Sunday, December 27, 2009

I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus

Jacob celebrates his 8th birthday on Tuesday of this week. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, turning 8 is a big deal. It's the age children are old enough to choose to be baptized. We are so proud of Jacob for making the choice to follow our Savior, Jesus Christ and enter the waters of baptism. It has been such a blessing this past year to help prepare him to make this important step.

I want Jacob to know that I have a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know it is true. I know that the greatest happiness we can attain in this life can only be found by following Him. The step Jacob is taking is the first of many important steps he will take in his lifetime to become more like the Savior. We love you Jacob!

T'was The Night Before Christmas...

At our house, we love Christmas Eve just about as much as we love Christmas Day. A few of our traditions include:

Family feast: This year's dinner included a delicious beef tenderloin (filet mignon) roast with Bearnaise sauce, creamy mashed potatoes with gravy, freshly steamed asparagus with cheese sauce, raspberry jello salad & homemade rolls. Plus, to top it all off, Mom made delicious fudge and her popular strawberry tart for dessert.

We were thrilled that Nana & Papa could join us in celebrating Christmas this year. They are both so much fun and love participating in all of the traditions of Christmas.
Christmas lights: Generally, we drive around neighborhoods "famous" for their awesome light display. This year, we decided to check out the Spanaway light display--the largest outdoor light display in the Northwest.
Nativity: We always like to have a spiritual element to our evening as we seek to teach our children the true meaning of Christmas. They love dressing up and playing the role of Mary, Joseph, wisemen, etc...
(I thought this was the sweetest picture of our little wiseman kissing the baby Jesus.)
Open one present: This tradition began when I was a child and the present almost always consisted of opening a new pair of Christmas pajamas. We've continued this tradition our family. (Here is Landon opening his new pair of pjs.)
Setting out cookies for Santa/ stockings:

Stay tuned for our Christmas morning post. Lots of smiles.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Friday Flashback: Fall Fun

Our family is so predictable. Maybe to a fault. Every Fall, we take the kids to our favorite local pumpkin patch (o.k... it's the only pumpkin patch I'm even familiar with...) and stock up on jack-be-littles, gourds, pumpkins, corn stalks and such for decorating our porch up for Fall. The kids LOVE going which makes it an easy family tradition to maintain. Here are are a few of our favorite pictures from this excursion:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas from the Carver Crew

We feel so lucky each Christmas season as we pause to think about the year gone by and how our Father in Heaven has tremendously blessed us. Our lives are not perfect and challenges and trials still persist, but we are reminded constantly of a loving Heavenly Father who knows us, knows our names, our strengths, our weaknesses, the desires of our hearts & tailors blessings perfect for us.

We are so grateful for our knowledge of the Savior. We are especially grateful at this time of year for His humble birth. As Josh and I have had the opportunity to study the circumstances of Christ's birth a little deeper this year, the miracle of it all rings even truer for us. It is hard to comprehend such a humble beginning, but we know that even from the beginning of His life, He overcame all so that our lives might be made easier.

One thought that has persisted most of all this Christmas season is a quote (now one of our favorites)from Elder Neal A. Maxwell. He said, "Each of us is an innkeeper who decides if there is room for Jesus." While our family is far from perfect and frequently falls short of where we know we should be in our spiritual progression, we hope to always make room in our homes, and in our hearts and especially in our lives for the Savior.

We love you and wish you the merriest of Christmases this year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Gridiron Guy

I wouldn't quite say that I coerced Jacob into playing football this year. Manipulated, might be a better choice of words because I did make the opportunity look a little more enticing by telling him he could play on the same team as one of his neighborhood buddies.

Those of you who know us well, know that we are a pigskin loving family. In fact, I'd say it is one of my absolute favorite sports to play and watch. So, when it came time for YMCA sign-ups and Jacob's choices were soccer or football, I heavily pushed the chance for him to play football. To my absolute suprise, he consented.

It was fun getting to watch him improve throughout the season. He began not knowing what the differences between offense and defense were. If you were to tell him to line up on the line of scrimmage, he'd give you a blank stare. If you asked him how many chances a team had to make a first down, he'd respond by saying, "what's a first down?" (Lol.) But, by the end of the season he could play defensive positions almost as well as offensive positions and looked forward to his practices and especially his games. I'd definitely say he was the most improved player on his team. We were so proud that he went out of his comfort zone to try something new.

Here are a few pictures of my gridiron guy.

Birthday Train...Coming Through.

As if December isn't crazy busy enough already... We have several family birthdays this month. Josh's sister Lauren for one. My dad, is another one. Finally, we have our two boys who celebrate birthdays in December (Landon on the 13th and Jacob on the 29th). (Personal plea: Please, keep Josh and I in separate states during the month of March from now on, lol...Somehow March romance leads to crazy Decembers. Not sure how that happens. Wink, wink.)

This week we had the opportunity to host a little party to celebrate both my dad's 58th birthday and Landon's 2nd birthday. We enjoyed dinner out at Outback and came home to eat birthday cake and open gifts.
Landon loved the train cake that Josh helped me make. He also loved the train sets from us and my parents. For my dad, we decided to all go in as brothers and sisters and purchase him a ticket to the Mountain West Conference Basketball Championships in Las Vegas in March. That's always a favorite trip for him to take with my Mom. Instead of just handing Dad over the money for his ticket, we put together a little BYU gift bag, complete with pompoms, and other BYU paraphanelia. However, in order for Dad to "earn" his money, he had to answer 12 trivia questions about BYU basketball. Each question was put inside an envelope containing a certain amount of money ranging from about $10-20. If he got the answer wrong (which suprisingly enough, he did miss some), he had to hand the money over to my mom. Can't say she minded one bit. But, because all of us really wanted Dad to have the opportunity to take this trip, we ended the trivia question round with a bonus, winner-take-all question he was sure to get. Needless to say, Dad ended up with the funds to purchase his game tickets.

It was a fun night. The kids always love having Nana and Papa here.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sugar Overload 2009

I have fond memories of making gingerbread houses with my mom nearly every Christmas from the time I was pre-K through my teenage years even into my early college years. And, not to knock those of you who purchase the pre-packaged gingerbread kits (because heaven knows, my kids aren't even lucky enough to get those most years), but my mom made her gingerbread pieces from scratch. It was a labor of love and I loved working side-by-side with her to construct sugar magic. So, when Jacob's second grade teacher emailed me to see if I might like to help on "gingerbread house" making day at school, you can imagine my excitement! Not only did I get to farm out the other two children to spend some one-on-one time with my almost eight year-old (who has gotten ripped off in the mom time department as of late), but I also got to make memories with him doing something I knew he was sure to love.

And so without further ado, I introduce to you "Sugar Overload 2009".

Later in the week came candy train making time with Nana, an easier alternative to gingerbread houses for those of us with younger children who can't seem to be able to quite master the art of frosting and balancing graham crackers or gingerbread while simultaneously decorating them. This is another tradition my mom started with us when we were younger. I had fun teaching my classes of 6th graders how to make these and was reminded how fun it is while helping my mom teach my kids this week. They can hardly stand the wait to eat the train. (I'm not sure they realize how hard the special "glue" frosting we made is or how disgusting it tastes. Somehow, I don't think they'll care as they bite through it to get to the candy.)