Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Blurry Christmas with the Tylers

Now that Blogger and My Computer have finally agreed to allow me to post Pictures with my Blogs-- I have to make the disclaimer that the week before Christmas we discovered that my Camera is broken!! (I know, right?) So we had to resort to the use of my old camera (that is also broken - hence the need to purchase another camera that is now broken as well- equaling TWO broken Cameras at Christmas) #2 mentioned Camera is not completely broken. It will take a picture... eventually. Which means- three minutes after the cute smile, the unwrapped gift, the perfect moment - the shutter will finally agree to take the blurry, closed eyed picture. So, without further ado--

A Blurry Christmas with the Tylers

This is Riley baking with me. I probably have 1 million pictures of her standing on a chair with ingredients spilling on the ground. I love them all.
A Nelson Family Tradition is making Candy Trains. My family got together the week before Christmas and opened up insane amounts of candy and frosting to unleash our creative energy and produce an edible candy train. Here is Riley. (I am not a cool enough mom to have a picture of the finished project)
This is Blake's Train. If you look close you will see he used giant gummy rings for the wheels instead of a more traditional M&M or Spree. This was so he could make a "Monster Train"! I thought it was so cute. His train was pretty minimal in candy since he would rather play than create. He also didn't care to eat his- since he won't eat frosting and each piece is obviously covered in frosting. (That is the same reason I do not eat mine :)

Here is Macie and JT's train. She is more like JT and would rather EAT than create. She also doesn't care if there is frosting on her candy. In fact, the more sugar the better!

This is Macie after she had eaten most of her train and we realized we should take it away before she throws up!This is my Train. Not too exciting. Accept that someone brought candy sharks to the party which necessitated a lake on the side so my shark and swedish fish could swim together. If they weren't touching frosting- that would be delicious!

Showing off my awesomeness to make my kids Christmas Tree Pancakes! This is an improvement on the usual "snowball" or "circles" I usually make for my kids.

Christmas Eve at the Tyler's. Before dinner Santa and Mrs. Clause showed up and surprised us! My kids may read this someday- so that is as much as I can say about that. But I will say- I was so happy and surprised that I teared up. (But that only makes sense if you know the rest of the story - which you don't - since my kids may read this one day!)

All the Cousins (minus Isaac who lives in Las Vegas) with Santa and Mrs. Clause! so cute :)... notice the fact that no one is looking at me since my camera took the picture long after I said "say cheese!"

Here are the Cousins doing the Annual Nativity. Yes, among Kings, Shepherds, and Princesses, it appears that the Native Americans came to see Baby Jesus :)

And this is Christmas Morning-- before the kids woke up. This part may get Blurry, not because of Lame Camera-- but because of all the generosity we received. Our tree looks pretty full-- and none of it was from us. I still don't know how to Thank all of the people who loved us and our kids and made what was looking like a hard day for us- into a beautiful memorable day instead.

This is a gift Riley made for JT - a giant telescope. I loved watching her make silly gifts for everyone and knew they would be among our favorite things unwrapped. (and not just because I thought they would be the only thing we unwrapped!) Oh and I don't have a picture of me unwrapping gifts- but I will say the Highlight for me was a surprise gift from friends (I have no problem admitting that I was disappointed when JT pointed out we wouldn't have the money for gifts this year and that if we wanted to buy even one thing for each kid it would mean forgoing our own presents!! I am not a mature and selfless mom. I like presents too! :) But he was right, and I agreed that I would rather see them with presents- and sometimes That is Life) So- the simple fact that something had my name on it- (and thoughtful gifts for JT also) was enough to make me cry. Then opening a gift card to go shopping, and ear rings, and a tart pan!!! It wasn't just that someone thought of me. It was that someone knew me. (man I am tearing up again! dumb camera... oh yeah, it's not the camera this time)

Anyways- back to the no tears part--Riley unwrapping gifts. Some of her favorites were Polly Pockets, clothes, markers, Little Pet Shop and paints. But her favorite was the Magnetic Dress Up Dolls that Aleisa helped me make! Thank goodness for Aleisa coming through and helping me be the Frugal Superstar Mom I always wanted to be! (ok, darn it, I did cry about that too! Really, I am so thankful for that small act of kindness from Aleisa!)

Blake got a lot of trucks, cars, and more cars. Which is his favorite thing in the world. The highlight of him unwrapping gifts was when he opened this Monster Truck Carrier with Monster Trucks inside and he exclaimed "Wow! I must have done a REALLY LONG POOP to get this truck!!!" I guess he still thinks that is how it works- even though he has been potty trained for months!

(once again- I don't have a single picture of him with his eyes open! ugghhh!)

And here is Macie on our favorite toy! Our kids love to ride their bikes, but Macie has not mastered a tricycle yet and refuses to ride in the stroller, so our family walks (when JT isn't home to help) are tedious! I was telling my sister Karen about it and she gave us her old push tricycle! Yeah! So I will love using this as much as Macie will! (p.s. don't like the look fool you- she loves it)

And this is the kids with our new Nativity. This was actually the first part of Christmas Morning. When JT told me, years ago, that his family started Christmas morning with the Christmas Story and a small devotional I thought they were crazy! We thought we were tortured by my parents forcing us to eat breakfast first- but to sit through talking and Spiritual stuff??? That was crazy talk! ... But I am changing my tune... As I heard JT read the story, and watched my kids use the new Nativity we received anonymously this Christmas - I didn't care about the presents under the tree. I wasn't anxious for the stockings. I was grateful for friends, family, and The King of all the earth who chose to be born humbly in a manger with no gifts, no stockings, and not even a bed to lay him in. I guess even as a baby he was more mature and selfless than I will ever be. (Oh,and the kids loved it too!)

P.S. did I mention how this showed up on our door step and I have secretly always wanted a Little People Nativity??? I guess Santa really does listen!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

On the 12th Day of Christmas

Merry Christmas!
For starters, here is a Pic of my Riley and Blake dressed up as Mary and Joseph and Macie as the Shepard. Pretty Cute, huh?

So- let's talk about this month. This blog post has been stuck in my mind for days now- trying to escape. It has been an interesting month...

It is no secret that the Real Estate Market has been hit hard by this recession. And if you know me, you know JT supports our family with a Real Estate income. Yes, he works at the Hospital in the ER, but he is no doctor - and his pay check there reflects that. He works hard, but it just is not enough to support a growing family and a mortgage. Real estate has always come through for us. But this year has been harder than most.

As I prepared for the Holiday Season I was optimistic. I saw myself sewing adorable gifts from scrap fabric, baking wonderful treats from my pantry, and focusing more on the Baby that was born on Christmas than the gifts that were received. I envisioned a frugal superstar making Christmas out of nothing. And then my children begging to hear the Christmas Story read from Luke "one more time, puh-lease, before we open presents!" I was already congratulating myself on a Christmas fit to be printed in the Ensign.

And then December hit.

And boy has it hit.

Someday I will post my notes from the Relief Society Scripture night that I taught at the beginning of the month. Normally, that kind of event would be the highlight of my month. Speaking. For an hour. On the scriptures. My dream come true! (seriously) But this time- I felt overwhelmed. I felt like I was up against every road block possible. My Testimony seemed to be shaken to the core. (a feeling I was not expecting or familiar with)

When that was over - it was our Anniversary, our get-a-way and by the time we got back I felt like I was 10 steps behind. Suddenly the reality of life, finances, and Holidays hit me. It was too late for home made gifts. Who was I kidding anyways? Me? Crafting adorable gifts for my kids? But how could we make Christmas work with our finances? Does the Ensign really want to print a story of my life crashing down around me days before Christmas?

And there it was.
On our doorstep.

The 12 Days of Christmas.

Not just the 12 Days of Christmas (which I have loved) But Secret Santa Gifts on my front porch. Generosity from friends and family. Help crafting presents. Cards. Gifts. Treats. Thoughtful acts of service and kindness. And for as much as my kids love it, I know I appreciate it even more. I think I have cried every day during these 12 days. Every time the doorbell rings I start crying again. I pray every night for these families that are thinking of us. I ask Heavenly Father to help me do something. anything. The more I receive the more I cry. I can hardly even figure out what it is I am feeling.


I think that last one is the hardest. I have never felt so selfish in my life. Just keeping my own head above water has been exhausting this past month- how can I serve others? It isn't that I haven't wanted to. Or tried. Wasn't that the point of the Relief Society Scripture night? To share my love of the Scriptures? But even that almost drowned me. But is it that obvious to everyone else? Are we the family that needs help? So here I am. Paralyzed. Wanting to serve. Wanting to share. Wanting to give.

And instead- the doorbell rings with more love for my own family.

I have no idea who is doing all of this.
I think I am too embarrassed to even want to know.
And I am certain that if they wanted me to know who it was- they would stick around on the front porch while I wipe my eyes and answer the door.

So, if you are reading this. And you have stood on my front porch this month doing something kind for me or my family. And you have rang the doorbell and wondered if what you are doing is making a difference...

Thank you.
wow, those words seem small compared to all that you have given me. How can I make those words sound as big as they feel?

Thank You
still not big enough :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Oooppss - To Clarify

oooppssss- Sorry Everyone, Looks like I need to Clarify.

We ARE STAYING HERE and going to UW. :)

I keep having people ask if we have decided where we are going and I realized I have strung you along for years and never gave you a firm answer to our plans!

I think it is because it simply felt good. There was no big event, singing angels, or interesting story - it just felt good. For the first time in a couple years we have been able to just sit back and feel calm. In fact this whole thing played out so differently than I ever imagined. I saw us getting a thick envelope in the mail. I saw us eagerly opening it and then jumping up and down as we hugged and cried. I saw us calling everyone we knew and running through the streets shouting for joy. But in fact - it was a phone call. And it was JT casually turning to me to say he got accepted. It was us sighing relief. Going to the Temple to pray and feeling calm and content. It was us just sitting back and enjoying the new found peace in our lives. Sorry I forgot to pass that on to the rest of you.

So no New York for me. I guess the Big Apple just isn't ready for Katie Tyler yet... someday.

As for adventure--- We will be moving up to Seattle (if we can find renters for our house) in June. Classes start in June and then the full time schedule begins in September. With the intensity of the program and the amount of studying JT will need to do- there is no way to add in a 2 hour commute. This way he can come home for dinner and bed time with the kids and then head back to the Library to study without wasting time in traffic.

And I get my dream of living in the city.

Thank you all for your love and support. It has been fun for me to run into a lot of you lately who read my Blog and I had NO IDEA :)

And to everyone who already knew we were staying here- sorry for the boring informational blog! I am sure I will have something more juicy to write about soon.

Monday, December 5, 2011

the Nativity...according to Riley

It is beginning to look a Little Bit like Christmas around here.

Our $20 Noble is proudly standing - naked - without lights or ornaments. And the Kids' Nativities are displayed in our home. (the rest of the decorations are yet to come)

Riley called me in to show me how she had arranged one of the miniature Nativities. If you look closely you will see a Shepherd with his sheep. A Mary and Joseph. And then the Three Wisemen standing by Baby Jesus.

Riley: Mom, come see my Activity (she means Nativity)

Me: Cute, Riley, but why are Mary and Joseph so far away from Baby Jesus?

Riley: Oh, Mary and Joseph are on a date. But don't worry, the Wise Men are there.

Mary was so lucky to have babysitters led by a Star so that she could go out with her man!

P.S. I am taking a bow for getting a picture on my blog. thank you, thank you.