We had a very, merry Christmas and we hope you did, too! It was a little different this year, being in a new place, and in a new house, and having Christmas on Sunday with 9:00 church (even though we were only supposed to have Sacrament meeting, it still lasted 1 hour and 45 minutes)!!!!! Sarah threw up again Christmas Eve, so we decided we weren't going to risk taking her to church. We all could've stayed home if it weren't for the fact that 4 of us were part of the Christmas program.....oh well. Chanon stayed home with Sarah and Nathan (Nathan had to stay home also, otherwise he'd be sitting all by himself in the congregation while the rest of us were on the stand in front. Not a good idea. Also, not a real wise idea to have him sit on the stand with us.).
Hmmmm....what to do about opening presents? We discussed our options, and chose to not put gifts out until AFTER church, which was WEIRD but definitely a must. We weren't sure we'd have time to do Christmas before church and we didn't want to be rushed. Also, Nathan and Sarah would've gone crazy if they knew it was Christmas morning but had to wait until we got home from church before ripping into the stockings and presents sitting out in plain sight, taunting them. So, everything stayed tucked away until we got home. Then we shooed the kids into their bedrooms, and, while Chanon stood guard, I quickly put everything in place and snapped a couple of pictures:
~Stockings on the couch~
~Gifts under the tree~
(Darn, the picture is blurry. What can I say?.....I was in a rush!)
"Nathan, Sarah, come downstairs.....we've got a surprise for you!!!!!! Guess what? It's Christmas!"
Needless to say, they were pretty excited!
The kids checked out their stockings first, which is usual and customary at our house:
Here we go again, and two days before Christmas! Seems like we just went through this recently.....hmmmmm.....oh yes, that's right: 3 months ago (usually it's been a couple of years in-between episodes)! And it was Sarah who started us out that time also. She woke up sick this morning and thankfully avoided any "mess" on the carpet. I moved her downstairs where we only have hard floors (those are a little easier to clean up than carpet).
Oh crud. I just remembered ~I was second in line last time. DARN IT!!!!!!!!!!! I can't get sick....I have to play the piano on Sunday (yah....not to mention that it's also CHRISTMAS)!!!!!!!
Translation: Dear Santa, I like "ERENS" (ok, so, I'm not quite sure what this translates to. Nathan doesn't even remember. But, he DOES like to go to the store with me, so my best guess is "Errands"!!!! Or, maybe it's "your nose"? ha ha) I like Toys (not "toes"). I like Christmas. I like Buzz Lightyear. I have toys. From Nathan.
Last week was concert week! In about a week's time, everyone in our family (except Chanon and Sarah) participated in at least one Christmas concert. I've already posted about Nathan's. On December 13th, Dean and Emily had a choir concert at 6:45 at Nampa High:
This concert sounded better than the last one, but the choirs still stink (yes, that sounds like a heartless thing for a mother to say, but Dean and Emily said it first and they know that I don't think THEY stink. Also, "One must never tell lies, right Dolores?").
One hour later, at Columbia High, Emily had an Orchestra concert. They sounded lovely:
Two days later, Amy had a concert...I guess technically it was a band concert. She plays the violin, but band and orchestra are combined, and of course the class is called "Band Class", so there you go. My camera does not like this room. I even changed the ISO, and the light setting to "fluorescent", but I can never get a good picture, and they always turn out blurry. I readily admit that I am NOT a photography expert in any way, shape, or form. It also didn't help that I was sitting on the wrong side of the room and had to zoom in.
(I took video this time though, so I wasn't too horribly concerned about still photos):
Waiting in "the wings":
Getting ready to play:
I, myself, was also in a couple of concerts as the pianist for a choir that went to 4 prisons in Boise to bring a Christmas program to the prisoners on December 18th. We had a Community concert/dress rehearsal on December 8th for friends and family members. I had the most amazing experience at the prisons, and without a doubt it will probably be the highlight of this year's Christmas season for me. I think it's pretty safe to say that each member of the choir feels the same way...I think you can see it in our faces:
(I am the 4th on the left. Picture was taken after our last "performance".)
It was touching to see grown men weep, and we all learned more about loving and serving others. It was interesting to be in that setting, but to feel the spirit of the Lord so strongly...I know we were being watched over and protected, and I always felt completely safe and unafraid even though we were among some who had committed serious crimes (we did go to a medium security facility, however, we did NOT go to a maximum security prison). There WERE men and women in attendance who you could tell were good people but who just made stupid mistakes. It felt good to bring some joy to them. The prisoners were touched, so grateful we came, and many of them asked us to please come again next year. Some had been looking forward to this year's visit ALL YEAR LONG. I would go again in a heartbeat.
Our family will have our last "concert" of the year on Christmas day~ our Ward's Sacrament meeting Christmas program, which Dean, Emily, Amy and I will be participating in.
What's cuter than a bunch of 1st and 2nd graders putting on a Christmas play? Not much!!!!
Here are most of the 1st Graders (the second graders are on the other side of the stage and since I don't have a 2nd grader, I didn't bother to take their picture).
This was probably the cutest Elementary "concert"/program I have ever seen. The music teacher here is amazing and prepared the kids thoroughly. I was so impressed at how well those little 1st graders performed. The elves, and other characters not shown here, had multiple speaking parts and they did an amazing job. They looked and sounded like little actors (it kinda reminded me of the 90's Little Rascals movie). The 1st graders also learned 6 songs...most of which had choreography.
Nathan actually SANG and did some of the choreography! Usually in any school program he has been a part of in the past, he has just stood with his hands over his ears......and didn't participate. He did get distracted sometimes and just wanted to watch what was happening on stage (instead of looking at the music teacher) but he is making progress and it's really exciting!!!! (o: (By the way, Nathan is on the front row, in the grey sweatshirt.)
And guess what? At the end of the program, the Principal actually said, "Merry Christmas"!!!!!! Imagine that! ha ha. I think I like it here.
Last year I learned the hard way that breakable ornaments probably aren't a good idea for a few years, so I bought some shatter-resistant ones for the tree this year. Nathan and Sarah were obsessive about
re-arranging the ornaments last year and we lost quite a few special ones...especially when they ended up knocking the tree over. The special ones that survived stayed boxed up this year. So far, they haven't even touched the tree (that I've seen).......that figures!!!!
Here Dean is untangling the ornament hooks for me:
FYI: That big white ornament is an Angel....not an insect (just thought you ought to know)!
Nearly done (and look, they are standing in "stair steps"!!!)