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Friday, January 28, 2011

Joke Journal Entries

Matthew and Daniel were playing pretend and were both dressed up as Batman. I was working outside when Matthew marched across the driveway announcing in a very authoritative voice,

"Make way! Batman's looking for his tricycle!"

Background- Sarah never wears pants. Ever.

Daniel is taunting Sarah, "Liar, liar, skirt on fire!"

Daniel was drinking some soda pop, and giggled. He exclaimed to Matthew, 

"I love drinking pop because it feels like popcorn is popping in my stomach!"

Nathan was snoring, so I gently jostled him. He replied, "I'm snoring? What fun and great games!" Then he promptly fell asleep. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Christmas Catch up, Part Two

I'm surprised how long it is taking me to catch up with our Christmas vacation entry. Now that I"m healthy again, I have so much work to catch up on around the house. Needless to say, blogging has quickly fallen off the priority list. Here is the second half of our Christmas story-

Sarah dancing near the Christmas tree

All the children would beg Uncle Andy to take them on walks near the little lake in Grandma's backyard. They really loved going out with him each day! He's such a great uncle to them- the boys think the world of Andy. He rock climbs, he's really strong, very funny, he wears cool clothes, owns his own business, and he plays with the boys. They think he's just about perfect.

Every visit the grandchildren look forward to seeing Grandma's pop-up book collection. Nathan's mom has collected pop-up books for years. It's so much fun to see their favorite books again. We all gather together on her bed to listen to the stories- even some of the adult children squeezed onto the bed to watch the books unfold. I think they will always remember Grandma Kingsley as reading books to them. A trip to her house wouldn't be complete without this story time.

As if feeding huge crowds of guests (a house full of 19 people for 2 weeks!) full meals three times a day weren't enough, Grandma offered to give all the men and boys haircuts. She did 7 haircuts in a row- between cooking lunch and dinner. Isn't she amazing? Do you see why I want to be like her? She does this all while cheerfully smiling and laughing. She's the type of person that naturally attracts people. I noticed that wherever she was in the house, that is where the people gathered to enjoy chatting. Like flies to honey. 

I was still quite sick on our trip, but it was such a huge blessing to have someone else cooking meals for my children and doing the dishes each day. It was so nice to be able to stay in bed and not worry about the work I should be doing. I have a hard time ignoring the messes when I should rest. When I am at home, I usually try to push myself too hard and 'power through' the fatigue so I can have a clean sink or clean floor. I really appreciated all of her kindness so much! 

We decided to do a formal dinner for Christmas Eve this year. We fed our children their own dinner, then tucked them away downstairs. The adults enjoyed a late dinner on the family fine china. It was delightful to have a formal affair together and laugh together. The meal was scrumptious, even though I was still not able to partake of much. I decided it was actually a mixed blessing being sick over the holidays- all the candies, cookies, and other treats were so unappealing to me, so I didn't gain any weight during all the weeks of feasting. 

Nathan's family has a tradition of letting the children all sleep in the parent's room on Christmas Eve so they can all wake up together. Uncle Andy really wanted everyone to squeeze into the room together, so he covered the entire bedroom floor with mattresses and blankets. Everyone fit so snuggly in this one bedroom and there was no spare floor space anywhere. I really wish I had taken a picture of it! 

Daniel and Matthew really love playing with Bucky Balls. They are THE neatest toy around. It's a bunch of individual, really powerful magnets. They can be manipulated in a million ways to create all sorts of shapes. They are so incredibly fun to play with, and it fosters creativity. Many of their uncles have Bucky Balls, and Daniel would play with them for hours. It's really a shame that I can't give them their own sets- the magnets are too dangerous to have in the house with a new baby on the way. Much of Christmas break was spent on the floor playing with these magnets. 

We all drove to the Science Museum in St. Louis one day. We spent a few hours there enjoying the Math puzzles and Natural Science section. There was a room where the children could play with hands-on science toys for an hour. Daniel's favorite part was the giant cockroaches. He loved playing with them while I cringed. He giggled in delight the entire time and exclaimed, "Isn't it so cute?"

It was such a pleasure to spend so much time with uplifting company over Christmas.  We had 9 out of Nathan's 10 siblings all together this year. With our family living scattered all over the country from Alaska to Georgia, this is a rare event. We played games every night until we couldn't force our eyes to stay open, we feasted every day on delicious treats and yummy meals, we played in the snow, read scriptures together every night, conspired together over secret gifts for each other, and explored St. Louis. It was such a memorable vacation and I left that home with my emotional and spiritual batteries refueled. Isn't that the perfect way to return from a vacation? I'm always so thankful to be a part of this family!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Christmas Catch up, Part One

We were blessed very much to have Nathan's 20 year-old brother, Adam, stay with us for a couple of weeks and help take care of the family while I was sick in bed with hyperemesis. It was so helpful to have him here! I'm so thankful for his service. He is now making final preparations before leaving next week on his 2-year mission to New York City. Yay!

We drove him back home to Illinois the week before Christmas. It was SO lovely to spend Christmas with Nathan's family! His mom's home is just like a slice of heaven. I feel like a sponge, just soaking up all the wonderful feelings of unrestrained joy and love pervading the home. I feel so motivated to go home a kinder person, a harder worker, and a better Christian. 

Daniel reacquaints himself with 'snow'.
Here are some highlights from our trip.

The day before Christmas we were surprised with a wonderful snow storm! Our Texan children were ecstatic. They played in the snow and sledded in the backyard for hours on end. They take after their dad and really love the cold. They played without even coats, and at times they went shoe-less in the snow. 

Daniel and Sarah impervious to the temperature.

I couldn't persuade them to dress warmer. While they were behaving like penguins, I was huddled by the crackling fire, dressed in military-issue thermals and sweaters...I must be a true Texan at heart. :)

Grandma Kingsley is famous for her beautiful gingerbread houses. This year she made gingerbread homes for each grandchild to decorate. It was so fun! They each had their own little piping bags of royal icing and tables full of candy to choose from. They were so proud of their designs. It was a sad sad thing when we drove home and left the gingerbread houses behind.

The adults took a day to visit the St. Louis temple and attend a session. I really love attending temples around the country. They are each so beautiful and I relish the spiritual power within the building. I was very grateful for the opportunity to attend the temple. I love having such unrestrained communion with the Lord and finding out where I stand with Him. I learn so much about myself and God every time I go. 
Afterwards Nathan and I treated everyone to dinner at an Italian restaurant.