Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Christmas Photo Album ~ 2015 Advent

Our tradition of advent is one we borrowed a few years back from our friends, the Jensens.  For each of the four Sundays before Christmas we gather with friends and family to enjoy candle light, sweets, carols and Christmas stories, and a considerable amount of chaos and noise.  

This year we gathered at the Jensen's, Slaughter's and our own house.  It is all a blur to me now which Sunday was where, but as I look back at these sweet pictures I can feel the moments they hold.

Kathy has lovely nutcrackers, pyramids, smokers and advent candle holders from her ancestral home of Germany, that set the mood perfectly.

It is always a little more reverent at the Jensen's!

Such well behaved children... (Ha! Just wait!)

One Sunday Advent was at our house.  Unbelievably, just the night before, the studio had been transformed for my sale.  Once the sale items had been packed away, it was a blank slate with plenty of room for a super-duper long table...for nineteen of us in all!

I don't know where he got the energy, but Guy made it all look magical-warm and glowwy-like. I was probably rocking back and forth in a corner somewhere.  Post Sale Insanity (PSI)  I honestly don't remember!

  RyRy and Nanobot.  Best buddies.  We tease that they have been betrothed.
 I'm frankly in it for the dowry, myself.  

Every week for the four weeks of advent, Adam was the human trampoline.  Dogpile!!!!  He tolerated it very nicely and successfully protected all of his most significant bits.

Where you find Adam, there you can always find Andrew.  I have a soft spot in my heart for this kid.  Andrew (one of my doula-babies) is nearly entirely to blame for the baby-cravings that preceded Jonah-boy's entrance into the world.  

The kids planned a sweet little gift exchange.  They drew names and made each other gifts.  I didn't even know about it!

Andrew and J-boy

Boys and fire.  
(No smelly little boys were harmed in the making of this photo)

"The Spread".
Sugar coma, anyone?

Advent at Joanna's featured bells.  The kids have been playing them in Primary at church, and it blew me away to see how well they followed the music, sight unseen.

Like I said... two peas.


Two handsome dudes we love!  Nathaniel and Dan.

Love these little guys.

Though some of my traditions got a little lost in the shuffle this year, Advent is one that, thanks to our dear friends, we managed to keep!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


It's four days after Christmas and I feel like the upside-down Christmas tree that has already appeared in our neighbor's green waste barrel.  How did I get here?  To the week AFTER the holiday that blew by like a red and green tornado?

Adam's birthday, Thanksgiving, the sale, and a family crisis all hit in 4 days.  Our house has been upside-down ever since.  Guy and I did our Christmas shopping in two days the week of Christmas, and while we managed to have a quiet Christmas Eve with the kids, and Guy and I tried to let go our attachments to all that we had not been able to get done, I have been, let's call it... re-evaluating.

I didn't get my village up in the window this year; no alligator hunting under the little ceramic bridge for the kids this holiday.  I never got the crimson velvet ribbons onto the tree, and my half of our "sweetie ornaments", the ones Guy and I have made for each other and gifted each Christmas Eve are still in the box marked "Fragile", next to the outdoor lights that never saw the outside of  the tin popcorn can they live in 11 months out of the year.  I skipped creating handmade ornaments for the kids, recycled a half-finished ornament for Guy, and never got around to finishing the advent calendar, or putting The Little's names on their stockings.  Worst of all, perhaps, is that for the third year in a row I have not painted a Christmas card painting, created the card or written a family letter.

There are many times that we have to let go of things; projects, expectations, plans that don't fit or aren't realistic anymore. That can be a good thing when it makes life more simple, helps us to balance our lives, and brings what is most important into focus.  But pendulums can swing, as they tend to do, too far.  This time letting go of so many traditions and plans has been a negative for me.  I'm a bit bummed that I let go of too many things.

I have also let my posting go here for what seems like forever.  There have been really, really good reasons, and I have even considered the possibility that writing here had run its course.  But as I look back at our year as a family, I can't see as far back without this blog.  The events that I don't post about fade for me.  My memory has been so poor since Natalie's birth.  I don't know if it was all the stress or an actual change in my brain, but I do know that if my kids are to have a family history, I need to keep writing it, because I won't remember the stories to tell them.  And I'll admit that I do get a kick out of knowing that some of my dearest friends read it, which certainly makes sharing it a lot more fun (If you are one of my dearest friends, insert your cute name here ____________.)

Our poor, dry tree is dropping needles like Jonah drops toys on the floor, and won't make it to the new year.  It's bound to be trunk up in the trash by the First.  But I'm getting a jump on the New Year, with all it's goal setting and resolutions, starting with this post.  And I think that, just for kicks, I'll work on that advent calendar tonight.