Monday, December 29, 2008

Looking Ahead

Now that Christmas is over I'm gearing up for the season of self-improvement. I love making New Year's resolutions. I do pretty well at keeping them too. I just read over the resolutions I made last year and I was surprised to realize how much progress I'd made toward my goals. It helps to keep the goals simple and reasonable, yet still challenging.

I've got two lists I'm starting right now. The first one is long-term goals as they relate to my personal mission statement--things like "develop more patience in working with the children." The second is short-term stuff I really need to get onto now that Christmas is over, like "clean out that messy disaster in the bottom of the coat closet" and "stop eating Oreos."

In the process of digging out my old goals for self-evaluation, I came across an old favorite that I thought I'd share:

President David O. McKay's Ten Rules of Happiness:

1. Develop yourself by self-discipline.
2. Joy comes through creation -- sorrow through destruction. Every living thing can grow: Use the world wisely to realize soul growth.
3. Do things which are hard to do.
4. Entertain upbuilding thoughts. What you think about when you do not have to think shows what you really are.
5. Do your best this hour, and you will do better the next.
6. Be true to those who trust you.
7. Pray for wisdom, courage, and a kind heart.
8. Give heed to God's messages through inspiration. If self-indulgence, jealousy, avarice, or worry have deadened your response, pray to the Lord to wipe out these impediments.
9. True friends enrich life. If you would have friends, be one.
10. Faith is the foundation of all things -- including happiness.

What are some of your goals for the coming year?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bean on the Prairie

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Fish on the Prairie

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Roo on the Prairie

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Rabbit in a Stroller on the Prairie

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Along the Creek

Yesterday the weather was mild and the kids were suffering from post-Christmas cabin fever so we packed everyone off to a nearby nature park for a loooooong walk.

We stopped frequently to let the kids mess around with sticks and logs and water and stuff. The Badger reminisced about the good times we used to have romping on the beach in Oregon, but my kids were having just as much fun with the prairie riparian enviroment as they used to have on the coast. Kids are great that way. They're just happy to be outside, wherever it is.

Here is a classic portrait of a young boy:

In September this creek flooded badly. As we walked along the banks, we could see all the debris the flood had left behind. Logs, twigs, and grass clumped together as high as my head.

This flood debris made the most enchanting hidey holes for small children.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Art Lesson: the Still Life

One of our favorite presents was an art set from Cousin Mimi. It was about the first thing the kids begged me to let them into on Christmas morning.

It contained oil pastels. "What are these?" they asked.

I used to love oil pastels when I was young. Picking them up again made me feel artsy. So I gave the kids a lesson in drawing still lifes.

Roo really got into it:

So did Fish:

The Rabbit also took to it quite readily:

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Baby's First Christmas

It's so fun having a baby around on Christmas. I don't know why, but it just makes it so much more jolly when someone's eating all the wrapping paper.

We gave the Rabbit a Melissa and Doug brand "Fill and Spill Flower Pot" with cloth flowers you can stuff into a clear flower pot. She loved it. She flipped it right over and started chewing on the tag on the bottom.

Babies have such great perspective.

Then, with her tummy full of wrapping paper and tape, she conked out in the high chair while we were making breakfast.

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Roo's Marvelous Present

A couple of months ago my friend Rachel called me and asked me if I would like some doll house stuff for my girls. Her youngest daughter had been collecting Fisher Price Loving Family dollhouse sets for years but had just decided that she was too old for them.

I said "Sure!" and pretty soon she arrived with two enormous dollhouses and all the furniture and people and accessories you can imagine. I was so excited. When I was a little girl I dreamed of having a set-up like this.

We decided to wait and give it to Roo for Christmas. One of the highlights of this morning for us was seeing her delight when she saw the dollhouses.

And she has been playing with them all day....

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Merry Christmas Breakfast

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Dad's Favorite Part of Christmas Morning

Snuggling newly-woken-up Roo...

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"I Got My Beanerana Skirt On, Mom!"

(For those of you who didn't catch it, some of us call them ballerina skirts.)

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A Merry Christmas Morning

Last night after the kids went to bed I got out all the presents hidden in the garage and various closets and stacked them under the tree. (We can't leave them under the tree all through the month because the kids wouldn't leave them alone, so they don't appear until Christmas morning.) I was shocked at the enormous size of the pile. How did we get so many presents? This is totally out of hand! But then I thought about what was in them: things like clothes and homeschool stuff I'd bought on clearance and at garage sales for the last six months that I could have just given to the kids but decided to save for Christmas so they could have the fun of unwrapping them. Most of it was simple and inexpensive. Even the kids' main presents cost no more than $30 each. Therefore this huge pile does not represent an obscene amount of money spent. And we sure had a lot of fun with it.

Here's the boys opening their stockings:

And here's a great shot of a seven-year-old experiencing intense Christmas morning happiness:

And here's a great shot of a 33-year-old experiencing intense Christmas morning happiness:

Okay, so the Badger's present was neither simple nor cheap. It's a Garmin Nuvi 350 GPS and he's so excited. He needs this because of the nature of his job, but he had NO idea I was buying it for him. It is very difficult to surprise the Badger like this and I feel very gleeful that I actually pulled it off.

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you're all experiencing both glee and gratitude this morning.
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve!

I got all their pajamas done in time! Whew!

I should tell you the stories behind our Christmas stockings sometime.

And here's our little Christmas baby who will not go to sleep. That is why I am up on the computer blogging right now because she is up. She does this. Sigh. At least she has cute fuzzy Christmas baby pajamas. (I did not make her pajamas. I made all the other kids', but Carter's does a much better job with sleepers than I do. )

I'm excited for tomorrow!

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