Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Profits of a Prayer of Real Intent: Fearful Gratitude

Last night I was in a lot of pregnancy-related pain, and I started to get scared. Scared of labor, scared of pain, scared of possible complications. So I knelt down by my bed and prayed--one of those desperate prayers full of the "real intent" that Moroni mentions (9:7), the kind so full of real intent that God is sure to receive it.  I don't often pray that way, unfortunately, but I did last night. I prayed for peace and for assurance that I could do this.

As I prayed, my desperate fear shifted. It didn't go away, but my narrow focus on impending pain broadened to include the larger picture. I realized that this will probably be the last time I give birth, and I felt gratitude for the opportunity to carry another life inside me. I felt grateful for the experience as a whole rather than only the sudden and overwhelming fear I'd felt earlier.

I'm still nervous about the birth--I haven't prepared for it like I did before my last, when I listened to Hypnobabies cds and practiced relaxing and focusing. But I'm not scared like before and I feel some peace still lingering from my prayer last night. Let's hope it lingers until this baby decides to make her appearance!

I made J snap this pic at my sister-in-law's on my phone after church today. Not a great pic (he didn't even get in my awesome leopard-print heels, which are supposed to take some of the focus off my huge stomach), but it will have to do since I've only taken 3 pics my entire pregnancy! This is 2 days short of 39 weeks.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Very Merry Christmas

We had such a great Christmas! J and I stayed up way too late Christmas Eve and got up a couple times in the night with kids, but other than that, everyone loved their gifts and it was good to be together. 

Our traditional Christmas Eve dinner by candlelight. We had our "usual": tri-tip, twice-baked potatoes, Christmas jello, Martinellis, and, this year, we added grilled asparagus with pepperjack and prosciutto.

The Nativity with our small cast :)

Christmas morning!!

H loves his crane

Mister, happy with his remote control helicopter

H takes a spin on his new bike. We woke up the next morning to him riding in circles around the house. He's hardly taken off the helmet. 

Mister's face upon opening his Xbox

H tries out his new kickball right away, and Mister does the same on his skateboard.

The in-line skates were a huge hit.

Christmas day dinner at the Rocks, but this was the only pic!
The kids with all of their loot. We are blessed, indeed. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Oh Come Let Us Adore Him

Nine days ago I was grumbling at a fairly last-minute request I'd just received to write the narration for our ward's sacrament meeting Christmas program. "I have enough to do," I thought. And with the recent Primary inservice, orientation visits to new teachers who didn't show up for the inservice, 2 sharing times, visiting teaching visits, and so on, I was feeling thoroughly "churched out."

But today as I listened to the narration, I felt very blessed for having had the opportunity to do the research and the writing.  As we sang together as a congregation, "Oh come let us adore Him,"  I felt deeply grateful for the chance to do just that today:  to go to church, to worship, and to express my adoration for a Father that allowed His Son to leave His side and for a Son who gave His life and with that life, gave us victory over the grave.

As Ammon said, “Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord: yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever.  Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord: Yea who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men?  . . . Blessed be the name of our God; let us sing to his praise, yea, let us give thanks to his holy name, for he doth work righteousness forever.”

I'll leave off with some of this week's Christmas pictures:  making the gingerbread house, visiting the temple lights (and cousin Amy's concert), and making sugar cookies. Oh, and if you haven't seen this video, you've got to! The Manger of Bethlehem


Friday, December 21, 2012

What's Happenin' in the Hood

We've got some pretty sweet forts going on:

Super secret entrance to the most recent fort

 And Santa and his, er, "reindeer and sleigh" have been known to make an appearance or two.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Bell Still Rings for Us!

Last weekend we headed up to the Polar Express for the 7th year in a row.  I had thought that 2011 would be our last year going--either we would move or the kids wouldn't be as excited for it (too old for it?). Plus, H has been a handful on the train for the last 2 years. But we didn't move and the kids were so dismayed in October when I told them I hadn't gotten tickets yet, that I hurried and bought them. I'm so glad I did. We had a great time, despite the lack of snow and the chintzy amount of hot chocolate they served us :)

The first year we went, I remember thinking that the singing of Christmas carols on the way back from the North Pole was really cheesy. Maybe old age is catching up with me, but now I love the singing. Because nobody is self-conscious. Nobody cares if they really can carry a tune or not. Everybody just sings loudly and has fun.  And J gets so into it. No man can stand up with his arms above his head in ring-shape and belt out "5 Golden Rings" as loudly as he can. The kids love it. The only part we didn't love, of course, was the 5-people-sleeping-in-1-cheap-hotel-room experience.  (Luckily, as the mom, I know which of the kids sleeps like a log and which 2 sleep like rolling logs. I snagged the other side of Mister's bed and left J to deal with cuddle-happy H.)  Like last year, I think this may be the end of our Polar Express tradition, but who knows. I'm just grateful we took the time this year and the past 6 to be together. 


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Perfection Pending

My book club's Christmas party was this past Thursday. For the past 5 years or so, we've chosen a Christmas book to read to discuss at the party, and we've read some pretty good ones. Not so this year (at least in my opinion, but that's what matters on my own blog, right?!) This year we read Debbie Macomber's The Perfect Christmas. Gag. Sickening. Waste of my time. (And I'm actually a fan of a good romance.) Good thing it was a quick read. In hindsight, the title should have clued me off:  a perfect Christmas? As Jane Austen said so well, "Pictures of perfection, as you know, make me sick and wicked."

I thought of this as we were decorating our tree this week. And I say "this week" because we bought it Tuesday, but were too busy to decorate it. We put the lights up Wednesday, but again, too busy for the ornaments. We finally managed to put up the ornaments and the tree looks fabulous (and smells even better!) But nothing went according to the "ideal tree decorating experience" in my mind--you know, the one where everyone harmoniously puts their decorations on the tree, bathed in the soft glow of the lights, with the Christmas music in the background, and then maybe we all drink hot chocolate and enjoy each other's company. Nope. Instead H fought with everyone. He wanted to hold all of the ornaments and if you didn't let him, he tried to forcibly pry it from your hands. He didn't want to wait for the hooks or the batteries. He didn't want to wait for me to unwrap ornaments from their wrappings. And Sweetie asked about 15 times why she didn't get to put the star on the top. So it's a good thing that I had that Jane Austen quote in mind so keep me amused at our absolutely-not-perfect tree-decorating this year. I tried to document some of it here (and notice that I actually made it in one of the pictures this time!):