Thursday, December 29, 2011

The magic

I'm not gonna blog about all the barfing (you're welcome), all the lethargy, or even all the presents. Because what I want to remember from this Christmas is the pure magic. I don't know how long the magic will last, but I'm going to hold on to it as long as possible. I will give you one example that a few of us really enjoyed witnessing.

On Christmas Eve, as we left the house to see Christmas lights we had one really anxious little 6 year old boy who was so concerned we would miss Santa. We were even able to assure him that Santa was a safe distance away somewhere over the Atlantic (thanks NORAD), but he was still worried. As we flew under airplanes he at first would get anxious, but then would realize they were just airplanes and Santa was not coming yet. Later, as we drank hot chocolate and prepared to drive home he suddenly shouted "Look!" He ran to show us what was clearly Santa and his sleigh, red flashing light (nose) and all, flying quickly and silently through the sky. We were quiet as we watched it. Well, I should confess that I was watching Tyler. The look on his face was pricless. Tyler knew we had to get home; we ALL knew we had to get home.

What a fun thing Santa is; I love everything about him. I love how he no longer "tops" us in gifts, but leaves the fun stuff. I even love how Tanner pulls a face each time we talk about him. I mostly love that Santa came before all of us got sick.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Gotta be the good life

With all the chaos around me this week, my kids managed to bring me back to the true spirit of Christmas and what it's about. I've been so busy shopping, preparing for parties, YW lessons, nativities, neighbor gifts, class parties, etc. that I haven't spent a lot of time enjoying just thinking about Christmas and spending precious time with my little family.

It's easy to get caught up in the credit card, to buy something online in a matter of seconds with a memorized card number, and move on to the next thing. Last week Emma decided to spend every single dollar she had ($5) on Tyler when she found a gift she knew he would absolutely die to have. She had wanted to spend her money on some cute stuff at a boutique, for herself, but once she saw that thing for Tyler, she didn't even think twice. Better, she didn't ask me to chip in or help at all. She sacrificed her wants for her brother, and did it so happily.

All week Tyler has been asking me to take him shopping to buy Emma's Christmas present. It didn't work out to go at all this week because we just didn't have the chance, but I was free yesterday at 8 a.m. and he jumped at the opportunity. He had a whole $10 and he was determined to spend all of it on her. After choosing two really thoughtful and sweet things for her, he still had $3 left over and kept looking for something else to buy her. When we got home and he showed his dad his gifts for Emma he was absolutely beaming.  It really humbled me. Spencer was in awe at how genuinely happy Tyler was to be giving something to Emma that he had worked hard to save for, for two months. Sacrificing makes it all the more worth it. I can't wait to see their faces on Christmas morning when they open their gifts from each other.

Of course gift giving isn't the real reason for the holiday, but I feel like they brought me back to earth. I love having these selfless, pure children as my own.

However, lest you think it's roses and rainbows here all the time, let me remind you of our reality. Maybe my big kids are pretty darn near perfect children, but Tanner is a good balance and reminds me that no one is perfect. :) He's not a big fan of picture-taking, or anything else really...

But we did manage to get one where he wasn't crying, so it instantly became our Christmas card. A Christmas miracle indeed.

Merry Christmas, friends. May you remember what all the December chaos is really about.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

sugar cookies

I've been telling people for years that my mom's sugar cookie recipe is the best. I've tried several others, including those ones with so much butter they are dense and...just taste like butter. Those ones might keep their shape perfectly, but I'd rather have one that tastes like perfection and maybe doesn't quite look like it. These are fluffy and soft and oh so good. Try them this Christmas! (Like I just did. The YW are decorating them tonight.)

A few months ago my mom asked for the recipe because she doesn't really use a recipe and goes by memory whenever she makes these. I sent it to her and she was clear in her response that the recipe is not hers. I can still vouch for her cookies being GOOD, but these ones are too and now I don't know where the credit goes. I guess it can go to me!

Sugar Cookies
3/4 cups butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 T vanilla
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 spoon-sized dollop sour cream
3 1/4 cups flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt

Mix butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in cream cheese and sour cream. Add flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix. Chill for several hours or overnight. Roll out in sections, using flour as necessary. Cut out with your favorite cookie cutters. Bake at 350 for 7-8 minutes.

Frost with canned frosting or homemade...up to you! (I do both.) Happy baking!