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. 

1 comment:

The Duke said...

I loved reading this post. Makes sure you print off and hang those pictures of Piper. They are priceless!