Tuesday, December 3, 2013

'Cuz Have You Ever Seen Anything Cuter Than Sophi In Her New Christmas Dress?

Christmas and Cousins

I'm sitting here all warm and cozy in Jeremy's incredible new office, watching the beautiful snowfall outside.  As if this home couldn't get any more magical, it somehow has.  There is something about winter and a warm house that is just so peaceful.   Sitting in front of our amazing stone fireplace while watching the sun rise over snow-capped mountains fills me with such happiness.  The kind of happiness that makes you sigh with contentment.  And I wanted to take the time to say


This home is even more loved than the first day we moved in.  The miracle of it all has not lost its magic.  We are so thankful every single day.  Life is still hard so much of the time, but it's so much easier here!  (:  My grand plan is to put together a video that shows you all how much we are loving this home, but in the meantime-- know that we are feeling very, very grateful!

While pondering on the amazing blessings that this year has held for our family, we decided to do Christmas a little different this year.  A few weeks ago we gathered our children around  ago during family council and talked about the tremendous blessings we have received this year and the many people who sacrificed to serve our family.  We talked about the many children around the world who not only have less, but don't even have families.  Obviously, this is not a new concept to our kids.  And we talked about how Christmastime for us can be particularly crazy-busy.  Shopping for nine children is not an easy task, nor is it cheap.  Add in having them shop for each other, along with all of the other fun things that come with Christmas and it can seem daunting, to say the least.  Don't get me wrong-- I think presents are GOOD.  I love, love, love Christmas shopping and I love that presents are part of Christmas.  I think there are great lessons to be found in both giving and receiving and it's obviously such a magical part of Christmas, especially for children.  But this seemed like the perfect year to try something I've always wanted to do:  have just one Christmas without presents.

You could see the despair creep into their eyes as we got to this part.  Sophi burst into tears.  It's not easy to explain to a five-year-old all of the ways that she has been blessed this year when all she can think about is that she wants a new baby doll for Christmas!  (Don't worry--as soon as I reminded her that she does have two grandmas, all was well.  I am sure that she will not go without her new dolly.)

The more we talked about it, the more the kids were on board.  Santa will get a letter this year asking him to find another family who can use some extra gifts.  Skipping presents this year would free up a lot of time and a lot of money.  We talked about what to do with that time and money and came up with a game plan.  Every day in December we want to do something that brings us closer to Christ. Those things can basically be divided into two categories:  strengthening our family and strengthening others.   Obviously, these are both things that are part of Christmas every year-- but this year they will get even more focus.   The kids have had some wonderful ideas:

read a Christmas story every night before bed
go caroling at a nursing home
send care packages to loved ones
babysit while other parents go shopping for Christmas
have a p.j./game day
try new recipes
pay for people's groceries
serve at the homeless shelter
go ice skating
decorate a Christmas tree and deliver it to an older person who doesn't have one
watch Christmas movies
go sledding
contribute to other families adoption funds
go to Temple Square

We would love if you would add any ideas you might have in the comment section!!!  We are especially wanting some secret service ideas-- things we can do both individually and as a family.  We have already started and it has been wonderful.

Now… onto something else.  There are so many things I want to write about and I only have time for one.  Hmmmm.  How about a cousin shout-out!   We have been lucky enough to have all of the cousins from my side over recently-- all on different days.  So much fun!!  Our kids have the cutest cousins in the world.  No really, they do.  Want some proof?

From Becky's family (big sis)
 L to R back row:  Taylor, Alissa, Bethany, Parker
middle row:  Jessica, Mariah, Cali, Bryce, Lexi, Charity
front row:  Alaya, Sophi, Graci, Brigham

 The three amigos

The three amigos plus one

This wasn't  taken at our house, but I had to throw it in there.  This is Bethany-- she's a SENIOR-- what happened????!!!!!!!!  I feel old!!!!

Parker and Nyah
From Danny's family (big bro) 

 We babysat Nyah for a day and she LOVED Jesi.  In fact, Jes was pretty much her mommy the entire time-- it was so cute.

 Jeremy with Matthew (my little bro)

 Jessica with Emery (Matthew and Megan's little girl).  Yes, Jes has a knack for little girls.

 Lexi and Megan (Matthew's wife)

 Xander, Treyden, Colton, and Lincoln (little sister Leslie's boys)

 "the other Jeremy" throws Sophi in the air
(yes, my sister married a Jeremy, too!)

me and Les-- best of friends  (:

And, I thought I'd throw this one in there.  Sophi's trying to make the peace sign like Graci.  (;

Have a wonderful day!  Don't forget-- we'd love some creative suggestions!