Monday, December 24, 2007

All I Want For Christmas...

It's Christmas Eve - I can't believe it. It seems like we just celebrated Christmas, and now here it is a year later. Our house is decorated, we have a beautiful tree, all the shopping is done, presents are mostly wrapped and Christmas cookies for Santa are in the oven. I've steamed the clams for our clam chowder (Christmas Eve tradition).

Tonight, we'll have our little Christmas Nativity performance - this year it's a puppet show. Amidst all the gifts, it's important to me that the kids understand the real reason behind the gifts at Christmas. We have so much, and it pains me to think of Mary, giving birth to her Holy Child in a stable, full of animals. What thoughts must have been in her mind that Holy Night?

While I love opening presents and watching the kids do the same, the best gift I could give, or receive, this Christmas is a deeper understanding and appreciation of Christ and His holy gift to me.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The gifts are in the mail!

This year, I decided I'd be clever and make some gifts for some of our nieces, and give a digital picture frame to Steve's mom. A good idea in theory, however, I didn't decide to do this until 12th of December. They all took me longer to create than I had anticipated, and I was getting frantic when Tuesday rolled around and they still weren't done. After pulling an almost all-nighter, I got everything wrapped up and in the mail Wednesday afternoon. Now I just have to cross my fingers that they'll arrive in time for Christmas.

This is a scrapbook I made for each of our 15 & 16 year old nieces. It's a place for them to record the friends, loves, fun times, heartaches, etc. that go along with high school years.

This is a canvas wall hanging made for our 12 year old niece. It has little post-it-notes on one square, and a clear pocket for pictures, etc. on the other square.

I'm addicted...

A friend introduced me to these evil treats earlier this season. A chocolate cookie outside, with a creamy filling, complete with real crushed bits of peppermint candy. If you haven't tried them, run to your nearest Trader Joe's, and buy a box. They are addicting, and at 70 calories per cookie, results can turn catastrophic quickly. So consider yourself warned...but they're worth it!

And in case you're wondering, these aren't all for me...I included a box with each of my gifts to our families this year!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Smile for Santa!

Once again, we have a classic Santa photo. I don't know why I expect anything less...all year I tell my kids not to talk to strangers, not to sit on strange men's laps, etc. And then December rolls around, and I attempt to plop them right onto a perfect stranger's lap and make them smile and talk!

Jack had been eagerly anticipating seeing Santa for about a week. Our Ward Christmas party rolled around, and he began to experience cold feet. He copes with fear or anxiety by falling asleep - he can literally force himself to sleep. So, he sees Santa walk in the room, and immediately says "I'm tired. I want to sleep in the stroller." I naively thought that once we got up there, he'd jump right up and tell Santa everything he wanted.

We waited in line, and as were were almost at the front, I look down, and sure enough, Jack is fast asleep. At first, I was irritated - after all, this is our traditional December calendar picture. Then I thought, "Well, I'll just park the stroller between Mrs. & Mr. Clause, no big deal. Grant and Olivia will smile..." So we get up to our turn, Olivia plops down with a giant grin and I attempted to put Grant on Santa's lap. Grant wanted absolutely nothing to do with him! He screamed LOUDLY, arched his back and wailed for me with his arms out. We quickly snapped a photo, then I rescued Santa...and years from now, I'll look back and laugh at myself for thinking this motherhood thing would ever be easy.

Two tickets to paradise...

In commemoration of our 10 years of marital bliss, Steve and I spent a week in Mexico...alone! We left the kids with my mom, David & Rita (3 on 3 is a necessary ratio these days...!) and left all worries behind.

We stayed at an adults-only all-inclusive resort just outside of Playa del Carmen. The resort was beautiful, our view quite breathtaking!

As we were sitting in the San Francisco airport early Saturday morning, we made a vow to exercise each day, and return home in better shape than we left. Good intentions...and we actually did exercise on Monday. Unless you count rolling over on the lounge chair, or walking from the ocean to the pool, or from the pool to the bathroom, then I guess we exercised every day!

We did venture outside of the resort on Tuesday to see the Mayan Ruins of Chichen Itza. An amazing site for sure. It was incredible to see the detail and care that went into constructing these giant structures - without the help of modern tools, engineering or machinery. Truly a Wonder of the World.

I read 1 great and 3 good books (The Kite Runner, Wicked, Dear John and Because She Can) and enjoyed every moment with my hubby. It's a good thing to still like him after all this time. We had a lot of laughs, some much needed romance, and time to focus on each other. The food was great, drinks delivered all day right to our lounge chairs, and even nightly turn-down service in our room! We slept in (according to Cancun time...we still woke up around 6am Pacific time!)

We came home and found the kids in great shape. Grant is walking now, and got 2 new teeth while we were gone. He'll never know we missed that milestone! The time together strengthened us and gave us the "umph" we need to make it through the holidays, not to mention the next several months of busy life. What better gift can we give our kids than two parents who truly love each other?