Thursday, January 30, 2014

Looking Through Old Pictures

I was looking for some pictures for another project and I saw some of these... a few of my faves that just bring back good memories or make me smile!

Sister and Brother before there was Baby in the back yard at Grandpa Gary's house in 2009 just enjoying the sun

Baby at a few days old my sister-in-law came to take photos of her... I cannot believe how dark her hair was!

Sister just smiling in the back of the car as we headed out to take Kelsey's Senior pictures in 2009

2008 camping trip... this picture just makes me smile cuz it's me in all my glory! Ha! Eating pineapple, I'm always eating!

I love this one of Brother at Bubble Rock. The backdrop is pristine!

Chelsea taking Sister's 18 month old pics and this was one of her expressions when we stuck her in the basket.

Mischievous Sister found the water bottle during Baby's photos shoot, I also love that her hair is long and reminds me I used to spend so much time doing it!

Ha! I remember when Sister used to put diapers on her feet and walk around the house...

Ahhhh.... Our first trip to Florida! I love this pic for many reasons, but today it's mostly because my yard is covered in snow that this one looks so inviting!

Sorry I whined yesterday. I'm fine now! (smile) Especially after looking through old pictures and remembering how incredibly amazing Our Life really is!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

"Normal" Worries

You know I live in a big world within a small bubble.

Not everyone has a child with disabilities and not everyone has a child with Fragile X.

For me, this is all I know.

Many parents think a lot about the day that their child starts making friends, gets old enough to walk to their friend's house around the block, starts to talk to friends on the phone non-stop, gives a speech, starts to drive, goes on their first date, has their first kiss, starts a job, goes to college, gets married, has children, moves far away and all the possibilities that accompany those milestones and accomplishments.

I think about those things too.

Kinda.

But, not really.

I don't even know if they'll do those things.

I was talking to my sister, Kirsten, a couple of days ago and she asked if it gets easier as they get older.

I'm still trying to answer that question.

I don't really know.

It's fun having them talk to me more as they get older and to see the things they can do now that they are learning more. Brother doesn't have as much anxiety as he used to and being able to have Sister tell us how she feels has added a bit of an ease to our dealings with her. Baby now, most of the time, will walk to where she needs to go instead of melting completely and making someone carry her.

But then there's ALL the other stuff I have to worry about just when I think I've got it under control.

Schizophrenia was something that Marc's grandmother struggled with.

Mental Health is a possibility for those with Fragile X Syndrome.

Seizures are a possibility for children with Fragile X Syndrome.

So when Sister seems to talk to herself and then answer he own questions when she is alone in her room, you begin to worry about the connection between Schizophrenia on her dad's side and the mental health issue that can be relate to her X Chromosome from her mom's side.

When Sister has "zone out" moments at home and in class and comes out of it tired and incoherent, or "zones out" and then startles into yelling, "I had a nightmare!" and won't stop complaining of a headache afterwards you hope it is not a Fragile X caused seizure.

I want to worry about the fun little things she'll do someday, but all the great things I hope for sometimes get overshadowed by all the things I have to be prepared for or watch for so that I can make sure she is getting the care that she needs to become her best self.

No matter what your child's ability you always want what's best for them. I just have to say it seems so hard to me today because I hate having to watch for every negative thing that will come with growing up AND then add the weight of all that can occur because of Fragile X Syndrome.

It's just sitting with me today and makes me a little uncomfortable.

Can't I just know what it's like to have "normal" worries for a day? I'm not trying to downplay what parents of children without significant struggles deal with everyday. It's just tough being a parent. Period. I know that. Just today, I don't want to stress about all possibilities I am told can come with Fragile X. Instead I want to worry about the possibilities I am told comes with childhood.

That's it.

I know, I'm whining.

I just need to put it out there.

I want those in my situation to know they're not alone.

I want those not in my situation to know that they are blessed to have "normal" worries.

Like I told Nalani the other day, and I have said it many times before, "In this house NORMAL, is just a setting on the dryer."


Monday, January 27, 2014

My take on "Frozen"

I finally joined the rest of the world and saw Disney's "Frozen."

Every time I would tell someone that I had not seen it yet I got a reaction as if I just told them I had the plague and then the verbal remark was usually something like, "What? You have to see it! You have to!"

I was beginning to feel left out.

Like I was really missing out on something that would make all the difference in my life's happiness.

It's not that I didn't want to see it. I REALLY wanted to. I LOVE Disney animated movies more than, as an adult, I probably should.

But...

I have 3 kids.

I know! That is usually the reason why parents have the excuse to see a Disney Animation.

Every time I would come up with some wonderful time to take my kids to see this fantastic movie Sister would melt into a puddle of whines and sobs and Brother would say, "NO! NO!" as if I just asked him to join the Army, and Baby, well, let's face it... Baby can only sit for 15 minutes at the very most!

Marc had no desire to see until it was cheaper to see at the Dollar Theater or on DVD at Redbox.

So, I was stuck, wishing and hoping to see this movie that no one could stop talking about.

It was quite tragic, really (smirk).

Anyway, one day I was telling some one that I was just going to go by myself and Brother piped up and said he wanted to go! Of course I jumped at the chance and even offered to have his friend, Gracie come with us.

We went on Martin Luther King Day for a matinee while the kids were out of school.

I LOVED IT!

And I'm not talking about the movie... I mean I loved the movie, it was every bit as good as what I heard...

What I LOVED was seeing Brother be so happy and carefree sitting by his friend saving seats while I went to get popcorn and drinks. I loved how his uninhibited laughter rang through the theater and made others around us quietly chuckle at his excitement. I loved seeing his silhouetted head lean forward and loudly whisper, or even sometimes exclaim, how much he loved this or that character, the songs, the jokes and just generally loving it the whole way through. I even loved hearing his reactions to some of the little surprises of the bad stuff happening in the story.

My heart was soaring to the floating notes of the incredible music mixed with bounce of the childish excitement of my son.

I was anything but frozen. He melted my heart that day. Not because I didn't know him or just discovered his sense of humor that day but because of the reminder of how important it is to just love life, love the moment and live strong in life's lovely moments with fervor and intention.

At first I worried that he may be laughing too loud for the audience, but that worry quickly melted away as I realized that laughter and excitement is needed just a little bit more in this world.

Don't hold back your enjoyment of life because you don't want people to be uncomfortable with your happiness... "Let it Go!"

Showing his love of humor wearing a funny pair of glasses from Grandma Lynne's new game.


"Let It Go," one of my favorite songs from the movie, "The cold never bothered me anyway!"

Don't hold back who you are because you are afraid of the cold stares or remarks from others who aren't enjoying life as much as you are.

Let it go and laugh, live and love the way you feel it.

Follow Brother's shining example of being yourself and loving yourself.

So, that's what I got out of "Frozen." It was a story of sacrifice, learning who you are, loving someone more that yourself, laughing, wanting to enjoy the sunshine and embracing what life has thrown at you... and I didn't just learn all that from watching the movie but experiencing it with my son.

It was finally a nice sunny day and my friend's driveway was dry and clear of snow so I just had to spread a little cheer!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Potatoes, Pooh and Party Dresses

OK People this Post is all Proportioned to Pertain mainly to toPics that start with "P'"

"PPPPPffftthhh! For Pete's sake, why?" you all Persist.

Because it's Practically Perfect that I would try to use as many "P's" as Possible...

We'll Perceive how this goes...

Partaking of Marc's Pleasing Potatoes that he Procured in the Pioneer dutch oven along with his Plump corn bread was a Pleasant start to our Partner night last weekend. They were both so Pleasantly Perfect and so Peculiar to his Primary Projects that I just had to take a Picture!



Postliminary to dinner we Proceeded to our Proposed Place of Practical dessert oPtions...

Ice cream... Piles of ice cream! Perfect!



The next day was Sunday at my Parents' house for our bi-monthly dinner Party, and what is a dinner Party without Pooh?

Thanks, Yaya, for Participating in this blog Post today!


And what, may I imPlore, is a dinner Party without a Party dress?


Baby is Prancing in her Party dress!
(Grandma's Plethora of dress-ups is every Pretty little girls dream!)

And why would you only Portray the Party Dress at a Party when you can also Partake of it's Poofy wonderment while Plodding along on your Plucky Pony?!

Many Pleasantries were exchanged with mom and dad when they Purchased new sPrings for her Plucky Pony!
(Side story with no "P's" here: She rides this rocking horse so hard and so often that one of the
sPrings finally broke... not too bad considering that all three of my kids have ridden on this Pony—
14 years and counting and I bought it used!) 

Now this last Photo may not be Pragmatic nor Practical, but Positively one of the most Precious things I have seen Sister Perform. She Prettied uP her dolly (tiger) by dressing it in the doll clothes I have tried to get her to Put on her baby dolls for years... So excited to finally see her Put them to use.


I don't know about you, but I'm Pretty much "P'd" out!

Peace!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Freak Out, Then Carry On

On Wednesday Sister came home very distraught letting me know that her backpack had a hole in it.

For her, of course, this was a VERY tragic moment. I was finally able to calm her down by informing her that I would get a new one... long story short, I did.

She loves it.

This morning Sister was awake but Marc and I were laying in bed, too tired to worry about what she might be doing. It's weird how grogginess can impair your judgement... (dot's like that are meant to be read like the prelude to something bad happening, something like, duh, duh, duh)

When I finally got up at 9am to get breakfasts and meds going I briefly noticed the disaster to my left as a walk down the hall past Sister's room... Wow! Yep, memory now triggered! This is why you can't let her be the only one up! Woo! You couldn't see her floor through all the books, blankets, legos and pillows strewn throughout her room. At first I got a little tensed up an then quickly remembered that Nalani was coming to help Sister today so I wouldn't have to worry about the room today... I was so relieved. (smile)

Then we all mulled about the kitchen and living room as we gave out meds, instructions and tried to keep every one calm... Yeah! Calm...

Oh, my word!

OK, here is a little detour in my blog for an image that says it all—My sister-in-law, Chelsea, sent me two images she found! I have to share one of them right here because it is all too true at this house!


Ha! I think that I should print something like this off and hang it on our front door just to give visitors a fair warning.

Anyway, back to the story... after Sister had her meds and breakfast she soon began to whine and cry and act as if the world was over. I asked her what was wrong and she told me her backpack had a hole in it. "Yes, Sister," I replied, "that's why I got you a new one."

"NO, MOM!' She screamed, "another hole in my 'nother backpack!!!"

I asked her to bring it in for me to observe.

The front pocket had a definite hole... I saw little blue legs poking out the crescent-shaped opening.

She's been hoarding a LOT again lately. I think some of it has to do with having had a 2 week break from school for Christmas Vacation and then having today off for Martin Luther King Day.

Routine, people, routine!

Anyway, she had been taking Pokemon cards to school by sneaking them in her coat pockets without me knowing. We were finally able to put a stop to that when we found out that some of the kids in her grade were taking advantage of her mental understanding and just taking cards from her, a lot of cards.

So she has moved on to other things that she loves like her Lego people and her matchbox cars...

Pokemon cards take up less room in pockets.

Legos and little cars take up more space.

Lucky for Sister, her new back pack has lots of pockets.

BUT, she has a favorite pocket.

And that is the one she shoved ALL of her lego people and cars into. Hence the blue leg sticking out of the hole. She had just filled it too full.

I wasn't able to get to fixing her backpack right that moment and that was not OK with her.

At all.

So of course came whining, wailing and gnashing of teeth. I finally had a chance to wrap her up tight in a blanket and hold her tight and rub her back while talking softly to her. She settled down some.

Then she fell asleep on the floor.

Sometimes her anxiety turns into panic attacks and panic attacks can be pretty exhausting.

As I was trying to calm Sister's fall-apart I pictured the other image my sis-in-law sent me:


I really need to get her, me, Brother and Baby one of these! Seriously!

Have fun stain calm without me everyone! My kids put the "X" in anxiety!

FREAK OUT!
THEN, CARRY ON.

Might be more up my alley...

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Trials and smiles

There have been a few trials that have gone on in my extended family and the joke going around when someone needs advice on a trying situation is, "Call Rachael, she's been through it," or "Call Rachael, she'll know what to do," or even "Call Rachael, she'll understand why this trial is so hard and will make you feel better when you hear about hers."

Ha!

It really is quite funny.

I guess my trials are good for something huh?

It's OK, though. I really am glad that I have been able to help people in their time of need.

Sometimes I get down and say things like, "Why me?" or "Really, is God kidding right now?" and "Well, if something bad is gonna happen, it will happen to me..."

I hope more than anything, though, that others come to me for advice not just because of the many trials I have endured but that they come to me because I survived it and survived it with flair! (I love flair, flair is fun!)

During all the mayhem of the holidays, Brother's birthday didn't really make a big appearance on the blog.

I did want to share with you though a little note that his Sunday school teacher gave him, but before that I will flash back quickly to say that I was so nervous that Brother would be too much for his teacher and would take away the spirit of her lessons. Little did I know that she was more than prepared for the challenge and became one of the single most inspirational factors in Brother's life this past year.

This is what she wrote on a gift tag for his birthday:

14 Amazing Things About [Brother]

1-He is everybody's favorite person in the whole class
2-He ALWAYS has a bright smile on his face that lights up the room
3- He makes people feel loved and is a good example to those around him
4- He loves the violin!
5- He has a great sense of humor
6- He is very polite and quite the gentleman
7- He is handsome
8- He treats everyone with respect
9- He listens carefully to all of the lessons
10- He is a great big brother
11- It is so easy to feel comfortable around him and he is a great friend
12- He makes goals to read the scriptures
13- His purity invites the spirit to our class
14- He is a righteous and loved son of our Heavenly Father

Now, that made me cry when I read it the first time. She knows him so well, better than I thought he let others besides family know. Really, all the worry I had about him and how he would behave in class was diminished when I saw what a blessing it was to have Brother in her class.



I have been worried these last few days as I knew that the end of Brother's semester at school was coming and didn't know how well he would do with class changes and getting new peer tutors. He just has so much anxiety and having to change the peers he has been working with were finally familiar enough to him. Now to change classes AND peer tutors... I tried not to think about it.

Yesterday was the day of the new peer tutors...

I got a call from his teacher, Mrs. S, and I immediately braced myself for the words, "He really struggled today, " or "he was so disrespectful to his new peer tutor today."

...

But instead I heard his praises! She wanted to call and tell me how accepting and social he was with his new peer tutors and how he even asked them questions and talked to them!

What!!!???

That was very out of character for Brother. I loved to hear it!

Then I thought about Gracie and how she comes over several times to spend time with Brother playing games and talking. I really think he has learned a lot from her. All this time I was so worried it was a burden to hang out with him, although she never acts like it.

So I sent her a text thanking her for making such a difference in his life...

This was her reply, "Oh good!! I'm glad!:) I made him primes me he would be awesome for his new peer tutors and he said I will if you promise me something. And I said, okay what? And he said do good in school [Gracie] okay? Hahah he's so cute. :)"

I cannot really find the words to explain how I felt after reading that but I am sure you know it was all good feelings!



That's what it is everybody!

We all have trials! But, are we looking for the blessings that happen during, before or after the trials.

I'm glad I can be the "Poster Child" of a woman with trials to some people in my life so they can turn to me for advice during adversity. I just hope they get something good out of it just the way I do. And I promise, there is always good. I think it just takes a while to see it sometimes.

(knock on wood)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Post 1002

Oh my word! This is post 1002!

What!?

Do I really have that much to say since 2008?!

Here's a jaunt down memory lane:

Sleigh Ride behind our horse, Puzzle, from 2008

A small reminder  from 2008 of the mischief Sister has always been capable of... and yes, she does look just like Baby!

One of the first Flash Mobs I had seen on YouTube that made me wish my life was a musical in 2009

Baby's arrival 2009

A cute understanding of how Brother felt when our little pygmy goat, Squirt, died in 2010

The silent movie that turned out not to be silent and my feelings (a little) after JR and Kelsey had moved out 2010

Lessons learned and posted for fun 2011

Brother's Painted Horse 2011

A reminder that I am doing good 2012

Realizing how long I have been paid to do something I love 2012

Some of you may remember my 7 Day Journey to Up... I think I may have to do that again, it was a good week! This was the first post that started it up.

And I think that if any of you are new to this blog this will give you a fair idea of what's been going on the last 6 years.

I purposefully did not post things that involved Junior, Kelsey and Bryan as it was just too hard to do so today. Sometimes it's just really painful to remember that time in our lives took such an abrupt halt. So, it's not that I don't remember them, it was just a bit hard to reminisce through those times...

A flashback photo from 2010 - the "behind the scenes" shot

Monday, January 13, 2014

High on Life!

So I've been working hard on making some changes in my life both physically and emotionally, and I think I may be starting down the right track!

Just so you are all aware I did go to the doctor after my falling asleep at the wheel incident. The doctor took blood to test my thyroid, my iron levels, cell count and some other stuff I can't remember. They also gave me a B12 shot to see if that would help and some medicine to help me stay awake.

Well, my thyroid, iron and cell counts are normal. The B12 shot did NOT help. The medicine did, but I was having a reaction to it, so never mind that.

BUT...

I did try some things just emotionally that I love doing that I haven't done for a long time.

Simple stuff.

I sang and danced around the house with my kids on Friday—that, my friends, was a blast. My kids and me were laughing. It may or may not have been because of my dancing skills!

On Saturday I performed with my sister, mom and aunt and that always cheers me up! I LOVE performing! Not to mention that because of all my happiness that had developed from the day before I was especially hyper and in a comedian-type mood. That made it fun for all of us!




Then that night I got to go dancing with my sweetie!

It was so awesome!

You see, there was this DJ, Jimmy Chunga, that Marc and I loved to listen to in the mornings for years... then he left... long story short, I was able to meet him on a photo shoot I was doing for my friend, Amanda's, work. Amanda is a HUGE (understatement) fan and Chunga invited us to one of his shows! So of course we went!

I HAD SO MUCH FUN!!! I still giggle thinking about how much fun I had bobbing around like a 36-year-old Mormon Mom with a bad back... and wow! (Ya, if that visual doesn't make you laugh, I don't know what will.) I felt like a kid again! I may have even looked like a 12-year-old awkward me again... that's OK. There was not doubt I was having fun!

I'm tellin' ya! I really take the best "selfies" ever... uh huh.




Music is powerful!

I've decided it's basically my ultimate "high."

I'm still "high" from my musical weekend and it was so awesome to top it all off by teaching Primary with my hubby and singing Primary Songs with all the kids.

Music!

Life!

High!

Really high!

Friday, January 10, 2014

What I Love!

This post is just because I am wanting the world to know what I love!

First off I have to introduce one of my new loves!

This is Nalani! She is the sweetheart that comes into our home 5 days a week to help Sister. She is a gem and we hope she is here for a very long time. This is one of those wonderful things that we get to participate in with the help of DSPD that gives me some sense of sanity. 

And I LOVE sanity!


Can you tell Sister loves her too?
I have taken on a new interest in crocheting which has lead me to another love... scarves... infinity scarves. (And don't ask me for the pattern, I don't have one... I am not that smart yet...)




I LOVE that even though Baby has new My Little Pony ponies she still treasures her old, 
off brand ones she snuck from Grandma Judy's last summer. If you look closely you'll see 
that she has "treasured" these so much that the blue pony's front hoof is actually broken, 
the hair is matted and the plastic soft from all the handling... I think I must be very loved too... 
thank goodness my hoof isn't broken...



 She is being the voice of the blue one here. Looks like a serious conversation.


I LOVE family parties and I LOVE piƱatas so our family party with my dad's side of the family was a HIT!






I LOVE photography and being a photographer!


I LOVE capturing moments to be treasured for a lifetime.



And it was fun to take photos of Lindsey! Two things I love all at once!


I LOVE Marc!

(He's my husband... just in case you are new to this blog...)

New Year's Eve at our friends house!

New Year's Day! We were supposed to go snow shoeing again, but my back was not doing well enough so we went and watch people climbing the ice at Bridal Veil Falls. It was SO COLD!
This picture makes me laugh because our faces are all skeewampus.... I have no idea how to spell that word, but I have heard it... let me look it up... OK, I was almost right... it's "skiwampus." Aren't you glad I taught you that today?
OK, back to our regular programming.
I LOVE a lot of things that aren't mentioned here!

I just had a lot to catch up on and most of the stuff I was falling behind on is stuff 
I LOVE so I thought I would just stick it all into one post!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Our Snow Shoe Adventure

So of course the day after Marc got his camera we had to go on some kind of adventure to try it out!

So we decided to drive up the canyon from our house for 15 minutes and hike South Fork Canyon.

I was able to cram in 4 hours of snow shoeing into 4 minutes.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Pee Day!!

Yes, I am a mom.

Yes, I have changed the poopiest, most disgustingly full diapers, cleaned puke off my face and off of floors and walls. I have given up many outfits of mine and my children's due to escaped poop, far-reaching spit up, flying baby food and jars and I have found many a cheerio or cookie crumb down my bra. I have stepped on legos, matchbox cars, and barbie dolls in the middle of the night and the middle of the day. I have stayed up many times through the night to soothe a sick child or help them calm down after a nightmare.

So I...

I...

Have every right to call this public post "Pee Day!"

All of us mothers know this day!

The first time our child pees on the potty purposefully and deliberately!

Not just the mom who is trained on timing of the "go" but the actual wake up and "go" child!

Today was the day!

My Pee Day!

Her Pee Day!

Yes, people!

Baby peed on the potty...

OK, wait, wait... that isn't quite right...

Baby sat ON the potty and peed IN it!

OK, that's better.

(At my house you never know... so I do have to clarify.)

I woke up Baby for school this morning and her diaper was fairly dry, as it has been for the last few months in the mornings, so I asked her if she wanted to go on the potty. This is usually the moment she begins to cry and fall into tears so I calmly put on a new diaper and wait for her to fill it up while she drinks breakfast and I then have to change it again before her long bus ride... ho... hum...

But, not today!

Today I asked and she just looked at me and started to sit up. I led her to the bathroom and sat her on the potty and we sang a few songs and said funny things and then... she got on her concentration face and started to go pee! I cheered and got so excited. She grinned her tooth-gapped grin and we squealed in excitement.

I asked her if she needed to go any more and she stopped squealing and said "more" and then put on the concentration face again and finished the job!

Oh there was much joy and celebration in our house this lovely morning!

A ray of hope that maybe, just maybe we can start down the potty training road!

I'm telling you, it's the little things in life that make me smile.

This post may have the record for the most exclamation points...

Yahoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK, wow, I really am a mom... I just posted to all the world that she went potty... but at least I didn't post any pictures of the event!

Tee hee!


Side note: For those of you who don't already know this is all especially a big deal to us because Baby has Fragile X and struggles with understanding and expressing language. She is 4 and I am so excited that this is even a possibility as there are many kids with FXS who don't learn to use the potty this early.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Gifts of Christmas

Christmas morning was so cute this year.

Sister woke up first and Marc and I laid in bed as we listened intently to her exclamations of joy and her squeals of excitement.

Usually Santa has ALL the gifts wrapped under the tree but this year many of the gifts were left unwrapped with name tags only.

I love hearing Sister get excited, not only about her things, but about her siblings' gifts too.



We were so blessed to have a secret Santa bring us some much needed items for the kids along with some really fun things too. It was fun for Marc and I to be surprised right alongside the children as the gifts were revealed.

Baby was in heaven with all her My Little Pony characters.

Sister couldn't have been happier about her Pokemon cards and Angry Birds blanket.

Brother finally got his long awaited requested gift of a Lava Lamp!

I know the secret Santa was up on the coolness factor because he not only got some cool Converse shoes for Baby, stylish Sunday shoes for Brother and the fancy pants for Sister but he brought Marc and I some really nice perfume and cologne!






Baby decided that the ponies could play her new baby baby grande

Marc's dream came true when I was able to take on a big Photo job and bought him an awesome Black Friday special of a GoPro Camera. I am excited to show you all the things he has already used it for! I know he was totally spoiled, but I love him and I really wanted to do something special for him.


See that really cool surf board with the turtle on it in the bottom left hand corner?
Ya, that one. My sister Kirsten and Brother in law, Jeremy made that for Marc! A-MA-ZING!!! Kirsten made me an awesome jewelry frame to hang my eating on! They went crazy with the homemade gifts this year!



Marc surprised me with a very beautiful Liahona necklace... I know to those who are not LDS (Mormon) that sounds really strange. Liahona means "compass" and it has spiritual meaning for members of the LDS church. The necklace was a beautiful gesture, and I adore it.

The kids were excited about the treats Santa left this year. He usually leaves all the candy in their stockings but he's learned that they just like having it all in one big stock pile anyway.



Baby stole the bag of peanut butter M&M's after I took this picture and I found them in her room... I guess next year Santa will bring her her own bag!


After our Christmas morning and Christmas breakfast of homemade waffles came to an end we headed out to Marc's parents house to celebrate with his family!

So many fun and creative gifts were given and exchanged. It was fun to see eyes light up when they saw something new just for them in the box or bag.

Our cousins, Cathy and Jerry, were there to celebrate with us too. They even brought some awesome gifts for the kids! So thoughtful!

Brother, Kelsey, Sister, Bryan, Amy, Frank and Gary all waiting for the gift unwrapping to begin!

This little lion chair brought much delight that day as we laughed watching Baby try to hug and sit on it at the same time. She had a few mishaps and roll-overs but she finally has it down now. Thanks Cathy and Jerry for the chair of cheer! (wink)

Sister was so excited to sit by her "used-to-be-sister" (that's what she calls her when she is talking to us about her)

Brother got this cool book from Cathy and Jerry too, but I am sad to say that Sister has claimed it as her own.
Brother had the Christmas spirit with him still so he was OK with that. They look and search together anyway.

"Fluttershy!!!" Was all Baby could yell when she opened her gift from Grandma and Grandpa.



Sister was quite excited about the remote control car grandma got for her! It was just like Brother's that he got from Santa!


Everyone had fun opening their gifts. 


And then it was over...


We went upstairs and started eating the great spread of food that Lynne had prepared for all of us and were surprised with some special guests we haven't seen in a long time friends that we love!

We had so much fun playing games and talking and eating! Loved it!

So our gifts of Christmas weren't actually just the ones that were listed above...

We were blessed with the gifts of charity, love, family, friends, and the wonderful knowledge that all these gifts are celebrated yearly because of our Savior Jesus Christ.

A belated, but Merry Christmas!