Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Favorite Christmas Memories Installment 4

Daddy holds Lucy, whose life beginnings consisted of orhpanage living, as he cuddles a real-time orphan. These photos of my parents giving tender love and care to the fatherless are truly my favorite photos of them, ever, anywhere.

Molly displays her own shoes, she wanted them off as most of the children at the orphanage went without

The most beautiful photograph of my mother ever taken. She is light-filled, showering a tiny stranger with comfort and grandmotherliness
new shoes sent from my siblings and nieces and nephews all the way to these little feet-who needed them oh so much

little feet wait impatiently, hoping a new pair of shoes will fit their little piggies

We spent Christmas in Johannesburg RSA a few years back. John's company had offered to send us home. We asked instead that they send our parents to us-and they agreed.

It being Christmas, and our extended family tradition being one of pooling present money to do a little service, new shoes were sent with parents to fit the feet of the children at the Ethembeni Orphanage in the Down town district. We visited this orphanage (my 3 big kids and I) 2 times each month for our "school of life" experiences. We loved these little feet-and the children who were attached to them. We were thrilled to see the efforts of those we love so much well spent in providing something useful and appreciated to the little lives who touched ours almost more than any others in our South Africa experience.

We spent the day before Christmas delivering our little gifts. Not in these photos are John and his brother Dean, who were also with us in the efforts. Then on Christmas Day we returned to play with the kids as the workers attended a holiday party. Christmas day's visit was cut short-but-our time spent with these little souls was well spent and life changing for me.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Once upon a time

We were six, 2 boys, 4 girls, 2 parents

Now we are (nearly) twelve, with an extra little brother and those same 2 parents

and we come with all of these (new little brother is sitting first row, next to Porter on the right).

and when Christmas rolls around we all like to be together. Now that younger brother has arrived from California with his beautiful (expectant!) wife and "little cousin Will" the celbrating can begin. Figuring ways to meet up for fun with cousins or games and conversation with each other, the people you see above are a very important part of this season.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Memories Installment 3

an anniversary celebration, 16 happy years...

Once upon a time....I fell in love. With a fun, smart, athletic, spiritual, popular guy. It happened around Thanksgiving. He wasn't so much "in love" as he was interested, but through the Christmas break from college classes we spent loads of time together. We went together to my sorority party. We went to my sisters' choir concerts. We went to Temple square to see the lights about a hundred times that season.

Christmas came, and I wanted to celebrate all the time we'd spent together in the short month we'd been dating. I listed the places we'd spent our time, purchased some gifts, and set to work. It took all Christmas morning. My mom was mad I wasn't with our family around the tree; but she knew too that I had given my heart away and had to do the subtle things I could to signal my wish that the boy of my dreams would give his heart to me.

John met me at my home and his "scavenger hunt" Christmas began. We went to the high school where he'd endured "hark how the bells" umpteen times in one concert evening. We went to the parking lot of the LDS institute at the University of Utah, the place we most often saw each other during our days at school. We went to Temple Square. Our hunt went on and on.

I have to insert here that most of the time I spent with John was in the company of one or more of his friends. He was kind of "the leader of the pack". And one of his posse was with him basically in every waking hour. He'd pick me up for a date and have two guys in the back seat -sans dates themselves-along for the night. I didn't mind much accept, though I loved this boy already, I rarely had a chance to "visit" with him. Its kind of hard to determine if the one you love is worthy to be "the one" forever without speaking with him candidly and without audience...and we had pretty much always had an audience (doorstep scenes were awkward to say the least).

Christmas day was different. We were alone and together. We were remembering fun times we'd had, and speaking of fun to come. We didn't make plans for our future, but in being alone with John I think we both could see that there was a chance that we could actually have a future; and that a future together could be bright and happy. It was "falling in love personified" as we enjoyed one another without a crowd and realized we could be our own posse even if we were just two. This was the beginning of our courtship for sure; but we could see that this beginning could perhaps have no end.

Months later when my heart was over burdened with love and hope for a future with John I overheard him talking to his parents about our Christmas past. He said "no girl has ever done something that thoughtful for me before". And I wondered if perhaps that painstakingly planned hunt through the early days of dating wasn't just the right beginning to what I'd hoped would be a never ending and ever enduring love with the boy who was the man I wanted to marry.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Friday Yuletide Round-up

Molly poses in her program costume, just before ringing in the season with Christmas song and dance

We have been to Christmas concerts, delivered gifts to teachers and classmates, decorated the final Christmas tree (only to enjoy it for 14 days or so-I will start earlier next year!) and purchased all but the last few gifts. The kids have partied and partied. Seriously, Madi came home from school yesterday and said;

"mom, we did absolutely NO learning today and it was AWESOME!". I guess sometimes our public education system can serve as full time babysitter while I shop 'til I drop for Christmas trimmings...

Sugar and festive-ness gave way to poor judgment today on the part of one of our children. First, Molly (after party hopping from classroom to classroom at her siblings' elementary school) decided it was time to go home. I walked us into the bathroom so I could be relieved and prepared for the short trek home (shouldn't adults be allowed the dignity of non-child sized bathrooms in the elementary school? seriously my whole head can be seen from the top of the stall when I am SITTING in it. Ugh). In mid bathroom run, Molly left. I figured she had helped herself to more treats in an unknown classroom, and that I'd catch her quickly upon exiting the lou.

She was not in the hallway. She was not in Porter's room. She was not with Madi nor with Bryn. I wondered where she had gone. Then I felt a little voice say 'she has walked herself home.' Thinking this a possibility (her confidence is her weakness, and her inability to realize that others are affected by the choices she makes). I informed the school secretary that I was missing a child but felt she may have walked home. The secretary was aghast at my calm nature as she offered to put the school on lock down and search every classroom. I asked instead that if my child turned up she be led to the principal's office and sternly repramanded. Darling Ms. Barb, the school secretary, took down my cel phone number and assured me she'd be on the alert. I place Lucy in our stroller and started to hike up the hill. As I trudged I prayed. I was grateful I felt calm. I was pleading for my little one's safety. I was begging for help to rear her well. My neighbor pulled up in her car mid prayer. I told her I was searching for a missing small person. She offered to go driving the neighborhood to see what she could see. I told her I felt calm. She understood.

I entered the house, I did not see her there. I called her name and instantly heard "yes mom!" and the pitter patter of her feet. She indeed, had walked home, and upon arrival took food from the cupboard and began eating an early lunch in a room where food is not welcome. I expressed (more patiently than I thought I would be able) that many people were worried because of her choice to leave without me. I shared my disappointmemnt. I assured her she was special, and that our worry was out of love. I tried to let her know when she makes a choice that the consequences matter to other people too. She smiled a shy smile.

Then I took her to the neighbor. She rang the bell and said she was sorry that she had caused her worry. Our wonderful neighbor wrapped Molly in her arms and said "I'm just so glad you are safe. You are so important." While Molly was thus occupied I called the school secretary. Would she play an important role? When Molly arrives to apologize, would she explain the value of her keeping by my side when next she comes to the school? A wise secretary indeed, she agreed to be part of the lesson.

We pulled up to the school. I escorted Molly in. She rested her chin on the office counter and squarely faced the secretary. "I'm sorry Ms. Barb" she shyly expressed. Ms. Barb came right to Molly-she met her eyes and spoke softly of the importance of staying safe and being helpful when at school. Would Molly please stay with mom, whenever Molly comes back to the school? Molly agreed she would.

Then there was more hugging, and we left the school much lighter.

How will I raise this daughter? This spirit that needs so much? I adore this little child. And I sometimes fear that I'm not enough for her. But in those moments, like the ones I had today when the whisper assured me she was walking home I have the strongest feeling that I am not alone in the endeavor to rear this soul.

Not only does Molly have a desperately interested and loving Daddy, and siblings who love and care too. She also has a Heavenly Father, who is keenly aware of her needs and who rescued her from dire straights and placed her in our arms. To keep her safe. To teach her well. To turn to Him when we need help to know better.

No, I am not enough alone. But with the help of all those around me, and the interest of heaven as well, I believe we can be made enough to help her walk back to the one home, that heavenly home, where she will be safe for ever after.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Favorite Christmas Memories installment 2

this yearly photo taken with Santa shows smiling me on the right, probably a freshman in Highschool.

My Senior year of High School was a busy one. I carried a part time job, helped on our school's seminary council, sang in our Madrigal choir and took a full load of senior classes too. I was the oldest daughter in a family of 6 children, with parents who worked hard keeping our family business afloat. I kept busy on my own, but had responsibilities at home as well.

At the end of the previous school year two girls from the class ahead of me came to my door. I had been selected, along with my friend Heidi, to be secret ambassadors of compassion and good will for a teacher we all loved and respected. Mrs. Hewlett taught choir and Humanities. She instilled in us (with passion, pure knowledge and a little intimidation) a love for the arts through the ages. From Gregorian chant to post modern music, early sculpture through the Renaissance and far beyond. Her college level course was coveted among seniors. And she was our choral instructor as well. Always expecting the best from us, I had been invited to give my best to her.

Mrs. Hewlett was a widow, who had married late in life and who enjoyed the love of a step family but who never enjoyed children of her very own making. She, being the passionate woman we all loved, wore her loneliness on her sleeve at times (and very especially at Christmas time).

The tradition of being an anonymous emissary of kindness and cheer had gone on for many years. From the time I was a freshman I had seen little notes from Mrs. Hewlett to her secret angels on mornings after they'd visited her doorstep, thanking them for their kindness. Now i was to be one of those angels-it was an honor I did not take lightly.

Heidi and I planned carefully for the 12 days of Christmas to be presented on Mrs. Hewlett's doorstep during our busy Christmas season. Sometimes our visits took place late into the night as we had homework and jobs and concerts (directed at Mrs. Hewlett's hand no less!). Some nights we went alone, some nights we went together. The thrill of ringing the doorbell and taking off as fast as we could is one I looked forward to night after night.

And the notes on the board, all during the season, they were like a stamp of approval from Heaven itself. Showing Heidi and me that we were making a difference.

Heidi, being angel like in her very nature anyways, took it all in stride-it was some of her usual business I daresay. I know it was not the first time she had anonymously made life better for another. But for selfish self centered me, it was new and awakening and wonderful.

I do not remember the gifts we left nor the words in those notes on the board. But I will always remember the thrill and fulfillment as we rang the doorbell and ran.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lucia Day was Sunday

We stayed up late Saturday making dough for our Swedish rolls (kanelbullar) which we shared with neighbors for the occasion. Our two oldest are feeling less inclined to don the luciakladder (Lucia clothes) these days, and since we don't live in Sweden any more-where 18 year old boys happily put on the white star boy gown or dress up like a pepparkokker boyken (gingerbread boy) it is kind of hard to use peer pressure to encourage them. But our 4 others were happy to tromp through the wet falling snow to deliver goodies to neighbors who we already can call friends.

The Lucia Days we spent in Stockholm were full of wonder for me. Every window glowed with Christmas candle light. Children sang beautiful songs beckoning light into the dark winter days. The smells of the Christmas food-some foreign and pungently strong and some sweet and wafting-was other-worldly for me. I loved the experience then.

And so I perpetuate it now for my own. Not in the ways the Swedes showed it to me, but in a way that brings a taste of this wonderful culture to our family. Thank heaven John has Swedish in his heritage-it gives me further excuse to continue this small piece of the traditions we enjoyed so many winters ago In Stockholm.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Are You Decked?

Not quite as "Martha Stewart" as I'd hoped, our pots on the porch are full of pinecones, greenery and berries. I randomly placed some "bling" out there, a few mercury glass acorns for show. No lights on the house this year, that will have to be an addition in years to come.

I intend to actually light a fire in this wall-mounted fireplace of ours. Perhaps with the glow of fire-light its funny place in our home will bring it sentimental purpose...

A growing Snowman collection. I like this theme as it works through January as well. Some are painted by hand by John's mom. Others are original works of art by Jeni Gochnor. All are a fun reminder of the truth that now, living in Utah, we can make Snowmen of our very own!

This table cloth was mailed to us in South Africa. It had been on my Grandmother's table for many years, and she shared it with us when we were far away and I was missing Christmas. Grandma passed away 3 days before the mail man delivered this to me. It is a special reminder of Grandma's love, and our kindred feddish for home decor!

I would have blooming bulbs in every corner of my home were my finances to allow. Here they grace the piano room, on the coffee table in front of our manger; pieces of the nativity will be lovingly placed during these next 12 days of Christmas.

the bells have be-decked the front porch of 3 Graham Homes, they work nicely here at the Spruces

We are trying to Deck the new Halls. This is the Third Christmas in a row that we are in a new home. Trying to blend vintage sparkle with traditional Swedish amidst the congestion of our bungalow.

My ideas rarely show beauty in practice. Maybe someday-after we've had a few holidays in the very same place-I'll feel like it looks the way I want.

For now, At least we've made an effort. With a Christmas tree still left to decorate we are still in decorating process at the Spruces-Are you decked yet? How do you like your holiday decor this year?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Favorite Christmas Memories Installment 1

A photo from Christmas past. I am mothering my little sister, with my pink sponge rolled hair tipped down to the camera. The ladies in red pajamas are cousins. My older brother is somehow missing from the scene

When we were growing up we threw newspapers every morning. Christmas morning was especially challenging-to climb out of bed after Santa had come and fold and deliver all the papers, and then put our pajamas back on in order to go in and see what had been left for us under the tree...long ago memories indeed.

But this story did not happen on Christmas morning. It took place a few weeks before. Way back then we had to go to each customer's home and 'collect' their payment for the month. We then handed their money over to the newspaper agency, who handed us back our wage. At Christmas time when we went out "collecting' we often were given a tip for our year's service as the newspaper boy (or girl, in my case). This was the way I remember it most, going to each customer's home on a Saturday morning after breakfast, asking them to write us a check for the month's newspapers. They'd tell us not to throw the paper so loudly, or they'd ask that we leave it in a certain place on the porch, sometimes they didn't say anything but 'thanks' and sometimes they'd tell us they'd paid their bill 'at the office' which meant they'd sent their money into the agency instead of having us collect it.

We always loved collecting at Christmas. Those tips were like a jackpot-a treasure we'd dream of all year. How we'd spend it, what we'd save for, we talked about it endlessly as we folded and threw the papers in the morning hours before the sun was awake, our hands black with newsprint, our eyes still full of sleep.

This year our collection was complete. My brother and I, and I think my little sister, had the tips piled high on the kitchen table. We were literally jingling the change, letting it make a tinkling sound as we swirled it around the kitchen table with our greedy little hands.

Dad entered the room. He looked at the money, and saw the wide whites of our eyes. I remember the radio playing. Christmas tunes on the FM dial, the sound floating from the radio's purch on top of the fridge in the kitchen.

I don't recall how he brought it up, but I do remember a discussion about the money on the table. I'm sure I was telling him what I'd buy for myself with the sweat-earned wages laid out. It was hard work to get up before anyone else I knew. To throw papers even on the weekends, to collect from our customers, and to walk the streets in the mornings alone in the dark and cold (my dad knew how hard this work was, because he did it with us for years. He threw more papers than my brother and I combined and yet never collected a wage for his work. The money that came was used for us to save for missions and college, to buy school clothes and to pay for our own fun and activities. Dad did it so we would have our necesseities and some spare change to boot. A lesson in sacrifice I think of still today).

Dad reminded us of a story we'd read during the Christmas season about a $50 gold piece that was given to someone less fortunate with only the stipulation that he pass it along to another if he found one in more dire straights than his own. As you may guess-the story winds on as each recipient sees that another's need is greater than his or her own-and the lessons in the end you can imagine.

We heard our dad that day in a way that I will not forget. Our hearts were touched. We looked at our pile. We realized there were others who needed more than we.

Then an add came on the radio. It was for "Coats for Christmas" a fundraiser which purchased coats for needy children in our city. The light came into our eyes. The excitement of the sacrifice began.

The rest of my memory is fuzzy, accept that I know there was a deadline of sorts-donations needed to be made by that very day, and only certain places in the city could take our hard earned money. I recall a little drama as we piled in the car, my dad at the wheel and the dollars and change in our pockets. A Speedy drive to down town Salt Lake and some kind of post office looking mail box where we dropped our money to be donated.

I remember the clinking of the change as it was poured into the belly of the box.

The task complete, we turned to walk back to the car. It was cold outside, I could see my breath. But I felt warm and happy. And satisfied with the knowledge that a child somewhere would have a coat for Christmas even though I would not have whatever it was I had hoped to use my money to buy....

not a wonder I don't remember what I would have purchased with my tips. Not a wonder that I do remember the feelings I had that Christmas.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

This Morning...

*Mason walked around the house singing "I Closed My Eyes" from "Joseph and the Amazing..." because he is auditioning today for his Jr. High Musical. I am wondering how he is going to manage play practice and the rest of his life, seeing as he has lost one coat, one text book, numerous novels and 2 calculators since the school year began. How does one teach organization to a teenage boy? Mind you, I've been trying to teach this subject to this person for 14 years...

*Brynley was caught reading in bed instead of doing her morning chores. Once her novel was taken from her she burst into tears, telling me she "never gets time to read for recreation." This coming from a child who finishes around 3 novels a week (500+pages per week!). My first thought was "welcome to real life" but my action was to compassionately take the novel away, promising its return to her as soon as she finished her chores and practiced all of her piano...she left for school literally in tears, telling me her life is too busy for the things she loves (I can so relate)...

*Porter announced that he did not finish last nights' homework. He had been told to join the family in decorating the Christmas tree when his work was done, and he decided to join us in decorating the tree before finishing. This has happened before, and before I told him to turn it in unfinished, stating that natural consequences would be that he would fail the assignment and learn from his miss step. Porter doesn't really CARE about failing assignments as he feels he is brilliant and doesn't need to prove that to anyone else, including his teacher or me, so that tactic proved ineffective. Instead this time he sat at the kitchen counter until 30 minutes after the bell rang and finished the assignment (perhaps the embarrassment of being late will be a catalyst for change?). When I relayed to John parenting he laughed compassionately and said "how ironic, you just got mad at me last week for not checking the kids' homework before he went to bed". He is right, hypocrite I must be. The true irony was the little skip in Porter's step as he zipped down to his classroom. I don't think being late to school on purpose fulfilled the purpose I intended...

*Porter's tardiness dominoed into tardies for both preschool girls and a very tardy me to a hair appointment. Then late to pick up the girls, late in running errands and on and on and get the picture.

All the while I'm thinking "I can't wait for them to be out of school so I don't have to deal the schedule while I get ready for the impending holiday" followed by this thought;

"oh my gosh, what am I going to do when they are with me all day instead of in school?!?"

Merry Hectic Holidays

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

This Year's Stab at Tradition


My sister has great ideas. This year she decided to make an advent out of these darling hand crafted (by her no less) christmas flags. I thought I would re-purpose the flags I made (with help) in South Africa. After 10 minutes of effort I was not willing to try any more (no time this year for being crafty at Christmas) but Mandy didn't let me give up. She suggested I take all the galvanized buckets I own (and a few of hers, thanks!) and make those work. So I did. And she also suggested I use these darling stickers to note each day of the month. And I did that too. With a late night brainstorming and a trip to Target for treats to add to the buckets I had a full blown Advent going on. The buckets are displayed on the Library book shelf so the packages can be opened at Scriptures in the early morning (a deliberate bribe to get Porter out of bed in the mornings. Who wouldn't rise for a bite of chocolate before Breakfast?)

The ideas are all from others, save the activities for each day. Today's activity was to "Help a friend or teacher at school". Pretty simple way to honor the "reason for the season".

We'll see if this tradition sticks. Some of them do, and some of the go the way of all the Earth. Still, it is a fun effort, and thanks to all the people whose creativity I could lean on.

Monday, December 07, 2009

New York Was a Blast...

with rain and snow waiting at the top, we skipped the trip up at the Empire State Building, but standing at the top of the Rockefeller late at night was a memory I will keep
close to my heart for a long time to come

You cannot see it all in one long weekend. We had a great time. I walked the city alone on Friday and enjoyed the shops and atmosphere of the upper east and west side. Walking in Central park on a beautiful balmy day was something I will always remember.

John and I were hit with awful rain and frigid cold. It made our time together less "productive" but no less memorable. Eating out with John-my foodie lover-and discussing textures and flavors with him was my favorite (he was so excited to make the reservation). I also loved being alone with him at the "top of the Rock". No one wanted to go up because the weather was so bad, but we did. And I'm happy to say I've seen New York late on a snowy winter's night from high above the ground with my sweetheart holding me tight.

Come back this week to see more pics of NYC, the advent buckets and how the Spruces looks be-decked with holly bright and springs of mistletoe!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Today is the day before Tomorrow...

cabinest, washers and dryers were actually moved in the other day, this was the site on Thanksgiving-we were without the washer and dryer for 3 weeks straight. Thanks to my mom and two fun date nights at the laundry-mat we made it through just fine...

These silver shelves will line the wall of the new laundry room, housing food storage and dry goods like toilet paper and paper towells. A peek at the finished room will have to wait until next week-look for pics come Monday!

And tomorrow I get to fly with my love to New York City. And this is what my basement looks like. And I have babysitters coming (baby sister Jen and her lovely husband Josh) to care for the big graham 6 while I meander times square. And Baby sis just shouldn't have to live in a mess like that. So in the next 12 hours I've got to transform that mess into an organized laundry room (the paint is drying as I write-it will be move-in ready in 3 hours or less! Yippee for Jeff Shaw Construction! You did it by the deadline!) and a cleaned out basement.

Is it possible? With lots of deadline adrenaline and three little girls glued to PBS, I say it is! Wish me luck and have a great day!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Healthy Holidays to Us All...

these have been the crux of this month's work outs; a bosu ball, some free weights, resistance bands in various shapes and sizes, and a few exercise videos from Itunes. I've also been running a little, and have tried some Yoga too.

4 weeks of effort has lost me 4 lbs. (mostly in my bust to John's dismay) and 1 inch of gurth around my middle. Seems a small start, but it is indeed a start to what I hope is a healthy holiday season for me and for my family. As an aside, John has begun "dieting" and has lost 10 lbs. in 2 weeks. Doesn't seem real fair, but I'm happy for him and proud of his efforts to be healthy and sexy for his adoring wife.

So, the goals for the last 4 weeks have been;

*work out every day according to the "plan" laid out by the boy trainer at John's office gym. Kind of crazy to realize the kid graduated from Highschool like 18 years after I did and yet he is my authority on all things related to a tight core and a strong lean backside. I have not missed a work out excepting last Saturday-which I then made up for by doing a double work out yesterday. Pretty good progress on this one. The goal stays the same for December. I will take a rest day on Christmas, and I will walk my fanny off in New York but probably not get in full work outs while I'm there.

*Make half my plate full of vegatables at each meal, cut out refined foods like crackers chips etc. and no sugar (including cookies and brownies) accept for one day a week. Also, I've learned from "Mr. Zone" aka John, that it is important to pair proteins with good carbs (veggies mainly) so I've added that to the list. Also, eat all meals before 7 p.m. This has gone pretty well. I have had some hard days when it simply wasn't humanly possible to eat before 7 p.m., and on one or two occasions I have had a bite of treats when at a party etc., but I've found it surprisingly manageable. For December I'll continue to work on these, and I'll add the general concept that the one day a week that is "free" for sugar is not a license to binge on any sweet/savory/fatty treat I lay my eyes on. That alone will probably lose me an extra pound in December. To be frank, for this month I will be thrilled and satisfied to lose one more inch and just NOT GAIN ANYTHING - its' December people, and Ms. Minnie's (our new wonderful neighbor) home made caramels are already sitting on our counter :0) At least they aren't sitting on my hips!

*Drink 8 huge glasses of water each day. I measured the cup I've been drinking out of. It is 26 oz. or so, which means more than the recommended 64 oz. per day; but I am sticking with this goal because tho I have to use the powder room like a million times a day, I do think my skin, and my brain are more clear and happy. The more water the better they say.

New goals for December (Dare I add?)

* One "extra" work out a week. This will be a cardio work out in addition to the stuff Mr. Fitness boy has me doing. That's because I'd like to see myself training for triathlon again this summer, and in order to do that my heart needs to handle a lot of cardio. Better start getting it ready for long rides and underwater work outs.

*join a gym so I can spin and swim sometimes. I've been holding off on this, but the running in freezing cold weather is kind of the encouragement I need to want to mix it up and take a class or two. I've also done some yoga this month, and I'd really like to have an instructor give me pointers on my form so I can improve and enjoy the benefits of that "practice".

For January? Going to bed by 10 p.m.; I figure I better wait until the busy holidays are over to plant that one in my life. But it really needs to come; for the sake of my sanity, my sleepy driving, and my exasperated husband (who is good at shutting the world down before 10 and leaving it 'til the next morning)

what is one thing you'll do to keep the holidays healthy at your house? let me know, I could use as many ideas as I can get to keep the squishy off and put the healthy ON this year.