ten thoughts on a wednesday |47|

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the rest of this month is going to be so wild. this weekend we are headed to germany. the day after we get back gabriel and i are taking off for arizona, and we get back on christmas eve! then, on the 28th, we all go to rome for a few days, where we will welcome in 2019! phew! i'm bracing myself for craziness - i've found that if my expectations are held really low, i'm really happy with the way things actually pan out. so i'm telling myself the jet lag will be absolutely terrible, i'll be exhausted to the bone, and christmas will be totally chaotic. ha! it will all be an adventure and i'm so grateful for a life that is so full.

the other day, we bought a video monitor to put in the boys' bedroom. we've long wanted one, but have just been too cheap to buy one, thinking they were all at least a couple hundred bucks. then we found one on amazon with perfect reviews that was thirty pounds! and it is life changing...should have done that a lot sooner! we got it almost entirely for entertainment value, and that is certainly paying off. it is so fun to spy on the boys (we even get to do that remotely - me from the gym in the mornings and ian from work during nap times!). moses cracks us up with his in-crib antics. and it melts our hearts to watch our little sons sleep.

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^^ ice skating date night at the magical natural history museum rink // popping by winter wonderland one cold morning! ^^

last weekend, my brother tal and his daughter came to visit! they take an annual daddy-daughter trip to london each december and that has been a highlight of our year the past three years! i didn't get many pictures this time around, but we definitely had some fun times. moses loves his cousin so so much. he was soooo excited to have her around and play with her and give her hugs and talk with her. mo got to have his uncle and cousin with him (along with mom, dad, and baby brother!) for his very first experience in a movie theatre. we went to see the grinch and everyone loved it. i wasn't sure if moses would sit through it (he's never watched a whole movie), but he did great, and so did gabriel! we also took our visitors to winter wonderland, a huge christmas fair in hyde park. we sure love our swiss family!

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^^ i couldn't decide which of these two photos to put in this post, so i put both because i love them so much. mo showed some pretty wild joy being able to give his cousin a high five while riding in a blue car on a carousel ride! ^^

ian gave me a three-month membership to a really nice gym near our flat as an early christmas present, and i have been looooving going there. my quality of life goes up so much when i am really taking great care of my body. this gym has tons of classes and i enjoy going to them so much. i recently went to an "anti-gravity" yoga class, which was such a fun mental and physical challenge. when i push myself with exercise, i practice the skill of pushing myself to be better in all aspects of life.

i have to share how much i love, love, love joy school. i am sooo glad that a group of mom friends wanted to start this co-op group here in london. moses is learning so much about being a good friend and a good human, and about noticing and choosing wonder and happiness. i know i am a little biased (my parents started joy school nearly forty years ago), but this program is seriously so, so wonderful - more than i realized before i started doing it myself with my own child. it has been amazing to watch mo and his friends learn how to sit still, listen, follow instructions, and work cooperatively. i love having his pals over to our home when it's our turn to host and my turn to teach. and i love having a couple of hours toddler-free when another mom is teaching! it's just all so awesome.
last month, on our tube ride home from the airport after visiting switzerland, moses started singing "oh boy, i've got joy." he sang every single word perfectly, including the whispered "oh boy" at the end. i don't know if my heart has ever shined with delight more than listening to him sing that!
this month, joy school lessons are focused on service and giving, which is sooo great when our kids are getting bombarded with messages about getting presents during the holidays.
here's a few photos moms in our joy school group have shared over the past couple of months:

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i think, for me, caring for two small children 24/7 has gotten harder rather than easier over time - ha! as gabriel has become more mobile and has regressed in his night sleeping, and as moses has gotten more opinionated (read: defiant :) ), i have felt stretched preeeeetty thin some days. parenting is such an amazing tutor of patience and resilience. it is incredible how, even when i feel pushed totally past my capacity, the pure love i have for these two boys carries me. (i love this new sketch by my dear friend and favourite artist, caitlin connolly, that suggests god multiplies our abilities in parenting as he multiplied loaves and fishes to feed a crowd listening to jesus.) it seriously feels crazy how much i love my boys.

a few tidbits about moses at twenty nine months old:
-he's obsessed with the colour blue. i've never met a child so infatuated with a colour. he is constantly saying "i looooove blue!" and is very intense about getting the blue sticker/paper/toy/etc.
-he is also obsessed with animals. he notices animals any and everywhere. if there are animal toys anywhere he goes, he will carefully line them up. he knows the names of probably at least one hundred different animals. his favourites are still elephants and giraffes.
-he has become very inquisitive. his most common questions are: "where am i goin'?" (when we are on our way somewhere) "what's in it?" (whenever he's eating food) and "what's their name?" (whenever we interact with a stranger or just talk about an unnamed person).
-he's psyched about all things christmas. he asked santa for "trains and train tracks." he loves to hear the nativity story over and over.
-speaking of repeated stories, i think i have told the story of jack and the beanstalk over one hundred times to moses. he doesn't ever get sick of it. (i definitely do.)
-he recently discovered emojis and loves sending messages with animals to his loved ones (see screenshots below of texts sent to grandpa wright ;) ).

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a few tidbits about gabriel at nearly eight months old:
-he has loved every single food we've offered to him, and he eats a lot. we don't know where it all goes! he's our tiny boy.
-he loves watching his brother and is often cracking up over things that moses does. he continues to be such a smiley and giggly baby.
-he's just started saying distinct syllables like "ba ba ba."
-when he needs a cuddle and/or is settling down to sleep, he loves to touch my face - grabbing my nose and lips and eyes. it's more fun for him than for me ;)
-he's sitting up on his own so well but hasn't shown much interest in or progress with crawling. mo was a late crawler and walker - we'll see what gabey does!

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i have been reading the book of mormon a lot lately in an effort to finish the book by the end of the year. i think this will be my twentieth time reading it! i'm always amazed that i gain new, truly powerful insights - that genuinely help me in lots of different ways - each and every time i read that book.

moses has gotten a tad bit santa-crazed, so we've been talking a lot about baby jesus over the past couple of weeks. the christmas story means so much more to me now, having given birth, than it has in the past. in part because i realize that mary was incredible for giving birth in a (probably smelly and not very comfortable) stable...! i love that all the wonder and magic and light and joy and peace of christmas comes from a tiny little baby born in such a humble place.
i really like this thought, written by dennis rasmussen:
in the vision of a king born in a stable, attend by the animals and visited by the shepherds, i am led to the ever startling paradoxes that are the essence of the gospel: out of weakness comes strength; out of simplicity, profundity; out of humility, dignity; out of humanity, divinity. i am freed from the judgments and vanities of the world. i see the wisdom of its wise men perish before a deeper truth as three gifts are laid and human wisdom kneels before a little child.

happy wednesday! isn't life beautiful?!


  1. Is it possible to "teach" or share the lessons of joy school at home with my two-year old without formally starting it or being part of the school? I guess what I'm asking is there a way to access any of the materials without having to pay for the entire curriculum? :)

    1. One idea is to use the book called Teaching Children Joy by Charity's parents, Linda & Richard Eyre. I never had the curriculum and was a military wife then so I used the books and taught mine one on one. Use one chapter per month. You should be able to find used copies pretty easily or there's a kindle version on Amazon for less than $10. Hope this helps you.

  2. I so needed to read that quotation above as a special needs mom struggling my way through some rough patches. If our God could create such wonder in our world by having his only Son enter into the world in such a lowly way, what might he create through my child's struggles?!?! Thank you!

  3. Charity, thank you for sharing that beautiful quote.
    I love all the pictures you're sharing with us readers of a London Christmas.
    Question from a Bay Area girl, how do you adjust to having only 8 hours of sunlight over there? I'm asking because I'm thinking of living over there part time.
    Hope you have safe travels with a sleeping Gabriel on all the airplanes.
    And I hope Moses gets trains and tracks for Christmas even if it's just Brio-like ones from Ikea.

  4. That quote touched my heart. I find so much power in the tension of paradoxes and opposites. And your thought about working out is so true. With four kids on different schedules I struggle to find time to read scriptures, exercise and write but if I can get at least two a day im a better mother, wife and a happier mire giving person. Another paradox... Self care leads to better service 😉 realliferealjoy.com

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