We have had a busy month at our house!! A certain level of chaos is a part of everything that comes with the Christmas season and now celebrating a brand new year!
Our month of December was packed full of the typical events- parades, making cookies, attending parties, shopping, plays, choral presentations, attempting to build gingerbread houses, Christmas light viewing, and exchanging gifts. There was lots and lots of family get-togethers. We were blessed to have more flexibility in my schedule this year, so we were able to attend more events together! Not to mention the glorious fact that our Allie is old enough to babysit and so we could go to some as a couple and not have to pay a sitter!! (on a side note, we do generally pay her a little something…however, we gave her an advance to do some Christmas shopping so she has been working off her debt😁)
We have a party for our youth group every year and the past four or five years they have always been themed. This year our theme was whoville and we had a blast pinning ideas on Pinterest and making them come to life!
Our first family Christmas celebration was wonderful. We were able to have a little gathering with my brother and his girlfriend on Christmas Adam. This is the event were we saw my dad and his wife. It was a great day.
All of our festivities were sort of potluck, so we had separate dishes/appetizers that we brought to each home. We got home and spent 20 minutes tops unloading gifts/dishes and reloading new gifts and the new dishes for the next round! That night we had an evening with our framily who also happen to serve along side us in youth ministry. This was also a fantastic night. We appreciate these people so much- we honestly see them more than some actual family and we are thankful to be walking through life with them!!
On Christmas Eve, we spent the day with Otis’ mom and his siblings. It is always so much fun to see all of the cousins together. I absolutely loved this pic of Allie and her little cousin. Gary also loved spending time with everyone as well.
One of my greatest fears this year was about Christmas. I was so nervous and scared that our Christmas would be horrible since I left my job. I worried about not being able to give our kids the type of Christmas that they are used to. Now believe me, we obviously put a great deal of focus on the true meaning of the season. Let’s be honest now- who doesn’t love to watch the kids open gifts and see their faces light up with excitement when they open that special gift that they have been begging for!! I was so overwhelmed this year by the faithfulness of the Lord. Someway, somehow it all worked out and we had a marvelous day!
This year was a little crazier since Christmas fell on Sunday. We cut out some of our usual family traditions, since time was a little tighter. We woke up and had Christmas with our family. We always see what Santa brought first and then read the Christmas story from the Bible before we open gifts. It was a great morning. The big gift this year was a laptop for Allie and the Lego set Jokerland for Gary. He has been asking for this set for a few years now and was so excited when he opened it that he actually kissed the box!
We went to church as a family and then headed to a family dinner with the rest of Otis’ side of the family. We always have fun and love shopping for everyone.
I was especially excited about this get together, because we had a few very special gifts that I could hardly wait to pass out. Otis’ cousin and best friend was killed in a car accident his senior year of high school. I actually went to school with his cousin and knew him before I knew Otis. I went through my old yearbooks and found his message in the autograph section. We had a bracelet and a keychain made that had his nickname in his handwriting. It was such a touching moment. Seriously, the gifts came out beautifully and were very high quality. It was such a special time. That was certainly a highlight of our holiday season.
We made visits to a few other family members and enjoyed some time of rest and relaxation. We had a little youth event for New Years and just opened up our youth room. We played basketball & football, ate, and watched movies. Then we had the live feed of the ball drop from Times Square…shot some confetti and celebrated.
I am looking forward with great expectation to 2017.We have already had some things spoken to us and over us concerning this year. We are striving, as with every other year, to walk in the complete will of God. We want our faith to be in Him and Him alone. We have not done this yet, but I want to sit down with our kids and write out goals for the year. That will probably be part of our school day when we start up again on Tuesday!!