Thursday, December 31, 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009

Early Christmas Morning

We got the kids up at seven. They were excited, yet sleepy as we came up the stairs.

Our stockings were full of all kinds of fun and interesting things, like a walrus puppet for the Rabbit (every baby needs a walrus puppet, right?)

And I got a spatula man-- a spatula with arms and legs. What could be better than that?

The boys were pretty thrilled with their coon skin caps.

Nice job, Santa! And thank you!
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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve, we had lasagne for dinner. Then we went to the church for the ward's 37th annual Christmas Eve devotional. It was really lovely-- just a half an hour of music and some readings, but there was such a wonderful feeling there. Everyone was happy and excited and wishing each other Merry Christmas. The Badger and another man sang "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" and they sounded really gorgeous. I sang in the choir. It was fun to participate.

When we got home we gave the kids their new Christmas pajamas. As you can see, they were quite excited.

Once everyone was in their PJs and the living room was all tidied up, we had a family program. My awesome friend Julie Schmoo sent me a set of nativity hand puppets, so we did a puppet show of the Christmas story. Then the Badger read aloud "The True Spirit of Christmas" by S. Michael Wilcox. Then we had family prayer, put out our stockings, and packed the kids off to bed.

Once the kids were dispatched, the Badger and Aunt Kaa and I got all the presents out from the loft in Aunt Kaa's room and stacked them under the tree. It sure looked pretty!

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Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Hail, the heav'nborn Prince of Peace!
Hail, the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings
Risen with healing in his wings
Mild, He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark, the herald angels sing!
Glory to the Newborn King!

And we're so glad He came!

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Day Eleven-- "Hallelujah Chorus" from the Messiah

It doesn't just say "Hallelujah" over and over again, you know. It also says:

The kingdom of this world is become
The kingdom of our God and of His Christ
And He shall reign forever and ever!

I see this song being sung at the second coming. And I am really looking forward to that day. It will truly be a day to shout "Hallelujah!" with all our hearts.

The Christmas Survey

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper. And I'd like to start buying the nice stuff. I had fits this year trying to wrap everything in dollar store paper that had been all beat up in the moving truck.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Right now we have an artificial tree. I prefer real, but artificial works better when you have small children.

3. When do you put up the tree? Right after Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take the tree down? Shortly after New Year's

5. Do you like eggnog? Yes! And I really love Silk Nog, made with soy milk, because I can drink it without my glands swelling up

6. Favorite gift? Here are just a very few highlights: stuffed Curious George (age 2), Frieda the frog puppet (age 3), Nintendo and hair crimper (age 9), the board game "Life" (age 10), cordless phone (age17), sewing machine (age 22), piano lamp (age 27)

7. Hardest person to buy for? Me! I mean, my poor Badger has such a tough time trying to figure out what to get me. He always asks me what I want and I can never think of anything when I'm put on the spot so I say "I don't KNOW!!!" and he's on his own. He always comes through triumphantly though.

8. Easiest person to buy for? This year it's Roo. She has consistently said she wants princess dress-ups for the last two months. That is all she talks about.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? We started out our marriage with FIVE of them, all wedding gifts. That's what we get for getting married right before Christmas! They were all colorless glass or porcelain and three of them were identical. We gave some of them off as gifts and only kept a couple. Then last year I decided it would be nice to have one the kids could actually touch so I bought a toy one. Now we have reached nativity set equilibrium.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Both.

11. Worst Christmas gift you've ever received? At my third grade class Christmas party we were all asked to bring a white elephant. This was my introduction to that concept. I came away from the party with a collection of about 30 milk jug caps. Can't say it was my favorite Christmas present. Though the person who got my offering wasn't thrilled either, I'm sure. I brought a package of pacifiers Uncle Owl and Aunt Tofu had left at our house after their Thanksgiving visit with my small nephew.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? It's a Wonderful Life.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? August. Sometimes May.

14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Goodie plates from neighbors.

15. Lights on the tree? I like white, the Badger likes colored, so we trade off.

16. Favorite Christmas song? See recent blog posts.

17. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Home home home!!!!

18. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen. Rudolph

19. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star.

20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Morning. In turn of age, with everyone present. Except for the pajamas, which we open on Christmas Eve.

21. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? The kind of holiday music they play in stores.

22. Favorite ornament theme or color? Icicles and snowflakes

23. Favorite thing for Christmas dinner? Homemade egg rolls

24. What do you want for Christmas this year? To watch my kids' happy faces as they open their gifts. I'm so excited!!!!

Getting Ready

Lots of Christmas prep happening here at the Burrow this afternoon. Roo is making a paper chain.

Fish is stirring the red and green veggie dip.

And Rabbit is coloring Christmas pictures that Aunt Kaa printed off the internet for her.

The house smells sooooooo good-- the Badger spent all morning making egg roll filling for homemade egg rolls tomorrow. It's going to be a marvelous Christmas!
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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Day Ten-- "Infant Holy, Infant Lowly"

The tune to this traditional Polish carol is well-known to Latter-day Saint children who sing it as "Stars Were Gleaming." I learned it as a child and it somehow gave me a creepy feeling when I sang about the night being "dark and chill." Seemed sinister somehow. I loved the tune though, and when I found the words to the traditional Polish carol I fell in love. Nothing sinister here, just a beautiful melody with gorgeous harmonies in the chorus and simple yet sincere lyrics.

Infant holy, infant lowly,
for his bed a cattle stall;
oxen lowing, little knowing,
Christ the babe is Lord of all.
Swift are winging angels singing,
noels ringing, tidings bringing:
Christ the babe is Lord of all.

Flocks were sleeping, shepherds keeping
vigil till the morning new
saw the glory, heard the story,
tidings of a gospel true.
Thus rejoicing, free from sorrow,
praises voicing, greet the morrow:
Christ the babe was born for you.
We (meaning me and the rest of the choir) are singing this tomorrow for the ward Christmas Eve devotional. I'm excited.


Shortly after my sister Crocodile heard about the Badger's loss of job, she sent us a package in the mail. It was full of wrapped presents-- little things to cheer us up. One of them was a funny blue stuffed monster in a package addressed to the Rabbit.

I took a fancy to the blue monster and started encouraging my Rabbit to love it. She has taken quite a liking to it. It's not an essential object, but when she sees it she will hug it and pat it and smile. It's adorable. Once recently she picked it up and said "mimi!" So we have named the blue monster Mimi and I think it will have a long and glorious history with our Rabbit and with our family.

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The Celebration

The Badger and I don't typically get out very much, but I figured for our tenth anniversary we'd better do something. Aunt Tofu said we could drop the kids off at her house, where I knew they'd be extremely happy and well-cared-for.

So we went to dinner. I asked for a more private table and they said they were really busy but they'd see what they could do. They tucked us away in this little corner of the restaurant by this gorgeous tree.

The waiter kindly took our picture by the tree.

After a marvelous dinner we went to Liberty Park in Salt Lake City and viewed their live Nativity presentation. It was really nice and it was fun to stroll through the park hand in hand with my man.

All in all, probably the most romantic evening we've had in years. It got me feeling all giddy and euphorically in love again. Some people say that after the initial high of "falling in love" wears off it doesn't come back-- it just settles into a deeper, more quiet, companionate love. It may be true that it settles down, but you can stir the embers and spark the flame again. And it's really fun to do that!
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Day Nine-- "Still, Still, Still"

I love this Austrian carol mostly for its tune but the words are lovely too.

Still, still, still,
One can hear the falling snow.
For all is hushed,
The world is sleeping,
Holy Star its vigil keeping.
Still, still, still,
One can hear the falling snow.

Sleep, sleep, sleep,
'Tis the eve of our Saviour's birth.
The night is peaceful all around you,
Close your eyes,
Let sleep surround you.
Sleep, sleep, sleep,
'Tis the eve of our Saviour's birth.

Dream, dream, dream,
Of the joyous day to come.
While guardian angels without number,
Watch you as you sweetly slumber.
Dream, dream, dream,
Of the joyous day to come.

What a Day!

My sister emailed me some of my wedding pictures and I figured you were all just dying to see more, so here you go!

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Day Eight-- "Candlelight Carol"


by John Rutter

How do you capture the wind on the water? How do you count all the stars in the sky? How can you measure the love of a mother, or how can you write down a baby's first cry?

Candlelight, angel light, firelight and starglow shine on his cradle till breaking of dawn. Gloria, Gloria in excelsis deo! Angels are singing; the Christ Child is born.

Shepherds and wisemen will kneel and adore him, Seraphim round him their vigil will keep; Nations proclaim him their Lord and their Savior, but Mary will hold him and sing him to sleep.

Candlelight, angel light, firelight and starglow shine on his cradle till breaking of dawn. Gloria, Gloria in excelsis deo! Angels are singing; the Christ Child is born.

The First Decade

Ten years ago right now I was at my wedding reception.

This is the only picture I can find that I currently have digitally accessible and it is only of me and not the Badger, alas.

But you can see part of one of the flocked trees we brought in for decoration. We borrowed them for the evening from a Christmas tree lot that was just down the street from the church. We also rented this huge white sleigh to put the gifts in. It was awesome.

You can also see my bouquet. My mother-in-law did the greenery from plants growing in her own yard and my friend/bridesmaid who worked at a flower shop stuck the roses and stephanotis in. I loved my bouquet.

Ten years, four children, four jobs, and nine houses later I can honestly say that it was a very good decision. And I also must say that it just keeps getting better.
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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Day Six-- "The Star Carol"

These are the words to the third verse of "The Star Carol" by Wihla Hutson and Alfred S. Burt.

Dear Baby Jesus how tiny Thou art,
I'll make a place for Thee in my heart.
And when the stars in the heavens I see,
Ever and always I think of Thee.

Day Five-- "Ding Dong Merrily on High"

This song doesn't have an intensely meaningful and spiritual message, but it's really fun to sing and I think the words are charming, especially the third verse.

Ding Dong! merrily on high
In heav'n the bells are ringing
Ding, dong! verily the sky
Is riv'n with angel singing
Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis

E'en so here below, below
Let steeple bells be swungen
And i-o, i-o, i-o
By priest and people be sungen
Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis

Pray ye dutifully prime
Your matin chime, ye ringers
May ye beautifully rime
Your evetime song, ye singers
Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Day Four-- "The Christmas Wish"

I first heard this song as an elementary school child when one of the older grades sang it at our Christmas concert. I liked it then, but then years later when I heard Kermit the Frog sing it I fell madly in love with it. Kermit is very much the right voice for the job.

"I don't know if you believe in Christmas
or if you have presents underneath a Christmas tree
but if you believe in love
that will be more than enough
for you to come and celebrate with me
for I have held the precious gift that love brings
even though I never saw a Christmas star
I know there is a light I have felt it burn inside
and I have seen it shining from afar

Christmas is the time to come together
a time to put all differences aside
and I reach out my hand to the family of man
to share the joy I feel at Christmas time"

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Day Three-- "O Holy Night"

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Open wide, Bean!

Whoops! Missed!

(Bean just totally loves this kind of stuff!)

Mmmmmm! Lemon!

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Day Two-- "O Little Town of Bethlehem"

For Christ is born of Mary,
And gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars, together
Proclaim the holy birth!
And praises sing to God the King,
And peace to men on earth.

How silently, how silently,
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of his heaven.
No ear may hear his coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him, still
The dear Christ enters in.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Twelve Days of Song

I'm so in love with Christmas music. I have so much nostalgia relating to various Christmas carols and I have loved them my whole life. Then one moment I'm singing an old carol to my babies and all of the sudden the string of words I've sung all my life morphs into a message about the Gospel with a profound meaning. It's an almost overwhelming experience as it dawns on me what the song is really about. And I fall deeper in love with the song than ever.

Because this is a big part of my life lately, I've decided that for the next twelve days I will post a lyric to a Christmas carol each day on my blog. Many of these will probably be familiar, but I hope that you will read them carefully and perhaps catch something new in them that will give you a taste of the joy and hope that we are all seeking at this time of the year.

Today I'm going to post the two verses to "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" that are not in the LDS hymnbook. I love the whole song, but these two verses are particularly powerful and deserve to be rescued from obscurity.

"Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the heavenly strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The tidings which they bring;
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing!

O ye, beneath life's crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
O rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing!"

Friday, December 11, 2009

Winter Wonderland

We are so happy it snowed! It is so beautiful, especially on the hill behind the Burrow.

The Burrow is a snug and cozy place to be when it snows.

We hope the snow lasts and lasts!

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Feeling that Gingerbread Feeling

I love Christmas time!!!! I love it more every year. I just get this wonderful, warm, excited, gingerbready feeling inside during this time of year. And Christmas at the Burrow is extra wonderful. This year Grandma Badger wanted to decorate the tree with all white lights and silver and crystal. It is so gorgeous! We love it!

I was able to find our boxes of Christmas stuff in the not-too-deep depths of our storage unit so in addition to all the Burrow traditions we have been able to bring along some of our own. Like our carousel. Oh, how the kids love our Christmas carousel! We light it on Sunday evenings and sing Christmas carols while we watch it turn. With Grandpa Badger around to throw in some harmony, we sound pretty good!

Life just seems so rich and full to me at this time of year. Maybe it's because I'm surrounded by even more reminders than usual of my Savior's love for me and my ears are constantly filled with music singing praises to Him.

It's more than that though. It has to be-- if just the visual and audio cues were enough everyone would be joyful this time of year and I know that isn't the case. I used to be very depressed at Christmas time. When I think back on what has changed between then and now, the biggest thing that stands out to me is service. The things that I do for others at Christmas time are what make me feel that rich happiness, that gingerbread feeling. As a mother, I'm serving my children pretty much all day every day and even more so at Christmas time, when I do extra things to make the season special for them, so I think that's why I feel this way most of the time. It is so wonderful and fulfilling to watch their happiness and excitement as we share Christmas traditions together.

I love my Savior. I love God's wonderful plan for us here on earth. I love my family. And I love this time of year when all this is brought to the forefront of my mind through such beautiful symbols and traditions. I love Christmas!!!!
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Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Trip to Temple Square

One recent evening we bundled up all the kids and took them to see the lights on Temple Square. It was glorious. We all loved it. I don't know which I liked most-- the lights, all the different nativity sets, or the music. They have high school choirs singing all over the place. Temple Square is always such an uplifting place to be, but it is immensely more so at Christmastime. There is this beautiful feeling of love for the Savior and joy at His birth that pervades the whole environment. It thrills me just thinking about it.

My sister came with us and took this picture of all six of us.

She also took these pictures which I just have to share here because they are so gorgeous.

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Something Not Even My Sister Knew About Me

I am a closet guitar player.

I'm typically too embarrassed to let anyone hear me play, but she caught me.
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