David started his vacation on Levi's birthday. The kids had a half day of school that day so David and I decided that we would spend that time together for our anniversary. We walked around the mall leisurely and then went to Red Lobster. David isn't a fish fan but never complains when I want to go there on special occasions. As you can see from the picture, we are still very much at ease. It was just such a peaceful outing. A rare moment when you have 3 little boys.
I love this man. I love his tenderness with me. I love his awe at how blessed we are to have such good children. But I also love that he recognizes when our boys are being disrespectful and jumps right on it to correct them, in stern manner. He takes care of his family spiritually and physically. I really couldn't ask for more.
It was a long day for the boys (having to wait ALL day to open their Christmas presents) but Daddy came to the rescue when he got the idea to build a fort out of the remaining snow. They used a cooler to pack the snow in and made a great outside entertainment to distract themselves.
I was so grateful for this because it got the boys out of the house. They get way to caught up in electronics. I am thankful for David's example of moving around and willingness to work (which he later showed them by shoveling our neighbor's walkway).
After dinner I read them a Christmas book. This years was Glenn Beck's, The Snow Angel. Every year I buy a new book and when I saw that Glenny boy had a new kids book, I bought it right away (that was a few months ago)! But on to what the boys thought was important...the gifts! I love this picture above and I know I have said this before, but I love how excited each child gets over their brother's gifts. Look at Brigham's face waiting for Levi to open up his gift!
Hyrum was more than a little excited about his Minecraft magnents from Poppy and Nanny. He has just now started to play on Minecraft so this is extra fun for him. For the longest time he just watched his brothers but we felt he could handle building stuff on Minecraft.
Brigham got lots of Sonic the Hedgehog stuff and this was probably his favorite of the night. It was from Poppy and MeMaw. That was the theme: Brigham-Sonic, Levi-books, and Hyrum-anything Mario Brothers.
This picture was taken right after they opened up two Xbox 360 games. This was THE FAVORITE of the night. They were so very excited about finally getting an Xbox. David was pretty excited too :) He has wanted one since we first got married. Thanks to Uncle Chuck, it finally happened this year!
I love this picture! Beside that David is so cute :) I love his smile in it. He was laughing pretty hard when he opened up this gift from Levi. We don't have cable so we haven't watched a full episode but from what we have seen on YouTube, Duck Dynasty is right up mine and David's alley.
This was one of my gifts from Mom and Dad. I had to take a picture because this makes me think of my childhood. The comment made on this gift is obviously because of my non-existent wrapping skills but it made me think back to younger years because it really does describe me. I have been like this for as long as I can remember... if I can't make something PERFECTLY then I make it as crappy as possible! I can remember when I was a youth in church and Rose (my leader at the time) was having us girls decorate our camp t-shirts. I remember starting off nicely...but then I messed up and, well, paint went flying! The t-shirt that started off nicely turned into a work of insane art, as I'm sure I came off as wanting to do that all along. I'm even that way in pictures. If I look horrible, I tend to almost always make a face. As if people will focus on my silly expression rather than me not fixing my hair or not having on make up. Those darn insecurities!
This was the gift that I was probably most grateful for...Levi's new OU hoodie. The one of the right has been worn for way too many years. So I gladly asked him if he was ready for me to throw the old one away. I shouldn't have been surprised when he insisted on keeping it. He is my sentimental child. But I am still grateful MeMaw and Poppy sent it because at least the old raggedy one can just stay in his closet!
I am truly grateful for Uncle Bubba and Hannah, Uncle Chuck, Mom and Dad, as well as Grandma and Grandpa for all the presents that made the boy's night so very special.
So, it was a great day. Tomorrow I want us to focus more on Christ. It has always been tradition on my side of the family to open gifts on Christmas Eve but I appreciate it much more as an adult because I love that we can separate the gifts from the celebration of Christ's birth. Sure, they get presents from Santa tomorrow but it isn't much and it is done in the morning so we can focus the rest of the day on what is important, or at least we try. It is hard to compete with all the new stuff but I do pull them away from it now and then throughout the day to refocus. Lets hope for success tomorrow!
Here's a great way to keep your kids busy while waiting to open Christmas presents (or in our case, Christmas Eve presents).
Daddy took a cooler and packed it with snow to make these snow blocks for the kids to have a fort. I am truly grateful that I married a man who is very involved in his children's lives, physically and spiritually.
We have been getting boxes and boxes of gifts in the mail this past week from our far away families. The boys have been so excited with each one. We feel so blessed with family that is thinking of us during this holiday.
One of the boxes that we could open now was from Grandma and Grandpa Adams in Las Vegas. They get us something every Christmas but I have to say that this one is my favorite so far. Inside was a game, popcorn, and hot chocolate. But the best was the movie, The Muppet Christmas Carol. Inside was a note explaining that they watch this movie every Thanksgiving to get their, "Christmas underway."
I'm sure I watched this movie as a child but of course, I don't remember. I am not a cartoon or Muppet or whatever type of a movie lover. It never fails; when we put one on, I get up and start cleaning. But I really wanted to try and stay out in the living room with David and the boys this time so I also got us pizza. The first part wasn't really touching my heart yet so once I got done with my pieces of pizza, off to the kitchen I went. I cleaned everything up but made myself sit down afterwards. Before I knew it, I realized just how special this movie is. Rarely do we see a movie, in today's society, where it will openly praise God. Here and there, in this movie, God would be mentioned or prayer and such.
I guess what I am trying to say is...I can't believe I felt the spirit so many times in a Muppet movie! It was a good reminder of forgiveness and love. This is going to be a new tradition for our family now!
Yesterday Levi turned 11. I woke up to Levi and Daddy being the only ones awake. As I saw them on my way to the bathroom Levi said very lovingly, "Good morning Mom!" He tells me that pretty much every morning but this time it was said with just a little bit of, "Do you remember?" I told him good morning and went into the bathroom but just then I realized what he was getting at and what day it was. So I made it a big deal as I walked back towards him to tell him what he wanted to hear.
I remember feeling that way as a child. Not only excited for the presents and party that would be a part of my big day, but also the acknowledgement of family and friends. I love being on the other side of the excitement now, though. I can remember my parents saying, when I was a child, that the best part of birthdays or holidays is to see your child's excitement. It is true. That and feeling the peace of the moment.
David and I picked up the boys after school (it was a short day because of the following Christmas break) and headed off to Boondocks in Kaysville. It is a family fun center with inside and outside entertainment. But of course, it being winter in Utah, the outside wasn't an option. It was expensive but worth it to have this rare, all out experience. Because of the package we choose we had unlimited access to bowling, miniature bowling, laser tag, and kiddie zone. They also had a certain amount of money they could play on video/prize games. I think we ended up staying there 3 hours.
And look who we ran into! Scott and Jack Stevenson! We became really close to the Stevenson family (Remember possum Peggy? :) during our short stay in Sunset.
Between traffic and getting something to eat on the way home, it was pretty late before Levi got to open presents. It was hard to tell because he seriously really loved all his presents from our little family as well as the Poppies, Nanny, and MeMaw but I think his favorite was the Air Hog from Uncle Chuck.
My Levi is 11 years old and yet he still amazes me of how innocent he still is. I don't want to ever see that change in him but I also know that he will grow up some day. I will forever be grateful, however, that he is EXACTLY who he is. He is patient and kind. In many ways, I wish I was more like him.
It snowed all day today. I'm not sure when it started but by the time we woke up (around 7:30 a.m.) it was coming down in huge flakes and had already covered the car. I'm not sure when it ended tonight either but it was sometime after 5:00 p.m.
I thought one of the churches I passed looked so pretty with all this pure snow and had to take a picture.
So far, this Christmas season has been pretty relaxing. Not a whole lot of things to go to, and that is the way I like it! It is real disappointing to me when I get so caught up in all the things that can be done and what I think "should" be done before Christmas. I really love keeping it simple. It gives me the time to stop and enjoy the things like the picture above.
One of the fun things we have been a recipient of is the "12 days of Christmas." I don't know who is doing it but we sure are grateful. It really is so fun hearing that hurried knock at the door and watching Hyrum get excited about what it could be this time. Everyone else likes it too but I think it is Hyrum and I that really look forward to it. Every year for Christmas we do "knock and runs" leaving behind goodies at neighbor and church friend's doors. It isn't very often when we have the same done for us, so who ever is leaving stuff at our door nightly has been showing us the receiving side of this fun tradition.
Peggy had a Christmas ornament party today. Last year I brought a miniature leg lamp from A Christmas Story that spoke lines from the movie. Peggy got it and loves it. But who wouldn't...ha! Also, last year for a present she made me a VERY special shirt that says "Tastes like possum!" with a picture of a possum on it. Long story so if you want to have the explanation go to this post :)
So this year I decided to get another silly ornament and keep in theme of her gift last year for me. As you can see, she loved it. And I have to admit, I wish I would have ordered 2 of them so I could have one too! I am so grateful that I have Peggy in my life to be silly with.
Tonight for Family Home Evening we made a gingerbread house, got hot chocolate, and then headed to the Christmas Village in Ogden to keep in the theme of gingerbread/village type houses. Our FHE was more about the fun than spiritual this time and that is just fine with me. It is good to have lots of family time fun!
These pictures do not do justice with how many lights and little villages there were but I read somewhere that there are more than 50! It was very impressive. Local businesses and organizations decorated each little house.
It was 11 degrees out so as you can imagine, we didn't last as long as I would have liked but it was still fun.
Our ward had their Christmas breakfast this morning. It was nice with entertainment and such but the best was when we heard the sirens going off outside. I knew that Santa would be riding around on a firetruck that morning, but I thought we had missed it because of the time. The boys and I had fun chasing after Santa!
I got to go on another field trip to the Environmental Center but this time with Brigham. He is so different from Levi. Levi asks me to sit by him and be involved. I pretty much have to invite myself to things that Brigham is doing. He doesn't seem to mind; he's just too busy being social and crazy to care.
They were suppose to go snowshoeing today but there wasn't enough snow up there. We still had a great time though.
Our group stayed indoors first so that we could learn about Owls. They got to dissect an owl's pellet, which sounds extremely gross until you learn that the pellet doesn't actually come out their back side. Since owls eat things whole, the things like the bones and fur can't be digested. What can be digested goes through the normal process of being expelled from the body but the rest is coughed back up in these pellets. That is what the kids got to dissect. They found all kinds of bones covered in fur.
Another difference between him and Levi is when Levi did archery he took his time while aiming. Brigham just let em' fly!
We also did some geocaching, which turned out to be MUCH harder in the snow than when I went with Levi. But it gave us all a good workout, that is for sure.
When I went with Levi, the trip up and back was beautiful with the changing colors of fall. This time, the mountains were covered in wonderful snow. Have I mentioned lately how much I love the mountains here?!?
Not very long ago I
had a conversation with David about my doubts.
There is very little in this life that I can truly say that I know.
I’m not sure how old I was but I remember once in the Grove branch a
certain testimony that was given by Sister Domurath. She spoke of her feelings for the song, “I
Believe in Christ.” She said something
to the effect that it kind of bothered her that it says, “I believe in Christ” instead of saying,
“I know Christ lives” or something that sounded more sure. At the time, I thought it was a new and
insightful way of looking at, not only the song, but also the way we proclaim
what we believe or know to be true. And
though I still respect that testimony today, I can’t say that I agree with it
for myself. There have been so many
things in my life that have made it hard for me to say that I “know” certain
things anymore. I am also overly open
minded which leads to too many possibilities to say that one could actually
ever know anything. The world would say that is one of the best
traits a person can have, but I don’t see it that way. Being too open minded leads in the direction
of being naive in a lot of things because of being persuaded so easily. It also leads to a lot of fence sitting. I am, unfortunately, guilty of both.
Having said all of
this, I can say that I know I have experienced some of the most powerful
Priesthood blessings. Not only have I
experienced them, but I know them to be true.
Struggles and heartaches in my life have led to mistrust in certain things,
people, and beliefs but never that in Priesthood blessings. I know so many people who find it hard to ask
for them. It is one area in my life that
I just don’t doubt. My father readily
gave me Priesthood blessings growing up that gave me that initial love for
them. Then I had college experiences,
where the men giving them to me could have never known the things that they
said other than that it came from God himself.
Then I married a man who is the Joseph of blessings. Just as Joseph, in the bible, was such an
accurate and honest foreteller of things to come, David is also so humble in it
all. He would NEVER say this of himself
but I have felt the spirit so many times in the most powerful of ways when he
is telling me what my Father in Heaven wants me to know.
Tonight I had one of
those wonderful experiences and I don’t want to forget it. So here I am, in my words, telling myself
what to do when things get hard and I start to forget.
Alisa, listen to your
husband. He loves you. He knows you.
And he listens to the spirit of the Lord. Have faith that you and David are to look to the future as if you are to
plant your family in a solid place.
Remember this when thinking of the future and the home you want to
create. Be patient with your children. Love them.
There will be a reunion on the other side and we will ALL be there. Isn’t that all that matters?