My inspiration for this record of my days:

“The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. . . . I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less” -Anna Quindlen

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas highlights

I have had such a happy, relaxing Christmas season this year.  I’ve been trying to analyze what made it so easy so I can do it again every year!  Here’s what I’ve come up with:

1.  I’ve been milking the “I just had a baby” excuse for all it’s worth.  I didn’t sign up for ANYTHING extra.  No helping in classes, no hosting parties, no taking meals to those in need.  Nada.  I realize that may not be the best long-term approach to life, but it sure has allowed me to relax and enjoy my own family this year.


This is the newest addition to our Christmas book collection.  Gingerbread Pirates.  I think it’s funny that I have to read to them “classroom style.”  It’s the only way everyone can see!

2.  The one exception to #1 was that I was asked to direct the choir for the Stake Christmas concert.  I was a bit hesitant, because I knew it would be hard.  And it was!  As of the day before the concert, I was still a nervous wreck!  Wondering if we would have an orchestra or not was the biggest stressor. (Well, that, and the fact that I have never even been IN an orchestra, let alone direct one!  Scary!)  But the night of the concert, everything came together perfectly!  We had over 50 people in the choir, and a 15(ish) piece orchestra.  They were amazing!!  What a rush to stand up there and wave my arms, and have such beautiful music happen!  The church was completely filled all the way back to the stage, and I got so many compliments.  Every single musical number that night was outstanding.  I still get goosebumps remembering…

3.  We got our Christmas shopping done early, and mostly online.  The kids’ shopping was much more fun this year too.  Instead of taking them all at the same time and trying to hide all of their presents from each other, I took them in shifts.  Simon and I went to the dollar store while the other kids were at school, and I had so much fun being able to listen to just him, and talk through what each of his siblings would like.  It was hard to convince him that the girls, for example, would not especially want a dinosaur or a truck!

4.  We planned ahead.  We had a family home evening where each child got to pick a Christmas tradition that was important to them, and we made a list.  Then when we had a free evening, (which we seemed to have more than usual.  See #1) we would do one of those activities.  Temple Christmas lights, gingerbread houses, caroling, ice skating, hot chocolate and Christmas movies, and secret santa-ing a family.  Check, check and check!


With everything else running so smoothly, I felt like I had time to really think about what Christmas means in my life.  Yes it means fun family activities and heart-stirring music, but the birth of Jesus Christ brought so much more than that to me. 

Because He was born on the earth, I have his life and example to follow.  Because He died for me, I can repent and change.  I can become better.  Because He lives still, He can help to carry my burdens and bring peace to my life.  I feel like I have come to know Him and depend on Him more this year than I had before.  And the closer I get to Him, the more I am filled with love.  For Him, for my family, for my fellowman, and for myself.

To be continued…

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Less than perfect


On Sunday I listened to President Uchdorf’s Christmas message.  He talked about how we sometimes try so hard to make the Christmas season too perfect.  Then when things go wrong, as they always do, we feel disappointed.  “We have in our minds a picture of how everything should be—the perfect tree, the perfect lights, the perfect gifts, and the perfect family events. … [But] sooner or later, something unpleasant occurs … and the picture-perfect Christmas we had imagined, the magic we had intended to create, shatters around us.”

His words couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time for us.  On Monday we put up our Christmas tree for family home evening.


We have what some would call a “junk tree.” Each year we give the kids an ornament that reminds us of them during that year.  Consequently, we have everything from Yoda to Scout Shirts to Spatulas hanging there.  We were doing the math, and in 10 years we will have at least 70 more ornaments on that tree!

Toward the end of the evening we turned off the lights to sing Christmas carols.  The kids who take piano lessons accompanied the singing- each of the older four knew at least one Christmas song.  When it was Simon’s turn to choose a carol, he wanted to accompany us, too.  He climbed up onto the piano bench, waited for me to start him, and confidently plunked out our “accompaniment” with 2 fingers.  When the song was over he climbed down, satisfied._MG_2559

I have to mention that during this time Jonah was curled up under a chair with his hands over his ears, yelling his own song to block out what we were singing.

Jeff and I just looked at each other and couldn’t stop laughing.  Good thing we weren’t worried about perfection!  At  the end of the night Savannah made the comment that it was a great evening, so I guess perfection is not what great memories are made of. 


Friday, December 2, 2011

Elijah’s blessing

For logistical reasons, we decided to bless little Eli at my parents house on the same day that Lindsey blessed Milo.

(Milo on the left, Eli on the right.  We had a hard time getting them to co-operate for pictures!)


It was such a lovely day.  The Bishop of my parents’ ward was there to preside, and my dad conducted.  After a prayer, Jeff gave Elijah Jeffrey a name and a blessing.  I can’t find the paper that we took notes on, but I remember a couple of details:

He was blessed that he would be a good example to his brothers and sisters, and also that he would learn to follow their good examples.

He was blessed with health and strength.

And my favorite- he was blessed that he would have the desire to seek out truth, and the wisdom to recognize it.



After the blessing my dad invited Lindsey and I to bear our testimonies.  I mentioned how grateful I am for my family members who keep coming, even after 7 baby blessings, to show their support.  Somehow it makes me feel like Elijah is officially part of the family, and that his life is important.