Thursday, December 29, 2011

On my mind...

At a close of this year, I wanted to note a few thoughts, hopes and wishes.

* 2011 was a rough year. One that I will never forget, but one that I have learned so much from. I am ready for a new year...a better year.

* I have some pretty awesome friends. They save me on a daily basis. This also includes Luke.

* One good thing that happened this past year was that I got a job working at Bountiful High. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the people I work with. They are heaven sent.

* I pushed incredibly hard this year...mentally, emotionally, and physically. I know it's made me stronger.

* I wish that I could freeze Oliver at this age for a little while. He is amazing!

* Luke is an amazing Dad to Oliver. I love hearing them play together.

* The phrase "Mind over matter" repeatedly plays through my mind daily.

* I want to be fancy, but I'm better at being simple.

* I want my dread locks back. This may happen summer of 2012.

* I would sell everything I own just to be able to have the one thing that I have the hardest time getting.

* Running is my therapy. I ran more this year than any other year of my life.

* I have gained 15 pounds this year. I blame medication. 2012 will be a lot of work.

* Being healthy and having a healthy family is a huge blessing that I am so thankful for.

* I'm really starting to finally like my house. Even in its state of chaos and old age.

* I sort of suck at being very domesticated. I'm trying to be better housekeeper, wife, mother and all that stuff. It's hard. Nice work to those that pull it off well.

* I need to read more...scriptures included.

* I have many goals set for the coming year. Watch out, you may be a recipient of those goals...Oblige me.

* My plans for the coming year are so far sounding great. I am really excited to get on with it.

* I am blessed.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Day + 1

Well, It's here. Christmas Day!
We slept in until about 8:30 when Oliver came into our room to climb into bed. We got up and got ready to go see if Santa came to our house.

He did!

Stockings were first...

Then our gifts...

We got spoiled. WAY spoiled.
Thank you Santa! You are awesome.

We made a little Christmas Breakfast before getting ready to head to church with Grandma Lily. We loved that we weren't rushed today since her Sacrament meeting was at 1.

 And onto the Veigel house. Santa spoiled us there too with many many gifts. And we exchanged cousins gifts.

 The best part of this day, it the food. We make Sandwich melts with ham, Salomi, fancy cheese, delicious bread, and everyone brings snacks and treats to share. This year we added some wassail. Oh it was SO good. Thank you so much to my amazing in laws that treat us to such nice things every year.

And we missed Jake and Becky and their cute little family this year. Next year?

And the next morning we went over to Sue's house for breakfast. We love this tradition and Sue is always so nice to have us over for some excellent breakfast.

Christmas was fantastic! It's no wonder we always look forward to it and are sad when it's no longer around.

May we all remember the birth and life of our Saviour not just at Christmas time, but throughout the whole year.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Oh Monte, you shouldn't have...

We came home tonight to find Monte sitting on 3 Christmas boxes.

He brought us our Christmas Jammies and some slippers for Oliver.

Thanks Monte...and Santa!

Christmas Eve 2011

What a fun night we had at the Baker house. It started with the traditional dinner (which I thought was better than Thanksgiving). A lot of sitting around talking and hanging out. Watching a Christmas Story (Like we do every year). And eating dessert...Cheesecake!

I usually have a book to read all the kids every year before we open gifts. It's mostly to calm them down because dang does our group need it. And to remind them of the true meaning of Christmas and to remember how blessed we are.

This year I forgot.

So it was onto the presents.

I think the kids were happy that I wasn't going to read and the adults were bummed....minus Luke. He does not like the reading at all.

I had way too many pictures to choose from. I couldn't just choose a few.
This year we drew families. We had the Bakers. The Bakers had the Kattelmans, Kattelmans had Phia and Kenz and Phia had us. It was so fun to watch everyone open gifts, and as always we were are spoiled my mom. But it's okay. We spoiled her too.  

Oliver loved being there taking his turn playing with all the adults. He loves the Bakers. And quite frankly, so do I. 

(Christmas Eve with Dad 2009)
This year had a different feeling at my Parents house not having one of those parents around. We missed my dad so terribly, it hurt. I have never in my life had a Christmas without him until this year and it pretty much sucks.  He was always it the background loving every moment of seeing the joy in his children and grand children's faces. I am grateful for that family that I did have there this year. Love you all.

Now onto many many more Christmas visits!

OSF at TS with BC&A

Tonight we had a very impromptu dinner date with our awesome friends that just so happen to be our neighbors.
We have always liked the SF, but they were the ones that introduced us to the oh so good managers special that includes the mizithra cheese. Holy Moly that stuff is just too good for words. Even though we had to wait and hour for party and party to go ahead of us, it was totally worth it.

And I couldn't be at Trolley Square without stopping by at one of my favorite shops ever, Tabula Rasa. I could spend hours there. Truly amazing!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Lunch, Ladies, Love.

Amy was very nice to invite me to her neighborhood luncheon with the ladies. I know all these ladies personally now because of Amy including me in everything she does with them. Today we got together for {a fancy} lunch that included zucchini soup, salad, bread, wassail and chocolate with peppermint ice cream waffles. Sounds good, right?

(Picture courtesy of Amy)
I made the wassail and it's one of my favorite drink recipes for the holidays or even for those days where you need something warm and delicious to soothe your throat.
 I like it so much, I thought I'd share it with you...

2 Quarts Apple Cider
2 Cups Pineapple Juice
2 Cups Orange Juice
1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
5 Cinnamon Sticks
3-4 Oranges, Slices into wedges
24 Whole Cloves, Pushed into the back of Orange Slices

Mix in a large pot, heat, serve warm and enjoy!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Baker Christmas Party!

I love my family! I also love my extended family and if anyone knows how to have a good time, it's them.

We started the tradition to get together to eat, play, sing and dance 4 years ago and we are still going strong. I mean who wouldn't want to keep a good thing going???

We ate. Everyone brought so many delicious items. Seriously, I didn't try a single thing that wasn't amazing.

We played. We always do a white elephant game. I love the variety of gifts that people bring. Especially when the younger kids end up with the gifts purposely brought for the adults and vice-versa. Another thing that Luke pointed out was that my family has a tendency to chant everything. The most chanted phrase was "Open the gift!". When you get about 30 of us chanting that, it makes for an incredibly loud game.

Here we are with our permanent gifts.
There were some battles had over the coveted gifts like the plunger, the lizard in a bottle, the green sweater, and the spy book. A few tears shed by the little ones but what do you expect when you like a gift and someone steals it.

We sang and danced. And here is where we get a little crazy. No one would believe it by looking at the pictures, but there were no alcoholic beverages at our party. Promise! We sang along to karaoke as we always have. Taleesha and I were the ones at the mic and the ones dancing most of the night. I later asked Luke if I ever embarrass him. Thankfully he said "No".

We loved. Again, I love this time of year where we get to have these reunions and share love and laughter with the people that mean the most to us.

Love you all! Next year will be just as awesome!

Monday, December 12, 2011


So, I went back to Sur La Table for seasonal help. I love it there. As we have done for the past 3 years, we attend the holiday party put on by the managers and chefs.

As you can imagine, the food is always amazing coming from people who love to cook and entertain and the prizes are pretty fun.

Luke and I ended up winning 2 prizes. Wustof kitchen sheers and a gift card to Urban Outfitters.
 Sweet and bon appetit!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Party Date

I love a good Christmas party. Lukes company never fails to put on a good one. We usually go somewhere fantastic for dinner, play a game or two and leave with amazing gift cards.

This year, we went to Carvers.
To start, we had shrimp cocktail and Bruchetta. Luke and I had the Filet Mignon with the burgundy garlic demi-glaze, bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms and bleu cheese crumbles. Mouth watering, really. And finished with cheesecake.

Sadly, these were the only pictures we took of the event. We were having way too much fun at our table to take and pictures. We ended up with a gift card to Smiths, which I found out is the best giftcard to have since you can buy any gift card to anywhere you want there.

Thank you Heath Engineering. We are SO thankful!

Since we had a babysitter for the night, we took advantage of it and went to a late night movie. We have been wanting to see the New Sherlock Holmes movie that had just come out that night, so Luke bought some tickets and by 9:30, we were in our seats ready to go.

We didn't get home until well after midnight, but we loved it and we loved our time together.

 I vote for date night every Friday night.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Miracle of miracles

Every year we try to get Oliver's picture taken with Santa....Doesn't matter where, just as long as it happens.

Today my friend Lindsay told me that her Mother in law was doing pictures with Santa at her work. Perfect. We were going to get our picture.
 Luke came home at 8:15 and we were out the door by 8:30 to go hunt Santa down. When we arrived we were too late. They had finished at 8. Oliver was already so excited to go see Santa and now Luke and I felt like failures.

You may wonder why I titled this post as Miracles? Well it's because this whole night was full of them. Granted they were the smallest of miracles on a miracle scale, but miracles non-the-less.
Here we are driving home feeling like losers trying to figure out what we can do for Oliver.
I remembered that The Square puts on a little Christmas night complete with free pictures with Santa, hot chocolate, treats and horse and carriage rides.
Only problem was remembering which night I saw it advertised for. I mentioned it to Luke and told him that we should drive by just in case it so happened to be tonight. And guess what...
That was Miracle # 1

We got there at 8:35 and we just missed the free pictures that ended at 8:30, but right as we pulled up, Santa came walking out. Oliver was so excited to see him with his hands full of candy canes. We asked if we could take a picture of O and him and of course Santa said yes.
Can we say Miracle 2?

As I turned on my camera, the battery light was flashing that it was about to die...and then it did. I turned it on real quick hoping that I had enough juice to get one more picture.
Miracle 3.

We were doing pretty dang good at this point. We walked over to Top Hat Video for some hot chocolate and started to walk back to the car. On our way we saw a family come out with extra large sample cups from Orange Leaf. We asked if they were giving out samples and she said that they were, but didn't think they had any more. We walked in anyway and Luke asked if they had any more sample. The kid went in the back and pulled out a bag he found with just a few more. I'd say that was miracle #4 eh?
And I was able to snap another picture!

As we walked out, I was hoping to be able to take Oliver on the horse and carriage ride. When we first pulled up, there was a pretty good group waiting for their turn. Luke said that if there wasn't a line after Orange Leaf, we'd go (He wasn't about to wait in a line for that). Then miracle #5 occurred.
We were the only ones left and therefor got a ride and got to ride just the 3 of us.

This was Oliver's and Luke's first time riding in a horse and carriage. Not sure if they were too impressed, but it was fun. 

And guess what? Another picture...and then my camera really died.

After the ride, we took off. It was painfully cold outside and we were ready for the warmth. I'd say we did pretty good tonight and thankfully, Luke and I weren't made out to look like pathetic parents.

Know what's depressing?

Seeing this in your email...

You have been dropped from the team.
From: Trent Jensen 
To: Me
Dec 3 (2 days ago)
Your Captain has dropped you from team BONK!


Seriously, this made me sick when I first saw it, but it was a hard choice I had to make.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Welcome Christmas!

I love setting up for Christmas. This year was Oliver's first year helping us. My friend Lindsay told me about The Elf on a Shelf and how her daughter loves it. I thought it would be a great tradition to start with Oliver. While Oliver was eating dinner, we told him that after he finished his food, we were going to get a visitor at the door. He was SO excited he started to shake and had the biggest grin on his face. He didn't know how to control himself and Luke and I just laughed. When the doorbell rang, we let Oliver open to door to see our new visitor. 

Luke and Oliver decided to name our elf, Monte.

Once we read the book and Monte was settled in his spot for the night, we popped in The Grinch (the traditional Christmas set up movie) and set up Christmas. I'm in charge of fluffing the tree and once that's complete the boys can help.

When I was younger I loved being the one who got to crown the top of the tree with the star. My dad would always hoist me on his shoulders and let me put the start up. This year, Oliver got to do just that with his dad. I loved it. 

 Something else that was new this year was Oliver getting  his very own tree in his room which he also loved. He helped decorate it.

I think his tree may need a few lights to brighten it up a bit, but other than that, he did a fantastic job.

Oliver also discovered some pretty awesome new socks....err stockings. He was sporting these around for the rest of the night.

Now that everything is set up for Christmas, It's time to party.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy December...I think.

What in the world happened? December 1, 2011. Luke and I wake up the sound of raging winds. We peeked outside of our bedroom window and this was the first thing we saw. Our power was out and as we looked outside some more, we saw that there was garbage floating around outside, rain gutters ripped off along with roof shingles and many many trees that were uprooted. Whoa!

Luckily, we had very minimal damage with just our gate falling over.

So the day continued as follows...

Luke went outside to walk around our neighborhood to see the damage. As he went to pick up a piece of sheet metal, a gust of wind blew that piece of metal and hit him in the head....nothing serious, but seriously, what the crap!

We both went to work. Luke's work was fine. When I got to work and got out of my car to walk into the school the wind about blew me away. I had to stand my ground so that I wouldn't fall over. I couldn't even open the door to the school and with the help of a couple people inside pushing on the door and me pulling, I was in. We had to wait in our cold room as the students checked out and until we were allowed to leave....gas leak and all. Lindsey, Karen and I headed to the hall way to wait it out since our classroom was so cold. Finally, we took off and headed into Salt Lake for some lunch...Things out in Salt Lake were totally normal and I'm sure they didn't have any idea that we just came from a state of chaos.

That night Oliver and I took refuge at Trent and Amy's house which I was so grateful for. I was able to shower and sleep warmly and pretty comfortably. Thank heavens for the kindness of others. I didn't feel like camping in my own house that night, but Luke did. He said he slept so good in our 50 degree house.

I'm thankful that our families and friends were kept safe through all of this. I sometimes wonder if these things happen so that we may better prepare ourselves for any future catastrophes or if we just need to come closer as a community or ward OR that these things happen so that we are given great opportunities to serve one another. Now that I think of it, I have been praying for more of those opportunities...great.