Sunday, December 14, 2008

Kazakh Klaus is Coming to Town!

We have had such a wonderful weekend and although I don't quite have the "spirit" yet, its not for a lack of trying. Some years it just takes longer than others, or it doesn't really settle in at all, but what I have this year in lieu of the childlike excitement is a great trade off...somehow I have been imbued with a strange sense of calm, a nice little place to be in right now as things are topsy turvy with the economy which our little family is definitely feeling along with so many others. Auto detailing is an "extra" for most people which can definitely be put off till a later date, but we are very thankful to have work at all and a warm roof over our heads. It is at these times that we most need a reminder of what the holiday is all about, that giving gifts should not be the focus and that mega shopping and the stress associated with it literally saps the meaning of the holiday clean out of us.

This entire weekend for us was spent doing the things that make the holiday special, and they had nothing at all to do with spending hours walking through a mall. Friday night we gathered with the younger youth from our church and had dinner then baked cookies. We were making some for the "Cookie Walk" our Women's Union has every year which helps support our kids going to summer camp, and then we made up small packages to deliver to some of the older members of our Congregation, which we did Saturday evening while "caroling". I say that almost in jest as we realized all the kids are so young they only know all the words to 2 Christmas carols, so we ended up singing Jingle Bells and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. We found they knew the words to a few others but they were...ummm...shall we say "creative" or they practiced "poetic license" with them? For example, Kenny came up with Feliz Navidad but instead we found he sang "Feliz La Lee La" which had us all hooting in laughter. Another little guy's Frosty The Snowman had lots of "da da da's" in it too. As Matthew was the only one of the kids who could read, printing out song lyrics wasn't going to work either, so we just stuck with good old Rudolph and the Bells.

When we went out on Saturday evening, the boys wore their sweatshirts that we made. We couldn't afford those killer cool ski sweaters from Land's End or LL Bean which I always love and would one day like to get to have a family portrait taken, so I had a "Martha Moment" and decided to see if we could make something ourselves. We went to the Dollar Tree (Love that place for many items!) and bought some plastic snowflake ornaments, then on to Wally World for some fabric "spray paint". Last stop was Walgreens for their 3 for $10 sweatshirts and then we created our own using the snowflakes spread across the shirt and spraying over the top of them. While definitely not super stylin', they at least get the whole holiday theme across without spending a fortune, and the boys enjoyed making them. Add the Dollar Tree Santa Hats and...Wallah...Kazakh and Kyrgyz Klaus's!

This afternoon we went to the annual Christmas concert by our local symphony and chorus. We had 4 talented friends performing and one of them provided us with his extra tickets to attend, which we thoroughly enjoyed. For a small community, we have a lot of incredible musicians here, and it is nice to see them showcased. Matthew most enjoyed the music they played from the Polar Express and was naming each scene the music came from. Kenny was delighted to recognize so many tunes this year, as last year they were all new to him and this afternoon he kept saying "I know that one Mommy!". I am so happy that the boys enjoy such things, that they are proving to be more well rounded than I ever was as a kid and interested in more diverse things. For me, it was like going to see even bigger kids of mine as we proudly sat and watched our friends who we love so much as they shined on stage. I thought often throughout the afternoon performance that we are surrounded by incredibly gifted people who are woven throughout our daily life, but better yet are people who are very, very special for far more than their musical gifts.

We rushed home to prepare for some friends to share dinner with us, as they will be out of town for Christmas and we all wanted to spend some time together so we ended up having a "Pre-Christmas" meal. Having the house filled with babies and Big Boys reminded me how lucky we are to be at this stage of our life, with so much life and joy surrounding us. We had a fire in the fireplace and just hung out watching the kids, talking about life and parenting and nothing in particular but enjoying the warmth of good friendship. Joshie was deep in discussion with the mommies about eye color and how babies look like their parents, and you could almost see the wheels turning as he was trying to figure that all out.

Kenny has been such a joy lately, we are well past the challenging couple of weeks we had and he is back to being his more mellow self, his more compliant self. The magic of Christmas still thrills him even at 10 years old, and he thoroughly believes in Santa still, which is a lot of fun. Matthew is at that in between stage, caught between older childhood and wanting to cling on to his younger self. He is not at all acting as if he doesn't believe in Santa, but I have a feeling he is afraid to say he doesn't for fear it might mean he is leaving a part of himself behind that he is not yet ready to walk away from.

Tomorrow begins my work season in earnest, as I begin my daily drive back and forth between Gunnison and Montrose, quite literally through the frozen mountain range and through the beautiful canyons. While I don't relish the danger of the drive at moments, there are times when it is the most breathtaking sight I would ever want to behold and I find it hard to complain. I am hoping for a good ski season spent with wonderful, hard working friends who will be fun to be with for the next 4 months. the negative part of the whole thing is how much time it takes away from the family, and how hectic everything gets with tons of things crammed in at the last minute, lots of items left undone, etc. But this year I am hoping it will help the time to fly by as we are in "wait" mode.

So it is off to bed for me, later than I had intended but ready to face the not-so-bleak-mid-winter. The quiet surrounds me, ok well sort of quiet as Dominick is heartily snoring on the couch beside me, the fire is nothing but warm embers, the cold outside is a "balmy" 5 degrees above zero and all is good in LaJoyland. May it continue to be so for a long time to come!

And I will leave you with the LaJoy Boys wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a reminder to leave the shopping behind and grab on to what it is all about...go sing, go spend time with someone, go shovel snow for someone, give everyone you care about a big hug!:


Anonymous said...

Oh those smiles!! I wish you much luck and safety in the new ski season.
Khaily and I are heading to my parents' home on Saturday to spend two weeks with the grandparents.
We are also not in the spirit yet as this year is flying by and if feels as though we have only been here about a month.
in Seoul

Lindsay said...

Happy Christmas to you all. Love your boys' jumpers - and did something just happen to Joshie overnight? He looks so grown up!

Christina said...

Merry Christmas, the boys shirts look great!

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas from your extended village out West! May the new year bring you all great happiness and many rewarding moments. Only the warmest wishes being sent your way!

From LV

Anonymous said...

Hi Cindy,
I got these 2 from Vika this week - "Feliz na nee na" - obviously Feliz Navidad is a Kyrg fave - and "oh well, oh well, oh well, oh well, born is the King of Israel"!

Just a note to let you know we have turned a corner. A rough few months - but lots of dividends. I know you'll understand the significance of hearing that Vika now rests her head on my shoulder when I carry her!
And it only took 20 months... :)
Have a truly Merry Christmas -

Carrie DeLille said...

What great pictures!! Merry Christmas, Cindy!