Friday, December 23, 2011

The Twenty-first Day of Christmas

Today was Grinch Day in the fifth grade. Bev wanted hair like Cindy Lou Who. I did a quick google search and saw a suggestion to use a cup for height. She was thrilled with the results, but when she got into the van to go to school, she hit her head on the roof. When she got in the car after school, it had been taken out. She said that it started giving her a headache.

Then, we met some of my family at Liberty Park for Echoes of Christmas. My friend Amanda told me about it last year, and we loved it. It is a great reminder of what this season is all about.

The Twentieth Day of Christmas

No pictures today. Instead, I share a story that a friend sent in an email.

This story shared by Marian Wright Edelman, founder of Children’s Defense Fund is priceless. I Hope it blesses you all as much as it did me!

It was Christmas Eve and the pews at New York City’s Riverside Church were packed. The Christmas pageant was underway and had come to the point at which the innkeeper was to turn away Mary and Joseph with the resounding line, “There’s no room at the inn!” The innkeeper was played by Tim, an earnest youth of the congregation who had Down Syndrome. Only one line to remember: “There’s no room at the inn!” He had practiced it again and again with his parents and the pageant director and seemed to have mastered it.

So Tim stood at the altar, bathrobe costume firmly belted over his broad stomach, as Mary and Joseph made their way down the center aisle. They approached him, said their lines as rehearsed, and waited for his reply. Tim’s parents, the pageant director, and the whole congregation almost leaned forward as if willing him to remember his line.

“There’s no room at the inn!” Tim boomed out, just as rehearsed. Everyone let out a collective sigh. But then, as Mary and Joseph turned on cue to travel further, Tim suddenly yelled, “But wait!” They turned back, startled, and looked at him in surprise.

“You can stay at my house!” he called.

Well, Tim had so effectively preached the Christmas Eve message at Riverside Church that Pastor Bill Coffin strode to the pulpit, said “Amen!,” and sat down. It was the best sermon he ever preached.

I pray that we all make room at our house for the birth of Jesus—the Messiah, this Christmas. Merry Christmas and God’s richest blessings for the New Year.

The Nineteenth Day of Christmas

Our neighbor gave us this light-up Rudolph nose. Apparently, "it makes you need to pick your nose."

When Mike got home, he took the kids around to deliver neighbor gifts.

Then he helped mash potatoes for dinner. A few days ago, I asked the kids what their favorite meals were--I need inspiration. They all agreed that chicken noodle soup was their favorite. I make it like my Grandma B--served over mashed potatoes.

Christian spent the day at Grandma and Grandpa Peel's. Whenever the kids are off track, they schedule a day at their house. Mike drops them off on his way to work and picks them up afterward. They eat breakfast, play games, have lunch, watch tv, and do a few chores. Christian delivered a few gifts across the street. He was very happy with his payment. The kids are so lucky to have such precious time with Grandma and Grandpa.

With Christian gone, Drew and I had a day to ourselves. We ran some errands and had lunch together. I knew I would be staying up late because Mike and I needed to do our annual "accountability meeting." This is the meeting where I haul out everything I have purchased and we go over everything. We try to figure out what will make Christmas morning magical but not overkill. I don't typically like this meeting because we don't always agree on what constitutes "magical." This year went surprisingly well.

I knew it would be a late night, so at Target, I got an energy drink. I have only had one a few times, but figured I could sure use one later that night. Drew saw it in the cart and asked why I was buying it, that he had learned at Stake Standards Night that energy drinks are against the Word of Wisdom. Dang. I told him that I don't drink them very often, but that he was right, I shouldn't be drinking them at all. I put it back.

He asked why I was going to stay up late. I told him that Daddy and I had to go over our Christmas list--just to make sure we are on the same page. He then said, "Yeah, you and Dad need each other. He needs you to lift him off the ground a little bit and you need him to pull you back down to earth." Wow, this kid has us figured out.

Later that night, Drew took a break from Monopoly and played Mike in a chess match. It was a pretty intense game, from what I gathered listening from the kitchen.

The boys get to stay up past bedtime, and they love hanging out in Drew's bed watching a movie on the portable DVD player. Tonight, Drew fell asleep, but Christian hung on to the end of the movie.

The Eighteenth Day of Christmas

Today at church we did a nativity program in Primary. It was filled with a lot of music, which is one of my favorite things about this season.

After church, Mike helped the kids decorate our annual Costco gingerbread house.

We then completed another of our traditions--decorating the kids little trees for their rooms. Over the years, we have collected a box of mini decorations. The kids all take turns picking ornaments and decorating their trees.

One of my favorite things is to snuggle my babies before bed.

After taking a little nap, I got up and made cookies for Mike to take to work.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sixteen and Seventeen

On Friday we went to Jessica's ballet recital. It was long and we couldn't really see her, but what we did see of her was great.

On Saturday, I got some of my last errands run and then we went to Temple Square with some of our favorite people.

We drove downtown and then took trax. While at Temple Square we watched Mr. Krueger's Christmas. If you need to feel the Christmas spirit I highly recommend it.

Our kids are so lucky to have these amazing girls as their cousins. They are so good to them.

We then got Menchie's frozen yogurt. (We weren't quite cold enough after walking around in the cold.)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Fifteenth Day of Christmas

Today, Bev graduated from D.A.R.E.. Former Miss Utah. Heather Anderson. spoke to the kids and told them about her decision to stay drug-free, and her brother's decision to not stay drug-free. I think the program is pretty great--every day for the last few weeks, Bev has come home with all kinds of statistics on drugs and alcohol. She wrote an essay about her decision and commitment to just say "no."

When I was about eleven, my mom had been going through a training in how to talk to kids about drugs. She practiced on the three of us girls. Camille and I apparently said that we would never do drugs or drink alcohol, but Melanie said that she was curious about it all. Well, we had been begging to get our ears pierced, but the age set by my parents had always been twelve. So, in a moment of inspiration, my mom asked Melanie if she got he ears pierced, would she make a promise to never use drugs or alcohol. Of course, she said "yes" and Camille and I made the same promise.

Even today, I think often about that promise I made when I put in my earrings.

So, when we adopted Jessica, and found out that her ears had already been pierced, I decided to let Bev get hers done. She was only six, but I asked her to make the same promise. Over the years since she had them done, I try to remind her often about the promise she made. In her DARE report, she mentioned her earrings and that they constantly remind her to never even try drugs or alcohol.

One day, a few weeks ago, I was talking to them about not ever trying drugs, and about Bev's promise. I asked Christian if he would make the same promise. He said, "yeah, but do I have to get my ears pierced?" I've got to think up something great for his promise--something that doesn't involve piercings or tattoos. A tattoo was his suggestion.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Twelve and Thirteen

Monday, the girls had their tumbling performance. They are both loving tumbling, and have improved so much this last year. Here are the videos of their performances.

While Drew is off track from school, he has been trying his efforts at rehabilitating Mama Cat. He basically pulls her out from under a bed and makes her be held. She is getting more used to being held. It has been a good off-track project for him.

Christian has decided to take a break from BMX and go back to Karate in January. He gets the gear out and practices almost every day.

The kids also found my box of flannel board figures, so we have been enjoying all sorts of stories. This night, Bev took the "domestic" animals and Christian took the "wild" animals. He then started making up a story about his animals vs. hers. She didn't want to play flannel board animal fight club," so they parted ways.

Bev and Kiki then made up a play, which involved him playing Santa. The grumpy look on his face is because play had to be cancelled due to the other two siblings being uncooperative--Drew wouldn't get off his DS and Jessi wouldn't stop doing cartwheels.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Fourteenth Day of Christmas

My baby turned seven today. Oh, the time is going too fast--too, too fast.

We gave her a darling African doll last week. Today, we gave her some outfits for the doll--the outfits are Indian, American and Mexican. This is one of my favorite finds this year.

Jessi picked Golden Corral for her birthday dinner. I have tried to accept that my kids like that place, but after dinner tonight, I announced that we were having a "long break" from Golden Corral. The kids all seemed to accept it.

Every year on this day I think about her birth. I wonder what time she was born and how much she weighed. I wonder if she ate well and what she looked like. I am so grateful that she is here with us now.

Every year, I also think about this song.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Eleventh Day of Christmas

It was time to celebrate little miss's birthday with my family, so we had them over for a Spanish fiesta. Mike made paella, I did salad and we had chocolate birthday cake. We don't know how to make any Liberian food, but she loves this paella because it has lots of seafood in it, and her favorite food is shrimp.

She got a new jacket, a Barbie and some makeup and perfume.

We gave her an Africa doll.

I am still in denial that she is seven. She loves being seven. My job is now to help her enjoy being seven and not seventeen.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Tenth Day of Christmas

Today was the first day in months that we have been able to sleep in, and we did, until 10:30. It was heavenly. I worked on some projects and Mike took the kids shopping. Then we saw Arthur Christmas. I didn't have high expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was a cute Christmas movie.

I try to get a new Christmas book every year, and as I was looking for one, I realized that I had not exposed my children to this one. As we read the first chapter tonight, I remembered just how good it is.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Ninth Day of Christmas

Today after the girls' tumbling, we visited our other pets at the cat colony.

We then picked up Mike from work and went to This Is The Place for the Candlelight Christmas. I highly recommend it. The Father Christmas was so cute. We also loved the square dancing, the silent nativity and the puppet show.

Christian was able to rattle off a long list for Santa. His list includes Skylanders for Wii, some DS games and some Ninjago Legos.

Drew asked for a Wii game and Harry Potter Legos.

Bev asked for art supplies and earrings. (She is gonna be so easy to please this year.)

Jessi asked for Barbies, stuff with sparkles and Strawberry Shortcake toys.

Each night we read our book together and then Mike has the kids play the piano for him. When they were done, I decided to play a little. They must have been really tired because all of my mistakes didn't wake them.

Jessi was playing with her new Barbies and the boys were playing Mario and Sonic London Games. They have had a blast trying different games from Redbox while off track.