Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas 2010

Christmas was perfect.  We had my parents and my sister Kara and brother Christian here for Christmas Eve day.

After my parents arrived, they surprised us with some T-shirts for everyone.  Starting as a child, my dad constantly talked to us about the importance of having specific family values.  At one point, he had a family flag made up with the ten stars that represent not only each member of our family, but also the ten values that we had selected.  This Christmas he had Thompson family T-shirts made up for everyone and a laminated card with each of the family values we had selected over the years.  It was a great present and a fun memory.

Here are more highlights of Christmas Eve. Romney and Christian took the kids to an amazing swimming pool at our local recreation center.  The day was also filled with Christmas music, shopping with my dad and sister, baking with my mom and Kara and lastly, eating a yummy meal. 

For as long as I can remember, elves named Jingle & Jangle show up on Christmas Eve with new jammies for everyone.  It is a really fun tradition and is always a highlight of the season for me.

Santa had white flannel nightgowns made for the girls.  They absolutely loved them.  Sophie said she felt like a Christmas angel.  Much to their delight, they found out the next morning that Santa had some made up for their dolls as well.  It was great.

Time for Bed!!
The kids were in bed by 11:00 and miracle of miracles...Romney and I were in bed by midnight.  (This has NEVER happened).

We told the kids that when they woke up on Christmas morning, they would have to yell to us to come and get them.  We have a "No Peeking" policy and we told them to stay in their rooms until we came.  They agreed.  Well to our surprise, they started yelling for us at 3:00 AM...yep 3:00!!  We somehow convinced them that Santa had not even come and they slept until 7:30.  It was a magical morning and we spent the day surrounded by wrapping paper and smiling kids.  It was perfect!

The excess can sometimes take away from the sacredness of Christmas Day, but being surrounded by my loved ones giving special gifts to each other certainly helps to keep things in perspective.  I feel blessed.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


My mom loves old movies.  She loved to watch them with us, always certain that we would feel the magic for the classics.  Thanks to her, I have seen dozens of old movies. 

When Albert Finney stared in the 1970 movie Scrooge, it was instantly added to my mom's list of all time favorite Christmas movies.

I watched it yesterday with my kids and laughed as I found myself playing the role of my mom.  It is a great show and although it can be a little slow at times, it is endearing and well-worth it.

One of my favorite lines of the movie is the morning Scrooge wakes up and realizes that he has been given a second chance to change his ways.  He says:

I will start anew
I will make amends 
and I will make quite certain 
that the story ends on a note of hope 
on a strong amen 
and I'll thank the world and remember 
when I was able to begin again! 

Thank you Charles Dickens for a life-changing story and thank you mom for introducing me to old and wonderful things!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Giving is Better Than Getting

My favorite part of Christmas was the gift exchange between my siblings.  I am not sure how it started, but we would give gifts to every sibling...all eight of us.  We always used our own money.  It was expensive and tiring, but the anticipation of giving those gifts was without a doubt, the highlight of Christmas morning.  Sometimes they were homemade and sometimes store bought, but those gift exchanges gave me the opportunity at a very early age to experience the joy that comes from giving rather than receiving.

I am hoping that somehow I will be able to teach this same joy to my kids.  They are still young enough that the only joy they feel is anticipating how many times they can revise their Christmas list to Santa..."getting" still seems to be what Christmas is all about for them.

Here are Lauren, Sophie and Christian at our ward breakfast telling the Jolly Man himself what they would like to see at our house on Christmas Day.  

Determined to help them experience the joy of giving, I took my kids to the store yesterday and told them that they should pick out small gifts for each other.  I started to see the magic really happen for them as they picked out gifts that they knew would be the perfect gift for each other.  I loved it.

We wrapped them up and now our tree is overflowing with gifts.  Christian even said that he is sure that when Santa arrives, he will look at all the gifts and have to ask himself is he has already been here.  So sweet.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Greetings

Christmas cards are out.  That is always a relief.  Every year I promise myself that I am going to be on top of things and not allow myself to get stressed out by the demands of the holiday season and for what ever reason, so far this year, I have been able to do just that.  Not that I am claiming to be Martha, but, the shopping is done, my cupboards are stuffed with baking supplies and I have one item left to assemble and wrap.  What is wrong with me?? (Well, I am quickly reminded that I am not Martha when I see that I accidentally put that Sophie is 6 on our card.  I guess that a little dose of embarrassing humility never hurt anyone...)

It has been an amazing year and we have so much to be grateful for.  We have felt the Lord's hand protecting us in countless ways.  Here are a few of the things that top my list of things on my 2010 grateful tree:

1) After a year and half of stress and anxiety, a job.

2) I am so happy for Romney.  It seems like it has been years since he has been able to work for a company that appreciates his talents and recognizes him for his abilities and integrity.

3) I am grateful for a healthy body.  We have had several friends who have been challenged and ultimately defeated by debilitating diseases and sickness.  And after having been sick a few times this year, I am reminded of the gift of an able body and mind.

4) I am grateful for laughter.  I love hearing my kids laugh.  I also love staying up in bed and laughing to the point of tears with my love, Romney.

5) I am grateful for the power of prayer.  We have witnessed miracles that hopefully have changed our lives and perspective forever.

6) I have been blessed with amazing parents who are unceasingly supportive and still believe that I can do anything with my life.

7) I love my siblings.  I love that when we are together, we are instantly reminded of how much we love each other.  There is never a need to warm-up or catch up.

8) I love my in-laws.  Romney's parents did a phenomenal job raising a son with such a kind and loving heart and I get to be the recipient of it for the rest of my life. His siblings are amazing.  I love the laughter that is inevitable when we are all together.

9) I am grateful for my kids.  I have a lot to learn from their enthusiasm and love for life.

10) As Lauren so beautifully acknowledged at Thanksgiving on our Grateful Tree, I too, am grateful for second chances.

I hope this week is filled with the magic of the season.  Merry Christmas & Memory Making!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Program

Lauren joined her school choir.  They have been very busy getting ready for their holiday program.  The concert was last night and it was a very fun program.  Lauren did a great job and was so animated and sweet.  She has been complaining that she is the smallest in her grade, but her size came in handy last night because it placed her right on the front row.  Perfect for picture taking!

The kids are out of school today and I am so excited for movies, baking and Christmas present wrapping.  It is snowing outside and I am ready to get cozy on the couch with my kids. 

My parents and my sister Kara and brother Christian have decided that they are coming to Colorado for Christmas!!!  I can't wait!  Bring on the Christmas Cheer!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


As a child, Christmas was truly magic for me.  The lights, the list, the presents and Santa would turn my stomach to butterflies. One of my favorite memories involved two elves named Jingle & Jangle that Santa had assigned to watch over our family.  These elves would watch us throughout the month and my mom was always quick to remind us that the elves were watching.  Again, butterflies.  On Christmas Eve, these two elves would deliver a bag on the front porch filled with brand new Christmas pajamas.  There was nothing like hearing those bells on the front porch and the screams that would follow as we opened the packages.

A couple of years ago, an elf that my kids endearingly named "Buddy" showed up on December 1st.  He is a magical elf that sometimes moves throughout the house and hides as he peeks on the kids.  (We are pretty sure that he picked up the flu with the rest of us, because he seemed to stay in one place for the last few days.)  Below are some of the places we have seen him hiding.

Romney and I are doing our best to help the kids focus on the true meaning of Christmas.  My Relief Society put together a little advent book with one-two verses of different stories and miracles of the Savior's life for each day of the month. Every night we have tried to read the scriptures and talk about the life of the Savior. 

It has been a fun tradition and I hope to make it a permanent part of our holiday traditions.

But I will say that the magical side of Christmas is just as important to our family traditions. 

Sophie found Buddy hiding on the top of the lamp this morning.  I think the look in her eyes captures that she has butterflies too.  Perfect.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Humidifiers, Cough Drops and a Trip to the Emergency Room

We got the flu...every one of us except for Lauren.  Yep, the flu.  This week has been filled with miserable aches, coughs and sore throats.  Christian got one of the worst bouts of croup that I have ever heard.  One night he woke up every 40 minutes gasping for air.  So, I bundled him over and over again and took him outside to let the crisp air open his airway.  I kept a blanket and our coats by the front door so that we could easily put them on and take them off as needed.  I felt like a robot.  It was awful.

The next day, I took him to a pediatrician and during the exam, she informed me that he was not getting enough oxygen and his airway was almost completely blocked.  She then said that she was going to call an ambulance for him.  WHAT???  Fortunately, she gave me the option of driving him myself.  (Bless her!)  We then spent the next 6 hours in the emergency room.  He received 3 breathing treatments, but thank heavens, his breathing stabilized and I was able to take him home.

We have gone through bottles of medicine and bags of cough drops.  I can't remember the last time I felt this sick.  I have spent the past three days in a horizontal position.  I am hoping that we all have "credit" for years to come...

This week has certainly made me grateful for several things:

1) Grateful that I live in America and have access to amazing medical help.
2) Grateful that I was not born in any other time (I think the Lord knows that I would have made a rotten pioneer)
3) Grateful for a healthy and able body.

It is time to reclaim the week I lost, help Christian put on some weight and also hopefully create some Christmas cheer around here.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Good Deed Straw

This year I am determined to have a peaceful and non-stressful Christmas season.  I have just about finished my shopping and I am gradually going to tackle the wrapping in the next week while the kids are at school.

The other night for FHE we read a little story in the Friend Magazine about how to help kids focus on the true meaning of Christmas.   I loved this idea and thought we would give it a try.  We made our own little cradle and cut out dozens of straw colored hearts.  Every time the kids do a good deed for someone, they are supposed to fill out a heart and lay it in the manger for straw.

It will be fun to see how full we get it by Christmas Day.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

December 2nd

The tree is up, the decorations are out and Christmas music is playing.  Believe it or not, I only have one or two gifts left to buy.  My shopping is nearly complete!!  This is a first.

My kids are already asking if tonight is the night that Santa is coming.  Christian even told me that it is "boring" having to wait so long for Santa to come now that that tree is up.  Ummm, hello Christian, the tree has been up for one day...

December 2nd has always been a special day for my family because it was my dear Grandma Helen's birthday.  She would have been 86 today.

In honor of her love for life, we cooked one of her all time favorite meals: Black eyed peas with rice and homemade cornbread.  It was a nice excuse to think of her and enjoy some good southern food.

I know that I have said it before, but she was a remarkable woman.  I don't know many people who impacted lives the way she did.  She was passionate, happy and made the most of everyday.  Her laughter was contagious and I don't think I ever heard her say a negative thing about anyone.  I think I want to be like her when I grow up...

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