Friday, January 25, 2013

Things that make me smile

I found this picture that Eden drew awhile back. I like how she labeled the curly-headed person. Little kid notes and illustrations are so sweet to me!

It’s been so fun to watch Eden express herself through drawing and writing. She’s a thoughtful, careful person and I can often see the wheels turning as I look in her eyes.

On a less sentimental note, another thing that makes me smile is dressing up my kids in fun clothes…especially in cute stuff from garage sales! This bell-sleeved sweater was like $0.25. Awesome. It’s my favorite and goes well with this fancy, tapestry-like skirt I picked up on clearance at Target. Yep, these things are satisfying to a mom.

Okay, back to the important stuff….the girl inside the clothes. I never posted anything about this little one starting school. Kindergarten has been a great thing for her this year. She has loved all the structure and stimulation it brings. Eden is usually the first one ready in the morning, complete with her bed made and hair brushed. Yea for being self-motivated!

Here she is with the final links of her countdown-to-Kindergarten chain we made at the end of the summer.

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And the big FIRST day!

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It is always a little hard for me to send my kids off to school for the first time…that’s just me. I have issues with letting my kids grow up. But I have to say that it has gotten easier each time I do it. No watery eyes this year! I am starting to accept it, I suppose.

Great girl, great school, great friends and learning opportunities. Plenty to smile about!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Christmas magic

It’s all over. Kids are back in school, I’ve forced myself to stop listening to Christmas music, the cookie and fudge tins are empty, and normal life is resuming. I’m really okay with it; I like getting back to a normal routine and all of that, but the end of the season did cause me to reflect and assess.

Did we do all we wanted to do? Was it special and sacred enough? Was it magical enough? Did we create lasting memories for our children? Christmas for me as a kid was amazing. I think it was all of the little things that added up to greatness. It’s still amazing now, but it’s different…different when you’re the one creating the greatness and the magic.

The other night after the kids were in bed I made Tom come sit down on the couch with me and a blanket. It was so cozy in the dark with only the white lights twinkling on the tree and mantle. I had to make sure we soaked it all in…before we have to take it all down. We wondered together whether we did enough; what traditions we might want to add or modify; whether this blessed season unfolded how we wanted it to for our family.

We agreed like most people do, that we were a little too busy—too much squeezed into one month. But I don’t know if that will ever change. We’ll keep working on that, but in the meantime, there were certainly lots of simple things that added up to a wonderful season for us.

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photo(3)We started our Winter Break with two snow days. Fun for the kids. The dark blob on the hill between the houses is a group of kids on a sled. It’s the perfect spot for that!

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photo(15)**a wreath I’ve always wanted to try making—it was super easy

photo(17)   **role-playing with and rearranging one of the nativities

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photo(8)   **new socks, boots, toys….

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I like these (fuzzy) snapshots which are a sampling of the things we did over the Christmas holiday. I think we all enjoyed it; I hope we did!! (Some of us were a bit depressed when it was over, so maybe that’s a good indication?)

Certainly it’s never quite as magical and picturesque as I picture it. We’re rarely curled up sipping hot cocoa in a perfectly relaxing way. The presents are never purchased and wrapped as soon as I want them to be. The goodies are never made as quickly or abundantly as I’d like. We don’t read quite as many Christmas books as I had planned to.

But I am learning over and over again that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be great. We had a great time—lots of time home together, plenty of parties to attend with friends, and enough sacred moments when the Spirit reaffirmed to us that Jesus Christ is our Savior and this season should be devoted to Him.

Christmas, I love you!