Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas, Christmas Time is Here



Did you have a good holiday?




All seven of my kids were home and we had a fun day opening gifts, going to see Into the Woods and finishing off the afternoon with Chinese food.



I had every intention of doing names on all of our stockings but with so many marshmallow orders, I will have to do the ones for Matt and I later. 
At least I got the kid stockings done and they turned out cute. 
I bought this set of stockings the first year Matt and I were married and I still love them.


Emma wins the award for Most Interesting bed-head.


Zane showered and dressed before coming down to open presents. 
Fancy.




This is not Grey's happy face.
This is Grey giving me the "this better not be my big present, because it's not the main game I want " face. 


Everyone got gifts that made them happy, as well as a few fun surprises.



I'm glad we started the tradition of going out on Christmas, I don't actually like Chinese, but everyone else in the family loves it, so it's even more of a treat. 
We found a new place this year, it was a lot pricier than the place in Springfield that we have gone to in past years, but it also had a working heater and the family said the food was a million times better.
(The fortune cookies & plain, white rice all taste the same to me.)

Emma had to leave the day after Christmas, in order to go back to work, but we enjoyed having the whole gang together, even if it was only for a few days.





Monday, December 8, 2014

Catching Up

I am so far behind on blogging.
This post will have a lot of pictures, and too many words, but I need to get caught up.

Last month, Matt and I went to Utah to see our Kate perform in her high school play, Les Miserables. She was the best Eponine ever. 




  
   We were able to take Grandma Harris out for dinner, and it was fun to see her, chatting with the girls and surrounded by our family, who hasn't seen her since we moved.  Matt really enjoyed getting to treat her and his dad out to dinner. 







We ate way too much and stayed out way too late but we sure had a great time. Sunnie and CJ were there and it was nice to sit with the kids and make my baby sister laugh.


I was able to get some family history done and talk with the experts at the Family History Library to help clear up some things that I have been trying to solve for years. It was exciting to present the evidence I had gathered regarding a family connection and have the workers join in my excitement as they said "You found her family- you found enough proof that THIS is her family, not the people that everyone has listed. Make the formal change in the records, you did it!"
S. S., I know where you belong, where you came from and you were so very loved. 
You were not the unwanted illegitimate child of a family that tried to forget you, it's just that your Papa and Mama had names that were too similar to another family in your tiny little town in Texas.

Family History is kind of super awesome. 
It's an interesting thing for me especially, because I have so many lines with broken branches and changes made because people got mad. 
I have people in my family that I cannot stand as well, but they existed and they had good things and bad things. Our relationship may have ended, but our being related never does. I am sure there are plenty who wish otherwise, but you do not have to have a relationship with your crazy kin. In cases where I am the crazy one, I am sincerely glad I'm not causing hurt to those people anymore.
 It doesn't change that our names belong together on lists and histories. 
I have ancestors and family who have tried with all of their might to hack people out and to pass on stories that absolutely could not be true when you look at the paper trails that people leave behind.
Every branch I look at, brings a similar issue, as I say to myself:  "that doesn't make sense, it isn't actually possible" and I get pulled into finding out what the facts were and documenting that, minus the anger and emotions of relationships that were just too hard for the living. 
I get it, but it makes for a puzzle, every step of the way. 



Maybe solving the puzzle doesn't even matter, but as someone who grew up in home where that same spirit carried on, I'd like to know it wasn't all bad. I like to see that people made big mistakes, but they also did good things too. There is life and happiness beyond the relationships that don't work, and it is okay to move on and go in your own direction. 
There is something inside of me that needs to show that people simply moved in a different direction, and that direction was not downward to Hell.

Anyway--So yeah, family history was a big part of my trip, our hotel was right next door to the Family History Library, which was very nice.

We enjoyed spending time with our Taylorsville friends.  There was good food, Utah food and a lot of laughter and hugs. Karin Holmgren came out to see me. I was so happy to see her, I love her so.







Matt caught up with his friends from Amex and we spent a good amount of time with family.
I have said it before, I love being an Auntie. 
Few sounds in life delight me more than the sound of my nieces and nephews, laughing.



























There never is enough time, and I was running on NYC time, so I got wiped out pretty early in the evening every day and had to tap out too soon.  I can't go that long without seeing my little sister again, so we're going to try and get her out here in the spring.
 It's just too cold to enjoy NYC in the winter. It looks lovely in postcards, but it's too cold.



Since coming home, we enjoyed a quiet Thanksgiving at home. We decorated for the holidays and have been listening to a lot of Christmas music and eating a lot of Holiday treats. 



We had friends from the ward stop by last night to visit and celebrate Zane's birthday (today!!) and the kids had fun decorating sugar cookies and making cards for the missionaries. The adults talked and visited and raided my Diet Coke stash and a good time was had by all. I am so thankful for the friendships I have in this ward.







Even with 25 kids running around, it felt like a close family get together, because these people here are the family of our hearts. As much as I miss and long for my wonderful friends in Utah, my life would be lacking if we had not moved here and added to our family with our friends in the Short Hills Ward. 

So that's the theme of this too long blog post: family.










We traveled to spend time with our family, both the living and the dead. 
That sounds so creepy, but I'm trying to tie it all in, Yo.
We came home and were surrounded by our new family as well and it's all so, so good. 

Emma, Kate and Jane will be here in 2 weeks, and the Olson family will hunker down and absorb each other. The blog will probably suffer more, but my heart will be happy and bursting with the joy of my own family- one more time.