Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!! and poem of the month

I got on to upload quickly my 2 favorite pics of my kids from this Christmas, both of which are at the temple when we went to see the temple lights. But I forgot to upload those pics, apparently, and the camera is packed. So instead, I'll leave you with my new favorite painting--I love the very real "how shall this be" look on Mary's face and the depiction of the angel as light. And I'll leave you with a poem of the month. Merry Christmas!

The Annunciation, 1898, by Henry Ossawa Tanner

"In the Bleak Midwinter"
Christina Rossetti

What can I give him
Poor as I am
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb
If I were a wise man
I would do my part
Yet what I can I give him
Give my heart.

ETA: My favorite Christmas pics of my kids, now that I found them.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Santa Stuff

We did the Santa stuff this year, namely the Polar Express, which I loved, and taking the kids to see Santa, which I could have done without.

We've gone to the Polar Express for the past 5 years. It's become a really fun tradition--we drive 3 hrs to the train, singing to Christmas music; eat at an over-priced, mediocre touristy diner; take our 1 1/2 hr North Pole train ride, complete with hot chocolate, cookies, Polar Express book, singing, and a bell from Santa; and stay overnight in a hotel. The overnight stay is sometimes fun (swimming, games) and sometimes not (babies keeping us awake crying all night), but always memorable. I think I look forward to this little trip as much as the kids do!

This Santa might have looked the part, but I didn't think he talked with or listened to the kids very well. But we got some good pics regardless :)

1. Ice packs and heating pads for my bad back, 2. Little H's 2 1/2 hr morning nap, 3. Answers to prayers

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Joy to the World

When I was a sophomore in college, there was a period of time when I was preoccupied by the concept of joy, probably because I was not terribly happy, not to mention joyous. Yet according to the scriptures, one of my purposes for being was and is joy.

I was reminded of this during the past couple of weeks, first, because it's Christmas, a time when we all dust off the word "joy," which hardly gets used the other 11 months of the year. We display it in our homes and even sing about it.

Second, I was reminded of it when I was reading my scriptures--Alma 26, where Ammon talks to his brothers about his joy. As I read this chapter, I can almost feel Ammon's joy seep out through the verses: Ammon rejoices, his "heart is brim with joy" (11), his "joy is full" (16), and his "joy is carried away" (35). All this from a man who has been mocked, cast out, stoned, hit, bound and put into prison.

Why the joy, then? Ammon tells us that it is because of the goodness, the mercy, the glory of God to us, who desperately need Him in our "awful, sinful and polluted state" (17) and because God is mindful of all people. In the end, then, it seems to me that Ammon's deep gratitude toward and praise of God is the catalyst for his feeling this depth of joy.

So I don't really know how to end this post--I didn't mean to be preachy. This connection between gratitude and joy is just something I've been thinking about. Given this connection, it seems fitting that Thanksgiving and Christmas are close together. I guess I'll end by saying that I'm glad we have this Christmas time and the music of the season which gives us the opportunity to sing our praises daily. Joy to the world is exactly right.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Christmas Tree

Here's the story of our Christmas tree in pictures:

1. We picked out the tree. Little H was bored to sleep with our process:

2. Mister and Sweetie cleaned the dirty tree stand, J brought the tree in, still in its net, and we waited for the unveiling:
3. We untangled and tested the lights. Sweetie and Mister got a little hyper, so we read some books while J worked on the lights:

4. Time to decorate!
5. A picture in front of the tree? So fun! thinks Little H. Mister thinks otherwise:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

November's gone and I hope I am never again too busy to say

that I am deeply, deeply grateful.
1. Mister, 2. Sweetie, 3. Little H