Marriage Presents

Every year, Nathan and I exchange homemade gifts.

He is really good at it.

Mine are disasters. The first year we were married only a few weeks, and I made him a flowery yellow apron with a big “N” on the front, and it almost fit him after some strap adjustments. Last year I made him a smoking jacket style robe, but somehow with all the interruptions with kids, cut the pattern wrong on the arms so that it fit except for the arms being too tight.

I was determined this year to get it right.

I worked so hard!

It is not the year of affluence, after so many kids this year, and moving, and cancer, so all I had to work with was some twine and some burlap.


I knew it needed to be strong to last well through lots of heavy use, so I created a design that reinforced itself:


I sewed through the kids’ weekend nap times, and often until three in the morning, using an upholstery needle and industrial thread to keep it strong, working until my fingers were bleeding and blistered:


I braided and added leather patches in the corners and bottoms and added a buckle and sewed and sewed and sewed to create a large metro man messenger bag for Nathan to carry all his stuff in. He is forever wearing his way through bags, and totes so much for his calling at church and our baby stuff, so I worked really hard making him a bag large enough to hold everything and strong enough to endure such heavy use.

Except I tried a little too hard, and it turned into a giant’s bag. Oopsie.


Since my present failed again this year, I had to redeem it in some way. So I decided to pretend it was a giant’s bag on purpose. I painted a cow from the nativity set as white as I could, and also found a gold shoe from the baby’s room, and also made magic beans from dry pinto beans and paint and garlic salt and coconut and cookie sprinkles:


I added some doll hair that was yellow as corn, a red cape, a red hood, a rolling pin, a baker’s wife apron, a witch’s hat, and a prince and princess doll.

I shoved all that into the bag, and buried at the bottom two tickets for Into the Woods, for a Christmas Day date that Nathan was excited for since he and his composer are the biggest Sondheim fans ever.

He was excited, and we had a lovely date, and we are grateful to his parents for babysitting so we could go.

Since the bag was a fail, I did make him this as a backup present:


At least he got a bag.


Nathan, however, is genius at crafty Christmas gifts! This year he took something of my mom’s, her old canister set that used to be avocado and mustard colored with labels that said “coffee, tea, sugar, and flour”. He painted it more modern and girly colors, and made new labels to match our gluten free flours we use:


How sweet is that? He is amazing.

And brave enough to pose for a picture with the giant’s bag, and smart enough to figure out that we can fit all three toddlers in it. He said it would still be very useful, and we could just use it as the time out bag. Naughty in church? Get in the bag! Throwing a fit at the store? Get in the bag! Mean at preschool? Get in the bag!

We might write a whole book about this new technique, that is sure to be the next fad in parenting.

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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