Thursday, December 29, 2016

Post Christmas Post

One of our family Christmas gifts was movie tickets to go see Rogue One in the theater.  Most of us really enjoyed it, but I will admit it was a little too action packed for me.  I needed to go home and cleanse my pallet with some Jane Austen.  I'm getting old.  The highlight of the outing was squeezing all ten of us into the selfie booth.  I like the lone clone trooper in the upper right corner.  Really, what did it matter which background we chose?  Definitely my favorite family selfie ever.  Even better than the one in Costco a couple years back. 
Well, I don't know... that one was pretty good too.
Bethany started her first day of work at Papa Murphy's Pizza the day after Christmas.  This is where Clark has worked for the last year and a half.  It has been a really great, though not terribly lucrative, first real job for him.  At the start of December he put in his two weeks notice because we decided it would be best for him not to work during the robotics season.  He mentioned to his manager that his sister was thinking of applying when she turned 16 in March.  The manager said to send her in immediately and she's got the job.
So thanks to Clark's good work and reputation, Bethany took his place.  But I'll tell you what.  Think whatever you will of me, it is a very different thing to send your son off into the working world than it is to send your daughter.  I know she will do great, and I know it's a good thing for her, but she is my little Bethany and I'm not terribly thrilled.  
And speaking of my little Bethany.  Look at all my little babies!  These pictures (minus Greta's) were all taken when they were about 7 1/2 months old-- my favorite baby age.  We hadn't updated with frames for Peter and Greta until now, but thanks to Abe gifting me these frames for Christmas, the collection is complete!  I think you can probably tell who is who, but just in case, across the top is Clark, Bethany, Elinor, Faith.  Along the bottom is Cannon, George, Peter and Greta.
This wall makes me SO, SO, SO happy.
If you want my analysis of who looks the most like who, here it is.
Clark and Peter
Bethany and Faith
Elinor and George
Cannon and Greta
But what do I know... I'm only their mother.
The girls enjoying their "lounge, sport, active, pajama" wear.  I don't know what do call it.  But it sure looks comfy.
Cannon also got some active wear that he'd been wearing for FOUR days straight.  Uh, yes, that includes undergarments.  Disgusting.  This morning I did demand he shower and put on clean clothes.  I mean, I get that it's Christmas break and everything, but sheesh!
Hmmm.  I have very mixed feelings about this.
This picture represents what these boys call "Marathon Week".  In essence, they live in our basement almost every day during the week of Christmas and New Years.  They say they must do this because it is the end of an era.  Several will begin robotics season next week and there will be no time for D&D club to meet.  School starts back up and church missions are coming fast for some of them.  They say they must finish the campaign they've been working on all year.
For the record, I do no think this is the healthiest way to spend this week of their lives.  That being said,  they are quite self sufficient-- they take a lunch break and go buy pizza for themselves.  Thankfully, Bethany works at Papa Murphy's now, so the discount is still in place.  They don't make too much noise, they are very polite, and they let the little kids come hang out with them.  They aren't staring at screens, they are talking to each other and being very creative.  I suppose they will overdose on D&D and get it out of their system for a while.
Tuesday night the girls and Abe and I went to a very fun wedding reception for a gal in our ward.  Here are two of her younger brothers that are good friends with our kids.  I just think it's a cute picture.
We paid a little visit to my brother Chip's new home in Sandy this week.  Mostly we wanted to see his new puppy!  Absolute cutest puppy I have ever seen .  He's a blond border collie-- somewhat unusual.  So soft and fluffy.  Peter loved petting him from the safety of the coffee table.  Let's be honest-- it made our new kitty look pretty lame.  And his puppy, named "Crush", doesn't have rancid gas like our cat does.  It is really a problem.
But then again, a kitten is a little more self-sufficient than a puppy.   And since I am having trouble getting children to change their underwear for four days straight, I really am not qualified to care for a puppy.  I get that.
And in fairness to Holly, she does entertain us.  She likes to hang out in the Christmas tree.  Please note the style of our Christmas tree decor.  Our kids like to say it looks like Christmas barfed on our tree.  Festive, is it not?
 Perhaps because I was annoyed with D&D basement dwellers.  Perhaps because poor neglected George kept begging.  Perhaps so I could live vicariously through my children, I told them all to get themselves dressed in snow clothes ... I was dropping them off at the park to go sledding.  Some were cooperative.  Some resisted.
But I prevailed.  They sledded.
That's not entirely true.  We did have one hold out who pointed out I could make her put on her snow clothes and sit out in the cold, but I couldn't force her to actually go down the hill and enjoy herself.  For privacy sake, I shall not reveal who the hold out was.  I will only say that I clearly recognize that kind of behavior.  I believe that in my youth I may have pulled some similar stunts.  Like the time we went to the Kirtland temple on a church history tour and I was really mad about something, so I just stayed in the car.  To this day, I have never been back to Kirtland.
So while I think it's ridiculous, I can relate.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Merry, Merry Christmas! 2016

With Christmas being on a Sunday this year, our Christmas morning was different than it's ever been before, but I LOVED IT!  Can we have Christmas on Sunday every year?  We got up at our normal time and postponed any presents until after church.
We had a 9:00 AM Sacrament meeting in which Abe, Clark, Bethany and I all participated in the choir program.  Bethany also played her violin with a couple of the pieces.  She was brilliant!  She has always performed well, but I enjoy so much that I don't have to worry about her when she plays.  I know she's got it covered and it always sounds great.  I held Greta in my arms while I sang.  I hope it wasn't too distracting, but I'm quite sure she would have been more distracting screaming her head off in the hall if I wasn't holding her.  The choir did very well and we loved  starting the day off singing praises about the birth of the Savior.
As much as we loved being with our friends and neighbors at church, the kids did hustle us out of there to get home for presents.  I instructed that everyone change back into their pajamas and meet in our room.  While the kids and I waited upstairs, Abe got out the bigger presents that Santa had brought, but that Abe had hidden so they didn't distract us from getting ready for church.  It does, after all, take quite a bit of focus to get all 10 of us to 9:00 AM church on Christmas Sunday.  
And finally, after much patience (frankly, more patience than Peter could stand), the line up and the rush down the stairs.
Clark got a new set of scriptures for his mission.  When your child asks for scriptures for Christmas, he is guaranteed to get what he's asked for!  I like Clark's Superman shirt under his pajamas, and it was very fitting.  We woke up to snow Christmas morning and Clark and a few other priests (16-17 year old young men) went out shoveling walkways and driveways for a few single moms and elderly ward members.  I'd say that makes them service superheroes, and it definitely made Abe and I feel very grateful for Clark's good example.
Clark also got a new watch and a book (bottom right) he's been wanting, The Way of Kings.
I love this picture of Clark and all those he gifted D&D dice to.  I understand tomorrow is family D&D day-- as opposed to friends coming over to play.  You know, I still don't really "get" D&D, but it has provided hours and hours of fun family bonding time over the years, so I am glad for it.
Bethany gave Clark a houseplant.  No joke-- it's what he wanted.
Bethany got a new black dress for orchestra.  It is risky to buy clothing without trying it on first, but Amazon didn't let us down.  The dress fits perfectly and I can't wait to see her wear it in a future concert.
Bethany and Elinor both got Amazon Dots for their room.  I got an Echo for my birthday last year and we have absolutely loved it.  The girls needed their own so they would stop stealing mine!
Cannon's gift to Bethany was this American Girl doll sticker book.  Yes, she is 15, but doesn't Christmas bring out the child in all of us?
And what kind of true fan would you be if you didn't have the official American Girl guide book?  I love it.  Bethany is a very mature, responsible, dependable young person, but I just love that she still has a very fun, playful side that enjoys the things from her childhood.
Elinor had the most interesting Christmas list of all the children.  She wanted a punching bag.  She said it would be good for her mood regulation.  Have you ever lived with a 13 year old girl?  Then you can understand why Santa agreed that a punching bag would be a good thing for her.
Elinor is her own wonderful, unique, delightful person.  But she is 13.
She got the entire Ranger's Apprentice series-- ALL 12 BOOKS.  See you in February, Elinor!  Actually, at the speed she reads, it probably won't take her that long.
She was thrilled to receive this lovely chicken food feeder.  She does love those chickens.  This, too, was on her wish list.
Faith received the homemade gift of the year-- a yellow minky blanket.  Now, I know what you're thinking.  You made that?
Well, sort of.
I did do most of the straight line sewing, but my Andrea helped me a great deal. She also has a long-arm-quilting machine that made it look extra fancy.
Here is a picture of yours truly pretending to work on the quilt, even though it was actually already finished at this point.  I am a poser in more ways than one.
Many, many thanks go to Andrea for her patience with my sewing incompetence.
Faith also got a new bike that is pretty big for her, but we think she'll grow into it.
She had hoped to get tickets to go to a University of Utah gymnastics meet.  She was pretty stoked to get two sets of tickets for the whole season!
Cannon got some pretty great stuff, but my favorite moment for him was opening a small box that contained Marvel Heroscape figures that Clark helped us pick out and order for him.  This is the moment when he realized what it was!  He was beyond excited.  The two of them quickly retreated to the kitchen table to start planning a game.  We had to remind them of what we were doing and invited them to rejoin the family for opening presents on Christmas morning!  But you can guess what they did all day
He also got a new bike.  Whoop-de-do-dah.  What is that in comparison to little plastic figurines to use in a game with your idolized older brother?
All these years of kids and Christmas and Cannon was the first one to ever ask for a pogo stick.  I'm hoping the pogo stick won't break and no kid will get a broken bone.
This picture sums up how all the kids felt about Christmas this year.
The massive Green Machine.  Where will we put it?  Who cares?  George requested it and Santa came through, thanks in part, to KSL Classifieds.
Someone has to get some Legos every year-- George was the lucky one this year.
I'm a sucker for anything "fox".
Cannon did ask for a specific video game that Santa did not deliver on.  Instead he brought this animal hunting game.  I won't go into how this game ended up in the present pile, but it was questionable content, in my opinion.
Cannon was playing it for a little bit this morning, when he handed it back to me and informed me that he's decided he doesn't want to play any games with real guns and people.  It's okay if it is a Lego gun shooting a Lego person, but he didn't like the way he felt playing this game.
I knew I liked that kid.
And what Christmas would be complete without cheap remote control cars that break within three days.  They sure are fun while they last.
I don't even know where to begin to describe Peter's Christmas.  SO MUCH FUN!  Here he is hugging his tub of peanut butter his daddy gave him.  Peter loves peanut butter.
Peter got a potty chair...
... and if you can believe it, he actually pooped in his potty on the first day!  Now that is a Christmas miracle.  He cheered and we cheered and it was quite a beautiful moment.  He has had some success today as well, although we're going to need to work on accuracy.  Here he is carrying his success up the stairs to flush it away.
He liked his Fisher-Price doctor's kit.
Peter got a lot of puzzles, but it was hard to get him going on presents.  He just refused to open any until about halfway through the morning.  We'd say, "Peter, do you want to open a present?"  And he kept responding, "No, no, no."
He finally got into the groove of it.
He stayed right by my side on the stairs all morning.
He was tickled with the figurines of all the Zootopia characters.  Peter LOVES Zootopia and I am not exaggerating when I tell you he usually watches it twice a day.  Probably not our best parenting choice, but December has been busy.
Mostly though, he has been so huggy and sweet and fun for the last few days and I am enjoying him SO much.  It's like he's been a different kid lately.  His language is exploding and he's trying to say so much more.  He's not screaming and crying.  Maybe I need to just slow down, wear my pajamas all day, refuse to cook any meals, not leave my house, and sit and hug him more often.
Greta was sleepy, but she managed to stay awake for the opening of presents.
Here she is in her new shirt her daddy ordered for her and her new shoes.
 The moment of the morning for Abe was looking through two photo books his sister put together of his family and his dad's funeral.  The books were beautiful and I knew they would make Abe's morning.
And as per tradition, we all enjoyed Abe's British fried breakfast.
Joy of joys, Clark gave me a 1000 piece puzzle to work on this week.  I didn't want to be greedy and I didn't necessarily want anything specific from my children for Christmas.  However, I also don't want them to think only of the gifts they are getting for Christmas.  I wanted them to think of others-- specifically their parents who were giving them lots of gifts.  I told them they didn't need to spend money, but they should give some sort of "Christmas offering".  Poems, letters, acts of service, gifts, etc., were all acceptable.
They did well.
The whole day was all I hoped it would be and more.  We are blessed.