In the past week, I've been singing at the assisted living home three times. First with our activity day girls during the residents dinner (pictured here), another morning I went with Bella Notte, the ladies from my choir so we could practice our songs on them before our concert this weekend, and then again Sunday night, also at dinner time with my family and our friends the Burton's.When we went Sunday night we sang in two different areas of the home, where they have two separate dinners, one is in the Reminiscence Ward which is locked down and it's where the elderly with more severe challenges reside and the other is for the elderly who are more independent. Anyway, we walk in to the Reminiscence dinner and before our kids even start playing the piano and singing, one of the elderly women comes up to us (I recognized her from earlier on that week and she was quite vocal then too), and said, "Why are you here?! You shouldn't be here! This is just all a mess. I don't want you to sing to us." One of the employees came over and guided her away somewhere else and then we began our caroling but that experience dampened the spirit in the room for a bit :). I figured she probably had dementia or Alzheimers, but that's harder to explain to children. Anyway, after our performance there we went on to the other dinner, where the residents are more independent. And they helped brighten our dampened spirits. They were so happy to have us there and clapped after each song, a couple of them got up in between songs to come and talk to the children, one lady who was in a wheelchair asked us if we'd go to her room afterwards for a few minutes because she had some Santa's she wanted to give to the children, so we did and she gave each of our 9 kids some sort of a stuffed doll, many of which were Santas. The last song we sang for the residents was, "We Wish you a Merry Christmas" and once we finished, they sang it back to us which was so sweet. Overall, it was again a great experience and, that night as we tucked the kids in bed, each one said that it was their favorite thing that day.
The activity day girls handed these Christmas cards out that Rachael made, to the residents, once we were done.
I took Jane and Nora to JC Penny with me this past week to use up a $20 credit I had earned after shopping there over Black Friday. Elisabeth needed new underwear and I needed new comfortable flats (my favorite black flat crocs have 4 holes in them exposing the ends of 4 of my toes :)). I didn't think we'd be able to get both for $20, but that at least we'd get that amount taken off. I found what Elisabeth needed for $9 and then I took the girls to the shoe section(they LOVE going to shoe stores because they LOVE trying on all kinds of shoes!) and I found a pair of dark grey, comfy flats that I really liked that were on sale for $20. When I went to check out, the total for both my items only came to $19. I told them I thought there was a mistake but they said, "No. Those shoes are on sale today for $9.99." I love a sweet deal and it's the little things like this that remind me that we have a loving heavenly father who cares about the things we care about and is constantly involved in the little details of our lives.
Elisabeth is in the school choir this year and they had their holiday concert. Elisabeth had a small solo in the song, "Ding Dong Merrily On High". She was only given the solo two days before the performance, which was not quite enough time, and she forgot some of the words. I actually didn't even notice because she did a good job filling it in with some other words that seemed to fit just fine, but she was pretty upset with herself. But she was able to perform again for her school a few days later and she nailed it.
Elisabeth also had a spelling bee this week. Being one of the 4-6th graders chosen to be a part of the spelling bee is an accomplishment in and of itself, and on top of that, she ended up taking third place! Way to go Elisabeth! (good thing we woke up at 6am that morning and studied those words together hard for an hour and a half, which was her idea, by the way. Next time we'll have to start doing that a week or two ahead of time so she has an even better chance of winning.)
We hosted another Christmas Work party at our house this year. We're getting to know the families from work a little better which makes it more fun. The kids helped me put together these Grinch Kabobs.
The following night we had a neighborhood party at our next door neighbors house. We asked if we could bring food to share but they wanted to do everything themselves and boy, they threw a great party! There was so much good food and she even put together a scavenger hunt for all the kids with prizes at the end!
And last, Charles Santa Claus. :) Can you believe Christmas is next week!? We've wrapped seven gifts so far and with seven people in our family, we have a WAYS to go! I no longer wrap gifts Christmas Eve, we stopped doing that a few years ago, because when you've got to wrap for so many people, we would be up for HOURS and then still have stockings to stuff and lay out and I was beginning to dread that night, which should not be the case. So now we get all the wrapping done before Christmas Eve so that once the kids are in bed, Scott and I can watch a Christmas movie, lay out stockings and jump into bed for a sleepless night (we're just like the kids; all wired up and can't sleep because we're so excited to see everyone open their gifts).