Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Christmas Recap

Whew!  What a December we had!  It was crazy busy, stressful, and at times overwhelming.  We spent a few quiet moments (around 1:00 AM when we were getting to bed each night) wondering what made this December so much crazier than others.  We came to these three conclusions:

  1. We got a late start.  Ryan was working hard over the Thanksgiving weekend to finish building some garage shelving.  This was a good use of time, but it meant that we didn’t do any Christmas prep during that weekend. 
  2. Continuing the late start theme, we didn’t do hardly any Christmas buying or decorating until after Emma’s birthday party which was held on December 13th. 
  3. I got a new church calling (responsibility) and we were asked to speak at church in Sacrament meeting on December 27th. 

We have resolved to make next year’s Christmas season better by planning ahead and doing more to prepare for Christmas before December even arrives.  And we’re never going to agree to speak in Sacrament meeting in December again.  No.  Way. 

Just kidding.  Kind of.

So, here is a brief photo history of our December.  Enjoy.


Ryan and the aforementioned garage shelves.  They hold all of our junk important things we store in the garage nicely. 






We attended Emma and Hannah’s Christmas music programs at their schools.  I do love a good Christmas music program.  Miriam liked the music too, but not so much Santa who came at the end of Emma’s program.  What is Christmas really, other than an opportunity to sit our crying children on the lap of an old hairy man. 

20091212_0009   Emma turned 5 and had her first friend birthday party.  She’d been asking for a “candy cake” for about 6 months before her party.  I threw some Skittles on the cake and called it good.  She was pleased. 


We had 13 girls at Emma’s party (including her sisters).  They ate popcorn, watched a Barbie Princess movie, and played with toys.  Easy!  Hannah was a big help with serving cake and general crowd control.  She’s such a good girl. 


Ryan and the girls went out on a very rainy December 16th to purchase and set up our tree.   I was at a church meeting that night, but liked that they found a Noble for $20.  There are benefits to putting Christmas off until the last minute!  I put 5 strands of lights on the tree and, truth be told, loved it with just lights the best.  Ornaments are nice, but I like simplicity.

20091223_0027 We had Ryan’s family over for dinner and presents on Christmas Eve Eve (the 23rd).  It was nice to have Ryan’s sister Kristin and her family in town from Iowa so the whole family was together!


On Christmas Evening we acted out the Nativity.  Emma was a shepherd.







Hannah was the angel.







Ryan was Joseph and the Narrator.  I was Mary and the photographer.  Miriam was a wise man. 





Emma, the shepherd, “sore afraid” at the angel’s appearance. 





The wise man giving her gift to the baby Jesus.






And then opening the gift …






… to see what she’d given.  Hannah laughing and Emma wondering what Dad would have to say about this irreverent behavior.  Ah, well.  We try. 


Goofiness aside, every year I am amazed at how the girls treat the “baby Jesus” and seem to feel the importance of what we’re talking about.  On some level they do get it.


While Kristin was still in town, we visited the Holiday Carousel in downtown Seattle.  Though this picture doesn’t include the carousel, it was the best of the bunch (and my husband is super cute in it!). 




So, maybe next December, we’ll have planned a little better so we will be able to visit the carousel before Christmas.  And maybe we’ll be able to decorate the gingerbread house that I bought but we never had time to decorate.  And we’ll get some Christmas lights up on the outside of the house if only to prevent our children from reminding us twice each day that “we STILL haven’t put the Christmas lights up!”  Yes, next year will be better. 

But this year wasn’t bad. 

Monday, December 7, 2009

The VonMattson Family Singers

Hannah learned this song in her music class at school. She really likes that the song is in another language (German!) so she sings it all the time. She taught it to Emma and they've been doing duets ever since. They also do rousing renditions of "America, I Hear You Singing" and "Jingle Bells," but I'll save those for another post.

For the record, I told them to stand with their hands folded like that. They are, of course, imitating the kids from "The Sound of Music."

The song is called O laufet, ihr Hirten (Come Running, You Shepherds).

Here are the words, in English:

Come running, you shepherds, as fast as you can,
With flutes and with bagpipes, and with your whole clan.
We're going to see, In Bethlehem's stall,
The child who the angels announced to us all.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

When you play Barbies with Dad...

... all sorts of interesting things happen:

Miriam, meanwhile, could not be distracted from her books.


My sister wanted to see some of the projects I'm working on or have completed recently. Here goes!

Our house has LOTS of overhead lighting which is nice... and bright. At times, it's too bright and I just want lamp light. It's so much softer and warmer and cozier. So, I bought about 8 lamps at the thrift store's 50% off sale the other day. Yes, eight.

If I were an official home decor blogger, I would have taken "Before" pictures of my projects. I'm not, so I didn't. Besides, I'm way too impatient to put off spray painting to take pictures. Sorry. If I ever decide to post other projects, I'll try to pause and take before pictures.

In the meantime, here's a picture of the bottom inside of the lamp I painted. This picture sort of shows what the entire lamp looked like before it met my BFF: spray paint. I bought two of these lamps for about $2 each.

Actually, my true BFF is black spray paint, but I painted these lamps sort of a dark bronze color. I can't decide if I really like the bronzey brown color, or if I'm going to break down and just paint them black. For now, they're bronzey brown.

Though I LOVE spray paint, I am terrified of wall paint. If I had to paint a room I might break out in hives. No joke, painting walls freaks me out. So, our walls are white until Behr makes some sort of wall spray paint or someone else has pity on me and paints them for me.

Please don't look at the pictures too closely, I'm no photographer. Lamps are hard to photograph! Please note cute baby/trusted assistant on the couch. Thank you.

Here's a project in progress. I found this sorry looking mirror at the thrift store for around $4. I thought that was highway robbery considering the shape it was in, but I bought it anyway. I have a small obsession with mirrors. So, here it is under construction. I've hot glued it where it was broken and given it a coat or two of black spray paint. When I've removed the tape and plastic bag, it will hang on the wall somewhere.
Up next is, quite possibly, the worst picture I've ever taken. Ah, well. Imagine if you will a big chunky black frame with corkboard in the middle. So exciting, isn't it?!!! Well, I get excited about things like that. My frame came from ... can you guess? The thrift store! It was gold and U.G.L.Y. when I found it, but black spray paint can cure a world of evils.
I've put corkboard in the center and I'm going to mount our 2010 family calendar in it. It will hang on the wall in our office and keep us all organized and we'll never double book ourselves or forget an event again! That's my vision anyway. If I'd been going for an A+ on this project, I'd have distressed the frame a bit, but distressing is not an exact science and therefore frightens me.

Some of my other upcoming or in-progress projects are making pillows for the couch, making wall art for our bare white walls, and spray painting picture frames. Fun!

Friday, November 6, 2009


Halloween was fun this year despite a few setbacks. Emma was sick the days preceding Halloween, but got better just in time. Miriam, on the other hand, came down with something on Halloween night. She was a grumpy bumble bee. Poor thing. Here's the best picture we could get of the three of them.

Hannah and Emma were in seventh heaven. Costumes, hair, make-up, and candy. Pretty much perfection if you ask them.

We tried to get Miriam to leave her hood on so we could see her bee antennae. It was out of the question. Fuhgettaboutit.

Ryan and I were pirates.
Pirates wrestling a grumpy bee.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween's Coming

Halloween's just a few days away .... and because having our first day of school pictures and our Halloween costume pictures in the same blog post might be a bit too much, I decided to post a few pictures now. You can expect to see Halloween costume pictures just before Christmas.

So here's Hannah on her first day of second grade. She loves school and her teacher. She would read all day long if we let her, but life is hard and math is part of life. I get to volunteer in her classroom this year - for the first time! (Thank you Heidi!) I love to go, even if I'm just making copies in the workroom. Part of the reason I like to go is that after two hours in the copy room I have a crate full of copies to show how much I accomplished. Sometimes at home I look around and wonder, "what have I done today?" I made sandwiches, but they got eaten. I straightened the playroom, but then Miriam got in there.... I changed 5 diapers, but they're in the garbage. I dressed Miriam and brushed her teeth. I drove preschool carpool. I took the kids to the library. Do you know what I mean? Sometimes it's hard to ... what's the word.... quantify what I do everyday. So, volunteering at school is fun.

Emma loves her Pre-K class (please don't call it Preschool or you'll have Emma to answer to) and favors art. She's a social butterfly and loves to be in the middle of any group of kids, laughing and talking. One day I was walking down to the bus stop to get Hannah off the bus and found Emma already there, chatting with the other kids waiting for the bus. I'd thought she was still in the house getting her shoes and coat on. Funny how quickly she'll get shoes and coat on when she knows there are kids outside to talk to.

Ryan's Sister Kristin and her two children visited in September. It was nice to see them and meet baby Julian. Hannah and Emma loved playing with their cousin Gracie and got to have a sleepover together at Grandma Mattson's house. They sang and danced to Hannah Montana until 10:00 PM. That's about 2:00 AM in Hannah/Emma time. Ryan's Uncle Gary also visited from L.A. and it was nice to see him.

Here's a picture of Ryan's parents, Uncle Gary, Kristin, and kiddos at our house after a Friday night picnic.

We got some free tickets to the UW football game from Hannah's school principal. Every year he somehow gets a chunk of tickets to give away at the school. Pretty sweet, huh? We enjoy a good sporting event, so when we can take our kids for free instead of $$$, we jump at the chance.

Emma's favorite part of the experience was the bus ride to the game. She loved looking down in people's cars, counting the red cars, watching sea planes take off from Lake Union, spotting the Space Needle, etc. The game wasn't nearly as exciting for her. In fact, she fell asleep in Ryan's lap and slept for the entire fourth quarter. The rest of us had a good time on the bus and at the game. We were lucky to be able to sit by all the families from Hannah's school and right next to our friends from church. Can't wait for next year's game!

Emma's preschool took this year's first field trip to Kelsey Creek Farm. They got to pet a pony, watched a pig eat an entire pumpkin (always my favorite part) and got to spread bark in the animal stalls. Here's the pig. She's 500 pounds but according to Farmer Jane, she's on a diet. Yeah, good luck with that.
And for this week's Family Home Evening, we carved our pumpkin. Now we're ready for Halloween!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Successful Ward Campout

Before this summer, Ryan and I had been on two ward campouts. Our first was with our BYU married student ward. It was up in the mountains southwest of Provo and it was great. Our next ward campout was a few years later back here in Seattle. Hannah was just a few months old then. We packed her in our little Civic and headed over the mountains to the Church ranch. At about 2:00 AM the next morning, we packed her and our stuff back in the Civic and headed back over the mountains to home. It was not a fun camping trip. Lots of crying... not much sleeping... you get the idea.

It's taken us seven years to get the desire to go on another ward campout.

And so... with our ward campout just a few days away and our tent still packed in the box we brought it home from the store in ... six YEARS ago.... I thought I'd better make sure I knew how to set up the tent before we got out in the wild and realized we were missing a pole or a stake or something.

We set the tent up in the backyard. Miriam screamed when Hannah and I went in it for the first time. I think she thought we were being eaten by it or something. Poor girl.

Hannah, Emma, and Ryan slept out in the tent one night just for fun. Hannah's summer-long dream was to tell ghost stories and sleep out in the tent.
Good-night everybody!
The girls got cold at about 6:00 AM and came in the house to get a bit more sleep. A minorly sleep-deprived Ryan went to work.

The rest of the day involved playing in the tent... without Miriam. She still screamed when brought near it.

Here she's trying to get her shoes on to go outside. Not to play in the tent, but to stand at her water table and yell at the girls in the tent.
That Friday, with our tent ready, we went over the mountains to the Church ranch. After setting up camp, Ryan made Mac and Cheese with hot dogs on the camp stove. It was a bummer that we couldn't cook over a fire, but there's a burn ban right now so no fires. Positive side of that: you don't come home with all of your clothing reeking of smoke.

We enjoyed our fancy dinner outside our tent. The girls look like they were cold, but the weather was mild. I think Hannah just missed wearing her coat during the summer. Seriously, even when she got hot and took the coat off, she ran around with the hood on her head. Whateva.
For Miriam, camping was the best of times...

...and the worst of times. Note to file: do not schedule doctor visits and immunizations the day before big events like ward campouts.
Here's a preview of Young Women's Camp 2018:

After dinner, we walked through the campground where I went to Girl's Camp (as it was called) back in the day. For those that are familiar with the area, this is where the ampitheater was located. During last winter's crazy weather, the river got huge and washed the entire ampitheater away. It was amazing and kind of sad. Later on, someone told me that the ampitheather was rebuilt in another location. I felt much better.
The girls loved our campout and ran wild with packs of kids from the ward. At one point Ryan and I wondered where they'd wandered off to. Ryan found them sitting in the back of a handcart that some of the older kids were pushing. Ryan took a couple of pictures, told them to keep their hands inside the handcart, and sent them on their way.
If our camera hadn't run out of batteries we'd also have pictures of Emma going down the enormous slip and slide and Ryan and the girls canoeing on the lake. The girls said canoeing was their favorite part of the campout.
We all had a great time and can't wait for next year's campout.

Oregon Vacation: Girl's Golf

Last Oregon vacation post, I promise.

Ryan golfed once on our vacation and my Dad golfed a few times. All day long we'd watch golfers going down the 11th fairway behind our condo. All this golf activity necessitated the girls having their own golf lesson one afternoon.

Here Ryan is demonstrating the importance of meditating before you swing.

Not surprisingly, Emma was a bit of a wild golfer. We tried to teacher her proper golf etiquette and told her about saying "fore" if a ball was headed in Hannah's direction. Eventually, Emma just yelled "fore" before hitting the ball. It was a safe bet.

The girls really liked hitting the ball around. It was more of a hit than I thought it would be, so we'll definitely take the girls out again sometime. I will now be searching the thrift stores for super short golf clubs.
The practice green we were on had a sand trap which the girls were interested in. Because it was a practice area, the sand wasn't nicely raked like all of the other bunkers. Emma grabbed the rake and tried to smooth the sand. Apparently, that got boring after about two strokes.

Miriam wanted to be part of the action and didn't even get upset about the sand in her sandals.

A beach in the middle of the desert.

Golf courses make for nice, colorful pictures, no?

Some people are bothered by unraked bunkers and cannot be truly happy until they are made neat and tidy.