Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Closing Out 2015... Ushering in 2016.

Well, it's halfway thru the first month of the year and I am just now blogging about Christmas. Good thing that my New Years Resolution wasn't to stay on top of things. #yikes. Ha!

I've been reflecting over the past year. What I loved about the year and what I was glad to close a chapter on. I think that a lot of what I set out to do last year was accomplished. I made healthy choices with food that led to a healthier me (and happier, I might add! It's always nice to feel good in your own skin). I set out to be more intentional with people, especially with my husband and kids. I think that setting that priority was what really led me to only blog when I had the free time to do it, which led to fewer posts. I'm hoping this is not always the case, but my life right now is so busy and I knew that something had to give. It's been good for me to do this so that I could refocus.

This year I haven't set out with a word. Or a resolution. Or really any huge goals. Which at first freaked me out a little because I usually start out my years with a laundry list of well meaning expectations of myself. But I think as I grow older I am realizing that if I create more stuff for me to strive for, I may lose sight of simply being in the moment right now. It's caused me to really slow my gears down and not be so turbo blastered to the next thing. I guess if you have to sum it all up into one big word it would be PRESENT. Be present and available. Praying that I can be that to those around me.

So, back to 2015. It was a great year, with a fantastic ending. This year Christmas snuck up on me, and left me feeling a little bit unprepared. In years past I have always had all of my shopping done before November, and this year I was ordering family gifts online toeing the line for shipping. We kept Christmas super simple this year and I have been so grateful we did. The boys didn't think any different, and instead of Christmas being a festivity filled with over stimulation and big hoorahs, it was filled with quiet moments, a simple gratitude for the few gifts the kids did receive and lots of down time. It was a breath of fresh air that I think we all needed.
The kids surprised us by sleeping in until well after 7am (they are all typically early risers, so this was a big surprise and big treat!). This year, instead of overloading on gifts, we decided to go super simple: 1 large toy under $40, 1 box of things to wear (the boys asked for Star Wars shirts and tall socks) and 1 book. That's it. Christmas Eve I was starting to second guess myself, but it really went so well. So well, in fact, that we may just continue to the tradition :)

In our home, Santa brings the stockings. The boys were eager to dump out their stockings and see all of their goodies.
(he's a true ham)

we gave each of the boys $5 and let them pick a gift for one of their brothers (basically like secret Santa, except it wasn't a secret). They were so excited about gifting each other their gifts. It is so sweet to watch them find joy in giving... I hope they always treasure giving more than receiving.

Several days before Christmas, I had wrapped some of a the smaller gifts and placed them under the tree. Tyler was SO excited about getting a BIG gift... and he was only talking about his gift that was smaller than a shoe box. I wish I had gotten a picture (I have video, but it's not uploaded) of his reaction seeing the huge box for his track set. He was so excited!

When we asked Connor what he wanted for Christmas, his only response was that he wanted "the Holy Spirit and a fart gun." He's quit the eclectic child. So Santa brought him a sensored fart remote, and I was left with nothing on my list. We decided to delve into the world of Hot Wheels tracks and it was a hit! He loves it and it has provided hours of entertainment for all of my boys.

Brayden was a hard cookie to crack this year. He desperately wants a bbgun, but Drew and I are still a little hesitant to give one to him just yet. Brayden was adamant that was all he wanted, so we were kind of left scrambling. After some coaxing from me to go to the store to look at other toys he may like, he settled on the Nerf Rival guns. It's a pretty powerful gun (for a Nerf gun), but we have used it as an opportunity for him to prove he can be responsible for a gun. He has done great, and I'm so proud of him taking it seriously to prove he'll be able to handle a bb gun when the time comes. (I'm sad that this is the only picture I got of him with the gun-- we sadly realized shortly after he opened it that I hadn't gotten the batteries it needed, so I spent my Christmas morning at Walgreens with the 48271 other people who also forgot batteries. LOL).

The rest of our Christmas break was spent visiting with Drews family from both near and far. It was unfortunate that it rained pretty much all of Christmas, so we were stuck inside instead of playing outside, but we made the best of it and had a great time with all.

The Christmas stillness lasted well through the first week of school last week, as we tried to shake off the rust from being off of a schedule for so long. We're all excited to be back to school and bible study with friends, and Brayden has been especially excited to start basketball for the first time. Praying that this year will continue the focus I had last year on being present and enjoying each day one day at a time. I pray the same for you as we start this new year!

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