A Thank You and Some Holiday Magic.

First off - a BIG thank you to all who voted for me in my photography workshop contest!
I didn't win... but hey, it was worth a try, right?
Thanks for letting me beg for some votes!

And now...

The magic of Christmas morning.

Is there anything quite like it?...

Seeing the EXCITEMENT and JOY in the faces of your sweeties.

Knowing that your little girls won't be little girls forever...

And wishing you could freeze time so these beautiful, magical memories (and music) last forever!

One last plea.

Here is my one last plea for your vote!
Voting ends today at noon.
You can vote once per computer so pass the word 
on to your co-workers and friends!

Thank you so much to all of you 
who have voted for me already!

Wishing you all a lovely day!


Hi Friends!
I have entered a contest to attend a photography workshop from one of my favorite local photographers.
It will only take a second!
Click on her blog:  www.julieparkerphotography.blogspot.com and vote: JENNIFER TANNER!
You can vote once per computer, so vote, vote, vote and tell your friends and family to vote for me!
This means so much to me - so thank you!!
Do it quick!  Voting ends Monday at noon.
There are a lot of us who entered, so I need a ton of votes.  Thanks for you help!

The Holidays. Part Three - Each Other.

A very fun night for us.  Its a night Just for US.
Just us and our kiddos - and for just being with EACH OTHER.
We have some really fun and fabulous traditions for this night -
and its a night that we look forward to all year!

We start the night off with:
A traditional Swiss Raclette Dinner
(with our splurge of Raclette cheese at $18 per pound - and YES it is so worth it!)
For the little ones who don't have the taste buds for Raclette yet -
we have mini-pizzas with some good ole American cheeses.
This dinner is an experience because we cook everything right there at the table
with our Raclette Oven smack dab in the middle.
*on a side note:  I used to have to drive to Salt Lake City to purchase this cheese at a specialty store, 
but this year we found it locally at Harmons!  Woot Woot!  Gotta love Harmons!!
*on another side note:  Do not, I repeat, do not attempt to eat this cheese cold - it is for melting only!!
*and yet another side note:  LOVE how this tradition teaches about our heritage and cultures from Chads mission!!

Our night with each other also includes:
lots of eggnog, tons of laughs, gifts from mom and dad to kiddos- (new jammies),
a new Christmas book to read together, reading from the scriptures,

gift exchanges from sibling to sibling - (which for the little ones includes gifts from their own bedrooms wrapped up for each other and it is seriously the cutest thing in the world.),
music from our own in-house musician, baths, lots of photographs,
and then leaving cookies/milk/carrots and a note for Santa.
Seriously.  Does it get any better than this?!

Thanks for re-living my holidays with me.  They went way too fast.
Stay tuned tomorrow for my last holiday post:  The Magic and Our Loved Ones.

The Holidays. Part Two - The Sounds.

It's the Most Wonderful Time of The Yar!
Music is a HUGE part of my family - and a HUGE part of our holidays.
Every year we get together to sing carols - our favorite one being -
It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Yar!
Are you wondering why I keep spelling Year - Yar?
Because we actually sing it Yar!
Years ago when we started this tradition, someone (my mom?) spelled year wrong on this song when she was typing up all the words to the songs.
We always get a good laugh at it... and we LOVE singing it that way... ITS OUR TRADITION!

We always get to hear and sing Matt's BEAUTIFUL original Christmas Carol.

And the kids (and adults) have lots of fun playing the chimes.

We finish up the night by decorating some delicious gingerbread men.

And Chad and I are feeling INCREDIBLY grateful for the beautiful SOUNDS of the Holidays.

PS.  No pics of this, but, Michael McClean's The Forgotton Carols Concert is another great "sounds" tradition.  We go every year thanks to Chad's fabulous Mom - It is also one of our favorites!

Stay tuned for Part Three - Each Other.

The Holidays. Part One - The Sights.

We spent the holidays enjoying.
Enjoying the sights, the sounds, each other, the magic and our loved ones.

One night, we spent an evening in the city with some of our favorite people,
enjoying the sights and the spirit of Christmas at Temple Square.
It was cold and beautiful!
What a special place to take in the sights of Christmas!
I am always amazed at all the millions of lights that surround this beautiful place-
And the spirit of Christmas - that is to say - the spirit of Christ - that is abundant here.

Stay tuned for Part Two - The Sounds.


I am back among the living today - finally!  After 12 or 13 days of being sick in bed - (no definitely NOT how I wanted or planned to spend my holidays with my fam) - I can't help but feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for everything in my life.  Being sick was bad, but there are always hidden blessings that come with the bad stuff.  I had a lot of time to think... (A LOT - I was up most nights too) - thinking... thinking... thinking... about life - my life - my Dad's life - the purpose of life...  I couldn't help but feel incredibly blessed.  All around there seems to be so much suffering - tragedy - (maybe you feel it more or see it more when you are going through a hard time yourself) - and sometimes it makes me wonder -  why?  But I know why.  I KNOW THERE IS A PURPOSE.  And, how grateful I am for that knowledge!  And I am grateful for the tender mercies I was blessed with this past week - my A.MAZING Chad who takes such excellent care of me and our little fam - and our families and friends - all the people who take time out of their busy lives to care about me.  I am so excited about the new year.  I love the renewal that January brings.  I love setting new goals and feeling excited about my future.  One of my very favorite sayings is:  "Fall in Love with the Possibilities Ahead".  The Future is Bright.  God is Good.  Life is Good.

Although I did finally get dressed today - I couldn't bear to take off the slippers...

       Happy New Year.
I hope it brings you health and happiness.