Thursday, January 28, 2016

Another week

First off, our second storm was a non-storm.  We were supposed to get 1-3 inches and then they raised the inches to 5 with a possibility of high winds.  We were all excited and ready to hunker down.  We got a full day of rain and then maybe an inch of snow.  It was so disappointing.  

I took Will in to the doctor about his finger.  It was pretty swollen and bruised.  The doctor said she wasn't sure if it was broken or not.  She said it was probably a bad sprain but if it didn't stop hurting by the following Monday than it was probably broken.  It's been over a week and the bruise is gone now but his finger still hurts when he moves it.  I'm not going to take him back in to get an x-ray or anything because I'm fairly certain they will just do the same thing we are already doing if it is broken but I do feel bad for him that he can't play basketball yet.  

This week has been pretty typical.  Monday the older boys had basketball practice (Isaac played, Will watched).  We had FHE and then Mike took them to practice.  Their practice starts at 7:30 and goes until about 9. While they were gone, I put Piper to bed and then Eli and I colored together and then played Plants vs. Zombies on the xbox.  We beat our record and made it to round 15. Tuesday is usually our one free night but Mike had a church meeting that lasted about three hours.  Wednesday I had visiting teaching and then ran home so that Mike and the boys could go to scouts.  While the boys were gone, Piper and I played Just Dance.  Tonight I had to get Eli to basketball practice and then Mike was going to do visits with the Bishop but that got canceled last minute.  Tomorrow the boys have another basketball practice and then Saturday we have three games.  We thankfully, only have a few more weeks of this craziness and then we will just be busy on Wednesday and Thursday nights.  Hopefully.  

Piper convinced Mike to paint her nails.  It was pretty adorable to turn the corner and see the two of them at the table with their heads together while he painted her nails.  He even did her toe nails too.    
 It has been cold, foggy, rainy, and cloudy lately.  I feel like since we aren't going to get snow I wish everything would just hurry and warm up already.  I finally dug out my sun lamp and use it first thing in the mornings.  I just have such a hard time feeling motivated and interested in much when it is cloudy for too long.
We all need a break from Math.  I decided we would try out our new game Swish.  It is for executive functioning and spatial awareness.  It was a super fun game and the boys played it for quite awhile.  I think it might become a favorite.  It will be a nice break from Monopoly.  The boys got that from Laila for Christmas and I have been forced to play it a billion times.

Homeschool is going ok.  This week we have been working harder on checking the boy's work each day.  My email has been sending me a reminder every day at 2 and I make the boys pull out their planners and we go through all their work one by one so I can make sure they did everything.  They usually do all their work but sometimes they will try and skip a workbook page or not write their work down in their planners and I feel like it's an important skill for them to have and making them responsible to report back on their work is good.  I talk about executive skills functioning on here all the time and the truth is, I am stink at it myself.  I am not good at keeping up systems or being super detailed and I am learning along with the boys.  It's hard for me to teach them skills I don't have myself but hopefully I can teach them to be detailed and organized.  Twice this week I have been busy and forgotten to go check their planners and books and then Mike gets his own reminder email at 4 and checks it for me.

Mike is not taking any classes at school this semester.  He has a class that he was supposed to attend but there were not enough students to take the class so they made it an online course.  He wakes up and gets ready for the day (and eats breakfast with us) and then he locks himself in the guest room and we don't see him until lunch where he will come out long enough to eat and then locks himself in the room again until dinner.  He eats dinner and then either goes and does church stuff, takes boys to practice, or he is back in the room again.

It's not that bad.  He doesn't interact much with us but it is nice to have him home.  Today I needed groceries and the boys had done the work that they needed my attention for and Piper went down for a nap so I left the boys to finish up their piano and Spanish and went to the store.  Mike stayed hidden in the room but because he was here I didn't have to take the kids with me.  It is great.  This week I was also able to go to lunch with a friend for her birthday and it was a nice break for me.

He is actually pretty stressed about his research right now and then on Sunday he also has to give a talk and be responsible for the 5th Sunday discussion at church so he has a lot on his mind.  His birthday is Sunday but because of basketball and his research, we won't get a chance to celebrate for a few weeks.
 Finally, Piper is adorable.  She is doing well in Sunbeams.  She is not excited to go each Sunday but once she is there she does fine.  She is regressing a little in the potty training area and hasn't shown a lot of interest in the potty this week.  I had to change a poopy diaper today and I realized that I can't remember the last time I changed a poopy diaper.  She usually manages to do that in the toilet but pees in her diaper once or twice a day.  We tired panties (or baby-butts as she calls them) this week but she peed through them twice so I put diapers back on her.  We are making progress and I just need to be patient and let her go at her pace.  She is still so little.

Today I made wheat bread and I left the room briefly only to hear Isaac yell, "Oh no!  Piper!"  Then I heard, "No, Isaac, don't tell Mom!  Please!"  I came down to find powered milk all over floor and Piper covered in the white powder.  She said she was "making something."

She is sleeping better for the most part.  She still wakes up once or twice a night but we just walk her back to her bed and cover her and she goes right back to sleep.  She seems over her fear of being in the room alone and doesn't insist on us sitting outside her door until she falls asleep.


That pretty much sums up my week so far.  I've got dishes to do and scriptures to read so I better end this.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Our first Snow Storm of the Season

We got our first snow storm of the season this week!  The first day I pretty much didn't see Will from sunrise until 4 PM except for lunch.  Eli didn't even come in for lunch.  They had sledding races with the neighbor boys and their dad.  We have a huge hill right around the corner that they went down.  The next day the snow was already starting to melt but we got to do some sledding at the golf course anyway.  The kids loved it.  We are supposed to get even more snow tonight.  If the high prediction is right we should get up to six inches, which is nothing compared to what some of the Northeast is getting but when three inches closes down the entire town, six will be epic.  I hope it really comes down tonight!














PTSD

This past week our Relief Society had an emergency preparedness meeting.  The meeting mostly focused on what to do if there was an active shooter.  It started out on a serious note where the police officer showed slides with facts about incidences where a shooting took place.  He said something along the lines of, "You never know how someone will act in an emergency situation or in the midst of a tragedy."  Immediately my mind flashed back to the day Laila died.  I saw all the details vividly.  I watched each of us reacting in various ways.   I did a lot of crying that day.  

Suddenly, I was back in the Relief Society room.

My thoughts were now directed to the present topic.  The police officer discussed what to do during an active shooting.  My mind had ridiculous thoughts.  I considered what I would do if there was an active shooter at the church.  How would I protect the tiny kids in the nursery?  He mentioned hiding in a cupboard and I saw myself frantically throwing toys out of the pantry and shoving 18 month old toddlers in their place.  Like they would stay quiet locked in a pantry.  

Next, I thought back to the night the neighbor's friend shot a bullet though our house.  

Then I thought about the strange man that showed up at the church when Mike and the boys were playing basketball.  He kept talking about how everyone was after him.  Mike sent him on his way and then the boys and Mike stayed home for a couple of days in case he came back.  He did, but this time a bishop from the other ward was there.  He bought a bus ticket and took the man to the bus station.  
 
Crazy, fearful thoughts kept crowding my mind.  I kept thinking about all the scenarios that could happen where my family would be in trouble. 

From that point on, things went downhill for me.  My face and my ears felt so hot.  I felt like they were on fire.  My knee was bouncing up and down at a tremendously fast pace.  I tried crossing them so they would stop moving but they didn't stay crossed long before the urge to bounce them was too strong.

I began to feel increasingly annoyed with the discussion.  The lady in the front row was talking about the time her apartment caught on fire.  She realized her cat was still in the building and somehow she escaped the arms of four police officers who were trying to hold her back.  She elbowed her way out of their grip and ran back in to retrieve her cat.  This was during a time when she could "bench 250 lbs."  I sat listening in unbelief.  Why was she sharing this?  What could her point possibly be?  

The incessant laughing of the Laurel sitting next to me was like nails on a chalkboard.  She laughed at such inappropriate moments.  I felt bad for the police man giving the presentation who kindly listened to the random comments and tried to get everyone back on track.  

I wasn't really sure what was happening to me.  I couldn't pin point why I was irritated or what I was feeling.  I just kept thinking that I needed to get out of that room but didn't know how to leave without making it obvious.  I was trapped between the Laurel and another women.  Instead, I stayed feeling uncomfortably hot and increasingly irritated.  

When the meeting ended I came home and talked through everything with Mike.  He said it sounded like I was experiencing PTSD.  I hadn't really considered it because I didn't have many physical symptoms besides the feverish face and hot ears.  The irritability and flashbacks suggest that I probably was having PTSD symptoms.  

On a day to day basis, I feel like our family is happy and healthy.  I feel like we have grieved and continue to grieve at times.  I know that Laila's death triggered anxiety in the boys and that we have hard days or months but for the most part I feel as though we are happy and stronger.  When something like this happens however, I realize that we are still so affected by her death.  Sometimes it comes at me from nowhere and it almost knocks the breath out of me.  

I realize that I have faith.  I know that God can protect us from tragedy but that he won't always do that.  He protected us from the bullet that shot through our house for instance.  I also recognize that during the trial of Laila dying, He organized things in such a way that on every step He provided ways for us to endure.  So many things point to His hand in the events that occurred during and after.  I have gained a testimony of His love for each of us in the way that I've seen Him bless us with help along the way.  

That said, I have a lot of fear.  I feel guilty sometimes and wonder why I can have so much fear when I should look at my past experiences and say, "Look how strong you are!  Look at what you are overcoming!"  The truth is, I struggle with fear.  I now know personally how deep the trials of life can be.  I have felt sorrow and pain to such a degree that when I consider having to suffer that way again, I find myself gripped with fear.  What if I am not strong enough next time?  What if it is too much?  

Being in that Relief Society room and having to relive that terrible day and work through thoughts of preparing myself for another tragedy was just too much for me.  All I can do is acknowledge that my fear is real and that part of the cost of living a mortal life is having to suffer.  Then, I just have to look forward with faith and remember that the Lord cannot shelter me from all sadness and suffering but He can help me through it.  

The most important part of the Relief Society meeting was when the Relief Society President reminded us of a quote by Elder Holland where he says that one of the most universally disobeyed commandments is when we take counsel from our fears instead of following the command to "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."   John 14:27
  

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Basketball

Last year Will decided he wanted to play basketball.  He had never shown any interest in a sport before and we didn't even own a basketball.  I already wrote about how bad the try-outs went.  When I say try-outs, it's not really try-outs.  Basically everyone goes and does drills while all the coaches watch and take notes and then later they have a meeting and fight over who they want on their team.  Will was awkward and really bad.  He was easily the worst player.  He cried to me after saying, "I knew I was bad but didn't realize I was that bad."  His coach was a jerk.  His team was pretty horrible.  The kids threw fits in the game and would sit on the court during the game crying.  Parents yanked kids off the court during the games because they felt their kids weren't getting passed the ball enough and the coach even got kicked out of the game.  Everyone pretty much just viewed Will with obvious pity last year.  Everyone liked Will (except the coach, I'm not sure he liked anyone) but you could tell they all felt really bad for him.  Through it all, Will had an amazing attitude.  He was always happy and known on the team for being the kid who would still be smiling at the end of the game.  I wasn't sure what Will would decide to do this year but in late summer he told me he thought he'd like to play again.  

This time I decided that if he was going to play, we were going to help him be a little more prepared.  We started doing drills and playing together and going for runs and just trying to get into better shape in general.  I could see huge improvements already by the time the season started in November.  Isaac and Eli decided to play this year too.  Last year Isaac played on a different team and he had a very different experience than Will.  His team was awesome and his coach was amazing.  Isaac is already more athletic than Will so he wasn't good, but he really didn't stand out as bad either.  Eli didn't play last year.  

Already, this year has been better.  At try-outs none of the boys stood out as awesome.  In fact, they didn't really stand out at all.  They just seemed right in the middle of the pack.  We were able to get both Isaac and Will on the same team this year and Eli is in a younger league.  Eli's coach is awesome.  I can't say enough good things about him.  He is energetic and fun and I've never seen him yell or get angry at any of the kids.  The team isn't awesome but they aren't bad.  They have some good players on the team but as a team together they seem average.  They win about 50% of the time.  This is Eli's first year playing and he has really picked it up quickly.  He is quick and a fair dribbler. He mostly plays wingman but also plays point guard sometimes.  He seems to improve every week.

Isaac has also improved.  He wasn't a bad player last year but he didn't really know how to play and he was timid and had some great players on his team so he didn't do much on the team last year.  Isaac is tall for his age and a good defender.  He is also really quick and switches from wingman to point guard.  Isaac is determined to be a good shooter so he regularly goes outside just to shoot hoops.  

Will, being the least athletic, has probably made the most notable improvement.  Of the three, he is probably the most determined to become better and also, he has the furthest to go.  Will is not fast like his brothers.  He gets tired quickly.  He has an inhaler but I'm not sure the inhaler does much good for him.  He doesn't like to run and his sprint is like a jog for his brothers.  Will, however, is very tall and he has a wonderful attitude.  He takes criticism really well and therefore, he is always willing to take what his coach says and try to improve.  He is more aggressive this year and really getting into the game.  Last year he couldn't even catch a pass and this year he rarely misses a pass and is confident enough to try and make a basket.  

The boys have shown incredible determination this year.  Mike has been getting up with them at 6:30 in the morning to go to the church to practice.  Eli is the least interested in going.  He stays home every couple of days and sometimes Isaac will stay home when he is extra tired but Will is always up and ready to go.  The boys have bundled up and gone out to play with me or stayed up late to practice drills.  Will has a goal to be quicker so he has started to run with me.  

We have practices three times a week (one for Eli and two for the other two) and then games every Saturday.  November to February is busy running the kids to their practices and games but I have really enjoyed watching them this year.  A couple of weeks ago a parent of one of Will's teammates from last year came up to us and said, "What happened to Will?  He isn't even the same kid.  He has made huge improvements!"  

Today, Will and Isaac had to play against a really good team from a different league.  The majority of their players were taller than our tallest player.  They schooled us.  Will hurt his finger during the game and after the game he started to cry.  He was pretty disappointed and his finger hurt something fierce.  It is swollen and slightly bruised tonight.  I wonder if it is broken.  I wish I had a video of the boys playing last year and one of them playing this year so that they could see how far they have come.  I know they wish they were better but I couldn't be more proud of them.  I wish I had the same determination to become better at something as they have shown.  
  

Friday, January 08, 2016

Who needs a farm anyway?

After living on a farm for part of my life, I have always loved the idea of having some land where the kids can climb trees, explore, and just be kids!  We searched for a place with land in Tennessee and couldn't find what we were hoping for in the price range we wanted so we settled on a house in a subdivision with a great big yard and a forest right behind the house.  While I am still hoping to find a house with some land some day, I think we can be happy where we are.  The boys opened gifts for Christmas that included paintballs, sling shots, and a dart gun.  Also, Mike was super excited to get the boys the book Backyard Ballistics and they already have big plans of things to build with Mike such as potato guns and rockets.  So, I guess we don't live on a farm but our kids still get to enjoy some pretty fun things outside and as long as our HOA doesn't kick us out, we will keep taking advantage of our big backyard and forest.  (P.S.  The fence is going.  It's rotten and sections of the fence have already fallen off.  So, while the splattered paint looks pretty white trash on the fence, it won't be there for long.  Also, it's washable, and it rains a lot here....)





Thursday, January 07, 2016

I expected to find a wild raccoon in the house

We just got back from a great visit to Maryland.  When we got there I didn't really think about my phone and left it in the van.  The next day I was busy and again, didn't think of my phone but when I went to check facebook that night I saw a message from my neighbor asking if I had gotten her text.  I hadn't and had to go search for my phone.  She knew we were out of town so I wondered if something was wrong and when I found my phone and saw she had called twice, left a text, and sent me a message on facebook I knew something was wrong.  

She reported that after we had left she had noticed that our door was cracked open a little ways.  She decided that when she came back home she would check to see if the door was still open but upon returning home she saw that the door was closed.  The next morning when her husband left for work the door was wide open!  She tried calling me all day to let me know but I never answered.  Even more concerning was that her boys said they saw an older lady (that they recognized as being at our house previously) with a white car had stopped by the house.  

I was super confused and creeped out.  My neighbor and her husband kindly (and bravely I might add) went over to the house to check it out and make sure it was ok.  They reported that everything seemed to look fine.  They locked the door and went out the back door locking that behind them.  

I'm not sure what happened.  Our door is broken and has been broken for a couple of months.  It opens from the inside but not the outside.  Sometimes if you don't lock it, it doesn't clasp all the way and can come open.  Mike was the last one out of the house and said he would lock the door behind me.  Our only guess is that he forgot to lock the door.  As we were leaving we noticed the wreath on the door and since it was already dying I decided to fetch it from the door and throw it away.  I hopped out of the van and threw the wreath away (but only after smelling it a couple hundred more times...fresh pine is heavenly!).  If Mike forgot to lock the door and then I messed with the door when I grabbed the wreath, it is possible that it didn't stay latched and opened without me noticing.  Also, my neighbor said it was a windy day so perhaps the door kept getting blown open and closed.  

Regardless, it was creepy.  

When we got home I wondered if we would find a wild creature from the woods in backyard making residence in our house but it appears that all is well.

Phew.  

Anyway...

Like I said, our trip was great.

We planned a trip to Herr's Potato Chip Factory.  It was a nice, scenic drive through Maryland country.  It was actually a really cool tour that everyone enjoyed.  The boys (mostly Mike) oohed and awed over the crazy amounts of flavoring used and everyone enjoyed getting free samples of hot, freshly cooked potato chips.  Yum!  Grandma and Grandpa chose a smorgasbord of flavored chips and popcorn and later in the week we had a chip sampling party--dill, jalapeno, horseradish, hot sauce, etc.  
Grandma and Grandpa always let the kids play in the hot tub when we visit and that is always a much looked forward to part of our visit.  They miss our hot tub in Colorado!  Piper got to go in too but I didn't get any pictures of her.

On New Year's Eve we met up with the cousins and let the kids play at a blowup bouncy house.  The kids played hard and when we left they were all red-faced and sweaty.  Good thing I have an extra thing of deodorant in my van for stinky boys!

We headed home and had appetizers and the kids played and the adults just sat and talked.  We didn't stay up late.  Jessie and Jason took their kiddos home around 8 and we put Piper to bed and then let the boys stay up and watch Star Wars 6.  We sent them to bed at 10.  It was a pretty chill New Years Eve.



Grandma grew up with a tradition where Mrs. Claus brings candy on New Year's Eve so the kids woke up to a counter full of candy.  Later that day we all went to Star Wars 7.
 When we visit Maryland Mike loves to cook Indian food with his Mom.  They pour over her curry cookbook and choose different dishes.  This time they chose lamb.
 We enjoyed playing basketball at the church a couple of days too.

 We had promised the boys that we would take them ice skating and thought that going with our cousins would be more fun.  We met at the designated place only to discover that it wasn't an ice skating rink at all!  It was this tiny little square, about the size of a small backyard pool, made of teflon squares linked together.  We left with some disappointed kids and walked to the exercise park down the road.  After we had all sufficiently worked our muscles we walked to the candy store on the corner and each chose a chocolate.

We went bowling with Grandma and Grandpa and our cousins on the last day before we came home. 

I didn't live near grandparents or cousins when I was growing up and I really didn't form close relationships with them.   It wasn't until I was in high school that my Grandma Teichert moved down the road from us.  She was divorced, alone, and dying.  I'd go to her house to deliver food and help put groceries away.  At the end, I remember brushing her hair after her bath.  I have very tender feelings from that time.  I only regret that I didn't have the chance to really get to know her before then.  Recently, I found a card my grandma had sent me.  It was so fun to read and I keep it by my bed.  I guess I am ending this a little sentimental because now I have kids who have grandmas and grandpas.  We don't live very close to them and it is hard to make the trips to see them but I am so thankful for every chance we have to let the kids spend time with their grandparents (and cousins).  I hope they can build close relationships and have fond memories of them.    

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Not a White Christmas but a perfectly soggy one

I need to wrap up our Christmas advent activities and pictures because we are going out of town and I don't want to forget everything and then get back and try and remember the details after all our fun in Maryland.

Some of these pictures are not Christmas pictures but they are pictures that have been taken this week so I'm putting them all in one big post.  First though, I found these two pictures that Will took of Piper.  Her hair!  So much awesomeness in a picture.  He clearly didn't take them this week because this week has been a muddy, soggy mess from all the rain we have had.   



Mike is done with finals and we are done with our Christmas orders so Mike has been available to help with Science.  I think I mentioned that in the previous post.  It's been nice to have to him around and the boys have loved his lessons.  He taught the boys about buoyancy.  His lessons included putting dry ice in balloons to show the difference of density of gas compared to a solid of the same substance.  They loved watching their balloons get bigger as the dry ice turned into a gas and filled the balloons up.  He also did a sink or float experiment (also passing off a cub scout requirement).  He did a Cartesian diver and they all loved that.  Even the neighbor boys joined in and had fun with Mike's lessons.  Some LDS families in the Knoxville area are trying to put together a co-op for next year because the co-ops in the area do not accept people from the LDS faith.  If it gets up and running we will probably join and since they are looking for teachers Mike has offered to teach the science classes.  I hope they do start it because I think Mike would make an awesome science teacher.  I watched him with the boys and the neighbor boys and could tell that he misses teaching.






We finished up our Secret Santa.  I'm not sure if we will do it again next year or not.  Some of the family gets really involved and loves doing it and others don't like it (Mike).  I really want it to be a fun experience that makes us all feel closer to one another and if that isn't happening than I don't want to do it.  My favorite gift from my Secret Santa was a note that said this:  "Your as prity as a buttrfly. you smell like a flawr. you are strongr than a shark. fastr than a cheeda. and your as cool as ice. I love you."

 We went to the store on the 23rd and got one another our Secret Santa gifts.  That is always tricky to figure out which kids should go with which parents so that no one figures out who has everyone.  Though, by then Mike and I always know who has everyone...The kids are not that sneaky.  We read A Wish to be a Christmas Tree to end that activity.  We also read Once there was a Christmas Tree after delivering the packages we made in Cub Scouts.  They had chosen some couples and single women in the ward for the boys to deliver the packages to.  We took ours to two couples in the ward and had a good visit with them.  The book is about neighbors who look out for one another and serve each other so this seemed like a good book for this activity.



One Tuesday night read A Tale of Three Trees.  It's one of my favorites.  We got out the box from last year and opened it up and read the "gifts" we gave to Jesus to see if we had changed from when we wrote our letters.  Some of us had and some of us still need work in those areas but for the most part we each made progress.  Mike had decided that he would give Jesus a gift of writing in his journal every day for the entire year.  He only missed like two days!  That is amazing.  I have always been a journal writer but I can't boast something like that!  After reviewing what we had written we each decided what we would give this year.  I've got a couple of things I really want to change and hope that next  year I'll be able to read my letter and see that I am different and better.  I was pretty happy with the things the kids chose to work on.  

One of our traditions is centered around Laila.  I have been missing her a lot this Christmas.  I can't visit her grave or take her the Christmas tree we made ornaments for.  On Christmas Eve our family reads the book The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey.  After, we talk about Laila and how Christ's birth made it possible for us to live with Laila again and how because of Him we can still be happy in this life even when we suffer from trials.  We give the kids a gift that helps us remember Laila.  Past years have included a key chain with a picture of Laila for our keys or backpacks, a CTR ring, a special pen with Laila's name engraved in for writing in our journals, and a book of pictures with Laila and her brothers.  We bought these little chests for the boys to put their gifts in each year. The boys also put the bears they received from our last ward when they made bears in Laila's honor for the women's shelter.  This year we gave them each one of our mini nativities since those have been something we created this year and the nativities remind us of that first Christmas after Laila died.  We also decided that Laila would want our family to do things together that would bring us closer and allow us to have fun together so we wrapped a gift from her and put it under our tree.  We are saving the gift until Sunday so we can open it up and do something fun together.  

On Christmas Eve the boys helped me make sugar cookies for Santa.  We were doing homeschool still so I found this awesome baking math packet online and we talked about measurements and how to bake (wash hands, reading recipes, etc).  The cookies turned out so good.  We sprinkled crumbled peppermint on top of the frosting and they were delicious.  

Before bed we sprinkled reindeer food and left a cute picture Piper drew for the mommy and baby reindeer.  

The kids decided they all wanted to sleep in the same room on Christmas Eve so we brought Piper's mattress into their room.  She kept everyone up but they loved having her in the room.  Piper does not like sleeping in her room alone and has not slept through the night since early July.  She has come in to get us even up to six times a night some nights!  We have tried so many different things to get her to stay in her room and sleep through the night but if she wakes up and see she is in her dark room alone (even though we leave a night light in her room and the laundry room light on) she is scared and won't go back to sleep unless we walk her back to her room and cover her.  The night she slept in the boys room she slept through the night!  It was a miracle and such an awesome Christmas gift for us to get to sleep through the night.  If the boys weren't so much older than her I'd let her sleep in there with them every night.

Christmas day was such a wonderful, perfect day.  The kids were so happy with everything and spent the day playing and laughing and shooting their dart gun.  It rained all day long (it has rained for over a week and broke a 140 year old record for the most rain on Christmas day 2.19 inches) so we mostly stayed inside but I loved how peaceful the day was.  We made our traditional pizza for dinner.  We had a small Christmas miracle in the morning.  At the beginning of December we got our tree out and strung lights around it and decorated it.  It stayed lit for a few days and then suddenly stopped lighting.  We tried multiple things to get the lights to work but it stubbornly stayed off.  There was no way I was going to redecorate and string new light on it so it's been sadly sitting in our family room unlit all Christmas season.  I was feeling a little sad about opening gifts around our unlit tree but decided space wise it was better to open them in the family room instead of the dining room around our other small tree.  At the beginning of opening presents the lights suddenly came on and continued to stay on the remainder of the day.  At bedtime I hesitantly unplugged the tree, knowing that it would most likely not light the next day, and today it sits sadly unlit once again.  So, it was a small Christmas miracle and made me feel very happy for one day to have a brightly lit tree.