Well, just as quickly as Christmas has come, it has now gone and we are all left with the aftermath of all that it brought! For my family, it brought along with it, laughter, exhaustion, smiles, full bellies, memories and fun. It did not spare from me feelings of sadness and longing as I did not get to see many of my friends and family who live out of state and mean so much to me! Christmas, for me, is such a beautiful holiday in many ways. This one has encompassed the fruition of a very long, at times difficult, but most surely memorable year that did not lack any sort of emotion or experience for my family.
Having young children at Christmas time is just the best, isn't it? It's like getting to do it all over again, except it may even be better as a parent, in my opinion. The excitement is different, yes, but the enjoyment I get from watching my children have the time of their lives, is pretty much the best medicine ever.
This year, we were blessed to give our little guys some gifts that excited them and brought about awesome reactions upon opening them.
However, the above picture is just the opposite! My little guy in the front was watching me open the gift that he had purchased for ME when his daddy took him out to the store to go shopping. Every year, my husband takes our boys on a special shopping trip to find that special little something they can gift to their mama and every single year I am blown away by what they choose. He lets them choose ANYTHING they want, literally.
My little boys know me so well that they always choose a gift that I have loved and not only because of sentimental value! This year, the littlest guy in the front got me a pack of beautiful stackable bracelets that I can't wait to wear. They are pearl, rose gold, silver and other shades too. My oldest guy got me a set of earring studs to go in my 2nd and 3rd holes. They know I love jewelry and they also just love picking out "girly" gifts for me which is something they do not often get to do. Every year, I am blessed by the sweet anticipation in their little faces as they watch me open the gifts and homemade cards they made for me. Is there anything better for this mama's heart? Not at all.
A few more shots of some excited little faces, opening up all sorts of monster trucks and Lego sets! Having an almost 7 year old and a 5.5 year old, these are the years for Legos, trucks, games and electronics! These are moments that I treasure and pull out every so often to remind myself just how blessed we truly are.
Standing outside of Big Lots, ready to go inside and shop for special gifts for children who may not receive any for Christmas otherwise.
This year, I was able to go on the end of the "year" field trips with both of my little guys. It was a BUSY day as I accompanied the kindergarten AND 1st grade on their special excursions. Our school is a private, Christian school (where I had the privilege of previously working, twice!) and it is our goal to show the love of Christ everyday and especially at Christmas.
During these special field trips, our little guys had the opportunity to bring gift baskets to local police, firemen and women, sheriffs and sing Christmas carols as well. They also raised their own money by doing chores and the like to go shopping as a class and purchase toys for children in need. It was a joyous day!
Eating lunch with my big kindergarten boy, on his special field trip! That smile though...
One last Christmas tradition I'll share with all of you is depicted below.
I'm just going to blame the awkward facial expressions on the FRIGID weather outside, k?
Every year, we bring something special to our two "neighbors" who are two older ladies who each live alone: one at the start of the road, and one further down. We sort of sit in between their two houses. I say neighbor in quotes because of how spread out and private all three of our homes sit. Our boys were given new 4 wheelers by their Maryland grandparents this year so we went for somewhat of a maiden voyage to deliver Christmas gift to our sweet neighbors. In years past, we have always walked, but this year, it was cold enough to get there FAST and get home FAST! The boys had a blast, as they always do, and memories were made, as they always are.
Finally, I leave today's blog post with two final pictures: the one family photo we were able to squeeze in and my boys and I. It isn't the best picture in the world, but it's filled with the people in the world that mean more than a perfect picture ever could. Their sheer presence in my life provides me with light, love and enough passion and strength to live every single day to the fullest. I hope and pray your 2018 brings peace and love in ways you never imagined possible. Open your heart and pray. You never know what the Lord has in store for you.
Maybe it's the way they are smiling, or the way my son grabbed my chin for this picture... maybe it's just a mother's soft spot for her sons. Whatever it is, I think I'll cherish this photo more than most from 2017. I'll never stop believing in miracles because God gave me two.
Love Every Single Last One Of You!