Monday, December 29, 2008

Twas the Night Before Christmas....

This is all of us in our Christmas pajamas. We are all cozy and warm. Our Christmas Eve wasn't really this calm or without chaos but this is how I choose to remember it. And since it snowed all day Christmas Day, we just stayed in our jammies and played with our new toys. .

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Tale of Two Christmas Cards

Christmas Letter 2008:

Dear Family & Friends, 12/15/2008

Christmas cards mean a lot to our family. Each night in December when Ed or I check the mail, the kids huddle around to see which family’s yearly update and picture was delivered. Some of you have even developed somewhat of a reputation for being funny, clever and creative- which just adds more fun and anticipation to the activity.

Consequently, our own anxious behavior has caused me to be a bit obsessive when preparing our family’s Christmas Card. Every year the pressure of choosing just the right combination of pictures has me lying awake at night planning and rearranging. This year, the self-inflicted pressure has been even worse since I re-connected with my college newspaper friends.

So after hours on the computer, I created the Perfect Christmas Card. It was beautiful. The picture of Ed and I made us look like we were Parents of the Year. The boys looked like little GQ angels right out of a catalog. The girls’ picture was absolutely stunning. Everyone was so perfectly posed that we looked like the Perfect Family. I felt happy and proud that I had accomplished what I set out to do.

However, as I carried the file around on my flash drive, it seemed to haunt me. I never could make the time to get it printed.

And then I realized that the card that I had painstakingly created to be absolutely perfect was not a true reflection of our family at all. And that I had gotten lost. I realized that I spent so much time worrying about how the card looked that I didn’t remember to worry about the message it carried. Families aren’t perfect- least of all ours. Despite our many shortcomings and weaknesses, we love each other. We serve one another. We laugh and have fun together. We pray together and we pray for one another.

During this time of year when we celebrate our Savior’s birth- that’s what I want you to know about our family. I want LOVE to jump right off this Christmas Card and give you a big hug. If you’re struggling, I want our SMILES to buoy you up and encourage you to keep on going. If you are sick or otherwise afflicted, I want you to know that we will be here to HELP you.

So I headed back to the drawing board to create a new Christmas Card. This time I didn’t worry about the pictures being perfectly posed or perfectly groomed (obviously I didn’t worry too much about appearances since I’m not even wearing make-up in one of them). I used pictures from our October California vacation with the Grovers, instead of our posed family pictures (which I love but are better suited for our living room wall). I created the card with love and care to represent how we feel about each other. And most of all, to represent how we feel about you- our family and friends who have all shaped who we once were, who we are and who we will become.

We hope that this letter and “imperfect” card finds you enjoying this Christmas season. We know that our Savior lives and loves us. We hope that during these uncertain times that you too will feel comforted and uplifted by this knowledge.

The Huhtalas

First Draft, the "Perfect Card":

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Elf This!

The kids and I made an Elf Yourself video but I'm too cheap to pay for the download so go to these links to see the kids disco:

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Close Call

A storm rarely slows me down.

Most of the time, it never keeps me from doing what I had originally planned.

Today was not any different- although it could have changed my outlook forever.

Ed and I made plans with his parents about 2 weeks ago to attend "A Christmas Carol" playing at the Hale Center Theater in Orem. We had given them a gift certificate last Christmas which we were sure they hadn't used yet so we invited them to go with us.

Today it snowed most of the day and we ended up with 8 or 9 inches of snow (just a rough guesstimate). We traveled to the show as planned, leaving more than an hour before the show started to give us plenty of time.

The roads were icy in parts and traffic was thick but we arrived in safety. The play was excellent and we had a great time.

On the way home, probably since it hadn't been snowing for awhile, the interstate was dry and we made our way without much adaptation in driving speeds, etc.

Between the University Ave. exit and the first Springville exit, the car directly in front of us braked and spun around. It crashed into the median directly in front of us and ricocheted off headed straight for us. It barely missed us. As Ed tried to slow down to offer assistance and I started to dial 911 for help, he looked in our rear view mirror where he saw cars skidding and trying to get control. 2 cars missed us by inches- one on the left and one on the right.

I think the driver of the car hitting the median was okay but I still called 911 to give them her location. I explained that we tried to stop to offer assistance but the black ice was so slick that we were unable to stop safely.

I'm so grateful that we were protected and spared from an accident. And it humbled me enough to learn that even though you are most careful, do everything right, educated about how to drive in rough weather, accidents will still happen. And while you can't rearrange your life (especially in Utah) around the snowfall- it is still wise to be prepared and cautious.

It also reminds me, even though I had no such feeling or prompting tonight, that we should listen and give validity to the promptings we have to reschedule or cancel certain events. And that we should remain close to the Spirit so that we may receive those promptings when they will keep us out of harms way.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Quote to Live By

This quote was on our Relief Society bulletin this week and I love it. I'm going to post it on my fridge to remind me everyday to simplify and only worry about the important things.

"Sisters, do not allow yourselves to be made to feel inadequate or frustrated because you cannot do everything others seem to be accomplishing. Rather, each should assess her own situation, her own energy , and her own talents, and then choose the best way to mold her family into a team, a unit that works together and supports each other. Only you and your Father in Heaven know your needs, strengths, and desires. Around this knowledge your personal course must be charted and your choices made."

- Marvin J. Ashton

Thursday, December 04, 2008

George Lucas- My Hero!

So he came through.

Rather, his secretary came through. Get real. That's who runs the show anyway.

So while George Lucas is cool and all, Anne Merrifield is the true hero in my book.

Anyway, Alex got his letter and a complimentary Star Wars magazine. Which I thought was just perfect!

And in case you're wondering, "Mr. Lucas has indicated that he will not make Episodes 7, 8, and 9 because he feels the story has a good ending when Darth Vader is redeemed in Episode 6."

Oh- and she signed it "May the Force be With You!" Alex thought that was way cool.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Ta Da!

Thanks to Amberlyn, I have "one of those" trees.

When I say "one of those", I'm referring to the trees that don't look like they belong in a house full of 5 roudy children and 1 horse (I mean dog). You know, the ones that look like they should be on the cover of a Martha Stewart Magazine. Amberlyn calls them "Ta Da!" trees.

I have been rebelling against the "Ta Da!" tree for quite some time. With 5 little ones, I thought, "What's the point?" And, why? since everyone else does it? Why should I try to keep up with the Joneses? (Let's face it, put my decorating skills against anyones and I pail in comparison....)

Well, 2 years ago, like 4 days before Christmas, our Charlie Brown tree (the opposite of Ta Da!) broke. One leg of the stand completely busted off and the tree fell down. Refusing to go buy a new tree and re-decorate it so close to Christmas, we duct taped it to the wall. Don't I wish I had a picture of that for my blog!

So last year, we bought a new 12-foot, pre-lit tree at Sams Club. Brigette accompanied me to Taipan Trading and assisted me in picking out some ornaments. She informed me (I had to put this advice to use on my pot shelves and fake walls that I displayed last month as well) that I shouldn't be all "matchy-matchy"- that I should change up my textures and colors. This is after I had filled my cart with mostly Americana-type ornaments. She recommended the red jewels and said I should buy a ton of them. Going against my better judgement, I listened to her. And WOW!- even last year, pre-Amberlyn- the tree looked pretty good!

Today, Amberlyn and I hit the 60% off sale at Shopko to add some more sparkle. It turned out fabulous! I'm glad Brigette and Amberlyn know what they are talking about.... I would have completely ruined this gorgeous tree. In fact, it would have looked better right out of the box with just the lights on it than with my choice of ornaments.

I'm so glad that there are people out there that can help me learn how to decorate! Thanks Brigette and Amberlyn for your wonderful work.

Without further ado, here is (drum roll please....) Amberlyn and the Amazing Christmas Tree!

(I should write a cartoon screen play for that title- the Charlie Brown Christmas, while a classic... needs some competition! Plus, I'm living proof that the Ta Da! trees are much more in fashion!)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Hannah Banana- 11 years old!

Happy 11th Birthday Hannah!

Here are 11 reasons why Hannah is so fabulous:

1. She is beautiful on the inside as well as the outside.
2. She is very talented.
3. Hannah is thoughtful and serves others.
4. She loves the Gospel and is always striving to live it.
5. When she feels the Spirit, she acknowledges it and shares her thoughts.
6. Hannah is very helpful around the house.
7. She loves her brothers and sister.
8. She is funny-- everyone has a good time when they are around her.
9. Hannah puts others' feelings and well-being above her own.
10. She is a great student.
11. Hannah is a very hard worker.

Hannah is one of many joys in my life and while part of me wants to stop time and keep her from getting any older, I am enjoying watching her become a beautiful, smart, and accomplished young woman. I love you sweetie!