Wednesday, December 30, 2015

a year seen through eyes of gratitude


This year,
these months,
these days,

the moments in my life,
in our lives

so precious
so fleeting

a year of thanksgiving
of abundance
of goodness
of joy

my heart is full

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Our Christmas was a happy one. Truly happy...

:: Spending a cozy Christmas Eve here at our home last night. Placing little candles all around. My mom and dad, my brother Andrew, and the kids all joining us for dinner. 

:: The fun of opening the package Sam sent from his little border town in New Mexico. Trying the spicy snacks he included. Gary reading aloud his sweet card.

:: Seeing the joy on my children's faces as they exchanged gifts with each other. 

:: Waking up this morning to almost a foot of snow. A Christmas winter wonderland surprise!

:: The sound of Eliza plucking her new banjo. I've always loved the sound and what a treat this will be. Love...

:: So many smiles, so much laughter, so much love.

:: Even after Keith made a dent in the snow, how kind of Eldon to come over later this morning with his snow blower. (What good neighbors we have.) Sending him off with a plate of warm cinnamon rolls.

:: The biggest joy of the day (his over-the-moon mom jumping up and down, clapping her hands) seeing our missionary son Sam's smiling face, hearing the sound of his voice after all this time. Him happier than he's ever been.

:: Taking a (mostly) cooking breather today after many marathon days in the kitchen. Leftovers, snacks, and sweets a plenty for folks to graze on throughout the day.

:: Time to work on some creative projects.

:: Late afternoon zonk-out nap sessions for a few of us.

:: A  fun round of Scrabble on the kitchen table.

:: The wonderful, happy sound of these two brothers collaborating with the new Lego set. 

:: Isaac asking me to cuddle and read to him before bed Pearl Buck's classic, Christmas Day in the Morning-- my all-time favorite-- that still brings tears every single time.

:: Gathering with the children at the end of the day to read Luke 2. Hearing Keith's sweet prayer of gratitude for this day, for the many beautiful moments we shared, for the gifts given throughout the season, for the Gift that is the reason. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

making merry: our gingerbread houses and a happy family wedding day


Bread's rising and soup is simmering slow on the stove. The sun is shining now after a whopper of a storm came through this morning. It looks like we got at least 6 inches and right as I readied myself to head out to shovel, I look out the window, surprised and touched to see our neighbor Andy B. and his daughter Isabella out shoveling our driveway and walk. (I think he deserves a loaf of bread delivered, don't you?) The kids have declared today a pajama day and I think that sounds like a perfect plan. 

I wanted to pop in for a moment and share a little bit of holiday merriment with you. 

Our gingerbread (we cheat and use graham crackers) house making night was a grand success! Most years I'm busy on the sidelines cranking out batches of royal icing, too pooped to sit down and make my own own, but this year I decided to have some fun with the family. And we did have fun eating pizza, listening to the Nat King Cole Holiday station on Pandora, laughing together, encouraging and cheering each other on. I was just so pleased and delighted (even did a little happy jig around the kitchen with Isaac to celebrate.) with the way everyone's creations turned out.

Eliza's village storefront shops... darling

Emily's little Alpine ski chalet ...

Keith stayed up late after we all went to bed, finishing the  construction (and ever-so-careful attention to detail that he is known for) of this awesome multi-level masterpiece.

Isaac's charming "log cabin in the woods"...

We all gathered yesterday to celebrate the wedding of Clarissa (daughter of my sister Felicia) and Lucas. Even with the snowy winter weather, it was such a beautiful, memorable day. 

Spending that happy time with my family-- witnessing the tender smiles and tears during the marriage ceremony, a wet and fun photo session on the Salt Lake Temple steps, stopping for cinnamon rolls to tide us over until the luncheon (and me getting a little sketching session in while I waited), taking in the holiday spirit of downtown, lending a hand at the reception later that evening-- all of these moments have brought me extra Christmas joy this year. 

And I'm so thankful.