Tuesday, December 28, 2010


It is so much fun to have 2 little boys who Christmas is magical for. We had a wonderful season. Our Christmas traditions expanded quite a bit. We grew close to each other through our acts of service each day for each other and for others. We had a Bethlehem supper on Christmas Eve that was fun. We had food that was semi-authentic food that they may have eaten in Bethlehem the night before Jesus was born. We ate by candlelight on blankets on the floor, dressed in costumes. We had a donkey (dressed in long johns), a wiseman, two angels, a host of Shepherds and a few others. We listened to music that sounded "Bethlehem-ish." Then later we acted out the nativity as it was read. We sang Christmas carols and hung up stockings. We even saw a few "reindeer" (deer) crossing the street before going to bed. We dreamt of sugar plums dancing in our heads. It was a wonderful Christmas Eve.

Christmas day came and sure enough, Santa had made it to our house. We opened presents and the kids were so excited, but not out-of-control like some other Christmas's we've had. It was really nice. The last present we opened was started with Brandon opening it - inside was a gift for me that I opened. Inside was a gift for Jen, and then C and then J. When J opened it they were so excited - it was the baby from our nativity set. We talked about how Jesus is the greatest gift we could have at Christmas, given to all of us. Then we went and enjoyed a wonderful dinner and good company with family. Christmas was special for us this year. We hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New YEAR!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Nativity Scenes

One of my favorite things about Christmas with kids is watching how they will rearrange the nativity scenes. Sometimes we have extra action figures joining in. Sometimes cars transport the figures to and from the stable. Sometimes we have dinosaurs and wild animals appear. Each day is a little different. We have a nativity that is plastic so it's very kid-friendly. They love to act out the story of the nativity scene and it's really fun to watch them play. Here's some pictures of this year's arrangements:

Jesse Bear's Thoughts on Death

This is a conversation I overheard between J.B and Brandon the other day.

Jesse Bear: I can't wait till I'm grown up. Then I'll die. And you'll die and Mommy and C and...

Daddy: Wait, what does die mean?

Jesse Bear: It means growing up.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Traditions

This week c's kindergarten teacher sent home a note asking families to share a holiday tradition with his class. It got me thinking about our family traditions during the Christmas season. Here's just a few:
  • I spy a Christmas ornament - this tradition is actually the one I'm going to share with C's class. This tradition was started with my family growing up. We kids would spend hours looking at the Christmas tree. We'd pick an ornament and describe it and the other kids would try to guess which ornament it was. Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas for me without this game.
  • Christmas Devotional - Every year we watch the first presidency Christmas devotional on the First Sunday of December. It helps us get into the true spirit of Christmas. You can find the broadcast here.
  • Christmas Advent Calendar - We had an advent calendar growing up that had strings to tie pieces of candy. Every day we would take turns picking a candy off of the tree. I remember when it was my day, being so happy and excited. It made the Christmas countdown extra special for us. My mom passed down the advent calendar to me so now our family gets to enjoy the same tradition.
  • Christmas advent story book - This is another tradition along the same lines. We have a book that has a Christmas story for every night leading up until Christmas. It's another fun way to get into the Christmas spirit. Some years we get into this one more than others.
  • Nativity Scenes - these have always been a very important part of our holiday traditions. One year someone gave our family a crocheted set. That year we started a new tradition. We played "Hide the baby Jesus". We would take turns hiding the baby and said "hot" when the finders were close and "cold" when they were far away. This always made Christmas so special for us.
  • Christmas Eve - our Christmas Eve tradition for as long as I can remember has been to act out the Nativity story while someone read it from the scriptures. I love this tradition and we continue to do it in our family every year.
  • Christmas Magic - We started a new family tradition this year. We told the kids about how Christmas magic happens when you serve those around you. To illustrate the point, we did a family service activity and then told the kids the Christmas magic happened and we set up the Christmas tree and put on the lights. Then we gave each person in our family a box of ornaments to put on the tree. Every day each person in our family looks for something they can do to help someone. That night at family scriptures each person tells what they did and they get to put up an ornament on the tree. So far it's been really fun and we've had service things like giving someone a hug, helping someone clean their room, making someone's bed, helping someone up who has fallen down, etc. We also list the service things on a yellow star and hang them on a small tree. The Christmas magic is definitely happening and it's a fun way for the kids to see that. At the end when all the ornaments are on the tree we're going to do a secret family service activity and then put the star on the top. Then when that happens we told the kids the tree would be accepting gifts under it. :)
Well there's a few of our favorite family traditions. I'd love to hear some of yours. What makes Christmas special for you?

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Jesse Bear was sad after church today. Curious George had gotten a fruit snack in his class and Jesse Bear didn't. He was throwing a mild temper tantrum. Crying, refusing to be picked up, etc - mild compared to other kids, but actually a big deal for Jesse Bear. A little girl in our ward came by and tried to cheer him up. She asked him what he needed. He didn't say anything. Finally because she didn't know what else to do, she reached in her bag and pulled out a fruit snack and gave it to Jesse Bear. He was so excited. He did this:

Later he told me:
"When that girl gave me that thing I was so happy I did this (and then he showed me). I did a touchdown like those football guys do."