Friday, December 28, 2007

Why bother?

Not even four days after Christmas, and I already have a New Year's resolution. Are you proud of me?

I resolve... to never, ever shovel snow AGAIN.

Why?

Well, on Christmas Day, I shoveled the driveway, sidewalk and front porch.

That night, after we came back from our parents' house, there was over a foot of snow.

So the next day I shoveled it.

By that night, there was even more snow.

This morning, Jessi shoveled some of the walk.

But for goodness sakes, it's SNOWING again.

And on the way home from work, the weatherman on the radio said that a blizzard is coming into Idaho Falls on Saturday night! Up to 60 mph wind gusts!

So I've decided to wait until it stops snowing, and let the SUN take care of it. IF, it stops.

I'm tired of being stepped on by mother nature. Global warming my foot!

Maybe I'll be a Taebaekian.

When I was in Taebaek, South Korea in the winter of 1997, the city had let the snow pile up on the streets so high that it had turned into a four-foot slab of thick ice everywhere you walked. The road was literally four feet higher, simply because of the ICE that formed due to the city's reticence at plowing the roads.

You had to take a giant step DOWN and duck your head in order to get inside the shops on either side of the street. It's a wonder why cars even drove on the road.

And the funniest thing was that the city had brought in giant drills and dump trucks so they could drill through the ice and haul the ice chunks away. Why plow snow, when you can drill through ice?

Oh, drat! So much for my New Year's resolution!

Christmas

At long last, the Christmas blog. Blogging sure does take second chair when you are moving into your first house. So does Christmas in your first house, by the way.

Which is one reason why we still enjoy Christmas with our parents. The tradition has been to have Christmas Eve with my family (the night owls) and the bulk of Christmas morning with Jessi's (the early-to-risers). It's worked well for, let's see--eight years now. We were able to visit with my family (dad, mom, Nanny, Melissa, Logan, dogs), and Jessi's (mom, dad, Angela, Chandler, chickens). We really missed Matt and Rachel, Eric, Jared and Alli, and of course their younger extensions.

We only had a few disasters this year. Jaydn passed out from opening too many presents.


And my dad, confused from wrapping too many presents, put a bow on his head.

But, other than that, things went just fine.

And check out this beautiful wreath that Jaydn made for his mom and dad at school:

I sure like those kinds of Christmas gifts.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Eve Eve Dinner

The whole family got together for Christmas Eve Eve Dinner. Hey, you should never pass up a good opportunity to have dinner with family. Even if it's Christmas Eve Eve Eve Eve... well, you get the picture.

From L to R: Jessi, Nanny (behind Jessi), Jaydn, Angela, Les, Cindy, Chandler, Jeff, Launa.

Three Days Before Christmas is Never a Good Time to Move

Well, we're all moved in. And let me tell you, I wouldn't wish a December move on anybody. But we love our new house, and the picture I took doesn't do it justice. It was a dreary day.

For movers, I recommend you do not accept offers to speak in Church the day after your move in. Just a bad idea all around. It worked out for us, but we're just freaks.

Our house is a 4 bedroom, 2 bath beauty. It's just right for our family. And you are all welcome at any time!

You know what's the best? NO MORE SCRAPING CAR WINDOWS IN THE MORNING BEFORE WORK IN 10 DEGREE WEATHER!!! YIPPEE! This garage thing is great!

Drum roll please.... After 8 1/2 years of marriage, WE'RE HOMEOWNERS!

More Recital Fun

Watch these fingers go! Here's Jessi and her mom doing a piano duet.

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Watch Me Play

Here's the multi-talented Jaydn at his Grandma Grigg's piano recital.

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"We Fish You a Hairy Goose Moose and a Hippo New Year"

Merry Christmas from Jaydn and his classmates!

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Changes...

What if you woke up one day and got ready for work, got in your car and pulled out on the street, only to get in a head-on collision on pulling out of your driveway? Drunk driver? No. Crazy teenager? Wrong again. When you went to bed the night before, you hadn't read the article in the newspaper that said the government was going to switch the side of the road on which you drive. Oh, and they also switched the steering wheel to the right side of the dashboard. You thought something seemed strange when you got in your car, but you couldn't put your finger on it. And now, you're dead.

OK, maybe a slight overstatement. But what kind of stupid law would that be? What in the world would you do in turning lanes, or on the highway when you have to take an exit? Not to mention the stoplights and stop signs don't seem to apply to you anymore (since they're in the other lane) and you can't see what road you're coming up on because all the street signs are turned around backwards!

Whose bright idea was it to suddenly become British?

And then, what if I told you that Samoa is planning on doing just that in 2009? They need the extra time so they can ship in all the extra cars with right-handed steering wheels and hold driver's ed courses for EVERYONE.

http://samoanews.com/tuesday.12182007/story1.html

I couldn't help but wonder, "WHAT IF THIS HAPPENED IN THE U.S.???"

Monday, December 17, 2007

What did I tell you???

This pic comes from www.samoanews.com. Merry Christmas, from the Methodist Church in Fagaima, American Samoa!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Ward Choir

Those musicians out there will understand this blog entry. Well, I guess the LDS musicians will. Have you ever sang in ward choir? I don't know what it is for me, but most of the time I'm either not really enjoying the choir piece we're doing (some Beebe rendition of a Christmas hymn or something) or I'm not enjoying the sound of the choir (or both). Nothing against ward choirs, because I love singing in them. It's just... well... you know!

Tonight we're singing a piece by Dan Forrest in the Stake Christmas program. I first heard this number last Sunday, and my very first impression was, "oh boy, here comes another yawner." I was, however, very, very wrong about this piece.

After the end of the first practice, I thought, "I bet this was sung by the BYU University Singers." So I Googled it and guess what! It was, for the Christmas Concert 2007.

I like this song--a lot. It makes me feel like I'm in choir at BYU or Ricks again. But... there is still the sound of the ward choir thing, just a little bit. Anyway, click on this link to hear it. I bet you'll like it as well.

http://www.danforrest.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/18-carol-of-joy.mp3

By the way, that WAS NOT my ward choir singing. But I wish it was!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Here's a blog entry I meant to do...

While I was in Samoa, I forgot to blog the crazy Christmas decorations that people put up. Imagine this... you go to church on Sunday, walk up the steps to the front door, then look up and see Santa scaling the outside wall with his reindeer dancing on the roof of the church. Big flashing lights read "Manuia Kerisimasi" across the front of the church. The whole front of the church looks like Chevy Chase's home in the movie "Christmas Vacation." You could be dreaming, or else you're probably in American Samoa.

Courtesy of the Brown Family's blog, I bring you some Christmas decor--island style.
This statue is in memoriam of the first Christian missionaries in American Samoa. I do not believe they were greeted by penguins and mice (well, maybe mice). You also have to love how the snowmen and penguins were paying their respects at the manger.


Last year Santa WAS scaling the wall of this church. I guess they thought they could one-up last year with at least 37 Santas and untold other Christmas creatures. Now THIS is a festive church!

And I'm not sure who this Samoan guy is with the real Santa beard and hat, but if he's the pastor, well then, that's totally cool.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Learn to Give

Now it's time for the opposite side of my previous blog entry.

How many kids do you know who still have almost all of their Halloween candy?

Well, Jaydn does.

Today he did something interesting.

Jaydn came to me and said, "Dad, I need your help in making presents. We're going to put a candy and a toy in each present to give to people in the family."

As he got out the toys, I questioned whether he really wanted to give his huge dinosaur toys to other adult family members as gifts. He thought about it, and then decided that maybe that wasn't a good idea.

Then he had another idea.

He got out all of the stockings, laid them out in order, and then gave me one piece of candy at a time out of his Halloween candy bucket. I placed each candy in each of the stockings--until there was no more Halloween candy.

I gave him a puzzled look. I know he likes candy (a given), so why is he giving it all away?

Without a word from me, Jaydn told me, "Dad, isn't this nice?"

I couldn't help but smile inside.

Later, he came up to Jessi and said, "Mom, I really feel good inside."

After hearing that, I wondered whether I was wrong for stopping Jaydn from giving his toys as well.

I didn't understand his desire to give. But HE did. He knew why he wanted to give his candy and toys away.

It wasn't because HIS stocking happened to end up with the best-picked candy inside.

It was because it made him feel GOOD.

It's no wonder Jesus taught us to become as little children.

Coletti Family Reunion 2008

I know there may be some of you readers who are Colettis. If so, I invite you to visit http://www.colettireunion2008.blogspot.com/. We are planning a family reunion for all descendants of Peter and Josephine Coletti and their families, and particularly all descendants of Joseph and Violet Coletti and their families. Here are the details:

Time: April 26, 2008, 9 am - 9 pm

Place: Utah (exact location yet to be determined)

The website above will act as the information center for this family reunion. So, check it out, and let us know if you plan on coming!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

My Little Reader

I'm so proud of Jaydn and his excellent reading. Tonight he was reading a book to his grandmother when she said, "you should record his reading." And I realized that I had never recorded him reading before. Here he is reading Dr. Seuss to his Grammie:


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Smart kid!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Fun Stuff

I found this great gameshow video on http://fivebrothers.mittromney.com. Sometimes I wish our American gameshows had the guts to be this ridiculous.

FSA Christmas Party

On Monday we had the Families Supporting Adoption Christmas party at our house. I took a lot of unprepared and unwanted pictures. I'll spare you all of the red, glowing eye demon pictures that I had the privilege of taking.

The only one who didn't have red eyes in my pictures was the white elephant gift Barbie doll--hairy legs and all.
With what Barbie's been up to lately, it was bound to happen.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Learn to Receive

I've come to believe that we are not good receivers. I'm not talking about football, mind you. We don't receive gifts very well. You may think this sounds silly; after all, don't we all love to receive gifts at Christmas? Is it counterintuitive to say that we are worse at receiving than we are at giving?

This was a message I got out of my participation the background choir for "The Forgotten Carols." In the story, a nurse who tends to the needs of an older gentleman has a difficult time "receiving" Christ into her life. Ah, now do you get the picture? Think of this--if someone thinks we are in need and attempts to help us, what is our response? "No, I'm fine. Your help is not necessary." Why do we do that?

Do we do that with spiritual gifts as well? What if we close ourselves to receiving spiritual assistance? Are we "too good" for any assistance?

I remember receiving a gift in American Samoa from a good friend of mine. He was driving home from a scouting activity, and he felt like I needed some financial help. He shrugged it off at first, but the urge came stronger and stronger to him. As he was driving past the bank, he pulled into the parking lot and withdrew $120.00. He thought I needed $120.00. Then he thought, "well, he'll probably need to pay tithing on that amount" so he got out an additional $20.00.

At church, he handed me an envelope. A full envelope. I knew instantly that he was trying to give me money. I hesitated at first, but he said, "someone told me to give this to you." I didn't understand, but I couldn't argue with his explanation. I took the envelope.

Later, I called him and asked him what he meant by the envelope. He then relayed his spiritual promptings to me. I still didn't feel like I needed the money. I felt compelled to buy something for him with the money.

Then I remembered that the week earlier I had received a phone call at work from Jessi. She was concerned about one of our good friends who was not going to be able to pay her rent for the month. Her landlord was threatening to kick her out. Jessi felt like we should pay her $140.00 monthly rent. I hesitated at first to giving that amount, but relented. Jessi was a much better giver than I.

I wasn't sure whether there was a connection with my experience of giving $140.00 and my receipt of $140.00. Of course, doubt entered into my mind, and I wondered if someone had told my friend that we had given that $140.00. Nevertheless, I didn't really need the money.

Then I thought, what am I doing? If I gave this money back somehow, what kind of faith would I be showing? What would it mean to my friend; would he think his experience was all for naught? Most importantly, what was I doing denying the opportunity to myself to receive such a precious gift? It was not the money that mattered; instead, it was the warmth I felt from receiving a gift from my friend. I realized that the act of receiving was important. More than that, it was vital to my growth as a person.

This has become my theme for Christmas 2007. I've got to work harder at receiving. Especially at Christmastime, I've got to do better at receiving the gift of Christ.