George has been really into Luigi, our elf. He loves finding him every morning and yesterday was pretty thrilled when a man at the gas station told him that Santa came and told the man that George had been a very good boy. We got out to the car and George exclaimed to his Daddy, "Luigi HAS been telling Santa that I've been good! That man said Santa knew!"
The one gift that George has been consistent about asking for is a red ninja Lego set. I had no clue if those were even a real thing until we braved Toys R' Us to see an entire aisle dedicated to Ninjago. Who knew? I mean, besides George, obviously? His request was put into Santa and George is certain Santa will come through.
Pearl talks about Santa Claus and sings Santa Claus is Comin' to Town (the "so be good for goodness sakes! about kills me) and totally attempts a deep voice as she mimics, "Bye Buddy! Hope find DAD!" (If you don't know that movie I am not sure we can be friends.) She doesn't get that Santa is bringing presents really, but I know she'll love opening them and finding treasures inside. If you ask her what she wants for Christmas she tells you "a baby," but I think that's an idea her brother gave her (though she is in fact getting a baby that I know she'll love).
She is now able to have full on conversations of back and forth dialogue where she understands what she is being told/asked and answers appropriately. Most of her phrases are between 4-7 words now and it seems like she is talking more every day. I keep telling myself that I need to get her little voice recorded more often because she'll be out of this phase so quickly.
(These might be my favorite pictures of her ever.)
This morning George came into our bedroom after he woke up. I had just slipped back into bed after getting home from the gym and showering so I smiled at him and motioned for him to come join me. He walked over to my bedside, bent down and gave me a big kiss on the lips before turning around to go to the bathroom. It melts me so much that that is who this boy is. He is so tender, so affectionate, so dear, and it is just so naturally who he is. My family watched our kids last night while J and I attended a party and my mom reported that they had watched John's and my wedding video and George could not stop kissing the TV screen whenever I came on. (She also mentioned that Pearl screamed and sobbed every time she saw me in the video because she wanted me. So nice to be so loved :).)
Pearl has been attending nursery at church for a few months now. She was slightly hesitant at first, but after a few minutes of John or me waiting with her she would warm up and get playing with the other kids and we could leave. Now one of the nursery workers (a charming old grandpa) comes and takes her out of my arms immediately after Sacrament meeting and Pea happily goes right with him into nursery. We periodically go check in on her, but she is always fine and happy. Hooray for being able to sit through Sunday School and Relief Society lessons.
Last week one of our chickens (Willa) was getting pecked by the others and was bleeding and not doing well. George was very concerned about her and as we were driving home from my parents' house to check on her we heard George in the back seat praying to Heavenly Father that she wouldn't be dead when we got home. We went into the backyard to find Willa doing better and George said, "Sometimes prayers come true, huh?"
(Here are a few of the photos of them in their church clothes)
To finish up tonight I want to briefly mention how grateful we feel as a little family for the many ways that blessings have been poured out upon us recently. We are in the middle of making some very big decisions for our family about where we want to end up next year as John begins his PhD program and we have felt so guided and directed throughout the whole process. Part of the process began a couple of months ago when we made the decision that John should quit his early morning job at UPS. This was a leap of faith for us in many ways and I struggled to know if we would be able to really make it without the benefits and security that the job provided for us. It truly has been humbling for us to see how God's Hand has been evident in the details of our family throughout these past couple of months. From unexpected envelopes of money on our door to extended insurance benefits that we didn't know about, we have had countless confirmations that if we try our best to follow the spirit and to be in tune with what God's will for our family may be, things will work out and we will be happy. I feel overwhelmed when I take time to really think about how immeasurably we've been blessed. I am so grateful this Christmas season for our Savior and for my personal faith in Him. I don't just have blind faith and I don't always feel so certain about everything, but I have had enough personal experience with really trying hard to seek God's will for me and then being blessed so abundantly as I make those decisions that I am certain of His influence in my life and I am certain that He loves His children. I feel grateful to celebrate His birth, life, and atonement this weekend.
Merry Christmas, dear friends!