Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 ~ family letter

This here is a digital version of the letter we sent out. I wanted to preserve the formatting as much as I could – hope it’s not too tiny! Feel free to zoom in. :) By the way, the photo below was taken by Kelly Hicks (whom we wish had moved to Colorado with us, and highly recommend to all Arkansans!) and edited by my sweet sister Becky.








076 cross process copy with B


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Dear Mom, Merry Christmas!

Week of December 23 – 29

It was a mad dash to the finish line but it happened – a magical Christmas day. Our first Christmas in our new Colorado home.


I am finding that part of the joy (and stress) of moving after so many years in one place is reworking traditions. Figuring out how to adapt the old ones we really want to keep but also discovering new delightful ones. You know me well enough to know that I am very sentimental, and traditions are a really big deal to me. :)

A new tradition that we added this year and have loved: “25 Days of Christ” family scripture study. I modified this lovely idea to fit our family better and changed the time-consuming handmade ornaments to these (which possibly are against copyright laws but I figured it’s impossible to buy them this small anyway, and I’m not going to sell them, and yes, maybe I’m justifying, but it really added a lot to our celebration this year and I refuse to feel guilty. haha!).


006 (2)


An beloved old tradition that didn’t work so well in our new circumstances: 25 Days of Advent activities. It was simply too busy. I am starting to realize that these Coloradoans around here love scheduling events! All the stuff flying onto the calendar was really good stuff, but after the more quiet Arkansas Christmas seasons we were used to these daily advent plans just fell more and more behind.

014 (2)

Oh, well. We’ll adapt it next year – I already have some good ideas. . . .:)

This was one of my favorite Christmas Eves ever, thanks to sweet Bob and Dani who invited us over.


Dani’s parents were there still from Italy, and Daniela and her mom had prepared a fabulous feast including several traditional Italian dishes. (Prosciutto, crostini di ricotta fruttati, stufato).




The cousins love playing together despite the age difference, and we all think Baby Simona is absolutely sweet and wonderful.


I wish I had gotten a good photo of her in her beautiful Christmas dress, but here’s one of her enjoying our concert. :)


After dinner and the concert, we had amazing desserts – Panettone (a traditional Christmas cake, below), torrone, and salame dolce.


They were so sweet to us! We felt honored and so welcome and loved.



426Hummer and sweet Stephen

We came home and had our traditional eggnog and pumpkin bread and then DC and I were up till 12:30am with preparations. I’m glad we could do it together. :)



435 edit for blog

Christmas day was wonderful. It started at 7am (thank you, Sweet Ones, for not getting us up any sooner!). We came down and did the stockings first.


Then we had Abendbrot. . . for breakfast! :)


We had planned it for the night before but no one was hungry enough for it, and we all loved it for Christmas breakfast, so that may be a new tradition. Then we read the Christmas story from the Bible.

Back to present-opening, which took all day, and was punctuated by lovely Skype sessions with family members.


My favorite parts were the sibling gifts that they had picked out and earned the money for. It was so sweet to watch the joy on both faces as a gift was opened.


Rosebud said later that the gift below was one of her favorite parts of Christmas.



Our resident squirrel Branchy Kum-n-Go made an appearance, too. :)



This was Rosebud’s other favorite part – her gift to Daddy. :)


195Awesome gift from Hummer!


It’s an oboe reed. And it was a hot item – since being opened it’s already been played on for hours. No, Exacto doesn’t play the oboe. He just plays the oboe reed.



Best. Gift. Ever!



Part of Santa’s gifts were snow clothes and toys for all the kiddos. He knows we’ll use them here. :)

Dinner was TallarĂ­n, a traditional Bolivian recipe I got from my sweet friend Vicky (I miss her!!). We loved this for Christmas dinner – will definitely repeat next year.


Ended the day with our last day of special scripture study, which was reading The Living Christ and watching this video. It was a perfect way to wrap up the beautiful Christmas season – I loved how close I felt to our Savior Jesus Christ through these readings and discussions of the events of His life.

Later in the week we went to the Denver Temple and visited the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. (Thank you so much for the family membership! It was awesome!)


Last night we went to the Gardens on Spring Creek, which were very creatively and beautifully lit for the holidays. It started snowing while we were there, and indoors was a free magic show, and it was just super fun.



(I love DC’s fancy hat here. :)



I told you I would try to take a picture by the Christmas tree today before church, and I did, although it’s not the best picture. The caption should read, “Why we were late to church.” (ahem)


or perhaps, “We love Nana!”


Which we do. :)



Monday, December 2, 2013

{ quotables }–Thanksgiving edition

Working on catching up the Dear Mom posts, but wanted to post these before it got too much past Thanksgiving. . . .



11/27/13 ~ Rosebud prepared a wonderful breakfast feast for Exacto and me to enjoy up in her room. As we downed our variety of plastic foods (she requires us to put them in our shirt so we can see how full we are :) she said, "There wasn't enough food, so I just gave Daddy and Hummer a lot of ketchup."




11/23/13 ~ Rosebud's on-the-spot thankful list

"I'm thankful for getting married in the temple,

I'm thankful for fish,

I'm thankful for roses,

I'm thankful for the way we smell things,

I'm thankful for presents on Christmas,

I'm thankful for Christmas,

I'm thankful for our families,

I'm thankful for having dinner,

I'm thankful for the rest of the food,

I'm thankful for Hummer, because he's wearing his onesies tonight,

I'm thankful for Exacto,

I'm thankful for you! (talking to me :)

I'm thankful for myself,

I'm thankful for my heart (patting it :)

I'm thankful for Fluffy,

I'm thankful for Daddy,

I'm thankful for Exacto, because he shares his calculator sometimes with me but not anymore,

I'm thankful for our home,

I'm thankful for the mushroom chair,

I'm thankful for mushrooms,

I'm thankful for things that we like,

I'm thankful for breakfast,

I'm thankful for dinner,

I'm thankful for lunch."




~ I noticed a new gap in Hummer's mouth and asked him, "You lost a tooth?"

Hummer: "Two! One was last Saturday, when Exacto and I were fighting, and then I found out whether or not the Tooth Fairy needed to be told. . ."

{ laughter from all of us }

". . . .and the other was when I was reading Pollyanna."

Exacto asked about the fighting -- he didn't remember when the tooth had come out, and Hummer said, "It was when I elbowed you."




~ Rosebud was enthralled with some lovely hand-me-down gold sparkly shoes. She put them on, saying fervently, "I want to wear these shoes until I'm old and feeble!"




~ Rosebud singing "The Farmer in the Dell" got to the last verse: "The cheese says hello, the cheese says hello. Hi-ho, the dairy-o, the cheese says hello."




11/22/13 ~ Mommy, distracted, talking to Rosebud: "Do you want to sit on my lap, Fluffy?"




11/20/13 ~ The weather was going to be bitter cold, and I was worried about Exacto walking home from school. (I usually pick him up on his way home). He said, "It's okay, Mommy."

I said: "It's not okay, you will freeze!"

Exacto: "It is okay. I will just curl up in a little ball, and you will see me on the ground."




11/19/13 ~ Hummer was dinking around on piano playing chords.

Rosebud: "That one sounded like a forest with a wolf in it."

Hummer laughed and played another one. "What about this one?"

Rosebud: "It sounds like being poor."




11/18/13 ~ Exacto's thankful list (provided with glib explanations of each one):

ottomen (sic) - octaves - lines - mushrooms - math - movement - saliva - eyebrows - candles - locks - carbon - bikes - magnets - imaginary numbers! - staples

DC's thankful list:

Rosebud - Benjamin - Exacto - Fluffy - Hummer - Gip - Nana - Grandpa Bailey - Grandpa Baker - Grandma Baker - a warm house - yummy food - scriptures - apostles - temple blessings - the Atonement - the Resurrection - running water - gravity - our bodies - good health - ice cream - peaceful place to live - smiles - hugs - good movies - love at home - beautiful fall colors - spring flowers - sunshine - blue sky - cars that work - computers

Fluffy's thankful list:

the Friend - the Ensign - the New Era - the Liahona - food - dessert - desert - cactus - birds - butterflies - Fablehaven - Little Women - Little People - Rosebud - Imm. Family - Nana - Grandpa - Grandma Baker - Grandpa Baker - aunts - uncles - cousins - 2nd cousins - Extended Family - veterans - America - American flag - George W - Abe L - teddy bears - stuffed animals - cats - Precious - dogs - Ruby - Guy Smiley - scriptures - prophets - Priesthood - sacrament - temples - baptism - Holy Ghost - Atonement - Jesus Christ - general conference - President Monson - Mormon TC - Missionary TC - IC (ice cream) - chocolate - sun - moon - stars

Hummer's thankful list (in beautiful cursive):

Family - House - Bathrooms - Food - Nature - Laws - Schools - Church - Life - Books - Electricity - Bodies - Doctors - Light - Prophets - Animals – Plants



Monday, November 18, 2013

Liebe Mutti, Unsere geliebten Freunde zu Besuch kamen.

1/1/14 ~ I’ll be working over the next couple of weeks (thanks to DC’s amazing Christmas present) to catch up your Dear Mom posts on here. . . .wish me luck! Below is one I started on time but finished today. :)

Week of November 11 - 17

It was a very busy week, getting Fluffy and DC ready for a chilly campout, and also preparing for our beloved German friends the Wingens to come. We had such a wonderful time with them and feel very honored and loved that they would come just to see us! (Well, Andreas had a conference in Denver, but still they rented a car and drove up to Fort Collins. Sie sind Ă¼beraus nett. :o) More to follow. . . .

Rosebud has lately loved the book Saint George and the Dragon, and has been trying out a knight persona (much to DC’s chagrin when a plastic sword blow to the head caught him off guard!) She is cracking us up!

Here she is as a Princess-Swimmer-Knight in pj’s and a sweater. (Note the plastic shield :).



Hummer gave a lovely FHE lesson on gratitude and spent literally hours cutting out leaves and preparing this tree. He is super awesome.



I’m pretty partial to these ones, too. :o)






We had a Relief Society Mother-Daughter meeting (did I tell you one of my callings is to be on the RS meeting committee?) and when we went that morning to set up Fluffy made himself the hero of the day by playing with all the littlies in the nursery room.


Rosebud was SO excited to get to come with me that evening. (And, truth be told, it had been my idea to make it a mother/daughter because all these years I have looked forward to one of these. :) Here we are with our cookie dough truffles for the cookie exchange.


Fabulous recipe here.


Doesn’t she look sweet? We had the best evening. My favorite part was making an ornament with her and it was her favorite part, too. <happy sigh>

On Friday we sent off these two brave souls to camp in the chill at Carter Lake. I am so glad DC could go with Fluffy this time! They had a great time, and even texted to reassure me they weren’t freezing like little popsicles in their tent.


Meanwhile the rest of us cleaned and organized and prepared with excitement for the Wingens to arrive, which they did Saturday morning just as DC and Fluffy got back.

They had never been to Colorado before, and we had never been to Rocky Mountain National Park, so we thought that sounded like a great plan. Due to September flooding we had to take a longer way to get there, and it was snowing once we got into the park, but we still got to see a herd of elk up close and have an impromptu snowball fight. :)




Here’s from when we tried to drive further up. . . .we gave up and decided to play. :)





We explored some lovely shops at Estes Park, then headed home. I loved riding in the car with Andrea and Andreas and talking about Christmas traditions here and in Germany and all kinds of other things.

The next day after church we had a lovely dinner together.



Then, since we live in Fort Collins and not Estes Park (not that we’re biased). . .


. . .and it was gorgeous weather. . .


. . .we went to the park! :)



067 (2)

071 (2)

It was a great ending to a wonderful visit with them. Hope we can see them again soon!



P.S. Hummer made this to add to the Benjamin name-collection. I love that he remembers his little brother!