Thursday, December 30, 2010

Roller Skating Thoughts

1.  The best way to learn how to skate is NOT to hold onto someone's hand.  It may be the safest way, but it is not a good way to actually learn how to skate.
But it is fun to hold hands with your mom or dad. 
2.  People feel very uninhibited at the roller skating rink.  Is it the flashing lights?  The loud music?  The wind blowing through your hair as you fly around the rink?  I don't know, but there is no shame at the skating rink.  And no sense of fashion either.  I like it.
3.  Several years back Clark was attempting to learn to roller blade and he fell backwards and hit his head.  Fortunately he was wearing a helmet. 
The last time our family went skating a grown man fell backwards and knocked himself unconscious.  I think it made Clark a little nervous.  He's never been a big fan of roller blading anyway, so he rode his scooter around a lot and pushed Cannon on his trike. 
But I watched some of the other children--little children--skating/scootering around and falling all over the place.  I swear they were made of rubber.  Major falls--loud crashing bangs-- and then they hop right back up and carry on.  When my children fall--which they rarely do, because they are abnormally cautious-- but when they do fall, they actually get hurt. 
On a side note, I don't know why they are so cautious.  Have I done something wrong?  Don't answer that.
4.  Perhaps if I pushed George around a roller rink everyday for two hours, he would actually take naps.  
5.  Sometimes I thought the centripetal force would fling him out of his car seat.
It didn't.  Maybe I just felt like I was skating really fast.  I guess I don't move that fast very often.
6.  I am so grateful that I am not a teenager during the style of "skinny jeans".   My reasons should be obvious from this picture.  I will just say, "short legs".  I could say much more, but I'll leave it at that.
7.  Daddy spoiled his little ladies today by buying them $.75 birthstone rings at the roller rink. 
Once when I was 10 years old I took $9.00 to the skating rink and someone STOLE it.  Can you believe that?  I was devastated.  $9.00 is a ton of money to a 10 year-old.  I've never gotten over that loss.
8.  This girl was zooming, but she couldn't quite keep up with me!  It was the music.  They play great music at skating rinks.  EXCEPT:  They played a truly demented, disturbing, twisted, disco-fied, "Do, Re, Mi" from The Sound of Music by Julie Andrews.  Very wrong.  I had to get off the rink.  I couldn't support the song by skating to it. 
I know disco-fied is not a real word, but I think you know what I mean.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

No, You Can't Go To Bed Yet

 I wouldn't say that Abe and I are particularly authoritarian parents, but for the last three nights we have demanded that our children humor us by playing the card game, Bang, late into the evening.
They are less than pleased. 
But wait... this one gives us this look for many different reasons.  Surely they don't all feel this way?
Maybe they do.
Come on, Els, don't hold back.  Tell us how you really feel.
Oh, poor Faith.  Don't worry, we don't force her to play.  But there's no one around for her to play with while we coerce the older kids to play.  Cannon was already put to bed.  And what do we do with George while we play?
We do what we always do with him.  We hold him. 
We mercifully let the kids drink the hard stuff to make it through the late nights of entertaining their parents.  
Believe me, if we could play it as a 2 person game-WE WOULD!  But alas, we need them to play so the torture will continue until Abe and I get our fill of this game.  It's the least they can do to make up for the marvelous Christmas they just had.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The REAL Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The lead up to Christmas is exciting- lots of anticipation, lots of activities, goodies, parties, presents.

But the week in between Christmas and New Years is the REAL most wonderful time of the year.  The children are so contented playing with their new toys.   Everyone is relaxed.  There is no school work to do, no schedule to adhere to.  A bare minimum of household chores for children to complete.   

I have all the time in the world to work on little projects around the house (provided I can do such projects one handed--baby George will be in the other hand).  I quite enjoy tidying the house and putting Christmas things away and marveling at all the extra space then available. 

At the moment my people are off at a neighbor's house playing and my little boys are both sleeping.  QUIET.  Weird, but in a good way. 

Last night we play a card game (Bang) with our three oldest and then Abe and I watched a movie.  These idyllic days may not seem like that big of a deal to some, but I have felt a great deal of pressure surrounding Christmas, and now I feel like I can breathe deeply again.

Real life will start soon enough I am so happy to have a few days to relax and enjoy my people.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Day 2010

  What's the matter with you people?  Why aren't you in bed?  It's only 6 AM.  Oh that's right-- it's Christmas morning.   6:00 is a very reasonable hour for Christmas morning.  They had congregated in the girls' room and were making quite a ruckus.  This is what all the excitement was about...
At our house Santa brings you your favorite sugar cereal and chips.  He really does it as a favor to me so that I don't have to cook ANYTHING all day long.  We always do a nice Christmas Eve dinner, but I don't know if I've ever eaten a big Christmas Day dinner in my whole life. 
What can I say?  She is a dream.
One happy camper.
A Barbie make-up kit makes for one happy 7 year-old.
Boots have been on Bethany's wish-list for quite a while.  Enjoy them!
Have I mentioned that Clark only wanted Heroscape sets for Christmas?  He got them.  Not much else, but he got them.  He's in a Heroscape trance right now.  I expect him to return to us right around January 3rd.  If he doesn't come back voluntarily, we will forcibly retrieve him.  He's in heaven right now.
I made George a blanket for Christmas.  He wasn't too impressed, but perhaps he'll appreciate it in years to come. 
I think we'll move our morning celebrations down to the family room next year.  We were a bit snug in our front room. 
Abe has made a delicious British fried breakfast on Christmas morning ever since his mission to London.  He makes fried eggs, fried tomatoes, fried mushrooms, (do you see the theme?) fried bacon, fried sausage, fried bread, and baked beans (not fried).
As a result of eating this meal, you don't have to eat for a whole week.  Dad and Bev always join us for breakfast.
Elinor already had a bike, but Bethany got hers for Christmas.  The bike baskets were a favorite and since we obviously didn't have a white Christmas, the girls went for a test ride.
Cannon got Lego motorcycles that Clark helped him build.  He has been carrying them around ever since.  When he woke up this morning, still holding them I explained to him that he shouldn't take his motorcycles to nursery because the other kids might break them.
He told me, "Other kids break them?  I fight them with swords!" 
Oh my! 
The early reasoning did no good, because he was unwilling to part with them when it was time to go to nursery.  He did a good job of protecting them and brought them home still intact. 

And what did Santa bring me?  

He gave me a nap in the afternoon and a wonderfully relaxing Christmas day with happy children.  We had been invited somewhere to dinner, but since we make it a policy not to get dressed, we had to turn down the offer.  
I enjoy the day when I can give my children everything they want and I don't have to make them do anything, and I don't feel a bit guilty.   Good times.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

Clark was Joseph.  No contest.
Baby Emi (Brig's baby) was Baby Jesus.  No contest because George can't talk.
Cannon and Brigham were renegade, violent wisemen.  They weren't available for photos.
Elinor was Mary.  Bethany tried to contest the casting, but to no avail.   Just because she has been Mary since she was two, doesn't mean she gets to be Mary every year.  Sorry, sweetheart.
 Faith and Takara were both angels.  That is...
...that is, until the role of saloon girl opened up and then Takara jumped on that.  
That's okay, Jesus loves us all.
Bethany was a good sport and filled in as the innkeeper, shepherd, and wiseman.  I guess if you can't get the lead role, you should at least try to get as many roles as you can.
The reading of the Night Before Christmas-- a childhood favorite!  My parents were big into Christmas traditions and I appreciate that Abe has accepted many of them with our own family.
The kids all got new jammies from Grandma and Grandpa Cannon.   I love new jammies.  
Now here is something sweet--- Abe got me new PJs.  Wasn't that cute of him? 
 Okay, FREEZE!  
Stop growing, both of you!  I mean it!  I want you to stay exactly as you are.  If you don't stop growing RIGHT NOW, Santa will never bring you anything ever again!  
(The worst possible threat you can possibly make to a 2-year-old [or an 11-year-old!]).

Let the Celebrations Begin

Friday morning was the annual Cannon Family Christmas Eve breakfast.  I don't think it is exaggerating to say I look forward to this event almost as much as Christmas morning.  My aunts, uncles and cousins are the nicest people on earth and it is such a boost to be around them. 
I enjoy visiting with my not-so-little-anymore girl cousins who have grown into beautiful young women.
 Naomi from England has become a regular at our Christmas events, much to my girls' pleasure.  She stays with my sister, but we love to see her as well.
Aunt Allison is always a favorite at family events.  Their cute outfits were from Barbara.
Talking with some of the ladies.  SO GOOD FOR MY SOUL! 
Grandma and Grandpa Cannon were in the holiday spirit as well!
Several of the uncles are the breakfast chefs.  Aunt Jennifer and Uncle Raypaul live in a beautiful new home with lots of room for everyone.  The children (great-grandchildren) were very much welcomed and the house was well equipped for playing.

Abe and I are grateful to have examples from both sides of our family of happy, supportive extended families.  This family gathering was a grand kick-off for the next two days of revelry!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Despite Our Best Efforts

We're trying to create magical Christmas memories, but despite our best efforts. . .

We traditionally go to a Christmas lights display (see more) about an hour from our home.  It is very fun and you can drive around as many times as you want.  The kids all take a turn driving.  Last night we began our drive down to Spanish Fork, but there was heavy rain and traffic and so we opted to go to a light display much closer to home.
Blah!  You could only drive around one time, so the kids had to take quick turns.  The whole display was basically weaving around a parking lot.  Boo!  Hiss!  
Don't you think Abe would make a fine Santa Claus with his rosy cheeks?  Maybe he can get a second job for the holidays?
Today we finally made our gingerbread house.  Could they possibly make it any easier to build a gingerbread house?  No, I don't think they could.  All the materials are there, including ready to use icing.  They even give you step by step directions. 

I should have read them. 

We started decorating too soon, and our house became structurally unsound.  I guess it didn't really matter because the candy and much of the house was consumed within three hours anyway. 
We played a bit of Rock Band this afternoon.  Very fun, but although we own SIX drum sticks, we couldn't find them, so we used blocks. 
Side note:  We did find a set, so we'll be set for the holidays.
He is scrumptious!  Happy, happy, happy.  He doesn't sleep during the day, but that's okay.  I don't have much I have to get done these days-- I only have Christmas for six children to pull off.  No biggie.
I do think that all the work of "doing Christmas" is worth it.  But I'm wondering if so much stress is just part of the deal of mothering and Christmas.  Is there another way?  I have had some very tender, sweet, spiritual moments this season, but more anxiety than I care to admit. 

Watching It's a Wonderful Life and  Muppet Christmas Carol certainly helped my mood today.  I like to play carols on the piano whenever I get a chance, and putter around the kitchen cooking goodies and comfort food.
What have you, my friends, done to manage the workload of Christmas without becoming the Grinch? 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Santa, Baby

We squeezed in a trip to see Santa at the mall.  BLAH!  I don't like the mall.  I do like Santa, but not the mall.  I like for Santa to come to the ward Christmas party.  I like church and and I like Santa and I like putting the two together.   We did have a lovely nativity play at the church party, but no Santa.
Could Santa have just come at the end of the ward party and saved me a trip to the mall?  Oh well.

This year Santa gave out a book about one person making a difference.  There were probably all sorts of underlying "green" messages, but it seemed relatively harmless.  Clark was not impressed with Santa's handout this year.  "This is the WORST thing Santa has ever given out!  He used to give out really nice coloring books and paper reindeer ears!"

I tried to explain to Clark that perhaps his perspective was a little skewed because he was a little boy when he got the "really nice coloring book and reindeer ears." 

Besides, Clark, you wouldn't even go sit on Santa's lap this year.  You have no right to complain about Santa's gifts if you won't even let your mama take a picture of you with the man in red.  Sadness.
Faith was fearless and she was the first one to tell Santa what she wanted for Christmas and to receive Santa's "worst ever" book.
Cannon hopped right up next.  But unfortunately he was so enamored with the book that Faith got, that when Santa asked him what he wanted to Christmas, Cannon told Santa he wanted that book.  What a wasted opportunity! 
The girls have had great fun giving out little friend and neighbor gifts this year.
Bethany had her Christmas list ready to present to Santa, lest she forget anything.  She made sure I saw the list first.  Smart girl.  I recommend she prioritize the list (for Santa's benefit, of course).
No tears this year!  I really hope Santa comes to the ward party next year.  Going to the mall, even once a year, is too much.