Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

"We will open the book.

Its pages are blank.

We are going to put words on them ourselves.

The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day."

~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce ~

So, here is to opportunity in all its forms, 
and a bright new year filled with fresh starts and time to . . .

  • Try something new
  • Forgive another
  • Be more bold
  • Look on the bright side
  • Smile
  • Find goodness
  • Love more freely
  • Strengthen faith
  • Express gratitude
  • Give the benefit of the doubt
  • Keep promises & commitments
  • Live in the moment
  • Call an old friend
  • Overcome insecurities
  • Tackle a project
  • Live simply and with JOY
  • Reach out 
  • Swallow pride
  • Write in a journal
  • Make time for loved ones
  • Sacrifice
  • Write a note
  • Enjoy nature's wonders
  • Take a deep breath
HaPpY New YEaR!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

End of year catch-up!

2010 officially ends tomorrow and I realized today that I have allowed several memorable events pass by this year without mention on our blog . . . SO, the next few blog posts will be dedicated to preserving those memories since this blog is essentially our family history and one day Caroline will most likely peruse these pages and wonder why she was the only child in 2010 that didn't get a birthday post!

Stay tuned.  It may take well into the first few weeks of 2011 to get all caught up :-).

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas 2010

Our Cantera Christmas

Word of warning: picture overload, but too many fun memories to not post . . .

Traditional family Christmas evening together.  We ventured downtown with grandma Pat the weekend before Christmas to see the magnificent lights on Temple Square (this picture is of my favorite tree on the Temple grounds - it was unreal), then dinner, then over to the Rose Wagner Theater for Peter Breinholt's delightful Christmas concert.

Liza taking in the Nativity on Temple Square

Nowhere I'd rather be at Christmas time

Dinner at Red Rock

New Christmas dresses (thanks Cherlyn for the swap - they matched beautifully) for church the Sunday before Christmas

We were so happy to have Grandpa Ron join us for our ward's Christmas service

The Fam in our Sunday best

Hosting the Cantera family party later than evening - fun times!  We were very excited to receive three volumes of past Cantera family 16mm tape from Chris' growing up years on DVD - what a thoughtful gift.

Chris' sister Laura, husband Jon, and baby Hannah

Liza took this pic while Sophie and I were making our dough for cinnamon rolls -
this was a nice, peaceful afternoon, until I realized I'd planned WAY too much into my day!

PUPPY TIME!!  The Tuesday before Christmas, the girls and I drove to Idaho to pick out our new puppy.  We had a nice drive up to a 70 acre ranch where we met both the parents and played with this cute litter of mini Australian Shepherd puppies.

We'll take this one!

Bringing puppy home . . .

Ryan finally gets his dog!

Ahhh, Liza has a new playmate . . .

with no shortage of activities to do together

Even Chris can't resist!

Sophie and Caroline's Christmas piano recital

Making sugar cookies

Christmas Eve and new PJs

Ryan tracking "Santa" for the little girls
(Sophie held on one more year, but she's in on the big secret now :-)

CHRISTMAS MORNING . . . Sophie was thrilled with a guitar - and lessons - 
first thing to learn would be how to hold it correctly ;-).

Caroline - new racquet and tennis bag

Liza's loot

Ryan's new toy - 4G iTouch

What fun!

Oooohh, my new love - what a perfect Christmas!

And one of my absolute FAVORITE parts of Christmas -
all the cards from our beloved family and friends.

 . . ."God Bless us, every one!"
(Tiny Tim, A Christmas Carol)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Meet LUCY . . .

Thanks Michelle for taking these cute pics when Lucy came over for a visit!

We just love our puppy (the destruction thus far has been minimal :-).

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Christmas Spirit

Another Christmas day has come and gone, and I have to admit that it's been wonderful today to just bask in the lights of the tree with the fire going, and have absolutely no "Christmas duties" or expectations required of me.  As wonderful as the holiday season is and as much as we want to keep the true spirit of Christmas in our homes and hearts, I would be completely off my rocker to say that during the month of December all is calm and peaceful, and everyone goes about their business cheerfully humming Christmas carols while the smells of gingerbread and wassail waft through our perfectly decorated and clean home . . .

I honestly don't know how my mother did it all, every year, but my memories of Christmas growing up were pretty much picture perfect . . . amazing Christmas eve candlelit meals, beautifully decorated (and spotless) home, memorable family shopping trips, plenty of baking, fun traditions, neighbor gifts . . . and I have absolutely no recollection of her ever being stressed, only taking a LONG nap on Christmas day.

My hope is that our children will remember the calm, peaceful moments of Christmas, such as holiday music playing while we bake cookies or make cinnamon rolls . . . not the crazy minutes before we leave while frantically wrapping treats and I'm barking orders to write labels, stick them on the gifts, and load the car!  I hope they will remember our nicely lit Christmas tree and not the fact that they had to decorate it all on their own because I was just too busy to help them this year; that their memories of our traditional family outing to Temple Square, dinner, and a concert was enjoyable (never mind the stress of finding a parking spot downtown, or the insanity of taking our crew to an eating establishment where they forget their manners); and they won't mind the fact that our Christmas eve dinner by candlelight was just pizza because I was too worn out to cook another meal.

It was a memorable Christmas, the kids are content and happy, our home cozy, and I'm well rested (after going to bed last night at 8:30pm :-).  For me, I was touched by the Christmas spirit most profoundly during my morning scripture reading Christmas eve.  I picked up the Book of Mormon and began reading where I had left off the day before, which happened to be some of Isaiah's most beautiful and inspiring words, and ever so fitting as we commemorate the birth of our Lord and Savior . . .

"Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; for the feet of those who are in the east shall be established; and break forth into singing, O mountains; for they shall be smitten no more; for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.  But, behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me--but he will show that he hath not. . . . 
Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.   
Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me." 
 ~ 1 Nephi 21:12-26 (Compare Isaiah 49) ~

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Our new family member

An early Christmas gift for our family.

A puppy.

Mini Aussie.

Black, white, brown.

No name yet (contenders: Millie, Lucy, Dolly).

Adorable, sweet, little girl.

I'm in heaven.  I love her and honestly can't believe after years of telling the kids that we're not sure if we'll ever get a dog, the day finally came and it feels like our family is now complete (especially when we noticed she had fallen asleep in front of the fireplace - it looked so natural to have her right there snoozing next to the Christmas tree).

I just have to share this excerpt from the memoir I am currently reading because it mirrors my emotions so well:

"Five years ago, as I made a delayed and reluctant final peace with the fact that there would be no more babies in our lives, the urge for a puppy came on strong.  It seemed that turning forty, and facing the end of my childbearing years, had unleashed some powerful, latent maternal urge that could be satisfied only by the acquisition of some small dependent creature requiring constant care . . ."

YES, that's it, that's me . . . no more babies, four kids who are needing me less and less, and my uncontrollable desire to be needed by anyone or anything that requires some attention and love.

Of course we're getting a dog, I couldn't think of a more perfect solution :-).

Pictures to come!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Nutcracker Nostalgia

Today I took my daughters to The Nutcracker ballet.  It was the first time in five years that Caroline was part of the audience rather than dancing on stage, and I think it was just as nostalgic for her as it was for me.  I couldn't believe that it was just five years ago when she was one of the little buffoons finding her way out of that immense skirt . . . and those party girl ringlets, night after night struggling to get her hair to curl just right before a performance . . . and her soldier bun that was practically impossible to get on top of her head.  I was awash with memories of bobby-pins, make-up, helping backstage, and hours in the car driving to and from rehearsals.

Caroline decided last month to hang up her pointe shoes for good and focus entirely on tennis.  It was a difficult decision after so many years of dance, but we both felt it was the right thing to do.  However, she struggled today after watching her friends perform and continue to excel in ballet.  Last week I found myself becoming a little emotional while organizing a box filled with leotards, tights, and ballet slippers that will no longer be worn.  Sophie declared last year after her ballet recital that "dance just isn't for me," and Liza has absolutely no interest.  I thought just maybe after watching the performance this afternoon, Liza just might want to dance after all, but nope, she's happy playing soccer and skiing.

I honestly can't believe this phase of motherhood is over . . . hundreds of visits to the dance store for tights, shoes, and leotards; years of attending annual spring recitals; and hours spent fixing tight buns in my daughters' hair . . . these are no longer part of my life.

The good news is that my daughters and I will always enjoy the beauty of a ballet performance together, without the headache of helping prepare one of them to perform :-).

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Let there be JOY

even if it's in a mall food court . . .

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Holiday cards and matching sweaters!

I happened upon these pictures taken on Thanksgiving day in 1999.

Ryan was 4 1/2, Caroline 2 1/2, and Chris and I looking much younger . . . um, ya, we haven't aged at all ;-).

It appears to be a photo shoot in my parents' Bountiful yard for Christmas cards that year - which would be back in the day when I planned for such events (i.e we all had a certain "Christmas/holiday" look), well, since about 2007, we're just happy to get a decent pic of all of us together - this year hopefully from deep within the 2010 archives. 

Since I'm on the subject of Christmas cards, look what I found in the same pile of pics . . .







It seems I used to take such great efforts to make sure everyone coordinated . . . I'm afraid those days are offically a thing of the past, but it was fun while it lasted :-).

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Why can't every weekend be a long weekend?

Or a long weekend plus two extra days?!  THANKSGIVING weekend was simply wonderful . . .  I love Thanksgiving, I love it because I absolutely refuse to do any shopping (except for the traditional grocery store visit before food preparations begin), I love it because our family spends quality time TOGETHER, I love it because I have some extra time to read, play piano, and just relax, and I love it because Thanksgiving is the perfect segway into the Christmas season: a few days when we truly remember how blessed we are and how content we are with the things that matter most in life.

Thanksgiving 2010 memories:
  • Spending our holiday with Grandma Janice, Grandpa Terry (my parents), Travis and Kristie (my brother and his girlfriend)
  • Preparing Thanksgiving dinner with my mom and dad
  • Reading the kids' "gratitude lists"
  • The smell of turkey cooking in the oven
  • Thanksgiving day NAPS
  • Playing games every night with grandma
  • Movies
  • Football
  • Brisk winter walks - before dinner with my mom, later that night under the stars with Chris
  • Skiing with my girls
  • Leftovers!
  • PIANO - playing from our latest book of Christmas arrangements and listening to the girls and Chris play Christmas songs as well.
  • Reading and relaxing by the fire (Caroline finished TWO books)
  • SNOW and watching the little girls play nonstop outside with their sleds and neighbor kids.
  • Hot chocolate, peppermint bark, cheeseball, and my mom's famous FUDGE.
  • The fireplace - seemed like the fire was going round the clock . . . aahhhhh.

Some pics . . .
Getting up at 6am with my dad to learn how to prepare the perfect Thanksgiving turkey. 

Our table (turned out pretty decent considering we don't have a formal dining table yet - pretty cool what you can to with those Costco tables ;-).

Sophie making rolls

Grandma Janice teaching Liza


Sophie concentrating on her gratitude list . . . she came up with 138 things she is grateful for :-).

The best part of the day.

Another Liza creation in anticipation of the big game.  The rest of my family was thrilled to have a recruit . . . if you can't decipher the spelling, it says: "Utah Rocks, I win, BYU stinks like you" - what the?  Just today Liza told us all that yesterday was the happiest day of her life because the Utes beat BYU.  RRRRRR!

Evening card games with grandma . . . bring it on!

Skiing at Solitude with the girls and their friends - Sophie and friend Emily in this picture.