Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Christmas last year was wonderful, in that we saw lots of family.  We loved spending time with family.  But it was hectic, traveling from place to place.  As a result, the Christmas break, wasn't much of  a break.  It was lots of living out of a suitcase and dealing with the children in other people's homes and in the car. 

So this Christmas we decided we were not going to travel.  So we stayed home and made a gingerbread house and went Christmas shopping and got our tree decorated and watched Christmas movies.  (My favorite is "Glad Christmas Tidings", last year's Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas special).  

We kept saying that we needed to talk about traditions and decide how we were going to do things this year.  Logan's definition of a tradition: "those old things that people do over and over again." 

Anyway, Logan said he liked the Higgins tradition of opening presents on Christmas Eve.  (Anything, to get those presents earlier)!

The Sharp's have a tradition of having a Christmas Eve buffet.  We decided to continue that. Our small version included meat & cheese and veggie plates and of course lemon bars.

Instead of opening all the presents on Christmas Eve, we decided to go with just opening the stockings instead.  The kids were okay with that idea because at least they got to open something.

Christmas Day landed on a Sunday this year.  I love Christmas on Sundays.  I love going to church and singing Christmas hymns.  What better way to start the day.  

We have 9am church.  I woke Logan up at 8am and the first thing he asked was, "Do we have time to open our presents before church!?!"  Unfortunately, no we didn't.  

Poor kids.  They've been waiting sooooooo long.  They weren't even allowed to touch the presents under the tree.  (They got lots of Legos; it would have been a dead give away to shake a package). 

The Higgins' have a tradition of reading the Christmas story out of Luke in the Bible before opening presents.  
We wanted to continue that tradition.

So after going to church and reading the scriptures the children finally got to rip into those presents.  Logan got soccer gear.  Now we just need to sign him up for soccer someday.

Taylor got her very own bucket of Legos!

Taylor got Play-dough from Logan.  He thought of the present himself and helped make it and everything.  He chose the colors too, pink and purple.  We were pretty pleased with his thoughtfulness.  And Taylor loved the gift, of course.

Taylor had colored pictures for everyone in the family and that is what she gave as her Christmas gift.  It was also very thoughtful and sweet.  She was so excited to give.

Legos for Logan.

3D pajamas!  What will they think of next!?!

A dress for her doll...

and a matching dress for herself.

More Legos for Logan.

Both kids got their first bathrobes.

 And now Christmas has come to close for another year.  The kids are busy playing with their new toys.  We loved having a nice, quiet Christmas at home.  We missed family, but got to talk to them, at least.  

Next year, I want to do a better job of focusing on the true meaning of Christmas.  I have that goal every December, but then things seem to get hectic and rushed and not so Christlike.
I was so concerned about the gifts I needed to buy.  I don't feel like I did a very good job of teaching the children that it's better to give than to receive.  I asked Logan to think of something for Taylor and he did.

But Taylor taught me about the real meaning of Christmas.  She, all on her own decided that she wanted to give gifts to her family.  Without saying anything to anyone, she drew and colored pictures for each of us.  She kept them in an empty shoebox for weeks, just waiting for someone to help her wrap them.  And she was just as excited about them as any of the gifts she got.   She is such a sweetheart.  I want our Christmases to be more like that and our Christmas attitude to be more like hers.

We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Gingerbread House

I thought I'd post pictures of our gingerbread house today and then go through our Christmas pictures and get them ready to post tomorrow. 

It only took me a week to get the gingerbread house this far.  Let's just say I went to the grocery store, like three days 
in a row for ingredients.

Then I let the kids take over.  It took them much less time to decorate it than it took me to make it.

The End.
Now they are snacking on the gingerbread house.  
I guess that's what it's made for.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


The kids have been waiting... and waiting.  They've been so excited to have dad home, so they can get a Christmas tree!  They really have been very patient about it.  I kept telling them, 
"Monday. Monday we'll go and get a tree."  

So Taylor woke up Monday morning and came running down the stairs.  She was beside herself with excitement and anticipation.  "It's Monday!!!  It's Monday!!!" she kept shouting.  
"We get our Christmas tree today!"  

The kids scrambled into the car and we were off to get our tree.  We had to find the perfect tree of course.  It had to be a Noble, not a Fir.  (We like the space between branches).  It had to be kind of skinny, our place isn't big enough for a big, fat tree.   
And it couldn't be too tall either.

After finding the perfect tree we came home and got a wonderful treat.  James' sister and her family came up to spend the day with us.  It was awesome to hang out with them again.  The cousins played.  It's so great that they all get along so well.  

So the tree trimming took place the next morning.  And the kids woke up excited and ready for business.  They needed hot chocolate in the new mugs we were given for Christmas. 

So while they drank up, James & I put the lights on the tree.

Then the kids were ready to take over.

They decorated the rest of the tree all by themselves.  I like having older kids, who can do these things themselves.  I like sitting back and watching my children have the time of their lives, by simply putting ornaments on an evergreen.

Last ornament to go on.

"Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, 
how lovely are thy branches."

And the kids finally have their Christmas tree!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Nothing says Celebration like...

camping in a yurt on the coast.  That's how we said, "Congratulations James, for finishing another semester of optometry school!" 

We packed up and drove to the coast, where we squeezed into a yurt for 2 days to spend some quality time together.  

We're so proud of James for completing another semester of school.  He's amazing and we were all so excited and ready to spend time with him.  (And he was positively giddy, himself, to be done with school for 3 weeks).

So this time we actually reserved a yurt in advance and it was ready and waiting for us.  It was cold and dark when we got there, but we just cranked up the heater and got cozy.  It didn't rain on us the whole weekend though, so we were lovin' it. 

We went to the Tillamook Cheese Factory of course, but we spent most of our time hanging out as a family on the beach or in the yurt.

There's that studious, good-looking guy we all love and miss!

Logan absolutely loved the ocean, going out to the waves and waiting to see how close they'd come up to him.

Taylor would always chicken out quickly and run back.  Logan would just stand there and the waves would come up to within an inch of his feet.  He has a knack for judging it just right.  I'm a chicken like Taylor.  

Nice throw!

It was perfect weather for doing a puzzle.

Then the sun set on our time at the coast and we had to return home, to the hustle and bustle of getting ready for Christmas.  We still need to get a tree and get presents and get them wrapped, etc.

But one thing will never change, how proud we are of James, how much we love him and want to spend time with him!  The kids are in heaven having so much "Dad Time."   

It's gonna be a great 3 weeks!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Whistle While You Work...

and play... 

and ride your bike...

and look at books...

You get the picture.  He whistles all the time.  He whistles Christmas carols, the Nutcracker Suite and the theme song to Harry Potter, among other less recognizable "songs." 

The other day, Logan whistled the entire time 
we were in the grocery store! 

I suppose I can't hold it against him, it runs in the family.  His great-grandpa Sharp whistled.  His grandpa whistles.  His dad whistles.  And Logan whistles. It's a talent! 

Do you have any whistlers in your family?  

Have any other children in the family inherited the 
Sharp Whistling Trait!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Happy Birthday, James!

Happy Birthday, James!!!  

I hope it wasn't too disappointing.  I'm sorry it was on a Monday.  I'm sorry you had to take a final on your birthday.  I'm sorry you had to study for another final the rest of the day.  I'm sorry we couldn't even go out for lunch or dinner.  I'm sorry your present was too BIG to wrap.  I am sorry I didn't even put a bow on it though.  I'm sorry you didn't get any birthday cards.  I should have tried to do more.


I'm glad you're enjoying your birthday "cake" though.
Apple pie.  It's been awhile.

And your birthday present. An oscillating, 
remote-controlled, dish heater...

So that you can study in your garage, 
even when it's freezing outside, literally. 

I love having you close by, even if it's on the other side of the door.  It makes me feel better knowing you're there if I need you, like when Logan woke up and still had his headache.  You were able to talk to him while I went across the street and borrowed some ibuprofen from a friend .  Normally you'd have been on campus studying.  Aren't you glad you're so close now?!?

I love you, Babe!  Good luck on your last finals!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Tree?

We haven't gotten our Christmas tree yet.  That's okay though, it's not Christmas yet.  James is done with school for the semester soon and then we'll get our tree.  

In the meantime, the kids had to improvise.  Here's their "tree."

They decorated "The Really Big Universe" book with paper chains and ornaments and a cookie cutter star on the top.

Then they decided they wanted an "angel" on top of their tree.

I don't know about you, but I see two very special angels in that picture.  (And I'm not talking about the doll).

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Parade of Lights

Every year our town has it's own little Parade of Lights.  The kids and I went last year.  This year we dragged James along with us.  It was very cold, but fun.  Here are some of the sights. 

The cutest thing at the whole parade!

Antique, horse-drawn fire engine.

That's a big Santa!

And those are some loooong logs!

The kids ooh-ed and aah-ed.

Some of the participants threw candy to the kids, 
so Logan & Taylor had fun filling their pockets. 

Then we trudged back home, 10 miles, uphill, in the driving snow and wind.  Okay, maybe not.  It was really only 2 blocks, 
but it was cold.  

Taylor was wearing furry boots and was shuffling along.  
I told her to pick up her feet and stop shuffling.  
She replied, "But Gravity is pulling me down!"