Christmas 2013

We had a wonderful Christmas this year!  It was filled with family time, and lots of food.  Christmas Eve we go to Mass with Luke's family, Luke's grandmothers to open presents, to my moms, and this year we went to the 9PM service at our church.  Needless to say we were worn out.  I have been so excited about Hudson getting his train table.  I was up at 6Am to prepare our breakfast morning feast of quiche, hash brown casserole, and fruit.  Hudson was so worn out, about 7:30 we couldn't take it anymore, and woke him up.  He was still unaware of what was going on this year.  I think next year will be a whole different ball game.  He loved his train table, and I think his daddy loved it just as much.  He plays with it when Hudson is napping.  My parents stopped by, and then we went to Luke's parents for brunch.  We went to my parents from there to get gifts from them, then we had Christmas with Luke's family Christmas night.  I worked yesterday and today, so I am excited to relax this weekend, play with our new toys, and get caught up on rest.  We are all so blessed, and could not have asked for a better Christmas.  I can't believe we will have two kiddos at Christmas next year!  Here are pictures I snapped throughout Christmas Eve/Day.

He looked so cute for Mass, and I just wanted ONE good picture.

My sister always reads "Twas the Night Before Christmas" on
Christmas Eve at my moms.  Hudson was clearly into it.

He is ready for school next fall!  I think Nana was trying to give us a hint :)

I am so proud of myself for sticking to my guns, and not going overboard this Christmas.  I hope I can continue this, and teach Hudson and Sullivan the real meaning of Christmas for years to come.


Santa 2013

We thought we would torture ourselves and Hudson, and take him to see Santa twice this year.  Poor kid.  The first time was at Bass Pro, and the second at church.  I thought if Maddie was with him it would make the second time better.    Needless to say both times were tear filled.  I think I will miss the crying Santa photos, they are hilarious to me.


One Year....

One year ago today we lost our sweet papa  Not a day goes by that I don't think about him.  While I miss him terribly, I know without a doubt he is a better place.  He was so sick and feeble before his passing it became almost unbearable to watch.  Instead of being sad, I am going to rejoice, and be so thankful for all the time I had with him. After he passed away I made a vow to honor him by becoming a better Christian.  I will be honest, when I made this vow I wasn't completely confident I would be able to honor it.  God had other plans for me, and our family.  We started going to church the weekend after his funeral, and we haven't stopped since.  I have strengthened my faith more than I ever knew I could, and it goes way beyond attending church on Sunday.  I have changed my life completely.  I feel like I jumped in, and have given it 110% from day one.  I am involved in a women's group, and Luke and I joined a couples group.  We are actively involved in church. and try to give back as much as possible.  I have tried to rid my life of negativity, and surround myself with people who lift me up, and make me want to be a better person.  I have let go of anger, and strive to have a more positive outlook on every situation I am in.  I was baptized.  I can honestly say my life is ten times better than it was a year ago today.  My marriage is better.  I am a better mom.  The funny thing is, we have faced more struggles this past year.  That just goes to show how you face things differently when you have faith, and you know God will get you through anything.  I can assure you it has not been easy.  I feel like I am "tested" more than ever.  I am not perfect, and I still make so many mistakes.  It is something I have to be conscience of and work at every single day.   I have my papa to thank for all of this.  In a way I almost feel like I should be thankful for his passing.  That doesn't mean that I don't get sad, or wish I could talk to him one last time.  Sometimes I wish that I could just FEEL him.  He loved his family more than anything, and I know he would gladly trade his life to see his family involved in church and happy.  That is all he ever wanted for us.  It feels so good to be able to reflect on this past year, and to know without a doubt that I honored that vow I made to his memory.  More importantly I know he IS proud.  I feel like I have only scratched the surface on things God has planned for my life.  This next year I am making a vow to do even more to strengthen my faith.  I want to give more, go on a mission trip, and whatever else God calls me to do.

I miss you more than you will ever know.  Thank you for having a hand in changing my life.  I hope I can continue to make you proud.  I love you.

Your can read what I wrote about him a year ago here.


Less is More

This is our new motto for Christmas.  We started the "Advent Conspiracy" series at church a few weeks ago, and it has really opened my eyes to focusing on what Christmas is really about.  We always say "Jesus is the reason for the season," but how many of us actually practice that?  I am making an active decision to cut back, and give to people who really need it.  I have become involved with Room In the Inn with my church this year.  Every Tuesday we host a group of homeless people, and I go to help out and offer support.  It has really humbled me, and made me so thankful for everything I have.  It has made me realize what is really important in life.  I focus less on things I don't have, and feel so blessed for what I do have.  I am just as guilty about going overboard on Christmas.  I always  think I have to spend a certain amount of money on each persons gift.  I am also guilty of asking for expensive things that I don't need, and otherwise would not buy for myself.  One of the most important reasons for starting this "less is more" tradition in my house is I don't want my kids growing up thinking they need the best of the best.  I also want them to know how lucky they are, and there are kids out there who don't have anything.  I want us to focus on those kids, and give to them.  I don't want them to think they have to have what everyone else does.  I want them to grow up humbled, and really appreciate the lives they lead.  My sister and I often talk about how lucky our kids are, because they have so much more than we did growing up.  Even though that may be the case, I never remember feeling like I had less than others, or I suffered in any way.  We had a loving and caring childhood, and I realize that is the most important thing. Our parents taught us to appreciate what little we had, and to know how hard they worked for it.  My mom keeps saying she doesn't know what to get me, and I haven't told her what I want.  That is because I don't "want" anything.  The things on my list this year are things that I NEED. I would rather her money go to helping other people who really need it.  By no means am I cutting out buying gifts completely, but I will not be buying a bunch of unnecessary gifts.  I will not be spending nearly as much on gifts this year, and the years to come. I will help with the angel our Fusion group is adopting, send a package to a soldier who is spending his Christmas away from family defending our freedom, and give a little more to our child we sponsor through Compassion.   I hope that more people can adopt this attitude this Christmas season, because this world could use a little more giving and less getting.