We had the best holiday season. Advent was crazy busy ( I know, not as it should be), as were the last few days, but it was the good kind of busy. The kind where you're surrounded by those you love, letting the kids miss naps and soaking up the precious moments of time celebrating why we are all here.
We may have watched a few too many movies and cartoons as Momma prepped food and gifts.
But there are 350 other days a year to get back on track.
Aunt RoRo and Uncle Sean got to be here for a glorious six days, and as much time as I get to spend with her, I always have a hard time letting her go.
The kids were showered with fun gifts....
But, their favorite thing was simply playing with everyone.
Sophie did her part to break in the soon-to-be dad. He needed no instruction.
And, she loved her RoRo, too.
One of the kids' favorite things was watching the Christmas choo-choo at Pops and Mimi's house. Plus, that's where Peter's favorite book resides.
Carter made a tunnel of presents to view the train from.
And there were moments to just be. Those moments were the best.
We got to hear Luke's version of the Christmas story from Pops.
And, the boys learned to shoot a duck or two.
There's nothing quite like watching the little ones and their levels of excitement as they don't quite understand all we're celebrating but know there's reason for joy nonetheless.
Between celebrations, we were able to play a bit.
And, have picnics in living rooms.
This sweet one got just what she wanted.
And, so did this one.
Toward the end, as with anything worth it, tiredness hit.
But, in the best way possible.
It was the end of a beautiful, yet tragic, year. A reminder to hug (really, to do more than that!) those we love and forgive those last on our list. A beautiful miracle born juxtaposed to a deep, painful reminder of the hurt in this world. These times together bring memories of the best of all we've been blessed with while sometimes making the pain sting just a bit more.
As I reflect on this year, it's so clear that I have been blessed beyond measure. Yet, it's even more apparent that I've got so, so much to work on. That I often know what to do, but not necessarily how to do it. That I rely too much on my own strength, a strength that is far from adequate. That I can be more empathetic, less tightly wound, more patient and less demanding. That this journey calls for both moments of joy and sometimes days of suffering that will never be truly understood but will always be worth it in this life.
A new year. Gosh, a new day is what we've been given. Let's pray each new one is better than the last.