, sometimes risking their lives to defend them. There was deep irony in the fact that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, would be deemed by the Pharisees and Sadducees as a man of naught while in the very act of giving His life to save them.

But there is more to this symbolism of shepherd and sheep. One scholar notes that a tower called Migdal Eder—the watchtower of the flock—stood on the road between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. The sheep that were gathered there belonged to the temple flock, from which the sacrificial lambs would be taken. Some Jews believed that the Savior would be born in Bethlehem and revealed at Migdal Eder (see Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, 4 vols. [1887–1900], 1:269).

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). How fitting that the angelic announcement was made to humble men serving the needs of sheep that might die in similitude of the Lamb of God. But that has not changed. It is still to those who are feeding His sheep that He reveals himself. It is to those who serve that the testimony is revealed,..." (Ensign 1998, "Tasting the Bread of Life" by Sherrie Johnson)

(picture by Liz Lemon Swindle)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thankful Jar

During the month of November the boys and I made a "Thankful Jar." It was really fun. I brought down some tissue paper and had them rip it for me while I mod podged it on. The boys were so funny I would say rip a little piece for me, and they would rip a really little piece, think size of a small crumb. Then I would say rip it a little bigger, and it would be a half a piece of the paper. It took us a while to get an in-between size, but we did and it looks great! Then because I didn't want to see the mayo's label on the lid I spray painted it silver. It's gone over so well we still do it every night during dinner. Some of the things that the boys are thankful for are funny so here we go....

Tim: (we do this at dinner so most everything he says is food related but here are some that aren't) "for church" - he actually said that, need less to say I took a "mommy point" for that one. "Kiss-es" With two distinct syllables, it's really cute. "Out" pointing outside. Yes, he escapes a lot and I can find him playing in the dirt or the dog food.

Tommy: (his are so random and really funny) "for fish - because we get to keep them as pets" (at least he doesn't rub in that I've killed so many... Tim walks around the house all day saying "poor fish died") "for cold sauce" I have no idea what this is, any ideas? "Cookies because I like healthy and unhealthy food," "I'm not thankful today," (There was no changing his mind) "The square candy" (Starbursts) And this last one is funny... "For typewriters, because I can poke my name" (we don't own a typewriter....)

James:"For the funny things" (America's Funniest Home Videos). "Thankful for the Food Network" (Jen I thought you would appreciate that). "Tasting new foods, because I like it" I will be whipping this out every time he complains about something new... "My windpipe" -pointing to his throat. "Putting notes on the refrigerator for dad." And finally, "for Coco Puffs - because they are so healthy."

I truly am thankful for so many things but one thing that I'm thankful for is WINNING!!! Yes I won something!!! Do you want to know what it is... I'm sure you do.. I won a blog makeover!! I entered and through a very technical system my name was picked. Do you want one of your own... well lucky for you I have the link Bringing Creativity. You will have to pay for yours (don't worry they are affordable) because unlike you I WON!!!

Ok and here is something I am NOT thankful for... cheep hanger thingies. I tried to hang garland, and trying to find a cheaper way to do it I bought the cheaper hook things. Well the garland has retired to the floor because I'm tired of dragging a chair over to hang the dumb thing up 12 times a day. So until I get some better ones there it will stay.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Continuing on with the people that make this time of year so special I've picked Joseph. Like Mary this man must have been highly favored or our Heavenly Father. It was his responsibility to teach Jesus. To raise him to become a man. I wonder if he felt inadequate the first time he held the Christ child? I wonder if he thought he was good enough to raise him, if he could teach him enough. In the end I'm sure that Joseph learned more through his son than he could have ever taught him.

I picture Joseph doing all he can to find a place for Mary the night that the Christ child was born. I'm sure his heart ached when there was no place for her to be. And although I'm sure he was grateful to have the stable as a place to sleep, but I would think he felt bad that he couldn't do more for his beloved wife and his new child.

As a child someone needed to teach Jesus to fast and pray. That person was Joseph. I have this beautiful piture of a young Christ sitting in Joseph's lap praying. And it's a reminder to me that no matter what children grow up to be the start young and they need the guidence, and someone to teach them.

As with Mary I have so much love and respect for this man. Being ask to raise any child is hard but the Christ child, and to know that really this child was not his, yet he did it, he raised the Son of God.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Only at Christmas time

So I'm (finally) feeling the Christmas spirit. For family night last week the boys and I made snow flakes to hang around the house. This was a lot of fun and the boys did a really good job. Tim cut up a piece of paper and with a little help it tuned out to be a snow flake (kinda). For James and Tommy I folded the paper for them and drew a patter on and they cut it up. I was really impressed with James. It's fun watching him grow and seeing his fine motor skills develop. Tommy is working on cutting better, but it's hard to help him because he's a lefty. I really have to think about what I am doing to be able to show him how to use scissors to make them work, finally he got it to work (most of the time.)
Anyways... That was a long intro into what I wanted to say. Part of the fun of Christmas is all the fun things that only happen at this time of year. So I made a list.
1-You get to drive around neighborhoods to see all the Christmas lights. (really it's just an excuse to get into the gated communities to see what all the whoop-la is about)
2-You can say things like Bah-Humbug when your having a bad day, and people get it. Oh, and I thought of another, You can use the words "yester-year" and "the days of yore" in any Christmas sentence.
3-The bells....oh the bells. I really do like the salvation Army guys. We save our change all year long so the boys always have something to put in the red buckets at every stop we make. (I'm having to watch Tommy this year to make sure he puts the money in the bucket and not his pocket.)
4- For your listening pleasure.... the songs I wait all year for. The Muppet's 12 Days of Christmas, (I totally love the Muppet's) and the Hanukkah songs from Adam Sandler here's one, and the other. Then there's the 12 Utah Christmas-s (you'll really only get this if you are familiar with Utah, but it's still so funny)
5-Along with the songs you get some yummy treats that only come out this time of year. I'm specifically talking about the Oreo's!! I mean really can you get any better? Mint Chocolate covered Oreos, Peppermint Cream Oreos, White Fudge coverd Oreos. (...you finish reading while I finsh my box of Oreos)
6-Christmas cards!!! I love getting stacks and stacks of them (probably because I SEND out stacks and stacks of them) And just so you know, the winner of the first Christmas card coming to my house is from the.....Higbee family Do you want to know the prize... now I'm sure you all wish that you got yours in the mail sooner now that you know there is a prize... They get the prize spot on the wall of cards and 4...wait 1 of my holiday oreo cookies. (ok so maybe just some crumbs....maybe not) Still front and center on the wall of cards is pretty good.
7-GIVEAWAYS!!! During Christmas it seems like everyone is giving way prizes (see#6) and Angela is giving away a FREE blog make over. (And when I say her, I really mean her husband will be doing it... I hear is amazing... at least that's what I read on her blog and I'm going with that)
8-I get to torture my children into matching outfits and make them sit together, almost touching, for a picture. Of which I'm sure I will take 50 shots and get 2.5 half way decent ones. (Scroll down to the bottom of my blog for last year's pictures, if you put your mouse over the pictures you can see the comments I was making to them.(I guess I need on get on it for this year, I wouldn't want to miss the drama of this)
9-Between Thanksgiving and New Years dieting and exercising is outlawed... Oh, you didn't know, huh, -well now you do so put down the carrot and pick up the cookies (and fudge and brownies, and candy) that your neighbors have brought over.
10-And finally this time of year brings out the joy and twinkle in people's eyes (but not in the Walmart parking lot) I love watching the boys get excited about the little things. Baking cookies, making snow flakes, decorating the tree. It's all so magical to them, and I love making that happen.
So there you have it. If you weren't in the Chrismast mood before I hope you are now.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I have a 5 year old!!

Can you believe it? I have a 5 year old! The time has seemed to go by so fast, and yet I can't believe that I ever lived with out this guy. He was such a beautiful new born, I know you think I'm bias because he's my kid but he really was beautiful. He was 9 pounds 10 ounces and FAT, so he was already rolly polley. (can you see those cheeks!) He has grown into such an amazing kid! Everyday he amazes me with the things he says, (probably because he never stops talking) and does. He has such a zest for life, and lives ever minute to the fullest. He loves to learn and would sit and have me read to him and answer all his questions 24/7 if I let him. He is full of drama!! And with that comes a wild imagination. I love being part of his stories, and games. He is a great big brother, and wants to help in any way he can. He has such a big heart, and is always right there when I need a hug. He likes to sit in church right next to me so he can put his arm around me. And I love his yells from the playroom, "MOM!! I love you!"

James I look forward to being there as you grow into a man. Thank you for letting me be your mom. I cherish every moment that I get to spend with you. And James.... "I LOVE YOU TOO!"

Thursday, December 4, 2008


So I don't know if I've caught Steve's scroogness (apparently its contagious) or if it's the face that it's December and the boys were playing outside in short sleeves and bare feet, but I haven't been in much of a Christmas mood. Despite the decorations, the cheery music, and festive sights and smells. So I decided to take some time every couple days to focus on the people of this season. First is Mary. I have so much love and respect for this woman. Being a mother is hard enough, but to be the mother of Jesus Christ.... How can I even come close to measuring up to this woman? I wanted to start with her because I think sometimes as we talk about the symbols of the season she tends to get set to the side. Because of her faith and willingness to submit to the Father, she was chosen to carry this very special child. How she must have been favored of our Heaven Father. I'm sure she was scared, and unsure of herself, as we all are as young mothers. And yet she took this on. And into the night she went and bore a child in a stable. This song by Amy Grant, Breath of Heaven, brings tears to my eyes.
(Here are the lyrics)
Breath of Heaven

I have traveled
Many moonless night
Cold and Weary
With a babe inside
And I wonder
What I've done
Holy Father
You have come
Chosen me now
To carry your son

I am waitingin a silent prayer
I am frightenedby the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone
Must I walk this path alone
Be with me now
Be with me now

Breath of Heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me
Breath of Heaven
Breath of Heaven
Lighten my darkness
Pour over me, your holyness
For your holy
Breath of Heaven

Do you wonder
As you watch my face
If a wiser one, should of had my place
But I offer-all I am
For the mercy-of your plan
Help me be strong
Help me be
Help me

Please take a moment this holiday season to rememberand honor Mary, the mother of Christ. The woman that she was, the faith that she had, and the load that was hers to bare.

The beautiful picture was painted by Liz Lemon Swindle. You can look at her amazing gallery, and purchase her work HERE.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Funky Feet

**Caution - those with a feet phobia, just scroll to the bottom to see some cute pictures***

I had no idea when I married Steve that I married into a family with funny feet. Now I'm not going to name some of the names as to protect the people and there feet.... After running for miles this family member lost a couple toe nails (gross). And another has a pinky toe that doesn't touch the ground. I really wish I had a picture of this because it's pretty wild. And yet, there is another who has a big toe that is huge!! Then there is another... (you might know who this is) who has two webbed toes. And then there are my kids. Tommy has freakishly long toes (as seen from above) And he has since he was born. I swear that kid could peel a banana with his toes they are so long. And... on one foot his third toe is longer than his first two. (sorry about the shadow on the picture) Freaky I tell you.
And then there is Tim. His toes are more stumpy then Tommy's and he has webbed toes too. Like father like son. (oops did that come out?) Crazy I know!!

Ok as promised, for those with feet phobias, here are some pictures of the boys.
On Sunday we made gingerbread cookies. Tommy was playing with the flower after we were done cutting out the cookies. He had a great time, making a mess.

James and Tommy are in a little preforming group called "Show Biz Kids" and they do the song "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause" and for that song they are in little night gowns and bed caps and look really cute.
James has a speaking part and because he is still working on some of his annunciation we had to change his part a little bit. One of the words "minstrel" and it kept coming out "menstrual" so we just took it out.
When we left the dress rehearsal Tommy asked if he could wear his night gown to bed that night. (he's going to have to wait until after all the performances, which he is looking forward too)

While we eating after the dress rehearsal and some costumes were still being made. I took there whit shirts off to keep them clean. Tommy needed a bow tie for one of his songs, so one was made and it was tried on. And well, I hope this picture does not mean a future career choice for him....

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