Sunday, December 20, 2015

Holiday Traditions

(These little dudes HAVE to make "footpwints" before we go anywhere! 
They think they're the neatest thing! )

This upcoming week could possibly be my favorite week out of the whole year. Between all the festivities and fun traditions we do with our family, it's a hard one to beat! Simon and Cohen can hardly stand to wait even one more day for Christmas morning and I know this year is going to be just magical! They are at the perfect age where they understand what's going on and even have quite the list of toys they are interested in (although it changes every day!) ;)

We absolutely love all of the fun holiday activities, but we have really tried this year to teach our kid's the importance of giving and sharing instead of just focusing on ourselves and our wants this time of year. Our main focus this month has been ways to have a heart of charity.

We just celebrated our son Miloh's 2nd birthday on the 12th and that day will always be a hard one for us. Months before his 1st birthday, I was starting to get anxiety about it. I always make such a big deal out of birthdays (especially 1st birthdays) so I knew that day I was most likely going to want to lay under my covers and be miserable. I thought of everything I could do that day that would possibly get my mind off of it. Maybe I would go to the spa and try to relax, or maybe we could take a little stay-cation with the family and just get away for a day. No matter what plans I tried to make, I knew there was nothing that would stop my mind from thinking about how the day would have been spent if our little Miloh was still here.

Thomas and I decided to do nothing for ourselves on his birthday but instead dedicate it to doing something kind for complete strangers. Random acts of kindness has become our tradition for his birthday and it's now a day we both look forward to each year! We also love including anyone who want's to join us in doing at least one act of kindness that day and we couldn't believe the response we had this year.  We are always so grateful to everyone who participates in these acts with us. Nothing in the world means more to us than to know even though our little boy is no longer here with us, he is still making a difference in this world through your acts in behalf of him. So to all of you out there who did something (no matter how small) for someone else that day- Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

On the note of traditions, there's really nothing like them especially when you're surrounded with family! I have a list of some of our family traditions we do each year on Christmas Eve and traditions we make sure to do sometime throughout the holiday season. I would also love to hear what some of yours are! We love adding to our list each year!

Christmas Eve traditions:
-Dinner at my grandma (Porter's) house with all of our extended family
-My side of the family goes out and does some random acts of kindness together
-Read the story of Christ's birth from the Bible
-Read Twas the night before Christmas: We always pass it around and each person reads one page. My mom also writes in the same "Twas the night before Christmas book" each year a list of who was there that year and a little bit of what we did that day. 
-Watch old home videos of Christmas mornings from years past (this is one of my favorites!)
-Open our "Christmas eve" box - Filled with Pj's, Christmas movie, popcorn, hot chocolate 
-Play "Find the pickle"- This has become a more recent tradition but it's pretty hilarious! My mom hangs a pickle (ornament- no worries) on her Christmas tree and whoever finds it gets a present! I will never forget last year it took us almost 20 minutes to find and by the end of it there wasn't one ornament left on her tree! We spent the next hour putting it all back together ;)

Traditions we do throughout the Holiday season
- Make a Christmas scrapbook- My mom was religious about doing this each year so we have scrapbooks from over 30 years ago that are filled with just pictures of past Christmas's. This is something I've also done since me and Thomas got married and we love looking back on our Christmas's together and see the changes as we've added new little ones to our family!
- See the Christmas lights at Temple Square and Ogden Village
- Watch our favorites- Christmas story, Christmas Vacation, The Santa Clause,  and of course all of the old holiday cartoons like Rudolf, Charlie Brown, the Grinch and Frosty
- Games with family and friends
- Ugly Sweater parties/ White elephant parties


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Living for now

We have one direction in life -- Forward. No matter how much I want to go back in time and revisit past memories, all we are given is the now. I have been trying more then ever to live in the moment. I am guilty of always looking ahead or looking behind, but I rarely live in the moment. Put the phone down, shut off the computer, and just BE.

To just BE means to me to be fully present. Not thinking of future plans or past mistakes, but to have all of your energy and thoughts on exactly what's going on right at that moment! I feel like I have missed out on some of my babies growing up (even though I have been here the whole time) but a lot of the time, my mind is somewhere else. I love studying my kids. Watching them learn something new. To see their little faces get so excited over something so seemingly simple is priceless to me. I try to engrave these daily images into my brain so I never forget it. When all is said and done, my perfect little family is all that I live for. The reason I get up in the morning, the reason I work, the reason I want to be better- it's all for them.

I have so much to learn from my little Simon & Cohen.. They have unconditional love for everyone. They forgive easily. They are generous and loving and only want to do good! They have never judged something or someone and they see everyone equally. Christ said  “Verily I say unto you, unless ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven." -( Matthew 18:3) 
To me that means being just as they are. Forgiving easily. Being generous. Loving unconditionally. staying present and living for now! It sounds so simple yet we all seem to have the hardest time with it.

Send that note to the friend you’ve been neglecting; give your child a hug; give your parents a hug; say “I love you” more; always express your thanks. Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved. Friends move away, children grow up, loved ones pass on. It’s so easy to take others for granted, until that day when they’re gone from our lives and we are left with feelings of “what if” and “if only.” The author Harriet Beecher Stowe said “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.”
Thomas S. Monson- 'Finding Joy in the Journey'