Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Michael!

Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband Mike. We have been married for 18 years and I am so blessed to have him to spend my life with. He is so understanding, patient, kind, and supportive. He's loved me whether I was fat or thin, cranky, stressed, and the list could go on. He's supported me in my church callings, which have been demanding at times. He's supported me through school and surgeries. I guess what I am trying to say is that he's always been there for me. He is an incredible Dad! Our kids are so blessed to have a Dad that supports them in all the things they are involved in. He is the calming voice in our family. I am so glad that our children can talk to him about anything. I love how he makes me laugh. He came into my life when I really needed to laugh and he's kept me laughing for many years since. I hope he always knows how much our family loves him!!

Christmas at the Keils!

We had a fun filled Christmas at our house, which began with the kids opening their traditional Christmas Eve PJ's. The picture above shows a glimpse of the evening. We played guitar hero and Apples to Apples. Frank, Mike's Dad took a liking to the game and ended up winning. Mike's parents flew in from Texas on the 18th to spend Christmas with us and will be leaving tomorrow. It's been a lot of fun playing games and watching movies together.

Even though we have teenagers they still want to get up at the crack of dawn to open presents. Since Grandma and Grandpa were here we told them we wouldn't be getting up until 7:00 a.m. Eric tried to persuade me to let him get up at 5:00, but that was not in the cards. Eric didn't sleep much and resorted to looking for a snack at 1:00a.m. in his gym bag, but no luck. He kept saying that he didn't know why he was so hungry during the night and I told him it was because he was awake all night. Our kids always sleep in the same room together on Christmas Eve so Katy didn't do much sleeping thanks to her little brother. Anyways...when 7:00 a.m. finally hit we went in to get them and they had actually went back to sleep so for the first time in many years we had to wake the kids up to open presents. We had a great time and enjoyed our day together. Katy has been wanting a deep fryer for years and her wish came true. She hasn't put her ipod down since she got it either. Eric was happy to get his Xbox and war game (why did I buy a war game)? The electic shaver was a hit for Eric too (is my baby really old enough for a razor)? Much fun was had by all. Playing Rock Band was a highlight and the traditional Christmas nap was had by most. It was just a great day to spend together as a family and reflect on our Saviors birth.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Gift Idea!

So many of you know that I am not a crafty person and I don't come up with many ideas on my own, so here's an idea I stole from the Oprah show (I love that show.) Last week she had a show on her favorite things and made all the gift ideas very inexpensive and this was an idea. She talked about getting boxes and decorating them and then putting notes in the box telling the person what you love about them. I loved the idea so that's what we did. Every Sunday we have a family meeting and at the end we go around and tell each person what we love about them so this was just an extension of our meeting. The great thing is that this time we wrote them down so everyone would have them forever.

So this what I did I went to Walmart and bought little square boxes that had lids (they cost .97 cents) and then we decorated them with things we had around here. Paper, flowers, ribbon, cotton balls, and stones. Katy, Grandma, and I had a good time decorating them. This may turn into a tradition for our family. Maybe we'll make a new box every year.

Keil Christmas Party

Last night we had our Keil Christmas party at our house. The party consisted of Mike's parents, his Uncle and lots of cousins. I think a fun time was had by all. We had lots of food and fun. I counted 37 people here, which made for a great time. I especially loved having little kids at the house. They are so fun and I love having them around. I really appreciate all the help Mike and the kids gave me to get ready for the crowd. I couldn't have done it without them. The white elephant gift was a hoot too.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Missing my Family (The Caldwells)

So tonight is my family Christmas party and I couldn't make it down to Cedar City to be with them, so today I have been reflecting on childhood memories. I grew up in a large family and at the time I thought it was annoying, but I am so glad to have each one of them. As I reflect on my childhood memories of Christmas at the Caldwells (realize my memory is going) so this could be a figment of my imagination. I remember that my Mom had made us these great stockings. I loved them and thought my Mom was the most crafty lady around. We had an advent calendar that I thought was truly wonderful. The only thing I didn't like was that with 6 kids it seemed like you had to wait so long for your turn to pull the next surprise out and hang on the tree. My Mom always decorated the house so warm and cozy. I still love going to her house at Christmas and feeling that same feeling. We acted out the Christmas story a few different years at FHE. With 6 kids there never seemed to be a shortage of a baby Jesus. Every year we helped my Mom make hard tack candy. It was so fun. It probably was a big hassle for her, but we loved being in the kitchen with her. Every Christmas Eve we got to open one present(I think it was usually PJ's). It seemed like every year my Mom was explaining that with a big family we wouldn't be getting as many presents as other kids in much smaller families. We usually got three presents, which I think was just enough. I wish I had stuck to that quota with my own children. More isn't always better. My Mom was always making gifts for my grandparents. Money was tight with a big family and she was always tried to do something meaningful for the grandparents and still save money. I remember her crosstiching, making quilts, and some kind of dough project that she baked after. I know that description doesn't do the project justice, but it was once again another crafty thing that only a very crafty lady can do (why did I not inherit this trait?) On Christmas Eve Mom made lots of snacks and we got to eat up and I think we even got to drink pop, which was a real treat. We played games and before we went to bed my Dad always read the Christmas story out of the bible. What a dear memory...the whole family together listening to the story of the birth of our Savior. After that we all "slept" together in the same room (I don't recall much sleeping.) We watched the clock every hour, knowing we could not wake Mom and Dad until 6:00 a.m. Then we were able to get up and each of us watched as each of us unwrapped their presents. Of course we always had our traditional quiche, bran muffin, and wassil breakfast. Mom spent so much time baking and cooking to make the holidays nice for us all. I guess that's why I feel like I need to do the same. Mike always tells me to do something easy for Christmas breakfast and I insist on following in my Mothers footsteps. Although I really don't like wassil so that is not a part of our tradition.

So I guess the point of this long post is to let my family know how much I love each one of them and how grateful I am for fond memories of Christmas' past. Thank you Mom for putting all that time into making everything so nice. You probably wondered at times if it was worth it and I think it was. Thank you Chris, Jon, Robyne, Tom, and Kari for the long chats on Christmas Eve wondering if we heard the reindeers on the roof and what our gifts may be. Thank you Dad for reading to us from the Bible. Reminding us what the real meaning of Christmas is. I love all of you and wish you all a very Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Traditions at the Keils!

So my friend Miriam suggested jotting down our Christmas traditions so here we go...
(The kids were not amused about the picture in front of the tree. I think the hat pushed Katy over the edge.

1. Every year the kids get a new ornament for the tree. We write their name and the year on it. Then when they move out they will have some of their own ornaments. My tree will be bare, but that' okay. It's been fun to see how their interestes have changed and the different ornaments they pick the older they get. Katy picked out two of the same Winnie the Pooh two years in a row. I guess she really liked him.

2. The kids always open one present on Christmas Eve. Usually it's either PJ's or a game that we can play that evening.

3. We always have a big breakfast Christmas morning, which usually consists of quiche, cinnamon rolls, and crab dip. My Mom always did this growing up and I loved that tradition so we've continued it in our family.

4. We always stay home on Christmas morning. We let the kids play with their new toys and spend time together. This is a tradition Mike insisted on. He didn't want the kids to be ripped away from their toys to go visit family so we do that later in the day around dinner time.

5. On Christmas Eve we have lots of snacks and play games. There's always Christmas music playing and after we do games Mike reads the Christmas story out of the Bible and he also reads "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". When the kids were little he started reading the Grinch in this silly voice and they loved it so now they insist he still reads it that way.

6. The last few years this has become a tradition...Katy puts up and arranges the nativity scene abd Eric puts up the Christmas Village. I think they look forward to their specific decorating job.

7. Every year I buy each kid a special book that has a special message that can relate to their life. This has become so fun for me and I hope it is special to them. I spend lots of time at Deseret Book looking for just the right book and then I always write a special message inside the book for them and date it. Hopefully someday they will enjoy reading those books to their own children.

Well that's about it for us. I think this year I am going to copy Miriam and start wrapping the stocking gifts too. I liked that idea, because we all know kids love to unwrap things. Thanks for the idea. Anyone else reading this let's here your family traditions. It's fun to see what other families are doing.