Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas 2014 and a New Year

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.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Life Lately...In Pictures

As is the case with most everyone this time of year, we are busy.  Seems silly to even mention.  But, I'll give you a little photo show of what we've been up to...

St. Nick came to visit.

He brought matching pjs and new ornaments...

We received a Jesse Tree this year.  Guess who didn't even know what one was until this Advent season?  Me.
We've been doing some crafting...decorating letters to be exact (cardboard c, p, j, and s).  It went as you might expect it to go :).  Quickly and messily.  

But, we've had these guys picking up our spirits all season long thanks to Aunt Sammie.  Sometimes they bring us juice.  Other times, hot chocolate, but they're always welcomed with open arms (don't worry, Sophie has one, too).

Taking a little break to take care of some business.

We made a gingerbread house.  Actually, Target made it, and we put it together!  So much easier.

And the next day, it saw a natural disaster of sorts.
John Paul had a tiny birthday party for his second birthday.  And, aside from eating lots of candy candies (candy canes), blowing out candles was his favorite part!
 Well, the confetti ice cream was a bit hit, too.
Beyond parties, he's just been watering his cows.
Sophie turned six months old...and has gained a pound and grown an inch or two (17 lbs, 27 inches).
 She is just the best.
We've spent a ton of time in the kitchen baking everything from Spitzbuban to peanut brittle and homemade cookie butter.
 John Paul had a second birthday party with a yummy cookie cake and sweet family.
 Look at all the boys on this side...
 Once again, he was obsessed with two little horsies he received.
Peter's been a pretty good little Santa, chanting "ho ho ho!" all around.
And, I've dressed them in matching sweatshirts every few days (the same one).  They'll thank me some day!

A sweet friend sent this to provide a little relaxing bathtime.  She made it (it's not a cupcake you eat but one you put in the bathtub)!
I needed it.  I guess that means that I haven't really done this Advent what I hoped to do (slow down). I'm embarrassed to say how many journal entries I've done.  Don't ask!

I hope you've been full of blessings (be they peaceful or busy).  Have a Merry Christmas!