Friday, January 3, 2014

Bring it, 2014!

2013 was a good year but a difficult one. I'm happy to have experienced it and equally happy to be on the other side of it. The end of 2013 warmed my heart.
We did Christmas with our fellow Unicorns to kick off the holidays. I was a slacker hostess. In my defense, I worked during December and was sick the week prior to hosting. Enough excuses though, I'll do a better job next year. But slacker hostess or not, there's no way not to be uplifted by spending time with these sweet families. I am just thankful to do life with them. 

The next day, my parents rolled into town.

This is the only picture I could find of the mayhem of them unloading gifts. The kids just went back and forth toting presents in the house and Caroline couldn't really believe her eyes. My parents didn't go (completely) overboard but with 6 people there were numerous gifts to be carried. Caroline is still bowled over with the lavish attention that comes from grandparents so to add anything on top of that was blowing her mind.
My parents stayed in a hotel so we were able to take the bigger ones swimming. 

The mismatched suits and crazy hair is killing me but that's life. Sorry guys. Ain't nobody got time to brush your hair.  Harris looks like he's being photographed for receiving an award. Feet together, hands clasped, glued on smile. He's oblivious to the fact that he's wearing goggles. Awesome. Caroline looks completely confident too, in a swimsuit with crazy hair. Rock that, girlfriend, because God made you perfectly. I'd like to be that comfortable in my skin.  Walker is humoring me and ready to get in the water. 

I was looking around at the grand kids tearing into their gifts and reminded again how God prepared our family for Caroline. Our extended family has whole heartededly embraced her without question. That's a big bomb to drop on someone and just expect them to be in board. But they were. The support we've gotten from our family through this is a treasure for me. There is so much uncertainty and drama with this process that if there were also push back from our family, it would just be that much harder. Knowing they back us 100% and seeing them live that out touches my heart. 

I must have been doing more looking around and less taking pictures becuase I don't have any of them opening gifts from my parents. I have numerous pics of attempting to get each of them by the tree on Christmas Eve, though. There were mixed results.

Hayser didn't want to be photographed at that time so I made a cameo.

Walker is wearing clothes to match the other boys but received a fireman costume for Christmas. He didn't take it off for several days and I don't fight that battle. We went to a friend's house and had such a nice time. The families there we've known several years and were some of our first authentic friends in San Antonio. Wouldn't you know, both families adopted two years ago, and have been a great support system for us as we navigate this. It is another reminder that God has been equipping us for this.

I think we FINALLY figured out how to do Christmas without going over the top. It was interesting to see that they were just as excited with what they got as when they got much more. The stockings were mostly office supplies because they love them. They have been writing on index cards and using all the tape they want ever since. And they got gum and band aids because MY GOODNESS are those a hot commodity in our house!

Not kidding. All 3 of the are serious about their index cards. They've used most of the leftover wrapping paper too, wrapping presents. Whatever floats your boat, party people. Walker has wrapped so many presents for his beloved teacher. He told me, "You can take a picture of this one, if you want to." Absolutely!

When they were going through their stockings, Walker got to his box of goldfish first and just wanted to eat those. Harris couldn't stand not knowing what was in there and asked if he could go through Walker's stocking and show him everything. Walker is very agreeable when he has unlimited goldfish so he was good with that. 

Harris was a little Vanna White. "Here are your post-it's, Walker, in FOUR beautiful colors!" Everything was announced like a grand prize. Walker saw his index cards and yelled, "This is the greatest Christmas EVER!" I'm sure he was quoting something he'd seen but it was so funny. Tom and I will probably say that to each other for years.

Harris went ninja with his two candy canes.

Caroline was pumped about her bike.

Hayser isn't pictured because he needs his beauty rest and slept through all this. He stayed up till after 11 the night before assembling presents.

There was no delaying the other three. When Tom got up, walker was sleeping on the couch next to his stocking. He said he woke up at 4:11. Bless his heart, he didn't open anything or go through his stocking. He's changed so much from his birthday in September, when he carried all his gifts to his room and opened every single one.

We used the rest of the time that Tom was home to do very possible thing to do in San Antonio. Or at least it felt that way. Our babysitter told us about the mini-van express. I'd never heard of this idea but googled it and our kids loved it! It just involves making some tickets and telling your kids they're going someplace fun. Super simple and they thought it was so cool. We printed tickets, made some snacks, and then punched their ticket to ride the "mini-van express" and went to look at Christmas lights. Here tom is punching their tickets.

We went to Johnson City. 

Frankly, one of my friends was over it by the time we got there and was less than enthusiastic. That's generally how it goes and we have avoided doing things becuase he has a hard time with new experiences. However, we decided that we really need to make some memories as a family of six, and with two six year olds that will remember these things, so we did it anyway. The other kids thought it was awesome and there were parts of it all enjoyed. There were also parts where I was glad we were 60 miles from home and no one knew us. But we got through it and it was worth it.

We did a few other things while tom was home.

The classiest thing happened after Christmas. Harris and Caroline were saddened that we didn't have lights on our house. I have reiterated that outside lights are NOT my job and to talk to daddy. They expressed their sadness so this is what he did.

You are seeing lights strung on our trampoline, through the trees and wrapped around the play set. I left the house for ONE hour and this is what happened.
They think it's fantastic.

I am excited to see what 2014 has in store!

18 “Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland."
Isaiah 43:18-19

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