I suspected this season would be a difficult one, but instead I was overwhelmed with a complete peace throughout it all. There were times where I missed home and wanted to be hanging out with my family, but even when I felt like that I knew I was exactly where I should be.
Justin and I intentionally set out to make this Christmas different from the rest. We committed to spending quality time together. I wish I could say quantity as well, but the first half of the month was finishing out this semester of school for the both of us. Regardless, the week leading up to Christmas was one of our finest, and I would love to share with you a small glimpse into a Wood Family Christmas.
One of our activities for Advent was to go watch the sunset on Winter Solstice. It was a gorgeous day, and then at 3:00 the clouds rolled in and ruined it for me. But at least we got some of the MOST adorable photos of the kids.
I never expected to do well with Advent. This was our first attempt, and I have the tendency to start strong and then give up with most things. But I'm proud to report that we stuck with it! We got to teach our kids about Jesus and the importance of his birth. We got to have hot chocolate and look at christmas lights and make crafts and spend time together. All of which probably never would have happened without that nifty little calendar reminding us, "Hey. Stop whatever non-important thing you are doing and focus. Focus on your children. Your marriage. Your Savior. And if you listen to the story that Daddy is reading we'll take you to go see 25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights." Okay, so maybe that last part was more me, but you get the idea.
The best part of Advent? Yesterday, even after the tree was down and the house went back to normal the kids still asked, "What's our story tonight? What's our activity?" Smiles. We did it. We got them excited about learning and loving and spending time together.
(If you would like some help putting together your own Advent for next year, I'd love to help. I did a smidge bit of research and have some great resources and ideas that I would be more than happy to pass on.)
I can't forget our special visit from Swanny and Chloe. It was refreshing to have some familiar faces around the house for the holidays. And it made me happy to see Justin so happy. He always loves it when someone agrees with him on every. single. topic.
Let me take a moment to explain their relationship when I'm around. It's exactly like that scene from Father of the Bride where Steve Martin tells his daughter to take a jacket and she says, "I'm fine." But then her fiance says, "It is a little chilly out there" and she says, "You're right, I'll grab one." Granted, I paraphrased quite a bit. But I kid you not, this conversation actually happened at our house:
Me: We need to vacuum out Cherry Poppins. (That's my car's name, BTDubs)
Justin: Meh, I don't think we need to.
Swanny: Yeah, mine could stand to vacuumed.
Justin: Great! Let's do it!
Me, in my head: What the frick.
A stroke of genius had us at the Aquarium on Christmas Eve. Definitely a new family tradition.
Lu was on a psychedelic trip with the jelly fish.
If you were curious, the answer is no; she never stops dancing/twirling.
Kids are hilarious with sprinkles. And by hilarious, I mean they have absolutely no control of their limbs once that bottle is in their hands. It took a lot of restraint to not completely freak out. I mean,
Mom Santa really isn't into sprinkles as is, and you are really going overboard...
Let go or be dragged. Let go, or be dragged. (I have to say that to myself more than I would care to admit.)
Can you see that single tear on her cheek? Someone was really upset about something that no one can now remember. It's not the holidays if someone isn't crying, so i'm glad we filled our quota before it was too late.
My feelings this December 27th, after it is all said and done: grateful, satisfied, loved. And tired.
Justin and I have stayed up two nights in a row playing Risk. So if anyone would like to donate some time and come play with a man-child in need, we are now taking volunteers.
Here's to a new year. Once again I'll vow to write more, but we all know that ain't gon' happen.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for encouraging me. And thanks for understanding when I disappear from here for months at a time.
See you in January...maybe.