Sunday, December 1, 2013

Elf on the Shelf with a Twist (why I love Santa and what he represents)

Let me start by saying that I love Santa. Love. I loved the excitement and anticipation I felt as a child waiting for him to come. I loved the magic, the mystery, the enchantment.

And now as a mother, I love seeing my children love Santa. Last week we were shopping at the mall when David and Erik noticed Santa sitting for pictures. Their eyes lit up, and they ran to him with smiles and laughter. They jumped on his lap and wrapped their arms around him. Erik even gave him a few kisses on the arm. And my heart smiled. (Luckily this was before Thanksgiving, and there was no line to see him, otherwise they might have jumped in front, and my heart would have had different feelings). Then Santa asked them, "What you do you want me to bring you for Christmas this year?" And they were stumped. Neither of them had thought about asking Santa for something. They were just so excited to see him. And my heart glowed. We carried on with our shopping, and about 30 minutes later, they asked to see Santa again because they had decided what they wanted. Well, they are 5 years old, and Santa did ask. :)

I think it is easy to get lost in all the commercialism and stress of Christmas and forget the real reason we celebrate. And I know some people blame Santa. Not me. I think he is a wonderful way to bring magic to the season. You just have to do it right.

And that's why we decided to do elf on the shelf this year, but with a little twist. First of all, I have four small children, and absolutely no extra time. I will not spend crazy amounts of time thinking up clever things for our elf to do. And I certainly won't be having him do anything that involves me cleaning up an extra mess. I can't keep up with the chores as it is.

Instead our elf is going to do simple things and leave notes to encourage kindness, service, and family love. Then each night, he'll report back to Santa and share what we did that day. We still get the magic of the elf and Santa, but the focus will be on developing Christ-like love as a family.

I wrote a letter from our elf explaining who he is and why he is here. And yes it rhymes. :)

Dear Harris Family,

Hello dearest children from down off the shelf
I’m your new friend, a real Christmas elf.

I’ve come here to play for the month of December,
To join in your games and help you remember

That Christmas is about more than presents and fun.
It’s about love and mercy and the birth of God’s son.

I was sent here by Santa himself, it is true
To watch, to play, and to report back on you.

I’ll see if you choose to be naughty or nice,
So before being bad, I suggest you think twice.

For each night while you’re sleeping all snug in your bed,
I’ll fly to the North Pole, to the Big Man in Red.

I’ll tell him about our adventures, and I’ll say
If you have made good or bad choices that day.

But if you slip up, dry your eyes, do not fear.
Santa is full of grace and holiday cheer.

Just like God, he forgives when we make mistakes.
Trying harder each day is all that it takes.

Santa loves all God’s children, every girl, every boy.
And he smiles when they serve one another with joy.

So I’m here to help think up fun Christmas tricks.
I’ll help you be good. Then I’ll go tell Saint Nick.

I’ll report all your actions, loving and kind,
Then I’ll fly back here, and in the morning you’ll find

That I can do more than just sit on a shelf.
There are grand ideas in the mind of this elf.


P.S. One more thing before we start our fun.
I need a name. Can you think me up one?

Feel free to share your favorite elf on the shelf idea. And I'll do my best to post our ideas too. Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

First Day of Plindergarten!

Today was David and Erik's first day of kindergarten. Or as David says "plindergarten." I had the bus time wrong, so we missed it. The boys were really sad. So was I. I know they were really excited to ride the bus. But they still had a great time at school.

Since they have a summer birthday, their teacher had them celebrate today. Each of them got to pick 5 kids to be their candles. Then they sang "Happy Birthday," (David went first they informed me), and when they blew out their "candles," they kids fell down. They both declared this the best part of their day. Even better than recess.

They loved riding the bus home. They loved it so much they didn't want to get off the bus. I had a mini heart attack when they didn't get off. But when I climbed on, there they were, all smiles. It was a great day.

As a fun tradition (thank you pinterest) we decided to ask them "what do you want to be when you grow up?" at the beginning of each school year.

David wants to be be a policeman "because then I can bring the bad guys to jail." That's very David. He wants things to be fair and just, and he doesn't want bad guys to roam free.

Erik wants to be a fireman "because they sound awesome." That's Erik. He likes everything awesome.

My future civil servants:

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Love my Littles

Jack at 2 months

 Anna at 22 months

Erik at 4 1/2 years

David at 4 1/2 years

Love my twins!

Love my babies!!

Love all my littles!!!

Monday, July 1, 2013


David and Erik got new bikes from Granddad. They are loving learning how to ride. 

Erik still needs help getting started, but he is great at steering. Every time he rides he always says "I'm doing it! I'm riding all by myself!"

Erik learning to ride.

Smile for the camera.

David loves to go fast, so we had a lesson on stopping last time. He kept trying to put his feet down to stop (like he did with his trike), and that wasn't working.

David trying to run me over. 

David enjoying his bike.

Anna also got a bike. Aunt Jen won it in a baby contest, but since baby Penny won't need it for awhile, they are letting Anna borrow it. She loves to ride!

Anna enjoying her bike.

See ya!

Frosted Flakes

Jack got his first taste of solid food this morning courtesy of his big sister Anna. I changed Jack's diaper, set him in his chair, and went to throw away his diaper. When I turned around, Anna was shoving Frosted Flakes in Jack's mouth. I pulled the cereal out and went to toss it. This time I turn around and Anna has covered Jack in blankets. I pull the blankets off his face, and Anna perches on his chair next to him. I tell her to get down, and she does (reluctantly). Then she starts kissing all of the ducks on his jammies. She sure loves her little brother. I just hope she doesn't love him to death.

Anna sitting on Jack's chair.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Still Smiling

I really wanted a new family picture. We hadn't done one since baby Jack was born. So I dressed us all up in cute coordinating clothes and had my sister snap a few pictures. It was not easy getting two 4 1/2 year olds, a 22  month old, and a 2 month old to take a good picture. Surprisingly we managed to get one that isn't terrible. It's now displayed proudly on our bookshelf.

But that isn't the picture I want to share today. It's this one:

This is what life with four kids under five is like. Jack (2 months) was tired and crying, Anna (22 months) was desperately trying to be anywhere else, Erik (4 1/2 years) was whining and refusing to stand up straight, and David (4 1/2 years) was yelling and refusing to look at the camera.

This photo really shows how my life feels. Not picture perfect. Not glamorous. And often fairly frustrating.

But through it all, Steve and I are still smiling. Sometimes we're smiling to keep from losing it, but we're still smiling.

Baby Jack's Birth Story

John "Jack" Oliver was born on March 26, 2013 at 12:49pm. 6lb 15oz, 21in, and perfectly adorable.
I had an appointment on March 25. I was dilated 2-3cm, so we decided to sweep my membranes and see what happen. I had contractions off and on all day (I had been for the last 4 days), but nothing really time-able. Later that night I started losing my mucus plug, but still no regular contractions. So I went to bed.
At about 2am I woke up to contractions. I tried to sleep, but by 3am they were keeping me up. So we called my mom to come watch our older kids and then headed to the hospital.
I got checked in and labored for awhile. My past labors had both started with my water breaking, and the contractions were awful. This time, the pain was really manageable. My nurse was amazing
At around 8:30 my doctor came in and checked me. I was 6cm! So we decided to break my water and really get things going.
The contractions starting getting more intense, and then all of a sudden the pain was really strong. So I got an epidural, and things were great. My doctor checked me again, and I was 8cm. We knew it wouldn't be long!
After another hour or so, my nurse checked me, and I was 9.5cm with just a little lip. We waited about 30 minutes, and it was time to push! Baby boy was head down but facing sideways, so my doctor helped to turn his head as I pushed. Once he was in the right position, he came right out. Just 16 minutes of pushing, and baby Jack was in my arms.
I honestly can't believe how easy my delivery was. And my recovery has been the easiest one yet, even easier than my last VBAC.

Brand new baby Jack.

Jack and Mommy

Welcome Jack

I finally got baby Jack's birth announcements done. Unfortunately, I made a mistake on his weight. He was actually 6 pounds 15 ounces, not 16 pounds 15 ounces. Ah well. They are still really cute announcements. :) 

Welcoming Boy Birth Announcement
Create photo birth announcements by Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cheese and Accessories

Anna learned a new word: cheese! Anytime she sees the camera, she says "cheese" and gives me a big cheesy grin.

She also turns anything and everything into an accessory. If it can go on her head, it's a hat. If it can go on her feet, she makes it into shoes. Fits around her neck? Now she has a scarf. Stacking rings? No, those are bracelets. 

Anna showing off her grin and her stacking ring bracelets.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Christmas Jammies at Grandma and Grandpa's

Each year on Christmas Eve, we got to open one gift. And for as far back as I can remember, that gift has always been pajamas. The tradition continues now as all the grandkids got to open jammies from Grandma and Grandpa Hepworth.

Christmas with Nana

Nana came to visit and do an early Christmas. Here's a little slide show of the kids opening their gifts.

Anna loved her ladybug book.

Aaron delighted to get some abc cards.

Erik just happy to be opening a present.

David got Thomas cards!

Ethan opening his gift.

Aunt Jen got life savers!

And Steve did too!!!!