Much can happen in just a few weeks, so here are the highlights.
Although Anna started feeling much better the weekend after Thanksgiving, the rest of us spent the next week sick. Mariah was sick off and on all week (and teething, which just adds to the joy), and Adam and I both got sick, although my illness was more pronounced. Plus, I’m better at letting everyone know I’m miserable than Adam is. So, we pretty much didn’t go anywhere or do anything until Friday night, when we went to the ward Christmas party. We were very proud because Anna, despite a bit of trepidation, visited with Santa, sat on his lap, and told him what she wanted for Christmas (a piano and a drum, btw). Last year, she wouldn’t get closer to Santa than across the entire cultural hall, so we were very pleased.
We’ve enjoyed a few Christmas-related FHE’s in the last few weeks. One week we watched Joy to the World (the church movie), which Anna loved so much that she now asks to watch it almost every day. And my favorite thing is that no matter how many times we watch it, she asks the same questions in the same places every time—“Why wasn’t there any room?” or “Why did Mary ride a donkey?” or “Why did the bad men want to hurt them [the Nephite believers]?” It definitely gets repetitive, but there are some answers that make my voice crack every time—“Because some people don’t believe in Jesus and they don’t want other people to believe in Him either.”
One FHE activity was a gingerbread house. It started out a little sad, and ended up a little crazy, but we had a good time making it, so that was the point.
If you look closely, you can see the parade of gummy bears headed into the house, where Adam declared they would be eaten by the wicked witch (which did NOT impress my gentle Anna). Instead, if you look closely again, you can see that the bears enter the house to be turned into Gumdrop Tree ornaments. Except for the smart bears who remained outside the house to play a soccer game. Yes, I did let Adam control much of the decorating. But the colored licorice roof was all mine.
We’ve also made a momentous switch this week: Princess Anna…
was banished in favor of Tooth Fairy Anna. Although eventually, Tooth Fairy Anna decided Tooth Fairies should wear princess dresses. We also discovered a funny hiccup in our explanation of the Tooth Fairy’s duties. Anna somehow thought that when the Tooth Fairy comes to take your tooth after it falls out, she brings you a new one. You can see that in this video.
In a momentous evening last weekend, Adam and I attended our first adults-only party since Anna was born. No, seriously. We are eternally grateful to our friends for their invitation because we had a great time. They provided good food, good company, and some truly wacky White Elephant gifts. Plus, I was so flush with the spirit of freedom that I actually played Lips (Xbox karaoke, for the uninitiated). Those of you who know me will already be aware of the fact that this is only the second time in my entire life that I’ve sung karaoke. And I had so much fun, I might even do it again sometime. In about 10 years. And the frosting on the cake? Our girls had a great time being babysat at Kayleigh’s house, even Mariah, and barely even missed us. Does it get better than that? I got my Christmas wish.
Besides all this, we’ve done some Christmas shopping and tried to get ready for our trip. We’re leaving soon, we’ll be back in a while, and all I can say is, this trip had better be good for all the preparing/worrying it has required. I have researched and purchased tire chains, which are not at all in my line, I have purchased many of my gifts online so they can be shipped straight to Grandma’s house, and I have bought and delivered most of my important presents to people up here. Luckily all that’s left to do before we leave is laundry, dishes, sweeping, mopping, bathroom scrubbing, vacuuming, fridge cleaning (no nasty surprises when we get home), clothes packing, gift unearthing (I tend to hide gifts and not be able to find them again), snack planning, and a few other things I’m sure I’ll remember once it’s too late. It’s a good thing Thursdays come with a full 24 hours. Oi. And I, Her Majesty the Princess of Procrastination, have just discovered why I was overwhelmed with the need to blog tonight. :)
In a final thought, I’ll share tonight’s pre-bedtime activity. For days, because of her fascination with the Nativity story, Anna has been trying to get us to all act out the Nativity together. Adam’s been working so much and I’ve been so busy just holding things together that this is the first night we were all playing together and able to do it. Now, picture this in your minds. Mary (me) and Joseph (Adam) left Nazareth (our bedroom) to come to Bethlehem (the living room) with Mary riding on her donkey (the popper push-toy) being led by Joseph (a string tied to the popper’s handle). We entered Bethlehem, and the first innkeeper we came to (Anna), despite all urgings, insisted that we occupy her most comfortable stable (the cozy pop-up tent), complete with manger filled with hay (large laundry basket and fuzzy blanket). Mary and Joseph entered the stable (folded themselves into knots trying to fit in the tent with a gigantic laundry basket). Then Baby Jesus (baby doll—Mariah lost her rights to the role earlier today when she refused to lie quietly in the laundry basket) was born, and one angel (Anna) sang while another angel (Mariah) joined us in the tent and tried to climb in the manger. Then the angel announced to the shepherds (Adam) that the baby had been born (“Gory to God in the Highest” – no, I didn’t misspell that), so they came to visit with their sheep (Mariah saying “Baaaaa Baaaaa”). And finally, the wisemen (Adam), led by the angel, came bearing gold (a toy wheelbarrow), frankincense and myrrh (pretend) while the other angel sat in Mary’s lap in the tent (to read a book) and Baby Jesus slept peacefully.
And somehow through all the ballyhoo, that might have been the sweetest Christmas moment I have had all season. I found myself, as I sat crunched in the corner of that tiny tent, thinking very personally about how Mary must have felt lying on the pokey hay, smelling the barnyard aromas, wishing there were curtains to pull across the windows as this brand new baby, who by his mere existence was already fifty times heavier than any baby should be, lay curled in her arms. She must have felt inadequate and frustrated, knowing whom she held yet seeing the lowliness of the place where she’d introduced him. But maybe, despite all that, she felt nothing but the peace I know many mothers feel as their child lay in their arms for the first time. Or maybe the Spirit spoke peace to her heart, assuring her that her son would know of her love for him and that she would be helped to give him all he needed. I can’t really imagine what it was like, but just for a moment tonight I felt closer to knowing her. And to knowing Him. And tonight, I say a prayer of thanks for my beautiful little Anna who dearly loves this story and the one it’s about.
So, Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year!