Sunday, January 15, 2017

Farewell 2016!

Here's a look at how we spent our holiday break!

We cozied up by our "fireplace" and played Candyland. 
When Eliza is in charge of lunchtime, 
tablecloths, center pieces and tea cups are necessities.
One evening, Andrew and I went out with my Mom,
sister Ami and brother in law Adam. 
We went and saw Rogue One and then had dinner at Zupas. 
When we arrived, the theater employee encouraged us to keep our coats on.
"Our thermostat is malfunctioning in that theatre. 
Currently the air conditioner is on!" 
Meanwhile, it was snowing outside.

The temperature didn't bother me at all;
probably because I was really focused on the movie. I really enjoyed it! 
When we came home, I found Lottie cuddled up with cousin Callie.
It was pretty darn cute. 

Forrest wasn't thrilled when I explained to him that he would be moving on from nursery.
He has loved spending that time with our neighbor Trish and good friend Janice. 

Thankfully, his new teachers quickly won him over.
"I don't live in nursery anymore!"
He seems to be adjusting just fine.
Better than I am, that's for sure!

We have been blessed with a lot of snow this year.
At times I feel guilty that Andrew and I haven't made it a priority to get our kids up on the ski slopes.
The guilt lessens after a day spent playing in our own backyard.

And as Andrew would gladly remind you, "It's Free.99!"
I will never tire of this view.
My cute Dad.
My sweet baby.
Oh, I love that smile.

We were lucky to spend time with Uncle Mike from Georgia
and our Mays cousins from Alaska. 

Fleglets (insert imaginary heart emoji here)

When the Mays cousins arrived, Nana Marie planned 
a gingerbread decorating activity for the kiddos!
Including baby Reid (who is in the picture frame)
here's a {silly} photo of all her cutie pie Grandwees!

That same day, some of the older girls
cruised down to Station Park for a little shopping.
Eliza took home a haul of new clothes
thanks to her gift cards she received on Christmas. 

I don't have a photo to share along with this, 
but one of my favorite things about our break this year
was staying up late with her to watch the Harry Potter movies.
As a bonafide Harry Potter geek,
I have longed dream of sharing my love for Harry
and the wizarding world with my kids.

Eliza likes fell hard for these books.
Talking about plot twists, favorite characters, lessons learned, etc
has been a rewarding experience; one that I treasure. 

This post wraps up our holiday merry making for 2016.
Hopefully I can blog more in "real time"... wish me luck. 
Looking back, I am grateful we enjoyed good health during our 
reprieve from school and other responsibilities. 
For me, it really is the best time of the year.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Christmas Day 2016

For weeks, I was preparing myself for a Christmas morning without snow.
As much as I hope and wish for that magical scene of white,
we have been so fortunate in past years to enjoy a snowy Christmas.
Because of this, I assumed this year we would go without.

Sometimes, it feels so good to be wrong.

The giant flakes began falling on Christmas Eve;
close to the time that we were expecting Santa to arrive.
Imagining how the scene of white would add to the following morning's magic,
I was left with a big smile on my face when we went to bed.

The sky was still dim as I tiptoed into my kitchen Christmas morning to preheat the oven.
With the oven beginning to warm, I went over to the window.
The view outside stole my breath.
I deliberately delayed my return to my family as I wanted a moment just for myself.
Speaking of my family, just above me,
I could  hear the excited footsteps of my children.
It sounded as if they were dancing through the hall; jumping at times, as they asked their Dad once more, "How much longer will it be?"

(Their view from the top of the staircase.
They weren't aloud to leave the upstairs hallway!)

I knew once we invited them downstairs,
our time around the tree would pass by in a blink.
Yes, I was stalling.

In general, there exists a feeling that time is passing by too fast.
I can't escape or ignore it. There is an urgency to make memories.
The years of gathering my small, Santa loving, Fleglets on the stairs for a Christmas picture are limited.
And it hurts my heart.

While acknowledging how incredibly painful the holidays can be for others,
I am going to go ahead and allow myself this sadness.
It's okay to feel sad when thinking about my children growing up
because it's another indication that I love being a Mom.
The blessings of Motherhood far exceed the challenging moments.
And I feel more thankful than ever to claim it all; the good and the bad.

Look at me! I am stalling once more.
You see, I took a ridiculous amount of photos.
And because this isn't instagram and people choose to visit here simply because they want to
... I am going to share most of them!

I have a condition. I won't deny it.
When you combine my condition with a brand new Nikon D3400,
(thank you, Santa!)
things become out of control!

While the kids gathered themselves together for a picture,
I showed them evidence that Santa had actually been in our house.
Andrew caught him, took a photo with my cell phone, and then I showed the kids the next morning.

They were stunned!
All four of them gasped with amazement and begged to see the proof again.
That moment was so incredibly exciting and fun for me. 

Finally, we let them gather around the tree.
Before they could open anything, Daddy surprised me with my new camera.
I freaked out. I was so excited. 

The kids went through their stockings at the same time,
and then they sat around the tree and began opening their gifts one at a time.

First, I'll share a few family photos, followed by some individual pictures of the kids.

Eliza was given lego friends, a new coat, scarf, hat, ipod case,
a monthly crafting kit from kiwi crate and two gift cards to Old Navy and Justice.
She was also given a great book called,
The Care and Keeping of You.
She blushed when she first thumbed through it, but has since told me that the book
is both resourceful and informative.
She's also corrected some of the mistakes I am making as a Mom.
"You know Mom, we really shouldn't be brushing our hair when it's with a brush...
we need to get wide combs!"
I would highly recommend it to Mother's of tweens.

Cute Henry had a Christmas filled with Legos,
a Beddy, blue race track, a watch and a new snap circuit set.
There is this cute girl in  Henry's class.
He has had a crush on her since Kindergarten.
Most days, they spend recess together with some other friends.
She gifted Henry was a present this year.
It was a big pack of peppermint gum.
Whenever her name comes up, Henry giggles uncontrollably.
As my Mom put it, he is twitterpated.
It is the sweetest thing in the world to see.
In return, he gave me money to buy her a small set of lego friends
because he knows how much she likes them.

Lottie requested shopkins all season long;
and shopkins is what she got!
However, it was the unexpected American Girl doll that stole her heart!
It was love at first sight.
She named her Emily.

Forrest has been wishing me "Merry Christmas"
at random times during the day ever since the decorations were put up.
It has to be said that he also cried and cried when it was time for me to take them down.
This child is so enthusiastic about life.
Being around him is so rewarding because he is frequently expressing his love for me.

He speaks my love language and gets so excited about EVERYTHING;
which in turn, makes me want to give him EVERYTHING.
Santa must know this about him because he was gifted some fun things that morning. 

Christmas fell on a Sunday this year.
Our church met at noon which worked out well.
The kids had time to play and we were able to enjoy a nice breakfast together.

The most meaningful and important moment of our day was celebrating the Savior at Church.
I was able to tune out the fun and focus on the important as we sang hymns celebrating Christ's birth.
Eliza nearly fell asleep at one point because she hardly slept the night before,
but other than that, I think it was a special morning for each of us.

I felt the Holy Ghost as we sang, "Joy to the World."
Instead of thinking of His birth, I applied the sentiment to the second coming.
In our world today exists so much pain, hurt, sin, sadness, violence...
I long for our Savior to return again! It is my hope that we will be ready when He does.

"Joy to the World, the Lord has come!" 
Can you imagine sharing that news with those you love?
"Let Earth receive her King!
Let every heart, prepare Him room..."

and that's when I started to cry.
Have I made ample room in my heart for the Savior?
As selfish as I am, as focused as I am on the goals I have for our family,
have I kept a safe and open place for Him?
In that place, am I loving others the way He needs me to?

Sorry to turn disgustingly personal again but
it's been something I have thought about since Christmas morning.

Returning to the superficial fun of our day...

As soon as the kids were dressed, I went crazy with my new camera.
They looked so cute in their coordinating outfits.
(Another selfish Mom move, I might add!)

Here are a few photos of the kids playing together with their gifts.
I loved so much seeing how their presents brought them together.
(That is...until Forrest destroys a lego creation or two of Henry's!)
After church, we went to my parents home briefly.
It was our year to spend the day with the Flegals.
Still, I was so happy to get the chance to see my Mom and Dad and the Chamberlains.
Every year, my parents put together a family photo book.
Looking through it together is one of my most favorite Christmas traditions
and probably most meaningful.
If my Mom and Dad ever get around to reading this post,

Christmas dinner at Nanna Teresa's was likewise magical.
Wow, wow, wow.
It was delicious.
I enjoyed being with our family so much. 

I guess when Bubba came home from his mission, 
he wore these lederhosen off of the plane! 
Nanna Teresa thought it was time to pass them onto Andrew.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Gute Nacht!