Saturday, December 26, 2009


Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the whole year. It holds all the magic and mystery of Christmas for me. A big part of my love for Christmas Eve is that almost all of our traditions happen that night:

If you've never been to NORAD's site on Christmas Eve, I highly recommend it. The latest scientific equipment is used to track Santa's whereabouts as he circles the globe. The boys follow his progress all day.

In the late afternoon we head to Nanna and Grandpa's for our annual Christmas Eve dinner: ham, potatoes, homemade rolls, olives, salad, etc.

After dinner is the Christmas pageant. This year the Caboose and his cousin 'Boo' were Mary and Joseph.

The whole gang:

This year we added in the story of Christ's birth in the Americas. We had our very own Samuel the Laminite, complete with angry crowds throwing balls of tin foil at him - who missed most of the time!

At the end of the Christmas pageant, the wise men bring in one gift for everyone. (There is a whole process by which that one gift is selected. It usually takes a good chunk of the morning to decide which gift will be opened.)

Another Green family tradition is our Christmas Eve birthday cake for Jesus. As a kid I never struggled with the commercialism of Christmas, it was just a really great birthday party - complete with birthday cake! (Diamond thinks this tradition is a bit odd, but he's always a good sport!)

After cake is the annual the Pajama Hunt. The kids have to solve riddles, complete obstacles, or like this year, follow a treasure map, to find their new Christmas jammies. (Thanks to Ginger who always organizes this part.)

With new jammies on, the boys are ready for their picture in front of Nanna and Grandpa's tree.

Then it's time to head home. Driving home from Nanna's is one of my favorite parts of Christmas Eve. We always take a long drive, admiring all the lights and trying to spot Rudolph in the sky. This year BB#2 swears he saw Rudolph's body. "Now I KNOW Santa's real!"

At home the boys set out cookies and milk for Santa. But they also leave out water and carrots for the reindeer. (They usually put out some Ranch dressing too!)

Then it's off to bed.

Christmas morning the boys are instructed to not wake us up until at least 7:30. We usually make it to about 7:00. Then we head down to see what Santa left for us.

Favorite presents this year include: BB #1: binoculars, Swiss Army knife, popcorn machine, Nuggets shorts. BB#2: Spy Gear, Nuggets shorts, popcorn machine, Bronco's pendant. Caboose: Spiderman car, Spiderman airplane, Batman Castle

Nanna & Grandpa stop by in the late morning so the kids can show off their new wares. Then it's back to Nanna's for more presents and leftover ham sandwiches.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, indeed!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cable Cars

Our first night in San Fransisco I slept a solid TWELVE hours! (Things have been beyond hectic lately, and I was clearly in need of some catch up!) After taking my time to get ready and then doing some shopping in Chinatown I took a trolley down to Ghiradelli Square.

The views were absolutely breathtaking.
I wandered through a few art galleries, then spent some serious quality time sitting on a bench watching the ships come and go. (It seems I do something like this every time I go along with Diamond on a business trip. There is something so filling about sitting silently and just soaking things in.)

THAT was a GOOD day!
The next day I made Diamond go with me and do it again.

I know it's very touristy, but it was just so incredibly BEAUTIFUL!

I do believe that the trolleys were one of my favorite things. I got the feeling that Diamond liked them too.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Chinatown and Fishman's Wharf

You can't go to San Francisco without spending time at Fisherman's Wharf. We somehow ended up there every single day. 'Course with lots of shopping, restaurants and and the Bay, who could stay away?

Being the bread addict that I am, I was totally looking forward to some San Fran sour dough bread, and this bakery did not disappoint. Maybe the real reason I kept going back to Fisherman's Wharf was for the yummy bread. Mmmmm. (Dave is holding up some sour dough bread creations.)

We stumbled upon this old fashioned arcade - with games back from the days of nickelodeons.

There was also an old WWII submarine that we got to walk around inside of.

Inside the submarine - man those things are crammed! I can't imagine living inside that for months on end!


Our hotel was literally next door to Chinatown. We could see the main gate from the window!

It was so fun to wonder around looking at all the souvenirs for sale, seeing barrels full of exotic spices and taking in the beautiful architecture.

Diamond at the gate into Chinatown:

There's No Escaping!


"Break the rules and you go to prison. Break the prison rules and you go to Alcatraz." - Inmate

Rule #5: You are entitled to food, clothing, shelter and medical attention. Anything else you get is a privilege." (Not a bay way of running things, huh? Maybe I should post this in my house.)

This is the main galley in the prison. Can't you just imagine it full of men yelling and jeering?

As creepy as the whole prison was, the views from Alcatraz where absolutely breathtaking.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Recent Reads

Sarah's Keys is an incredibly powerful story. Set in France during WWII, this books tells the fictional tale of young Sarah, a French Jew, who is swept up by the French police and turned over to the Nazis. Meanwhile, her little brother was left, locked in their secret hiding spot, waiting for Sarah to return. It's an awful story, but one which illustrates the far-reaching impact of the Holocaust. And while I've never been much of a fan of the French to begin with, this book had me hating them with a whole new vengeance. Sarah's Keys is by far the best of this batch.

Percy Jackson, The Lightening Thief is the first in a series about a young, dyslexic boy who is half-human, half-Greek god. With a definite Harry Potter feel, Percy ends up confronting several Greek gods in an attempt to win his father's approval. It's aimed at youth, but has just about as many adult readers as kids. I didn't love it, but I would certainly pick up the sequel.

The Time Travelers Wife is an interesting look at what it would be like to love someone who travels through time. Though parts were confusing to me, I caught on soon enough. Eventually the story line beat out the strangeness/interesting-ness of time travel, but it took a bit. Warning: If you are uncomfortable around profanity and have a hard time "reading over" the (not so infrequent) cuss words, don't read The Time Traveler's Wife.

While I loved DaVince Code, and have read several Dan Brown books, I have to say that The Lost Symbol is my least favorite of the bunch. So much of the book reads like a college lecture - an interesting lecture, but a lecture none the less. It took awhile for the action to pick up, but it did get there. This would certainly be great vacation read, but it was nowhere near the quality of other Brown books.

Several friends recommended No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, so I thought I would give it a try. Set in Africa this book presents a series of vignettes wherein Ms. Precious sets out to solve mysteries in a very no-nonsense, folksy way. This book is also a series, but I'm not too sure I'll keep up with them.

I used to teach social studies, so I lean towards this type of thing anyway, but I really liked Red Scarf Girl, the biography of a young Chinese girl who lived during Mao's Cultural Revolution. The thing I found most compelling about her story is how she witnessed the awfulness of Mao's reign, yet worshipped the man and his movement. The reader gets a real sense of how a society can get so caught up in a dictatorship. I found it fascinating.
Next: Faster and the Acceleration of Just About Everything.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Basket Making

Here's what my living room looked like at 6:00 Monday night:

This is what it looked like 30 minutes later:

Our ward (church) donated a total of 22 Thanksgiving baskets Monday night. There is something powerful in seeing families bring in bag after bag of groceries. Young kids carried in heavy sacks of potatoes and adults told me about how they added in "just a couple more things" then was on the list.

Then I got to deliver a few of those baskets. One woman hugged me something fierce, and with tears in her eyes expressed her gratitude. Another family sent me a note (that very night) saying "what a blessing this is for us." Twenty more stories could be told.

So this Thanksgiving, when things are a bit tighter for most of us, I was blessed to witness so much goodness, so much love and so much gratitude.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Glenwood Getaway

Diamond had a quick business trip to Glenwood Springs, CO this past week, so we decided we would make it an Adventure and all come along and enjoy a quick getaway to the mountains.

We stumbled across the most serene mountain stream where the boys threw rocks and were fascinated by the ice-formations along the bank of the creek. I literally stared singing "Annie's Song" by John Denver while sitting by the water. (Ya know, "You fill up my senses, like walk in the forest..."

Thanks to a recommendation from my friend Whitney, we stayed at the AmericInn which boasted this WAY cool pool inside the hotel. Best part? You can see the entire pool while sitting in the hot tub!

We were the only people at the pool for the majority of the time, and the boys tuned into their 'inner-salmon' and started to climb backwards up the waterslide. *yikes*

Of course they still managed to play ball!

The Caboose loved the kiddie portion of the pool. The entire pool was quite shallow, so he was able to really enjoy himself.

The next day the boys decided they wanted to ride the gondola.

The views were breathtaking.

Our little getaway was the perfect way to "fill up" before hitting the upcoming stresses of the Holidays.