Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas time is here:)

Yesterday was a wonderful and fabulous Christmas-togetherness day!  My dad started a tradition of inviting family to come to Mimi's Cafe for breakfast the Saturday before Christmas.  If you don't know my dad there are a few words that describe him very well: selfless, giving, generous, always thinking of others.  We calculated and came to the conclusion that this was the ninth year of this tradition and it is one of our favorites.  Each year we grow in numbers and this year tops all of the previous years: a whopping total of 42!  He was smart and had everyone order before hand so that when we arrived our food was almost ready.  We had a whole room in the restaurant to ourselves and we enjoyed the time together!  Here are some pictures that didn't turn out so well.  I am most definitely not a photographer-but I am more than happy to take pictures:)

Carli and Zachary waiting to be seated

Brooke, Derek, and Carli

Me and Zach

Derek, Brooke, Lincoln, Carter

Kelly, Landon, Trevor, Ryan, Zach, Brandt

Brooke, Derek, Carli, Carter, Lincoln, Trevor, Jace, Jaxon

LaRae, Brad, Jet, Lance, Mark, Heidi

Grandpa B., Grandma B., Shawn, Brielle, Kim, Baylee, Kelly, Brandt, Janet

Lex, Bryson, Taylor, Maria, Steve, Kris, Tyler, Devon, Lauren

Bev, Marianne, Britt

Ryan, Landon, Jack

Rhett, Kate

Jace, Brielle, Baylee, Kim, Jaxon, Shawn

Lauren, Devon, Bryon, Tyler (Kris and Steve had to leave early)

Grandpa, Bev, Grandma

Grandma, Lance, Grandpa, Mark, Jet, LaRae, Brad, Heidi, Taylor, Maria

Rhett, Kate, Marianne (Britt and Jack had to leave early)

Me, my Dad, my Mom, Carli
 After breakfast we ran over to watch the end of Jack's basketball game.  He is an awesome player!  I love being able to support my nieces and nephews:)
Jack is on the left in the green
We got home just in time for Molly and Jordan (some high school friends who now live in Washington D.C.) to stop by and visit for a few minutes!  It was fun to see them.

I ran with my Mom to get a few things at Sam's Club.  I think that she has been shopping a little too much and her feet are worn out.  This is SO out of character for my Mom.  She seriously walked the whole store in her bare feet.  It cracked me up!
 A few hours later we headed down to my aunt and uncle's house in Orem for the Sharp Family Christmas Party.  We had a great time and it was so much fun to see family that I haven't seen in a long time!
 Instead of the usual white elephant exchange that we do, we did a favorite-Christmas-treat exchange.  I brought a bag of Cuties and I just had to include this fabulous treat:
Yes, doesn't it look divine?!  I received this little bag of goodies from a student this last week.  It looked too good and too tasty to eat on my own.  I just had to share it with someone I love dearly.  From looking at it you can see that it contains many fabulous food items: Chex, Trix, colored marshmallows, chocolate, nuts, and a few mystery items as well as a mystery coating.  I figured that others would feel the same way I do about the treat--that it is just too good to eat.  But to my surprise it became the treat that everyone wanted to/was dared to try!  Matt was the first to taste it...
 and then it continued to make its way around the circle.

 I must admit that I left that party still not trying a smidge of it.  And we still have not been able to identify all of the ingredients:)

 I love seeing these little boys in jammies and being able to cuddle them!  I love the little ones.

It was a wonderful day and I feel more in the Christmas Spirit!  Yay for Christmas and yay for time spent with loved ones.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Reason for the Season

The news of the events that occurred in Connecticut this morning was awful to receive.  It seemed to hit home since it happened in an elementary school and a kindergarten teacher and her students were involved.  I think about the families, the students, the faculty and community and wonder how they will go on.  I know that because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ they will be able to.  That doesn't mean that it will be easy or quick-only that it is possible.  I wish I could do something to help or bless the life of just one of those that was involved or affected.  Right now the only thing that I can think to do directly for those people is pray.  I know that Heavenly Father loves them and is aware of their needs.  The other thing that I can think to do-and it is way indirect-is to serve and love those people who are in closer proximity.  There are plenty of people around me who are hurting or suffering, who feel alone and abandoned.  The events of this morning reminded me of them as well.

I will be staying in Logan until the afternoon of the 21st.  I wasn't excited about that until now--mostly because my roommates are going to be gone next week as well as most other college-going people AND because Christmas festivities will be taking place at home.  I am not one who loves to be alone:)  But I realize that this is an amazing opportunity to seek out opportunities to serve and love others.  I plan to be finished with Christmas shopping and wrapping by tomorrow evening.  I work every day next week but I plan on being finished by 12:30 so that I can use the rest of my time to serve.  I am so excited!  However, I need to enlist your help.  I need help in finding the people that need help.  I would love to know of any families or widows or students or elderly couples or anyone else that I could do something for.  Now, my financial abilities to help are not so grand but I do have time and a willingness to do whatever I can.  So here are a few things that I thought that I could offer:

  • Preparing dinner-I could drop dinner off to someone or a family anonymously or I could share a meal with them.  
  • Cleaning-I really do love to clean.  I will clean/organize/scour anything!  Seriously, I love it.  
  • Shopping-I can help with any shopping needs-as long as you are very, VERY specific.
  • Wrapping-I love to make presents look pretty and it is something that I could do for hours.
  • Family Home Evening-I would love to help prepare and put on a Christmas-focused FHE.  It would make me happy because I would feel like a missionary again.  
  • Babysitting-I would love to help watch children if there is a need at this Christmas season.
  • Brainstorming-Are you having a hard time coming up with a gift idea?  Two brains are better than one.
  • Snow Shoveling-Yes, I love manual labor.  
  • Neighbor Gifting-I am really good at the whole "drop and run" thing.  
  • Christmas Treats-I can prepare them for you or with you.
  • Decorating-I really enjoy decorating-A LOT.
  • Visiting-I can visit and talk and listen for hours.  I would love to visit you or anyone who would be up for it.
Okay, those are a few ideas off of the top of my head.  If you think of anything-seriously ANYTHING-else I would do it.  I am also open to doing any of these things as a team:)  I would actually really love that and it would be all the more enjoyable.  If you have thought about how you would love to do something for someone else this Christmas season but it seems a little big for you to do on your own, please, PLEASE let me assist you.  I feel like I am a missionary again begging others to let me serve them.  I will keep begging:)  This would be the greatest Christmas gift that you could give to me.  Now, Cache Valley residents, I really need your help.  I am only really aware of students-I have hardly any connections to families or the elderly.  Please let me know if there is anyone in your ward or area that I could serve:)  The rest of you, if you have family or friends that live in this area, please pass that info on.  I would really appreciate it!  AND if I can serve or spend time with you, what a blessing that would be!  I want to make this a memorable week.  Christmas time to me is spending time with those that I love:)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Best Friends

I've just noticed in my classroom that kids are starting to refer to others as 'best friends'.  To be quite honest, I am not very fond of that term.  I actually cringe when I hear it.  Maybe it is because I have never considered another person to be my best friend.  I have many really wonderful and dear friends, not just one best friend.  There are the friends that I love to talk to, the friends that I love to craft with, the friends that always make me laugh, the friends that are amazing listeners-and there are friends that fill all of those shoes.  All of my friends are my  best friends-they truly are the best.  I am so blessed to be surrounded by the best of the best-and if you are reading this, it includes you.  You are one of my best friends.  Thank you for  the friend that you are.  

When I was four my grandparents moved into our home for a few months while they were waiting to get into their own home in the area.  It was a great blessing for my whole family since my mom had just had the twins and needed the extra help.  It was especially a blessing for me because I always had someone to play with while my mom was taking care of the babies.  At that time, my grandpa became one of those best friends.  Oh my goodness, he could make me laugh!  He was such a tease.  He was so good at playing games and spending time with me.  He made me feel like a princess.  When they moved into their home it was quite the adjustment for me.  I remember one day I was bored (seriously, I can't even imagine what it would be like to feel bored again) and complaining to my mom that I wanted someone to play with.  She listed off a number of my friends and I explained to her that I wanted to play with 'someone fun-like grandpa!' He taught me what a true friend is.  He is still one of my dearest friends and he is still such a tease.  He is humble and a hard worker.  He always puts others first.  He can do absolutely anything-ANYTHING.  He has had a lot of challenges in his life and has always remained positive.  His testimony of the gospel is unwavering.  I sure love him and I am thankful that he has played such a big role in my life.  Here are a few pictures of me and him when I was younger:
Me, grandpa, and Carli at the Lion House

Me and grandpa at a family Christmas party
I sure love him!

Monday, December 10, 2012

13 + 1 of My Many Blessings

Just to warn you, there are many pictures included in this post-I give you permission to quickly scroll through them:)

This past Saturday we had the annual Buchanan Family Christmas Party!  It is something that I look forward to every year.  We always have breakfast, a visit from Santa, the Nativity, games, and a Sub-for-Santa.  It is just wonderful to get together and feel the spirit of the season.  One thing I especially love about this yearly event is the excitement of the little ones!  It is so fantastic to be around them and experience the magic of Christmas through them.  That brings me to 13 + 1 of my many blessings-my nieces and nephews (plus Jet, my cousins' little boy).  Look how cute they are on Santa's lap.  Most of them are happy--some of them are terrified:) I think that I was one of those that would have been terrified of Santa at the age of 2 so I understand.  


And here are pictures of the families.  All of these people are blessings to me!
Jordan and Kristin's Family
Brooke and Derek's Family
Britt and Marianne's Family
Mark and Heidi's Family
Brandt and Kelly's Family
Grandma and Grandpa B.
The unmarried and non-missionary members of my family
Kris and Steve's Family
LaRae and Lance
Buchanan Sisters
I was only able to snap a few pictures of the kids all dressed up and ready for the Nativity because I was in charge of running it.  This is the highlight of the party for me.  Those little ones remind me of the true meaning of Christmas with such love, purity and innocence.  
Kate, the angel
Trevor, the donkey
Ava, the star
Ella, Mary
Lincoln, the toilet plunger dude/sheep
Just a little side note about Linc's costume--he wanted a shepherd's crook but we only had two and they were already taken.  He found this (unused) beauty in a cubicle and was quite proud of his very own "crook".  It was hilarious!  The whole get-together was fabulous.  I am so thankful for family and especially for those 13 + 1 blessings:)

Oh, and one last thing that I must share before I end this post--Carli should be getting her mission call on Wednesdsay!!!  I am so excited for her.  She will be an amazing missionary.  I can't wait to hear where she will be going!  I will keep you posted:)
This pic was taken on Friday.  She was so kind to come in and help with a big project in my classroom.  The kiddos adored her-so do I:)