Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Day

Here are some pictures from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day:

After Santa came:

Big Boy #1 was most excited about Flight Navigator and his remote control helicopter:

BB#2 was excited about his helicopter as well as a set of electronic drums:

The Caboose was thrilled to get the Batman car he has asked for:

Then over to Nanna and Grandpa's where BB#2 was totally surprised by a Nintendo i:

The Caboose loved his new desk for coloring:

And BB#1 got everything to turn his bathroom in to a Bronco's room, including personalized towels in Broncos colors:

Best part of all? My new iPod Touch that I got from BOTH Diamond and my parents! I was hoping that they might go in together on such a great gift, but to get one from BOTH??? NO WAY! I LOVE my new iPod. It seems like it's always within arms reach and after a couple months with it, I already don't know how I ever made it without one. (I ended up 'selling' the second one to my sister and used that money toward a laptop - love that technology!)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Eve

Our Christmas Eve is packed full of traditions:

The annual Christmas Eve dinner at Nanna and Grandpa's house, complete with ham, rolls, parsley potatoes and pistachio salad.

After dinner it's into costumes and the Nativity play:

The wise men present their gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Big Boy #1 showed off his newly acquired guitar playing skills in his rendition of Silent Night.

My mother-in-law will be so happy to see this one, Diamond playing We Three Kings of Orient Are.

Big Boy #2 as Samuel the Laminite:

Aunt Ginger came through (yet again!) with a clever way of doing our annual pajama hunt. This year? Bingo!
All changed and ready to go:

Then it's one of my favorite parts of the evening; driving home and looking at all the lights - while keeping an eye out for Rudolph's nose.

Home, setting out Santa's cookies and milk, prayer and finally bed. Now we just need to figure out how to get them to fall asleep before midnight!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Santa Baby

Santa came to Diamond's work party this year.

The Caboose was thrilled to see the Big Man. I just love how his whole face lit up when Santa came in the room. Ahh, the magic of Christmas!

The Caboose was a tricky kid this year. Every time anyone would ask him what he wanted Santa to bring him, he would come up with something different: Batman car, Batman helicopter, Transformers, ambulance, trucks, etc.

BB#2 isn't too sure about the whole Santa thing. He did notice that the man we ate dinner with and Santa sure seemed to sound alike. He wasn't fooled.

Good thing Diamond is still a believer!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like

CHRISTMAS! Big Boy #1 has more Christmas spirit than about anyone. If you're not sure, just check out his bedroom:

*****Late in November I won Last Caller of the Day on the radio by telling the story of how I ran into a self-propelled lawn mower careening across the street. My prize? Four tickets to Blossoms of Light at the Denver Botanic Gardens.

It was absolutely beautiful. A great night that we were able to spend together as a family.

*****Every year we have friends over to make sugar cookies.

It's so fabulous to have the crew from the old neighborhood over to help us celebrate!

Yup, it must be Christmastime!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Back in February Diamond saw a part-time sociology instructor position that had opened up at the local community college. It sounded like the dream job for me, so I put in a resume and waited.

In April I got an email saying that they would be interviewing in the next month or so. Then I didn't hear from them again.
Until last Friday. I saw the caller-ID come up and thought "No. It couldn't be." The department chair was calling to see if I would still be interesting in the adjunct sociology position. "Um, YES!"

So today I went in to interview. To be honest, it wasn't much of an interview at all. It was more like "Here's your textbook, here's your classroom, here's HR."


I start the middle of January and I'll be teaching three sections of Sociology 101. My schedule couldn't be more ideal. I teach just two mornings a week. Meanwhile the Caboose has preschool those same days. I'll be finished up in time for afternoon carpool. How perfect is THAT?

This truly couldn't be better. My favorite class, a perfect schedule, great timing. Yeah!!!

You can just start calling me Professor Ganelle ;)

Saturday, November 27, 2010


As a delicious meal was digesting in my stomach Thanksgiving evening, while surrounded by family and friends, I started looking through all of the Black Friday ads. I caught myself muttering "there is SOO much that I want!"

Wow. What a brat! Not exactly the spirit of Thanksgiving huh? I figured I needed to redeem myself. I have so much to be grateful for:

* We are all healthy: No one in our family has an awful disease. There are no long-term physical or mental challenges that we have to fight day-in and day-out.
* We are all safe: We don't live inside a war zone. Our family exists within the cocoon of a safe neighborhood, in a safe town.
* All of our basic needs are well meet: We don't struggle to put food on the table. Throughout the history of the world, how many people can say that? Our house is warm in the winter and cool in the summer. We have ample access to medical care. Diamond has a good, secure job that he enjoys.
* We love each other: I consider myself to be very happily married. The love I feel for my children makes me physically ache. I have incredible extended family and the best friend I could ever hope for.
* I feel purpose in life: I have a deep and abiding belief that God is real and that he knows and loves me. I know why I am here.

And yet somehow I still manage to complain that I don't have enough. Hmm. I suppose that multi-billion dollar advertising industry is doing its job. But I need to be smarter than that. More grateful.

After all, "If a fellow isn't grateful for what he's got, he isn't likely to be grateful for what he's going to get." - Frank Clark

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why We Are NOT Going to Utah

We were hoping to drive to Utah to spend Thanksgiving with Diamond's family. The boys were so excited to see their cousins and I was really, really looking forward to some time "away."

A live shot of Eisenhower tunnel I-70:

We have been watching the forecast, but either Colorado's mountains are getting hit or Utah's mountains are under a blizzard warning. We checked both I-70 and I-80. We were willing to travel different days. The storms aren't letting up. We just can't find an eight hour window to drive through.

Evanston WY this afternoon:
At some point, you just have to concede that mother nature is The Boss.

It looks like it's another Colorado Thanksgiving for us. Happy Thanksgiving all!

Friday, November 5, 2010


Sometimes the responsibility of watching over more than 150 women overwhelms me in ways I can't even begin to articulate.

Sometimes I feel like the weight of other people's sorrow is so heavy I'm likely to buckle under it.

Sometimes I will spend a day visiting, crying with, and listening to women, only to come home and have a message or email informing me about one more awful, devastating thing.

Sometimes I feel like it's just too much. Too big. Too heavy.

Being intimate with other people's pain is beyond hard, and it has changed me.

I have a unique vantage into other peoples lives. I see the heartbreak and I hate that part. Hate. It. But I suppose that because I have been so close to the pain, I have also been privy to the grace.

I have seen how there can be peace in the middle of the storm, and how God can give us beauty for ashes.

I have seen something that can only be described as magic when these women come together.

I have witnessed dazzling strength
.....inexplicable power,
.....pure goodness,
.....unwavering faith,
.....breathtaking love.

I have seen saints. And warriors. And heroes. Often all in the same person.

I see the marks of angels all around me.

And that has made me a better person.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Halloween 2010

Some Halloween shots: Big Boy #2 was a Crunch Bar, the Caboose was Captain America and Big Boy #1 was a pirate.

When the Caboose spotted a haunted house in the neighborhood, he said "I would never go to a haunted house without my costume." "Why not?" "In my costume I could fight the witches."

The boys chillin' at the church Trunk or Treat, where the kids treat-or-treat cars instead of houses. My favorite costume of the night were two friend who came dressed up as the "Ganelle Fan Club." What did they wear? Nothing special, but they each had a Route 44 Sonic drink in their hands. Love it!

While carving pumpkins, BB#1 said "This is so much fun, we should carve ALL our vegetables!" Hmm. Carved cucumbers???

And of course the class party and parade.

BB#2 handed out mini-Crunch bars to the kids in his class. He got a real kick out of it - even when the kids chased him around, pretended to eat him, or offered to buy him.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, November 1, 2010


Twelve is a big deal birthday in our family. Mostly because it is when the kids leave the children's program at church and enter into the youth program. It also is the age when boys are ordained into the priesthood. And yesterday, on Halloween, Big Boy #1 was ordained as a Deacon.

There is something breathtaking in seeing my young son literally encircled by these men who care for him, want him to be successful and are such great examples of strong, loving, good men. What an amazing thing.

BB#1 has been so excited to start going to Young Mens. He has a whole list of things he's excited about with turning 12; getting the priesthood, passing the sacrament, going to the temple. It's been such a payoff for me to see him genuinely anxious to progress in those ways.

Of course this birthday isn't all about the spiritual realm. He also finally got his I-Pod Touch, which he has been working towards and saving up for for several months. Big Boy #2 gave him a year supply of gum and made up a little Easter-like "gum hunt" for him.

The Caboose found a favorite toy in the basement, wrapped it up like new and gave that to BB#1 as a gift. BB#1 was a great sport about it all. :)

Of course there was dinner at Red Robbin and cake and ice cream. It was a great birthday.

BB#1 is a bright, inquisitive person. He is beyond curious about everything. He is a hard worker and I hardly ever have to tell him to get his homework done. (Although practicing his guitar is another story...) He is funny, tender-hearted and thoughtful. He loves just about every sport, but baseball and basketball are his favorites. His favorite subjects are math, social studies and drama. He's a great kid and we are so glad that he is part of our family!

Monday, October 18, 2010


I've heard rumblings that the third book in the Hunger Games series wasn't as light or as fun as some may have hoped, but that is exactly the reason I LOVED it. This book would be a fabulous high school English read, full of great themes to explore: power and fear, scarcity and excess, war and sacrifice, not to mention the influence of the media. I was fascinated by the rich symbolism: parachutes, wolves, food, etc. Even the names: Snow (can look beautiful, but covers up the underlying filth) Two-sided Coin, Primrose (true, hearty beauty unlike Snow's roses), etc. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read, but there was depth to it. I have been craving something meaty like that for awhile. I really do wish I could sit in a classroom and examine it all. A fabulous book!

If I read another book about a teenager finding out they have magic powers with which they must fight the dark side, I may just scream. I probably would have liked City of Bones if I hadn't already read this book a MILLION times. Magic? Yup. Vampires? Of course. Werewolves? Who can write a book without them? There was nothing new, nothing that made me think, nothing that moved me in any way. That said, if you love the tried and true teen novel formula, City of Bones will not disappoint.

My sister in law recommended Charms for the Easy Life. It tells the story of three generations of women as they deal with one another and interact in their communities during the Depression and into WWII. It was a fun, light story, and I quite enjoyed the characters within it.

I loved Ender's Game so much that I figured I would try Ender's Shadow. Shadow follows the story of a young boy named Bean, one of the kids that Ender trained with in a futurist space school to fight the "Buggers" for the salvation of the Earth. I totally preferred Ender's Game, but I did find Shadow interesting enough. I wish I had read the books closer together - so that the details would have come together better.

This is a book that Big Boy #1 was reading and I had heard was pretty good. Al Capone Does My Shirts tells the story of the children (of the prison workers and guards) who lived on Alcatraz. But the heart of the story is that 12 year old Moose's sister is mentally challenged. The reader witnesses how the family is consumed with caring for Natalie, and how Moose manages to negotiate his desire to be a normal kid in such unusual circumstances. The ending was darling, but my favorite part was his non-fiction summary of life at Alcatraz in the appendix. It was a quick and easy read - I liked it.

This is the first book in a sequel series to Children of the Promise. Written by a Mormon author for a Mormon audience, Writing on the Wall follows a Mormon family in Utah living in the 1960s. While Hughes does a good job of exposing self-righteous and hypocritical behaviors, there is still a certain tone to the novel that drove me crazy. A bit too "Utah" for me. Nonetheless, my favorite genre is historical fiction, and I have always enjoyed learning about this time period, so I would certainly pick up the next in the series. Anyone have a copy I can borrow?
\ I have never before read any of Agatha Christie's books and I was excited to read Murder on the Orient Express, just for the sake of it. It was a nice little mystery novel. There were a lot of characters that I had to keep track of, but by the end it did all make sense. It was a quick read, and worth my time, just to be familiar with the legend of it all.

Overall, this last batch wasn't too exciting. By and large these books passed the time nicely enough, but other than Mocking Jay, there really wasn't anything that rocked me.