Alright, I just read my GF's latest blog post and cried and cried for feeling sorry for myself. I wanted to do this a few days ago but I just haven't had the time or the energy. So I am going to do it now.
I, like always, wanted the tree up early and ready to go, you know, like November 1st. Halloween down, Christmas up! It took me a few days to get it all ready, but I did. Nothing makes me happier than when the house is all cozy for Christmas. It's warm, smells good and just makes you want to snuggle into one another.
It always seems that Christmas runs together so quickly and then it is over before you know it. Then there is that post Christmas downer when you know you have to wait until next year to do it all over again and wait for that magic to happen. Just because this year was so crazy, I just wanted it to come so slowly so we could enjoy every moment. But, in a flash, it was here!
But I want to focus on the good of this Christmas we had. We did our second annual tree hunt with some friends of ours and this year we found the PERFECT ponderosa pine. I found it right away, and it was beautiful. We chopped it down and drug it down the hill on the snowmobile, Ken tied it to the car and we headed home with it. We had so much fun putting it up and letting the little ones decorate it. Their tiny fingers trying to get the ornaments hung over the branches, those little moments that a Mommy holds dear to her heart.
After the tree was up, we started a fire and played a really fun game of Life. The lights were low, the kids had pop and treats and we laughed and played. It was a really perfect evening. C had a bit of a nap so he finally woke up and then was ready to play until like 11:30pm.... the rest of us were done though. I think he slept on our bedroom floor that night. Oh well.
The kids had a camp out on the boys bedroom floor the entire time of the Christmas break. I think they had a lot of fun taking turns sleeping in the top bunk, the bottom bunk and on the floor. They were so good and I loved looking in on there in their tiny refugee camp in the evening before Ken and I went to bed. Of course stealing kisses and snuggles and a brush of their forehead before we retired for the night.
My Mom and Dad in Law came out few days before Christmas and we had some fun with them. They headed out to Vancouver for about a week and then came back to our place on the 23rd. They stayed for Christmas which was really nice. Mom and Dad got Christmas dinner ready for us on the 24th, (my tradition - that way the 25th is free and clear to do whatever we want and not have to make a huge supper and have me be in the kitchen all day long). We had decided that that day we would go sledding with some friends of ours and have some fun. We sure did! It took us forever to get fire going, the kids were getting cold at times, but all in all the hot dogs finally warmed up and we had a good time.
We got home, and started with our Christmas supper. After dinner we read the Christmas story from the Bible and once again told how sacred the story of our Savior's birth really is to us. It was so special as we looked at pictures and just talked as a family.
Then we cleaned up from supper and got our treat platter ready... THE most important thing of Christmas Eve I think. After that, the kids opening their clean Christmas Jammies and a game (a tradition we stole from the Hall family and has brought us so much fun over the past few years!) and we played Jr. Headbands. C was a bit of a stinker and kept telling everyone what they were. But it was still cute.
Once we finished up the game we headed downstairs to watch Polar Express. It is another one of our family traditions and I just love it - even though it is kind of a different movie. The kids are always way to excited to sleep after watching it but it was late and they did ok.
Just before bed the kids and I headed upstairs to get some egg nog, cookies and carrots out for the night crew that was going to be flying in at some point. A few years ago, one of the kids spilled egg nog all over the freshly cleaned floor and I was annoyed, but this year they were very careful to not do that... just reminded me of what was really important and if it did happen, it was just another memory... that is all that really matters, is the memories we make. After we got all of Santa's stuff ready, it was hugs and kisses and off to bed. They were so excited, and so was I.
Mom, Dad, Ken and I finished up all the last minute details and I think we finally crawled into bed around 12:30pm... pretty early for us on Christmas Eve night. I loved walking slowly to our bedroom, looking at everything in it's perfect place and waiting excitedly for the pitter patter of fast feet up the stairs in the morning. I woke up at 4:30am to go to the washroom and I wasn't sure if I would be able to fall back asleep and wait for the kids to finally rouse, but I did. At 7:15 4 sets of feet came clamoring up the stairs! W and K. They headed straight for the tree and found their highly anticipated Santa gifts. They were so excited. Ken told them to come into our room and look at them until C finally got up.
I went out to the kitchen and within 15 minutes, a crazy haired little boy wrapped in a Spidey blanket finally showed his sleepy face at the top of the stairs. He wandered over to the tree and just stared blankly for a while. I asked him if he saw what Santa brought him, but he said no. I showed him the Storm Trooper mask and the Light Saber that actually lit up. I think he was excited then! More excited when he found the chocolate in his stocking, which, like always, filled his little cheeks all morning long.
Mom and Dad came up and we started opening gifts. It was so nice to just take out time and really enjoy watching the kids have some fun. My favorite part of the day.
Then we had a delicious and huge breakfast of sausages, eggs, French toast with butter milk syrup and bacon. It was not healthy at all, but it was amazing! And I PIGGED out! I was really tired after all of this so I decided to lay down for a while. I thought I would take a 20 minute power nap, but it turned into an almost three hour sleep. I must have needed it. Ken put a movie on for the kids and he had a nap too downstairs and Mom and Dad as well. It was just a really great day. I loved every moment of it.
Mom and Dad Atwood left on boxing day I think and Manny and the girls came up. Earlier in the day we met up with more friends at Idlewild to take the little ones sledding again. You can never spend too much time outside and it made me feel good to get out of the house. My Mom and Dad came out on the 27th for a few days as well. I am so thankful that we were all almost together for the holidays. We just relaxed, watched movies, talked, cried, laughed and laughed some more. We took the kids sledding down at the school, one of our favorite things to do with them because the school is so close. Manny's kids sure had a lot of fun as did ours. Little V was just ripping it up on the hill. S loved the snowmobile a little more than actually sledding though. That night we had a dance party with the kids and then some relaxation time to settle them down afterwards.
One of the most important things that I needed to do over the holidays was get over to the Cardston Temple. I just needed to feel the peace of leaving every care at the front of the door. We were surrounded by as much family as could join us and it was a very special time for our family. We were hoping to be able to spend the next few days in Lethbridge visiting and hanging out, but we had appointments to get to all over the place.
That is the only thing that I was sad about. I just wanted to spend more time with the family and the kids and relaxing and laughing. I can't tell you how thankful and how blessed I am to be born and married into the family that I belong to. I fall back on them all when I feel I can go no further. They are ALWAYS there for us, no matter what or where or whenever we need them. They always know what to say and what to do and how to help. There has never been a second thought into helping us out in a split second. I love you all so very much, I wish I could express how much, but there aren't words to express such deep gratitude and love that I have for each and every one of you. Thank you for keeping us going, thank you for loving us in this incredibly hard journey, thank you for helping us focus and remain faithful. Thank you for your prayers and your love and your understanding. Thank you for being such a part in our lives that we couldn't do it without you all.
And again, thank you to all of those of you who pray for us and think of us daily. We pray for you and your well being. We pray for you and your families and we know that we would not be here without your concern for us. We pray that your hearts are happy and light and full of peace amidst your own struggles and trials. I wish there was more we could do for you, but just know that we love you and our prayers for you are just as important as your prayers for us.
Thank you for making this Christmas so special in so many, many ways. Thank you for making me realize that I have much more to be grateful for than ungrateful. Thank you for making me realize that there are miracles around every corner, even if it is just a smile or a hug.