Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The end of the year...and the beginning of a new one.

Time for a holiday report. So what if its a week late? That just means I've been doing what all self-respecting moms-with-kids-on-break should be doing: Rolling out of bed at 8:30 AM (...okay, 9:00 AM...don't judge me!) and spending the better part of the day in my pajamas. That's what school winter vacation is for, right? Cleaning up the aftermath of Christmas, assembling new toys, and breaking up fights. And there's been quite a bit of all of that around here! Now on to business...

Santa Claus plays a rather small role in our family. In a cast of characters, he definitely wouldn't be the leading man -- he'd be more like "the storekeeper" with a few poignant but fleeting lines. We don't discourage the presence of Santa in our home -- in fact, we do try to maintain a sense of Christmas magic in our celebrations, and Santa is a good contributor to that -- he just doesn't seem to make it into our conversations all that much. Instead, we try to focus more of our holiday effort onto discussing the birth and ministry of Christ and looking for ways to serve and show our love for others. We don't ask for Christmas lists from our boys and we keep our gifts rather humble, both in quantity and monetary value. Santa leaves no presents, but only fills the stockings with small, inexpensive treats. For this reason, when the boys have the opportunity to meet Santa, you'll never find them asking for a new bike or Playstation because they know something of that caliber won't fit in a stocking. I joke that I work hard to keep my kids' expectations low, but I guess in all honesty, there's some truth to that. I know some parents may disagree with that practice, but taking this type of give-not-receive-and-work-hard-for-what-you-do-get stance takes a lot of the pressure and stress out of the holidays and is a sentiment that lasts well beyond the Christmas season.

This year, Santa visited our church Christmas breakfast. We mentioned to the boys that morning that Santa was going to ask them what they wanted him to bring them for Christmas, and that they needed to have an answer prepared so as to not clog the line. (You don't want to mess with Jonah's indecisiveness. Trust me.) Jonah had wanted a wristwatch more than anything since the start of the school year, but he wasn't sure if that was a wish Santa might fulfill. I told him to ask for it anyway (having already purchased one on Amazon, but intending to take the credit myself). He was instantly concerned, however, about Santa's follow-through:

"But I want a digital watch, not an analog watch. What if I tell him I want a digital watch but he forgets and brings me an analog watch? That would be disastrous!"

"I think you can trust him to remember you want a digital watch -- besides, just because you ask for it, doesn't mean you're going to get it."

"Nope. I just don't want to risk it. I'm going to tell him I want something else. Something I know he can handle."

Once the boys hit the front of the line, Sam decided to go first.

Santa: "...and what do you want for Christmas?"

Sam: "A bell."

Santa: "A bell?"

Sam: "Yes. A bell."

A very puzzled Santa: "What kind of bell?"

Sam: "A small one."

Santa: "But--what are you planning to do with it?"

Sam: "Ring it, of course."

Well, DUH, Santa. What ELSE would you do with a BELL?!

Then it was Jonah's turn. In the end, Jonah asked for Legos. "Any Legos are fine," he said. It was quick and to the point...no risk whatsoever. And it provided additional evidence that cautiousness is genetic. (Santa did seem relieved that Jonah's request was a little more mainstream than Sam's!)


Christmas day itself was a whirlwind of family and togetherness. Jonah was extremely generous with his gift-giving this year. In addition to draining his piggy bank to buy gifts for Sam, he also rooted through his own prized possessions to find items he knew his brother coveted and carefully wrapped and stashed them under the tree. He kept whispering, "Mom -- can't you just imagine the JOY we'll see on Sam's face when he opens this???" It was so heartfelt. We had to keep reminding Jonah to open his own gifts because he was so preoccupied with watching Sam. In addition to the DIGITAL (not analog!) watch, Jonah also received our hand-me-down 8-year old Sony digital camera. He was thrilled. By the end of the day, he had filled two memory cards and completely drained the battery. Both boys were extremely grateful for each gift they opened, and we got lots of hugs and thank-yous. And nobody impaled themselves on Sam's new cactus (courtesy of Santa), which was also a success.

We attended church that morning with Tyler's grandparents and aunt, followed by lunch at our house. A quick stop at my parent's house (we spend Christmas Eve with them) was followed by an evening with Tyler's parents and siblings, where we are always sufficiently spoiled by my generous in-laws. Late into the night I made my annual stop at the home of my best friend's parents where we meet up to exchange gifts, sit in a dark room, and laugh until we start to question the effectiveness of our aging bladders. Its always the perfect way to end the long Christmas day.

New Year's Eve came and went as well. I'm not usually one to make resolutions, but I have been taking stock of this past year and the things I'd like to reevaluate and change in 2012 (more on that later). I sat down with the boys to fill out an end-of-year worksheet to help them bring 2011 to a close and start thinking about their goals for the upcoming year. Jonah's answers were enlightening -- his only goal for 2012 is to learn to get along with his brother. Let's hope he makes some progress in that direction (although, for that to happen, perhaps I should have convinced Sam to list "stop picking on my big brother" as his 2012 goal).



We spent the evening together at home, eating their favorite dinner, getting haircuts, playing computer games, watching Winnie the Pooh, and then ushering in the New Year with party hats, noise-makers, sparklers, and sparkling apple cider...at 12:00 AM EST. That's 10:00 PM MST. I try to be a fun mom, but I'm not a crazy person! Tyler and I turned in soon after. Because we're old like that.


In case you didn't get a Christmas card from us this year, here's our year-end family recap:

TYLER entered his 7th year at Myriad Genetics, only put 2,000 miles on his car, probably logged the same on his bike, spent many evenings tinkering with the sprinkler system, broke a rib or two mountain biking, reluctantly planted new sod in both yards, put in countless hours serving in the Elder’s Quorum presidency, built a home theater PC, and now plans to temporarily abandon Liz for the ski slopes.

LIZ put down the floral clippers indefinitely after one last busy wedding season, purchased a fancy new sewing machine, took a trip to CA with her sister, became the Den Leader for a Cub Scout troop of 17 eight year-olds, helped Jonah master 2nd grade math in six weeks, got the best tan of her life hanging out at the park (which isn’t saying much), and enjoyed every second spent with the kiddos...almost.

JONAH started the 2nd grade at a new school after testing into the district’s accelerated magnet program, made good use of his library card, built amazing things with Legos, spent time with live penguins at the local aquarium, joined the Chess Club, became a Cub Scout, was baptized, knee-boarded for the first time at Lake Powell, savored evening bike rides with his dad, and never, ever stopped talking.

SAM graduated from Joy School and moved on to Preschool, made friends with countless strangers, tried his hand at swimming lessons, developed a fondness for the Peanuts gang, ate more than a 14-year old boy, enjoyed scaling rocks at Moab, kept a very busy social calendar with his best buddies, lost his cherished doggie but learned to love a new one, realized he can beat up his older brother...and did.

Wishing you a lovely 2011 Christmas!
Tyler, Elizabeth, Jonah (8) & Sam (4) Eves


...And a very Happy New Year, too.


  1. Such a joy to ready about the going ons of the Eves Family. We wish you all the best in 2012! Love, Amy (Gilmour), Travis, Carys and Baby Boy Shannon

  2. "Something he can handle" ...oh my gosh that is going to keep me laughing all day! Thanks Jonah