Thursday, December 12, 2013

Journey To Bethlehem

It's been hard for me to get in the spirit of the season this year. Maybe because I have so much crap going on, and because there is no snow, but I just have not been in the holiday mood. I keep seeing pictures of snow in Utah and I get insanely jealous. I'm praying that we get a week or so of it here for Christmas but we'll see. At least we don't get the yucky air here.

Because I've been searching for some Christmas spirit, I was glad when we went to see baby Jesus. There is an activity that the Seventh Day Adventist Church puts on where they literally set it up so that you journey to Bethlehem.

It was uncharacteristically cold that night, so in preparation we bundled up good and warm. I told Ammon that if he turned and smiled at the camera, he would get candy. This is the gem that I got :)

After we bundled up we drove to Auburn city and waited our group's turn to go.

The first stop we made was to see King Herod. He asked us to spy for him and find out who this Messiah was that people were talking about.

Ammon kept asking why people were dressed the way they were. It was pretty hilarious. There were lots of little boy "why's" that night.

Our next stop took us to see three wisemen that had three gifts for the King.

They told us that we should talk to a couple named Zacharias and Elizabeth because they had a child in their old age and Zacharias was struck dumb by an angel that appeared to him. The wisemen said that the couple had news of the new King.
So journey to see them we did.
They told us of their newborn son, John, and of the rumors of a family in Bethlehem. We now had to travel into the city of Bethlehem.

I wish I could have taken pictures of the city. It was awesome. They had real animals like camels, horses, chickens, and more. They had booths set up with money-changers, food stands, jewelry, and every kind of stand that you can imagine would be there in Christ's time in the city of Bethlehem. They even had a huge gate with guards watching overhead in towers and guards we had to convince to let us in. It was SO life like and real. It really made you feel like you were journeying through Bethlehem. There were wedding celebrations and homeless people and it was amazing. It was too dark and I didn't want to disturb the feeling with a flash, so I didn't take any pictures....except for the back of a camel.

Everything was going well until we were accosted by some Roman soilders that were angry because we hadn't paid taxes. We were yelled at and forced to line up against a wall before some prominent judge who yelled at us some more.

They did a great job of making it real and sure raked us over the coals. It actually really scared Lydia and Ammon. For the rest of the week Ammon talked about "those mean king guys" and he started whimpering during the action and said, "I want to go back to the house."

Luckily, we escaped to the outskirts of town where we ran into some shepherds and had angels suddenly appear singing about the birth of a Savior. I couldn't get a picture because of the darkness again, but it was awesome. It felt so real when they appeared and it was hard not to get emotional hearing their message and knowing what it meant.

After the angels appeared we raced to the large star in the sky and underneath it was baby Jesus.

The baby was a real newborn and I did get emotional here. It has hard not to. The whole event was set up so that I felt that I had traveled through Bethlehem, that I had experienced all the things that I read about in the scriptures and go over every Christmas season, and then ended with seeing the baby Jesus. It felt so real and put the eternities into perspective. We sang Come Let Us Adore Him and it was very special. It took everything I had not to sob uncontrollably.

After the culmination of the journey we were finally able to go inside and warm up with cider and cookies. I was so impressed. So many people working together to create this journey and atmosphere that preaches of Christ and His birth. Though some of their facts were different than the ones I know, the Spirit was the same and I rejoice in my Savior's birth and look forward to Dec. 25th to celebrate that marvelous day!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

November Flyby

Wow, the last post I wrote I wrapped up October and now it's already December! Obviously I've been slacking this last month in my posts. However, I've had some pretty crazy stuff going on since I've been busy and out of commission, and I'm now returning back to the tasks I've been neglecting.

So here's what happened during November:

Ammon decided to gangster up his look, try to hang his beautiful picture on the fridge by himself when he thought no one was looking, took a sick day, and created a mustache with his string-cheese, "Look Mom, a mustache!" I love that this boy talks now because I get inside his mind a little more and can see the hilarious ham of a boy that really picks up so much more than I thought.

We had breakfast for dinner one night, including fruit smoothies. Can you tell?

Remember that house that we were going to buy? Well the reason I posted that here and didn't announce on Facebook was in case it fell through. And it did. From the inspection we learned that not only did it need new siding, but ALSO a new roof. We thought the roof looked great so we were really let down when we found out it had to be replaced as well and we just couldn't afford to do both. The bank wouldn't come down on the price and so we walked. We weren't about to saddle ourselves up with something we couldn't us crazy. the depression of losing the house (it was a great house) I decided that since I can't have a castle, I'd make my own out blocks. The kids built theirs and it turned out to be a fun, therapeutic morning activity.

In the middle of November my mom left for Hawaii for a few days. She wasn't even gone six hours before this happened. All it took was an alleged toddler boy locking a door and pulling it closed, and a tired grandpa too impatient to work on the lock longer than a half hour before bringing out the sledge-hammer to get the door open. I was thinking, "this is why mom's can't go anywhere. All sanity and reason leaves with them."

That alleged toddler boy has seen a lot of the bathroom lately because this past month he was potty-trained!!

I was so nervous to train him and put it off longer than I should since I knew he had been ready for awhile. I thought he might be way more difficult than Lydia who was a potty-training miracle and had no accidents after two days.

Although I knew he would be more difficult, he still was a champ. The first day he went five times on the toilet! He had four accidents as well but I consider actually going on the potty for the first day a complete success.

Ammon with his reward candy for pooping on the toilet.
No it's not poop, it's whopers, a crunch, and a mini milky way
stacked together to make his "boat".
The rest of the week went great. He had a couple more accidents just figuring out that he can't wait so long to go, but besides that he was potty trained after a couple days as well. In fact he was obsessive about it...he would seriously ask every ten minutes to go to the bathroom, sit on the toilet and tinkle out a few drops, demand a candy, cheer, and then start the cycle all over again. I had to reduce the candy and convince him that you only go when your body tells you it's ready. Eventually he figured it out, which is good because I was exhausted by seven thousand bathroom trips.

So my first two kids were pretty much as good as it gets potty training. I hate the potty training week, but my mom says I don't deserve how well my kids do. Ammon still wears diapers at night, but for the last little while he's been waking up dry and will come ask us to take him early in the morning. Good signs!

Next big event was Brigham's birthday. He choose a fancy dinner of salmon, which my dad smoked (it was delicious), and the most tasty, fattening Alfredo of all time. I also roasted broccoli and cauliflower and it was a fantastic meal. I followed it up with a brownie, mint-chocolate-chip ice-cream cake. We know how to do food around here.

Brigham's big present this year was a new long board. His old one's wheel had stopped turning so I got him a sweet new ride. Unfortunately, the next day, Thanksgiving, he decided to be reckless and crash and burn and is now covered with gaping wounds on his hip, hand, and elbow. And I'm not exaggerating when I say gaping. I spent my Thanksgiving cleaning his wounds out and they still start bleeding again every time he gets them wet. He also ruined my favorite jacket of his, which I am still bitter about.

So he then was banned from long-boarding until we finally have insurance, and is asking for elbow pads and gloves for Christmas.

But anyways, Happy Birthday to my handsome husband!! He's getting old, but keeps me young. He's worked so hard and deserves to be able to be a bit reckless sometimes...despite all my complaining. Love him!

We also had a lot of fun with the box that his long-board came in.

Besides accident clean-up on Thanksgiving, I finally got to move again and got to play football AND basketball that morning. My body has been hating on me lately and I had to take a break from exercising which was DRIVING ME CRAZY. I was dying to move! And I finally felt like I could do more than walk that morning. So I took full advantage and caught a pass and ran for a touchdown for my glory moment in the turkey-bowl, and then scored some shots on the court.

I also cooked some food and did a Thanksgiving craft with the kids.

I found this idea on Pinterest and thought the turkeys were adorable and that the kids would love making them so I bought the stuff to give it a try. Ours didn't quite work out like the originals...or look near as good, but we improvised and made some mini turkeys instead. It was a fun Thanksgiving day craft and the kids sure loved the candy.

The day after Thanksgiving I was exhausted from my midnight Black Friday shopping. I didn't buy any high ticket items (I'm pretty lame for a Black-Friday shopper) but I did get Just Dance 2014 for cheap, Brigham a new jacket to replace his ripped one...grumpy face...for cheap, requested gray slacks for my brother for SUPER cheap, and two pairs of leggings for SEVEN dollars. Wohoo! That's right two pairs of colored leggings for seven dollars. I was excited. Oh and a Cookie Monster movie for Ammon for two dollars. See, that's how exciting my Black-Friday purchases were. No TV's, tablets, gaming systems, computers, or anything fancy for me. Leggings are where it's at.

Despite my exhaustion I helped in the annual day-after-Thanksgiving Christmas tree decorating.

Perfect for getting me in the mood for Christmas carols and shopping. It's weird already being at my parent's house for Christmas and not traveling anywhere, but I'm excited to have my Grandma and siblings come up and I'm excited to send gifts to everyone I'm missing in Utah.

And that leaves us caught up to the beginning of December and ready for the Christmas season. We'll see what this holiday season brings. Happy late Thanksgiving and early Merry Christmas everyone!