Monday, December 30, 2013

The Holidays: View From the Cell Phone

Complete with:

Little girls smiling proudly post holiday-choir-concert.

A movie/sleep-by-the-Christmas-tree night.

White elephant gift exchange with the “grown ups” at my parents’ house (always good for some laughs – the sweat pants made to look like jeans were a big hit).

Singing Christmas songs with Mike’s family.

Opening birthday gifts -- including my personal favorite: coupons from my kids (20 minutes of brushing my hair? Cleaning the kitchen? Yes please!)

Annual Christmas Eve pictures with my sisters. (Alas, one sister is missing. Fortunately my parents bought tickets for a mom/sisters’ trip to go visit her in TX this February! Texas? I’ve never been. Can you believe that?)

And, among the other miscellany, a Christmas day Nerf gun war – compliments of cousin Devin (who came, carting bags of weapons, like some sort of apocalyptic Santa). Mike set up some targets originally, but it still ended in all out battle. The safest way to keep too many kids from crying seemed clear to me: everyone attack Devin. In the end Abe commented that this was a great Christmas . . . but that it wouldn’t have been even half as great without that Nerf gun battle. Now that’s Christmas spirit!


That super happy face I am making as I look into one of my gift bags? I got Magna Tiles! They are really a kids’ thing. I desperately wanted to get them for one of the kids for Christmas, but a decent sized set is pretty expensive and we’d already purchased a lot of gifts by that point, so we didn’t get them. Instead . . . Mike surprised me by getting them for me for my birthday a few days after Christmas. (Which has turned out pretty great since now all the kids can use them – but I can give turns, and curtail fighting, and allow someone to go and sneakily use them all to themselves in my room every once in awhile – which they love.) They have built non-stop magnetic creations ever since . . . except for when I take them away because, you know, they’re mine.

December’s End


December is nearing its end. We’ve celebrated its birthdays (three in my little family unit alone). Marked its anniversaries (14 years for Mike and I – which sounds long, I suppose. Only, how can it be that Mike and I have still lived far more years apart than together? 14 years? So short.).

We’ve wrapped up Christmas. And unwrapped Christmas.

We spent the 25th and 26th drowning in wrapping paper, stocking stuffers, and toys. Slowly wrapping and packaging were taken to the garbage. Even more slowly toys and treats made their way to individual piles (based on who they belonged to); slower still, they began to find homes: new crafts to the craft box in the kitchen cupboard, Calico Critters to the dollhouse already occupied by other Calico friends, Lego sets to the toy closet or individual rooms. Still several toys linger – waiting, expectantly, for some more permanent residence to be found.

Packages and Christmas cards have quit coming (putting and end to: eager kids willing to rush out into the cold to collect the mail).

The decorations that seemed like magic only a week ago have taken on an air of “clutter” -- suddenly seeming awkward and out-of-place – our Christmas tree like someone who showed up in a prom dress for a casual dinner. Yet, the spots where we’ve begun taking them down seem lonely and a bit forsaken.

But, I don’t mind ending some things. We’ll move into new things. And the things that are ending? They’ll circle back around again. The same. And different.

I decided today that, despite it falling in with far too many events that require proper celebrating, I like that my birthday lands at the very end of the year. A new year of life for me. A new calendar year ahead. With so much ending . . . it makes for a very good place to begin.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Nativity (and a wee bit of miscellany)

The other day Goldie said to me, “Mom. I really liked that one time when you had a chunk of meat in your purse.”

“Yah,” I absentmindedly agreed. Then, “Wait. What?”

“Remember?” Goldie said. “I was going to a birthday party, and you guys were having that meat I love for dinner (Maddox turkey steaks – what’s not to love?), and I asked if you’d save me some, but we were going somewhere right after you picked me up, so you just brought me a chunk of meat in your purse? That was fun. I liked that.”

Oh good heavens. Please tell me it was wrapped in saran wrap. Even so . . . a chunk of meat in my purse. That’s so terrible. And wonderful. And mostly . . . that’s good mothering right there.


BUT, it’s also neither here nor there. What is here AND there is CHRISTMAS! 

We keep things pretty minimal around here. As usual, Mike helped by accomplishing a huge amount of the Christmas shopping. I curtailed some of my decorating this year (figuring the grand tree alone was practically enough). And we long ago decided that, with our siblings and nieces and nephews alone numbering well over 100, we had to limit gift giving to our parents and own little family.

Still, we are down to that last few days, and I’m feeling the crunch a bit. No matter how we try, there are still always last minute things – stocking stuffers and ingredients for dishes for family parties to be purchased, wrapping paper to be bought – and used (on so many presents!), neighbor treats to deliver, etc. etc.

Despite all of that, there has been room for some proper Christmas spirit. I read Star Mother’s Youngest Child and A Child’s Christmas in Wales to the kids. We’ve watched our traditional favorite Christmas shows and played lots of Christmas music.

And, maybe one of my favorite things was watching the Christmas nativity I worked so hard on at our ward Christmas party. We played it on a huge screen, and it really turned out to be what I hoped it would be. I asked a few friends if it was OK to share their kids’ pictures here. This is only a small sampling (as we have over 50 kids in our Primary).

As I said, my sister pulled the script together. We started with scripture from The Book of Mormon where it details what was happening on the American continent on the night before Christ was born. Here is one of my Nephites:

And, of course, . . . Angels (we had SO many little angels!):

I loved the little, darling details on the angels – messy little buns, painted fingernails, etc. It just seemed so dear somehow.

And we mustn’t forget Shepherds.

And wise men:
(Yah. Yah. I know there were three. We, however, had eight.)

I also had several kids be Mary and Joseph during different parts of the slideshow. I showed this Daisy one earlier in the year. Here are two of my little neighbor kids as well.

I usually am a “do the basics” kind of person – both in my home and with my service in our church. At this point in my life, doing much more than what needs to be done would likely drive me to insanity. However, it is fun to – once in awhile – do something a little bit above and beyond. This was one of those things. I really do adore all of the kids I work with in Primary. It was so fun having a little more individual time with them while doing these little photo shoots. I loved pulling it all together to retell the story of Christmas. I loved getting it all set to music. I wish I’d done it last Christmas when Mike’s aunt Leisa was still here (she made a huge portion of these costumes).

Anyway, it turned out great. I’m excited to let the Primary kids watch it one more time during church this week and to send copies home with them.

With everything Christmassy ahead, I doubt I’ll be on here again ‘til after it’s all said and done. So Merry Christmas friends! I hope it’s a happy one for all of you!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...