Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Today is our eighth anniversary!

When talking about this, I told Maryann, "Eight years is as long as we're going to be married... if you tip 8 on its side!"

Isn't it convenient that the symbol for infinity, ∞, looks like a sideways 8? However, our marriage—our family—is more than convenience, it's essential. The most recent Sunday School lesson was on The Family: A Proclamation to the World (link). I loved being reminded that:

Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

Thank you for eight great years; I love you, Maryann!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Card

We've written a year-end summary and included cute pictures in our online Christmas card. Take a look here (or for you Mozilla-users, here).

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Music

I like to sing, but I love to sing Christmas songs. At a Christmas party tonight, we enjoyed listening to the Austin Girls' Choir, but we liked even more when we were all asked to join in on a few songs. I think some of our fellow party-goers were surprised when my wife and I started strongly singing along in harmony—no melody for us!

His Name Shall Be Called Wonderful, by Simon Dewey

My self-appointed task today was to collect Christmas songs from past First Presidency Christmas Devotionals (link to archives). I was thrilled when I gathered the songs from the past five years (2005-2009) and burned them to CD; the songs are wonderful. (Download instructions are at the end of this post.)

For some reason, I find that I can sing louder (and more on-note) when I sing along to these songs. It's always fun to sing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but singing of Christ's birth with the addition of the Orchestra at Temple Square seems to give the right oomph to make something resonate within... and come spilling out through song!

The church website often has the statement: "These resources are provided free of charge for noncommercial church or home use." I'm happy to share the songs I harvested, as long as you want to noncommercially use them at home or church!

You can download a zipped file of the songs (mp3 format, ~100MB) by clicking here. There were repeated songs for some of the years; I just built a playlist using my favorites of the repeats, and it works great!

I would love to know if you enjoyed being able to download songs in mp3 of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square from First Presidency Christmas Devotionals.

Please leave comments if you want me to harvest songs from the previous five years, too.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Quizzes

We had three Christmas trivia quizzes at my work holiday luncheon today. I love Christmas, and apparently am good at its trivia (I won first place on all three quizzes).

Here are the quiz questions; see how you do (we had a two-minute time limit, so we were a bit rushed, too), answers at the bottom:

QUIZ 1 (I scored 11 points)
  1. In "It's a Wonderful Life," how did Clarence cleverly save George's life?
  2. Who kept time with the Little Drummer Boy?
  3. In "The Night Before Christmas," where were the stockings hung?
  4. What is the name of the little girl in most versions of "The Nutcracker"?
  5. What is the last ghost called in "A Christmas Carol"?
  6. What color is the Grinch?
  7. How many pipers piping did my true love give to me?
  8. In the movie, "The Santa Clause," who starred as the substitute Santa Claus?
  9. What was Rudolph's punishment for his red nose?
  10. In "A Charlie Brown Christmas," who plays the dusty innkeeper in the Christmas play?
  11. What did the traffic cop holler to Frosty?
  12. What holiday drink contains sugar, milk, and eggs?
  13. What popular bite-sized chocolate candy comes wrapped in red and green foil at Christmas?
  14. What Saturday Evening Post artist was known for his whimsical pictures of Santa Claus?
  15. What one reindeer is never mentioned in "The Night Before Christmas"?

QUIZ 2 (I scored 10 points)
  1. What song was originally titles: "One Horse Open Sleigh"?
  2. What holiday film annually appears on television more than 300 times?
  3. In "It's A Wonderful Life," what two friends share their names with two Sesame Street characters?
  4. What is Frosty's nose made of?
  5. How does Scrooge improve Cratchit's life the day after Christmas?
  6. What country started the tradition of exchanging gifts?
  7. In "A Charlie Brown Christmas," what winter recreation is the cast of characters doing in the opening scene?
  8. What are tiny, inexpensive gifts usually called?
  9. Name the reindeer whose name begins with a "B."
  10. What WWII First Lady wrote a Christmas story about a girl named Marta?
  11. What non-smoking association sponsors Christmas seals?
  12. Visions of what dance in children's heads?
  13. How many times is the name of Santa Claus used in "The Night Before Christmas"?
  14. What is the most popular tree topper?
  15. What song contains the line: "Although it's been said, many times, many ways"?

QUIZ 3 (I scored 9 points)
  1. What did the Little Drummer Boy give to the Christ Child?
  2. What snack is often left out for Santa?
  3. In "It's A Wonderful Life," who starred as George Bailey?
  4. What cola company was known for its ads featuring a big, smiling Santa?
  5. What does Alvin want for Christmas?
  6. Who wrote "The Night Before Christmas"?
  7. What does the nutcracker become after killing the Mouse King?
  8. What men's grooming appliance became a sled for Santa in commercials of the sixties?
  9. What do most elves wear on the tips of their shoes?
  10. After red and green, what are the two most popular Christmas colors?
  11. What song contains the line "Somebody waits for you, kiss her once for me"?
  12. What popular Christmas toy is based on a 1903 political caricature?
  13. Who first recorded "Here Comes Santa Claus"?
  14. What song does a caroler sing outside Scrooge's office?
  15. What two words are normally pre-printed on gift tags?

How do you think you did? Click here for a pdf with the answers.