Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Holidays

The quality of this photo is terrible...but the quality of our holiday season is not. We're having a great time--baking, singing, decorating, partying, crafting, shopping...

Although I never quite seem to do all I want to do, or in the way I planned to do it, there is joy in trying. It really is fun to see the anticipation build in my kids, and to see how excited they are about non-stop Christmas music and compiling goodie plates to deliver...because I remember feeling these feelings as a kid!

My Holiday emotions as an adult are a little different--not quite as magical, but still wonderful, and every bit as sacred.

The excitement of wondering what will be under the tree has sort of disappeared, but man, the satisfaction I feel when I stuff a stack of sealed envelopes in the mailbox, or tape and deliver a completed package to the post office, or pile my freshly-dipped "buckeyes" in a tin to be stacked in the cupboard--that's pretty great.

Hmmm, I think I need to get back a little of that childlike excitement (instead of the check-things-off-your-list-adult kind of excitement). I suppose that is the challenge of growing up--accepting and managing many responsibilities, while still appreciating the pure and simple joys of life. What a great time of year to work on that.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Too much "divide and conquer"

That is the tactic we use quite a bit around here. Back in NYC, it happened a lot. Tom would take the older kids on the subway and off to Manhattan to see something cool--a tour of a battleship, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, an art museum--while I stayed home with the newborn, or the fussy toddler. We really did do a lot all together (strollers and Baby Bjorns were well-used), but sometimes it just made more sense to let the little ones nap and roam free at home, and let the older, more interested ones sight-see unencumbered.

It still happens a lot. Late night basketball games (BYU came to Omaha this month), football practices, etc, etc... And one day when the "divide and conquer" strategy is in full-swing is Sunday. Tom has obligations and meetings at church, so he takes care of that while I take care of getting kids ready, keeping them reverent during Sacrament meeting, then working in the Primary. And that's okay; that is how things needs to be right now and I am fine with that. But it isn't typically a day filled with much family togetherness.

So...yesterday was a welcome surprise. Church and all meetings and Christmas concerts were canceled due to terrible weather--mostly the sub-zero temps and ice-covered parking lot. This doesn't happen very much, maybe once or twice in my lifetime, and it is strange to miss church. I didn't like that part, but I did thoroughly enjoy having the whole family (especially Tom) home together ALL day. It was heavenly. There is a special balance and strength that comes from two parents interacting together with their kids. Not feasible all the time, but I think important enough to make time for when possible.

We had our own little church session, and then had lots of time for resting, singing, playing the piano, fudge-making, playing games...just being together. What a treat. I know a day with nowhere to go and no obligations is a rare things for most families, but it sure is nice.

I need to slow down and allow for more of these days...even more so at this time of year.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

When Grandpa and Grandma come

We had a simple and lovely Thanksgiving weekend. No extended family...just our little family hanging out, decking our halls, taking family photos, touring the Festival of Trees downtown, and enjoying a fun dinner with some sweet friends on Turkey Day. I really enjoyed Thursday morning when we all lazily watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in our PJs. It made us sort of nostalgic...

But...we were lucky enough to have a visit from my parents earlier in November. Having "Grandma and Grandpa" all to ourselves was the best.

We took them to a few of the Des Moines points of interest including the Science Center of Iowa and the stunning State Capital building...

...the interior is even more stunning, but difficult for our amateur camera to capture.

Our Saturday touring downtown and the Capital was windy and FREEZING, but it warmed up by Monday so we went on a mini-hike around a lake. Eden had the best view of all.

But as is typical, the most precious moments happened right at home.

There is something so wonderful about grandparents. I guess it's because they are two people who care about your kids almost as much as you do...AND they don't have their own little kids to care for, so they can give their grandkids lots of attention.

I loved hearing my mom giggle and giggle as Ansley talked and babbled to her. At one point on Sunday afternoon, Ans had Grandma lying on the floor so she could lay blankets on her and tuck her in.

Meanwhile my dad was getting a ballet lesson from Miss Tessa, and doing quite well. He showed off his "five positions" for us later.

See? Undivided sweet.

I loved this moment, too. Tom and I went with my mom to a meeting one evening and left my dad to babysit. I told them they could watch a movie, to make things easy on him. But when we came home we found the younger two tucked in bed, and Tyler and Tessa awake (past their bedtime:) but engaged in a wonderful strategic math game with Grandpa. The TV hadn't been on all evening.

Babysitters do NOT get better than that!

It was a great weekend. We were so thankful they drove the ten hours to visit. It would be nice to be a little closer to them...but we can't complain. We're just glad we are now within driving distance. We love you guys so much!