Friday, December 13, 2013

These are a few of my favorite things...

Good afternoon! Christmas is coming, and we are loving the month of December. We've been busy in so many great ways, and I don't think we'll be slowing down anytime soon. Today I thought I'd do a "favorite things" post, however I have a feeling it will turn into several "favorite things" posts, because this whole month has been full of wonderful, festive, holiday, friends and family-filled moments. And it has been so good. So, getting started...

Favorite: My favorite Christmas ornaments. I have a few. I love this time of year, as we get to play "remember when" while we stare off dreamily at the Christmas tree.

This one, we received at a family Christmas party. It has a little hinge, and the whole thing opens up. Every year, as we're putting the decorations away, we write down a few things that each person in the family would like to see happen before next Christmas. In the past, it has been things like, "have a baby", "buy some land" "go fishing" etc... It's a fun tradition. I love pulling that ornament out first and reading aloud our hopes from the year before. 

This is the ornament that I claim is my favorite. It's a disco ball. Every year it gets placed in a spot where the sunlight hits as it's setting. We figure out within a day or two what time it comes, and then we wait for it, and announce it's arrival. The disco ball casts little white reflections all over the ceiling, walls, carpet, kids... And they excitedly exclaim "it's snowing!".

This one's another favorite. It was taken at a friends wedding in 2001. Bryan & I had been dating for two years. I love his smirk, and I love my tan and long hair.

And this was our first Christmas together. 1999.

But without question, this truly is my favorite.

Look closely. Yes, it is exactly what you think it is. It's the Christmas Tampon. Two years ago, it was October, and Bella was 4 1/2 yrs old. I was working on my computer, and she asked me if she could make me a "surprise Christmas Ornament out of household items". I barely looked up, and said "sure". 

Several minutes later she came back, holding this, high in the air. 

She and Grady (who was almost 3), had found the box, and completely taken them all apart. She pulled out the glitter glue and created her work of art. She was so proud. Since it was October, and not yet Christmas, I put her treasure in a drawer, not completely committing to hang it up. The morning after the tree went up, before the ornaments had been placed, we were all sitting at the table having breakfast. She came walking up, with a great big smile, plopped it on the table in front of me, and stated, "look what I found". She insisted it be the first ornament on the tree, and it has been ever since. Oh, just look at that sweet little 4 yr old girl with such a great big heart.

Favorite: When my sister and her family come to visit! We love them! (Did you think I was going to say that the hedgehog is my favorite?!)

Well, hello Princess Prickle.

Favorite: Our annual jammied trip to the "Winter Wonderland". This is the third year we have done this, and the kids love it! We get them cozy in their jamas, and then go to the Lake Mary City Hall to run through the lights. This year, my sister and her family were with us, which was even more fun. 

 Favorite: CC picnic and park day.

 Favorite: Morning games played with cousins.

Favorite: Pets. We have a lot of them. 5 Fish, 4 Chickens, 1 Crab, 1 Dog, 1 Hedgehog, 1 Worm. One of the neighbor kids asked me the other day why we have so many pets... I don't know, young girl, I just don't know.

The Princess...

She is warming up to us a bit. She doesn't like to be taken out of her house, but once she's out, she's not too bad. And she's actually fun to hold, but only after she's had a bath. For some reason, once she is covered in warm soapy water, she loves to play.

Six pets, one picture.

And just as I am finishing this post, Grady came rushing in, proudly carrying his bug box, containing three small caterpillars. So add those to the list. Their names, are Hermie, Mermie and Rose...

Some thoughts...
Here in this little bloggosphere in space, I purposely try to focus on the many good things we have going on in life. It's not all roses and sandcastles here, we go through struggles and difficult times, but I want this space to be overall positive and uplifting, while still being real and authentic.

That being said, while I understand that this time of year may be wonderful for some, I also know that it can be painful and difficult for others. My heart aches for those that are grieving the absence of a loved one right now. Some are thinking this may be our last Christmas together, and some are wishing if only someone were here with them now. Some feel the burden of added financial strain, especially during this time of year, as they want to provide their family with all the extras. And some feel all the stress of trying to get everything done, presents bought and wrapped, cards sent, house decorated, time spent with everyone in the family, fancy meals cooked, parties hosted, lessons taught to children about giving and generosity, and sometimes this time of year can be overwhelming. 

Let's be understanding and grace-filled. Let's relax a little, let loose the expectations of perfection, and put the needs and feelings of others in front of our own. Let's focus on things that really matter, like people, and loving them just as they are, wherever in life they are, and making the most of the time that we have with them.

That's all, and Merry Christmas!

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