C H R I S T M A S 2009

We spent the 19-23 in Utah celebrating Christmas a little early.
Smedley Christmas highlights: dinner at Grandma Meier's . taking the Frontrunner to SLC and spending the day at the Gateway: shopping, California Kitchen Pizza, A Christmas Carol with FOUR huge buckets of popcorn . the lights at Temple Square . the presents that never ended - Mom handed presents out to each of us at random times throughout our trip (stuff we all loved!) . salmon for dinner, just because Landon loves it . footrubs and silly songs at bedtime from Grandma . Dominos with Grandpa . Coloring with Jared and Stephanie (not the kids :) ) . playing Harry Potter (or something) with Alina

Perigo Christmas highlights: Pork Tenderloin - Sharlene's specialty . cousin gift exchange . going through TONS of baby clothes hand me downs . all the cousins building a fort together in the basement . playing christmas songs with chimes . great Christmas presents from Gary and Sharlene . inheriting a snowmobile . watching a few home movies . breakfast - waffles, eggs, bacon - another specialty . playing Go Fish with Grandma and playing again with Grandpa . a four hour nap for the youngest boy . talking and talking . Landon and Jantz playing with their presents

Cameron was on call starting Christmas Eve so we came home and gave ourselves a nice little quiet Christmas. We had so much fun in Utah we were worn out and we all came home with *BAD* colds. (Of course Cameron and I have it the worst, in fact I went to bed after we opened presents on Christmas morning and pretty much haven't been out since... I think I'm on the mend, though)

Christmas Eve was nice. We HAD to have our traditional crab dinner. The kids loved it. Landon forgot that crab does not taste like salmon, but once he got passed that he said it was the best thing to eat, "ever". Isaac wanted to open his own crab leg too so we cut it open for him and he chewed the "chicken" out of it.

We frosted cookies for santa. Read Luke 2. Watched the Nativity movie. Gave the kids their P.J.'s. Tucked them in and wrapped the rest of the presents.

Christmas morning was quiet and fun. We opened presents, ate breakfast, and played around. Landon and Austin took their stash to their rooms so Isaac wouldn't bother them, Cameron hung out with Isaac building the Playmobile set he got, and I went back to bed. We spent the rest of the day playing Wii, watching movies, and playing with the toys the kids got. We talked about going to Boise to dinner or a movie or both but no one really felt that great so I mustered up enough energy to cook a turkey and potatoes (that was it: just turkey, potatoes, and a can of green beans - not the best Christmas dinner but at least it was something - well, actually I did make a chocolate oreo pie too; does that make up for a lame dinner?)

Anyway, the kids were happy and that is what it is all about.

'Twas the Week Before Christmas

... and it was BUSY!
There were presents to finish, wrap, and pack for Utah

There was wrestling practice to go to

There was a birthday to celebrate

There were wrestling matches to attend

And...babysitting to do...doctors appointments to go to...30 cupcakes to make for Landon's class...a Christmas party to attend at the neighbors...a funeral for a 5 year old in our ward (and the 2 pans of cheesy potatoes I was asked to bring)...dinner to cook for a family who just had a baby...laundry and packing for our early Christmas celebration in Utah...a preschool party to go to (and bring food for). Really, I had no idea it was possible to squeeze so much into one week...


{Birthday} ShOuT-OuT

My Intentions were good, really good. And I've been able to follow through with most of them. BUT this post (you know the one ~ a great picture and "31 reasons I'm glad you were born") is just not gonna happen today. I've been hit with a wave of exhaustion (blood work from Tuesday confirmed anemia) that is undeniably taking over my body for the moment. My bed (or the couch, while I "watch" Scooby Doo with Austin) is calling my name. So before I surrender:

Happy 31st Birthday, Cameron! I love you. We love you. Best Dad, husband, friend... Have a WoNDerFUl day, you deserve it.


Whatchya thinkin'

I'm just wondering what he's thinking when he does things like this:

Yesterday we're sitting in sacrament meeting. The congregation is pretty much silent while a ward member is singing a beautiful Christmas song at the pulpit.

In the middle of the song Isaac stands up on the bench, turns around and yells, "MOVE THAT BUS! MOVE THAT BUS!" Then he starts blowing kisses at the people sitting behind us....
{and in case you're wondering, No. We really don't watch Extreme Home Makeover that often.}


Keeping Focus

The Stockings are Hung...

The Halls Are Decked...lots of our ornaments look like this: two or three on one branch, all at a 2 and 5 year old eye level

The Snow Has Fallen {and the boys could not be happier about it} We Remember the True Spirit of the Holiday... I was surprised when Austin asked me about our Nativity. He didn't know who the wiseman were. He forgot why we have three pretty boxes out (to remember gold, frankincense, and myrrh). He asked why there were sheep and why Jesus is laying in hay. We've had lots of reviews of the Christmas Story.

And to give us some more Christmas perspective we spent Saturday buying these:

We donated to a family, through the Dental Squadron, that can't afford Christmas. We gave the kids an option to use some of their allowance to help us buy a present for each of the five family members. We told the kids they had to pay their tithing and put 30% in savings and they could choose how much of the rest they would donate. Landon said he would donate 30 cents (30 cents is a lot to him since he only had 2.00 left after tithing and savings).

We went through Kohls looking for gifts. The boys were in charge of finding something for the 6 year old boy in the family. Of course, they found the Star Wars action figures. Landon begged and begged for one for himself. I told him if it was that cool the boy we were shopping for would probably love it.
L: "But I want it, Mom."
M: "Think about it Landon. If you could only have one present for Christmas and you got this wouldn't you be happy?"
L: "Yeah."
M: "Imagine that boy. This might be his only present. Wouldn't you love to give him something that would make him so happy?"
L: "yeah." and then a few minutes after we checked out (with the coveted Star Wars guy), "Mom can I give you 50 cents instead of 30?"

lesson sinking in

and another lesson sinking in (we answered more of Austin's questions like, "if Heavenly Father is Jesus' dad and Mary is Jesus' Mom, whose Joseph?)

Our church put on a Creche for the community this past weekend. I'd never even heard of a creche before. It means "nativity" in french. Each room of the church was FULL of nativities; nearly 800 nativities in all. The two day long event was organized into musical presentations from LDS church members and other community churches. Most Christian churches (including two Baptist churches) in Mountain Home participated with chior or instrumental presentations. About 1400 people from around Mountain Home came to listen to the chiors and see the nativities. It was beautiful and reverent and the spirit was STRONG. I spent two days helping set up and decorate and Cameron spent 5 hours cleaning it all up. It was a great community event and a great way to remember the focus of the season.

We still have our "Gratitude Attititude" Turkey up too. The kids are actually thinking about it. They are saying things like, "Look how I'm showing grattitude." "Mom, what can I do to show grattitude today?" It makes me happy.

And just because I couldn't say it better myself, and this is EXACTLY what I'm hoping to accomplish with my Turkey, here's a quote I found while preparing my Young Women's church lesson for Sunday:

"What will you and I give for Christmas this year? Let us in our lives give to our Lord and Savior the gift of gratitude by living His teachings and following in His footsteps. It was said of Him that He 'went about doing good'. As we do likewise, the Christmas spirit will be ours." ~Thomas S. Monson (president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)


A Conversation

Austin came home with a Christmas Wish List he made at school. It had pictures of the normal: Legos, DS, Wii games. And also BIG {litterally} things that I had NO idea he was thinking about: a ping-pong table, a fooseball table, and an air hockey table.
His wish list prmpted this discussion:
Mom: Wow, Aust that's a lot of stuff. I'm not sure Santa's going to be able to bring all of that.
Austin: yes he is. I'm being good and he can bring me whatever I want. And now that I made my list he knows what I want because he knows everything.
M: Well, Santa usually only brings one toy for each kid. Maybe he'll bring you one of the Wii games.
A: Mom, Santa knows everything. He'll bring me everything.
M: I'm not sure. I think Santa's trying to cut back this year because there are so many kids and the elves are having trouble keeping up. Which one do you REALLY want to ask for; the Wii games? The Legos?
A: The PING PONG TABLE. I LOVE it! I know Santa will bring it.
M: umm... (feeling a bit panicked now - Austin is NOT backing down from this!) I'm pretty sure Santa knows we don't have room for a ping pong table.
A: Yeah, Mom we can just move the kitchen table and put it there.
M: I don't think so, Dude.
A: Okay, well he'll bring it to me anyway and let me save it until we get a house with a basement like in Colorado.
M: A ping pong table won't fit in the sleigh so he's not going to be able to bring you one.
A: Mom! (as in DUH!) The sleigh is as big as the world. Plus Santa is magic. I know he'll bring me one.
M: Okay, lets let Santa decide what he thinks you'll like best and bring that.
A: How can I give him my list?
M: We can put it under the tree and the elves will pick it up while you're sleeping.
A: No Mom, I want to bring it to him and ask him if he can make me a ping pong table.
M: (ready to END this conversation) okay, fine we're going to Boise for a few more Christmas presents tomorrow so you can take it to him if he's there. (hoping we will accidently "forget" the list and the DANG ping pong table!)
Didn't forget the list. Didn't forget the ping pong table. Gave it to Santa and Santa looked at it and memorized it. He only looked at one side - the side with the Legos, marble track, and Wii games. Phew! Austin was satisfied with that. Santa is chosing one thing from the side of the list he memorized. And I'm breathing a sigh of relief that I don't have to blow Santa's cover. But it leaves me wondering if maybe I should. Landon's already pretty much over Santa (he wouldn't even talk to him) but Austin is still so awestruck by him. Luckily, Santa's on my side. No ping pong table at this house. And Austin can have at least one more year of Santa Magic Bliss.


We're Counting...

It Begins... Austin brought home a countdown chain that he made at school today. The first thing Landon wanted to do after school is eat his "chocolate for the day". Gearing up for Christmas is fun for the kids but crazy for the mom.

Grandma Perigo sent each of the kids an advent calander. They are thrilled about getting a candy a day. Sadly, for Austin, I wasn't on the ball and I haven't exchanged his chocolates (milk and peanuts) for allergenic-free candy. So he was a little bummed he didn't get to eat his candy today. We made snickerdoodles to make up for it. Gotta get to the store tomorrow - I'll just add that to my list. I only have 23 more days to get it all done! I'm just wondering, why is my list getting longer?! {and how come the hair GLUE I use for Landon's hair doesn't last through the school day anymore?}