love is spoken here

Adam and I would like to acknowledge our mothers this weekend. They are both shining examples of unconditional love and conviction. So without further adieu, the following spotlights two of our most favorite women.


Name: Catherine Ann Penning

Occupation: 1st grade teacher a.k.a angel on earth

Favorite Pasttime: Chasing dad around the kitchen island with a spatula shouting, “James, I’m gonna get you.”

I love my mother. I remember being in the seventh grade and still loving my mother. In contrast, all of my friends were at war with their moms. They ‘hated’ them and did everything they could to make their lives miserable. I never felt that way. I liked being around my mom and I always felt that she liked to spend time with me as well. She has supported me through such decisions as serving a mission, trekking the globe, moving to Las Vegas, adopting four kids from a far away place, and deciding to homeschool them. Some of these decisions were a little easier to support than others, but she has always trusted my instincts and my ablility to discern what is right for my life’s path. And for that, mother, I am forever indebted to you.


Name: Debra McCracken

Occupation: Librarian

Favorite Pasttime: Scrapbooking, or rather purchasing scrapbook supplies and dreaming of the day she can use them without fear of little terrorists a.k.a Quinn and Zoe.

I also love my mom. She has been an example to me from my earliest memories. She has picked me up and bandaged plenty of knees and elbows. She has supported me emotionally, spiritually, and financially! Though I know she has thought I’m crazy with my hikes and canyon adventures (sorry about that Chrismas Eve mishap, Mom!), she has always encouraged me to follow my dreams and let me know that there is nothing in the world, except for the limits I place on myself, to stop me. I am proud of her for taking on the added stress of getting her Master’s degree now, after sacrificing it earlier in life to raise me and my siblings. I love you mom, and will be eternally grateful for the love you have shared with me.

Happy 30th Birthday, Adam

The big 30…and we’re not even together. Everyone help me give a shout-out to my beloved hubby. He left for Utah this morning, and I stayed behind to help my mom and sister with my grandpa’s stuff. We did have a chocolate cake for him last night. Well, we burnt the first attempt so instead of triple chocolate cake, he got chocolate fudge–sorry honey!!! With all the renovating around here, I’m impressed that we got the cake made. Easter dinner didn’t even happen…we had brunch instead.

I was also able to take him to Olive Garden on Saturday for his bday present. We skipped the movie since dinner was so expensive. We ended up registering at Target for the adoption shower instead. I told Adam that he could hold the gun and do the swiping, since it was his birthday. Generous, I know! (I’ll post about that experience w/ pics on the adoption blog this week) Cold Stone happened to be open until 11…so he also got a treat from there. The kid working gave us a few extra punches on the punch card for his bday. Yes, the punch card has returned. Thanks, Cold Stone! While we were on our date the rest of the family colored Easter eggs, of course. My mom made one especially for Adam–sooo cute! She hid it outside and made him search for it during the hunt yesterday. Thanks mom.

Adi, I know this is a pretty lame birthday, sorry. You are my very best friend. You are loyal and kind. You are gentle and loving. You are honorable and hard-working. You are everything I was waiting for! I would have waited another 27 years if it meant I could be with you.


The stockings were hung by the chimney with care…


As Rach mentioned, no lame blogs are allowed here. In order to fulfill my promise of pictures of the “Full” Christmas light presentation, I write this post.
Despite all of the unexpected surprises during our trip to Washington, we really enjoyed the time. The Pennings really know how to throw a Christmas party. When loading presents into the truck to return to Logan, I noted that it must have taken Santa at least two trips for this house alone!


Christmas, wrapped up!


Despite a few hiccups during Christmas week, we still managed to have a great vacation. Adam had 3-1/2 weeks off of school and we took full advantage of it. We drove up to Washington and spent our time there. We were able to help pick out the Christmas tree, put up last minute decorations, and help with mom’s last minute shopping. The above picture is mom’s idea of cooking dinner on Christmas Eve….’let’s go outback’….easy clean-up, wahoo!!! Don’t worry–Christmas Day dinner was all homemade. 


We also squeezed in a few short trips…one to Portland to celebrate Jessica’s birthday, one to Leavenworth for some winter wonderland fun, and one to Tacoma to visit grandma and grandpa Penning. We also were blessed to spend grandpa Harvey’s last week here on earth with him. Everyone was able to say their goodbyes and my mom was able to be there when he passed. I’m grateful that we were there not only to say goodbye and attend the funeral, but also to help mom and dad get through it all. A tender mercy for sure.
We wish everyone a wonderful 2008. Keep smiling!!!!!!!!!!!

Christmas Tag…better late, than never!!!

A friend–Cadi Walda–tagged me before Christmas. I owe this post since I wasn’t able to get to the computer much over the past month (see previous post for reasoning). I love tagging…so I still wanted to do this one even though it’s a bit out of season. :)

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Â  Hot Chocolate.

2. Does Santa wrap the presents or just sit them under the tree?  Santa wraps the really special ones and the elves do the rest.
3. Colored or white lights? I love white lights all around the outside of the house, but colored lights for accents and the tree.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? No, but maybe I should start!
5. When do you put your decorations up?  The goal is Thanksgiving weekend, but it usually takes about a week to finish it all.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Mashed potatoes, mashed potatoes, and more mashed potatoes!!!
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?  There are so many, but one particular christmas, when I was about eight, the whole family slept under the tree on Christmas Eve. This was a special treat because we were usually not allowed to do this (mostly because the parents were usually not done wrapping everything yet). Mom and dad must have had it together that year because we awoke to new shiny bikes and a railroad track going around the tree. It was the best Christmas ever.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I don’t really remember, but I think by about age 12, I was helping wrap presents for Santa.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Heck, yeah! It’s always Christmas pajamas. Sometimes my husband and I exchange a non-pajama present as well…depends on the year.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?  No real tradition about it. I prefer homemade ornaments. I love the nostalgic feeling they provide.  When we have more than one tree, the others will be more designerish.
12. Can you ice skate?  Can, yes. Good, no!
13. Do you remember your favorite gift?  I guess my favorite gift was from my husband on our very first Christmas together. It was an outdoor jacket that I still wear today. Even though it’s a great gift–one that I really wanted–the reason it’s my favorite is because we didn’t have much extra money that Christmas. Adam had just graduated from college, and had only been at his job for a week. The jacket cost over $200 so Adam pulled out his can of state quarters he had been saving for years. He used the entire can to get me my jacket. I would’ve stopped him had I known. It was the sweetest thing because I know how much he loves his coin collections. I love my husband so very much.
14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Seeing family and friends. But also spending extra time with my husband. 
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? My mom’s CHOCOLATE PIE.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Putting on our matching pajamas Christmas Eve and spending time as a family reading the Christmas story and catching up.

17. What is on top of your tree? Actually, nothing. But I should get a Star.
18. What’s your favorite traditional Christmas Carol? Little Drummer Boy and Do You Hear What I Hear
19. What is your favorite contemporary Christmas Song? Â I’m not a big fan. I just love the oldies so much.
20. Do you like candy canes? Only as decoration…hanging out of the stockings.