Monday, January 9, 2017

December: Snow, Santa, and One-Year-Old Baby Jesus

This past December was a typical holiday month for us. We started to get the cold weather and out came our hats and coats. It was fun seeing Kendrick in the same gear that Ammon wore years ago.

Our front yard

View of part of our backyard
View of the front drive way

I was THRILLED when we actually got a decent amount of snow! Usually, when it does snow here, Maple Valley gets one teeny-tiny inch that quickly melts. This snow fall we had a good amount - enough that we could actually play and enjoy what I've missed by moving away from Utah.

Eager to get our fun in, I told Lydia she was skipping the first half of school to have a snow day with me. I was the cool mom for one morning as we heard all the other kids getting on the bus and we continued throwing snowballs in the backyard.

I felt like a little kid again as we stomped around in the white stuff. I love the snow. Especially at Christmas time, it adds such a magic to the season and I was loving it for days.

When Lydia told me she had never made a snowman and didn't know how, I was shocked! My kids had not experience childhood before this day!

Cue snowman making instructions. I showed the kids how to roll a smaller snow ball until it became bigger and bigger. Their eyes grew at the same rate as the balls of snow, "You can just make it grow by rolling it?!"

Ammon loved packing the snow between the different snowball levels, in order to make the stay together. He would bossily instruct Lydia that her packing job was not up to par. Of course, he was the first to cave and start crying that his feet hurt because they were so cold. I had to cut him some slack because we had already been playing outside for a couple hours, and we were on our second model of snowman (due to a collapse when trying to stick the face rocks in)

Lydia stayed out to finish the snowman job while I headed in with Ammon to join Kendrick, who had been inside crying at the back door for the last half hour. (He didn't like the cold and I couldn't set him down in the snow, so he lost out and I was a super un-cool mom for him that morning as he sat in the house crying by himself) After we exhausted ourselves in the snow, I drove Lydia to school and took the boys and myself to what was left of exercise class. One of the best mornings this year, for sure.

A couple weeks later, after warmer weather came back and rain set in, Mr. Frosty (as dubbed by the kids) was feeling pretty Greek.

With the fake creepy-ish Santa that dances and sings
Christmas parties abounded in December and the kids had a blast at Brigham's work Christmas party. They swam in the boss' pool and made amazing surprise Christmas gifts for us, with the help of the boss' wife. Because my mom works for the same company as Brigham, my parents and brother and sister were at the party as well. Prime rib, a gift exchange, and letting the kids enjoy swimming made it a successful night.

The Ward Christmas Party was in the same week and the kids were able to sit on Santa's lap .

Each year our church puts on a Nativity for the community. Members bring all their different nativity sets and put them up in the gym decorated with hundreds of Christmas trees. Live choirs and musical numbers sing in the chapel, and other rooms are set up for dress-up pictures, treats, artwork, and children's activities. It's a HUGE, beautiful production that lasts for three days and takes thousands of hours of work and volunteers.

Another huge part of The Nativity is the live nativity at the back of the gym. This year, they were short on babies so they asked if we would be willing to participate and have Kendrick play baby Jesus. I laughed, knowing that he is a bit too old to play the part, but decided an old baby Jesus is better than no baby Jesus.

And though it was comical that our baby Jesus was sitting up on his own in the manger, and would babble and stare at all the guests, a special feeling and awe was felt and expressed by us and visitors. Many people stopped to take pictures with us and to say how sweet Kendrick was. The reverence and respect was tangible.

It is true that much laughter was heard when Kendrick kept attempting to stretch his arms to free his hands of the sleeves that were much too long.  It made him appear as though he was preaching a sermon to his people.

Our older kids played their parts for a half hour before we let them escape to the children's room to make crafts. Of course, I had to hear, "Has it been a half hour yet, Mom?" about thirty times from Ammon before the half hour was up. But he was an adorable shepherd, and Lydia a beautiful angle, while it lasted.

Talk about reason for the season.

My favorite part of The Nativity was a special ending of the art section. The Nativity committee had constructed a classroom to be the empty tomb of Jesus Christ. You never would have known it was a classroom, it was done so well. With walls and ceiling draped with sheets, an empty bed, empty linens, soft glowing lights, and even the smell of spices that would have been used to clean and preserve Christ's body, the Spirit was SO strong it was unbelievable. I could have spent much longer there than I did, but already the tears flowed and my heart grew to bursting. I know so many people that were touched by the empty tomb. It was truly special.

That experience, and playing the live nativity, really set the tone for December. I enjoyed reflecting on my testimony of Christ, his birth, ministry, death, and resurrection as we participated in the events of the month celebrating the baby who changed everything.

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