Thursday, December 13

Christmas Spirit Wagon - All Aboard!

I feel like Christmas snuck up on me this year. I've been pretty sick this past month which I won't go into here, but sufficed to say that my functionality was greatly compromised. Doesn't that sound better than being reduced to canned soups, naps, not being able to sleep more than 2 hours at any time day or night, and not really leaving the house for a few weeks? Anyhow, I'm getting on the mend and loving Christmas this year. I think it's because Easton is starting to understand it which just makes me so excited!

With our little homeschool preschool group, I got to introduce the Christmas season last week and I loved how it put me in the Christmas mood! It was all about giving ourselves in loving service and celebrating the birth of our Savior. The kids really got into it and I am really enjoying talking about the nativity story with Easton as it comes up every day. He's so perceptive and it's fun to see that light go on. Yesterday as we were driving into DC for my work party, we were listening to the Scripture Scouts account of Jesus's birth which I love! It spoke of Jesus being born in a stable and not a hospital. Easton said, "Mom, stables have hay where Jesus was born. But I, when I was a baby, was born in a hopsittle." Then he wanted me to recount his favorite hospital story/song about how I sang to him the first time he cried. I loved talking to him about how angels came and told the shepherds to follow the star to find the Savior and how the kings also followed the star to find Him. I'm soaking up rediscovering what Christmas is all about through Easton, making it accessible and simple to him and me.

Not to forget the Santa aspect which Ryan really gets excited about sharing - Easton's loved watching the old Christmas cartoons that come on every year. He's still young and innocent enough to only want one thing for Christmas - a GeoTrax train like Owen's. Although he's now added a candy cane and a video game. (Ryan had borrowed a friend's Wii play system - the kind where the controller can let you swing a bat or play ping pong - and Easton LOVED the cow race arcade style! Tooo cute!) Anyhow, I just love that he doesn't yet embrace the "I want it all" syndrome we get too fast as kids!

I am also simply loving McKay's stage right now at 20 months. He loves to just play and explore everything around him until tuckered out. Then he just comes over to me, says "Up peese" and settles into my lap sucking his thumb and contorting his ear. I regularly have to remind myself to soak up these solicited snuggles while they last! McKay pulls chairs, stools, or stacks books up to whatever he wants to get into or turn off/on. McKay actually will head to the basement on his own to play and I've found him putting together Easton's train tracks that work like puzzle pieces - brilliant boy! He's saying "'elp Peese" and "Ank-woo" for just little things like help getting up or down, receiving a bowl of Cheerios to munch on or his favorite yogurt. This is also a fun time because he loves to celebrate himself with exclamations of "Ta-Dah!" or "Yeah!" complete with claps or arms thrown in the air! He loves to get his groove on to any music playing, especially if he turned it on and I LOVE that impish smile of sheer joy!

Right now McKay is pushing buttons on a funny noisy toy and looking up at me saying, "Mom-Mom, it funny." The nn is more of a yy sound, but it's hilarious to me that he gets it!

There is, I admit, always an exasperating spell or two per day where I joke with Ryan about McKay taking my name in vain. You know when little ones have only one volume button and it's hollering your name over and over just because they can or often just wanting acknowledgement of each move they make? When McKay's repeat button is stuck, it's him hollering "Mom-Mom." It cracks me up that I can give him specific directions or reason with him

McKay is our kitchen quality control because he likes to sniff and taste every ingredient. If Ryan is in the kitchen, he actually just toddles over to Ryan with his mouth open wide either grunting or saying "Peese!" because if Ryan's in the kitchen, he's making some sort of treat!

Back to my original thought about catching the Christmas spirit. The prophet said in his Christmas fireside that with all the hard things people around us are going through, we should be saying, "It's Christmas Time. What can I do for you?" I've been thinking about that a lot these past two weeks because for the past few months now I've been so blessed to be a recipient of others' service. Recently struggling with my health, I was surrounded by Ryan, my best friend Rach who came for Thanksgiving, my sister Brooks who also visited and always cheers me up, my mom calling to check in on me, and many devoted caring friends that saw through my feeble attempts at stoicism when I just wanted/needed to crumble. These caring friends exemplified the two following recent quotes from Elder Teh's General Conference address:
- "Our Heavenly Father places loving individuals on important crossroads to help us so that we are not left alone to grope in the dark."
- "Serving others need not come from spectacular events. Often it is the simple daily act that gives comfort, uplifts, encourages, sustains, and brings a smile to others."

It fits so perfectly with the short quotes in this month's Visiting Teaching about Becoming an Instrument in the Hands of God by Exercising Charity. How lucky am I to be blessed with so many caring friends that I did not feel forsaken, but instead felt completely buoyed through a rough time and joyful for such good women! In fact, I was not able to retreat from some of their efforts which in the end endeared them to me even more. Thank you wonderful friends - I hope you know who you are and if you've had contact with me in the past few weeks it is you!!!

On a trivial note of love to my cute boyfriend - Ryan still trumps you all because he installed a new faucet in the kitchen for me which makes me want to belt out a Hallelujah chorus every time I turn it on! Ryan's always doing little things for me to show he loves me, such a great heart! Funny story actually - Easton's first use of the faucet that night and he exclaimed, "Mom! Is this one of my Christmas presents?!" Man I love my guys!

My family has been so blessed in the past year with health and employment that I'm just so happy I'm home with the kids, that Ryan has a job he enjoys, that we have everything we really could need or want. I have a cousin whose house burnt down in the California fires. I think of her often and others I know who are currently struggling with various things. So many of us are so blessed, do we do enough to share ourselves and lift another's burden?