Thursday, December 26, 2013

How the Grinch Saved Christmas!

I was convinced that Christmas was going to be ruined.  We found out with one week to go that our two oldest children couldn’t make it home.  Their new jobs, and starving college student budgets led them to the decision to stay put and earn all the $ holiday hours working that they could get.  So for the first time in 23 years I didn’t have my whole family at home with me.  My heart was heavy and tight.  I felt like the Grinch.

My inspiration for Christmas I found in a magazine.  It made me nervous, yet I was eager to try.  My husband and I have long felt that experiences are what you remember and not gifts.  So every year our Christmas has a different theme…  Disney, Danish, Pioneer, Give-Away, etc.  This year’s theme was,  ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas!’  So I became the Grinch.

We forced our children to set through the classic cartoon version a few days before and both my husband and I read the story to our younger girls a couple of times during the month of December.  Christmas Eve came with the accustomed Pajama’s and Ornaments. 

 Would have loved Grinch PJ’s, but the stores were all out.  We were able to get the kids different Grinch Character Ornaments.

Christmas Eve was fantastically traditional as we sat through readings of the Nativity and ‘The Cremation of Sam Magee?’  And why that poem is traditional is an entirely different post.

The kids helped put out their stockings, label their chairs, and leave a treat for Santa and his reindeer.

Our Home felt Magical.

Then the kids when to bed and the Grinch came to visit.

So when the kids arose Christmas morning they found everything Christmas gone.  EVERYTHING!  Including our outdoor lights.

They were not too happy.

They let us know they were not liking this experience.

But Hope was Not Entirely Lost!  They found 7 bags and this note by the fireplace.

To:  The Who’s named FawnDear’s Herd

He stuffed Christmas in bags.  Oh, that Grinch, very nimbly, stuffed all the bags, one by one, up your chimbley!   He took every present you wrapped up with glee.  And yes, he himself, took your Christmas tree!   You must help him to realize that Christmas means more,      than presents, and wrappings and things from a store.  Let’s help his small heart to not be so darn tight,    by giving some cheer to some homeless in plight.    So off to Seattle, you must travel right now.   I know you are asking, what, who, when, and HOW?   Find seven poor people whose budgets are tight,   and give them a bag full of goodies they’ll like.    That ought to do it, his heart will grow quick.  Scurry back home, and you may meet St. Nick.

Sincerely,  The Grinch's Dog Max

In the bags we found chap stick, gloves, McDonalds gift cards, A Candy Cane, Chocolate Santa, tissue and a Picture of Christ.  To the bags we added hand warmers, bottled water and a fresh orange.  Then we left for Seattle. 

Here is where nerves kicked in.  I was nervous,  I’m a lousy judge of people, and my thoughts drifted to all the horrible new stories you seldom hear on the news.  What would we find, how would people react?

I was shocked by how many homeless there were.  Bundled up in Sleeping bags, blankets and tarps.  Within minutes our bags were gone.  And even those we didn’t have enough for wished us a Merry Christmas and God’s blessing.  They were so grateful for our meager little bags.  Our hearts all grew!  Little 8 year old Hope said, “We should do this every year and not because of the Grinch.  We should just do it because.”  I agreed with her. 

All too soon our trip was done as we headed back to our empty home.  And you know if that was the end of my day I felt richly blessed, but it wasn’t.

Back at home we found our Christmas Activity Elves on the couch with another letter that read.’

‘Thank you for thinking of other poor folks.  See it wasn’t that hard, and you didn’t  choke.    You shared your hearts, found some Christmas Love… brought Holiday cheer and blessings from above.   The Grinch’s heart grew and your holiday’s back.  But the Sneak, hid those goodies he stuffed in his sack.   In the back yard, look by the gate,  for he left part of his load there, for Goodness Sake!   Your gifts to each other that were covered with bows, are hidden in baskets under some clothes.   The presents from Santa are somewhere quite warm,  near the furnace, don’t worry – They came to no harm.  Under the porch three items are near,  a Manger of Straw, and two white reindeer.   Someone strong like the Grinch should be able to shift,    two bookcases near the window to find some more gifts.         Merry Christmas.

So Christmas came back.  The kids loved searching for all the places that the Grinch hid their presents.  We were finding them well into the evening. 

And when the neighbor boy stopped by to play in the afternoon.  Guess what?  My girls didn’t regale him with what Santa brought for Christmas.  Instead they told him about their amazing experience with The Grinch.

And to make it a near perfect Christmas we Skyped with my boys!  I love the Grinch.



Tuesday, January 1, 2013

In Review… Last Year

I must start this post with one of the  blessing of being an early riser. You get to see humdingers like this.

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What a breathtaking sunrise to close out 2012.  As I pulled the camera down from my eyes and looked at the view screen this was one instance where the colors of the pictures accurately reflected the brilliance of the sky.  I even had to wake up the kids so they could see it too – and it was so good they didn’t even complain about being roused early.

So for those near and dear to our herd hearts, here’s a brief recap and a picture.

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Our oldest, Abner, finally flew the nest.  He’s going to school full time, working full time and with that schedule we are lucky to see him for a few hours every weekend.  Lucky for us he is only 1/2 hour away.

T-rev graduated from High School and after months of pounding the pavement found a job pounding open freight boxes at Sears.  We are now waiting to see where he will be going to school.

Evo-man continues to be our rollercoaster wildcard. Ups and Downs rule his life.  The best thing is that his Crones is under control.  He has treatment every 8 weeks and get’s to set in a comfy chair for a few hours, while getting his remicade infusion at a local hospital.  I have to mention a huge thank you to my husbands insurance that covers this cost.  There would be no way we could afford the treatment without it, as they bill us over $20,000 per treatment..  $20,000 for 4 hours of treatment every 8 weeks.  I think there’s something fishy going on with that???

Lea is going through officially being a teenager with all the hormonal chaos that accompanies such ventures in life.  She did get a break from her stress inducing family while visiting with  family in CA last summer and going to girls camp.  She is also looking forward to Track and Field, where she hopes to continue her dominance of Discus.  She was the unofficial district champ for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade last year.  Unofficial, because she missed the district meet, but she won the event at every other meet.  My sweet little powerhouse is growing up.

Princess is still princess, and loves being in 5th Grade during the day and the world of imagination at home.  She is an aspiring writer and loves the make believe like only her mom.

Hope is still our beacon of happiness.  I can’t believe my baby is seven.  She loves everyone and is one of our happiest biggest helpers around.  She is also the major handler of our hyper kitten Meap.  Scratches everywhere don’t deter her from snuggling and might I add, manhandling that furball.

Prince Erik finally received the promotion at work that he’s been working so hard to get.  He is once again Cub Master in our ward and it’s fun to see the enthusiasm of working with 8-11 year olds has not waned.  He loves it.  He continues to love cooking – thank heavens for all of us.  And he’s the best Honey-Do Dude I know.

I finally finished De-Hoarding my home last spring.  Yes, you heard me right. It only took 2 1/2 years, over 30 loads to the dump in the truck, and another 6 loads to the thrift store.  It is something I’m so grateful for.  My mentor Mrs. Passion moved to Texas and I cried buckets when she left, but she gave me all the tools I needed to finish. 

Am I done?  Heavens no.  I’ve still got projects to do, more curtains to make, furniture to refinish and then we get to start on the jungle we call the back yard. 

My Prince let me fly away from the herd over the summer.  I went to Idaho and Utah to visit family and attend Education Week.  I loved seeing family, but I spent most of the vacation being taken care of by my mom as I hurt my back the day after I arrived.  Thank goodness she didn’t mind babying me.

When I got home my Prince had missed me so much he took me away on our first overnight vacation, without kids, I might add, in eight years..  We stayed at a bed and breakfast in beautiful Victoria, Canada.  It was romantic heaven!  He even let me bring home a crate of beach combed rocks for our future patio.  He spoiled me rotten and even replaced my wedding ring which had lost it’s diamond years ago.  I’m a lucky girl to be married to such an adoring Prince. 

My church calling has also kept me busy as a whirlwind.  I’m over the activities for all the sisters in our ward/congregation and there is always an activity in the planning or someone in need of service.

So there you have it, a long-winded recap of 2012.  The best part was last night at sunset we got to see this.


The two perfect bookends to the final day of the year. So when it’s not raining here in the Pacific Northwest we get amazing heavenly light shows.