Friday, December 24, 2010

Santa the Claus is coming... soon as someone goes to bed. Sweet Marissa had just the right amount of nap to keep her up. I keep telling her that Santa can't come until she goes to sleep and she's got all sorts of comebacks. She just informed me that she's been a nice girl because she hits and that if Santa the Claus gives her "cold" in her stocking she's just going to put "cold" in Santa's stocking. (I guess she overheard our babysitter telling about how she got coal in her stocking before). Earlier this week in her prayer she said, "Please bless that Santa can get here safely." And then I overhead her singing, "We wish you a Merry Hanukkah." (That's how you know we live in Florida.) She is such a funny kid. When asked when she is going to be potty trained she says, "In three minutes." (FYI--that was way more than three minutes ago.)

This week we made a gingerbread house (look at Jared's concentration). Also seen in the background is Simon's favorite new bed which will be opened tomorrow. Sorry kitty. It's the giantest present we've ever had. Shh... we'll find out tomorrow what it is.Our kids look a little scrappy in the picture. I'll say sorry in advance (you know, for when they're teenagers and wonder why I allowed them to look like that). It was either then or never. They were about to go to bed. I also must take some credit for the sloppy spots on the gingerbread house. I know I should be better what with all the models I've made in my architecture career, but in my haste I cut the opening of the frosting bag too big and schlepped it all over the thing. Good thing I'm not being graded on it. The kids loved it.Tonight we let them open one present. Marissa said she hoped it was a toy. Nope, I'm way too predictable and practical for that. Give them a toy on Christmas Eve? Ha! No, they were my homemade pajamas that I finished and wrapped at 4:30 pm today. Hey, I would have had them done sooner if I hadn't lost their waste measurements. I got them done. The pants were easy and the shirts were just the pack of T-shirts that I ironed on different designs I created. Also super easy, and they cost about $2.50 a piece. They loved them. I even think they were being sincere with their thank-yous, but you never know. We've been practicing opening fake presents and showing gratitude all week. I was pleased with the response. We just may not have to take any presents away after all. They look so cute! (Never mind the fake smiles.) Monsters for boys and Princesses for girls. Is it cheesy that I like to dress my kids alike?
This one shows the stockings in the back. Notice how one is red? That was all Erin's idea. These are the cheap stockings we got from the ward Christmas party the last two years and then Erin had a red one with her name on it, probably from pre-school some time. Since we only had 5 of the others, and because I never got around to making stockings (yes, another sewing project), I let it slide. It doesn't dawn on any of the kids that having one red stocking with Erin's sparkling name on it is weird, while everyone else's are blank. I finally put names on the other ones.All right, now everyone is all nestled in their beds, including Jared zonked out on the couch. Where's that fat guy anyway? It's go time.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Life is...

The last couple of weeks we have experienced a few disappointing things. I don't even want to mention what they are because I am trying to block them out of my mind, but they are not insignificant. It actually is working because I realize that while these things are truly a bummer, they don't affect things in the eternal scheme of things--and there are much worse things that could have happened. Today I am so grateful for my family, for our health, for the beautiful Florida weather, for being able to wear jeans without sweating, for happy kids playing outside on the first day of Christmas vacation, for being able to drop my kids off at the gym and work out, for a loving and understanding husband who supports our family so well, and for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thinking about Christmas and what His life meant really puts things into perspective about what is really important, and not important. I've realized more lately that life is full of disappointments, but isn't that part of our experience here? I am determined to have a good Christmas, despite what may have happened and hope that it will be a joyous occasion filled with family and close friends.

Yesterday we took some self-timed pictures after church because I felt Christmas-y. These may or may not end up on a Christmas card, although I'm hoping we can take pictures next week in the now almost finished Christmas dresses. I sure love these guys!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Stream of Consciousness

It's been a while, I know. I meant to write things I was thankful for in November, but that didn't happen. So my next great idea was to write a thankful post every day in December... which I actually did begin. It just never made it onto the blog. And now here we are in mid-December already. Where to begin...

I feel a little jumbled about what to write, so I'm just going to write, stream of consciousness style. One thing that really amazes me is just how messy our house gets in a matter of 24 hours. This place was clean last night. We had just finished doing a month's worth of shopping, taken inventory of our food storage and organized our pantry. The floors were picked up and recently swept and vacuumed. Today I look around a little discouraged. Granted, we spent a total of 8 hours at church today, in two shifts, took a couple hours getting ready, some time preparing and eating food and, of course, the mandatory Sunday nap. I know the day of rest probably doesn't mean you shouldn't do your dishes or put kids shoes away, but Sundays are so tiring that I have no desire to do anything like that. Luckily, it's all reversible and I know I'll have the energy to reverse it all tomorrow (as long as I don't stay up too late blogging).

Christmas is upon us and it is a special time of year. We have our tree up and just seeing it there all lit up is magical. We got our family ornament and this year it is huge, seeing as we needed 6 penguins this time. I like that tradition, even though it's the one thing I am anal about the kids not breaking. Is it good to have something so special for the family that the family can't even play with? They're at the top of the tree and none of them have broken yet.

I've done most of my shopping for the kids. Here's the summary:

Connor-I could get him a box or some junk mail and he wouldn't notice, but I have to get him something or the other kids may get suspicious (due to the fact that Connor was definitely not a naughty baby). He certainly doesn't need anything, based on the selection of toys he has to choose from, but like I said, he will get something. So I got him a gift that he's already chewed on for half an hour while I was shopping with him. He seemed to like it.

Marissa-She knows exactly what she wants: a computer. Luckily she is two so the computer she is referring to is most likely pink, has a keyboard in alphabetical order (very confusing by the way), and is less than 30 bucks. I know she will be excited about anything she gets and will jump up and down with joy like she does about everything exciting, such as going to the grocery store or getting to eat a clementine (her favorite right now--one day she ate an unmentionable number). I could buy anything for her and it would be okay. I don't know if it's her age or her personality, but I love that about her right now.

Alex-When you ask him what he wants for Christmas he says he doesn't care. I'm pretty sure he wants something, he just doesn't care what it is. He will be happy with anything he gets too, like sincerely happy. The only thing that makes him a little more tricky is because he's not into any specific thing, which is probably why he doesn't care what he gets. We cleaned out the play room the other day and put about 1/3 of the toys in the garage to make room for new ones and to rotate them back in when Connor gets older. Alex wanted to put all his cars, his dinosaurs, Legos, Super Why stuff, balls and sports equipment away--basically every present he's ever received he wanted to put away. Now, I know he plays all the time, but I'm not sure what he plays with. Blankets? Nail polish? Seriously, I need to pay more attention to that child because I can't think of much right now. As for what I got him? I got him something that I want to play with (that way I might actually play with him) and something that Connor can use if he doesn't like it. Good to go.

Erin?---oh boy, Erin. Well, I went shopping for the kids last week and got everything I wanted for the other three and not a single thing for Erin. Why? Because everything I see I assume she won't like. Last year she opened a present and just by looking at the box she declared, "I don't like this game" and threw it to the side. Turns out she actually does like it, but that kind of ungrateful attitude drives me crazy. Is it the age or the personality? I have my hunch about which one it is. She is already not getting a birthday party next year because of her ingratitude. What I don't understand is how kids can act so ungrateful and naughty in December, when Santa might not get them presents. Does this ever cross her mind? Obviously, she has never gotten just coal in her stocking or maybe she would be acting nicer. I did tell her that if I hear the same thing from her about any of her presents I am going to take all her presents and give them to someone who will appreciate them. Mark my words, I am dead serious. Why is she so hard to please? We have been working with her lately about her attitude and about her trying to think about all that she has and not how horrible her life is. She's the child that always makes me feel like a failure as a parent (which is why I am so grateful she is not an only child--the other ones make up for it). Nothing I do is ever good enough. I finally realized that it really is something within her that needs to change, not me doing more for her. I could do the exact same thing for a different child (like make them a birthday cake) and get a completely different reaction. Any ideas for me here? One day last week I wasn't doing her hair with the right brush, apparently, and it ruined her day. I mean, how could I possibly do such a thing to her? And right before school? I told her to think of one thing she was grateful for before she went to school, and even gave her ideas (like that I was doing her hair, that she had hair, food, shelter, health, family, freedom, friends...) Nope, she couldn't think of anything. That was fine, but she was not going to play with any friends for a week, including an ice cream party. After school I made her write a whole page of things and here's what it said: What I am thankful for--chrch, family, friends, school, toys, food, temple, animals and most inportent is Jesus and god (unedited). Okay, so that was good, but I tell you, she will give me a run for my money, I am sure. I did end up getting her some things but I still imagine her opening them and being disappointed. I already talked her out of the only two things she asked for (she saw them on TV no less) because the reviews were horrible. Good grief. Like I said, good thing I have other kids to jump up and down for me.

Also on the Christmas 2010 agenda:

Making Christmas dresses. I know. I should have learned my lesson around Halloween, but I guess I need to fulfill my dream of making my little girls dresses. They are looking cute, but I've been trying to work on them without them seeing me so that usually means midnight-ish. Marissa did however see hers and was as excited as ever about it (and good thing I tried it on her because it was almost 6 inches too long--better too long than too short?). My biggest fear is that one will fit one of them and the other won't fit. Or that Erin will say she hates it and I'll have to give it to a homeless child who will appreciate it. Either way I still have a bunch of things to finish on them, not to mention the other sewing endeavors I took on this holiday season--not as time consuming as the dresses, but still, I've got my work cut out for me.

Our Christmas concert was tonight--check. Jared and I both sang in the stake choir and I played my flute. I was responsible for the last song not being accompanied by the MoTab. It was the Hallelujah Chorus and we'd practiced it a lot. But for the past few years our director has played the Tabernacle Choir version along with our singing and it is usually a disaster because the timing is never right. If we had practiced with the recording at all it would have been fine, but don't do it at the last minute. I expressed my feeling about it 2 minutes before the concert started and the director listened to me. I think it went better, but that's just me.

Deliver Christmas cookies to the neighbors--will do tomorrow night. I have had them since Thursday from a cookie exchange party, but we haven't had the energy to deliver them yet. I hope they're still good.

Christmas cards? Those are still up in the air. We don't have a picture of the fam right now, which is the biggest issue. I'm not saying it won't happen. I'm not saying it will either.

Make a gingerbread house--I bought a $5 kit complete with everything at Tar-jay yesterday so we just have to put it together one of these FHE's.

Go see Christmas lights--It'll happen. Just not sure when yet.

Be grateful for all that we have. I am! I have been feeling so very grateful for everything I have, maybe because I am making Erin try to be more aware of it. Maybe because of Thanksgiving. I just have so much. My family means so much to me and I love them so much. It was such a blessing to be able to go to Utah this Thanksgiving and see almost all of both of our families. We are blessed to both have wonderful parents who are welcoming and supportive who will do anything for us. My parents even gave up their nice car so that that we wouldn't have to rent a van. I am so grateful for the temple and that we were able to be together in the temple with Jared's family. They have had a family goal to all meet in the temple in 2010 once (what they thought would be) their youngest child got home from his mission. In fulfillment of prophesy, that family goal was fulfilled as the 8 oldest children, 7 spouses and his parents met in the temple this year. One of the most amazing things for me was when we were all going up the escalator one couple after another and just seeing so many people that I love there together. It was truly a great and emotional moment. I only hope that my own family can reach the same point in the future.

Many more things to be grateful for but this house ain't cleaning itself tomorrow. Good night!