I’m wishing this time of year I could make more time for some Christmas crafts – instead I’m finishing up some homemade gifts and trying my best to slow down and truly enjoy the season! So here’s a round-up of some ideas from my Christmas craft from years passed that I enjoyed pulling out and decorating with this year:
In my efforts to seek more peace in this crazy season, I found my new quiet place.
Kids in bed. All the lights off in the house. Sitting on the couch with a blanket. Reading my scriptures. It’s usually pretty late at night when I’m a little sleepy, but its peaceful. And I love the quiet moments.
Thanksgiving was a good day. We expected it to be a good day, but as Steve and I drove home from his brother’s house after a long day with a child screaming in the back seat and one who quickly fell asleep almost sitting up we both agreed it was better than a good day. It was a great day. Some days are just like that.
We started the morning bright and early, dragging kids out of bed for the Turkey Trot. We walked, ran, ate and played with cousins. And even knowing we were joining up with cousins shortly after – it was still like ripping teeth out to get them all separated.
Steve’s sister had her baby the day before and Steve found out while we were at the Turkey Trot that they were using his name as the middle name. Steve was touched and humbled and we made a quick pit stop by the hospital on the way home so he could hold him just for a minute. Tender moments.
Steve’s brother hosted our Thanksgiving gathering. An intimate 52 family members – all the love to them for being willing to host that crowd. When you have nine kids – nothing will ever be a small group and everyone wants to be together. So assignments were made and carried through and we fed the masses.
Our assignment this year was the rolls. I spent a good portion Wednesday making rolls – cooking some and then freezing the dough for others to pull out the next day to let rise while we were trotting. And you can expect someone to eat just one roll so we cooked over 120. I lost count of how many I had to test as they were pulled from the oven. Nothing beats a roll straight from the oven.
The tables were set up in such a way that we were able to really enjoy our meal and conversation and they were set beautifully.
After the eating commenced, the playing began and then some napping and football and more playing and then of course pies. And more pies. And just when I was telling myself that I was all pied out – a new pie would surface and I’d take another sliver. It wasn’t until we were leaving that I realized I hadn’t even touched the pumpkin pie! I made sure to make up for that the next day!
As the sun set, it cast a beautiful orange glow across the sky and backyard, it was beautiful. We sat on the covered patio, watching the cousins play and talking into the night. Briggs was the arm ornament of choice, as long as he was happy! Hunter was playing soccer. Hallie was on the trampoline. Bennett was running back and forth to the ice machine to cool off. And Cannon…he ended up being the least happy of the bunch the entire day. He was extremely afraid of the roll-top door to the game room that kept opening and closing. His cousins convinced him the walls would collapse in if the door opened. (Got to love older cousins!) So he honestly struggled every time he saw it open and he would run away screaming. So my relaxed evening on the patio watching the sunset was interrupted just a few times. Even then – we drove away with exhausted kids and agreed, it was a great day!
We were fortunate to spend our Thanksgiving morning with friends and family at the Gilbert Turkey Trot – which has become a favorite annual event. I think this event is taking an especially deep root with me as I work more with the organization through my design work leading up to the event. It’s not just a fun Thanksgiving morning activity. It’s weeks and weeks of working to make sure everything is designed, printed and ready to go. This year I counted 6 shirts I had designed that people were wearing at the event. That’s the rewarding part of designing – seeing it in use.
The other part I love – is seeing a family of our size rallying around our niece Lucy in support of Families Fighting Blindness. (You can learn more about her foundation here.)
Our little family walked the one mile “fun run” and Steve completed his first 5K – which seems like a simple task for all you runners, but we are not runners and Steve made it a goal to run this and he completed it and I loved watching him cross that finish line. I on the other hand would rather poke my eyes out with a fork than run even a mile.
Bennett loved the gratitude wall. I found him in this position more than a couple times making his mark on the board, trying to sound out all the things he had in his heart.
Hallie came up to me as excited as could be and told me she saw Lindsey Stirling (the dancing violinist who is absolutely amazing) and wanted to take a picture with her. I quickly followed her through the crowd until we came upon Lindsey talking with her sister. Hallie nervously asked if she could grab a picture with her cousins and Lindsey was as sweet as could be to oblige. These girls had stars in their eyes the rest of the morning!
Briggs has decided he doesn’t love anyone else holding him but me. When he realized my sister-in-law was holding him and my nephew was making faces trying to get him to smile – he puckered up and about lost it. I snatched him before the colossal meltdown took place.
I can’t think of a better way to kick off a day of eating, lounging and gratitude!
My very favorite holiday of the year is fast approaching and my favorite month of year has arrived. Every year about this time as I’m filling out the monthly calendar, there’s this feeling of wanting to capture every feeling, smell and moment – which of course is impossible. And instead, in my attempt to fit every thing in, I miss a lot. But this year I’ve been working hard to get things done before December so that I can truly enjoy this season. There is still a mountain of activities we will be participating in, but we’re refocusing.
I love this campaign our church has come out with to aid in the refocusing process, Light the World. There is a daily Christ-like activity to remind us the reason for the season and the ultimate source of light. Many of the tasks are very simple, and you might find you complete it without much effort. But it’s the simple moments that keep us focused.
Our family is working to complete this calendar. We’ll fall short and miss some days – that’s life, but thats okay. It’s something our kids are looking forward to participating in and how can you argue with kids who want to be Christ-like? You can’t! We kicked off the calendar with service tonight. What a great way to start the holiday season. Lets work together to Light the World.
You can get daily reminders and videos at mormon.org.
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