Sunday, December 30, 2012

Did You Get the Memo?

..."We Had Christmas"

It is amazing how fast Christmas approaches us and just as fast, is *poof* Gone.

This Year's Christmas Card
Another family shot that didn't make the card.
We took those pictures up at Usery Park (northeast Mesa) on our 18th wedding anniversary! It was a nice nippy day with even a little rain! Perfect.
I admit to a little bit of "Post-Christmas" Blues. No, nothing major. No one may even notice if I didn't say I had them. But there is just something about the season approaching and all that fun and's gone. Plus, Retail-land doesn't help with how they hoist all the next "stuff" on you before the current holiday is even over. I'm in no mood for Valentine stuff just yet! Just like they were clearing out the Halloween stuff BEFORE Halloween was even over to make room for the Christmas stuff. (Poor Thanksgiving).

Anyway, there was no immediate family around for this round of Christmas celebrations. Sometimes we would see some of Chris's cousins and his aunt around Christmas, but we didn't hear from them this time around. 

Xander enamored in "The Grinch That Stole Christmas" on the TV above our table at TGI Fridays.
Christmas Eve we went to our favorite Chinese Food place, and Christmas morning we tortured Mikelle and Christian by making them wait until after 7:30am for the "big reveal".   Then, Chris, Myself and the baby had a nice long nap. By early evening, I was feeling a little stir crazy and we decided to go out to dinner. We thought Village Inn or IHOP would be open, but n o such luck. But you know what was open? TGI Fridays! I know, we didn't expect it either. 

Of course there was a long wait and they were crazy busy, but it was still fun.  And even though Alexander is usually impossible in a restaurant, this time I would give his level of difficulty a 5-6 on a scale of 1-10. Not too shabby! Yes, he got some food or something on the sleeve of his hoodie. It just sticks out in the photo.

Also, the weather has been cooperating this time and it's nice and nippy for the season. Anytime it's in the 70s for Christmastime, I say BLEH! But not this year. We've had a nice marathon of some rain, then days in 50s and 60s. Now this is what Christmas here in the desert should be like.

After TGI Fridays, we went to the temple grounds and saw the beautiful lights and inside the visitor's center we saw different Nativity displays from around the world. Here is a low-quality cell phone snapshot of Alexander, Mikelle and I in front of the tree at the Visitor Center entrance. 

And yes, Alexander has shoes. He likes to pull them off and throw them down, so while we were inside, we just held onto them.

Desert Snow
I love the old vintage Mesa Temple pictures they have on the tree. I may have included this in a past entry, but my favorite is the one from January 1937 (this is larger example, though they do have a small one hanging on the tree):

Looking at the picture, it's hard to believe that 1) there is snow down here in the desert and 2) that is can accumulate like that. However, back in 1937, the area was so much more rural and there was no sprawl of asphalt and concrete that has contribute to warmer temperatures in an already arid climate. 

If the same storm system hit now, I'm guessing the snow would either melt before it hit the ground or melt when it hits the ground.  Still, that picture is gorgeous and I would love to have one to hang in my home. 

If you think the above picture is gorgeous, check out this one:
 This picture is from the book "Latter-Day Saints in Mesa" by D.L. Turner. Regarding the snow, it read:

The January 1937 Snowstorm in Mesa was so unusual that many family albums from this period have images of snowmen in front yards and snow covered buildings – the high school, churches, homes and even the temple. The snow lasted nearly a week and local camera stores nearly ran out of film.

Here is a link to another Temple snow shot on

But I digress. However, you cannot deny that the above pictures are part of the feeling at Christmas, even if the snowstorm was in the latter part of January.

And here is Christian's desert winter collage project from school! I loved it instantly! In fact, you'll see how it goes along with a fun Collage seasonal-themed project I did with my Cub Scouts (further down):

Custom Artwork 

One thing I neglected to include, was some photos of a custom order I completed in December. it was a huge one and a lot of work. However, while it was hard work, i was so delighted to have the commissioned order and the opportunity to do it!

The snapshots I'll include have certain personal details blurred or creativity covered.

There were five custom motifs/mandalas, actually, but for some reason, the file on the scan for that one is being very quirky and uncooperative. I even tried to bring up the Black and White version of it and it's being just as difficult. 

I am just very worried because I have no idea if the customer liked the artwork or how it was received by the 4 others that is also spotlighted. Chris says, "Don't worry about it - you completed an order." 

 But with this type of artwork, it is hard to separate myself in that way. I received so many details into the lives and personalities of people I never met, so I obviously felt a connection to them. Therefore, I hope to eventually find out how they felt about the artwork and if it is what the client was hoping for.

Here are some details from the first three. It certainly doesn't do the whole project justice, as so much detail was needed for all five:

Detail from the one for an 11 year old young man.
Detail from his mother's mandala
Another detailed area from his mother's.
Detail from his father's mandala.
Detail from his father's Mandala.

After that, I moved onto a smaller custom order for a customer who wanted a fun Pink theme for her business. I had a lot of fun creating this one for her!
Starry Night in Bethlehem
1889 - Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night"
 Moving along with the art theme, almost a week before Christmas, my Cub Scouts did a fun collage using the "Starry Night" theme to incorporate an image of the First Christmas. I think they enjoyed it.  Due to time, we had to cheat a little and cut out pictures of the Camels/Wisemen instead of make them out of the pieces of paper. 

Still, this turned out rather well and the boys learned a little about Van Gogh's Starry Night and we had a nice Bethlehem theme of Christmas to it. I have previously done this project with Heartland group of 2nd-5th Graders using a Halloween theme. That's what's so fun about this project, you can incorporate it to just about any theme and all the while the kids can learn about Collage and a piece of art history.

Other than trying to finish a new blog header, I believe this is my final entry for 2012! Happy New Year! 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Don't Blink Or You'll Miss It!

Wow...Tis' the Season for another "catch up" post! I don't like the rush of "catch up" posts, because it feels...well, rushed. 

 Oh well.

Xander-Bug Turns 2
Yesterday my X-man Turned 2! Yes, TWO. Hard to believe. I waited 6 years to get up the guts to have another lil' baby and I had that lil' baby in my arms finally just three days before Christmas in 2010. And now what happened? He's two. Nuts. Completely nuts. No, he's not nuts. It's nuts. Well, sometimes he is nuts. He is a toddler after all.  

These were all taken yesterday on his birthday:

Checking out our Nativity in the front yard.
Sorry this is blurry. Cute present photo, huh?
Good thing for this at the end. He was GOOD at being 2!
Love this Picture
I feel like it was just weeks ago that we were here:

And we took him home from the hospital on Christmas Eve in this reindeer outfit!
New Years Eve 2010; 9 Days Old

Okay, enough with the nostalgia pictures before I start to cry!

Second year of our Birthday Tree tradition!
This year we added a second cupcake ornament for the birthday theme!
The first cupcake ornament from last year to begin the tradition!
Here you can see the Letter "A" Candy Cane ornament
Here you can see the Tiger ornament, as Alexander was born the Year of the Tiger!
But We've Got the Biggest Ba-  
Oh, Never Mind...
A couple of weeks ago after church, we went over by Retail Craziness where they have these giant ornaments and took a few snapshots. Sure, it would have worked out better with clouds and overcast, but where do we live?


Seasonal Blocks
And remember my Halloween blocks? Here is a Christmas "Be Merry" set I made for a friend and a "Noel" set I made for me. I'm still not finding the right combination of colors for the letters! Grrrrr!
Someone wants me to make her a Valentines set. Let's see if I can get the letter colors right!

High Honors
Christian received High Honors (A- percentage group) at the end of this Quarter Sure, it's a step down from the Principal's List group (A to A+ percentage group) that he received from the first quarter, but I'm not complaining! lol

And afterwards, I HAD TO get a picture of him with his teacher. It was PJ Day and she just went for it. I love it! Christian is thrilled too. Can't you tell?

On, Donner! On, Blitzen! On, Chewy! On, Tavo! C'mon, Becto!
My previous post, I showed Mikelle's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Production. Here is her Christmas Production from her "Crew" group at school. She was one of the Reindeer!

Sure, I would have loved a close-up picture of her afterwards with the antlers, but we saw what happened when I tried that with the Dwarf play. Still, she was a lot more pleasant this time around. I can't say the same for Alexander during the play. Chris was standing outside in the rain with him (under an awning) watching through a window because X-Man wasn't quite feeling the cheer of the season.

This is Awesome. I want it on a T-shirt!

Bye Bye 2012
We survived the 12/21/12 prediction and tomorrow is Christmas Eve.

 I admit, I'm a little sad how fast this season has approached. I wouldn't mind backing up to Halloween again and trying again! I tend to get a little sad when Christmas is over - unless I'm on a vacation and there is a lot planned before and after. However, this year, it's going to be rather hum-drum. Yes, this year is a Christmas where we don't really see any family. It happens every other year or so. But don't get me wrong - it's not like this is  a bad Christmas. I am just nostalgic for Christmas traditions of yore.  However, I love having kids and seeing them enjoying it each year. It goes by way too fast. The fact that Mikelle is 12 now is just crazy. And just tonight I had the joy of seeing Alexander watching a Christmas light show at someone's home when you park in front and turn your radio station to a posted frequency. 

And watch out...another Photo Nostalgia moment: