James has a special love for grandma great. My mom and her sister Renee. My brother Greg and grandma. Great grandma. Great grandpa. I love this photo. Adam gave Archie Benjamin a name and a blessing New Year's Day in our ward. It was a great way to start 2012 and it also worked out perfectly because Adam still had quite a few family members in town for the holidays. This is the group of priesthood holders-- my grandpa Ardell, my dad, Adam's brother Chris, Adam's dad, Adam's brother Matt, Adam, Adam's brother Aaron, my brother Bryan and my brother in law Blake (Charity's hubs). I wanted a big group photo but that didn't happen obviously, so my brother took a bunch of random shots. I also wanted a picture of just Adam and his brothers because they all looked so handsome that day but that didn't happen either. Adam was being a little impatient so it didn't quite happen. Oh well. It was a lovely blessing and a lovely day spent with lots of family on both sides. The only people missing were my sister Emily and her husband and daughter. Archie is such a blessing in our home and has a sweet little spirit.
This picture pretty much sums up our New Year's Eve. We spent the evening at my brother and sister-in-law's house and we actually made it to midnight although I was pining for my bed by 10:00. Ruby fell asleep in the chair around 11:30 and slept soundly through the noise makers at midnight. She didn't even flinch when James put a horn right up to her ear and blew as hard as he could. Happy New Year! Hope it's a good year for us finally! 2011 pretty much sucked but for the exception of little Archie.
Bleh, looking nasty. Me, that is, not sweet Ruby. Christmas 2012 was pretty good. The kids were up at their usual time, we opened presents, and then headed to church at 10:30. Santa brought James a Wii and a big firetruck as his main presents. Ruby got a Disney princess castle that she has been fawning over for months but does she ever really play with it now? Not really. I really enjoyed attending church on Christmas, although I wish we would have sung more carols other than the opening and closing songs. I wish we met together at church every Christmas Day to sing hymns and then go home. Adam said they did this in England where he served. Members met at the church for an hour to sing carols, regardless of what day Christmas fell on. It really helped set the tone for the day and was a great reminder for the purpose of the holiday. Right after church we went to Adam's parents' house to open presents with his siblings and eat dinner. At 4:00 we headed over to my parents' house and repeated the process. It was a good day but we were pretty tired by the end of the day.
James was so excited. I love the glasses they had for him to wear. They made me giggle. I also love James' dentist-- he's competent, caring, and great with kids. So glad we were able to find a dentist I can trust.
I love this newly discovered depiction of the nativity with Mary nursing the newborn Christ-child surrounded by heavenly hosts and Joseph looking slightly overwhelmed. I've been thinking a lot about Mary and Joseph this year because of the timely arrival of Archie. A new baby is the perfect Christmas gift and the best way to spur one's thoughts toward the baby Jesus and his little earthly family. One of my favorite Christmas songs is 'When Joseph Went to Bethlehem.' It's simple lyrics and tune make me tear up every time I hear it or sing it. We know so little about Joseph other than he was a man of great faith, compassion and understanding. I try to imagine his thoughts and feelings as he 'held the little Jesus close upon that holy night.' Just as Mary was a 'chosen vessel' so too was Joseph foreordained to be Jesus' mortal father, to guard and protect and watch over the Savior of the world. What an honor and privilege to be able to serve the Master in a way that no one else would. And then there's Mary, 'most beautiful and fair above all other virgins,' chosen to carry and deliver her Messiah. It would be difficult to comprehend such a miracle. A normal birth of a normal child is overwhelming and a great spiritual experience. In an instant it seems, a little tiny baby is born and put into your arms and then all of the weight of responsibility rushes in. It's an experience like no other. Words really do fail to explain all of the feelings and emotions that accompanies that experience and then compound that with a miracle conception and birth of the Son of God. Little wonder that 'Mary kept all of these things and pondered them in her heart.' We know that she knew what was happening but how could any human fully comprehend what she, the mother of Jesus, would see and experience as she raised him from baby to man? Undoubtedly, Mary's love for Jesus was like that of a common mother whose fawning love for her infant resembles adoration. But her love for him and true adoration grew exponentially as she cared for him, nursed him, bathed him, changed him, fed him and watched him grow in wisdom and understanding and eventually realizing his divine role. Mary did for him what he could not do for himself as a young child. What a blessed experience to serve him as no other human could. Which begs the question, 'What can we do to serve him? What errand does he require of us?' These are questions I am asking myself as this new year dawns. What good can I accomplish this year?