Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Week - the Happy and Sad

Peter started out the week before Christmas with a school concert.  He played the violin with his Beginning Orchestra class and did a great job!
 One night we went over to Grandma and Grandpa's and helped them set up their tree.  Well, the "we" was really Mary.  She decorated the whole tree, and Libby helped with some Nativity sets.
On Christmas Eve, we went caroling to our friends.  We initiated "Randolph, the Bowlegged Cowboy" as one of our songs.  I'm not sure we should continue with that tradition.  Ha ha  In the evening, we were presented with the Nativity play by our kids and the neighbors' kids.  It was beautiful!  And made all the more special because they did the whole thing themselves - costumes, props, songs and all.  It is fun to have big kids!  :)
Mary on the left, and Shailor on the right

Joseph, Mary (very convenient), Libby, Zoey, Shailor, Peter Emily, Tori, Jesse and Logan.

Then we had our traditional pozole dinner on our china dishes.  Mom came over earlier in the day just to make sure I was doing it right.  After dinner, the kids cleaned up and milked the cow while Santa Claus got some presents ready.  The kids had no idea what they were (NOT).
And here is the famous PAJAMA picture!  Joseph said it felt all weird to have his arm hanging down like that.  We missed having Josh in the picture!
The kids made their traditional FORT.  This was taken on the Sunday after Christmas Eve, but it gives you an idea of what the FORT is.  It's every mattress, blanket and pillow in the house, except for our bedroom and the guest bedroom, piled up in the ER.  And then all the kids sleep on it all through the break.

Here is the "morning photo shoot" before going down to see Santa.  Peter was faking the eyes closed.  Libby was driving us all crazy, bouncing around like a rabbit.

Joseph and Jesse made this bookshelf for Libby, with some help from Dad and Peter.  She is getting started on a bookshelf like Jesse's!
 Jesse got some cute bling for Christmas!
Everyone gets their favorite cereal for breakfast.  Yes - Joseph's is Corn Flakes, and Jesse's is Wheaties, if you can believe that!  But there were also Froot Loops, Cap'n Crunch, and Cinnamon Trackers. 
 Mary in her new Christmas outfit.
We can't have a Christmas blog without a picture of the olive wood Nativity Set that we got in Jerusalem.
 A highlight of the day was getting on Skype with our missionary! This is kind of a weird picture because on the bottom is my laptop monitor with a picture collage of Joseph, Josh and Jesse with their Senior Pictures.  And then on the top is my external monitor, and that's Josh on Skype from La Union, El Salvador.
It was so fun to talk to him!  We were all gathered in my office, and we got to talk to him for about an hour.  The last 15 min the reception came through really clearly, and we got a video of him bearing his testimony in Spanish.  Oh, I think I'll watch that ten thousand times in the next year.  (A little hyperbole there...)  He looked and sounded SO GOOD.  I still can't believe we talked to him.  What a treat!  He was out 11 months to the day.

All in all, we had a wonderful Christmas Day.

On Wednesday, the 26th, we went to see Les Miserables, the movie.  WOOOWWW.  It was incredible.  The story in itself is packed with human emotion, but the raw emotion that was portrayed on the screen was searing.  Joseph read that they filmed the singing right on the set, instead of recording a soundtrack, and it made it so real.  There were some scenes that I wished they had left out, but overall, it was an incredible movie.  I don't know if I can see it again, though.  It was so real and heartbreaking, and yet so beautiful also.  Jesse said she loved the ending - that it was the best ending of a movie she'd ever seen, to see the people free and happy.  It is basically life in its fullest sense.

After the movie, Bruce and I took off to go on our Anniversary Date, and the kids got to go eat at Panda Express.  Bruce and I got to go clean the Temple from ten to midnight that night.  I dusted the Baptistry and Bruce vacuumed.  It was a great time, especially because Jesse and Mary were in there the very next morning doing baptisms for the dead!

Joseph and Peter slept out in the fort (the outdoor one) on Wednesday night.  We have lots of forts!

They rode Lady and Mackee over there and hobbled them.  Mackee got away and came home.  Lady got out of hers, but the best we can figure out is that when she was running home, she tripped and fell.  She broke her right radius.  Joseph called us early on Thursday morning to tell us she was down.  We came home quickly and Bruce went out with our trailer to see if they could get her in it.  After several failed attempts, he went and borrowed a low trailer from a member of our ward.  They were able to get her in it.  Joseph and Bruce took her to the Equine Hospital, and they said there was nothing that could be done.  So they had to put her down.

Oh, OUCH.  Not Lady!  That was everyone's first reaction.

Not Lady - who from the time we got her in 2007 has been our best horse.

Not Lady - who is Peter's horse - the one that loves to ride the most, who wants to go ride almost every day.

Not Lady - who Peter told Joseph that very morning that he was going to train her to come to him when he whistles, so he could jump on her back and go riding, just leading her with her mane.

Not Lady!
Lady with her now foal, Cookie - April 1, 2009
Joseph said that on Thursday morning, after Lady had already broken her leg, that he and Peter were walking back to try and find her in the morning fog.  They saw a brown mound, and Peter whistled.  Lady raised up her head and looked, and then, after several attempts, even with a broken leg, she stood up to greet him.  She was that kind of a horse.

We had a little Memorial Service for her on Saturday morning.  Peter said he liked Lady because she could do things that none of the other horses could do.  She was fast - she would win all the races that Peter had with Dad.  And he would ride her straight up "the gauntlet", (a big hill of dirt).  She was the one that pulled the four-wheeler home when it was out of gas.

I made a slide show of all the pictures that we had of her.  (Sadly - we had NONE of Peter riding her - he always had to give her up to the neediest rider, because she was the best horse, and all the pictures were of others riding her.  Blah!)  There is an abbreviated version below.

The music on this video is written and composed by Jesse.  When I told her about Lady being put down, she was at the piano, already in a composing mood (which she hasn't been in since she wrote a great song in 8th grade).  So she wrote a song with a hauntingly beautiful melody from what she was feeling.  I suggested she title it "For Lady".  She said, "No, I already called it 'Free Lady'."  Then I started to cry - again.

Needless to say, there have been a lot of tears around here.

But that was three days ago, and already a door has opened.  I was asked to speak today in Church on the Sacrament.  As I was sitting in Sacrament Meeting, waiting for my turn to speak, I had the distinct impression that I needed to tell about Lady being put down, and our deep feelings this week. So I did.  I talked about it being Peter's horse.  And I talked about how even in sorrow, there is a sweetness because of the love of the Savior and His Atonement for us.  After Church, a brother from our ward, Alan, came up to Bruce and said that he has a registered Quarter Horse that he only wants to ride once a year when he goes hunting.  He said that he didn't want to sell it, but knew it needed more attention, so he asked Bruce if we wanted to keep it here at our house and ride it and take care of it.  Bruce told Peter this on the way home, and Peter whispered a quiet, but emphatic, "Yes!"  This is wonderful, because yesterday when Joseph suggested they go horseback riding, Peter flatly refused.  Although this was to be expected, it still worried me.  But this quarter horse might be a great opportunity.  Isn't that amazing?

I have to add that we went and saw The Hobbit on Friday!  Another Wooowww!  It was delightful to see Frodo, Elrond, Galadriel and Gandalf again.  Gollum and Saurman - not so much.  And Bilbo - what a great character, and all the dwarves.  Couldn't they somehow have brought Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas back?  :)

To end the blog, I want to show off one of Libby's creations of the day.  She made this origami Christmas Tree.  This is not from a pattern - she made it up herself - and it's really intricate.  Way to go Libby!

And now we clean up from Christmas and get ready for our New Year's Eve Party!  Good bye 2012!  We're still here!

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