Saturday, January 2, 2016

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day

I actually really enjoyed the day before Christmas and Christmas Day. I thought they were relaxing and pleasant. We started early Christmas Eve with opening our PJ's early and wearing them all day while we watched movies and TV. And finished wrapping gifts. And rearranged said gifts under the tree a few times.

There was one odd thing that happened. Maryn looked out the window and suddenly said "What is THAT?!?!"
I got up and looked out and saw THIS standing just outside our building.

I know it was wearing very human tennis shoes, but it was freaky enough that I went and locked our door. My German speaking kids voted that it was someone dressed as a Krampus. I sent a pic of it to Paul and he asked if we could keep it.

The pajama thing worked out well since we got a text from Lisa saying we should wear PJ's to her house that night. We joined Lisa and Steve and their family plus Debbie and Ashante for a wonderful meal of soup Brecken had made. There was also veggies, bread and cheese, and mini hot dogs and sparkling cider. We played a fun mystery game (where you play the parts) in 2 groups and enjoyed Maryn playing cello and Brecken playing guitar.

In the middle of it all, I got a pic from a number I didn't know. It was from the member family in Chico that was enjoying the evening with my son.

We left early to head home and watch the Grinch. Just before we left I had attempted to make a coffee cake for in the morning. I put it in the wrong pan and it spilled all over the bottom of the oven. Since we were just going to be sitting and watching TV, I decided it was the perfect time to run the cleaning cycle and get some of the gunk off so I could bake in the morning.

It only took about 20 minutes for the room to fill with acrid smoke. I had to open to front door and the sliding door and turned on 2 fans and evacuated to Maryn's room. Our eyes were watering and it smelled just awful. I let the fans run and the windows open for almost an hour. But it ended up getting us settled earlier than we had planned.

The two younger kids were settled and the minor crisis averted.  Maryn and I started putting out stocking stuff, and she took care of mine.

Ashlyn was having a hard time getting to sleep because it was very, VERY bright outside. Snow had started to fall and the cloud covered sky acted almost like a wrap of all of the light trapped beneath it. It was incredibly bright.

All I could think of was the line from Twas the Night Before Christmas about "the moon on the breast of the new fallen snow gave the luster of midday to objects below."

I just remember everything being very... soft. The snow was soft. The light was soft. And the combination of those things plus the warm and inviting light emanating from our tree and decorations gave a wonderful sense of peace and joy I wish I could bottle up and glimpse into when things were hard.

Christmas Day was perfectly lazy. We woke up around 7 am and quickly made a new coffee cake (which worked out fine) and bacon, all of which cooked while we opened gifts. Thanks to a bonus and other generous offerings that made me feel extremely blessed, it was a generous year for the kids (although I have really tried to focus less on gifts for gifts sake and more on gifts with necessity, meaning or purpose behind them).

We played around and got things going with their new tech toys and such, and then got ready to talk to Paul at 1 pm out time. We enjoyed our visit with him, and there was a lot of talk about what we needed to do to get ready for him to come home.

After talking to him, we were ready to head to Grandma Downs where we met up with Bryant, Adrienne and Mateo. Grandma made a lovely meal and we brought some games we enjoyed playing together.

What we got this year...

  • Perfume from Maryn (Eau Duelle- from Nordstrom. It was very expensive and I love it! She worked so hard to get it for me)
  • T-Fal Pan
  • Snuggly sherpa blanket
  • Pajamas
  • iPhone 6
  • Belts
  • Backpack
  • PS3 controller
  • Toss Up Game
  • Ukelele (from Conner)
  • Ver Wang Princess perfume (from Ashlyn)

  • iPhone 6
  • PS3 Controller
  • MiP robot
  • 3 pairs of shoes
  • Doodle Dice Game
  • iPhone tripod
  • Michael Vey book and Minecraft books (from Maryn)
  • Diary of a Whimpy Kid book and Rocket Balloons (from Ashlyn)

  • iPhone 6
  • PS3 Controller
  • Crayola Cling Creator
  • Crayola Animator
  • 3 pairs of leggings
  • 2 dresses
  • Pair of shoes
  • Lego Trevi Fountain
  • Minecraft Blockopedia (from Maryn)
  • Nail Art Kit (from Conner)

Things my kids say

Scene: Driving in the car as a family
Ashlyn: Look! Look at that over there!
Maryn: What?
Ashlyn: That! Behind the building. It's a metal tower. You're going to miss it. 
Maryn: I don't see it. 

Ashlyn: You guys are blind.
Conner: We're not blind. It's just not that interesting.

I was humming Jingle Bells when Ashlyn piped up. 
"You know, I spent years thinking the words were 'one hor soap in sleigh'."
"It makes way more sense this way."

A few nights ago there was a knock at the door around 9:30 and I asked Maryn to go see who it was. She looked through the peephole and shrugged saying "I don't know. I can't see anything." She opened the door and let in her friend. A few minutes later "Oh wait! I just realized you can't have both eyes closed when you look out! You have to keep one eye open." In other news, I also got a letter saying she is on the honor roll.

Conner asked me how growing happened. I said I thought it was cells dividing and multiplying the same sorts of cells and then there was just more of you. He dismally cries out "Why aren't my cells doing that for me?" *pause* "Step it up cells."

After the doctor and getting antibiotics we stopped at the store to get more juice and more drugs and more cough drops. 
Ashlyn: So am I contagious?
Me: Yes. For a little bit. 
Ashlyn: So I should be careful in the store? Like not picking things up and putting them back?
Me: Well yes. And don't, you know, lick anyone or anything like that. 
Ashlyn: (shocked) Mom! WHY would I do that? *pause* I only lick Maryn. 

Ashlyn hugged me goodnight and expressed a concern. "Mommy. What if I don't feel well again tonight?"
Maryn (without looking up from her book): "Puke and go get some Sprite."

Maryn: I'm just so overwhelmed with all this college talk. It just makes it so real! And I can't handle it. 
Me: So you're a hot mess?
Maryn: I'm NOT a hot mess. I'm a soggy potato mess. And not the kind of soggy potatoes you make into mashed potatoes. I'm the kind of soggy potatoes that grow those root thingies and smell weird and you throw away. I'm not even worthy to be mashed potatoes!

Further, after whining about the new tank tops SHE picked out and said felt fine two days but she hates now and begged to change... I told her that tank tops (she hates the "support" inserts) were like marriage; once you make a choice and commit you just have to make it work.
Ashlyn; "Yeah. But learning to wear a bra is way harder than being married."

Reflection on 2015

So as 2015 closes and 2016 begins, we thought it would be great to be realistically reflective of what we have faced, try to remember what we have to thankful for, and be optimistic about what we have to look forward to in the upcoming year.

Sprinkled in amongst our thoughts are pictures of how we spent the new year; with Amy, Ben, Sarah, Lily and AJ in La Verkin.

Chiara (Mom)

The best things that happened:
  1. Bonus and raise at work
  2. I saw all my siblings TWICE this year - for a wedding and a funeral
  3. Mom and Dad getting called on a mission and leaving for Rome
  4. Yellowstone trip
  5. I got a piano!!!
The hardest things that happened:
  1. Dealing with a staff member at work who was difficult
  2. Guillan- Barre
  3. Maryn's depression
  4. Grandpa Downs passing away
  5. The flu... I have never felt that awful to be honest
What I'm looking forward to in 2016:
  1. Paul coming HOME!
  2. Summer trip (as yet to be determined where...)
  3. New flooring in the condo
  4. Getting better at taking care of money
  5. So many new phases of our lives... adult child and my youngest in YW


The best things that happened
  1. Started High School
  2. Got a driver's permit
  3. Got a new cello
The hardest things that happened
  1. Mom in the hospital/ sick
  2. Being so sick at the end of last year physically
  3. Depression
  4. AP class (that wasn't a great experience)
What I'm looking forward to in 2016
  1. Driver's license
  2. Choir trip to CA
  3. Orchestra Trip to WA
  4. Braces off in the spring
  5. Paul coming home!!!


The best things that happened
  1. Dancing with a girl
  2. Yellowstone
  3. Comi-con!
  4. Starting the viola
The hardest things that happened
  1. Great Grandpa Downs passing away
  2. Staring Junior High
What I'm looking forward to in 2016

  1. Elko for a semester
  2. Brother coming home


The best things that happened
  1. Staying with Angela for a week
  2. Yellowstone
  3. Halloween with the Carpenter's
The hardest things that happened

  1. Mom in the hospital

What I'm looking forward to in 2016

  1. 2 New Cousins
  2. My 12th Birthday
  3. Going into YW