Thursday, December 13, 2007

Keeping it simple

From the time we had our first child we decided that we would try our very best not to spoil them. We'll leave that up to grandparents. So this year our oldest, Ethan, is really starting to understand what Christmas is all about. He knows presents are a big part of it, so I am constantly reminding him that the real meaning of Christmas is to celebrate Christ's birth and to serve others. Not that I don't remember what it's like to be little, waiting in eager anticipation for Christmas morning. I know it's exciting. But looking back it's not the presents I remember, it's the time I spent with my family and the special family traditions we had. So we have decided to keep it simple this Christmas and give just 3 presents to each of our children, we tell them that Jesus received three presents from the three wise men. Ethan thinks that great! I love the innocence that little one's have. I have friends that are doing this with their families as well. We hope to keep this tradition and start new traditions of service rather than opening tons of presents. My kids are little, so it's hard to take them to the to the food bank or homeless shelter just yet. Instead we're making treats to take to neighbors and friends. And we'll spend Christmas Eve carrying out a tradition that I had as a child, visiting people that have no family on Christmas Eve and maybe attending a church service. I know that may sound weird because we're LDS and our church doesn't have a Christmas service on Christmas Eve. Because I was raised Catholic, it just doesn't feel like Christmas without attending a beautiful Christmas mass or service. I know it will be next to impossible to find one in Provo, UT, so we'll probably venture to SLC. Ryan's family usually goes skiing on Christmas Eve. Because our kids are so little that's probably not going to be practical. And I just want to keep it simple this Christmas. Not only is it less stressful, it's economical too! Oh yeah, and we're not giving our kids super expensive gifts to make up for the small number (although Ethan and Lily are getting a Power Wheels Ford truck from Grandma and Grandpa, a very generous gift.)

I would love to know what others think about the simple gift giving. Would you do the same with your kids?

By the way, I'm listening to Delila on the radio and wonderful Christmas music as I'm writing this :)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

I "thunk" today

As a mother, I savor the quiet moments when I can sit down and make a phone call in peace, mark some items off my "to do" list, ponder a problem I might be having, or just plain enjoy the peace of the moment. Today was combination of all four. Both my little one's took a nap today at the same time. A rare moment (because Ethan rarely takes naps anymore), but one that I encouraged because I could tell he really needed it. After getting my house work done I decided to plan my lesson for Sunday. As I did this I came across this article from a 1987 General Conference talk entitled "Our Divine Constitution" by Ezra Taft Benson. Ok, I'm getting a little churchy here, but bare with me please. The entire talk is inspirational and I could fill this post with quotes from it, but instead I will quote just a little and give you the link so that you may read it yourself. I might add that Ezra Taft Benson was truly an amazing President, a very inspired man and a reminder that we must not forget those who have gone before us.

President Benson:

"For centuries our forefathers suffered and sacrificed that we might be the recipients of the blessings of freedom. If they were willing to sacrifice so much to establish us as a free people, should we not be willing to do the same to maintain that freedom for ourselves and for future generations?

Unfortunately, we as a nation have apostatized in various degrees from different Constitutional principles as proclaimed by the inspired founders. We are fast approaching that moment prophesied by Joseph Smith when he said: “Even this nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground, and when the Constitution is upon the brink of ruin, this people will be the staff upon which the nation shall lean, and they shall bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction” (19 July 1840, as recorded by Martha Jane Knowlton Coray; ms. in Church Historian’s Office, Salt Lake City)."
"“I established the Constitution of this land,” said the Lord, “by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose” (D&C 101:80).""

This talk was given 20 years ago. Can you imagine what President Benson might have to say on this subject today given the current state of our nation? I can only imagine. I'm not a doom and gloom person, this is a wonderful time to be alive. We have many blessings. Let's not forget our greatest blessings; our agency and our freedom. The two are synonymous, we will always have our agency, but will we always have our freedom? Freedom is a god given right. But not everyone has it. This is a chosen nation, and I believe we are a chosen people. Let's do all we can to preserve all that was given to us. President Benson believed strongly about this, and as I researched I found endless examples of his love for this country and his warning to the Saints to do what they could to uphold the Constitution.

I think he would be extremely proud of this man:

Ron Paul: A New Hope 2.0

Ron Paul : Don't tread on me

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

family pics

Since I've been on my blogging vacation, I've had yet to share the talent of my friend Shannon. She is a wonderfully gifted photographer out of Seattle and took my family photos clear back in July! We had a fun day hanging out in Sundance with the kids. I recently got the CD so I thought I would post some of them. If you would like to see more of her amazing work, please visit her website: or her blog

Here are some of my favorites:

"let it snow, let it snow, let it snow"

It's funny, I've gone from Halloween to Frosty the snowman in one post. I'm back from by blogging vacation. I took a month off because I felt like I was spending too much time blogging and not enough time on more important things.

Anyway, we had a quite a snow shower this weekend. It was absolutely beautiful. Saturday was the perfect day. We were snowed in, and it was lovely. We decorated the house for Christmas, sang Christmas carols, played in the snow, and ended the day with a perfect date. Ryan and I went to dinner and enjoyed and great movie; Walt Disney's "Enchanted". Way to go Disney, you've redeemed yourself with this one. Even Ryan enjoyed it. He was skeptical going in, in fact, I was too. We were laughing our tails off within 5 minutes and the laughter didn't stop until the credits rolled. And then we stayed for those too...anticipating a funny short at the end. That never happened, but it was nice to prolong the date a few more minutes. Anyway, I highly recommend it. A fun family flick and one that I will most definitely own. I should get money for these kind of endorsements. :)

I love the Christmas season. I hope you all are enjoying it, and singing along in your car with the local Christmas carol station just like me.

Here are some of our snowy day pics. Ryan and Ethan made the perfect Frosty the snowman.