"Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise." ~Andy Stanley

December 30, 2015

The whole Christmas season in one really long post!

Joy surprised me earlier in the month by deciding to pray that this would be "the best Christmas ever" and so we joined our faith with hers and believed for that. Love that girl!

Despite all that we have been through, it truly was a lovely Christmas season. God is good!

Earlier in the month our favorite newlyweds threw an epic Christmas party! They are so great at entertaining. -I felt blessed to be the only person over the age of 23 there. LOL

On the ONE and ONLY cold weekend here in FL, we got bundled up and used our annual passes to ride roller coasters in the dark and look at Christmas lights at Busch Gardens!

Another evening, we went to a Christmas event in a small nearby town. We walked down Church Street, which is full of churches that give away coookies and hot chocolate. Every house was decorated and carolers sang on wrap around porches. It was super cute!

We will LOVE this new tradition more when are not sweating because it was (and still is!!!) in the upper 80's even at NIGHT. Seriously, we couldn't stand to drink hot chocolate, but we had fun.

Christmas Eve without Dad was understandably, super hard for a couple of our kids. But they pressed through. -We all have waves of grief that hit us at different times.
We got dressed up and went to church for the annual Christmas Eve service that we love so much! Then we came home and got in our PJs and the boys cooked filet mignon for us girls! -A fun tradition Hubby started a few years ago. Afterwards, we watched Hubby's favorite version of A Christmas Carol:
Apparently, the last time we watched this with our kids they were pretty young and it gave them all nightmares! They are now, almost 23, 21, 19 and 16 and were still hesitant to watch it because of how much it scared them.; )  So, if they all need therapy someday, it will not be because of the way we parented but because of the Ghost of Christmas Future. LOL

You know it was a fun Christmas morning when your house ends up looking like this:

It was fun to celebrate with Zac and Tiffany on their first married Christmas!

Every year I mention my sister's very creative gift giving skills and this year was no different. First off, she got us all Christmas PJs! And then because she had heard about our annual 'reindeer games' she sent along the Saran Wrap game! We had played this at Zac and Tiff's party and loved it. The ball she sent was gigantic!
You take turns rolling dice and whenever someone rolls a 6, they get to unwrap and keep whatever comes off the ball until the next person rolls a 6. As you can see, it was so much fun even Bree wanted in on the action.

Earlier in the month, one of my hubby's clients got my number and asked for the "honor" of blessing our kids this Christmas! I was shocked and I cried the entire time I was on the phone with that dear man. I didn't really know what our kids "dream gifts" would be because they had not asked for large things... so it took me awhile to come up with some suggestions. And then the night that we were walking (and sweating) on Church Street, I left them a key and they snuck the presents in our house and I hid them in here:

On Christmas Day their minds were completely blown! .

The kids all realized that these gifts were just another amazing testimony to the life that their dad led and the impact he made on people. Andrew said it best: "Dad is still giving to us!"

Our reindeer games were cut short since archery caused us to miss being in the A/C. -More sweating!
Then we had Christmas dinner, which I forgot to take any pictures of, and then we headed to the movies!

 I loved that everyone in the theater clapped when the older characters made an appearence! Such fun!

At the end of the night we headed to Tiffany's parents house for dessert and games. So grateful to have them as family!
It was an amazing Christmas!

Now and always, so thankful that Jesus came to "bring good news that will bring great joy to all people..." Luke 2:10


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