...and they all lived happily ever after...

...and they all lived happily ever after...

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

And a Happy New Year

Christmas was incredible.

This was, by far, my favorite Christmas season EVER!

Absolutely nothing sensational happened, there were no ridiculously magical moments, but there was something different about this season for me and it made everything remarkable.

This year.  This simple, candid year had an undercurrent that I have sensed before but this year it was unleashed full force and I was overjoyed to revel in it.

What was it?  Why did this unadorned, sincere celebration take on a life of its own for me?

Because this year, ALL of my babies got it.  And not only did they get it, but they burrowed down into it and let it seep into every corner of Christmas and touch all the parts of our holiday.

And it was amazing.

New pajamas for Christmas Eve -- a favorite tradition.

This year, my kids were lazer-focused on what they could do for others and how they could invite the true spirit of Christmas into our life.  Sure, they wrote letters to Santa, but there was no recurring list of "remember I wants."  Instead, our kiddos looked past themselves and aimed their hearts at the truth behind this season.

It showed up in many ways -- most of them pretty simple.  What can I do to help my friends know I appreciate them?  Did we remember to take a neighbor gift to this family?  Can we sing Christmas carols together as a family?  I heard my sister say she hoped for this for Christmas and I thought you might want to know.  Grandma, can I help you do an activity with the younger cousins to keep them entertained?  Mom, do you need help wrapping presents?  I bought this cool thing, will you ask Santa to put it in my little brothers' stockings?  Can we please read more Christmas stories tonight, they make me feel so good?  And on and on and on.

Focusing on others, and forgetting yourself, that became a recurring theme for the month.  I watched as my little ones saved their small allowances so they could purchase a gift for each of their siblings.  Now, we draw names and give each child a budget to buy something for one of their brothers or sisters, but that was not good enough this year.

This year, each child -- on his or her own -- decided to give to ALL of the siblings, not just one.

Christmas morning with my peeps.

Some of our older people used money they had saved for personal desires to instead purchase thoughtful presents for others.  Ellie made personal paper crafts for every member of the family.  Logan slyly tried to get siblings to talk about favorite things so he could choose gifts wisely.

All of the children were nearly bursting on Christmas morning NOT to open gifts for themselves, but to watch as other people opened the gifts they had purchased.  It was a morning full of kindness and love and awe.  I adore my little family.  What a gift it was for me to see the people they are choosing to become.

I'll be honest, that is not always the way things go around here.  But it was the way much of December went and I could not get enough.

I am thankful for my Savior, Jesus Christ.  I am thankful for His life and His example for me.

And I'm thankful to have seen His spirit alive in the lives of my children.

I hope I get to watch that (and maybe live it a bit better myself) in many holidays to come.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.

Enjoy a tiny glimpse into our Christmas Season.

Seeing Santa

Living room Sugar Plum Shenanigans

Christmas concerts aplenty with Miss Margene

Gavin is festive even in his sleep

One handsome man and his two lovely daughters

Santa footprints -- goodness gracious, wipe your feet!

Christmas blow-up Battle

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Going Nuts for the Nutcracker (DeMoux style)

Our kids had the chance to perform in Miss Margene's Nutcracker this year, and it was fun to have four kidlets take part of the fun!  

So, let's start the tour.

Logan performed in party scene as a guest and a toy solider and also sang prelude music with musical theater.  This was his first Nutcracker and he LOOOOVED being on stage.  I'm glad he has found a passion for performing.   

This was also Gavin's first Nutcracker.  He was in party scene, danced as a forest guardian, and also performed prelude music with the musical theater group.  

(Sorry boys, I have no video of your performances -- they are on Josh's camera so hopefully I can add some soon so someday your grandkids can watch you get your dance on!)

Elinor is a Nutcracker veteran (this is year three for her).  She even had a small semi-solo in her group number, Petite Waltz of the Flowers.  She was wonderful!  While her true love is dance, she puts up with being part of musical theater too (actually, she likes it, just not nearly as much as dance).

See our Belly-Boo shine (or bloom...after all, she's a flower).

And last, but not least, Aubrey Dawn -- the one who started it all.  Aubs was in the Mice & Soldiers routine for her third time (that piece is always a favorite -- check out the video below to see why), danced in Spanish, and sang with Musical Theater (which is her true love...although this year she has spread her wings and also adores dancing ballroom so Spanish was a perfect fit for her).

And if you'd like to sample Spanish, feel free to have a taste.

All the fun of Nutcracker 2017 thanks to Miss Margene.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Downtown to kick off the holidays

This weekend we jumped headfirst into our musical theater performance season.

We now have four children who participate in this group and Christmas is a busy season (but it's also a lot of fun!).

So, Saturday, we toted our quartet of performers into downtown Salt Lake City for presentations at the Joseph Smith Memorial Center, Church History Museum, and the visitor center at Temple Square.

Normally, these formal performances are only for the oldest group, but this year some of our younger members were invited to be part of a few numbers meaning our whole crew got to take part.  Good stuff.

(Get a little taste for Miss Margene's Musical Theater Christmas Show here)

Round I:  Joseph Smith Memorial Center -- a great venue with fabulous acoustics and beautiful surroundings.  A great place to sing.

Some people may have been bothered that I wouldn't let them munch on granola bars in the middle of the show.  Moms can be total jerks.

Our four favorite stars.

Round II:  LDS Church History Museum -- tight quarters, but a super fun performance.

The kids drew quite a crowd in the entry of the building.

Round III:  Last, but not least, the visitor center on Temple Square.  

And then a few shenanigans and hijinx while looking at lights on the temple grounds.  

Let the fun of the holiday season begin!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Oreo Truffles...and a surprise

Sometimes we decide to make Oreo Truffles (because they are super tasty, seriously).

And sometimes I make chocolate covered brussel sprouts and let my kiddos eat them while thinking they are getting Oreo Truffles.

I'm fun like that.

(Note: The definition of fun may vary slightly depending on which side of the brussel sprout you are on.)

Don't worry, I did soothe sad feelings with the real deal after the fact.

If you'd like to try Oreo Truffles yourself you can find the recipe here.  

Or, you can ask me and I'll make you some.  You may get a fun surprise as well!

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