• Dec 13, 2012
Almost every day these past weeks, I find my eyes filling with tears as I stir hot chocolate, spread peanut butter on bread and send everyone out the door to school. Not out of sorrow, but because the mornings are so good, so beautiful. Yes, we still have bruised shins and hearts, lost homework and scuffles over who gets the comics next, but those are little things and our chaos of breakfast and practicing, making lunches, curling hair and singing out loud feels like the very best of motherhood. Even if I sleep in, Hans and Xander creep to my bedside to pray, Gabe still likes to cuddle in my lap as he wakes and Mary smothers me with affection. As she says, “Cars run on gasoline; but I run on hugs and kisses.”

I know, I know these are golden days. And I feel an urgency to enjoy my houseful of children, savor the afternoons driving to and fro, the animated conversations and extraordinary enthusiasm. I’m drinking in every Christmas concert (and we’ve had lots!), laughing at every silly pun:

Q. What do snowmen wear on their heads?
A. Ice caps.
Q. What do you get if you cross a snowman and a shark?
A. Frost bite.
Q. Where do snowmen go to dance?
A. A snow ball.
Q. What do you call an unreliable snowman?
A. A snow flake.

Gabe’s furrowed brow as he tackles the tricky notes.


A surprise visit from Stefan who put in his mission papers just yesterday. We should know where he’s going the day after Christmas.


I’ve never seen him so giddy.


Testing Xander’s viola before a visit with the Stake President.


Sunday afternoon, we embarked on cookie baking and our annual tradition– the gingerbread building.


Ambitious Xander chose the Tower Bridge. I’m wimpier and thought we should go with Big Ben, but I admire his vision.


Mary let Hans help a bit– but he doesn’t use enough frosting for her taste.



Continuing our Les Miserable obsession, we watched the entire 25th Anniversary Special. Listen to the four Jean Valjeans sing “Bring Me Home” and you’ll get teary eyed too. p.s. Colm Wilkinson– the very first Jean Valjean in the stage production– plays Bishop Muriel in the movie! I can’t wait to hear him sing again.



Without Mary and her awesome decorating skills, the Tower would have never been finished.


Ta da! Hmm, well it may have looked a bit better before I tipped it while sprinkling on the blue sugar and it crashed to the floor. Uh oh. Not one of my smartest moments. But funny. And Xander didn’t yell at me. Which was good. I had to cheat and use cardboard to fix it.

I’m reminded of the golden afternoons when Ben was a baby laughing in the backyard swing, when Stefan would pull his wagon to the top of the hill and scream with delight as he hurtled into the distance. I told myself then and I’m repeating the same words now, “Savor this, remember this, take a mental picture, these days won’t last.”
December 10, 2012
December 16, 2012



  1. Reply


    December 13, 2012

    I love what kind of mother you are. I love why and how you mother. You are an inspiration to me. Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures and thoughts.

  2. Reply


    December 13, 2012

    Oh my. Tears. I love you.

  3. Reply


    December 14, 2012

    Tears from me too. I love your family.

  4. Reply


    December 14, 2012

    Dear Michelle, I love your blog, your photography, your joy of life! I love that I can witness your life, even if I’m so many miles away. Thank you for sharing! You have a wonderful family!
    Kisses from Europe.

  5. Reply


    December 14, 2012

    Bliss. These days really are golden. I’m feeling the same kind of sometimes-overwhelming joy just soaking it in.

  6. Reply

    Hot Hot JJ

    December 14, 2012

    Your family has the most wonderful list of amazing traditions. Each time I read your blog I feel like I add three ideas to my mental list of traditions I want to do.

    You outdid yourself again Michelle! What a beautiful holiday!

    And I need to come see that tree!


  7. Reply


    December 20, 2012

    Amen. xoxo