Wednesday, December 30, 2015

I'm Almost Done!

I can't believe that it has been 364 days already!

It seems like just last week that I was sitting at my desk deciding on my New Year's resolution to find an "UP" in every day. I know I didn't blog about it every day, but it was a goal that was always on my mind... always.

I really wanted to find a reason to keep my spirits UP everyday and sometimes that was awfully hard, but it can be done.

I want to challenge any of you who might read this to find an UP in your day everyday and document it somewhere. It will be awesome to look back on your great year. It truly is amazing that if you can focus on the positive that that is what is remembered most.

I mean, really, if you look at only the negative this was a rough year with me having my first car wreck and my first broken bone... ever! Wow! Maybe that's all really a positive... two firsts in one year! Ha! Just kidding... anyway, what was I saying about positive?


So I have to say I try really hard to be very prepared for Christmas. I start, literally, in January to shop sales and hit yard sales in the summer and collect things for Christmas throughout the year so as not to put us in a financial strain right at Christmas time. It's worked out really well for the most part.

Now, if you're reading this, I am hoping you know the story of Santa Claus, if not, let me warn you, this  might be a spoiler...

OK, so we tell our kids that we give the money to Santa so he can only bring what we can afford. We give them a limit of $50 and if they ask for something over that amount we either hope for a miracle or tell them it's too much over the Christmas budget. Anyway, because of this "cap" on Christmas I try my best to find good deals on things I am pretty sure they would like. I'm usually pretty good at it.

If you recall the miracle of the turquoise violin, you will also know that I don't always end up making Christmas on my own, we do have special helpers and secret Santa's and they always seem to answer our children's prayers.

It may seem shallow, but my children really are still children and they still believe in the magic of Santa Claus. So, if you know my children personally, please, I ask you, don't ruin it for them or for us. We are enjoying their innocence—give me a benefit to their impairment...

Anyway, at a yard sale this summer, about August, I came across a tablet of some kind and asked the seller about it. It was a Kindle Fire HD and I wasn't too sure about it because I don't know that kind of stuff very well, but she said she'd give it to me for twelve dollars! Well, I couldn't pass up that deal and I thought it would be an awesome gift for Brother for Christmas. I've had it hidden in my drawer of the past few months so that Brother wouldn't find it, and yes, I snuck it out a few times to watch a movie on Netflix with Marc (I had to make sure it worked).

I was starting to wonder if I'd gotten the right thing for Brother as he wasn't making any mention of getting a tablet so I started thinking I would just keep it for myself... then 3 weeks ago he informed us that he wanted a Nook for Christmas... a Nook? That's like a tablet, right? So I planted the seed that maybe Santa couldn't afford a Nook but maybe a Kindle Fire would be cool... Brother wasn't sure about that, but continued to ask for a Nook, and I continued to inform him that we might not be able to get him a Nook for Christmas.

I think he was OK with the Nook.


He was so happy with his Kindle Fire and was all smiles. He did make sure to inform us that it wasn't a Nook though... it made me smile.

I'm so thankful for the little blessings in Our Life.

Brother was even thankful for the almost new rock climbing shoes in just his size that I just happened to find at a thrift store in St. George for $10.

We were blessed to find special little things for our kids that really made them happy, like Baby's packet of My Little Pony books I found on Clearance...

Or, Sister's new and real binoculars we got for dirt cheap at a local sports store blow-out sale this past summer.

The funnest gift we gave Sister was her backpacking backpack that we picked up months ago on a great sale...

Don't let Sister's squishy smile fool you, she was happy about everything she got for Christmas, but there were still many, many melt downs about the holiday and all its joy and excitement...

I even took a picture of it at my mom's house on Christmas Eve:
Luckily, this was only a quiet melt... I didn't get any pictures of the big ones because, well, I was busy trying to get her to calm down.

Holidays are tough for her because she looks forward to them with so much anticipation that I think that alone overwhelms her and then you add the unscheduled portion to the whole thing with there being no school and you have hit the jackpot of reasons to melt down completely.

We made it through. I had tried to prepare better of this holiday since I had learned from Thanksgiving and I had calendar, and a chalk board schedule of our activities each day and the next one coming... it really did make a huge difference and I am thankful for that.

See all these Christmas miracles?! Right down to some secret Santas that added to some last-minute stressers that I thought would not be fixed and they made it all right... miraculously and at the right time.

I'm so thankful!

I'm also so thankful that my brother, Daniel and his family were able to be here this holiday. It added to the fun of it all.

Oh, and I'm grateful to my brother-in-law who stepped in as a our visiting Santa this year. It brought tears to my eyes, not only to have the tradition still going, but to see the tradition being passed on to a new generation.

I'm so blessed.

Here's some of the fun we had on Christmas Eve.

Mom getting all the food together and ready for us... we were completely stuffed and then some...

Then Aaron played piano while we sang carols before Santa's arrival

Then we listen for Santa's bells when we think it's getting close...

Me and Aaron sneaking outside to listen for the bells

Jessie got a picture of the kids outside listening for Santa's bells

 After all that fun and excitement, which I'll leave for your imagination and our memories we opened our gifts from each other and from Mom and Dad.

This past fall my parents had to cut down a couple of trees that meant a lot to my mom and Aaron and Chelsea made us Christmas ornaments from cuts of the tree limb. It was so sweet and thoughtful and made my mom shed a few tears.

There was only one creepy toy given this year... we really don't even know what it is...

My mom had vintage material that she got for all the kids and had my aunt make them into blankets, they loved them.

Marc and Ranger were having a ball!

So was Millie!

All of us older girls got to open our present together... I think my mom and dad were tired of wrapping by the time they got to ours. We all got chocolate and the "Once I Was a Beehive" movie!

Marc found the perfect gift for my dad while we were in Jackson, a book cut into his initial... ha! He loved it!

My sister, Jessie, painted little wooden families for each of us. I love mine so much!

Could the be any cuter?! If you want to order any you should check her ETSY shop at Messy Paint by Jessie
I had to share a picture of the LittleMr because he was like this the entire night.

And then, here is Sister with her new cousin Leelee who kept her cheered up most of the night. Sister LOVES new babies, especially when they are her cousins!

 OK. That's it for tonight. I hope to get more blogged before the end of the year!

Wish me luck!

Day 364 of 365 Days of Up (I'm almost done!)

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