I love any kind of break.
Okay, so the kids have been home for almost 2 weeks and it is going by way too fast. I love having them home and I love the not having to rush them. No early mornings or rigid schedules. I swear elementary school should start at 9:30 and be done by 2.
We have done a lot of crafts and hanging out.
He had to haul it to the church and set it up on the stage. Here is a picture of the stable the night before when we were starting to decorate. Huge and really heavy. We got rid of it after the party. No thank you. Next year we will find something more simple. We gathered costumes and had a nativity rehearsal the night before the party. We were in dire need of a manger so I pulled up my sleeves and decided to make one myself out of the pile of wood stacked outside on our porch. This is not my thing to work with tools and to build something out of wood, but I have always wanted to learn. Well it took a lot of brain power to figure out angles. My neighbor Bill came over when he saw me pulling out the miter saw. He was concerned :) but he helped me figure it all out. Turned out great. Chay was so impressed.
Kenzie was Mary for the Nativity. The kids were all strung out on sugar and it was a little crazy. They all sang "The Nativity Song" in the primary song book. I played the piano for the primary rehearsal and I was quite happy with myself for being able to play the piano without sabotaging the song. The skit ended up adorable. I am trying really hard to set traditions in the ward- one being a yearly Nativity. We can forget Santa for just a little while and focus more on things that have more substance- and I think there will be more vivid memories when the kids grow up of them being on stage in costume acting out the Nativity in front of many people instead of sitting on Santa's lap. I like Santa and all and he was at the party but we didn't want him to be the focus.
As a family we went to a city parade (those types of things always stresses me out- big crowds bleh) and we went to this place that displayed hundreds of Nativities from all over the world. It was so awesome. The girls and I were in love. I found Xander laying down on the floor right in the middle of all the tables just looking up at the lights on the ceiling. I guess he wasn't as interested. At the end of the Nativity tour, there was a dress-up Nativity for kids. My three were the angels. We should have stuck Samson in the manger. We were tired.
Kenzie finally sat on Santa's lap. It was time to face her 8 years of Santa fears. I am serious, 8 years. I have a picture when she is barely a one year old and she is screaming her head off. She has always hid and cried when it was her turn to sit on his lap. I figured she better at least sit on his lap once while she still believes in him, right? Good Job Mckenzie!!!
Right when Christmas break started Chay was at the tail-end of interviewing for a job. It was the perfect job and a great career move. We prayed so hard. They loved Chay and we were almost 100% certain he would get the job. They kept calling him back for more and more interviews and they even gave him a tour of the place. But they decided to go with the other candidate at the end. When Chay told me I thought he was joking. He wasn't. I started to dry heave I was so sick about it. I cried really hard for 2 hours straight. I was so mad and confused. I felt so sad for Chay.
Lesson learned: Just because you are doing everything right, does not mean things will always go right. I also don't think God cares as much as we think He does about jobs and careers. He just wants us to be faithful I guess. Although I would love to serve more and go on missions someday and get 4 kids out on missions- and pay off my silly student loan for crying out loud- so divine help in the money department would be nice. I know Chay has done so much to further his career. He works for a great company already. I know we will be blessed. I guess we will just have to keep working hard and waiting for that next big job.
So during the long 2 weeks of interviews and the anxiety of it all, I decided to focus on Christmas more to keep my mind off of things. I wanted to do a 12 days of Christmas for a family. I know a special family I met through Kenzie's school and from a city soccer league. The mom and I became friends quickly and I found out she lives close to us. I knew I wanted to do the 12 days of Christmas for her and her family.
I loved the idea of giving a Nativity away and each night give a piece of the manger scene. I found a cute poem that goes with each piece of the nativity on Pinterest. Of Course. (You know, my mom would have written the poem herself if she was me because Pinterest didn't exist. I thought long and hard about how some parts of the tech world are sucking out the creativity in me, and so next year I am determined to write the nativity poem myself.) Well anyway, I searched long and hard for a nativity set that was in my $12-15 price range that had all the characters- shepherds, angels, animals, mary, baby Jesus, Joseph, wise men. It is so hard to find one with everyone! Nowhere to be found. I couldn't even find a nativity in most places. I was hauling Xander and Sam around with me to every store in town. We kept saying to each other as we pushed the shopping cart through the aisles of Christmas decorations, "Where is baby Jesus? This is His birthday and we can't even find Him. With all these Christmas decorations and no baby Jesus." Xander jumped on board so fast, he wanted to find baby Jesus too. A few places had nativities but not in the price range I wanted or they only had a few of the characters.
The same day we found out Chay didn't get the job, I found a nativity on KSL. With swollen eyes and feeling so forgotten I decided to check a couple more places. I got on KSL and found the perfect Nativity with every character and even a stable. I called the lady knowing my chances of the Nativity not being sold already were pretty slim. She was so nice and she said, "You know what? I thought it would sell in 30 minutes but it never did, it's been online for 10 days!" She was selling it for $10! I reluctantly asked Chay in all his misery if he could possibly swing by Kaysville and pick up this manger scene for me. He did and he was even willing. Heart of Gold that man has. The nativity was HUGE! It made me feel gratitude in my heart despite the major let down earlier that day.
Delivering each night was kind of a pain. The family's house was in a super inconvenient location and having something to do every night became more like a chore, especially to Chay. The kids loved it but it was harder than we thought it would be. The family doesn't have a doorbell and they have this huge metal cage like screen door in front of their front door. One night I borrowed a friend of a friend of a friend's phone and sent a text to the family that said
It's Christmas time and we love you so
but there's one thing you might not know
we dropped off a surprise at 7 o'clock
but there's no doorbell and you can't hear us knock.
we eventually just dropped off stuff knowing they wouldn't get it until morning...
But it was good- and I think it will get better through the years. It's all about the experience. One night I dropped off the package and I knocked really hard on the window. I booked it so dang fast and ran through another yard- full of snow. Chay came and picked me up and I was just laughing. That was so fun! I need more stuff like this in my life. Reminds me of younger years when my mom would have me always deliver the secret packages.
One tradition that I love doing with the kids is driving around until we find an outdoor manger scene lit up in someone's front yard. We stop and sing Silent Night. It always ends up being a sweet moment no matter what, even if Daddy disagrees :) What would Christmas be like without women and patient men???
I performed 2 times over the Christmas season. Once for the stake and once for the ward. I played and sang a song I wrote about Mary. I had the melody and tune for a couple years but couldn't figure out the right words until I was pregnant with Sam. Then one day it came. I really love the song and I feel so comfortable at the piano singing. Especially when I don't have to read music! It was just something I wanted to do. Now will Faith Hill buy my song for 1 million dollars please!
I sang for the ward- I sang a really pretty version of The First Noel. As I was singing I turned my music to the next page and the music wasn't there. I freaked out. I kept looking and looking and in the meantime I just started making up my own words. A person can only sing about how nice the shepherds are for so long...I just laughed and turned to Rachel the pianist and told her I had to stop. I told the congregation I lost my music and I need to stop making up words. They all laughed and it quickly put my nerves to ease. I love laughter. So I started again once I organized my music and found all the sheets and it turned out great the second time. My ward knows me so well- I have embarrassed myself enough over the years- what is one more thing, I mean seriously.
Christmas Eve we attempted to do the Christmas Story in Luke 2. Everyone was sick and ornery. We had the kids dress up but it ended up being a fiasco. That night I felt a little discouraged that the night wasn't "neater". Then I noticed Kenzie's letter to Santa. She left him a scripture. I cried. I cried probably because I was tired, emotional, and just wanted to sleep forever- but it was very touching and gave me hope that my kids are catching on to the real meaning of Christmas despite imperfect parents and total chaos.
When the kids went to sleep the "Elves" painted their fingernails. One of the Elves was naughty and got fingernail polish on Julia's new pajamas. But it's something so sweet
I could tell Christmas morning I was so done. We were all sick. Everyone was coughing and wiping their noses. The kids woke up to their Santa presents. They were all so happy with what they got. The next day or the day after that the tree went outside and I took down all the decorations. I just needed a new start. Farewell Christmas 2013.