Tuesday, December 27, 2011

O Christmas Tree

I was really excited about our Christmas tree this year. It started when Ethan was playing with an empty baby food jar. I realized that those things are fairly indestructible. Suddenly I was looking at the jar in a new way. With the label gone, it was really quite pretty. I decided to make some ornaments. I didn't have enough time to make all of my ideas, but I was happy with the way the ones I did make turned out.

I hope you like the pictures Terral took for me. I asked him to take them during the day because I love the way the sun looks through the glass. Also, we have LED lights, and the blue just kind of throws everything off. I need to get some white lights.



For the jar ornaments, I spray painted the lids, and then used jute twine and hot glue to decorate the jars. Next year I'd like to gather mini pine cones to put in some of the jars, and maybe do something with glitter or shredded sheet music. But this year I kept it pretty minimal.


I really like the snowflake ornaments. I made some extra for gifts to friends, and I filled them with candies.

I really like the look of this one with the red and white striped candy. I actually didn't hang any like this on the tree, but I had several of them on the piano.


For the bell garland, I got some copied sheet music and aged it with tea. Then I used a bell punch I got at a thrift store for $2 and punched out a bunch of bells, making sure to utilize the notes well. Then I sewed them all together on my sewing machine. I really like the way it looks, but it was kind of time consuming, and is rather fragile. Not the best thing with a babe around. On the up side, it cost next to nothing, and I can always make more.

My mom gave me these violin ornaments several years ago.  I only have three of them, but maybe someday I'll get some more. I love taking them out of the box every year and thinking of my mom, my years studying music, and all the times my family has supported me in that. Music means so much to me. There's a reason why Christmas Carols abound. What better medium could we have for praising our God?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to All!

I still haven't mailed our Christmas letter yet.  Sigh.  Instead of further lamenting that fact, I will do the second best thing and post it up here and send out the hard copies for the New Year!  Incidentally, there's still time to get me your address if you want one. ;)

Happy Christmas to you all!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Nine, Ten, Eleven

Ethan is 11 months old.  Wow.  I try not to think about how close he is to being one now.  I've got incredible mommy guilt that I have been so horrible about recording his babyhood.  I've got the pictures, but I haven't written down all his cute little habits that he has had at every stage.  I feel bad about that.  I guess there's no going back, so here's a snapshot of him the past couple of months:

Ethan's first tooth finally broke through October 9th.  It was a doozy. He worked on it for months.  A week later, the second one peeked out. Sometime this month I bought a bell intending to use it for Family Home Evening, and he was instantly enamored.  He thinks ringing a bell is super exciting.  I think this is also about when he got into playing the piano and his recorder.  He'd done it before, but became more enthusiastic about it all.  I think it was also during this month he found the joy of kitchen cupboards.

Mama was Ethan's first word (sometime early summer), followed closely by Dada. During his tenth month a third word became firmly entrenched in his vocabulary.  "Uh-oh" is a very versatile word, in case you didn't know.  It can be used when you drop something, when you toot, or if you want to warn your parents you're about to do something you know you're not supposed to.  In the last case, it is sometimes helpful to repeat the first syllable several times to denote the severity of whatever you're about to do. This is also the month Ethan learned to hold a phone (as well as other random objects) up to his ear and say something close to "hello".  He learned that it's kind of fun to stick your finger up your nose, and yes, sometimes into your mouth afterward.  He got pretty good at walking with his car/walker in the upright position.

So far in his eleventh month, he has become fairly fearless in his climbing attempts.  He climbs into boxes (whether or not they are filled with books—that we got for free! Score!), climbs on people, any seat that is low enough, and recently tried to climb onto the filing cabinet next to the couch.
 He's been having fun finding hide-y-holes.

I've been having fun finding them too. :)
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(12/08/11)

And this week he has finally decided that there might be something to this walking thing after all.  We're really excited about this!  He took his first multiple solo steps on October 16th.  We would catch him standing and even walking when he was excited about a toy or something, but he would always sit down the moment he realized what was going on.  Now we can get him to walk upon request, and he will try walking first instead of crawling if he's already standing.  He's walked quite frequently the past few days, and even distances as long as across the room (although our rooms are admittedly small), so I think it's safe to officially declare that we have a walker!
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(12/12/11)

Some people would rather have their kids walk later than sooner, but we figured it wouldn't make much difference as far as him getting into stuff.  He's been pulling himself up onto whatever he can grab for quite a while, and man, that kid has a reach!  We tried not to push him into something he wasn't ready for, but this is one milestone we've been quite excited for. :D

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Messiah

When I was in high school, I played in the orchestra for our community production of Handel's Messiah three years in a row.  It was a such a good experience, and it really instilled a love for the music in me.

The first time I attended Cedar's production, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the performance.  It was by no means perfect, but it was really, really good!  I loved listening to it and feeling that special spirit.  Every year after that, I wished I could be a part of it, but never felt that I could make the time commitment.

This year was different—no school, no student teaching, an old-enough baby, and a supportive husband.  I finally got to do it!  I auditioned for a solo, and they asked me to sing "O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion". 

The first night the house was packed.  They had to turn away over a hundred people!  The second night was very full, but there were a few empty seats.  All my pictures are from the second night.

This is me, of course. . .
 with Maestro Sun
 with my friend Linda (who went to all the practices with me)
 with my lovin' hunny
 with my fellow soloist/friends from school

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Getting a Tree as a Family of Three

One of our favorite Christmas traditions is going out to get a tree.  Terral and I were really excited to take Ethan on his first tree hunt—well the first one that he could actually participate in.  I was 36 weeks pregnant with him last year when we searched for our tree on snowshoes.  Those weren't necessary this year, and we had wonderful weather for traipsing around in the snow.

Here's Ethan all bundled up and excited for his first sledding experience.

 Aunt Heather got to be pulled in a sled too. :)

Terral took Ethan on his first little hill.
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 Once we started our search in earnest, it didn't take long for Ethan to fall asleep.  I'd probably fall asleep in a set-up like that too.

This was one of the trees we considered, but once I got up there we realized it was too big and wimpy.


Beautiful, no?  I love wintery wonderlands.

And this is Terral checking out the tree that came home with us.

Ethan still napping in his parked sled.  We got that sled for Christmas a couple years ago and haven't regretted the purchase once.  It's so useful and fun!

We forgot the saw, so we had to go back and get it.

Once we had the saw the tree was down in no time.

This is Terral getting the tree across the stream.
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Erin and Corey with their tree.

I didn't get a picture of Heather and Chris with their tree, but at least I got one of them. :)

 And McKade and Macey already had their tree, but they came along anyway 'cause we always have such a good time.

Our little family lovin' the fresh outdoors!

On our way back we rode the sled behind the 4Runner.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Crochet Cable Ear Warmer

Like a lot of my crafts, this was inspired by the need for a gift. I wanted to make an ear warmer a little different than the ones I regularly do, and this is what I came up with. I was pretty excited to learn how to crochet a cable stitch. :)



So what do you think?  Is this something you would wear?  It could be any color, of course.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Ethan has been imitating us a lot more recently.  He likes to watch me cook in the kitchen, and now one of his favorite toys is a spoon and some sort of container.  He loves to stir the spoon in the pan/bowl/cup. He brushes my hair and his own.  He imitates sounds that we make, including sneezes.  He loves to "brush" his teeth.  And tonight, he made his first real sign for "all done"!  It was very exciting for me.  He had his own signals that he would use, but this is the first time he correctly used the one I showed him.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Why I Love My Husband, Part III

Late last night, in spite of the fact that I don't know when the last time either of us had a decent night's sleep, Terral patiently listened to me talk about something that's been worrying me.  He let me unload, comforted me, and gave me new perspective.  I felt much of the worry melt away as hopeful acceptance replaced it.  I still had something more to say, but in the middle of my sentence I suddenly couldn't remember what it was (which is highly unusual of me in such circumstances).  After a pause, I said, "I think Heavenly Father's giving me a stupor of thought so I can sleep."  Terral replied with, "That's why I sleep so well at night."

Who wouldn't love a man who could take you from worry to laughter?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Singing

I was singing while doing dishes today, and Ethan decided to join me like he does sometimes. I was lucky enough to record it. He usually stops doing whatever I want to record when I pull out the camera.

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Is he not the cutest, sweetest, most talented little guy? What? You think I'm biased? Nah. . .

Saturday, November 19, 2011

My Tech Savvy Boy

So, I don't really consider us tech enthusiasts.  We have what we need, but don't spend the money on anything "extra".  We did some touch screen phones last time we renewed the contract with our carrier, but we don't even text. (*gasp* I know!)  I love having a cell phone, but I don't really use it a ton.  In spite of that, phones became one of Ethan's favorite toys early on. 
These first two videos were taken on Nov. 1st, and show Ethan scrolling through pictures.  The third--a phone conversation with my mom--was taken just yesterday .

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Friday, November 4, 2011

My thoughts on Hunting (by Terral)

I have had mixed feelings about hunting for quite some time. I have found that most people are either 1. morally against the concept of hunting and oppose it, 2. Didn't grow up hunting and don't understand the appeal but don't care that some people do, or 3. have grown up in a hunting family and they love hunting. Those who do love hunting almost always want a bigger buck. They are looking for a trophy. This year was my second time hunting but the first time that I've ever shot an animal. There seem to be very few people that want to learn how to hunt an animal and preserve its hide/meat and are truly concerned with the life of an animal. In my perception, most hunters are looking for the thrill of the kill and a trophy. 

This year I decided to go hunting and I thought that it might possibly be the last time I would go. I felt like I don't exactly fit in with the hunting crowd and I don't really thrive off of killing. Now that I have actually experienced killing and dressing a deer I feel like I have learned quite a bit about the experience and also about myself. I probably will hunt again but I don't feel the drive to hunt as much as I possibly can.

I have decided that hunting can be a very wholesome activity if done in a respectful attitude. Many people say that there is no need to hunt since we get all the food we need from the store. I think that humans have an innate drive to hunt. It is an instinct that is engrained into our systems. There is probably a good reason that we have this instinct. It is a survival instinct. Just because times have changed and our methods of retrieving food for our families has changed doesn't mean that we should ignore our instincts. They are there for a reason and I believe it is good to understand them. In doing so we can come to understand ourselves as a species. I also believe that when we just buy meat from the supermarket it really is more difficult to think of the meat as a life given and thus more difficult to be truly thankful for it.

I wanted to share a few things about my experience that made an impression on me. 

1. I did not experience what people call "buck fever". People often get so excited when they see a buck that their heart rate rises, they shake and have a rush of adrenaline. When I found the deer that I wanted to shoot I became more calm than ever. I focused on the deer and blocked out all other stimuli. I don't even remember if I was sitting or standing when I shot the deer. My hands were very steady and my heart rate seemed to slow down to allow me a better shot. I believe that this is because I am not concerned with the trophy and I have not obsessed with hunting. It may also be linked to my Native American roots. Or... maybe I'm just weird. :)

2. I felt bad for the deer when I saw it dead but I was relieved that it died on the spot with minimal suffering. Seeing the deer that I had killed allowed me to make a personal connection with the animal that gave it's life for me and will allow me to feed my family. Because of these personal feelings I will be more cautious about not wasting the meat. I will have a greater appreciation for the food that it provides and I will think of this deer and its sacrifice every time I eat the venison. 

3. There is A TON of work involved after the deer has been shot. We had to carry the deer down a rugged trail for a couple of miles. It was heavy and difficult to maneuver since the sun went down as we were leaving the kill site. There was a lot of work involved with skinning and butchering the deer as well. Again, all of this allowed me to have a personal connection with the animal and the meat that it provides. It becomes more than just a slab of meat that I bought at the supermarket. The more you are personally involved, the more you will appreciate the food value.

4. I will try to make use of everything I can. I know that it is impossible for me to make use of every part but I've made a substantial effort to reduce waste. I don't plan to throw away the hide, and I am working on tanning itto make something useful out of it. (hopefully some warm winter moccasins!) The same goes with the antlers. I don't plan on using them as a trophy but rather using them for either knife handles or jewelry, etc. Something useful can be done with them. 

5. As I did research on tanning the hide I found some interesting things. On a site created by the Montana Native American Council they urged hunters to show respect by not shooting the first buck that is seen. They say that if you only see one buck then chances are there are very few in the area and it should live. They suggested leaving something for the deer's cousins (ie. corn, or salt lick) but to be careful that you don't get in trouble for bating. Lastly they suggested using as much of the animal as possible. As I continued to research the tanning process I found that the best way to tan a hide is to use the animal's brain. It sounds gross, but it's possibly the oldest method of tanning a hide and also the best. The leather becomes much softer, it has a longer life, and it is waterproof (big plus for winter boots). Almost every animal has just enough brains to tan it's own hide. To me that was a sign that animals are for the use of man but that we should not waste them. That is why I decided to use the brian tanning method. Gross? Heck yes, but I feel better about using it! Getting the brain out was the worst part. 

I have come to believe that animals were place on earth for the prudent use of man. Unfortunately many hunters abuse that privilege and hunt for the thrill and trophy. I believe that killing an animal for those reasons is evil and not according to the will of God. Each creature is unique and has more value in its life than for the entertainment of men. Those who do hunt for the proper reasons know exactly where their meat comes from and what the real value is. Most people buy meat from the store without a second thought about the life that was sacrificed for that food. After my hunting experience I will never eat meat again without thinking about the life that it once had. I will continue to eat meat sparingly but I will always have a greater appreciation for meat.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fall Family

Just about every Monday we have Family Home Evening with Terral's parents, but this week we ended up having it on Tuesday.  We took a lovely drive up the canyon to enjoy the fall leaves.  On the way we stopped to take some family pictures.  Ethan thought it was pretty fun to have Grandma and Grandpa Fox cultivating smiles.

I hope you like the pictures as much as I do.  They turned out pretty good for a quick stop on the side of the road. :)  I love the way the rabbit brush and mountains frame out the scene.  Please excuse the pictures that almost seem like duplicates.  I had a hard time choosing and decided just to include all my favorites.








Ethan's barely-there bottom teeth are visible in this one.





Which one is your favorite?