Sunday, December 22, 2013

Seven Days of Christmas: Day 2

Day Two: Games and Giving

 The kids were so excited to open their games, they insisted we do it first thing in the morning instead of at night as I'd planned. Adam led us in a Christmas song and then shared the following before he headed to work. (Yes, I recorded it -glad I did, too!) 

"Today I took Ellie out to breakfast [for her birthday] and gave her a card with this scripture on it, D&C 88:11 'and the light which shineth which giveth you light is through Him who enlighteneth your eyes which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings.' I shared that with her because I have been very impressed with her example. She came first, so she sets the example and . . in her and in each one of you I see you take on the Light of Christ in a big way. You are very obedient, you love to mind, all of you are sensitive to the Spirit . . . and there is a certain light about you.  It is the most important thing, the most significant thing you can ever have in your life. Because if you don't have light, you have darkness . . . you have a dimness that you can see in a person. . . . I want you to notice that the tree is covered with light. There is symbolism in that. It glows with light. Happiness comes when we allow more light into our lives and the more you give, the more light you allow into your life."

Worked as a team to the end!
 This year the learning game was a wooden Sudoku board with a storage drawer. For the purely "fun" game, "Sliders" - a spin on "Sorry!" that's like a cross between bowling, darts, and Sorry. Nathan really enjoyed that he had to build the board and use his pliers to pull apart two playing pieces that came stuck together. My little engineer.  The "active" game was a badminton set that had a super big shuttlecock and large, padded rackets. Nathan and Ellie wanted to stay and create with their LEGOS and listen to their latest audiobook, so the little girls and I ventured out into the snow storm for errands badminton at our nearby recreation center.

 "Day of the Bells" at the library. Find and keep your own bell. Sweet!

After 20 minutes, Lizzy was tuckered out (and Norah was ever-ready to pose for a pic). I realized the girls hadn't eaten lunch yet - we'd been so busy with the games all morning . . . Lizzy had to crawl to the bench where we ate the snacks she was so famished :-). No drama in these girls!
 "Bounce Catch" is their favorite game to play together at the gym. We simply count how many times in a row the girls and I can bounce the ball and catch it without dropping it or letting it bounce more than once.  We got to 50 in a row this time, so I made things fancy: Single or double "Left-Right Bounce-Catch" and "Twirl-Catch." 

We'd spent long enough at the gym I felt ready to try getting home again (our first try we couldn't get up any of the hills to our neighborhood and almost got stuck). Slowly inching through our neighborhood, I was warmed by the sight of seeing many people on every street out shoveling their driveways. You mean there are actually people living in those homes? We have neighbors?!  Such a sight as real, living, breathing people out in their yards, talking to their neighbors, helping each other and playing - it had a strange and penetrating beauty about it. Gave me a craving to be out among them.

When we arrived home, we found Becky (my cousin who lives with us) and Nathan also out and shoveling the driveway. We all joined in and Norah was so insistent on helping there weren't any shovels left for me! Since the theme for the day wasn't just "games" but also "giving," we decided to shovel snow for a few of our neighbors and with our neighbors. (Rob from next door teamed up with us - that man is an ox! I've never seen anyone shovel so much snow so fast!)

After a rest, we got to the planned giving part of the day - baking Snickerdoodles and peanut-butter cookies for neighbor gifts. BUT WE HAD A PROBLEM! After a double batch of both varieties of cookies were baked, I couldn't find the gift bags I had purchased the week before!!  It was getting late and the kids tired, so in the end, I decided this was a blessing in disguise.  (see Day 4 to find out why :-)

Meanwhile, while I'd been baking with the kids and cooking dinner, Adam came home and snuck some supplies into the front room for his own contribution to the day of giving. It was an odd idea I'd had months ago that he remembered, perfected and . . . produced!! 

The. Best. Gift. Ever. 
(To this music mama's mind) 

 If only I had a "before" pic to share. Just imagine all those instruments in cases, piled up along the wall, making it difficult to get to them, let alone perform the cumbersome task of opening a case (perish the thought) in order to practice it! haha.

The theory of the design was - if you make it, they (the kids) will come!  So . . . would they?

YES!  This is Lizzy the next morning, completely unprompted from me trying out some twinkles on her violin that she hadn't chosen to touch or practice in months - piano is so much more comfortable to play and practice, isn't it? But by the afternoon, I was interrupted in my grocery shopping by a call from Nathan and Lizzy wanting to play for me the new song (one of Nathan's cello songs) that he'd taught Lizzy on the violin.  And I could actually make it out from the scratchy tries that blared over the phone, too! But wait! There's more! By the end of the day, Norah had figured out how to use her bow arm to "open-up-the-elbow" to the tune of Twinkle Variation A, and Lizzy had finished teaching herself all of that same twinkle variation IN TUNE! (Sure, she didn't take the nudges to "open-up-the-elbow" yet, but Norah's progress there has begun to inspire her. :-)

The best part is, all this required zip, notta, nothin' in the manipulation/force department from me. It was even all accomplished on a busy day with only an answer to a question given or a gentle suggestion here and there. Can I just say?

 Mama power is in the environment we create, not in the requirements we enforce?