Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry and Bright

Christmas is over. My house is in a state of dissarray. Boxes are covering the floor. Little pieces of wrapping paper are getting caught on the bottom of my foot. Kids are happily enjoying their loot. I'm soaking it all in...kinda. I actually can't remember what day it is. Christmas vacation is usually my time to just unwind. I have a heck of a lot of plans for things I'd like to do: organize pictures, put them in albums, make meals for people who need them, organize a few rooms, etc..... But for now, I'm just enjoying the mess. I'm blessed with it.

Our break has been good thus far. I'm entirely thrilled that I was able to simplify my brain and my holiday season enough to just enjoy what I love, sans all the pinterest ideas I had rolling around in there. The ideas would have kicked butt, but I know that it would have stressed me out, and that is NOT what I wanted my kids to remember about this season. I wanted them to remember the magic, the lights, the traditions, the holiday movie collection, baking, cuddling together playing games, and of course baby Jesus. And that's exactly what we did.

We are so entirely blessed to have family that lives close. It may actually be the only reason I stick around the Midwest. This mama sprouted wings a LONG time ago, but knowing that my family is all here is reason enough to stick around....for now. :)

Christmas Eve was spent with my mom and Dave. Kicking off the evening was the candlelight service I grew up attending. It was very nostalgic heading back there. The people may be somewhat different, but the traditions have remained. My favorites? The "O Holy Night" solo and the candlelight singing of "Silent Night". So so special.

We finished off the evening with food, fellowship, games, and gifts. Fun was had by all.

We decided to go home and sleep in our own bed this year instead of going to my dad's to stay overnight. We always felt like we were putting people out, and there's nothing like sleeping in your own bed. We were up bright and early (read 8:00) and headed back to Sioux Center to make breakfast and spend some time with my dad, siblings and nieces.

Christmas evening was spent with the Wolfswinkels. Poor Elias got sick a few hours in, and that was the end of that. I felt so bad for the poor buddy. It seems like many people were affected with the flu this year. I hope all of you who were are on the mend! More time was spent snacking, chatting and opening gifts. Dan's mom is so creative when it comes to putting together fun games for Christmas. We enjoyed a little Tribond and earned ourselves a little cash and goodies. It was a great evening!

Finally, we had our Christmas this morning with our kiddos. It's always fun for me to reflect on our Christmas and the traditions. It's never on the same day, but our traditions are the same and we've built upon them over the years. I love to see how our Christmas is a combination of what we both grew up doing. I never did stockings or a real tree, but that was a big part of Dan's Christmases that I've grown to love tremendously as our own. In fact they are some of my favorites. We always read the story of Jesus birth from the big old Bible that never gets touched throughout the year and sang Christmas carols before opening presents. We incorporate those things too. We've also added in making a birthday cake for baby Jesus into our holiday hoopla. I'm excited to see where these traditions take us in years to come. We decided to take out individual gifts for our kids this year. We still gave them stockings, Santa gifts, and a couple of things they could share, and instead invested in an overnight getaway to make a few new memories to add to their childhood story books. For Dan, I regifted the 12 months of dates that was started back in 2012 before I broke my ankle. We're going to try this again, starting with our January date to Grand Falls casino to watch Nicholas David (former Voice finalist) sing and spend a night at the hotel. I'm looking forward to 2014!

I hope that you were able to find some merry and bright in your holiday, even if it was a tough year for you. Know that you were thought about and prayed about this year during your trials and heartache. I pray that you will find peace in 2014 and are able to grow from this year. I'll be back in a few days with a letter to 2013! Happy day after Christmas!

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