On the 11th day of Christmas blog posts I give you "Christmas Baking"
I love to bake, especially at Christmastime.
Unfortunately, I love to eat just as much.
Oh well, that's what New Year's resolutions are for, right?
The kids and I had a little fun baking (and eating) tonight.
"Cooking is at once child's play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love."
And I just thought I'd throw in a picture of Gracie as Mrs. Claus in the 5th grade play since I can't get any of the videos to upload. I told her it was ok that she was tall because it would just make the elves really look like elves. She was a fantastic Mrs. Claus!
On the 10th day of Christmas blog posts I give you "Great Expectations"
I feel like my life is a tornado right about now. Whirling around faster than I can keep up with. Days are over and done with before I hardly realize what the date is or what day of the week it is. I had so many good intentions for this month before Christmas arrived. Christmas crafts and baking, service projects and cards and lots and lots of time with my children.
Now here it is two days before Christmas and I'm left feeling like the whole month has just fallen through my hands as fast as sand falls through the hourglass and it won't slow down and it won't just stop so I can catch my breath. And I can't do anything about it except feel overwhelmed with everything still needing to be done and depressed about everything that didn't get done. Even these little blog posts have added pressure to my life but I set a goal and I want to keep it so there is at least one thing where I can say, see, I did what I set out to do!
Tonight while I was wallowing in my pool of things to do my husband gently chided me for feeling like this. He pointed out all the wonderful things that HAVE happened this month: we went to see the temple lights with a lady Kris works with and her girls AND had them come to church with us (twice!), we watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional, attended two band concerts and a school play, made a gingerbread house with Rex at school, took the trip to Sedona, saw the Nutcracker, got our visiting teaching and home teaching done (yay!), made it to the ward Christmas party, set up, went to and cleaned up the Relief Society Christmas dinner, went to see a train display and had a little family party afterwards, have a secret Santa doing the 12 Days of Christmas for us, had some cousin lunches and playdates, and not to mention getting ready for Christmas, if you know what I mean. And all this in addition to just the regular craziness that ensues on a daily basis around these parts.
His moral: Cut myself some slack. And lower my expectations.
For some reason these are hard for me to do, but I am working on it.
At Christmastime especially I just really want life to be fun and meaningful for my children and I guess sometimes I'm just looking so hard I don't see what's right in front of me.
So- my goal for the next few days: take a deep breath, smile and make sure my family knows how much I love them. Especially my husband. Gosh I love that guy! He is so patient with me.
"Sometimes you just can't keep your kids from crawling under the tree. Sometimes you just can't do everything in life that you want to and sometimes that's ok." ~Me
On the 9th day of Christmas blog posts (are you sick of 'em yet?) I give you
The morning we headed for home from Sedona Kris' parents wanted us to open their gifts since we won't be seeing them on Christmas. So we got a little taste of Christmas and the kids were super excited.
If you know my kids you know they are obsessed with stuffed animals, a whole lot. It's something my brain does not comprehend since I've never been a stuffed animal person (they get it from their father). So they were pretty excited to open these little guys. As far as stuffed animals go these ones are pretty dang cute. They're made by Scentsy and come with a little scent packet that zips into their back. Anything that helps it smell better around here is a welcome addition. Their grandma picked each animal and scent to go with each child's personality and they were all so happy.
"It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas,
On the 8th day of Christmas blog posts I give you "Snow"
These were the skies we woke up to one morning in Sedona. Foggy, misty, full.
It was mysteriously beautiful.
It snowed all the way to Williams on our way to the Polar Express and the kids were in heaven when we got there. Last winter they pined away for snow and were so depressed when we didn't ever get to see any. This little trip made their winter. Oh they were so excited to run and play and throw snowballs. It made me sad. And happy. It seems to be a theme for me this Christmas.
And then we drove back to Sedona that night on snowy roads during a crazy blizzard. The likes of which we haven't seen since we lived in the 'Burg. Kinda miss that. Oh wait, no I don't. But my kids do. My kids sure do.
“I love snow for the same reason I love Christmas: It brings people together while time stands still. Cozy couples lazily meandered the streets and children trudged sleds and chased snowballs. No one seemed to be in a rush to experience anything other than the glory of the day, with each other, whenever and however it happened” ~Rachel Cohn
On the 7th Day of Christmas blog posts I give you
"The Polar Express"
While we were in Sedona Kris' parents took us on a little jaunt over to Williams to board the Polar Express. Yes indeedy we took a trip to the North Pole. Here is a photograph extravaganza of the experience:
"At one time most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I've grown old, the bell still rings for me as it does for all who truly believe."
On the 6th day of Christmasy blog posts I give you
"The Christmas Card That Never Was"
I had really good intentions of doing a Christmas card this year what with the new baby and all but those flew out the window when I realized there was only a week and a half left before Christmas and I was starting to feel completely overwhelmed by the thought. So, I'm trying not to feel bad about it but I thought I'd post the pictures that I was intending to use for the card. We found this really cool deer statue in Sedona that they put a red nose on and I thought it would be a good place to take pictures in front of, it was perfect for a Christmas card. Trust me, I know these pictures aren't that great. It was a spur of the moment thing so I realize that nobody is looking their best, but we just were going with it as my expectations are pretty low at this point in life. It's hard when you get this many kids to get a great picture so I'm usually left deciding which child is not going to look as cute. Do we go with the one that Colby is looking away or the one where Rex isn't smiling? The one where Matthew is busting up laughing or where Owen is smirking?
Here were a few of our best choices:
And check out our cute little Christmas Cabbage Patch Kid:
"Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home."
On the 5th day of Christmasy blog posts I give you "Christmas Past"
I get so sentimental and sappy at Christmastime and so I was looking at old pictures and being sad about my children growing up. I hate how fast time goes by and how my children cannot stay small forever. I want to experience all of life all at the same time and keep all my memories fresh in my mind and never forget them. Never forget how cute my children are. Never forget what they were like as babies, or two years old, or five years old. Never move away and leave people behind. Live everywhere I want to and never miss anything.
Here are some photos of our first Christmas in Rexburg (the second time around) when my three (yes, I only had three at the time) children were oh so small and oh so cute. Oh how I miss Rexburg and all the people we left behind and oh how I miss these times of enjoying childhood in its most glorious and simple ways.
I found this quote and I felt like it summed up exactly what I was feeling. I don't mean to be all sappy and sad but the weight of memories and times past are weighing on my heart during this month. Maybe it's just because I feel like life is so fleeting and I want to grab it all up and hold onto it and never let it go. I want my children to always feel loved and special and never lonely and I always want their memories to be happy.
"Isn't it funny that at Christmas something in you gets so lonely for - I don't know what exactly, but it's something that you don't mind so much not having at other times."
On the 4th day of Christmasy blog posts I give you the "Luminaria Lighting"
Last weekend Kris' folks invited us on a little trip to Sedona and we just happened to be there on the one night they do a lighting of 6000 luminarias at the Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village.
We went a little early to wander around and see the shops and listen to a little music.
Then, when it was time, the kids had a blast getting to light the luminarias. Every kid is a pyro at heart, right? And this was a bonafied, public-sanctioned opportunity to play with fire. Matthew might have even blown out more than a few of them just so he could relight them.
It was such a beautiful night and we enjoyed the company, the entertainment, the art and the beauty of all those lights.
We were trying to show all the lit luminarias in the background of these pictures, it was a sight to see so many of them.
A Christmas candle is a lovely thing;
It makes no noise at all,
But softly gives itself away.