Sunday, December 31

On the third date of a Christmas surprise

On the final adventure of the season Emma and I attended the Cincinnati Ballet's production of The Nutcracker. The ballet was performed in Music Hall which was decorated beautifully. Although this performance was far from as good as what Ballet West puts on it was still fun to hear some of our favorite music and for Emma to watch the ballerinas. I cannot believe how grown up Emma has become.

The Christmas dates were very fun for me this year. I think the girls really enjoyed them as well. However, they were long forgotten when the real Christmas surprise showed up on Christmas Eve. Nana and Grandpa had bought tickets to Cincinnati several months ago and we had kept it a secret from the girls. I picked them up from the airport on Sunday afternoon and dropped them off about a block from the house. I drove home and sent the kids out to the front yard to play. As soon as they spotted my parents, with my mom wearing a santa hat, walking down our street there was much screaming, running, and rejoicing.

It was nice to have my parents here for Christmas. We had a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner and a very fun Christmas morning. We then spent a few days exploring Cincinnati, something we haven't had time to do since we moved here. We really do live in a pretty great city. You should all really come visit us and we will show you. We really are blessed to have great family and to live where we do.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you. We miss you tons.

Sunday, December 10

On the second date of Christmas...

Did I mention that we love Christmas? Mary and I attended a great performance of A Christmas Carol yesterday. It has been years since I have seen or read this play and I was particularly impressed with it this year. Maybe it was the amazing performace by the actor playing Scrooge. Maybe it was the fact that I got to share the experience with Mary. Maybe it was just that I was touched by the correlation of the message in the play to the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

My favorite part of this story is when Scrooge is taken by the Spirit of Christmases to Come to the graveyard. Upon a grave with the headstone that he finds is his own he pleads, in anguish, with the spirit to know whether the visions he has been shown are those that will indeed come to pass or whether they are things that may come true if he does not change his ways. One of my favorite quotes from the play is when Scrooge proclaims,

"Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only? Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead. But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me!' The Spirit was immovable as ever.

So it is in our lives. What a blessing it is to have a testimony of the life, example and sacrifice of our Savior. How important a gift is that of His Atonement. No matter what mistakes we have made; No matter how far from the path we have strayed; He is always waiting with open arms to have us return to him, and because of his sacrifice we can be forgiven of those mistakes. The life we lead is the life we lead; if we are not where we want to be we have, with the help of Christ, the power to become who we want and need to become. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 3

On the first date of Christmas...

We love Christmas at our house. We love the time we get to spend with our family and friends. We love the food. We love the music. We love the extra time we spend thinking about our Savior and serving others. We love the traditions we have grown up with and the ones we are creating.

I have tried for the past few years to spend time periodically with each of my girls on a "Daddy/Daughter" date. This year I decided to take the girls on special dates to Christamassy events. The first of these dates happened this weekend as Miia and I attended a special music concert at Cincinnati's Music Hall. Carolfest is a Christmas concert put on mainly by the Cincinnati May Festival Chorus, along with a few other groups. There was singing, dancing and even a couple of special guests (Santa Clause, Frosty the Snowman, and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.) The Music Hall was decked in festive decorations and was beautiful.

As you can see by the photo my littlelist princess put on her nicest red velvet dress, got her hair curled by her Momma and was the cutest little one at the concert. Miia tired of the singing about an hour into the production. Luckily the young ballerinas swept onto the stage with one of the next couple of songs and saved the day. I love Christmas and love my girls.