{less excess}

Monday, December 30, 2013

This Christmas we did many things differently. The biggest thing we changed was the number of gifts the children would find under the tree. I look at past Christmas pictures and I cringe. I hate that we put such an emphasis on the height of presents under the tree. I wanted the wow factor for the children, but after the paper was ripped & the toys in stacks I often found myself thinking why? Why so much? why all at once? The toys are played with and sets put together, & then they find their way into the game closet, sometimes forgotten or in a toy drawer amongst the many other activities.  I love hearing how other families decide how to celebrate this most holy holiday. One day while Presley was tapping her heels in tap class, my friend Susie and I started discussing how our ideas of presents have evolved since those early years with babies. How excess is less and less appealing to us. Susie said this year they would be giving each of their children 2 gifts. I lit up! I was not alone! We had wanted to set a low low LOW number for our Christmas this year & this just shoved us more in that direction. We really felt inspired this Christmas to pull back and think of 3 things per child that they would really and truly enjoy & grow with. Their lists were short & easy to fulfill. By cutting back we were able to get bigger ticket items that would pack a punch. funny part is...Britt's favorite gift was a $7.00 plush he had wanted for months & Maddox was thrilled to bits over play doh.  Because we decided to simplify this holiday season and focus less on presents we were in a position to help a family that needed warmth and shelter...not toys, not candy...but hot meals, a warm bed. It really put things in perspective. & do you think the little S's even noticed they didn't have more than 3 things? nope! Not a complaint! In a year when we ask them what they received under the tree...odds are they won't even remember...but what they will remember is the feelings of love, and togetherness.  We are so so blessed. 

first few pictures from Christmas morning... 
we were so lucky to have Omah & Opha to share the day with us too!  


Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas eve included the children playing with friends outside & Christmas movies during the daytime. When the sunset we all settled in to read the story of our Savior's birth. The children put the nativity set together as we read the story. The children were busy as we read, but i am often reminded that they may not seem to be hearing anything, but they are feeling something. 
My sweet husbands birthday falls on the 24th, but he HATES his birthday! So often he says what he wants most of all is NOTHING! party pooper! But we had to have a cake & candles. He made a wish.  & the kids hugged him and kissed his cheeks. I shared a story on my instagram feed on his birthday & I want to record it here too... so here's a little copy & paste action...

''Today is his birthday. Christmas Eve. I feel particularly proud of this man today. Here's a little story about the birthday guy. Sunday rod was driving back to his month away. 40 mins into his drive he spotted a man and 2 little ones with back packs walking. There was nothing for miles so concerned,rod stopped. Looonnnggg story short the guy was walking with his 5 & 6 year old from SA to Houston! Rod drove them to Houston fed them meals along the way and when Rod asked where they would be staying the man said he did not know anyone in Houston and only had a dollar in change. Rod called shelters with the hospital (the one he works at currently) social worker and none had vacancy. Rod made a judgement call after spending the entire day with this little family, and put the three travelers up in a motel and gave them as much money as our budget could allow. We decided to not give gifts to each other for Christmas and our birthdays to compensate for the surprise to our finances. I can not think of a better birthday/Christmas gift than a loving man who thinks to help others. I love him!''

It was a fun Christmas eve & we were grateful to be together! 
Santa brought new jammies as always also! 

tracking Santa via Internet

 This year Rod & I decided to start a new tradition of gifting the kids with glass blown ornaments. Each year the children will get a new one. The boys were particularly excited! 

 we put out chocolate peppermint cupcakes, milk & carrots & went to bed to wait for santa. 

 A stuffed racoon for our very own baby raccoon! 

Ready for christmas morning! 

{1st week off}

Thursday, December 26, 2013

 The boys winter break started off with class parties. It turned into a disaster! My parents & I split up so each boy would have someone in attendance at their party. I wanted to go to Maddox party since its his first year of school. I showed up at the school Maddox attends, put cooper in the stroller and went to sign in at the front desk. Well the front desk is as far as i was able to get. I was turned away because i wasn't cleared at that particular campus in the district. I was devastated. I texted my neighbor who is a 3rd grade teacher in the district & she tried to get things straightened out for me. (apparently the school was NOT following protocol at all.) School let out before it was straightened out, but I love Gabby for trying! Cooper & I just cried in the parking lot for the 90 mins instead. Maddox came out of the building all smiles with gingerbread house in tow. I was so worried he would be upset, but his teachers assured me he got over it. funny how these things often get mommas more worked up then the children. After this hiccup things turned for the better! & the big boys had a great time with Opah at their class parties! 
Heres cooper crying right along with me on Friday...

Rod came home for the weekend. It was a big surprise! Cooper loves his daddy! Cooper has been sleeping in our closet while My parents are here. He woke up early as usual & I warmed his milk to get him back down. He saw daddy in the bed & was so excited that he decided to stay awake the rest of the morning. He loves his Daddy.

The boys have been sleeping in....well all but Maddox who is up before sunrise every day.  Its been nice not having to wake them each day. Lazy jammie mornings are a favorite here. 

Our elf, Bradley kept the kids excited for Christmas. 

 The children decorated 5 little gingerbread houses. Omah helped me with baby cooper so I could help the kids with frosting 
& snap a few pictures. 

the kids love having Luca here. They even made him a rainbow loom collar. We love Luca! He is such a good dog. 

 The neighborhood had a party at the pavilion. Santa came! The kids were so excited...but two of them decided they were much too cool to stand in line & talk to the jolly old elf. I stayed back home with the babies so they could make it to bed onetime & I could get gussied up for a date night with Rod. The boys came home happy after roasting marshmallows & drinking cocoa. 

Other happenings in the first week off....
Maddox fell off a skateboard & needed stitches. Tre came running in to the house screaming that we had to go to the hospital now. I ran out the door in my socks leaving the little ones with my Mom.  My poor neighbor Natalie was running Maddox up the hill getting blood all over her! I screamed for my Dad as i ran to meet Natalie. Maddox had blood dripping all over his face. I couldn't tell where it was coming from. He was a bloody bloody mess! I  started running towards the house and my dad met me 1/2 way up the hill and took him the rest of the way. All we saw was blood so the panic was big. My mom grabbed a washcloth as we buckled Maddox into the car.  We ran him up the house Gabby & Natalie wiped Maddox face to try & find where the blood was coming from. We all calmed down a little & thanked everyone for their help & left my parents with the 4. I was covered in blood, in my hair, on my cheek, on my shirt.  Maddox looked worked! We got to the ER and people were clearing the way for us. They took him in right away. Checked him out & gave him an orange pop cycle to calm him down. they took care of the many gashes in his head. As we left, Maddox said it was "my best day ever!"  all because he got an orange popsicle! Gabby brought over a bottle of diet coke and chocolate for me & a fun activity for Maddox & Natalie's girls, M&M brought over cute cared and candy! Maddox was spoiled! funny part of the ER trip was telling the doctor & nurses that Maddox had just received a brand new helmet for his birthday a week earlier. He will now not be taking that sucker off...ever. 


Friday, December 20, 2013

The weather went from frigid to beautiful overnight. The children have enjoyed playing with neighbors outside again. The night before Omah & Opah arrived the children ate dinner on the deck & raced around the yard until the sunset. 


Friday, December 20, 2013

The boys had their first round of testing. they all passed and are feeling pretty proud that they are now orange belts. I am not sure how long we will do this. I imagine when lacrosse season picks up in the spring we will be swallowed up by that. But in the mean time the kids really enjoy Taekwondo.  Tre was asked to assist in the testing with the younger children. He was patient & kind. A true leader.

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