On a positive note, we had a WONDERFUL Christmas! Our kids are at magical ages and it makes Christmas so fun. This was a very different Christmas for our family, though. Last year, Caroline said that she really wanted to wake up in her own bed on Christmas. Up until our wedding, my parents and I went to my Granny and Pop's house for Christmas and after Josh and I got married, we alternated between Granny's and his family in Georgia. I had never been at my house on Christmas morning. Josh and I never minded the travel, but agreed that as soon as one of our kids expressed a desire to stay home, we would start some new traditions. As special and fun as it was to make new memories, it was also very bittersweet. Our first Christmas without Granny was very sad at times, but Granny would have been so ticked if we had let that feeling dominate the occasion, so in her honor, we partied!
We started Christmas eve with donuts and then my mom, my Aunt Cindy, Caroline, and I went to get pedicures. That is a new tradition I think we should keep ;). In between the donuts and pedicure, I decided to attempt some Georgia Christmas dishes to add to our feast. I wanted Josh to feel as if it was truly a merging of traditions. Somehow we got it all done in time to go to the 4:30 Christmas Eve service at church and then went to my parents house to eat with them and my aunt and uncle and cousin who came from Texas. We stuffed ourselves full of yummy goodness (I even managed to pull off the Bass dressing, dirty rice, and banana pudding!) and rolled ourselves into the living room to open presents. . . Do you think our kids were excited?!
Our kids were blessed with many wonderful presents and managed to seem truly grateful! Each year, my mom gets the kids a set of matching pajamas. After all the other presents were opened, they donned their pj's and we headed home to open our little family's gifts and get ready for Santa! (Well, technically, we reopened them since Bo had opened them all while Josh was in the shower and we were getting our toenails all gussied up!)
Christmas morning was spectacular . . . the kids managed to wait until 7:30 to get up....we had a gate at the bottom of the stairs and blankets covering the rails so they couldn't peek. It was great fun to watch them revel in their gifts and express true joy and glee!! We played with the new toys for a while and around 10:30 my parents and aunt, uncle, and cousin came over for brunch and stockings. I loved hosting the morning . . . it was great to let the kids play and enjoy their gifts with no rush to be anywhere. I incorporated another of Josh's Christmas memories into the morning and we had breakfast casserole, Monkey bread, grits, and lots of laughs.
Looks like Santa enjoyed the diet coke ;)
Anxiously waiting at the bottom of the stairs
.... and they're off!
Sascha's indoor slide
Bo's Buzz Lightyear Spaceship
Caroline's Ipod Touch
Tru's Indiana Jones Legos
Wings with a ball gun
Tru found Tate's GINORMOUS bone
she loved sliding
my cousin Rory with the kids (he was so sweet with them!)
you spell their names T-R-O-U-B-L-E
Sascha's favorite stocking stuffer was the whoopie cushion . . . she thinks it is hilarious!
Caroline, Cindy, Terry, and Rory
I must admit that change and I are usually not friends . . . I loooove tradition. But this year required new traditions be started. It was not as hard as I expected, but I missed the smell of Granny's house and the familiar routine from 33 years of Christmas done the same way. It made it easier to dive into this new normal because there were 4 sweet kids to focus on. I also knew the best way to honor Granny was to enjoy the holiday that she always worked so hard to make special. She was there in spirit, but even more cool than that . . . she was actually celebrating the birth of Jesus with Jesus. My grandfather died my senior year of high school and for the last 15 years, I have left a Christmas card for him at his grave. Granny kept them all and, in a Providential decision, gave them to me last Christmas. This year, I was at a loss. I wouldn't be going to Pop's grave this year. And Granny couldn't collect his card. It was one of the more emotional realizations of the season for me. Then I had this idea and decided to send Pop and Granny a card together . . .
There were definitely moments of sadness this season, but there were so many more joyful ones. And God has been so good to overwhelm me with hope recently . . . just like the angel told Mary, "Nothing is impossible with God!"
I hope that your Christmas was as warm and wonderful as ours!