Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Eve Thoughts

Dearest Ones:

You are sleeping in your "campout" place in the playroom right now.  I may need to sneak a photo.  You are so excited for Christmas.  This year, when we read about the birth of Jesus Christ ,  the Prophets testifying of him, the angels singing praises (I have imagined being one of them so many times), the wise men, and the wonderful story of Christmas, I felt such gladness that we are a family.

By Brian Kershisnik, Nativity 2006 (
This year has been such a year of ups and downs, not all of which have been placed on the blog because they felt too personal--but you, sweet ones, know of them.

You know that I tend to not get too excited about holidays. I change the decor three times a year in our house--Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas and usually there are only three or four things that mark it.  I have purchased Easter decor so we'll be having that too sometime.

The point is that I am trying to make is this year my holiday goal was to simplify.  My goal was to buy 1. Something wanted, 2. Something needed, and 3. Something to read.  I think it may have ended up being 1. Something wanted, 2. Something wanted, 3. Something needed, and 4. Something mom thought you would like because it looked awesome.

The books didn't get here in time, but other than that you're covered--also we are really into digital books that we listen to as we drive around. We are currently listening to the Spiderwick Chronicles, from the library which is cost-efficient, fun, and clutter-free.  

The thing that seemed to get you most excited about the holidays was a tradition from when I was growing up.  On Tuesday, we went to the store and I gave you $30 to get Christmas presents for the family.  You had to figure out how much you were willing to spend on each person, what they would most like or most likely use, and how to keep it hidden in the reusable, opaque shopping bags you brought. Then you stood by the door as I purchased them.  My mother would give us cash to get presents when I was growing up, but, I paid for it. You all ended up just under budget.

Do you know how much you are loved?  Can you realize that how wonderful Heavenly Father is to us?  With all our faults and insecurities he knows our potential and wants us to live up to our best. I am so grateful that He sent a Savior, Jesus Christ, to die for us so we can live with Him again.  That is my main goal, to have our whole family together forever, in the Celestial Kingdom, with Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father. That was the goal of Jesus Christ, for the world.  That is what we are celebrating this wonderful Christmas!

Love, Mom

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

To K

Dear K,  Lately you've been sleeping in until around 11-12ish. In some ways it has been so nice, in that during the week I am able to get things like blogging, writing, cleaning, and exercising before you wake up.

But, church has been a bit of a challenge.  You are not a morning person, at this point.  So the morning monster tends to step out on Sundays.  Dad sometimes says you are sick, but he doesn't know that it is just up-too-early-grumpiness.

But sometimes, amid the grumpiness, you give me 'nuggles.  I love those snuggles so much my heart melts.

Thank you for being my girl.  I love you dearly!

Love, Mom

P.S. Last night you had a conversation with Dad that absolutely tickled me.

K: Ring.
Daddy: You want my ring?
K: Yes, peas.
Daddy: Okay
K: Thank you. Welcome. It mine now.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

LAFTA's Christmas Musical

The first week of December, I was in the Christmas musical in Lebanon.  
Rehearsal Photo from Ryan McWayne
We, me and six other singers, make up the newest acapella group we've decided to call "Voices in Your Head."  I love singing in groups--big and small.  There is so much learning, laughing and fun singing happening.  It is just the beginning, but I think we have immense potential as a group.

Photo from Ryan McWayne.
Photo from Ryan McWayne and family.
Now let me introduce you to my faux-family--as in they were my family in the Christmas Musical. That is Natalie.  She was my faux-oldest.

Also there was Sara, she was my fuax-youngest.

Then there was Sam. He was my faux-middle.  Logan Burt was my faux-husband.

What I enjoyed about this was being able to sing with a group.  I kind of forget how much I love singing with a group of great singers and it feels great!  There is a lot of singing, learning, and laughter.

Next year, you'll get to audition!  We'll do it all together.  Hopefully by then K, you'll be able to sing and it will be all of us, together, singing with all our hearts.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Basketball at the Church

One of the things I love about when W is home is that he loves to take us all to the church so we can play basketball.
We always bring a few kinds of balls so we can practice other sports.
 More than anything it has helped us learn that letting things go--is a good idea.  It has helped us to learn that it is vital to practice good sportsmanship.  Let's choose to be happy even if the other team makes a basket or a scores a point.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Thompson's Mills State Heritage Site

During Thanksgiving break we had a day where we went and got lunch then went for a drive.
When I was growing up my mother would often stop at what felt like every historical site (which we lovingly called hysterical site).  I am not as good as that.  But it did feel like needed to do something fun and unplanned.
You got to see how they opened up the electrical turbines.  We saw photos from the 1996 flooding.
You got to grind flour.  You saw how whole wheat flour and even all-purpose flour (which is just finer ground whole wheat flour, how did I not know that?!
We saw the flour bags, which originally had the brand printed on them in permanent ink, but they changed it to the kind that could be washed out so that they could be reused as clothing.  Then they started putting patterns on them, floral and otherwise so they could have different patterns on their clothes.  Even the kind so people could purchase them to make dolls. 
 How times have changed?!   Thank you to the amazing people that work there!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Writing A Book, For You

Dear Kidlets:

The other day I was listening to the book A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'engle on my phone as I cleaned.  The author introduces the book and you get to hear her voice.  She said when her children were 12, 10 and 7 (like you are now), that she began to write A Wrinkle In Time.  She said she would read it to her children every night. She thought her book was a book written for children because they would have the imagination to understand it whereas adults would likely be baffled.

Now, when people begin writing books when their children are your children's exact ages and felt it critical enough to mention in the beginning of their books, I kind of take it as a sign that maybe I need to write too.

So I have been writing.  I read you what I wrote before you go to bed, after we read scriptures as a family and have family prayer.

You love it so much. Now, just to be clear, I am not 100% sure what exactly you are loving the most. Could it be that you love:

  • That I am writing a story for you.
  • It is a subject we are pretty universally interested in.
  • You dream of having a published mother.
  • You dream of making artwork for said published mother's books.
  • It is a great story.

My hope is that it is a combination of all of the above because I cannot get over your enthusiasm about this book.  Daily you will come to me and ask if I have written that day. I have missed a few days and your chagrin seems to grow and then diminish depending upon the number of days I have missed.

But, if you catch me working on the story, you come into the room and try to pretend your watching a movie or something next to me--until I catch your eyes scanning the words on my screen, at which point you are either banished from the area next to me or the room--depending on your determination to "get ahead" of the others at bedtime.  Or if you see that I am doing something else you will come to me and say, "Mom, write!   Please, Mom!"

The things I love most about this are that you are really driving my creativity.  I can't think of anything more flattering than to hear you repeat several times a night, "Mom, this story is sooo good. You HAVE to publish it!  Can I be your illustrator?"

Even you, T, who are very particular in the type of stories you like, have been asking for more!  In my head my mind is doing a victory dance.

Whether it will ever be published? Is your point of view objective?  Who knows.  But, just the writing is a dream come true when you, my dear children, make me feel amazing, by your support and joy in the writing.

I love your feedback and I especially love your anticipation.  But more than anything I love you!

Your very own mother dear

Friday, December 4, 2015

Re-examining Gratitude

At the end of the day, look at your life. Take a moment to be grateful for everything that happened to you that day--even the not so great things--but don't dwell on those.  Recognize your blessings one by one.  Do not disregard the time that you were able to take a break, or as my husband, W, used to say "sharpen the saw."  Did you enjoy it?  
Don't discount that quick hug you gave your child as they dashed out the door or the family prayer that you may or may not have had.  Savor that amazing taste of that candy you ate and sort of felt guilty about eating--remember you ate and you loved it.  Oh, how good it felt to get your shoes and socks on and the warmth of being inside your jacket and warm clothes as you walked outside to your car or wherever to get where you needed to go?  Cherish the time when you were buying the food you needed for dinner that sweet feeling of "I am so glad I can do this myself" or if you can't do it for yourself "I am so glad that so-and-so go that for me."
Think of how snugly you felt all wrapped up your covers on your bed this morning?  It felt wonderful to have food filling you so you could move about your day without hanger (hunger/anger from being hungry)?  Remember that laugh you shared with yourself when you watched that cat video?  Did you just love the smiles of your honey-bunches-of-oats family or the exuberance of your family pet?
I guess what I am saying is, remember that no matter who you are or your circumstances, you have a Heavenly Father that loves you and blesses you all the time.  What are you doing to show Him your love for Him?

Pondering complete. For now. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

What Good Big Brothers Do

 R, you made me so happy to see you playing with K.

 I had to stand back and away and test the limits of my phone's zoom so I didn't change the tone of the moment.
K, you were laughing so hard. So glad you have an older brother that loves you so much!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Bounce House Place

If the bounce house place had a membership we would probably join.
You loved it there!
You bounced for an hour and a half. You were so thirsty and hungry by the time we left.
We met up with the Hoggards, too! It was so fun!
I loved the way you watched out for your little sister! Thank you for being wonderful!  Love you!

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Phone Call/Parental Conundrum

EQ Target Shooting Activity

 There was an Elders Quorum activity two Saturdays ago and the wives and children aged 10 and over were invited.

 There were shot guns, glocks (with which I got a target from 35 yards away--Yay!), and 22s.

 They posed for me to take this photo.
I thought I could get all the faces, but didn't.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Day of Giving Thanks

I recognize that the photo above is grainy, but it is the best one I could find.  Seven years ago, we went to Plymouth, Massachusetts for Thanksgiving. We saw the Mayflower look-a-like.  We ran into our friends, Lindsay and Blake Anderson--from Brooklyn. They were with their relatives. We got a new electric piano because we had to get rid of ours since we couldn't fit it up the stairs in our new apartment there.

These are happy memories!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Parent Teacher Conference

 Sometimes I think homeschooling is a superb idea for us.  The reason being that most of the time I absolutely love having you home with me.  Also, I tend to be a bit spontaneous and do something absolutely wonderful like dashing off to Portland for an outing, running to the park for a sweat-inducing game of tag in and around the playground.
 But the things that are stopping me are the fact that you adore your friends and love to see them on a a daily basis.  You are learning the social ropes.  Possibly more than anything that same spontaneity which makes it fun for us to go out on adventures can make it impossible to establish a school-like schedule.  Trust me, I know you well and you thrive on a schedule.
K found my phone and she took a photo by herself.  I can see what will happen.  Love it!

By the way, did you know how dearly I love you?!  Just thought you should know, again and again.