Saturday, January 29, 2011

We. . . (I Mean They). . . Are the Champions!!!

Clark has been a part of a Lego League Team for a couple of years.  Last year they competed in the Idaho regional and state tournaments because Utah didn't host a competition.  They did quite well.  Utah did do an unofficial trial run last year with about 7 teams competing.  Clark's team, Pi Pod, did win that, but it didn't really matter because it wasn't official.

But this year the University of Utah did host an official FIRST Lego League Championship with 56 teams competing, and Pi Pod won the Grand Champion award!  This means they are headed to the Worlds Championship in St. Louis at the end of April!!!!!!!

It was a long day up at the University of Utah.  The boys had to be there before 7 a.m.  Fortunately, Clark caught a ride with a few other boys at that hour, but Abe and I and the rest of the gang arrived shortly after 8 a.m.  The closing ceremony wasn't until 4:00, and we didn't actually get to watch them do several of their "events".
However, we had an enjoyable day hanging out in the student building with the families of the other boys.  Over the past few years of these boys being involved in several clubs together, we have gotten to be quite good friends.  The younger siblings had a blast running around together.  Keeping track of Cannon was a bit of a trick, but no matter.
Throughout the day the boys were a bit disappointed with how their programmed robot had performed the tasks.  They hoped their project portion had scored well, but I don't think they expected too much by way of awards.

As the awards ceremony progressed, they got more and more discouraged.  Nothing.  Nothing for robot design.  Nothing for research project.  Nothing for teamwork.  It wasn't looking good.  As parents, we were happy for the other teams, but sad that the boys were so disappointed.

It came time for the final two awards-- 1st and 2nd place for Overall Grand Champion.

The 2nd place team was announced.  Abe put the video camera away.  Oh well, it was a good experience anyway.

Then, "First place goes to. . . Pi POD!!!!!!"

Needless to say, boys and parents were EXTREMELY surprised!
The families all went out to celebrate afterward.  The coaches of the team are remarkable.  They have put in countless hours, making this possible for the boys.  Yet, they have truly let the boys come up with the ideas and program and research.  Thank you!!!!!

Abe Had a Birthday

Abe celebrated his 36th birthday this week.  Here are 20 things (in no particular order) that I love about Abe.  This is not an exhaustive list.
1.  He loves babies.  He loves to hold them.
2.  He is an organizer of people and events.
3.  He is very punctual.
4.  He tells fabulous, made-up stories to his children.
5.  He thinks I am a gourmet cook, no matter what I cook.
6.  He is very detail oriented.
7.  He likes to watch old movies.
8.  He is very quick to forgive.
9.  He is very handsome!
10.  He doesn't complain about how I keep the house.
11.  He works hard, everyday for our family.
12.  He is very positive and optimistic.
13.  He is not sarcastic.
14.  He loves to be with his family.
15.  He doesn't make fun of other people.
16.  He gives the most amazing foot rubs-- but only to me:)
17.  He always understands what's going on in movies--sometimes I get confused.
18.  He regularly shares his testimony with our family.
19.  He loves to be in Primary.
20.  He is enthusiastic about life.

I love you, Abe!  Thank you for everything you do for us.  Happy Birthday!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Realization

I had two experiences this week that have made it clear to me that I am no longer a "young mother". 

To many of you reading this you may say, "Duh?  You have six (seven) children! Obviously you're not a young mother anymore!"

But I'll be honest, until this week, I kind of thought I still was.  I thought other young mothers thought I was one of them.  Sure, I had more kiddos, but we were all in the same boat, right?

No, I now see that we are not.  I still have babies, but I'm not a "young mother" anymore.  Sigh.

I went to a baby shower for a friend in my neighborhood, hosted by some other ladies in the neighborhood.  This is her first baby and she is so excited.  She already has a closet and drawers full of adorable clothes, shoes, blankets, and hair bows.  That is what you can do with your first baby-- it is so fun to dress and doll them up.  You can get the newest baby gadgets and everything is fresh and new.   

There is a lot of stress involved with being a first time parent, so I DO NOT pine for those days.  I truly am able to enjoy each subsequent baby more, because I know what to expect-- I know what is normal and I know how quickly the time will pass.  But watching this friend and the other young moms with just a couple of children, I was reminded that my mindset is so much different than it was several years back.  I suddenly saw just how much time has passed.  I am older and I recognized that I am now considered a "more experienced mother".

When Clark and Bethany and Elinor were little we did little preschool activities and playgroups quite frequently.  Faith and Cannon?  Umm... yeah, not really anything.

But Faith has begged for a little book club so I racked my brain to think of little home school friends (her age) we could invite.  Most of our home school family friends have older kids.   I found I needed to extend our invites to a lot of "young mother families". 

I don't think it makes you feel young to hang out with younger people.  It made me feel old.  Old and frumpy. 

That aside, our first "Story Club" went very well this week.  I don't have a lot of spare time, but it's hard to say no to this . . . 
She was so excited.
We read The Story About Ping.  Ping is a duck, but I thought it would be fun to blow ping pong balls with a straw.  And it was fun.  
We played hide-and-seek and the kids took turns hiding our puppet duck, Ping.  The other kids went behind the curtain to count to 20.  That was hysterical to hear 7 little 2,3,4, and 5 years-olds trying to count in unison.
They tried to eat noddles with chopsticks.

Why are we surprised when we get older?  It's not something I have feared, and yet I find myself stunned that it's actually happening.

What? There is another generation of young people?  I thought we were it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pavlov Would Be So Proud

You are probably familiar with Pavlov's salivating dogs.  He was a Russian physiologist.  By always ringing a bell when he fed his dogs, he conditioned the dogs to salivate just by ringing a bell.

Today we began our own little science experiment.  We are "conditioning" Cannon to use the potty.  I'm setting my cell phone alarm to go off every half an hour.  When the phone beeps we call it the "Potty Train Whistle" and he has to run and go sit on the potty.
Whenever the alarm goes off I immediately restart the 30 minute countdown and so it continued all day today.  But we ran into a problem at nap time and bed time--as I had forgotten to turn off the repeating alarm.  Cannon would be in bed and he'd hear the alarm downstairs and start yelling, "I NEED GO POTTY!"  He would not settle down until he had sat on the potty.

Pretty good, huh?  Just the sound of the alarm is enough to trigger the bladder!!!

Take that, Pavlov!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Surviving Homeschool in the Winter

We are in the THICK of Winter.  I understand that the year is divided into four seasons, but ZOINKERS-- Winter seems to last three times as long as any other season! 

In warmer seasons the kids are anxious to be outside on the trampoline or climbing the cottonwood tree in the front yard.  They like to escape outdoors and it's like herding cats to get them back inside to get their school work done.   On the plus side, they will usually get their work done quickly so they can head out ASAP.

Homeschooling in the Winter has it's drawbacks, but there are some delights as well-- I just have to look a little harder for them.

They're finding various activities to amuse themselves. 
The cleanliness of the house tends to suffer greatly from their amusement, but I am usually so impressed with their ingenuity, that I can't deny them their projects.
Bethany and Elinor created bows and arrows for everyone to play "Indians" with.
We are always on the look out for ways to burn energy.  The kids value anything they can swing on, bounce on, jump off, roll over, ride on, or slide down.  They regularly saddle one another to ride as a horse.
We're making and eating too many treats.  All three little ladies are very anxious to help out in the kitchen.
 Dress up is the order of the day everyday.  It is getting a bit out of hand and I'm considering a temporary ban on all dress up clothes. 

But where to draw the line?  Old dance costumes clearly would be included in the ban, but what about towels?  In this picture they are used as cloaks, so does that count as dress up?  Sheets are turned into togas.  Need I confiscate all the linens as well?  What about my clothing?  They love how my clothes drape over them. 

It's a losing battle. 

And I'm entertaining myself this Winter by styling my hair as famous literary characters.  Here I am as Bertha from Jane Eyre.  Don't be frightened.
Aaaaaahhhhh!!  How could you not be frightened?  Ha ha ha!  This is my hair "au natural".  Try not to be envious.

"My hair use to have a mind of it's own". (an old Pantene commercial).  Ha ha ha!  (forgive me, it's getting late).

But here's what I'm spending most of my waking-- and sleeping-- moments doing. . .

And on that thought-- I'm off to bed.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Book of Mormon Challenge

Our Primary put on a ward activity this evening-- "Book of Mormon Challenge".  Our ward has a goal for everyone to read the Book of Mormon this year and this was a bit of a kickoff activity.  Abe served as our announcer-- his name was "Amazoriantumr".  We had dinner and lots of games for families to play. 
Clark built our "Ruins of Ammonihah".  You had to race against someone else to blow a ping-pong ball through the maze.
In "Nephi's Beast Hunt" you tried to hit the beasts with toy balls.  As you can imagine the girls were horrified to see their precious webkins abused in such a manner. 
No actual animals were harmed in the playing of this game. 
In "Samuel the Lamanite" the goal was to shoot Samuel off his wall with a nerf gun.  The little lady with the gun in this picture is WAY too close. 
No shooting Samuel point blank.  I had to intercede and make them step back. 
This was a popular table.
If you thought shooting Samuel was bad, "Waters of Sebus" was downright grotesque-- but in a funny sort of way.  If you recall, the Waters of Sebus was the location of Ammon's cutting off the arms of the Lamanite robbers.
I am swinging arms (made of nylons and stuffing) and I'm about to throw them to Abe and Elinor who will try to catch them in a towel. 
Very fun.  Somewhat irreverent, but fun.

We had a few other games: "Amalickiah's Poison Darts" (blowing toothpicks through straws into boxes), "Book of Mormon Trivia" (answer BOM questions), and "Symbols of Zarahemla" (a matching game). 

The final game was "The Title of Liberty Challenge".  There were two teams racing to have everyone on their team put on the t-shirt, and sign their name.  It was close and very funny watching people getting tangled up in the shirt trying to do it quickly. 

Overall the activity was very well attended and I think people enjoyed themselves.

And I'm glad it's done.

Good night.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Multi-Purpose Room

I am going to put up some pictures, but first I would like to explain.

We have an unfinished basement with two framed bedrooms and a storage room.  One of the rooms serves as Clark's "summer room".  The other room is a bit of a playroom, with boxes of dress up clothes, a toy dish cupboard (that was my mom's, then mine and now my girls'), and a play cottage house. 

The kids use the basement for many things--a spaceship, a store, a school, a giant fort, -- But what the basement is NOT, is clean.  We do pick it up and organize it occasionally (like 3 times a year), but really, what's the use? 

It is so liberating to have an area of the house that can just be messy.  The kids can just go and play down there and create BIG, MESSY games.  Someday I hope to finish those bedrooms-- we really could use them-- but I think when we do, I'll feel it necessary to keep them cleaned up.  I'll miss just closing the basement door and only having 2 levels to keep clean.  Besides, we can only keep one level clean at a time anyway. 

The latest basement game is SCHOOL.
More specifically, "Miss Beth's School For Young Ladies".
Or was it, "Miss Beth's School For the Wealthy, But Orphaned"?
Whatever the name, spelling and math are serious subjects.
The pupils are expected to keep their desks neat and tidy.
(Don't judge the school's orderliness by the piles of clothing strewn around the background).
I understand there are only two pupils that are rich enough to attend Miss Beth's School.  You know how exclusive those schools for rich orphan girls are. 
Today she was Peter Pan.  I don't think we even attempted regular clothing today.
No clothes for this one either.  "Me not take off my 'caws' jammies".

In my defense:  We have been very good about getting all our school work done.  We are cooking good, healthy meals.  We are reading great books.  We are keeping up on laundry and dishes.  We are getting our music practice done. 

We just can't seem to keep everybody clothed and groomed properly. 
Next week we'll go back to the basics!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Something New

Clark went to his first ever wrestling practice today.  This is new for all of us.  First thoughts:
--wrestling rooms are stinky
--I am glad there are no girls signed up for wrestling
--all that Tae Kwon Do prepared him very well for wrestling (flexibility, coordination)
--they are really going to work these boys--Clark is exhausted
--hopefully this will prevent Clark from trying to wrestle with Bethany
--a sport where knocking other kids down and making them beg for mercy is sanctioned?  YES!  I think Clark may have found his sport!

In other news,

I got a flat tire in Abe's car while driving Clark to wrestling.  Exciting, and not in the good way. 

How mean of me.
I'm trying to force feed George some baby food.  He doesn't like it and doesn't really need it, but I do need a bit more sleep and I'd like to shut down the "all-night-diner", (that would be me).  I'm hoping he might sleep a bit better with something a little more solid in the belly.

Faith wears regular clothing for 5-6 hours a day.  That's all she can take before she must put pajamas back on.  I need some sort of reward system for her if she can keep her clothes on all day.  What will she do when she has to go to school all day?  Oh wait... she can wear PJ's at her school.  Oh, all right-- wear your jammies if you want to.

We are rapidly approaching the age of potty-training.  We've had some early success thus far, and I don't want to miss any windows of opportunity, but I've got a few big events in the next couple of weeks, so it's going to have to wait a bit longer.
I'm pretty sure when they can clearly articulate, "Don't look at me-- I'm pooping!",   you know it's time.  On a funny little note, Cannon has coined the term "pooties" for poopies (as in "Mom, I have Pooties!!").  More than you probably wanted to know, but then of course, like all good parents, we think our little junior is just adorable.
Perhaps dancing with Faith to "Princess Tea Party" is Cannon's way of trying to make up to her for the gash on her cheek he inflicted with his weapon/claw fingernails that have since been trimmed.
As usual, Faith's immediate response, through tears, "That's okay, Cannon."
No!  No, that is not okay!  Faith, when someone gashes your face, THEY should be the ones to apologize and make nice.  Where did this girl come from?  She is too kind.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


I recently finished reading Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh for the second time.  I didn't like it the first time I read it and I didn't like it much better the second time either.  Both times I've read it was for ladies book clubs. 

The author goes to the beach for two weeks and thinks about the "shape of her life".  She loves the slow pace, the solitude, the quiet.  She compares life and relationships to different sea shells.  She questions, she philosophizes. 

I do not doubt that this book speaks to some people.  It just doesn't speak to me.  I've been trying to figure out why.  This is what I've come up with.  This woman is an introvert--meaning she gets energy from being alone.  It is probably very draining for her to be around a lot of people.   I'm sure she does feel fantastic after being alone at the beach for two weeks.   I would be depressed.

I am an extrovert.  I love being around people and it is energizing to me.  I feel great after quality time of being around people.  I rarely get tired of being around my children.  If I need a break from them I want to go be with Abe, or my sister, or my girlfriends.

 When I have babies I always plan to take time off, away from social responsibilities and church and such, but I miss the interaction so much that I always jump back in sooner than I planned.

As a mother of many children with different and distinct personalities, I have come to appreciate this introvert/extrovert difference.  I admit, it is easier for me to understand what motivates my extroverted children, because they are much like I was as a child--never tiring of playing with friends.  It took me a while to comprehend that my introverts were happy to be alone sometimes.  That they weren't sad or upset, rather they just needed some time to recharge. 

We went to our family book club this evening and I feel very recharged.  I'm so grateful for the good people who enrich my life so much.  I'd be very lonely without you.

Friday, January 14, 2011

We've Come A Long Way, Baby

Several years ago my mother-in-law (whom I love dearly) commented that Abe and I were very strict with Clark.  I asked if she was joking.
My family all thought (or so I thought they thought), that we were too lenient with him.  

This was back when I had time and energy to take things personally and I felt really bad that perhaps she thought I was being a mean mother to her grandson.
For years I have struggled to not let the pendulum of discipline swing too far either direction.  I've wanted to do the whole "Mary Poppins thing"-- you know gentle, but firm-- practically perfect in every way.  Making sure the children feel loved and cherished, but also running a tight enough ship that we get things done and reach our potential.

Well, I'll tell you what.  If my family thought we weren't strict enough with Clark, I can't imagine what they think of how we discipline Cannon.  As in.... we don't discipline Cannon.  Or at least, we don't do a very good job of it.

Abe's mom would be so proud of us.

We don't make him eat food if he doesn't want to.
We don't have regular bedtime.
We don't make him get dressed everyday.
His crimes against humanity (aka: his siblings) are wiped away with a "Sorry, Faife" or "Sorry Cark".

But SERIOUSLY!  Look at what we're up against!  Can you say C-H-A-R-M-I-N-G!!!!!!

After the "Sorry, Mom".  He'll add in, "Me won't do that ever again!"

Melt my heart. 

"Me wuv you".

Gadzooks!  I can't stand it!  You want a sucker?  Go get one out of the treat basket. 
You want to watch a movie?  Which one do you want?

"Hold me, Mommy".

I give up.

My Man-Child

Meet my eldest child-- "The Gnome Boy".
He is also a very talented Duplo Castle builder. 
He is very good at entertaining younger children.
He is now an expert on Aztecs, Mayans, and Incans.  (Notice the pile of books on the floor). 
He's into astronomy.
He's into Lewis and Clark.
He draws maps of imaginary countries.
He cooks delicious scrambled eggs.
He has remarkable powers of memorization.
He's learning to play Viva La Vida on the piano.
He has great friends and enjoys their company. 
He loves to be home in the company of his family.
He loves to be by himself.
He reads the funnies in the newspaper every morning--unless he decides to get a head start on his school work-- then he'll skip the funnies and go straight to spelling.
His pet snake, Ledge, is alive and well.  Several people call him if they have reptile questions. 
He kills spiders for his Mama.

I hope my Man-Child gets to go on a great adventure someday.  
He's a big kid with a giant soul.
I love you, Clark.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Good Knights, Fair Maidens

I had a really enjoyable day today and it was due in large part to this outstanding group of young people.  We had our kids' book club and we read King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table.  I agree with Clark's assessment of the book, "I didn't really like the book, but I'm glad to have read it.  It was very long with lots of damsels in distress and knights cutting off each others' heads." 
There is always  A LOT of energy when this group gets together, but they are so much fun.  
It looks like the knights are attacking the fair maidens, but in fact they are focused on the Holy Grail (the pink cup) that Bethany is holding.  One of our activities was someone hiding it and then everyone going on a quest to find it. 
I think the favorite activity was pillow jousting.  The contenders had to keep at least one foot on the duct tape at all times.  The first one to step off lost.  It was hysterical!  I had to get in on the action-- I couldn't help myself.  I won my rounds, but I did have quite the weight advantage.
Clark was our grand champion. 
I am so proud.
The ladies had their own tournament.  Much to the disappointment of the boys, I could not allow the knights to joust with the ladies.  Bethany did not win for the ladies. 
I am ashamed.
The snack was beef stew on a trencher.  As I understand it, in medieval times they didn't use plates, but rather ate their food off of a hard piece of bread called a trencher.  Most would then eat their trencher, but the rich would throw them out for the poor to eat.  How generous.
It was FREEZING, but it's hard to stop 10-12 year old boys from heading out for a quick sword fight.
 Our final game was "Perilous Seige Musical Chairs".  In the book the Perilous Seige is the final chair of the Round Table that no one can sit in until Sir Galahad comes.  If they do sit there, they will die. 
There were always enough chairs for everyone, but one was the Perilous Seige and whoever was left with it had to give their best death scene and then move out of the way. 

Elinor is enjoying her younger kids' book club that my neighbor is doing with the younger siblings of these kids.  Now Faith is begging to get to have a little kid's book club.  I guess I have some planning to do-- I'm thinking of a glorified story time. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

I Guess I Needed to Hear That

It is not good form to steal from another blog, but I read this quote moments ago and IT SPOKE TO ME!  So I must share it.

“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous.
I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized.
If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.”
                                                        Johann Wolfgang von Goethe-- German writer

So painfully true.  I haven't been doing a very good job of this lately.  I must do better.  I must be calmer, kinder, gentler.  My apologies to my family.

Yikes, this is like the "Mother Anthem".  This should be put to music and sung while standing at every gathering of women.  You know, like if you go out to eat with girlfriends you must stand and sing this song before your meal comes.  At all ladies book club gatherings, scrap-booking parties, before your pedicures-- you must stand and sing the anthem of motherhood.

If this quote speaks to you too, I fully give you permission to steal it and post it on your blog.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

"I Bear a Charmed Life"

"There's daggers in mens' smiles".
The kids performed in MacBeth this week.  Clark was King Duncan, Elinor was the doctor and a murderer, and Bethany was Ross and Lady MacDuff.  They had a grand time and my HUGE thanks goes out to Andrea Flynn who is the mastermind behind the Shakespeare class the kids take.  
We made it through the week of rehearsals and performances, but it was rough with all the sickness.  But THE SHOW MUST GO ON!  
We probably passed some nasty germs around, but "What's done is done and cannot be undone".
Even still,  I'm sorry.

Friday, January 7, 2011

False Start

The holidays are over.  It is time to get back to work.  Ready... Set... GO!

No... no wait--

Pause that thought.

Ready... Set... GET SICK.

BLAAAHH!  We've been sickie-poo around here.  Just a nasty fever/cold, but the week has passed in an unpleasant blur.   We've all been afflicted-- here is the order of most-to-least severe:  Cannon, George, Elinor, Faith, Bethany, and Clark.  Abe and I have been sick too, but since we don't get the luxury of crying loudly and lounging on the couch all day, it is hard to accurately judge where we fit in the line-up. 
Ahhh, remembering back to happier/simpler days before the tears and boogers started flowing freely this week.

We still tried to chug through the school work, but it was no fun for anybody.  And darn it!  I was all ready for a great start to our new school semester.  Blaahhh.   All my plans--WASTED!  Well, now I'm just complaining--sorry.
However, it has been a while since I've had a good complaining post.  I think I shall indulge tonight. 

(Now would be a good time to stop reading this post).

Complaint #1
There is the NASTIEST inversion outside.  The air is filthy and with all due respect to my friends and family in the northwest who go months at a time without seeing the sun,  this is really reeking havoc on my already fragile mood.  I haven't been able to see the mountains for several days because it is so foggy-soup out there.  And need I mention that I have a family (including a baby) who are sick and need clean air to breathe to get better?

Complaint #2
We ran out of hair conditioner the other day and we picked up a bottle of super cheap conditioner to tide us over till the next big trip to the store.  I'm not really a conditioner snob, but they changed the formula for the super cheap and now it is SUPER HORRIBLE!  You may not think this is a big deal, but I've got a mane of hair myself and 3 girls with tons of hair to comb through, and it's just been very unpleasant.   For whatever it's worth-- I love Dove-- and I now HATE Suave.

Complaint #3
To help motivate my home schooled children to get there jobs/assignments/practicing completed in a timely manner each day, we have a simple little chart where they keep track of the days that they get everything done.  When they have 20 days, they get to go on a date with Mom or Dad.  They alternate between Mom and Dad. 
Clark and I have a date for lunch tomorrow.  Does it hurt my feelings, that although we're not sure what we're doing tomorrow, Clark keeps wanting to talk to Abe about what they are going to do on their next date?  Well, yes it does. 
Come on, man!  I know Abe is way more fun than me, but still.  I think I use to be fun.  Maybe when I wasn't buried alive in diapers, dishes, laundry, school work, cooking.  Okay, I guess if I ever was fun, it has been a long time and Clark really wouldn't ever have a memory of me being fun. 

Complaint #4
My brother's wife Misty gave birth to their first child today-- a beautiful baby girl named Aliyah.  I'm not complaining about this.  This is WONDERFUL news!  BUT I'M NOT THERE to hold her!!!!   I'm so sad.  Even if I was there I couldn't hold her-- because I have a cold.  But still, I want to hold her, and I can't. 

Complaint #5
I've run out of Dove Dark Chocolate in my freezer. 
It's for the best, since I shouldn't eat chocolate while I'm sick. 
I shouldn't eat so much chocolate anyway. 
Stupid New Year's resolutions.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

What I Got For Christmas-- TIME

Tomorrow regular life begins again and I feel ready to get back to work.  This last couple of weeks of Christmas and New Year's celebrations have been joyous and relaxing.  Here is my top ten list of what I had TIME for that made the break so rejuvenating for me. 

10.  Time to complete little projects around the house.

9.  Time to organize my schedule for the next semester of home school with the children.

8.  Time for two date nights with Abe.

7.  All the time I want for kissing and snuggling my little people.

6.  Time for taking several daytime naps while Abe held down the fort

5.  Getting to nibble as many holiday treats as I wanted- I spent a lot of time doing this.

4.  Time for sharing testimony with my people around the Christmas tree.

3.  Time for the kiddos to play with each other and with friends quite peacefully for two weeks straight.

2.  Time to spend at delightful gatherings with extended family.

1.  Time to play games and party with good friends into the wee hours of the morning.

And now it is time for me to go to bed.  Good night.