Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Sundee

The Sunday before Christmas, we took our sweet time getting ready for Church. Again, I wanted to let the kids (ahem, and their Mom) sleep in and then evaluate them to make sure they were well enough to go. We were all void of fever and eating well. We made it to Sacrament meeting and thankfully, they weren't symptomatic.

I was so glad we were able to go. The kids were invited to go on the stand and sing with the other primary children. Lottie made it through one song and then, to our surprise, darted back down to where we were sitting. My little runaway candy cane looked seriously distressed. I was nervous that she was about to throw up or something but when we asked her what was wrong, she sweetly (and sadly) replied,

"Too many people were looking at me!" Andrew scooped her up in his arms, kissed her and said back,

"I completely understand that feeling." The meeting brought a beautiful feeling to our day. The music was beautiful.

So much love (and craziness!) here.

That night we went to my Mom's house where we were reunited with my brother Mark's family. They live in Alaska so having them in town is a major deal. My wonderful Mom had their Christmas houses waiting for them to decorate. She is tireless, it would seem, when it comes to creating these fun memories. Both of our Nanna's are simply amazing.
Forrest was in heaven. It took him awhile before he clued into what was going on but once it clicked in his brain that candy was covering the table and accessible, he was glued to that spot and begging his cousins to pass him treats.

After a delicious dinner, we watched as the kids put on the nativity. Forrest volunteered to be apart of the stage crew as he climbed on a piece of furniture and began playing with light switches.

Wanting to take after their Mom, the kids all chose to be "wise"-men. It's my blog. I can take liberties like that. :)
Lottie was a little disappointed that her present was empty. She opened it up after it was over thinking she'd find something special. :)
It was a great night.

Sickness Creeps In

The Grinch arrived early this year. However, instead of stealing presents he gifted us with a seriously ugly illness. It presented itself in different ways, depending on the Flegal. For the two boys, there were "upset stomachs," which is a fairly soft description of what transpired. For the girls, Mom included, there were fevers, chills, aches, sore throats and a lot of coughing. It was not pleasant. Lottie was especially hit hard. She was in pretty good spirits, as long as we kept the fever reducer flowing, but it lingered for days. 

Did I mention that Andrew was out of town? That Grinch timed his cruel plot so well. ;)

This morning during our family scripture study, we talked about cultivating an attitude of gratitude. So, if I was to try to apply our lesson to today's blog post, I would point out the good things that came from our week of "yuck."

We shifted out of the hustle and bustle holiday gear into something more low key. There was more cuddling, I cleaned the bathrooms really well and extra time spent in the bathtub and/or shower. Hopefully I was more tender as I handled my sick babes. It's for certain that the kids stepped up and helped more (depending on who was healthy) when they could as they knew I was struggling myself to keep it together without Dad. Friends and neighbors stepped up with acts of service to our family which is always very appreciated. Just yesterday, a friend brought us a big crock pot of chicken noodle soup and rolls. I'm feeling "behind" in regards to my Christmas preparation and am not 100% better myself, but I feel grateful that we are well on our way to being healthy for Christmas day (knock on wood).

Wanting to escape the house for a bit on Friday, Andrew (who was finally home) drove us to Willard bay to see the lights and visit Santa. We got there early which meant there was no line to see Santa. Knowing the children were void of fevers, they were allowed to sit on his lap and share with him their Christmas wishes.
 and for the grand finale:
Without having to wait at all, we boarded the train outside to go see the lights! I didn't know they'd have the train (I thought we'd be driving our car to see the light display), but thankfully we were prepared with hats, gloves and scarves. Bundling everyone up, we cozied up on the train to take in the pretty lights together. I was grateful for the fresh, albeit chilly, air and to be snuggled up with my kids.
You can't compare the lights to the majesty of Temple Square or Christmas Village, but the kids seriously enjoyed them. Christmas music played in the train which added to the ambiance which is probably what I love most about visiting Willard Bay. It's timed (and priced) just right for families with small children. We ended the night with peppermint ice cream cones. Brrrrr is right!

Other December happenings I'd like to note include:

Forrest is 19 months old! 
He has moved past mischievous into a phase of dangerous curiosity. He is a problem solver and is determined to accomplish what his mind has made up to do. Sometimes this impresses and delights us; while other times it is incredibly frustrating as we are constantly needing to step up our baby proofing game. I don't want to share his latest misadventure in detail as it still makes me sick to my stomach. Let me just say that it is important, friends, to put the safety plugs into all electrical sockets. I am not trying to be funny. It's not funny. It scared me to death. He's okay, thankfully, but it could have been tragic.

As for his big brother, look how handsome he is in his first grade photo.
 This past October, Henry was the student of the month. I am so proud of this boy. I love him, I love him, I love him.
Speaking of good kids that I love, I have a great Eliza story to share. During our week of illness, I dragged the kids into the school as I was checking Eliza in late. I wanted her to sleep in that morning and make sure she was no longer fevered. Having woken up feeling better, we decided to send her. I also needed to add money to Henry's lunch account as he has recently jumped on the school lunch train.

The secretary surprised me when she looked up, noticed me standing there and said,

"Oh, I have something for you!" I thought that was really odd for her to have something for me. Of all the parents who have kids at that school, she had something at her desk for me. She had no idea I was coming in that morning. She smiled as she explained:

"This note was found in the hall and it belongs to your daughter. It's just so cute, I thought you should read it." I was touched by her thoughtfulness in hanging on to this for me. She was right, this letter brightened my week in a big way.
Eliza has told me about this boy before. She likewise thinks he is a great friend. I know that he makes her laugh. It was so nice of him to write this for her. Anytime you hear your child is kind from someone, it feels good. This sweet letter was no exception.

Christmas Village

While Eliza marveled at the lights in Disneyland, we treated the other children to a (slightly less) spectacular sight closer to home. Our return to Christmas Village was another reminder that we've lived here longer than any other place in our ten years of marriage. We are getting ready to celebrate our fourth Christmas in our home and I'd like to say that our family remains content and settled. I'm grateful for that.
 This year, we were happy to have the Chamberlains and Nana Marie join us. :)
Forrest's supply of patience was running low when we noticed that the line to see
Santa was exceedingly long. We told Henry we'd see Santa another time; 
which was truly disappointing for him.

Cookies are only a temporary solution to keep a baby happy.

Eliza goes to Disneyland! (and then blogs about it!)

I'm so excited to introduce you to a very special writer: Eliza Grace Flegal! She will be making her blogging debut today as she recaps a most exciting adventure she had to California! Here she is:

Hello,people! Once upon a time a girl went to... wait! That is wrong!  It all started when we were driving up to Nana Teresa's and Bubba's  home. My family was jumping up and down because  they were so  excited for me to leave.Ah!!!!! I AM LYING AGAIN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry. It was me jumping up and down.As soon as we got there,we said our good~byes,then left. I had permission to use the computer, so I played until my cousin Syrelle arived.We started to snooze so we would be hyper enough for the big,huge,giant day. 

Yawn .Okay.Wait where were we?Oh right,the plane.Me and Syrelle woke bright and early.We walked down the hallway to the kitchen where we ate breakfast.After a nice meal of '' Apple Jacks'' Burp sorry that was me.
 Where were we? Oh right,after we ate our breakfast, me and my cousin went online and watched videos about Disneyland rides. We quickly decided the rides that we should ride  and the rides we would not ride.My fingers are about to fall off from typing.Sorry . Back to the post. Here was our list of rides we HAD to ride.1.California Screaming 2.Tower Of  Terror.I know it is short , but we were going to ride the rides over and over again.Finally , it was time to go to the airport. we drove for about 15 minutes to get to the air port. Once we were there, we got out of the car. We did all of the stupid things we had to do at the airport. Then we went to the bathroom and waited for the thingy to call our row to go on the plane.Once our row got called,we walked onto the plane.

We went to find a good row.Then we saw a row that had a great view and comfy seats. Once we sat down ,we made our selves at home.I read my book and ate some treats that I  had packed. It took about 30 minutes for the plane to start rolling.It took about 30 more minutes for the plane to start flying.It felt so cool to just be up in the air like that.The plane ride was about 3 hours long .So I had packed some things to do .       1. a really good book 2.a new note book to doodle in crayons,markers, and pencils.4.yummy yummy snacks to eat.I got to use all of these things at least 5 times.There were TV's on the back of the chairs,but they had know head phones.Bubba brought 2 pairs of headphones, but Syrelle got to use them .As soon as the plane landed,we were of to the hotel.[ kind of]

After we got of the plane, we went to the baggage claim. We waited for our bags to come out for10 minutes.Then we went to a car rental place.We rented a black,shiny,small car with 5 seats.2 in the front and 3 in the back.Then we headed to the hotel.We arived at the Ayres Hotel at about 4:00. We explored the hotel for 30 minutes then started to decide where we should eat dinner. At 5:00,we decided to go to Carl's Jr. for dinner. We came back at 5:45.We watched some TV to kill some time. At 7:05 our Uncle Mike arived. Me and Syrelle were really hyper, plus Mikey had not eaten dinner. So he took us on a walk to get dinner. Me and Syrelle were running, dancing, and yelling .We walked to ''Subway'' and  that is where Mikey ate dinner. Syrelle was so hyper that she went to the soda fountain,pressed the button for ice,caught the ice with her hands, and through the ice at me .She laughed so hard that she ran to the garbage can and threw up !  Mikey got us free ice water last minute.Me and Syrelle were really hyper so we needed to run outside,but since we had water in our hands,we could not run! Syrelle and I drank all the water really fast,and put the cup in the garbage can.Uncle fail! Me and Syrelle were still hyper,so Mike took us to go night swim and he would eat his sandwich by the pool.We swam for 2 hours then went  back to our room and fell asleep.


Okay. My mind is farting.Where were we?The last time I was writing this was on December 24, 2014  .But it is December 27, 2014. Oh, right.To the beach! We [by ''we'', I mean Syrelle and I.]woke up at 7:06 and quietly watched TV while the adults slept in. At 8:00,we went downstairs to eat breakfast and get our wiggles out. Then we went back up to our room,and were surprised that Nanna was waiting in our room . [ I think. I may be wrong ] Everyone got ready for the beach.Sunscreen,towels, and snacks . We hopped into the car , super excited for THE BEACH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We had not gone far when Nanna said we all needed to have a ''cool treat'' for the beach.Before you know it, we had stopped at 7 eleven for slushies. We ate are treats in peace until we had gotten to...
drum roll please... THE BEACH ! We ran out of the car and  headed to the water.The waves were really big so there were lots of surfers. I ran to the water and stood there for awhile until a giant wave wiped me out . I was under water for 6 seconds, and I couldn't see a thing. I went  back to recover from  the wave . after the wave incident , I went to look for for shells . I had collected  about 153 shells. After the beach, we went to go wash off. Everyone was freezing from the water, but me and Syrelle  were the coldest because the boys had shirts and Nanna had a cover up. We  stopped for lunner, A. k. a. , lunch and dinner.  Everyone said we should go to Chick ~ fa ~ lay ,so there we went . At Chick~ fa~ lay, the air thingy was REALLY cold, so me and Syrelle were practically dying. After Chick~fa~lay,we went to our hotel to relax and chillax  in the hot tub .We stayed in the pool for the rest of the day, then went in our  room, watch cartoons for 1 hour, then fell asleep.


EEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That was me pulling out my hair. Because I love love love love that place. Okay. Pull myself together. Deep breaths. Phew. My day started out when Syrelle started to jump on me so I could get up,[ or was that me? ] and get dressed.So I said '' Okay'' . After that, we went down to eat breakfast. Oh my gosh. After that we hopped in the car and was off, off, and away! We waited patiently and calmly [ not ] until we got there.When the car stopped, we got  out to the main entrance. Then we  paid the money so we could get in.The first ride we went on was 'Flyin' Tires'. Now I don't want to waste your time telling about all the rides we went on.Hey,don't you have homework or something you need to do? But I will tell you this. California Screaming was closed ! I am so sad . Sniff sniff.  Um... where were we? My mind has gone blank.We had the time of our lives on all off the rides. At the end of the day, it was time to go get our special stuffed animal,watch the parade, and go home . Of course, I chose Olaf, from 'Frozen' . Syrelle got the lion dude from 'The lion king' . We watched the parade and almost fell asleep because we had such a big day.After the parade,we went to  the world of color where I met a little girl who really liked me and thought I was controlling the waters and the colors.At one point,she started to speak SPANISH to me.Sorry,but all I speak is English and Chinese.[Sorry little girl if you are reading this ]  After the world of colors,we walked to the car. Oh, it felt so good to sit down after all that walking.We stopped at Burger King and grabbed dinner. We ate in the car, then as soon as we got to our room, we fell asleep. 

Nanna and Uncle Mike got on the plane at 7:00,while me, Syrelle,and Bubba lay a snooze. We woke up at 8:45 and the breakfast buffet ends at 9:00. We ran down the stairs in our pajamas to eat.We almost missed it! Phew. After breakfast,we got all packed up, and we went to visit the beach one last time . The air was salty,the sea was warm,and it was perfect.As we said our goodbyes to the beach, we washed, changed, and hit the airport.Bubba brought the rental car back to the place.Our flight was at 2 :00, and it was 12:00. We ate for about an hour because the people we ordered from  took forever. Then the whole waiting for the plane to take off thing takes about 1 hour so our time was used well. The flight back was the same as the flight there.It was about 5:00 when we got back at the airport.I do not know why, but it was really dark. I was so happy to see my mom at the airport . I went back home and was so glad to see my family.Well, that was the end of my amazing adventure. Till next time,
                                                                            Eliza Grace Flegal

One of my favorite photos: Eliza and Syrelle holding hands.
It was reported that they loved, loved, loved being together.
The photo quality isn't great, but Eliza is in the front spot with her head down. 
That's her braid, you see. :)
 All tuckered out!

A few memories from Mom (ali):

When I kissed Eliza "goodbye" at her Nanna Teresa's house, I was a tearful mess! I was so excited for her to have this experience but knew that I would miss her so much (and I did!). Before our "sad" farewell, we had fun packing for the trip together. It added a feeling of joyful anticipation. Eliza made me a list of requests for the types of treats and activities she'd like for the plane. I enjoyed choosing a few of these items and presenting them to her.

Nanna Teresa provided the girls with a few matching Disney outfits and pajamas; which they loved. The biggest highlight came when I surprised her with the seventh book in the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series. She has been longing for this book for months but at her school, the fifth and sixth graders are given higher priority as they are able to check it out before the children in the younger grades. So, thanks to a great price at Costco, I surprised her with her very own copy. She was THRILLED and slightly frustrated that I I told her she couldn't begin to read it until she was at the airport. :)

Other things I want to remember:
  • She put together a scavenger hunt for me before she left. She hid poems around the house with small trinkets to remind me of her. It was both clever and thoughtful. I loved it. 
  • I texted Bubba the morning they were to fly to California. He shared with me that Syrelle and Eliza were at the computer watching Disneyland ride videos on youtube; which increased their level of excitement. 
  • Uncle Mike arrived in California and spoiled Sara and me with photos and videos of the girls. You could see clearly how thrilled they were to be there!
  •  Eliza loved the beach! She has been to the beach many times but doesn't remember very many details so this was kind of a big "first" even though, technically, it wasn't. 
  •  She called me from Disneyland once. During our call, she requested that I please text Nanna Teresa her spelling words as she was nervous about her upcoming test that Thursday. :) I refused her request and told her to forget about school while she was in Disneyland. For the record, she got 100% on her spelling test later that week.
  • Uncle Mike told me how sweet it was to see her cuddle her new souvenir, Olaf, while watching the World of Color show in California Adventure.
  • Picking her up at the SLC airport was very exciting for me too. I couldn't wait to hug her. 
  • As we rode the shuttle back to the car, I was stunned to hear Eliza say that she and Syrelle had been on the lookout for "hot guys" while at the beach and in Disneyland. WHAAAAAAAT??? I had never heard her say "hot guys" before. Ever. That probably won't be the last time those two are on the prowl. Yikes! My response: "YOU ARE TOO LITTLE!"
 Thank you, thank you, thank you Bubba, Nanna Teresa and Mike for giving Eliza and Syrelle this very wonderful memory. She will remember and cherish it forever!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Adding a little Green to our Christmas - a visit to Temple Square

The holiday lights at temple square never disappoint. Taking a stroll downtown this time of year is a favorite tradition that was made extra special by grandparents and cousins.
The week following Thanksgiving, we did our best to squeeze in more time with our cousins from New York. On Wednesday, seeing as how it's "early out day" for the Flegal children, Nanna Teresa brought Truman and Chantel up to our house to play. Truman and Henry were scarce that afternoon as they disappeared upstairs to play. The girls, however, had fun baking peppermint kiss cookies with Nanna and me.  

They also danced for us.
Our visit to temple square that Thursday would be the last chance to see them before their flight back home. Having parked our car at city creek, we made our way to Main Street where we found everyone marveling over the candy window displays.
As I watched my children stare at each sweet masterpiece, I wished that I could peek inside their little minds for a moment. I longed to feel that rush of Christmas anticipation that a scene like this might  inspire in the heart of a child. Turning my attention across the street, I took in the majesty of the temple and felt a sudden surge of Christmas spirit. In that moment, I was grateful that my aged heart could feel merry on its own.  
The kids chased each other along the pavement, walked along the edge of the water features, were told (again and again) to climb down, asked for cookies, reluctantly posed for photos, asked for cookies again, talked about which color of lights were their favorite, listened to a choir of sister missionaries sing and asked again... if it was time for cookies.
Finally, we said "yes." Having randomly bumped into our generous friends the Downers, we were also treated to cups of hot chocolate.
Sour? Who me?

The exploration continued until Forrest's mood turned a little sour. We said our "Goodbye's" to those cute cousins and Aunt Liz; whom we all love so much.
Best buddies.
Until next time!

On the way back to our car, we stopped to watch a very exciting fountain show, set to holiday music, at City Creek. With the exception of Forrest, we were all enchanted by it. Forrest was scared out of his mind. He began to scream in his stroller. Henry, sweetly, answered the call.
At which point, my night was completely made.

The next night, we gathered at our ward for a Christmas party. The children participated in a nativity. Lottie and Henry were both asked to be animals. This is what we came up with.
Henry is a sheep and Lottie is a cat.
Eliza sang with a host of heavenly angels. 

We really love our ward. It was a lovely night.

And, because I love this picture so much, I'll end with this.