christmas morning

December 26, 2014

We spent Christmas morning this year visiting a local care center singing Christmas carols and delivering treats to those who were still around. The people in the care center that morning were those who didn't have family or friends to take them to nearby homes for Christmas parties or big family dinners, which made me especially mindful of those who we were visiting with.

One thing I wanted to jot down about that morning (besides visiting with the woman in the Alzheimer unit who thought Michael Jackson was her husband + Max performing the moonwalk for her) was our visit with Bruce. Bruce was what my cousins referred to as "gansta grandpa" -- tattoo's up and down his arms and legs, war veteran, I think he even might me hiding a stash of tobacco somewhere in his room ;) -- and he had a heart of gold. Max had mentioned he liked the shirt Bruce was wearing (picture: skulls and crossbones and chains) before leaving his room, and moments later we saw Bruce scooting down the hallway on his little walker holding a similar shirt for Max - skulls and all. He even kept it on the hanger.

Well, I felt like my heart grew three sizes. No doubt Bruce in his old age, in this small room, in this tiny care center, has only a few possessions to his name -- and yet he still wanted to give something to someone. On the snowy drive home, I got teary listening to Silent Night and thinking about Bruce.  In years to come I will no doubt forget the presents I received this year, but I will never forget Bruce or the morning we spent singing carols. It was one of the most special Christmas mornings I've ever had.

a muddy buddy christmas

December 22, 2014

This year we kept our annual Christmas Party pretty low-key, and spent our evening eating pizza and old Halloween candy while competing in interpretive ginger-house building.

 We even tried to build a human pyramid - which we will blame on the sugar.


These people are my people. And as Tiny Tim would say: God bless us, everyone!

(december recap)

December 19, 2014

(I wrote a lot of these posts a few weeks ago, but never got around to sharing any of them.... i apologize for the overload, as this is the only journal I am still trying to keep up on)

If you were to ask Max how I was doing the last half of December, he would have told you I was especially weepy. Weepy is really the right word because that's really what I did: I wept. Not cried or sobbed or got teary. I wept on and off for days (for multiple reasons) so here's a why-I-wept-recap:

1. My sister is engaged!

Max told Kenna months ago, "I will cry if Joseph isn't my brother-in-law by the end of the year." Well, almost. They get married in a few weeks and I can't think of anyone on this planet better suited for my sister then Mr. Orgill. He's an answer to many prayers, and I feel so lucky he's going to be my new brother, and so happy that my sister gets him forever. And don't get me started on that wedding ring... I got to see it a few days before Joseph proposed and even that made me weep!

2. Max finishing finals week

YOU GUYS. I can't name anyone I know of anywhere that is a harder worker than Max. He spent well over a thousand hours fall semester working on his schoolwork (4.0), his work-work (teaching Japanese), volunteering (hospice + local junior highs), church callings (bishopric meetings at 6:30 am? who survives this?) and somehow, someway he still makes me feel not-so-much like a widow by taking me out to lunch every Friday. We went out to dinner to celebrate the end of this grueling semester - and yes, I wept at the dinner table. I love Max so much.

3. Christmas get-togethers.

As much as I love Christmas parties with friends, nothing quite tops getting together with family. This year was a big trip down memory lane for me, remembering things like the "Chinese Man" or the "Backstreet Boys game" (this game consisted of pretending we were on a cruise with the Backstreet Boys - why a cruise? I don't know). I love being with my family because I've been blessed with the very best. The sweetest Grandparents, sassy aunts and funny uncles and cousins who are overly obsessed with Harry Styles - they're all the best.

And then there's this.
The best ending of any movie ever made.

Are you weeping yet?

a christmas miracle

December 16, 2014

the last few days have been full of Christmas parties, movies, music, treats -- and even a Christmas miracle: we finally got a little bit of snow.

and I'm getting gas for 2.12. thank you world.

these are a few of my favorite things

December 2, 2014

The other night I was thinking about the holiday traditions Max and I have continued/and created on our own over the last two (this will be our third!) Christmas together, and what I hope continues on through the years with children a part of the mix one day too:

1. The Nutcracker or Handel's Messiah

We've rotated between these two events every other year and I absolutely love them both. Max was never one to jump for joy when I mentioned going to the ballet or seeing the Utah Symphony, but I think a part of him might enjoy it now as much as I do. I honestly believe everyone needs to sing the Hallelujah chorus with an orchestra and choir at least once in their lifetime. It's amazing. I get goose bumps just thinking about it.

2. We read Christmas Every Day & The Fourth Wiseman every year together.

I grew up reading Christmas Every Day, and Max read The Fourth Wiseman on his first Christmas in the mission field -- these both tie for two of our favorite Christmas stories. I also try and read A Christmas Carol on my own since I've read it nearly every holiday season since the 7th grade. It nearly ties with Great Expectations in my book.

3. Overnight in SLC

One day I really hope we can spend a holiday season in New York City, but for now we like to spend a weekend up in Salt Lake. Temple Square, carriage rides, Breakfast with Santa at the Grand America -- this will suffice until ice skating in Central Park happens.

4. Presents

This year will be our second year spending the holidays away from home, so we're keeping our presents minimal: (1) Something you want, (2) something you need, (3) something to wear, (4) something to read. It made Christmas shopping so simple, and lets be honest: most of us would rather spend our money on going somewhere rather than on something.

5. Luke 2

Like the rest of the Christian world, we have always read Luke 2 on Christmas Eve. Somewhere along the lines, my family started reading these scriptures by candlelight and afterward, we have a small testimony meeting and share with each other some of our thoughts about the Savior's humble birth and His life. This tradition will always be especially close to my heart.

And yes yes yes, the list goes on. But it's nearly midnight and I must retire for a long winters nap - or at least eight hours of sleep. I'd sleep 18 if I could.

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