"When you called me to be a Mama, You didn't ask for perfection. But that with every breath, I'd point them to You."

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas: Round One

With both sides of our family living in town or very near by, we are blessed to be able to celebrate with almost everyone during the Christmas season. In fact, our first year of dating I believe Cody and I had five or six different family gatherings to attend within one week. That was back in the days of no kids - when it was much easier to bounce from here to there, and I wasn't yet worried about starting our own family traditions.

Since having kids, I've been very careful about attending what we can - without overdoing it. As well as taking the time to enjoy our Christmas within our own home and start our own traditions as a little family. I've set limits - Christmas morning is for us. And Christmas Eve is for church. Beyond that, our Christmas celebrating can last anywhere from two to three weekends in a row of family gatherings, gift openings... and lots of food. It is nice to spread it out, and with all the buildup and anticipation that comes with the holiday... it's nice that's it not necessarily over all in one day.

This weekend, we had our first gathering of the year. And since it was the kickoff to all that is Christmas, we decided it would be the perfect weekend for our annual Christmas lights drive. A big thank you to my friend Becky Bartlett - who got a headstart on Friday evening with her family and proceeded to text me all of the must-see neighborhoods for Christmas lights. :) We bundled up in the car, turned on the Christmas music... and managed to find some pretty creative, some pretty awesome... and some pretty wild Christmas displays.

This picture below does not do this particular yard any justice at all. I don't believe there was a bare square foot in their front yard. BLOWUPS consumed it all. I've never seen anything like it, and I can't imagine what their neighbors think.

On Sunday, we traveled to Cody's parents' in Aplington to celebrate with Deanne's family.

{guarding the presents}
We ate, we drank some wine, we opened a few gifts... and we watched Brandon play "Santa" for the first time in his young life. This little one was not about to let Ella have all the fun passing out gifts. He had to be a big helper, too. This was after he helped Nana Deanne put some final touches on gift wrapping. My little elf, this one.
Great grandma Alda started a new tradition of reading the Christmas Story before gift opening. In my opinion, you can never over-emphasize the true meaning of this holiday to your kids.
...and so it begins. The process of finding room for all of the new stuff we're going to accumulate. ;)
Happy one week until Christmas!