For as long as I can remember I have found great joy in the Nativities at Church. They are an Ordinary moment of our Christmas time, and an opportunity for the kids to act out for us the traditional story of Christ’s birth. I always look forward to them, not just to see our cute little kiddies in costume performing, but because they often have the same familiar songs we sung as kids and are almost always a little chaotic and funny too!

They are far from the organised and well scripted plays you would see at school, as often only have a week or 2 (of church time )- if they’re lucky to rehearse…but they always bring the sweet spirit of Christmas for us and I love them.

This year was different to other years as for the first time since being a kid, I was a participant in it too (minus the year I played Mary and we used new baby Ethan as Jesus). And it was really lovely to be doing it as a family. Megan is such a little madam and brought laughter galore at the end when she realised that the mic next to her was on, and proceeded to sing rather loudly into it stealing the lime light! I used the muslin shawl on my head to (unsuccessfully) try and hide behind as I literally had tears of laughter with it all.

A couple of years ago Nath was up there with the kids as he was roped in to being one of the wise men, and then this year it was my turn to play a part – I was actually really excited and did not play it cool when it was suggested either!

I love being on the stage in any role and I love the memories we are making doing things like this with the kids! Mostly though I love that together we can celebrate the Birth of Christ and help others at church do the same. I Love these Ordinary Moments of church nativities, because it is so important to us as parents that our kids never lose sight of what Christmas means and why we have it. I felt a great sense of humility carrying my wiggly little lamb from the back of the hall upto the stage to kneel by a manger with a doll in! I couldn’t help but be grateful for that first Christmas and what it means to us now!

One of my earliest memories of these Nativities is being a little shepherd with a tea towel on my head, and here I am years later as a wife and mother taking on that same role with my biggest boy as Joseph, Megs as an Angel and little Alice as a wriggly scrummy lamb!! I loved being along side my kids and singing with them familiar and well loved songs, and helping to re-tell this special story to refocus us all to the true meaning of Christmas. An ordinary moment, and yet a very special moment too!

 

 

The Ordinary Moments
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In 2 days we will be in December and officially on the countdown to Christmas (whaaattttt!!), and whilst that thought is a little scary, it is also rather exciting too! Christmas for us, like so many others, revolves A LOT around family, food, chocolate, gifts and lovely decorations. But we also try to make it more, and capture the spirit of the season by remembering the birth of Christ through reading the stories of the bible, singing hymns/songs, attending Christmas services, and now my favourite thing – Following his example of love for others through daily acts of service.

Christmas is a time of year that is rich in family tradition and one of these traditions for several years now, has been to carry out random acts of kindness leading up to the big day! Before it was rather sporadic, but in recent years our Church has introduced #LightTheWorld and given us 25 ways over 25 days we can light the world through service and kind acts. Each suggestion is taken from the bible and relates to the life and teachings of Jesus!

Whilst I try to be kind all year and help in both big and small ways to those who need it, I love that light the world makes me really spring into action and get things happening! It helps me focus on the needs of others and it puts things into perspective at a time of year we can get carried away and perhaps a little self absorbed!

I am a strong believer in giving and helping those whose circumstances differ and are in need of help in someway! Saying this though, lets be real… I am also a busy mum to 3 kiddies, have oodles of cleaning and stuff, blogging and other commitments. So I also find it hard with said young family, to do things daily for others when some days I am totally lost and my limit! With this in mind, I have tried to be uber organised so that I don’t have that as my excuse or reason. I want to help others at Christmas time and show our love and appreciation too, and I want my kids to learn early to think of others too. And so I planned ahead, started weeks ago with our reverse advent box for the food bank (December 1st) and since that it has all just come together!

So here is a sneaky peak of our ideas to #LightTheWorld in December 2017 (we are also collecting walking boots and thermal socks for the refugees in Calais who have trench foot/are at risk of it, along side this!). I have contacted the necessary charities and organisations, and I am hoping others will jump on board too!

Last year we thoroughly enjoyed the days we joined in. From donating gifts and helping to sort at the refugee centre, to making dinner for some fellow church members we knew were having a hard time. We baked treats and delivered them and we donated food too. Whilst I am sure this was helpful to those we served, the blessing of joy and lessons we learnt were great for our family! And so we are choosing to #LightTheWorld again this December to celebrate the birth of Christ. I look forward to the people we will meet, the friendships we will build and the lessons we will learn. I hope it ignites kindness and thoughtfulness in my kids as they help too, and that it will make a season that can be hard for us, one of light and Joy!

You of course don’t need to be LDS/Mormon to join in! #LightTheWorld is an opportunity for us all to bring peace and kindness to others; be that in our families, our neighbourhoods or even our wider communities and the world! If you live near me then come and donate to these great causes too. If you want me to elaborate then leave me a comment, but really whatever you can do – do it!Then snap a picture and # it “LightTheWorld” … share the love as we light the world together for others one day at a time.

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Tonight my heart is filled with so much joy after a wonderful day that brought together our family and friends, and with lots of food we celebrated our little Alice Grace. It was her blessing day; an ordinary moment in our church (and lives for that matter), a moment that when our babies are usually in their early months they are brought before the congregation and given a name and blessing. It is a significant moment in our babies small lives and something we will remember for the rest of their lives as a special day. I guess its our equivalent to a christening, but either way it is something very special and spiritual to each us and is always a joyful and beautiful day.

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I have longed for a baby blessing for what seems like so long now and never imagined 2 years ago when we lost Poppy that I would be having one so soon down the road. I distinctly remember the pain that came from those moments I watched others bless their sweet babies, and whilst happy for them it was hard too. I remember the moments I pondered on Ethan and Megan’s blessing days and how again it was something we never had for our 3rd child Poppy. I even remembered how I had the awkwardness of returning the dress I had bought for her blessing in hope she would get to wear it, but never did. And so because of those experiences today felt all the more special. It was such a contrast of emotions to that which I had felt at other blessings and I just kept feeling so grateful all day for this moment together, and that it was finally our turn!

Having Alice in our lives is sheer delight and brings an increase in love to our home! Of course we have the normal sleepless nights and hazy days, but she lifts my soul on a daily basis, and so as her mother it was a wonderful moment today to be able to dress her in her special little white dress (the one I made her) and soak up her little smiles and happiness. I was aware I had lost this with her sister but my main feelings were that of being grateful that I had another opportunity with her. It was then so lovely going off to church as a family knowing today was all about celebrating her presence in our family; the joy she is, the healing she has brought, the bonds with her siblings, and the opportunity to ponder on what she will be and continue to bring into our lives. I wondered briefly in all of this if she really knew that today was her day and that so many had been brought together in her honour? I wonder if she realises how amazing and special she is? And I wonder if she knows how much happiness she brings to all who know her?

IMG_20161009_094811Either way it was an absolutely beautiful (and fun) day gathered with family and friends…catching up, reminiscing, joking and just enjoying life together. We had an amazing spread and the atmosphere was light and happy. I looked around at everyone on several occasions and just felt happy and blessed to be with them all. I was thankful for family, for friends who had travelled, for local friends who have always been there and for my special little family. It brought home how different life feels now, how much happiness has been restored despite the mixed emotions of not having this with Poppy, and what a truly special little girl Alice is in our family. Of course we are still dealing with Poppy’s loss and will continue to throughout life, of course we miss her on family occasions and wish she could be here with her little sister on special days like this, But despite all of that in the background today was kind and today was lovely.

I just love these moments in life so much, when we have reason to celebrate one another with one another, and I love that Alice not only brings such happiness on a day to day basis but that because of her we were able to enjoy the day with so many of our amazing family and friends. I kicked my heels off long before the day was over and now go to bed rather tired from it all, but I assure you I go oh so very happy and grateful for an incredibly wonderful ordinary moment that was Alice’s blessing day!

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Today I feel tired. Happy of course, but very tired. I guess it has somewhat to do with a poorly little baby that spent most of last night wanting snuggles after throwing up quite a bit, and a lot to do with what felt like an extremely long month known as September! Right now though we have come away for a little rest and family time at Grandma’s, doing very little but catching up with some other members of the fam, eating nice food and snuggling indoors watching something we know and love as “Conference“! Its kind of a big deal in our church where we can watch a live broadcast of talks from the leaders of our church and beautiful singing from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Conference weekend is always an exciting one where everything just feels uplifting, chilled and lovely, and on this occasion it comes after a long hard month.

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September of course saw all of the anniversaries connected to loosing Poppy and so several days were emotional and harder than the average, I have accepted that that’s the way life is now from time to time, and so on the harder days of last month I enjoyed just hibernating in doors with Alice watching “Married at first sight” and “Stage School”. Both programmes that take little concentration but are interesting and entertaining. We then of course had all the back to school excitement and now with a few weeks of school under our belts and a routine that is mostly working, we are getting back into the flow of term time life and school runs. We of course have had and will continue to have the odd morning where it is just complete craziness and a mad dash out of the door to school, but right now it all feels rather manageable and nice and I enjoy having time to get on top of the housework and laundry, see friends, do some shopping and generally relax and enjoy some one to one time with little Alice!

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I didn’t particularly enjoy September but I am grateful for those I get to spend my time with because despite the hard days we have had and the days where I have felt like I haven’t stopped from one school run to the next, life is ticking along nicely. And as you can see from these cheeky pics that I have a pair of silly kippers; 2 fun loving kids that I spend a lot of time with, and its these 2 little nuts with their funny ways, their kindness and thoughtfulness that have helped me through a painful period. I want to look back on September and remember Ethan putting candles in his doughnut to sing to poppy, our time spent at her grave together as a family, all the fun we have had at the park after school with those extra sunny days and also the fun we have watching movies together every Wednesday night after their street dance class. I want to remember that we finally cleared our garden of rubbish, painted the kitchen and on a day to day basis we have fun chatting about the world on our walks to and from school and that they never seem to have enough snacks when we return home. But most importantly I want to remember that it was done together… and now we will enjoy this weekend together reflecting on all that is important to us and looking forward to October with Ethan’s 6th birthday, Alice’s Blessing day and our 7 year wedding anniversary – I can’t wait!

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PS – How big is Alice getting please??? The little goose is melting my heart!

The Me and Mine Project
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