Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

We visited G-ville yesterday and today for Christmas celebrations.  P's family has  lot of traditions for Christmas Eve and it's really fun.

P bought us tickets to go see Signing Time in January.  He made a print out of the tickets and gave them to the children.  lP got hers first and M as very jealous that lP was going to get to see the show.  Then M got hers.  Poor G spend 5 seconds thinking he was left out.  Then they all got them and there was celebration.

I love how grateful the children are.  They are pretty awesome. 

We did have to leave after a quick lunch because lP triggered a spiral of death.  She took 2 pieces of meat, when I asked her to take one.   Then she dropped one on the floor.  So I got mad, then P is mad because I am mad, and lP's behavior becomes a huge issue. 

I'd just like for her to follow simple instructions.  It's difficult for me to understand why I get so mad about it.  But Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2014

favorite Christmas songs

HB wrote about her favorite Christmas songs and so I thought I would to.  For a long time my favorite was "Angels We Have Heard On High".  I don't know how old I was but I remember it was a pretty big accomplishment when I could finally sing the Glo-----------ria without taking a breath in the middle.   And I remember when I was a teenager realizing that the music didn't match the alto part I had learned over the years.

Last night I started to teach M "O Holy Night".  It's pretty awesome being able to sing with my children. 

I feel upset at them a lot.  And singing with them is one of the best ways for me to enjoy being with them.  Singing is like that.

I wrote to a friend recently.  I knew this friend way back in the day of Geoff's infancy.  Writing to her got me thinking about how much I loved the place we were in back then.  P was a band director.  We got to sing in a wonderful choir.  Even when G had cancer, we still had wonderful music.  Then G lost his hearing and we started down a very lonely path where participating in music hurt.

So now we're in a place where there is not so much music.  But the music we have comes from us.   My heart is tied to the people I share music with. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

How did I end up here?

I've never been big on Santa.  I self-righteously like to say that I only tell my kids to believe in approved religious persons.  We only give the children one gift each because they have 4 grandparents plus aunts that give them gifts.  They get so many wonderful things, and we're not in any competition.  So I just get them 1 thin that I think they'll enjoy.  This year the gifts were each less than $10.  Booker's gift was $1 at a thrift store. 

I had a discussion with someone that wanted to have a gift exchange with a $5 limit.  I feel like gift exchanges among acquaintances are somewhere between dumb and a bad idea.  The children that aren't even getting the gifts themselves, what did it cost them?  What does it mean to them?  When they're giving something without knowing the recipient, does that even teach good giving?  Arguably it teaches them to give as they would receive.   What about the families that are already strapped after just paying taxes, and buying gifts from their families?  (Here I expose my bias since only home owners pay taxes, so they must be rich anyway. Right?) 

We don't go into debt.  I have a bad habit of seeing everything I could not afford, as though someone is going into debt for it.  Maybe they are, maybe they're not.  And if they are, maybe they don't look on debt like the plague.  So a lot of Christmas extravagances, to my judgmental heart, seem like "putting dumb on broke." to misquote Dave Ramsey.

P is the seminary teacher and the seniors planned a party that includes a gift exchange.  He said he can see how uncomfortable some are at the price and the expectation.  He told them it's more important to be there than to bring a gift.  And he went and got some awesome extras.  Who does not want a box of Star Crunch?  Brilliant.

But the kids that "have" just can't imagine what it's like to "have not".  They can't imagine the embarrassment of not being able to come up with something as simple as a gift for someone who doesn't need anything.

Last year I spoke up in Ward Council about the youth temple trip that included a restaurant lunch.  They "sweetly" planned that they would cover any youth that needed it.  I tearfully told them that the kids that can't buy their lunch will just say they're not hungry.  Or they will waste the money they have, on a lunch that's expensive, so they can fit in.   It sets the kids up for taking a hand-out.  Why is it so much to just ask kids to bring a lunch, or at least make that an option. 

So in all this tizzy of self-righteousness, I have failed to teach my own children the magic of giving.  I read an blog today about Santa.  The author tells her children that Santa is so grateful for the gift of the Savior that he wants to give everyone presents.  I thought that was pretty brilliant, and puts the emphasis right back where it should be.  So I told my children about that.  And this year they are going to be secret Santas. 

I wrote down the names of family we will see on Christmas, and had them draw names.  Then we went and bought simple items, many of them food items.  The children, I hope, will get to see how fun it is to do something with someone else in mind, and to not take credit or it.

So now I love Santa.  I'm grateful for the person who shared that idea.  Once again, I'm super slow on the up-take. 

Monday, December 15, 2014


As I look out the window, I notice that the sweetgum tree that I thought would never change color, has started to get yellow.  Autumn/Winter is so strange here.  This year I paid more attention to the change.  As in, I really wanted to see some changing leaves, and so noticed them a lot more.  We have so many live oaks, and pine trees, you really never see swaths of color.  But this year taught me to look for it.

Today we stayed in town for the 2 hours G was at school.  We did 4 errands, including my flu shot, way overdue.  We also got a round of Jr. Frosties with the coupons from halloween.  What a deal!  I find that if you cut the straws down to about 6 inches, they look really cute and that's important when you're trying to make sure the kids think this is the best treat ever.

 This is M at her desk of joy.  She is obviously the one with the most hoarder genes in the family.
 B loves to take the ornaments off the tree.  It is what it is.
G's going to be 10 in 10 days!  Crazy.

Friday, December 12, 2014

2 cents

lP is an adorable child.  Yet she drives us crazy to the point of seriously bad parenting.  I'm trying to change the way we react to her.  Usually she's done something minor, that bothered M or G.  They freak out and then I am really mad.  I need to re-train myself to really look at what she actually did, and not freak out because I'm so annoyed by how annoyed M and G get.  It's hard.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Seminary in the front room

Our building is closed for 1 year.  It's crazy.  In the meantime we are driving 40 minutes to attend church as the 3rd ward in a building in "then next town over" though you go through 2 others to get there.  Apparently the AC broke down and the building got horribly corrupted with mold.  It was making people sick...  And so there are people from SLC in charge of the renovation and it's going to take a year because they are getting the AC system re-done and de-humidifiers installed.  I just don't get why that takes a year.  This seems to be coming off as critical, but it's more that I'm just so bewildered that it would take a year to fix this.  They're not talking about renovating the building, just fixing it.  But for some reason there is some permit timing that is slowing it to that point. 

P is the Seminary teacher and after 2 months of holding seminary in commercial locations, it's being held in our front room.  1 commercial location would not give P a key and would show up late several days a week.  The other commercial location was cramped. 

Some of the ways it blesses our family to have seminary at our home is that P can make it to work on time when he just has to walk into the back room.  It also forces me to keep the house a little closer to the level of cleanliness that I actually like.  It also has our children all excited for when they are old enough to attend seminary.  Another blessing is that we moved the organ into the girls room.  So now M will play late at night and early in the morning.

I finally passed off the song I've been working on.  M is so nice and lets me pass things of at a slow tempo.  Unfortunately she's now 2 songs ahead of me!