Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas 2014 v.4.0...and Happy New Year!

Our final Christmas celebration was the Johnson Family Christmas on Saturday, December 27th. We met with Chad's two cousins and their families for breakfast that morning and then headed over to my mother-in-law's house for our "Christmas."

The kids got so many great things, but the roller skates were a definite favorite.

Gramma and her babies...

Family Photo...gotta love a 3 second self timer with a last second decision to grab the puppy.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from me to all of you! I am so thankful for this blog and for all of you readers. Not only does it give me a great place to journal our family happenings, but in times where I just need to get something off my chest and off my heart, you are always there offering words of support and encouragement. Thank you for all those kind words, but more importantly, for reading my own words without judgement.

May 2015 be a year of new beginnings and new traditions, but yet another year of small blessings, giant love and never-ending compassion.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas 2014 v.3.0

After Oma and Opa's house and then a dinner with our church family, we headed home, sat out cookies and milk for Santa, and shooed the kids off to bed.

Everyone slept well that night and I was awakened (at 8:25am- thank God) to this:

It was a great morning just relaxing at home with our own family of 4. We took some time to just relax and gear up for Full Family Christmas dinner that afternoon.

Later that day, we met our entire (and I mean ENTIRE, like 40 person entire) family at my parents' house for Christmas dinner. It was a nice evening with family and great food.

We do a Dirty Santa exchange with the adults...always a great time with some interesting gifts.

Brooklyn suckered me into stealing a red remote control sports car.

Out of all the days and meals where we celebrated Christmas last week, this meal was the toughest for me. That evening, we had 40+ people in my parents house, and while we were filling every room, there were two spots that were so painfully left empty. I could barely breathe at times and found myself just consumed with sadness and longing for the Christmas's of years past where my family was whole. I never, ever once took for granted how lucky I was to have all four of my grandparents near me for 29 years and how lucky we were that my children had their four grandparents who saw them multiple times each week every week, Or how, from the time Chad and I started dating, every holiday was spent ALL together as ONE family. I knew that was unique, and I knew that was special. But it doesn't make it any easier now that all that has changed. I think my kids are adjusting better than I am these days, and I would not have it any other way. My children still feel loved and safe, and that's all that matters to me. For me, that is a true gift this holiday season, and I am grateful that, with each passing day, our faith is only growing stronger and our love continues to hold us together.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas 2014 v.2.0

For the last 34+ years, my family has spent Christmas Eve with my Oma and Opa. It's a wonderful family tradition complete with the #bestlasagnaever.

They were SOOO excited to get Janimals!

I'm so thankful that my kids get to experience this family tradition just as I did my entire childhood. It's very special time with their great-grandparents.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas 2014 v.1.0

On Tuesday, December 23, we held our annual Christmas with my side of the family. While the presents are great, my kids (and us adults) consider their aunt and uncle in town for 5 days all the present we need.
A little throwback for you....ornament style.

Grandpa built Brooklyn her very own 8 foot balance beam for the backyard. She was so excited.


And definite twinsies...

Getting some Aunt La-Line love...

This year, the guys bought 75 lottery tickets to scratch off. Actually 79 to finish off that $2 ticket roll at the gas station. Spent $150 and made $71. Yep, sounds about right. No one is retiring early around here.

Jake got a cool projector thing and Uncle Eric got out the professional camera for a few minutes.

This about sums it up...just pure joy being with our family.

We were very blessed in both time together AND gifts this year. Time together as a family of 8 is priceless these days, and we cherished every one of those 5 days with my brother and sister. Thankfully, we will see them for another quick 24 hours next week.


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