Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Morning

Here are pictures of the kids opening presents.

Drew with some of his matchbox cars.
(sorry for the grainy picture- bad lighting)
Natalie being Natalie.

Natalie with her favorite toy- a pirate girl from Aunt Katy!

Alona opening emptying her stocking.

Ashley with her books (tons and tons of books) from us!

Alona got a CD player with quite a few CDs from us.  She was so happy!

Natalie got a 24 pack of playdough from us.

Drew checking out a card from grandma and grandpa.

The scene in our living room this morning.

Alona with her gifts and eating her slim jim.

Natalie's haul.

Ashley with the majority of her gifts.

In Las Vegas. Can you believe it?
Ok, so it was just imported.  Thanks to our wonderful friends for making it a white Christmas!

I hope you all enjoyed your day and were able to spend it with loved ones.

What we did today...

The kids all got something to ride from Santa.  Alona and Ashley got bicycles.  Natalie got a big wheel tricycle.  Drew got a little toy he can push or ride on (he can't quite get on and off of it himself yet but he loves to push it around).  So we took the pedals off the two bikes and went out to teach the girls to ride.  Now I know they might seem a little old to be learning to ride without training wheels, but we lived in Oregon- where it was almost always raining. 
I searched YouTube for videos on teaching kids to ride.  What I found- take the pedals off and let them learn to balance on the bike without them interfering.  So we did just that.  We made sure the seats were low enough that they could put their feet firmly on the ground with their knees slightly bent when sitting on the seat.  Then they started just scooting along with their feet on the ground.  They got used to the feel of the bike and then started lifting their feet to coast.  It started out with about a half second of their feet off the ground.  Eventually Alona got up to 24 seconds of coasting and Ashley got up to about 7 seconds.  Ashley got bored and went in while Alona kept at it- that's why Alona has progressed more than her.  Then we set up a little course (using old water bottles because we didn't have cones) for them to practice turning.  That is as far as we got today.  Once they are comfortable with turning and coasting we can put the pedals back on and get to really riding them!  It is very exciting for them.
Don't be fooled by the snow in the background, it wasn't very cold out (57) and the snow was imported (a Christmas surprise by some friends).
Cruising down our street.

I'm too cool for this. (not really, but it comes across as this)

Queen of the snow mountain.

Queen of the road.

Not sure how to do this. 

The snowman, and yes it is really tiny (maybe a foot and a half).

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

This year things are very different for us.  It is strange to have sunshine and 60 degree weather (not that I mind in the least!!!!).  This is the first Christmas we will be spending without any extended family (and hopefully the last).  Jeff is working a short contract job, so there isn't time for travel.  Things are far different than I ever imagined they would be.
Despite all of the changes that have occurred this year I have to say that I am extremely grateful.  I am so grateful that Jesus Christ was born.  I am so grateful that he gave his life for us.  I am grateful that I am able to feel the love of our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ, especially at this time of year.  As we receive love, prayers, support, and even gifts from our friends and family I can see just how blessed we really are.
I hope you all can feel the joy of this glorious season. 
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

It made my day.

Things were getting rowdy in the living room.  Drew was all wound up and running on the tiles around the fireplace.  He came over and leaned on the table next to my chair.  I didn't realize what he was doing (even though I had been watching him carefully just minutes before to prevent this from happening) and he leaned a little too much.  The table started to move and he slid right off.  He fell, cutting his lip.  I told Jeff I needed a damp wash cloth.  He brought me a wet wipe (not disposable, but a cloth wipe we use when changing his diapers).  I didn't really want to put it in his mouth- even though it was completely clean.  It would just be wrong.  I am sure he didn't realize what my intentions were for the wash cloth, so it really wasn't his fault.  I refused the wipe and told him I needed a wash cloth.  He rushed to find one.  Unfortunately, I think the concern for Drew made him tense and he was crashing doors into toys in a rush to get the wash cloth out of the cabinet upstairs.  Of course, I got upset and told him to calm down (more like I yelled at him- because he was upstairs and I was downstairs).  So here I am, cleaning up Drew's mouth so I could see exactly what the damage was.  Jeff sitting on the couch, looking less than happy about all this ruckus going on and the miscommunication and all that.  I am holding Drew trying to comfort him.  All of a sudden I hear Ashley playing the piano.  Silent Night.  The piece she is playing at the recital in a week.  Then I hear Alona start singing along.  It suddenly all became clear.  Drew was fine.  It was just a tiny cut on the inside of his lip.  The bleeding stopped.  He was happily nursing.  If I was really going to tell Jeff to calm down, maybe I didn't need to be upset myself.  Imagine that!  (Now everybody already knows that I am nowhere near perfect- maybe even farther from it than most.)  So I sat there, humbled by my daughters who were in the other room making music together.  Getting along perfectly.  Ashley had to pause in places, but Alona would figure it out and wait for her.  The way they worked together was wonderful.  I remember growing up someone would go to the piano and start playing.  Others would gather around and sing.  It was spontaneous.  Nothing stands out more in my mind than the memories of our family making music together.  For me, this is what its all about.  Music is one of the greatest joys in my life, after family and God.  So when it all combines (Silent Night being music sung/played by my family together, music about the birth of our Savior), I have to say it is an awesome thing to me.

With all that we have been going through recently, I am really trying to focus on all that is great in our lives.  We have each other.  We are all healthy.  We have food and shelter.  We have friends.  We have SUNSHINE!!!!!  (I am especially thankful for that every day, as it really makes it easier to deal with all the trials when the sun is shining.)  I am so grateful to everyone who keeps us in their prayers.  Jeff is starting a short term contract position on Wednesday.  We are so grateful for this.  We will at least be able to make it until our lease is up at the end of February.  Hopefully Jeff will have a permanent job by that time.  Of course, we don't know where this will take us.  We are hoping to stay where we are (Jeff and I both dislike moving), but will end up wherever he has a job. 

I feel so blessed right now.  That may seem strange, but it is at times like these that you can really feel the love and support of those around you.  I am so grateful to have a wonderful husband who works so hard to provide for our family.  I am grateful for my wonderful children, each one of them brings something unique to our home and are such a joy to us.  I am so grateful for the little things in life that make you stop and savor the moment.

What makes your day?

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