The night we got back from Idaho we went to get a Christmas tree after we realized that it was the last Saturday we'd have free together until the week before Christmas and a few days before we left for Michigan. I was excited for Noah's first experience getting a tree but he slept the entire time shielded from the cold. So Hyrum helped us pick a tree. We wondered how we'd get it home but we strapped it to the top of our compact car and drove as slowly as we could home.

We pulled it into the house to the sounds of The Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing "O Tannenbaum"

Noah now awake got his first feel of a Christmas tree. It wasn't going to be his last.

We thought we'd let it set overnight to let it thaw a bit but Hyrum could NOT wait. So we got the lights and decorations out of the garage and got to work. In the past we've done a formal and coordinated tree but this year we decided to do a memory tree. And I'm glad we did.

When my parents got married they didn't have any ornaments their first Christmas so it was a tradition in my family growing up to each get an ornament every year. Then when we got married we took our ornaments with us for our first tree as a married couple. We've tried to continue this tradition with our boys. My sister did a blog post about her favorite holiday decorations. At the bottom she had a picture of the angel we had on our tree growing up. It was one that my dad had made from a doll head cardboard and a plastic doily. We all LOVE it and think she is soo beautiful. There's probably going to be a battle over it someday.

As I brought out all of my old ornaments it took me back and I wanted to share my favorites.

Totally remember picking this out. Love that Mary's head is cocked to the side. I'm sure it wasn't suppose to be.

I realized looking at my ornaments that I had quite a few with my name engraved on them. There is nothing on this earth that has the name 'Sunny' on it without a request and I LOVED things with my name written on them. My son will have the same problem and I thought it was fabulous that my in laws sent an ornament with Hyrum's name on it...and it looks exactly like one of mine.

When my grandparents were on one of their missions they were gone around Christmas time and missed their family so they took the pictures of the grandkids that were sent and put them in frames and put them on their tree. When they came home they went back on the tree each Christmas and we loved to find our pictures on the tree every Christmas. When they died the pictures passed back to us. Now it reminds me of my Grandma.

And I got one for Hyrum when he was tiny. I plan to get one for Noah too.

I love an ornament that we got for our first Christmas as a married couple. I can't believe it's been 10 years since I met the love of my life.

Another more recent addition to our tree was an ornament I got from my sister after we went to the Fisher Price museum and remembered the 'little people' we played with as kids. We were literally on the floor looking at these toys remembering the different play sets how the different people felt in our mouths.

It totally reminds me of my childhood and now my boys both love it too.

We've really enjoyed having the tree up for so long. Noah has been really intrigued with it too. Last Friday when Derek was gone and I was busy doing something Noah was messing with the lights. I'd pulled him away a few times but just wanted to finish the thing I was doing when I heard the tree fall. I turned around to find it on the floor and Noah nowhere to be found. Then I heard the cry from inside the tree.

I lifted the tree to find Noah, still sitting, under the tree, crying his little heart out. I comforted him and calmed him down. He didn't seem to have a mark on him, miraculously. I put him in his and Hyrum's room to lift the tree again ( It is not a light tree). Hyrum of course couldn't stay in the room so neither could Noah and once I got it up he was back at it. Surprisingly only one ornament broke. Until Noah sat down with a couple bulbs and knocked them together.

As you can see I'd just watered the tree so I had fans and space heaters on it the rest of the day. I was holding Noah when I noticed a mark on his head. A little green mark.

It became a bruise so obviously a branch hit him but within a couple days it was gone.

Poor little guy! It's a good thing he won't remember this Christmas.

Not that Thanksgiving was very momentous as in the back of my mind was the vigil being held at my grandmother's bedside as she prepared for eternity. There were some events though.

Noah met my in laws dog, Blossom

This was taken right before Blossom barked at him making him cry. ( Noah doesn't like sudden loud sounds-even whistles or party horns...New Years should be exciting.)

Noah had his first taste and feel of snow

and Hyrum sleded down a hill for the first time

I know it sounds like he's crying but I promise he's laughing

Noah was our Thanksgiving ham ( he smiled every time I lifted the camera to my face- and squinted in anticipation of the flash)

Hyrum and Noah loved grandpa's chair

And all of my boys enjoyed playing together.

I need to write today. My Grandma, Pauline Violet Streeter passed into eternity to be with her beloved husband ( and brother and son ) yesterday ( Nov 29 ) at around 2pm MST. Since then my mind has been filled with memories. I need to write them down while I'm thinking of them so that I'll never forget and so that my children can know her through my memories.

One of my earliest memories of her was when me and my sisters were with she and grandpa ( and probably my aunt Tami too ) in an amusement park ( it was probably Michigan's adventure or Cedar Point) while my parents were probably off on a romantic getaway that were so infrequent. I was a very picky eater ( as most kids are ) and didn't want to eat anything because it was different than I usually had it. Even something as basic and simple as a hot dog was too different for me and I refused to eat more than a bite. My grandmother worried and fretted all day convinced that I'd starve to death. Now thinking about it, every time she saw me that I can remember in my life, it seemed she commented on how skinny I was and that I was wasting away. I'm sure she continued to worry about me.

Another early memory is of her sitting down one day with me and laying out the generations of the Bible. I remember being impressed with her scriptural knowledge and had a great desire to be well versed in the scriptures and to be the scriptorian I perceived her to be. I remember later reading the Bible and wanting so badly to ask her some of the questions I'd had while reading but I was already living so far away and her mind had begun to betray her.

She was always an example of great strength and strong will. We Streeter women all have the fire of fierce loyalty and family protection. Anyone dares hurt a Streeter woman will see the fire ignite in all our eyes. Along with that fire comes fierce loyalty to family. I knew my maternal line much better than my paternal line in family history( at least back to Francis Pearl who brought our family into the church). Family comes questions. Family needs help you drop questions. You knew your family, you spent time with your family, you loved your family. It's just the way it was. My mom, who has inherited her wealth of family history information, can attest to her passion for family history. I've heard so many family history stories. I know stories about my great grandma and great great grandma ( as well as grand aunts and grand uncles). How many people can say that?
( Five generation picture top: Pauline Violet Streeter (my grandma ) , Byrdie Rosetta Sarkees( my grandma's aunt); bottom Pamela Ruth Wadsworth (my mom), Sunny Casandra Tangren (me) , Hyrum Joseph Tangren ( my son )
My husband who didn't grow up around a lot of family and over the years has made family of friends that were as important if not more important in certain circumstances than family to him. It is a concept so foreign to me. My family were my friends. And they in all circumstances trumped any non-family friend.

I remember her telling me a story about when she and my grandpa were fairly newly married. He would smoke on occasion, a habit my grandma disliked being a member of the church ( which my grandpa wasn't at the time) and she'd talked to him about it but he would inevitably end up smoking a few cigarettes after work with his coworkers. So she decided to take a different tack and that if he was going to smoke...THEY were going to smoke. So when he was at work she went to the store and bought a couple packs of cigarettes. She tried to smoke them but couldn't bring herself to do it so she put lipstick marks on all of them, then lit them and put them in front of the fan to "smoke" them. When my grandpa returned home the rooms were filled with smoke and my grandma sat with cigarette perched at her lips. He walked in and she told them that if he wanted to smoke they were both going to smoke. He took one look at that at her and the room littered with cigarette butts and smoke and never smoked another cigarette.

Another thing I learned from my grandma was tradition. She is the founder of so many of our family Christmas traditions. That we met on Christmas Eve as a family ate goodies, had visits from Santa and opened presents with her and her brothers families.
Then when we met just with her family on Christmas eve how we continued to eat goodies had visits from Santa and also went caroling and became a tradition for all of the families we caroled to. And the manger we filled with the straw of good deeds in preparation for the Christ child to come also was started by her. She'd had the mangers made in order to start this tradition. I don't know where she got the idea. We began that tradition this year...the day she died, just by chance...or was it. Regardless this Christmas just won't seem complete without her there.

Her being strong willed and knowing her mind lead to those opinions being expressed and not always in the gentlest way. She definitely used some words we were never allowed to say and never heard in our house. I can remember dropping off she and my grandpa at the Rouge River to go canoeing. Somehow they ended up swamped and floating helplessly and aimlessly down the river with her shouting her dissent the whole way. She may have grumbled about her family from time to time but we know she loved us all just as fiercely.

She also made a quick connection to Derek. We went back to Michigan for the open house at the Nauvoo temple where we were to be married and for Derek to meet all of my family. My grandparents, at the time weren't sure that they'd go to our wedding since it was so far away ( about 9 hours by car ) and they didn't want to be a burden to anyone and didn't want to feel in the way. I wanted them to be there, naturally, and expressed that I wanted them there but it wasn't until Derek made his plea mentioning that she was the last grandma he had left that she consented. She was also the last grandma that I had left too but it just had more weight coming from him for some reason.
( I love that the dress she wore to my wedding was the same dress she wore at my mom's wedding. She just shortened it. She was so concerned that it wasn't in fashion now.)

Because of my dear husband's influence I was able to have one of the sweetest memories of my wedding day. The morning of my wedding before I got out of bed my grandma came in and laid down beside me and we talked. For the life of me I can't remember what we talked about. I don't even know if it was very important but I do remember how I felt laying there with her. So happy to have that quiet moment with her. Connect with generations who had also made this momentous and all important decision. It's a memory I will cherish forever.

A couple years later we went back to Michigan for Christmas and my grandma didn't want to come to Christmas Eve because my grandpa had accidently hit the gas and had put a hole in the garage wall. My parents wisely sent us to go pick them up and Derek once again was the trump card in getting them to come. When we went back to Michigan for my granpa's funeral Derek met her with saying "How are you doing sweetheart?" and she later referred to him as her boyfriend not having total command of her vocabulary. They just had a special relationship too.

She was always in with fashion. Always seemed to know the latest styles and wanted to look refined, in shape and stylish. My grandma dressed better than me if truth be known. She had fabulous taste. She was also very aware of health. There were not a few times that I was reprimanded for being tan and how awful it was for your skin as she had me feel where she'd had skin cancer removed. If she'd only known how often I went to tanning beds as a teenager. Honestly I wish I'd paid more attention. Although I haven't gotten skin cancer I am a wrinkly woman at 34.

She loved "Murder, She Wrote" and "Perry Mason". She also read murder mysteries novels. She at one point or another fancied herself as a writer and was published in the Readers Digest.

She was always so organized. When I was back in Michigan a couple years ago we put up her Christmas tree and decorations. Every last thing was meticulously labeled and she insisted on everything being put back where it had been.
(She absolutely loved the color pink, thus decorating with the pink poinsettia's)
Later when my parents and sister were cleaning out her house, after she'd moved to assisted living they found that nearly everything in her life was labeled and organized. I wish I'd inherited that inclination towards order and neatness.

Something I loved about my grandma and have inherited the inclination toward is writing on the backs of pictures and writing out full names and dates taken. Details. Family History Details. When my mom was looking through my grandma's family history things she found stacks of pictures that were not written on that she had to throw away not knowing who these people were. That breaks my heart that she'd kept those for some reason, perhaps family pictures passed down from someone not as inclined to marking and kept them in the hopes of putting names on them from someone who knew them. As it turned out they were thrown away without any hope of identifying them. She wrote everything down. She knew not to depend on remembering the information or for anyone who came after to know, even though she spent her life making sure that family kin were known to her posterity.

Another thing I loved about my grandma is that she always held hands with my grandpa when they prayed together. Even and especially towards the end of his life when he wasn't as aware of things going on around him she would always be sure to take his hands when they prayed. To connect and be united in that prayerful moment.

I remember once when she was holding one of her great grandchildren ( I think it might have been Jillie ) turning to the father of the baby and saying proudly and matter of factly "We make them cute in our family". She loved her kids grandkids and great grandkids. Two years ago when I was back in Michigan between Thanksgiving and New Years with Hyrum we spent some time with her and she played and played with Hyrum. Tossing a ball to him and having him run for it. When we were decorating the tree he'd bring her ornaments and they'd look at them together.
One day when we were at her house and she was folding some laundry she made a bridge out of a towel and Hyrum walked happily back and forth under it forever.
I'm so glad they were able to have that time and even though Hyrum won't have the memories I have the pictures and videos and he will know that he'd met her and that she loved him. We're going back to Michigan this Christmas and I was so looking forward to having her meet Noah. When I got pregnant with him and my mom told my grandma she told me that all of a sudden in my grandma's declining mind anyone that was of child bearing age was pregnant in her mind. I'm sure in her excitement for the new baby and us not anywhere near she made those around her pregnant so she could be a more active part of the happiness. So that she could be near us in some way despite the distance. Over Thanksgiving break as my parents and my mom's sisters sat in vigil at her bedside my dad called me to give me the opportunity to say my goodbyes over the phone. I tried to think of something important to say. All I could think to say was that I loved her and that I missed her and wished I was there. I wanted her to at least hear Noah. I wanted her to hear him laugh. So she could have some connection to him...that I could tell him that she'd heard him laugh. But instead he did little screams. At least she heard him. I go over and over that conversation. I should have told her the things I'm writing today. But it's hard for me to say things that are this important. It's easier to write them. I hope she knows. I can only believe she does.

I forgot about this stage of life and how brutal it is. Four bruises in a week. :( This one came during a prayer and the night before pictures. Great.

This one came a few days later...a matching bruise for the other side of his head.

Unfortunately, I have a feeling it's only the beginning.

Case in point...

Minutes after I posted this we had another one.

So it all started with a few boys in a tree that toppled the rest of our upright willow in the front yard. Then there was no had to come out. Then since the tree was gone and the rocks were moved we thought we should probably put in grass and since we're putting in grass we should probably move the little Alberta Spruces. So our front yard transformation began.

I was never a fan of the rock islands and it has been a plan from the get go to get rid of them. We'd been hoping to get them out last summer but it didn't happen, but this summer we were determined ( and had some help and a really good jump start ). This is how it looked when we bought it...or when the snow melted.

We did make an attempt last year to get started but we got started too late in the season for sod and decided to try seed the near small rock island. The next spring we just got tufts here and there. Not ideal. We did consider trying to fill in with seed but ultimately began to look into sod.

(Don't be fooled the grass didn't look nearly that good closer up)

But first we needed to move the little Alberta Spruces that looked oh so conspicuous in the lawn now.

Then we were off to find the most perfect tree for our front yard. We researched on the internet, my plant identification book and the local nurseries. We ultimately decided on a Pacific Senset Maple ( a cross between a Norway Maple and a Shantung Maple ). It had a great green summer color and didn't get chlorosis ( the yellowy leaves you see on so many maple trees in Utah because of the lovely alkaline soil) and best of all had a great redish orangy fall color. We went to a nursery about a half an hour away and found one that was perfect except that it was probably 12 feet tall and we had no way to get it to our house with our two compact cars and it was going to cost 70 bucks to deliver it. We considered getting a smaller tree that we could fit into our car but with how slow trees grow we wanted to get the biggest one we could. We finally got ahold of someone in our ward who graciously agreed to pick it up for us and bring it home to us. We went back to the nursery and paid for our tree ( and it was 20% off because it was fall!! ). I can't tell you how excited I was to see it arrive.

There is just something about planting a tree. Something of hope. Of confidence in the future. In our future. I was so excited. Knowing our boys may grow up in it's shadow. Watching them grow together. Watching our family grow with it.

Then it was time for sod. When it got here we were a little nervous that we'd gotten too much but in the end we could have used one more to fill in gaps here and there. So here's the final far. We still want to do some landscaping up around the house and the roses and the rocks to the right will be gone eventually as well. It's a work in progress I guess but we've finally started!

We were really excited to see the tree change colors in the fall. One day I looked out and thought the leaves were getting some leaf scorch on them.

I was worried it was dieing but upon closer inspection I saw this.

We can't wait till it gets bigger and we can jump in it's leaves!

"Ka BOOM! Ka BOOM!! I'm fireworks"

"What are you Momma?"

"Well, Hyrum, I think I'm a stream." I say as I'm doing the dishes

"No Momma! What are you?"

I decide to go see what he's talking about. They're talking about light energy sources on the cartoon he's watching...CARTOONS

"Ka BOOM! Ka BOOM! I'm fireworks!" He explodes "Momma what are you"

"Humm I think I'm the sun. ( by virtue of my name) And I think you are the PERFECT fireworks" ( constant little explosions of light demanding your attention)

"What's baby Noah, Momma?"

I think for awhile "Noah is a night light!" ( he was up every hour from 2-6 last night)

"What is daddy, Momma?"

"Well sometimes Daddy is a candle...being burned at both ends. And alot of the time Daddy is a lighthouse"

Then I began to think more about my answer. Am I really the sun or am I more like fire or a flashlight or a computer screen?

So... What light are you?

October was a busy month with Halloween festivities. Especially the week of Halloween.

Festivities started in the middle of the month when we went to South Ridge Farms in Santiquin ( also known as the Red Barn). Derek's parents were down and we made it an event.

The red barn reminded me of Robinette's, an apple orchard very close to my house in Michigan.

After a quick look in the barn we got in line to go out to the pumpkin patch on the hayride. Don't know why I though it would be free but it was fun and worth it. Here are some pictures.

Hay ride to the pumpkin patch

Five little grandparent pumpkins

Five little Tangren pumpkins

Totally staged picture...can you tell? :) He picked his pumpkin so fast we missed the photo op. That's grandpa behind us with his actual pumpkin.

Hyrum was going to be a ghost for Halloween so he had to pose here.

Running through the crate maze

I did it!!

Farm Family picture

Tractor Hyrum

Tired Hayride back to the car

Gigantic pumpkin ( they were having a pumpkin weigh off that day)

Quick side track... When my Mother in Law was here she showed me the ease of using a steam juicer that was lurking in my basement. All you do is put the grapes (stems and all) in this basket with water in a container under it.

After awhile the juice pours out this spout and she put it directly into the jars. You can pour it into a pan and cool overnight and strain to remove the sediments but we were on a schedule.

Then since the juice comes out screaming hot she just turned them upside down and the sweet little suckers sealed. :)

Another hue to my canning shelf. We mixed it with some 7 up and it made a to die for sparkling grape juice.

A couple weeks later my parents came out for the weekend of Halloween. Hyrum and I went to the dentist while I had reinforcements. Hyrum was going for his first time and did FABULOUS. I listened to him chatter on about sugar monsters being the bad guys and the foam being the good guy. And I hadn't gone for almost 9 years and had NO CAVITIES! ( Thank you fluorinated water and good genes from my dad)

Friday was the Halloween Horror Hoorah at Omnidobe (It's really known as Adobe now but this event is a hold out from the Omniture years so it doesn't feel right to call it an Adobe thing) We were really surprised that they were still doing it. I have a feeling that is nearing it's death. They almost didn't have it when someone called the executives about fire hazards and they would only allow so many people in the buildings at a time. There were security guards and lines outside around the property. They are just getting too big to do much fun anymore.

I really thought that Hyrum would get more into the Mario Kart section than he did. I think it was just too overwhelming.

BITE ME!!! :)

We realized that the camera was almost out of batteries when we got there so I didn't use the LCD screen. And this is what happens when I don't use the LCD screen

My darling son loves to play with the camera and now the lens shields don't always come and go as they should. So bummed it happened when I was taking pictures of Derek and my dad's section.

They did Mousetrap and the section my Dad and Derek worked on was the slide and they'd rigged it so tennis balls would go down then be sucked back up. Sadly by the time we got through the motor had died and it wasn't working anymore.

This is the picture I'm most bummed about being ruined. At the end they had this HUGE counter weighted cage that would raise and lower over the big tub of candy. Hyrum was literally RUNNING back and forth getting candy.

The executives area has historically had little people that Josh James the former co-founder would fly in from Las Vegas to be various characters ( munchkins, oompa loompas, 7 dwarfs, etc). Josh James left Adobe this last year but sent the little people in his stead dressed as picketers. They were all dirty dressed in rags with signs saying things like "Will work for food. ( half portions will do)"This is nothing without us" and " Do I make you feel uncomfortable" It was pretty funny. Derek said that Josh James wasn't coming but we saw him later and he ended up going through one of the buildings behind us. The executives did Sesame Street for their theme.

That night was trunk or treating at the church. We took quick pictures before we headed down.

Hyrum decided that he'd be a ghost and that I'd be a witch and he wanted Noah to be a Mummy But one day Noah was standing on my knees and leaned over and bit me on the neck for no reason and combined with his former habit of sleeping good during the day and being awake all night I thought a vampire would be a more appropriate costume. I made the costumes myself and think they turned out pretty good. :)

We hadn't carved the pumpkin we'd gotten so that was on the to do list for Saturday

Hyrum picked out the face he wanted on it ( the stuffed pumpkin beside the actual pumpkin) posed for a picture and then left me to empty the stuff out of the pumpkin while he made a candy necklace with my mom. He practiced his patterns as they made it. He's got simple patterns down.

Then Dad took over to carve the face.

My parents wanted to go to Lehi Roller Mills to get some things and we went along happily or at least Derek and I did, Hyrum not so much. We were looking around but my mom couldn't find what she wanted. Hyrum kept insisting that we go. Then all of a sudden he walked up to the mixes of Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and said he wanted to take it home. That is Hyrum's can't beat em...start shopping. He gets his affinity for shopping from my mom so I had to get a picture of the two of them.

Saturday was the normal trick or treating night in my town but JUST as prime trick or treating time came so did a storm. Strong wind, rain and hail kept us from venturing out

but while we waited Noah decided to work on some skills

He'd crawled a short distance during the day but couldn't figure out how to do it again consistently...he's since gotten better.

This is where the funny hat comes from. He tagged the costume but not his bib or hat so he wore the latter as his costume on Saturday night.

Hyrum and Derek went out trick or treating around 7 when the storm passed and stayed out for at least an hour. They came back with red noses and a LOT of candy

A good Halloween all around!