Sunday, January 5, 2014


Akayla came home almost a week before Christmas, and we spent that extra time going to doctors, dentists, and church leaders.

She has submitted her mission papers and is waiting for her mission call in the next couple of weeks!
We actually found out that she has been assigned, so we're waiting for a big packet in the mail any time now!!!

Knowing that this is most likely the last Christmas we will all be together for some time (after Akayla leaves for 18 months, Corina and Tanner will both have their turns to leave also) made me really reflect on some things.

Instead of feeling sorrowful (like I did when Akayla went to college), I decided to embrace these changes and find the joy in this journey.

Christmas Eve and Christmas morning were exactly what I needed!

We made a delicious dinner together and ate by candlelight.

Our kids each have a sibling that they buy a gift for - they save money and search out the perfect gift for their sibling.

They each took a turn giving their gifts to each other, and it was so tender and special.

They each got a new pair of pajamas, and then of course we took pictures.

We also always get a new Christmas book which we read together, and then Dave read to us from the scriptures.  He always reads the story of Christ's birth in the New Testament, and then he also reads the beautiful story in the Book of Mormon when wonderful signs were given on the American continent of Jesus Christ's birth.  It was one of those moments when all of the kids were quiet and listening, and the spirit was so strong.

One of our favorite Christmas Eve traditions is going out to look at all the beautiful lights in our town.

Elora had made the cutest little Polar Express tickets for everyone, and I found the best hot chocolate cups with lids.  We brought our hot chocolate and hopped on the Polar Express (or as we affectionately named our suburban - Bertha!).  We always sing and giggle like crazy as we look at the lights.  This year we had to sing over Mason's loud crying.

When we got home the older kids had to go do their paper routes so they didn't have to on Christmas morning (seriously, I'd love to know why people need a newspaper on Christmas - can't they just give news-carriers a break a couple days a year??!!!).  We set up mattresses and sleeping bags downstairs for all the kids, and they watched The Santa Claus until they fell asleep.

Though I had everything wrapped and all my stocking stuff separated into ziplock bags, I was still up until about 3:00 setting everything up.  It just takes a long time!

 Christmas morning our kids woke us up at about 8:00 - Tanner played the drums nice and loud so we would wake up!

We keep things very simple on Christmas - 3 small gifts each, and to the world's standards --- nothing fancy!  But my kids were grateful, and we enjoyed the time together.

We spent WAY more on Landon than anyone else in the family.
I really felt this would be THE perfect gift for him!
I had several leads fall through on much cheaper rocking horses,
so we bit the bullet and bought a brand new one.
It was a worthwhile investment though - he loves it!

This is so Mariah - she had her little spot all set up and organized.
I also love that she's still wearing her PANDA hat from Annalisa from the night before
Mariah's favorite gift:  suspenders (??? she really wanted some this year haha!)

Tanner's favorite gift:  punch pass for 11 times at Randy's

Akayla's favorite gift:  EVERYTHING (she got mostly things for her mission)

Corina's favorite gift:  a new phone 
(to replace the one that turns off all the time and breaks apart
--thank goodness for free phones if you renew your contract!)

Adri's favorite gift:  stuff to paint & decorate her room

Anna's favorite gift:  her own straightner & hair dryer

Elli's favorite gift:  a huge art set

Lea's favorite gift:  play food & dishes set

our kids gave us each very thoughtful gifts, and so did our parents --
we feel so loved!

I found myself just sitting back and taking it all in.  

And it was truly joyful.  My heart felt like it would burst!

So much to be thankful for!

good things:
perfect days
white Christmas

1 comment:

Kassie said...

How exciting to be waiting for a mission call. I have loved being a missionary mom. It is so sweet to 'see' them grow spiritually and learn to love and serve others as well as the Lord. Kudos to Akayla for choosing to serve.