Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year's Eve!

I just wanted to take a moment to send my love to my family and friends (and any blog-readers who I haven't had a chance to meet yet).

Eric and I spent the day organizing boxes in the garage and the attic--while our children practiced barrel-walking, went bike-riding around the neighborhood, and threw water balloons at each other (it was so nice and warm).

I read once on GTD Times that it's less important to set New Year's resolutions, and more important to clear out the clutter in our lives to create space for new projects and opportunities.  So I've spent many hours this month turning spaces like this:


Into more organized spaces like this:



One of my posts, "How to De-Junk in a Whirlwind" is up on The Power of Moms right now, along with a recent podcast I recorded with a lovely mother named Tina Marantette.

The main thing that's on my mind, though, is my evaluation of 2011.  Simple Mom has 20 great reflective questions posted on her site this week, and it was fun to look through them and consider how our family and The Power of Moms has grown this year.

But the number one question I ask myself each year is, "Have I grown closer to Christ?" 

If I've grown closer to Christ . . .
  • I've been kinder to my family
  • I've strengthened my marriage
  • I've used my time wisely
  • I've gained a greater understanding of who I am
  • I've served His children with more charity in my heart
  • I've surrounded myself with people and things that uplift
  • I've cherished the precious moments around me
  • I've become less selfish, less obsessed with my flaws, and more willing to unite my will with God's
  • I've been brave when I wanted to shrink
  • I've gained a deeper understanding of my absolute dependence on my Creator, and 
  • I've devoted myself to becoming even closer to Him in 2012.
I know I'm lacking in about 10,000 areas, and I know it's going to take a long time to get where I need to be, but as I close up 2011, I feel very grateful for the chance to live, the chance to be a wife and mother, and the chance to grow a little bit closer to the Lord each day.

Have a wonderful New Year!

Love,
April

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas!

My children are out of school for three weeks, and although there is a lot of "life" going on (doctor appointments, the stomach flu, grocery shopping, laundry, home repairs, emails, activities, etc.), I'm doing everything I can to cherish the moments with my children and enjoy this beautiful Christmas season.

My children love buying and wrapping gifts for each other (they've been saving up their money . . . and we're keeping things simple), they join me each morning for scripture study and family exercise, and we spend each day running errands, cleaning, reading, napping (of course!), and doing all we can to make this season a little better for those in need.  In spite of some hectic moments, things have been wonderful.

This December is also when Eric and I get to celebrate our 13th anniversary.

I spent three hours making a movie with Alia last night, featuring 13 years of our most memorable family photos set to the music of our favorite family songs.  Alia has been scanning photos from our old albums for weeks, and last night after we put everything together, we snuggled on my bed and watched the 10-minute movie--while I tried to hold in the tears.  It was our special gift to Eric this Christmas--and a fun "family birthday" gift.  I'll post some photos from the movie once I have a bit more computer time.

Tonight Alia and Grace made a cake so we could sing "Happy Birthday" to the Perry Family.  They made a card, cleaned up the house, and practiced a little dance for us, too. 

It doesn't seem like it's been 13 years since I fell in love with Eric.  We've definitely had our share of ups and downs, but I can honestly say I'm married to my best friend.

This is a photo of us from about a month after we started dating:


I know that not everyone has a happy marriage, so I'm always hesitant to write too much about Eric, but I also want to be as clear as I can that we are two very imperfect individuals, and the only reason our marriage is so strong is because we work at it every single day--keeping Christ at the center of everything.

My children have discovered me (I snuck off into a little corner to type this), so I will go get them tucked in bed.  I just know I won't be writing on this blog for awhile, so I wanted to say Merry Christmas to my friends and family who read this blog and thank you for your powerful influence in my life.

I hope your Christmas is wonderful!

Love,
April



P.S. We also have a special Christmas gift, including TWO free programs, waiting for you at The Power of Moms (in case you haven't seen it yet!).


Click here to receive your gifts.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Help for a Distracted Mother

I'm over at Deseret News today with a post called "Help for a Distracted Mother."

Hope you're having a wonderful day!

Love,
April




Sunday, December 4, 2011

Candy Cane Airplanes

A couple of weeks ago, our family sat down together and planned our "perfect" Christmas.

One thing we love is making candy cane airplanes. It's a tradition from my dad that I cherished while I was growing up. We made them every year and hung them on our tree.

My dad is almost 80 years old, so this year, we decided we wanted to make candy cane airplanes with the master.

After my nephew's beautiful baptism last Saturday, I took my children to my parents' house for a mini-airplane assembly session.  I knew this would be a memorable time, but it turned out to be even more magical than I'd anticipated.

We gathered near the front window and set up our supplies.


My dad is one of the most patient people I have ever met.  He worked with the children to get the airplanes just right.  We spent about fifteen minutes threading rubber bands through the Lifesavers, adding in the sticks of gum for wings, and finally finishing off with the candy canes and hooks.


I think my dad is just so cute.


This is one of my favorite pictures.  My mom was singing "Silver Bells" for us, and everyone was so happy and quiet as they listened to the music, made their airplanes, and just enjoyed being together.



There's something beautiful and comforting about joining three generations in a simple Christmas tradition. You can go to Alia's blog to find step-by-step instructions on how to make candy cane airplanes.  I love Christmas.



Do you want to share any of your favorite traditions?
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