/> Raising Angels: December 2008

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A New Goal

I think my New Year's resolution will include a standard bedtime...like in the good old days when someone actually had the power to make me go to bed. I believe that if I can stick to this one goal, there are a lot of other ones that will fall into place.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Super Fashionista

Tonight Dawson was getting ready for his shower by picking out his pajamas and underwear. His garments of choice were the new light-up Batman PJs my folks gave him for Christmas.

PJs in hand, he stood at his underwear drawer and asked me, "Hey, do I have any Batman underwear?"

"I don't know bud, you'll have to look."

He rummaged through the drawer and pulled out a black pair with white trim. "These are kind of Batman-ish aren't they?"

Friday, December 26, 2008

Them Bones

Yesterday morning I cooked up some deliciously gooey sticky buns that Nelson's cousin made for us. When they were ready I called for the kids to come and get them.

As Dawson sat down to eat, his eyes got wide. He looked excited by the sticky sweetness of the buns and yet was a bit tentative to dive in. "Are there bones in here?" he asked me pointing to the buns.

"Bones?" I laughed, "Why would you think there are bones in those?"

"You SAID that they were sticky bones!"

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Dear Family and Friends,

It’s been quite year for the Parris family. We started by welcoming Maximilian Aaron into the world on February 22. This was by far the hardest pregnancy but Max is also the most peaceful baby. He is easily entertained by his siblings…also easily put in harm’s way, but that’s another letter.

Mackenzie is in the 3rd grade this year and tackling long division, algebra, science and social studies for the first time. She has taken up piano and loves it. She has also become mini-mom to Max and insists on toting him around even though his weight has her walking a bit sideways. She is already a tough act for her brothers to follow.

Aiden is in Kindergarten and he is NOT Mackenzie. Getting dressed for school often requires several trips back up the stairs to retrieve missing parts of his uniform (and on more than one occasion he has managed to go to school commando). His shirt is never tucked in and when he wakes up with crazy hair, he wants to wear it that way for show and tell. Be that as it may, he has managed to win over the hearts of his teachers with his bright smile, freckles and dimples.

This has been a year of adjustment for Dawson. When we came home after taking the kids to school the first day, he looked at me and asked, “What are we doing to do all day with just you, me and Max?” It didn’t take him long to realize that being the one at home is not all that bad. He gets the cookies at the grocery store, the suckers at the bank and the visits to the park.

Two weeks after Max was born we FINALLY moved in to our new house! Believe it or not, I can actually say in all truth that it was worth the wait. The neighborhood is a utopia for the kids. It is not unusual to look out the window any given day and see at least 10 kids in the backyard. Of course the closeness of our neighbors also means we get lots of phone calls. “Are you aware that your boys are covered in mud?” “Umm...your boys are peeing in my front yard.” “Do you know that the boys are on the trampoline naked?” I think of it as an opportunity to stay informed…as well as a chance to work on my humility.

Nelson and I celebrated 10 years of marriage in June. We stand in awe of the many blessings we have received in that time. If we can have four babies, visit 6 countries, build our own home AND stay happily married through it all, just think what we can do with 20!

We hope you find a moment in 2009 to come and waste some time with us. We love you all.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Best Gift

I was in a cleaning frenzy today getting ready for the second Christmas party here in two days when Aiden caught me taking out the trash. "Mama, the best gift I could have for Christmas is to have you as my Mama." Then he smiled that million dollar smile at me.

I dropped the trash and picked him up with tears in my eyes. I don't know what inspired him to say that, but it was the best Christmas present I'll get this year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Visit with Santa

Today Maximilian turned 10 months old. We celebrated by having his pictures taken at Sears (since I missed the 6 AND 9 month ones). It took us about an hour and he did pretty well. I think we'll have a pretty cute picture in a few weeks.
Since Sears is at the mall, I decided to kill two birds with one stone and make our annual visit to Santa as well. I knew I would face a long line by myself with the kids but it's tradition and it had to be done.
About an hour into our wait I posed the following, "What do you guys think about waving to Santa from the escalator then going home and telling the elves what you want for Christmas?"

Mackenzie, who has just about given up on the Santa idea, said, "Yes!" The boys, however looked at me, laughed and said, "No way!"

Wait we did...for two hours. The kids were unbelievably patient. We ran into my brother, Brian, who snapped a few photos for me, allowing me to avoid the minimum $20 picture fee.
They were all still smiling when they sat on his lap. Max was enthralled by the big beard. The boys were as animated as ever. And Mackenzie, even though a bit reluctant at first, managed to give him her request, just in case.

Oh how the time goes by. My how having little ones make this wonderful season even more magical. There are days like today I wish I could just hold onto. I want them to stay like this forever (okay not forever...forever). It's so fun.

And, I must add, Mr. 10 month old Maximilian, that after a LONG day like today, I am convinced that you are indeed the best baby in the whole wide world!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Hard Day's Work

You know it's been a good day for the 4 year old when you're watching the Christmas movie before bed and he puts his head on your arm and stays still until the end.

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's a Wrap!

Okay, I know what time it is but I just needed to celebrate one BIG check off my "To Do" list. Ah...

Good night!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I Can Do ALL Things...

Last night we stopped at a live Nativity. When I told the kids why we were stopping the questions ensued.

"Is this really a real Nativity Mama?" Aiden wanted to know.

"It's real," I assured him.

"You mean real people like dressed up, or really the baby Jesus?"

Okay, so here I held the truth a little because I wanted to see his reaction. "It's real buddy."

When we walked up to the scene the other kids went to the live animals that surrounded the stable, but not Aiden. Aiden walked straight up to the manger. He edged in a little closer, made a face and ran back towards me. "THAT was not the baby Jesus, he was JUST a doll." Then in total disappointment he added, "AND that baby doll cannot make me fly."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Circular Logic

Oh the things to do. I'm not sure how, but I've once again gotten in a bit over my head for the holidays. Something about the Christmas spirit has given me the inability to say no. And, when I have the gumption to come up with alternatives to my over the top hosting offers, Nelson usually shoots them down. Seems we both like people (as evidenced by our 1,000+ attendance at our wedding). We also both enjoy hosting. So, come what may, I feel that our home will always be the center of lots of activity. In fact, that's why we built this thing. Truth be told, I am so grateful to have the ability to host parties. I'm excited about sharing our Christmas spirit with all who enter it.

I can sleep sometime next year.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Vocabulary 101

Tonight, as we were looking over Mackenzie's report on the state of Washington, Nelson noticed that her teacher had circled the word linear and left the comment, "Use your own words."

"Mackenzie," he asked, "did you tell her that you know what that word means? We talked about that as you read those facts. Do you remember?"

"Oh right, I remember it means...um...linear," she guessed.

"Come on," he encouraged, "think about the word."

She thought a moment more. I could tell she remembered the discussion but not the details and it was killing her.

"Look at the word. Do you see anything in it?" he asked again.

"Lin," she responded.

"Is that a word?"

"Um, no."

Determined to prove he had done his job teaching her, he prodded once more, “Look for a real word inside the word linear that will help."

"Oh!" she exclaimed with great excitement. "I get it! It's ear."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Christmas Miracle

Today I had my faith in humanity restored. What was lost has been found and I am elated!

You may remember this incident. Although I'd let go of the idea I might get it back, I had not let go of the bad feelings about it.

Today my brother called me to tell me he had some good news for me. I thought he might be revealing a baby on the way...which after two years of marriage would be more than good news...but I digress. He said that someone had turned the camera in the night I left it. That same someone apparently missed all the announcements about it. Today they finally looked at the pictures on it and saw my brother.

Call it what you will but I'm calling it an early Christmas gift - the best kind.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Some Advent Help

This Advent I have been aware more than ever of my job as a parent to steer my kids in a positive direction towards Christmas.

I have some material tools that have helped. We got the tree up and decorated on the first Sunday of Advent (as is always our goal, not always reality). The Advent wreath is on the table and has been lit almost every night accompanied by a story. The Advent calendar and book have been started.

I have also had some unwelcome help in terms of the crashing economy hitting us pretty hard. It's bad timing with the holidays and new house. However, it could not come at a better time as far as driving the lesson of the season home. A few sacrifices here and there are good for all of us and allow us to teach the kids some valuable life lessons as well.

And then, of course there are the spiritual aides of the season. The Christmas story is discussed over and over. A portion of Luke 2 is the monthly scripture being memorized. The feast of the Immaculate Conception provided a wonderful opportunity to educate the kids about the greatest woman of our faith. A penance service allowed us to tap into the grace that God has for us.

And so, as usual, it's a busy season. However, it's a different kind of busy - more focused on the business of Christ's birth than the business of spending money. It’s more about spending time together, using teaching moments and learning the lessons right along with the kids.

It’s going to be a different Christmas this year…but something tells me it’s going to be better.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Christmas Story - 80's Version

As read by Nelson tonight at dinner from our Advent book: "...and the shepherds all sat around their cheesy fires."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Aiden can make Max laugh like no other. It really doesn't matter what he's doing, Max thinks it's funny. Yesterday it just happened to be banging on the piano.

After 10 solid minutes, I finally decided to record it (I've confiscated my dad's camera for the time being). Aiden's spontaneous introduction is just as funny as Max's laughter.

Even after four kids some things just never get old. Hearing the laughter of my babies is one of them.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Mmm...Egg Nog (or whatever you want to call it)

Today we had our first taste of eggnog this season. Everyone loved it. Dawson's reaction was, "YUM! I wish I could have some more milk jug!"

Monday, December 01, 2008

Calling All Elves

I remember a time when I was little...oh so very long ago...when around this time of year projects that I started for Christmas presents somehow magically got finished by Santa's elves. I was simply amazed and it made me believe in him all the more.

I'm sure I'll have plenty of opportunities to pass on favors like this. All I'm wondering is where those darned elves are now that I really need them.