Reminiscing about favorite Christmas memories on Christmas Eve, Jared and I both thought of Christmas 1996. We were engaged but each of us went home to be with our families. What I didn't know is that Jared had already conspired with my parents and best friend, Kellie, to fly up to Alaska from Illinois to surprise me for Christmas and stay through New Year's. I was floored to see him sitting in my living room after (conveniently) returning to the house with my mom after some errands. It was so fun!! (Everything is so much fun with Jared around!) Jared, however, got a special taste of Alaska in the dead of winter...which was a complete 180 from when he was there visiting with his parents in July :)
In 2005, my parents were on a mission in Salt Lake City. Jared had been on medical rotations and consequently, away from our Forest Grove, OR home for 4 months. Much to our delight, we were able to have a lovely Christmas with Jared and my parents (who were able to sneak away) that year. On Christmas morning, someone handed me a big box wrapped in red paper. It was from Jared. Upon closer inspection, however, I realized the wrapping paper said "Happy Birthday" on it, not "Merry Christmas." I was a little confused, as I was the pregnant one, losing brain cells, not him. I looked at him with a funny expression and in mocked defense, Jared explained, "Well...it looked Christmas-y when I grabbed it. I realized it wasn't when I was finished but there was no way I was unwrapping and rewrapping it again."
One Sunday in December 2012, Jake was asked to play the opening song in Priesthood meeting. This was one of his first times playing the piano with just the men in church. As one of the Bishopric members, Jared was on the stand sitting next to Bishop Nelson. It was time for the opening song and Jake starts pounding out a simplified version of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Bishop Nelson leaned over to Jared and asked, "This is a Christmas song?" Jared chuckled and responded, "It is now!" They got a good laugh over it. Jake said he had been asked to play in Priesthood last minute and that song was the only one he felt comfortable playing as accompaniment on the spur of the moment. Jake's come a long way in two years as he's since accompanied for the band in school and special musical numbers in Sacrament meeting.
Last year, instead of putting his dirty socks where they belonged (at least in his room if not in the dirty clothes hamper), I would periodically find one of Calvin's socks adorning our tree here:
and here--slowly making its way to the top of the tree.
As if that wasn't enough Merry Calvin Cheer, I found some of my decorations had been tampered with. Not sure what happened to the poor snowman, but this has Calvin written all over it. He thinks it's hysterical.
Last year I got a nativity...one that wouldn't completely freak me out if the kids touched it. I've never really had the money for one, or the space. But a friend of mine shared that her kids always put the figures in a circle with the Baby Jesus in the middle after she sets it out. I thought that was so cool and wanted to see if my kids would do the same. They did! I don't mind this kind of tampering :)
I even caught them in the act this year!
This is CATZILLA in Oregon who wiped out the poor unsuspecting Nativity characters in one fell swoop.
Calvin has tampered with not only decorations, but Christmas pictures as well. Last year, Karcyn made me this Nativity card.
The majority of my Christmas decorations in the new house this year consisted of the children's artwork and pictures they've made in school, church and on their own over the years. A couple of weeks ago, I heard Karcyn scream, "CALVIN! You gave them TWO eyes!!" She was standing in front of her Nativity picture that was on the wall. Calvin calmly (and I would add smugly) replied, "They're supposed to have two eyes." Karcyn exclaimed, "Not when they're facing baby Jesus. All you see is one eye on the side of their faces!!" Calvin didn't say a word. Just shrugged his shoulders and walked away. Upon spying a one-eyed Nativity, he took it upon himself to right this terrible wrong and gave every member of the Nativity two eyes...and in black ink on a picture that was done in colored pencil, no less (a detail that didn't escape Karcyn's own eyes)!
On Saturday, Dec. 20th, Calvin finally pulled his out his crooked snaggle tooth and we all started to sing: "All I want for Chrith-math are my two front teef!"
Bo-ho-holing then (2013)
Bo-ho-holing now (2014)