Jammies and a movie from grandma and grandpa. Church on Christmas Eve (which I love). And a Christmas Eve party with the Roberts, complete with Poppee the Snowman, the starring character in the skit/song Macy made up.

Learning to Give

One of the things I love most about Christmas is trying to help my kids love giving. This was Hadley’s list for the year. She had to do a job for every present she wanted to buy, and in the beginning she wasn’t too keen on doing it by herself. Finally, I just took a day and we did them together. And she worked her tail off all day and had the best time. She was so excited to pick things out at the Dollar Store and wrap them all by herself. On Christmas morning, we let the kids give their presents to each other first and it made me so happy to see their excitement when someone opened a gift from them.

Music

Carston had his choir concert. The junior high has a great teacher who makes it fun to be there. John might not feel the same, but I love attending their concerts.

The kids also had their Christmas piano recital. It isn’t always easy having the kids take lessons. There are plenty of times when I wonder if it is worth the time, money, and emotional hassle to make sure they are practicing and progressing. I’m the end, I decide it is. I love having music fill our house, and I love that they are working on a skill that requires them to progress little by little (because isn’t that how all good things in life are gained?). However, Carston has wanted to quit for a very, very long time. And I’ve been dragging my feet. I’ve prayed a lot about it, and I felt like it was time to honor his ability to choose. We have some details that need to be worked out about how many hymns he needs to master and when he will practice those, but he is officially done with lessons. And I guess I will have to be okay with that.

Busy Busy

It seems like life is racing by too quickly. We try to cut back on our activities, but there are a lot of us! My goal for December was to say no to everything I possibly could, no matter how good of a thing it would be for me or my family, and no matter how small it was. I’m really happy I’ve been doing that. Last year, it seemed like we didn’t fit in the holiday things that were important to me, and this year we are. I’m reading Christmas stories to the kids, we are watching movies together, baking, and just having more time together. It has been really nice.

  • I love that Carston chose this nickname to put on the back of his Chamber sweatshirt. Avery participated in her first ballroom event with the team from her school. We had no idea what to expect when we went, but she did sooo good! It was our first time seeing her dance ballroom. Her color team even won gold. It was hard to know exactly what that meant, but we know it was good. Macy and Kate also had their performance and I LOVED watching them too. It’s always fun to see everyone’s personalities come out on stage. Hadley had her preschool program which would have been fun, but they had so many kids packed together we couldn’t even see her. She thought it was pretty great though. My mom and I took the little girls to Festival if Trees. Avery had her first experience of buying clothes since we started the family economy and that’s her responsibility now. She did a good job picking out some cute things. Hazel is adorable still and LOVES doing puzzles. I’m pretty sure she does them everyday. I’m completely biased, but she seems pretty skilled for a two year old. She did all these by herself while I cleaned floors. It’s also been rough because I have to wake her up from her nap so frequently to go get the girls from school. And Hadley thinks it is really amazing when she and Hazel can wear matching clothes. I love that they are becoming such good friends. Their hugs melt my heart.
  • John has been busy with work, helping people in the elders quorum, and pulling off the ward Christmas party. And helping me with the kids.
  • I’ve been trying to figure out how to fit exercising back into my life, trying new recipes, and baking LOTS more since our family went off sugar. It has been a little over a month and everyone is doing really well. I’m surprised at how well. Macy and Kate say that lunch time is hard. Avery thinks it is getting pretty easy to turn things down, and everyone is holding strong. I’m proud of them for doing something so hard.

Avery Lion King

I guess I didn’t post about Avery being Scar in her school’s production of The Lion King. She was amazing! It was so fun to watch her up there, especially knowing how hard she has worked in so many ways. She thoroughly enjoyed it and made many good friends, which was good since this is a new school for her this year. I loved every second of watching her.

Thanksgiving

We had a great Thanksgiving Break that was filled with lots of fun activities. Heather and her family came, and we all slept at Grandma and Grandpa Olsen’s for a few days. I somehow became the party planner which was a little stressful. It’s hard to plan activities for people ranging from 2-65 that will make everyone happy. We saw Wonder, went bowling, laser tagging, the older people did Top Golf and Get Out Games. The kids sewed bears with Grandma, and they went skiing while grandma and I stayed behind with the little ones. It was fun spending time with each other.

We survived!

Macy had her last volleyball game of the season. She has a perfectionist streak, and at the beginning of playing volleyball, it was hard for her to not be amazingly skilled at it. I was really proud of her for deciding to just have fun and not be too hard on herself. She had a pretty great coach and several friends on her team. We all survived our first week of no treats! I was inspired by a story of someone else who didn’t eat treats for a year, and I wanted to try it. I knew it would be pretty hard if the whole family wasn’t on board, so we offered a pretty big incentive: a big trip to Hawaii or a cruise. I think everyone is leaning toward Hawaii right now, but we need to do a little research. I think it has made the kids aware of how frequently they are offered a treat. It has also made them check labels and be aware of how much sugar is added to food. Our rule is 3 grams or less of sugar. Their assignment this week is to find some recipes for some treats so we have something we can have something to indulge in over the upcoming holidays. The FSO has been keeping me busy this week (I don’t remember if I mentioned that I’m the president. We had a fun night at Classic Fun Center, but I only got a picture of Macy and Hadley. Hadley had a great day when Macy gave her unicorn hair and I let her put on her own lipstick. She thought it was easy to put on. One of my recent goals was to make green smoothies for my family everyday. I ended up tweaking our morning routine to fit it in.  Poor John has to get out of bed for scriptures now, so then everyone can drink their smoothie while we read. Sometimes I wonder if it is even doing anything for our kids, but I just have to trust that it does. Hadley and Hazel wanted to be just like Kate with their towels on their heads after bath time. We got a picture from BYU back from Halloween. Hadley is trying out a new killer smile.

I’ve been trying hard to cut things out of my life that aren’t necessary so I can have greater peace and joy. I felt guided as I prayed, but it is taking longer than I’d like to disentangle myself from some responsibilities. I’ve been struggling a bit personally, and have been pleading for help, but like most things meant to help us grow, the answers have been slow in coming. I feel a little bad for John that he doesn’t have the best wife right now. But I’m sure things will work themselves out.