Monday, January 11, 2016

Christmas Day 2015, Let Us Reminisce

Christmas morning Eliza, Henry and Lottie danced into our bedroom at 7:45. Checking my phone, I thought,

"They are right on time." :) I wasn't surprised to see them when we did as they have a history of respecting our decision on when they can make their Christmas morning appearance. I was out of bed quicker than Andrew as I had a casserole to put in the oven and other mom related preparations that need to be completed before we could proceed with our Christmas morning fun! While brushing my teeth, for example, I reminded myself to soak in the moment. Weeks of excitement and anticipation had led up to this moment. Stare at their faces, amp up their excitement and relish their joy. It's okay if I sound over dramatic because I'm talking about Christmas morning with four little Fleglets, right?
From the stairs they were able to sneak a peek at their gifts and stockings. While doing just that, Lottie spotted a new beanie boo that was next to her stocking. Rather than squeals of delights, she found me in the bathroom and began to cry about how it wasn't the exact one she had hoped for. In Santa's was the exact one she had hoped for in October. She happened to change her mind in the days leading up to Christmas. Oh well! Rather than losing patience and offering a sermon on how she should be expressing gratitude rather than dismay, I told her to be patient. Maybe she could find space in her heart to love that particular beanie boo. I am pleased to report that they did bond instantly. Her tears were for naught and I am so thankful that I didn't let my feelings of frustration spoil our beautiful morning. #momwin
After taking several pictures, the children were allowed to look through their stockings. I sat back and watched as they enjoyed this moment together. Forrest was too distracted by a giant new tractor!
Oh, the fun that child is going to have with that tractor in our sandbox. Andrew pointed out that it can also be enjoyed in the snow. It hasn't left our family room yet, but I imagine that will happen sooner than later.
My children did not disappoint as they reacted in the best way possible to their gifts. It filled my heart with joy to watch. Santa was generous as he gifted them new Lego sets, American Girl type clothes and furniture, Bath and Body work goodies, Snap Circus sets, Nerf Guns, Magic Clip Princess dolls, a Star Lily Pony, magnatiles and more trains! Nearly two hours went by before they were through. The experience was drawn out a little due to a technical issue with the video camera. So there was a half time break in the middle of the excitement while we sorted out the issue. The children didn't mind. The grand finale came when the kids opened up their Lagoon Season passes. It was a gift from Andrew, me and Bubba and Nanna. So, if anyone wants to meet us at Lagoon this summer, please give me a shout!

Christmas morning highlight video:
Breakfast was delicious. That was followed by a visit from my parents. They stopped by to see what the children received from Santa. I loved seeing them. The kids did too. After a well deserved nap, if I may be so bold, we made our way to Salt Lake to spend time with the Flegals.
(Driving to Nanna Teresa's...
You can tell which Fleglet had napped before we drove down to her house!)
Nanna was busy in the kitchen when we arrived. She prepared a glorious salmon and ham feast. Uncle Mike was in town from Georgia. The Jensens and Taylors were also there. We enjoyed our meal and then turned our attention to the nativity. The children dressed up and Aunt Sara read the narrative. My favorite moment, possibly of the entire day, was when Forrest agreed to dress up as a lamb for the play. He was so adorable. I could barely stand it. To my great happiness and delight, he continued to wear it after the play was over.

A video of the nativities can be seen here:
That night the kids had a sleepover with their cousins. Breakfast the next day was delicious. The whole stay at Nanna's was dreamy. We left feeling both spoiled and incredibly thankful to enjoy our family as much as we do.
Re-reading these passages, its clear that we are blessed beyond what we deserve. Even so, we often hit bumps on life's daily path. I assure you that is true. We succumb to illness and injury. At times we struggle with contention and find ourselves in need of making things right as we forgive one another and repent. Parenting regularly brings stressful concerns into the forefront of lives and fear as we question whether or not we are making correct choices. Life isn't always rosy and pretty. And I would be naive to believe that our family is exempt from bigger challenges in the future. The point I would like to make is that when I take time write and record our family memories, I intentionally choose to focus on blessings, moments of joy and the triumph that comes after overcoming something hard. When I practice optimism in my blog posts, I tend to be more of an optimist in my day to day life.
The same is true regarding my testimony. When I share it in this space, it grows. So forgive me as I shift directions. Our life has challenges, but the blessings feel bigger. These blessings are generous gifts bestowed by a loving Heavenly Father. I testify that His greatest gift is our Savior, Jesus Christ. He was born in Bethlehem, in the most humble of circumstance to a courageous and virtuous mother. I admire Mary and marvel and wonder at how it must have been to raise and nurture the Savior of mankind. Likewise, I admire Joseph as he made the choice to stand by, support and protect her and God's holy Son. I am grateful for the accounts in the scriptures that offer insight into Jesus Christ's developing years. I am thankful for His life and ministry. As I have begun to teach my children about the blessing of the atonement and how we can utilize it in our lives, I feel truth. I may not understand the dynamics perfectly, but the pieces of truth I can share are a blessing. Parenting is hard. Have I mentioned that recently? The world is a wicked place and our children have fears and difficult questions. It would both surprise and break your heart to know some of the things my kid's have asked. I'm grateful for my testimony, as imperfect as it is, because I can provide them answers in these moments. I'm also thankful for the reassurance I feel from the Holy Ghost when I'm saying something right.

Christmas really can be the best time of the year when our attention is centered on the Christ child. That love that binds Him to us is that same feeling that we ought to cultivate within our families and other relationships. I'm thankful for Him, for the plan of salvation that provides a way for this family of ours to be together eternally. Our journey isn't one of perfection. In fact, I've yelled at my kids a few times while typing these paragraphs of testimony... so there's that. As I was saying, our journey isn't one of perfection but I'm thankful every day that I get to travel it with my beloved family.

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