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I have to say that one of the best parts of Christmas is how well the kids seem to get along together as it gets closer and closer! I know, I haven’t blogged in FOREVER. I am not even sure if can remember all that has been going on around here… feels like my world has been in hyper drive! Isn’t that how December ALWAYS is? For us it is! Work has been nuts… putting together catalogs, working on new prod., getting ready for CHA summer, preparations for CE…wrapping up my year-long Big Picture class (speaking of, if you haven’t checked out the new year-long class…4experts… I think it will be amazing!) We also celebrate our anniversary and erics b-day Img_2425
on the 21 and 22nd respectively. This year is 13 for us… and we snuck away for 2 Img_2479
nights and stayed in the city. We ate good Chinese food, and for the first time in those 13 years, had Christmas ‘wrapped up’ before Christmas Eve… For e’s b-day, I bought him a super turbo RC helicopter, that creates almost as much wind as a real one!  We had a fun day together.
Kylee went home for Christmas! She will be gone for 3 weeks, and we miss her so much! She is so fun to have around. But it was a great way to get presents and my Christmas cards back to the states for distribution! We sent her w/ a huge bag of goodies! … and I am such a dork, I stayed up the entire night getting everything ready to go… including making our Christmas card… e and I were both cranking them out. I will photograph one, and post it… it turned out SO cute. It was all about using the resources that were available to me here!
So what else…? For about 5 months, I have had elbow pain on my right arm. It keeps getting worse,… SO I thought, what the heck, we are in China, may-as-well do the acupuncture. Can I just tell you… it’s been AMAZING. This is my first experience, and although eric has done it and had great results, I have just not been into the needle concept! I seriously can’t believe the improvement in my elbow- and also my ankle that has been bothering me since I twisted it the day before we moved here. The guy I goes to is so nice and so sweet.. only speaks Chinese, but his wife speaks a little english. We spend our sessions teaching each other how to say words that relate to the acupuncture. The whole process is really amazing.
I have been getting a lot of emails from people wondering what is Christmas like in China? I think that for me, this has been one of the most powerful and wonderful Christmases in my life. I don’t want to forget how I am feeling, or what I am feeling. In general, Christmas stresses me out. buying gifts stresses me out…. you want the recipient to like it.. you want to get something thoughtful, and unique. And I like to make gifts… and I am always leaving it to the last minute, and wishing I had planned better etc.  In general, I get carried away in the whole craziness of it every year. Now, while I am still hoping that the kids’ will be happy with their gifts, and that they will be surprised etc, it hasn’t consumed me. From Dec.1st, when we had our Relief Society dinner… and the theme was “Celebrating the Light”, I have thought about that every day since. My mom sent us “the Nativity story” on DVD the 2nd week, and we watched it as a family, and the older kids are old enough to understand more clearly the story of Mary and Joseph, and the responsibility they had in raising the Savior. I have been listening and reading more closely the words of the Christmas hymns that we sing, and coming to a better understanding of that night… and what that night meant, and how it was awaited, and how it is celebrated. The Christmas traditions, such as lights, and decorated Christmas trees can be found all over here. You can even hear Chinese people humming ‘jingle bells’ (not just at Christmas time even). There are lots of images of Santa Claus.  Sunday, we were invited to a Chinese Christmas party… it was preatty awesome. We got together and sang songs, and laughed. As I have questioned a few Chinese, if they ‘celebrate’ Christmas, most don’t celebrate it as a religious event…but more of just an excuse to get together, and have a party. I  think that more than anything, just being away… with a changed environment, well-everything changed, you just have the opportunity to look at everything just a little different.  It is for this fresh perspective, that is the best Christmas gift I could ever ask for. I am SO grateful for my family, and friends..i am so blessed…in so many ways.
In that song I was talking about “Celebrating the Light”(written by Michael Mclean), there is a phrase that says: lifts us when we fall, and answers when we call”… as  I have taken the time to think about the effect that sacred, holy night has on my daily life, I have truly come to respect and reverence Christmas. It’s truly cause for Celebration. It’s almost Christmas morning here in Beijing… all my kids are asleep on the couch- joined by Eric. They are all hoping to ‘catch’ Santa… This will be a Christmas I will always want to remember. Our Christmas in Beijing. Here’s wishing you all a very warm, and joyous Christmas! And may the peace that Christ – his message, and his mission bring, fill your life with light.
Img_2502Img_2503These are our Stockings this year… we went to the big, crazy market to get the silk, and faux fur, and i stayed up until a billion o’clock sewing them… wow, seems like there are a lot of us!

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