Monday, December 14, 2015

Snow Day

Between the nasty colds we've had since before Thanksgiving,
a stomach virus,
and a horrid case of pink eye that made its way around the family this past week,
we've pretty much just completed "essentials" for the past little while.

But over the past couple of weeks we have managed to:
-visit Temple Square to see the stunning lights
-complete my piano recital
(Talmage performed for the first time along with my other 11 students, and my eyes were still slightly scary but better enough to carry out the big breakfast spread I planned for the 50ish attendees)
-continue our nightly Christmas-story reading
-work with Wesley on reading lessons--he's making such quick progress and I'm so proud of him!
-celebrate Sam's completion of a brutally busy semester
-...and as I sit here, tapping my fingers on the keyboard, nothing much else beyond our normal day-to-day life is coming to mind.

Projects, updating this blog, writing in my journal...
they've all been resting on the back burner,
and that's perfectly okay with me!
We've been forced to slow down and focus only on top priorities,
which has brought a peace and simplicity to the season.

This morning we were all feeling much better,
so we enjoyed the 12+ inches of snow that dumped down,
built a snowman,
and came inside for hot chocolate and cinnamon sticky buns.

I think our snowman needs a companion, though--
perhaps Daddy can help the boys make a girl version?

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Peace Christmas Brings (+Traditions)


Christmas time is just so magical with kids!
Each day brings new excitement as they count down the days, marvel at the light displays they see, and enjoy holiday traditions.
In fact, last night as we drove home Talmage declared, "This is the best night of my whole life!"
"Why?" I responded.
"Because of all the lights!!!" he replied with conviction.

I love being able to experience childhood again through their eyes.
Each night, we cuddle up on the couch by the light of the Christmas tree,
and we unwrap a Christmas storybook to read.
I only add a couple of new ones to the collection each year,
but since I keep the books boxed up during the rest of the year they all have a newness about them.
The boys get so excited to open that gift each night.
And then, a quietness descends upon my busy crew,
and together we travel into a magical land through poignant words and stunning pictures.
It's one of the best parts of each day!
This year, we added this book to our collection and have been reading from it each night as well.
I have loved sharing quotes, scriptures, and stories from Christmases past centered on a different value for each night.
And each night, I marvel at the peace that we feel in that moment.
Last night it was so peaceful that my busy 2-year-old even drifted off to sleep in my lap
as he sat transfixed by the lights on the tree.

This is just one of our many Christmas traditions we enjoy.
You can read about many of our other traditions in this post from last year.
I am so grateful for this time of year!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Testing Emotional Literacy

This little exercise had very few purposes aside from my own entertainment.
One could argue that there were psychological benefits, though, right?
Even if the psychological benefits came as I laughed at my expressive boy's faces?

Happy/Sad

Mad/Surprised

Nervous/Excited

Tired/Just Because He's Wesley

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Stress-Free

It seems to happen almost every year.
I start thinking about Christmas in, ohhh, about June.
I start listening closely to conversations to pick up on ideas for gifts,
I start my search for the perfect gifts at the best prices for my kids,
and I work hard to get most of my presents before Thanksgiving to ensure a stress-free holiday season where we are focused on our family traditions and the meaning of the season.

And then, about a week before Thanksgiving,
my brain seems to explode with ideas.
As the Christmas season nears, I suddenly take on too many projects
and my stress-free season falls apart.
I feel torn between creating things I know will make my family happy
and creating family memories with more time and less exhaustion and busyness.

Late last night I sat on the family room floor, immersed in one such last-minute Christmas project,
and I considered how rushed I was
and wondered whether another project I had planned was worth the 50+ hours I knew it would take,
while I knew it would excite my children and bring about more purpose and direction to our celebrations.
And then, in a matter of moments, I let it go.
In fact, I let another pending project go, too.
Because the projects I was pursuing will bring smiles next year, too,
and postponing them will allow me to enjoy and experience their smiles this year
a little more fully.

And there are an awful lot of smiles around here:

Here's to a peaceful holiday season!
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