Friday, December 18, 2009

Home for the holidays

The kids got out of school early today for Christmas and I met them at the door with warm cookies and a living room that looks perfect.  I mean since all the shopping is done, the gifts are wrapped and the holiday menu is totally planned what else do I have to do?  Oh, and did I mention that because I budgeted and planned so carefully all year I had cash saved for every purchase so I don't have to redo the budget to fit our holiday gifts.  And my kids are all completely happy to sit and play board games and no one has complained that there isn't enough time to play video games or computer.

Okay--here's what we're really doing.

This is Dallin "trying" to get his chores done with Jenna and Benson helping.

Landon is supposed to be putting all the toys away.  In this picture he's playing catch with everything he can find including Jenna's ponies and Benson's bear. And of course he had no intention of making them squeal...

And Austin.  Need I explain more?  His mother is so mean.  Chores!?! This is Christmas break!  (of course I use my mother's line--"this is a break from school not life.")

My sink is literally piled with every cup we own because everyone has determined that hot chocolate is the only acceptable beverage choice in the week before Christmas.  There is literally not one single clean cup in the entire house.  It's been this way all week.  
The laundry--oh the laundry.  

Other than that we are doing well.  Jenna has the placement of every ornament on the tree memorized.  I added a couple of new ones the other day and she pointed out exactly which ones they were.

I am going to have to get out my creative and patient mothering handbook out for this next week.  I'm sure it will be fun! 


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The 10th day--Healing

We almost forgot our devotional tonight.  Tuesday is always the busiest night for Rustin.  Tonight was stake meetings night so I knew he wouldn't be home until after 10:30.  As I put the boys in bed they reminded me that we hadn't had our 10th night of Christ.

Matthew 9:18-26

A father came to the Savior in sorrow over the death of his daughter.  He knew that Jesus could bring her back to life if He would but lay his hand on her.  As Jesus arose to go to the girl he felt someone touch the hem of his robe.  

When he turned he found that a woman had touched his robe seeking to be healed.  The savior said,
Daughter, be of good comfort, thy faith hath made thee whole.
 He then continued to the home where the maid lay dead.  He took her by the hand and she arose--dead no more.

I love that the savior called both the young and old (or at least older) women "daughter."  He healed and loved the people he lived with. I don't think his feelings are limited to physical proximity.  The Savior loves us and He really will help us through our trials in the way that is best.  We have to trust that the Lord will do what is best and be at peace.

We listened to two of the songs from the Women at the Well program, Daughter arise, and Close enough to touch.   

Then we had a great discussion about what happened to the church after Christ died.  (It fell into Roman control, a council of men voted on which doctrines would be most uniting and excepted in their country and "Christianity" was changed forever.)  Or at least for hundreds and hundreds of years until some very inspired people began again to read the Bible and ask the Lord for direction.  Those questions of course eventually led to the story of Joseph Smith.  Which we will save for another day.

Monday, December 14, 2009

On the 11th day...Blessed are the peacemakers

We decided to start with the early days of the ministry of Christ.  The sermon on the mount was the subject matter for the entire year of talks when Rustin was on the high council.  He and I both learned a lot from studying these simple teachings.  

Matthew 5:1-12

What it really comes down to is learning to live and teach and treat others the way that Christ does. It is really very simple and beautiful.  When we do things that help us feel the spirit of the Savior, our actions will follow.  

That is part of the reason we give each other gifts at Christmas time.  We are striving to make the life of those we love a little more pleasant and in return our own lives are blessed because we invite the spirit of the Savior.  

We took the kids shopping for each other.  They traded names a couple of weeks ago. I had nothing to do with that--Dallin tore the tiniest pieces of paper and they drew our of Landon's camping hat. They each got to come in my room one at a time and wrap the gift.  I had to talk Jenna out of wrapping Austin's present in pink paper.  Dallin wrapped Jenna's gift in the pink paper instead.  She was thrilled.  

Benson has told me at least a dozen times since then that he is most excited for Christmas so he can see what his brother got him and so he can watch Landon open his present ("He's going to LOVE it.").   I think it's a good thing.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

On the 12th day of Christmas--light

We talk of Christ, we rejoice of Christ, we preach of Christ and we write...that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. 2Nephi 25:26

We are going to take the next twelve days before Christmas and talk and teach about something from the life of Christ.  It is my hope that our family will better remember the beauty and hope that Christ brought to the earth.  It is because of the life and death of Christ that we celebrate His birth.

For tonight our scriptures were from Doctrine and Covenants  6:21 and 50:24 and 84:46 

Christ came to the world as our Savior.  When we follow the path that he laid we will not be lost in the darkness of confusion, selfishness or sorrow.  Everyone upon the earth has the light of Christ available to them.  We just have to learn to watch and follow the path.

Each child got a flashlight (with a ribbon to hang around their necks--finally no lost flashlights!) and lots of smiles.

Helping me to feel grateful and inspired

I just read this series of articles in its entirety.  I am touched and motivated.  You won't want to miss this...

Stephanie and Christian Nielson

Rockin around the Christmas tree

This last week was filled with sickness, laundry, overdue homework and a husband busy with tithing settlement... The freshly cut Christmas tree from Franklin was replaced with piles of half empty Christmas boxes. (We didn't get to go to Franklin this year after Thanksgiving...) I've been missing the holiday cheer that keeps me going this time of year.  Really missing it.  I mean like struggling-to-get-out-of-my-pajamas-before-noon....

Then, just when it felt like there was no rescue in sight, we had the perfect Saturday. 

No scouts, birthday parties or meetings.  Just us.  The weather warmed up to a toasty 32 degrees (compared with the previous -0 weather of the last couple of weeks. Rustin proved to the boys that he can still take all of them in a snowball fight.  Though I'm not sure how long that will last...

And we had all of my brothers and sisters home for our Patterson Christmas party.

We danced around the Christmas tree and ate lots of good food and played lots of games and sang Christmas songs.  

When we came home the house was clean and organized.  (At least to a tolerable degree...) Ahhhh. 

And today my sisters helped me regain my sense of family and purpose.  They couldn't have given me a better Christmas gift.

Tonight will be our first annual night of the Twelve Days of Christ--a new idea I have to help us really enjoy the spirit of the season.  I'll write more on that later.  In the mean time I am going to try to relax and enjoy the things I love.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thanksgiving is good, Thanksliving is better!

I saw that quote on a local church.  

I can't agree more. 

Sometimes when my perspective is skewed (that happens a lot lately...) it seems like the only way to find balance is to physically do something to remind myself of what I'm thankful for.  

Visiting teaching helps (thinking of someone else is always a good idea...).  

Counting the pairs of jeans that do NOT have a ripped knee while doing the laundry.

Vacuum the front room which is often the only clean room in my house.

The other day Benson was having a very rare complete crying melt down and finally he sobbed "just put me in the rock-a-bye and I'll calm down don't you know!"  So I held him and we rocked and I felt calm and peaceful.  And Thankful.

I left my heart in...

San Francisco.

Rustin and I had four awesome days all to ourselves (with a few continuing education classes thrown in...).  We actually split our time between San Fran and Monterrey.  We hardly took any pictures because we were too busy enjoying the moments.

But the ocean and the people and the food and the smells... It was all wonderful.

We fell in LOVE with Wicked.  We owe a huge Thank You to Juli for making us go.  Honestly one of the best things I have ever experienced. The story.  It's just beautiful. We are all better better because we know each other.

We also got to spend the night with Jessi and Eli and their 2 and 3/4 kids.  They are very happy.

The streets were so tall and narrow we felt like we were exploring slot canyons back in Arizona!

We loved one afternoon when we walked from the pier up to China Town just as all the kids were getting out of school and everyone was stopping at the outdoor markets for their fresh foods for dinner. Probably one of the most memorable parts of the trip--just seeing regular life in the center of the city.

 I came home with the knowledge that the world is beautiful in all its different varieties.  And I reminded myself that being with Rustin is still my first choice.  Everything else is just icing.