Monday, December 28, 2009

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Comes but once a year....

The past two weeks have been full of all sorts of fun and adventure. The month of December started off with Addison going to work at UPS as Thomas Mounts runner/assistant. I wasn't real sure they would both survive, but despite a few scares, they seem to have pulled it off. Tom did have to explain why his assistant for the Christmas rush took a sick day to go snowboarding, but who among us hasn't felt the need for a mental health day at some point. (I've since explained to Addison that if you're only scheduled to work for 3 weeks, faking sick maybe isn't appropriate.)

Cari and I decided that we needed our own mental health day, and so I took a real day off to go down and pick Jake up in SLC. We hauled a trailer full of belongings down for Ryan and Liz (Lindsay's daughter and son in law), and got to see where they will be living for the next several months, and then we dropped Mandi and Kempton off at Cassie and Paul Morris' home, and spent the weekend doing anything we wanted to, on our own schedule. It was difficult at times to not feel compelled to check in with someone, but we managed to muddle through. We had our annual dinner date with friends from our Salt Lake years, and it is always nice to catch up with the Stephenson's. Cari made sure that I had purchased all the right things for her Christmas list, and then we watched movies, ate and just drove around looking at lights. (We sound old when I write it down, but it was good enough for us.)

After retrieving Jake, we ran a few errands that Mandi insisted would save her bundles of money if she bought the things in Salt Lake. I think it only saves her money, because I was the one driving all over West Valley looking for discount stuff. Next time I'll get more details up front, and Jake and I will decide whether it is worth buying at full retail.

When we got home, Mandi, Cari, Abby and Ashlyn began preparations in earnest for Kempton's birthday. For anyone that keeps track, his birthday is two weeks past, but the party waited for Jake. Despite all the stress that led up to the party, it turned out very nice, and probably has to rank in the top ten birthday's for a two year old. (He won't remember, but the 30 or 40 guests were all properly impressed, which I'm sure was at least part of what drove the shindig.)

Christmas was small again this year, with the Cassie, Paul, Mandi, Jake and kids were the only out of towner's to join the Mounts, Grandma Z, Jack and Debbie Z's family and our family. That didn't make it any less festive, but we did go with a few new traditions. Paul and Glenn slaved over Tamales and produced 200 very tasty morsels. I'm still a little confused about the Christmas Tamales concept, but they were very good, and I never fully understood the Clam Chowder tradition either. The live nativity was traded in for the DVD version this year too, as we were short of willing participants to play the wisemen or the livestock, I'm not sure which.

Christmas morning was pretty normal, except that we managed to talk the girls into staying in bed until nearly 8:00 because we told them we had to wait for Kempton to be awake. His usefulness is not limited to getting out of church, although that is still one of his best attributes. His smile and hugs are pretty good too.

We were able to speak with Alex for about 45 minutes after opening our gifts, and it was nice to hear his voice, and some of his adventures. He is doing well, and seems to still have the fire in his belly for the work. When asked if he had any advice for Addison, in preparation for leaving next summer, he basically said Add needs to study everything spiritual he can. Add has never been very good at taking Alex's advice, but maybe this time.

We have managed to get in a few hours of volleyball while everyone is in town, and as is to be expected, several hours a day have been dedicated to playing new board games. Tonight's adventure involved the newest addition to our Wii System, called Wii Fit, and had us all alternately laughing and gasping for air, as we were put through the workout by the sadistic cartoon fitness trainers. I'm pretty sure that some of the moves they tell us to try can only be accomplished by cartoon characters, but Abby and Ashlyn are game for anything, so we may see real humans pull it off before I find a way to break the infernal contraption.

All in all, it has been a very hectic few weeks, and if I had to keep up this pace more than once a year, I would likely become a bah humbugger, but since Christmas comes but once a year, I suppose I suck it up and start preparing for next year.

Happy New Year

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Almost Christmas

I completely missed last week, and can't say that I have twice as much to say this week as a result. If it weren't for the fact that I update the blog in lieu of writing to Alex each week, I'm not sure what would (or could) motivate me to do it. I'm optimistic, however, that over the next few weeks, the holiday season will overload me with blogging material. We'll have to wait and see.

Having Mandi and Kempton living here has been entertaining over the past several weeks. Kempton has become very good at getting me to feed him the marshmallows out of the Lucky Charms. Although I know it's wrong to feel cheated by a 2 year old, Lucky Charms minus the Charms just don't seem Lucky. In fact they seem very similar to Alphabits Cereal. Other than that, Kempton is a pretty easy houseguest to put up with.

Mandi, on the other hand, has been a challenge. In order to let her have a vehicle (with a working heater) while in town, I have kept the convertible out well beyond its usual storage date. It does fairly well in the shallow snow we've experienced thus far, but it has none of the winter accessories that I usually carry with me in the truck, such as a shovel, gloves, or a scraper. I'm sure that I could forgive her the inconvenience, but she also tends to be hard on my pickup. This past week, on a morning that was about -10 degrees, she headed for her friends home and called to tell me that the truck had come to an abrupt halt after overheating. Glenn went and nursed Mandi, Kempton and the pickup back to his house, and then he and I switched out the thermostat. I know it is not her fault, but it seems much easier for me if I blame her. She in turn blames Thomas M. or Addison, and is quick to point out that they too have been driving the pickup. I credit them with all of the messes, but still like Mandi for the engine troubles, no matter how irrational it may be.

Speaking of Addison and Thomas, Add has been working as an assistant with Tom at UPS. This may seem like a great fit at first blush, but the down side is that when they are not called to work, they have come up with typical excuses for not getting anything meaningful done around our home or the Mounts home. The trees that Add was going to get Christmas lights on have turned out to be pretty sparse this year, and the ones that he did get done have bare spots. It seemed to go much better when I could convince Alex and Addison to compete from tree to tree. We will take pictures this year and see if Alex can do better next year in Add's absence.

We went down to Idaho Falls to hear Alex's most recent companion report his mission, and it was nice to talk to him. He assures us that Alex is doing well, but his talk made several references to the areas where he had been assigned that had frequent gun shots. (His theory was that the muggers and murderers had too much respect for men of God to shoot them. Not what a parent wants to rely on necessarily.) Alex is still in LaPlace, Louisiana, and will be spending Christmas there this year. (See MossPosse Blog for current address to send him well wishes for the season.)

The girls continue to spend all spare time at the gym, playing the piano, and studying. Abby is playing the violin, and Ashlyn is playing the youngest child role. Both the the latter two can get on a person's nerves, but I'm sure with the passage of time, they will both get past the obnoxious stage.

We are planning our annual pilgrimage to Salt Lake City to reconnect with our friends down there, and to hopefully finish the very little remaining shopping. Some time this week, I really should give some thought to what Cari might want for Christmas. Then I can give some thought to what I'm willing to get for her. I thought for a while last month that our vacuum cleaner was going to go down, giving me an automatic, but unfortunately, the repair guy fixed it. (The staff at works feels that I may have been spared a long cold winter by the repair guy.)

Kempton tormenting Mount's cat instead of Miley.