Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Our Christmas

We didn't do as well as in times past of getting ready for Christmas this year. Drew and Madelyn were not asking for much...and didn't even know what they wanted for a long time. Drew wanted chapter books and Madelyn wanted a piano book. So I guess it was hard to get pumped to do any Christmas shopping at all!! Also, it seems that when I'm pregnant I come down with snippiness, impatience, and irritability. I've been trying to work on this big time, since it is no fun for any of us! Moral of the story: I just wasn't as "in" to the Christmas thing as I really wanted to be. I loved the 1st Pres. Christmas Devotional at the beginning of the season. I loved Pres. Uchtdorf's talk--and his message echoed through my mind throughout the season. We enjoyed Christmas parties, giving neighbor gifts, singing Christmas songs in the car with Hannah--she pretty much got them all down, going to a live nativity, watching the mormon message "The Coat" practically 100 times, singing Christmas carols and reading special Christmas stories by the warm glow of the tree. We made some wonderful memories.

My favorite day of all was Christmas Eve. The service activity our family planned to do kind of fell through, but on Christmas Eve I felt like the true meaning of Christmas really shone through for us. At one point in the day I saw Drew working on something at the table. Next thing I know he has a station set up: sign, cup, and bell. He was collecting money for the poor. I loved that he came up with this idea all of his own accord. He sat and rang the bell and we donated to his cup.

It turned into a great moment as we talked about what he could do with the money he was collecting, and Whom he was really serving. After our conversation, he started to work on another project. He drew the picture above, which shows him giving his money to a man with a cane, I am smiling from our house window, and above the clouds are Heavenly Father and Jesus smiling. This is what brought the Christmas spirit immediately into my heart and there to stay. Drew donated the money along with his tithing to go out into the world and do some real heartfelt good.

The girls and I cooked and cooked and cooked.

It was fun to have so many little helping hands.

We have a tradtion of making appetizers for our Christmas Eve dinner. It sure was tasty and we had plenty to eat!!

Lily cannot live without milk and practically downs a half gallon on a daily basis. We put some egg nogg in with her milk and she sucked that thing dry!!

Our children started buying gifts for each other last year, but this year we added a bit to the tradition. We drew names, the kids kept their names a secret and did lots of chores to earn a significant amount of money to buy them a pretty nice present, chose the presents themselves, and wrapped them in secret. I loved going with them to pick each other's gifts. Especially with Hannah....she immediately found Lily's gift then asked "Now which one should we get for me?" It was pretty cute.

On Christmas Eve night we read a Christmas story about the importance of giving, then we talked together about it. Afterwards, we let the children give their gifts. They were SO excited to give their gifts. Drew kept whispering in my ear "I hope Sissy likes my present. I can't wait to give it to her!"
They absolutely loved this and I loved that we went through with doing the exchange on Christmas Eve. I really wanted them to savor the spirit of giving and knew that on Christmas day those gifts would just get swept away in a heap of gifts and be more easily forgotten.

There were hugs all around as they gave each other their gifts. It was so sweet and definitely one of those things that will become a permanent tradition in our home.

Since we had done the nativity just the night before, we decided to watch the church production of the Nativity that night instead, then we piled into our car and looked at Christmas lights. We came home left out brownies for Santa and went to bed.

Drew wrote a note to Santa, and Sissy decided she finally knew what she wanted for Christmas and told Drew to add that she wanted a doll on the back. Luckily, Santa is a genius and had already placed a doll in his bag!

Drew's note is kind of hard to read since it was dark... it says, "Santa please eat the milk and cookies. have fun at our House. don't braek the tree and don't braek any thing or else my mom will be mad. love Drew look on the back (back) Sissy wants a doll.
See what I mean? Irritable mom! :) I guess everything makes me mad! It made me laugh.

Last year we had Christmas downstairs--which I liked because it kept the disastrous mess downstairs. But this year we had it upstairs--which I liked because I could listen to the children wake up around 5 AM and talk excitedly about everything they were discovering. So even though I can hardly handle the mess in my front room......I would take hearing the cuteness of my kids over a clean room any day.

After about an hour of hearing Drew and Madelyn detail what everyone got from Santa, they came and got us.

We had to wake the younger two and I had to capture some morning shots of Lily.

Lily went right over to her milk!! :) Santa knows her well.

The rest is self-explanatory. Lots of gifts, lots of mess. :)

It was a great Christmas!! I remembered Pres. Uchtdorf's message that Sunday morning (about things not having to be "perfect") as I really wanted to make a nice Christmas breakfast....but with 9 o'clock church we just decided donuts would have to do the trick!!

I played my violin in a couple of musical numbers and did my worst ever....but things don't have to be perfect and it's going to be ok. I really had to internalize that over and over because I have a really hard time when I perform and things don't go as well as I would like. I didn't want it to ruin my Christmas, so I really had to tell myself it was OK!!

I loved that Lily wanted to race Drew on his new wii game.

Pretty serious about her race here....

It was a wonderful Christmas, unfortunately I didn't post any of the pictures of our grandparents Christmas's. We had the opportunity to celebrate Christmas again this week when my parents brought over their gifts. I will have to get to that later.

I hope the Christmas spirit will linger with us throughout this new year!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


For the month of November we really did our best to focus on being grateful. We started a new tradition of crafting a long list of paper--the challenge was to fill the entire paper with things we were grateful for. We did pretty good, but we will have something to beat next year!

We kept our paper all rolled up with a pen handy for whenever anyone wanted to jot anything down. We mostly talked about it and added to it at dinner time, atleast when we remembered--we certainly weren't perfect at it. Lily and Hannah both enjoyed adding their own things. Hannah definitely is grateful for the letter "H!"
The rules were: write small and no repeating. As you can see on the close up...I guess someone didn't notice that food was written already. :) I also loved that when I heard complaining from the older children, I challenged them to come up with a certain amount of things they were grateful for and add them to the list. Gratitude really can change attitudes.
I loved doing this, it really brought the spirit of gratitude daily into our home. I love the creative things they come up with too. :) I hope we will have a whole treasure chest full of these lists from our future years!
On Thanksgiving we had a great day spent with family and very delicious food from the tables of two households. We usually join both families if scheduling permits. Our tummies definitely get full! But we really enjoy it.
My sister Pam and her family were able to stay with us for a couple nights, and it was nice to talk and enjoy each others company. We took them to the musical lightshow from our old neighborhood, the temple visitors center, and to Reed's Dairy. It was great!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

It's a


And we're really excited! Drew has been trying to talk to the baby and convince it to somehow be a boy the last couple of days. The only care I had one way or another, was just a glimmer of hope of a boy so Drew wouldn't be sad, but we are totally excited and happy with a girl. Drew asked me to post a colored paper on the door of the house so he could see what we were having immediately after school. I watched from the window as he slowly meandered to the house. :)

When he came in he just said, "it's a girl" with a little smirk on his face--a little disappointed, but he is ok. My Dr. is going to do a double check on my next visit as he is just 90% sure. Drew is still clinging to the 10% chance!! But Jed and I also thought it sure looked like a girl. Everything looks normal and healthy which is such a blessing. The hardest weeks of pregnancy for me, worrywise, are weeks 15-until the ultrasound. That is when I get the most worried that something bad will happen. It isn't more likely then, but that is just what our experience has been. So I'm so grateful that I am feeling the baby move and things looked wonderful on the ultrasound.

Can't wait to meet you, little miss Denning!