Christmas Eve

With a sign by Ansel and an United States cookie with the name S. Claus on it as dictated by Ollie, our fireplace is ready for Santa's arrival. Our discussion while preparing this spread included these gems:

Oliver: How many carrots should we put out for nine reindeer?

Ansel: Let's only put out two cookies for Santa. 
Oliver: How about eight?
Me: How about we compromise and put out four?

Ansel: I want Santa to see my cotton ball Santa beard!
Me: Put it by the fireplace for him to see it!

And as we are going to bed,
Oliver: What about a glass of milk?
And with that Ollie poured a glass and placed it next to the cookies and the kids were off to bed. 

And Ian, well, he was dreaming of sugar plums while this all went down. But here he is enjoying the snow in an oversized coat. 

Merry Christmas everyone!


May your days be Merry and Bright

These days I find myself exhausted by the day by day. But it's a good exhausted and I love seeing my eight year old come up with original riddles, my four year old run to get the mail, and my one year old walk fast with his arms trailing behind him. 

My days are merry and bright as we fill the house with Christmas music and twinkling lights and smells of delicious stuff.  But it's also good when I fold the laundry and take out the trash and sweep the floor.  The day by day is a blessing and I'm sincerely grateful for it. 


M.C. Escher

We recently visited an art show featuring M.C. Escher. The gallery had an automated piano playing music that he listened to while creating many of the pieces they had on display. Ansel and Ian may not have loved the experience as much as the rest of us, but hey, you've got to start them young!

Escher' stuff is inspiring Oliver's drawings as of late, so it was neat to see his works up close. 


Sunday naps

The other day a woman at church saw Jess holding Ian like this and said, "Wow, if only my baby would be that peaceful and sleep like that. That's amazing." That's when I told her he's actually so tired that he had nothing left in him and he just had to give into sleep. Weekend schedules can be rough on a 15 month old youngest of three. 


Christmas month

Yesterday Ansel turned the calendar to December and yelled, "its Christmas!" I had to explain that Christmas wasn't for another 24 days, but we sure could have the Christmas spirit for the whole month. Our Christmas celebrating began with a hike, that's right, a hike up to the coolest suspension bridge between two valleys. The kids walked the hike without complaint and it wasn't one for sissies. 

Ian loved walking on the bridge. Jess looked at the photo and said, "Look at me in the back, being the worried Dad." It was totally safe but something makes you nervous when a bridge wobbles a tad. 

And here's our family up top. Oliver is going to question his face in this one when he's 21. But as an 8 year-old, he thought it was hilarious. 

Before that though, we had a great Thanksgiving! Jess and I had a chance to prep a whole meal and it was fun to tag team it with him. He made some killer stuffing that I said must become a tradition. The boys pulled at the wishbone. 

And Ian got his first haircut. It was a bittersweet moment, but very necessary. 

Back to Decmber. We had a chance to visit the Festival of Trees. The place is getting busier by the year, and it's all in the name of charity. Ansel wanted desperately to talk to an elf in the kid area, so after waiting about 20 minutes in line he had what looked like a conversation with one of Santa's helpers. When he came out of the phone booth I asked him what the elf said. "I don't really know, he replied, "I could really hear him." And there you have it. 

Oliver is practicing the Christmas Carol in his 3rd grade class. He said he loved listening to the story. I asked how the teacher cast the play. "We each wrote down three parts we wanted," he explained. I asked him to tell me what he wrote down. "The ghost of Christmas future, the kid at the end who Scrooge asks to get a big goose for the Christmas meal, and the young Scrooge during the part where he sees himself in the past." "What does that young Scrooge do in the play?" I asked, I couldn't remember. "He just sits there," Oliver answered. I laughed, "So I see you didn't want any parts that had a lot of talking," "That's right," he confirmed, "it's too embarrassing." His response took me back to the Shakespearean play I was in as a 5th or 6th grader. I had a total of two lines and that was all I needed. 

We visited downtown and tried out the "giving" vending machine. My kids loved the idea and ended up giving some of their hard earned, I mean, gifted cash for the cause. And how in the world did Ollie get so tall?  

We also walked around Temple Square in the daylight which was neat enough and I liked beating the cold. 

What a wonderful time of year! And you can guarantee that we listened to The Osmond's Christmas album on the way home. Jess and I might have even laughingly harmonized in our best Donny and Marie strained voices as our kids joined in singing "Sleigh Ride." My mom is looking down from heaven giving a fist pump for sure.