Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas
























It's time. The kids will be home from half day in just a couple hours and I am so ready to really celebrate Christ with them. Not the concerts and finals and parties and shopping and decorating and wrapping and mailing--not all of that. All of that has its place but for now its place is OVER. I scrubbed down my house and folded up all the laundry so that I can be part of these last few important days.  I want to read my favorite Christmas stories to my kiddos, watch Christmas movies, stay in our pajamas, make good food to eat together and maybe even head to the mountains for a hike. I look up at those distant mountains everyday while I drive the kids all over town and I think if I can just get us out there, all will be right in the world.

I love nothing more than my testimony of Jesus Christ. He is everything and I love Him so.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Weather Man

Almost two years ago Brylee drew me a picture that I have kept all this time. It is of me laying in the grass.




































I used to love to go out back with the kids and lay in the yard while they ran around me. Life seemed slower then and my kids seemed to stay home more. They were off playing less and had less homework. I love the happy face that she drew and the bare feet. That little colored pencil lady seems so calm and peaceful. I have been trying to remember this image as Christmas approaches and the busyness, messes and errands start to feel overwhelming. I know that if I don't feel calm then my kids probably wont either. If it weren't for Scott's naturally calm demeanor these busy weeks would probably get the better of me. I love this quote by Haim Ginott for teachers. It applies just as strongly to parents if not more so. I added the parenthesis.

“I’ve come to a frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom (home). It’s my personal approach that creates the climate. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher (parent), I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or dehumanized.”

Scott's birthday was last week and we loved getting to celebrate him! Scott is so good at setting a climate of love in our home. He wrestles with Kaden, plays pets shops and makeup with the little girls, he talks Branson through gym routines and counts his mushroom circles. And last week when Brylee brought home a hand written attempt at making a 5th grade newsletter, he took it to work and made photo copies enough for her to pass around. Those photo copies made her feel like she had come up with a 5 star publication. Even as we sang happy birthday to him, I watched as his only concern was making it fun for his kids-his work tie still plopped on the table, symbolic to me of everything he does for our family.  He is definitely an instrument of inspiration to us!

























Happy Birthday Scott! I am sure glad your mine.

  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Stuff


I think the week before Christmas is a great time to clean out! Stuff is coming in and so stuff should go out. In a BIG way I think. This is also a perfect time to say to the kids, "Go get everything from your room that isn't special to you anymore and lets take it to someone who will love it!" Let them even take some of their "good" stuff, its so good for them. My kids have enough and then some and I don't want them to only give the forgotten broken junk. Oh and I just love a good clean out! I love teaching my kids to be happy without tons of material things. I for one AM happier with less, with a sparse closet and cupboards in the kitchen filled with only things I USE daily and weekly. I just went back and reviewed my old "stuff" post to get myself motivated and I thought I would link it. So here you go.

This way you will have time to clean up the microwave when your boy explodes 2 boiled eggs inside of it. WOW.



 
 


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Little Go at Catching Up

December so far...

We have no hope of getting a good family picture. Cali just does not cooperate. She even tells me, "I not say cheese." And if I ask her, "did you smile for pictures?" She says, "I didn't smile." She does it on purpose. Not only will she not smile, she wont even look and when she does it is a look of distain.  Yesterday I decided that we were going to try for a quick picture on our way off to school. So I hid the uniforms under their coats and scarfs and grabbed the neighbor boy and took a few quick shots. AND Cali still didn't look or smile. But instead of forcing her I just handed her a big fist full of twigs that she really wanted and let her be. OH WELL. Maybe next year she'll be big enough to understand a bribe.
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Thanksgiving was pretty awesome for us. We played with cousins all the way from Wednesday until Saturday. Scott went easy on black Friday shopping but still managed to get most of our list done in one day, what a guy. I love having a husband that does the Christmas shopping.







































Also the scouts in our ward did a turkey roast fund raiser and Kaden, Branson and Scott all devoted a bunch of time to it. It was neat to see them give up playing Thanksgiving football or sleeping in to help out. And our turkey fresh from the fire pit was so good!





































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Last week we took the kids to the Christmas lights at the Mesa Temple. I love the Mesa Temple and even though I am thrilled to no end about the new temple there will always be a big place in my heart for the Mesa Temple and its beautiful grounds.








































This was so funny. Cali went into a little trance while running her hands over Scotts whiskers and when we started laughing at her she basically attacked Scotts face squealing out..."tickle, tickle!" Maybe it's not that funny now but we were cracking up.






































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Cold Weather! Winter shows up late in the Valley, it leaves early too and it doesn't pack a very big punch compared to other parts of the country so we like to savor the cold days that we DO get. On a rainy day last week I opened the back door and decided that it was a great day for sewing. After Cali was down I sewed up two bed skirts. I still have 3 to go but it was a perfect afternoon for me. So relaxing and quiet.






































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Kaden participated in the East Valley millennial Choir this semester. To say that he loved the whole experience would be undercutting it. He had an amazing time. The night of the concert I wasn't feeling that great and emotionally I felt pretty defeated, to tell you the truth I was just glad to be away from the messes and work and the homework and chaos at home. I was expecting a good concert but when that huge, powerful choir sang the Halleluiah Chorus I just wept. I could only see a side profile of Kaden but I couldn't help but picture him among the Heavenly Hosts giving praise to Christ with his whole heart.

























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Last night we did the annual Christmas cookies and Gingerbread house party at Scott's Mom's. My kids love this day and I don't know how Donell ever gets her house back together after it's done. Christmas explosion kind of mess over there.









































I love December. I really don't put stress on my self to be too fancy or go over board in any way. A long time ago I forgave myself for not being at every gathering and party. And I really don't care if the kids's hair and clothes are exactly right when we do go. I don't feel embarrassed by our haphazard Christmas décor that my kids do pretty much by themselves. I don't feel bad if our Christmas card picture is not great. So December and me are friends and I am so glad that she is here!




































All caught up!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Peace Stopped By

Since I am pretty much in the thick of raising kids there are a lot of days and moments that I feel like everything is chaotic. The calendar is full and the laundry is always going, cleaning and straightening is a constant, the front door opens and closes a bunch of times a day, there is always a mess of snacks and homework sprawled out everywhere and any time that we all have to be ready to go somewhere it can just get down right hectic.

It is so important for me to really be thankful for and savor the peace when it comes. It mostly comes when everybody is finally in bed for the night. BUT, sometimes peace shows it's gorgeous, glowing face in the middle of ordinary days. And I like Peace she is a needed friend and she is welcomed to come and stay anytime for as long as she wants.

Here she is on Sunday evening when everyone was happy and the smell of stake on the grill was wafting through the air.

Thanks for stopping by Peace it was nice having you.

Come back soon!





























On an unrelated note, I eat this for lunch everyday so I thought I should document it. This is important stuff here. Tortilla, cheese, black beans, avocado and a whole punch of homemade café rio dressing. Simple and so good.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas Kick Off


I think Cali may have gotten a bad wrap on my blog lately. Oh boy can that girl be feisty! But man, can she ever be as sweet as powdered sugar on a warm fluffy doughnut.

We don't have church until 1:30 and it has been kind of nice to have an extra day to sleep in and yesterday we used that time to put up and decorate the Christmas Tree. (Actually, Branson decided that we were putting up the Christmas tree and he had it pulled out of storage and half way there by the time I was aware of the whole thing.)
 
These days I mostly sit back and take pictures. I let go years ago of trying to do this Christmas tree deal my way. It just works better to let the kids have at it and let it turn out however it does. The kids have fun and I don't feel stressed. "Sure! Go ahead put the gold lighted star on a tree with silver lights, yep it looks great! Yep! we can still use that homemade ornament that used to have candy canes glued to it until someone nibbled them off a few years ago, go right ahead!"
 
Anyway Cali really caught on to the whole idea and Scott and I kept watching her and then giving eachother that face that says, "Did you see that? Our kid is so dang cute." All proud and braggy.
 
She would find an ornament and then spend like 4 minutes pinching it just right between her fingers and finally getting it attached to a branch. Then she would throw her arms up in the air and yell. "I did it!" She would hug both of us in a show of pure pride at her work and then she would holler, "Wets keep going!" And off to find another ornament. Scott and I could have died happy and whole right then and there because it was THAT cute. (Even with her day old hair and pajamas, maybe even more so)
 






 
She was so proud. You would have thought she won the Olympic gold of ornament hanging.
 
The other kids were there too! Kaden played the piano, Branson and Brylee did the bulk of the work and Ella went from happy to not happy and back again just like ALWAYS.





Kaden's chubby cheeked picture from 2005 and the girls playing in the box were my other tree day highlights.

Last night after the kids were in bed I ventured into the front room for the first time since earlier. It looked like a Christmas bomb had gone off. Unpacked boxes and ornaments were everywhere and broken old bits of round Christmas balls were smashed into the carpet. It took me a while to straighten up but the sight of that sparkling Christmas tree and the thought of those sweet little hands that decorated it warmed my heart and made me feel so thankful for the mess. It was worth it.