Monday, December 28, 2009

Heidi-ho, It's Christmas Day!

Christmas day started bright and early at Trevor and Erica's house this year.  I loved it when Alex went in to wake Tricia, "Heidi-ho, It's Christmas Day!"

Today was quite the extravaganza!  We started off checking out our stockings and the loot from Santa.  I was most excited for Rock Band that the family found on Black Friday for a ripping good deal. Sometimes the sale is as great as the gift :).

Later, we met all together for brunch and took turns playing Rock Band. It felt like a new twist on the family game for Christmas because everyone got involved.  Brings a whole new meaning to "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," doesn't it? :) Check out some of these pics Tricia took!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Reason for the Season (Part 4)

I love Christmas songs!  I think I would start playing them after Halloween if I didn't think people would shoot me :).  I signed up this year for Stake Choir for the Stake Christmas Fireside.  We sang six songs and many were accompanied by a small six piece orchestra, so they sounded really cool.  We also had a wide variety of performances like a children's choir and a solo by Janine Taylor and a song on the organ and ten teenagers on violins.  It was quite the night! 

I keep thinking of something someone said today.  He said that he hoped we could sing like herald angels to help people remember the meaning of Christmas.  I think in my quest to remember The Reason for the Season that was my goal.  I hope that Christmas can stay with us for a little longer.  That we really can remember the meaning of Christmas and keep that gentleness and love with us.  I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas, and God bless us everyone!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Brown Family Christmas Party

Welcome to the 44th Annual
Brown Family Christmas Party!

For our party this Saturday we sent invitations.  They were cards Chris had made and that I was able to change from "Thank you" cards to "You're invited". Gotta love paper scraps and a little glue :). It's rather embarrassing, but I was tired and had to get them in the mail the next day or the Party would be over before people got them, but there were SEVERAL typos :). Dad wrote the poem. It was kind of a funny story because I called him looking for a easy Roses are Red poem and he said he couldn't think of anything, but then called me back ten minutes later with this poem. I wrote it in all caps because that's what his handwriting looks like, but did you know that spell check doesn't check words in all caps?! Grrr. Oh well, it is still a funny poem and pretty impressive that he wrote it in only ten minutes! I'll attach it, and then you can laugh with me :).

Today's party started out with some delicious food!  Erica made tasty potstickers. Grandma brought crackers and cheese in a can (we're really up-town!).  Cindy and Chris brought Spinach Artichoke dip with yummy breads and veggies to dip. Grandma brought hot Little Smokies. Ian and Alex decorated cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and sprinkles. Lisa brought Pumpkin Chiffon pie (See, I knew we had some class in here somewhere!). Elaine brought donuts. Chris brought Christmas cups and plates and napkins (they say, "Naughty" and "Nice"). Loriel brought chocolate suckers that she made and decorated... I assure you they were as delicious as they looked (Alex, "Hmmm. Choclaty!).


For the skit portion we started out first with a hilarious dance skit that Tricia orchestrated for the grandkids. Thanks Daniel and Loriel for participating!  It makes all the difference when the little kids and the medium kids know that the big kids like to be silly :).  Here a few of my favorite shots:

Next, the Brad VonTrap Family singers sang, "Angels We Have Heard on High" in four-part harmony!  Beautiful, you guys!

Then, Erica, Ian and Alex sang, "Bissley, the Red-nosed Reindeer."

I wanted to be sure to give a shout out to Josh who was our backstage hand today. Note the black shirt and headset :).  He was a real big help letting everyone know when it was their turn to go on.

And after that, we heard from the Miss Harmonies singing, "I'm Dreaming of a Red-Neck Christmas."  So, so funny!  The only line I can remember is "Where tractors glisten and moo cows listen."  Of course, you are never paying attention to the WORDS when the Miss Harmonies sing!  he he he :)

We finished the program portion with a sing along Nativity.  There are about five scripture passages we read and Chris plays a Christmas song for each of them.  And as always, we finish with "I Wonder When He Comes Again," a song special to our family.

After the program, Ian and Alex and Joshua passed out gifts for the Christmas exchange.  Mom had the youngest child start and we worked our way up, so that she could watch everyone's expression.  And I assure you, some of them were priceless!

For me the family Christmas party means all the things that go with a party: skits and fiffybagillion conversations at once and lots and lots of food. But mostly, it means family.  There was a moment during one of the songs that I looked around and knew a perfect moment. Happiness and laughter and love.  That's the family Christmas party.  That's Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Reason for the Season (Part 3)

I love the giving part of Christmas! It’s so much fun to find the perfect gift, to surprise someone, to share some Christmas cheer or to give back to the community. I've been looking for ways to contribute and provide service during this Christmas season and at our Christmas Relief Society dinner they had cleaned out the RS closet and found all sorts of stuff including fabric and yarn for quilts. They had the quilts done up in kits, and all we needed was the batting. I picked a cute little blanket that is small enough that I could do most of the work myself and make it a personal Christmas project. Mom helped me get my baby blanket up on the frames, and it took me a little less than two hours to tie it. During the First Presidency Christmas Devotional, Mom pinned the edges and I was able to hand stitch the finishing edge. I finished it this week and feel pretty excited about it! This was a great experience for me not only because I was able to participate in the Blanket Drive for the Helping Hands Mission, but also because I got to work with my Mom.  She's a pretty special lady that is willing to give her time and experience in helping me develop the Reason for the Season this Christmas holiday.  Thanks Mom!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Greetings

Hello, friends! I'm afraid that I had to limit those whom I mailed Christmas cards to this year to people that are not on facebook. Namely, Aunts and Uncles and old people :). However, because of the magic of Facebook and Blogger, I was able to reconnect with many dear but far away, cousins, friends, school mates, and roommates and send you an electronic copy. I hope you all have a very merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Reason for the Season (Part 2)

Don't you love the First Presidency Christmas Devotional?! Chris made hot chocolate and baked cookies, and Mom came over to watch it with us. I always feel refreshed after watching the Christmas Devotional.   Here are a few pictures from the Church News and a few quotes I was able to pull off of KSL's article.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, said, "Let us see the Christ in Christmas. This is a season of rejoicing. A season of celebration. A wonderful time when we acknowledge that our almighty God sent his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem the world. To redeem us."

President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, reminded members to serve others. "Let us lift up those who are tired and hungry and lonely as the Savior did and now invites us to do with him. As we do, they can feel how much the Savior loves them and wants to lead them to the God he loves," he said.

President Thomas S. Monson asked everyone to put aside their differences and distractions and ponder the true meaning of Christmas. "Finding the real joy of the season comes not in the hurrying and the scurrying to get more done, or in the purchasing of obligatory gifts. Really, joy comes as we show the love and compassion inspired by the Savior of the world," he said.

To watch the full devotional click here.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Reason for the Season (Part 1)

Each year, I try to look for ways to add the Reason for the Season back into my Christmas celebration.  I think it is too easy for me to get caught up in the shopping and the decorating and the parties and forget that the center of Christmas is Christ. The funny thing is that once you start looking for the Reason it is easy to find. 

This week we had a Christmas Relief Society dinner.  As a service project they brought Books of Mormon for us to write our testimonies in then we'll send them to the missionaries serving from our ward.  They ordered enough Books that we could give them away as well. As I started to write my testimony, I was struck by how simply and strongly it came. After all, at this Christmas time when all our thoughts turn to the birth of Jesus it is an opportune time to share a testimony of the divinity of God. So in this spirit, I'd like to share my testimony with all of you. 

I know God lives and he loves us. I have a testimony of Jesus Christ. He is my elder brother who loves me. He suffered for my sins, and I am so thankful for him! I believe the words in the Book of Mormon will lead us closer to him. I have gained so much peace and strength and comfort in my life by following these teachings. I would encourage you to read it, try it, experiment upon the word and see the blessings flow into your life. I will be forever grateful for a loving God.