Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

(Sorry no photographs! A picture of our family banner coming soon! Prepare to be impressed...)

This year we rang in the new year as a family. It was quiet, simple, and nice, much like our Christmas. Just time spent together. The more my children grow, the more I realize how much we need it. Time. Time to be together. Time to create memories. Time snuggling on the couch. We did all of the above tonight and it was awesome. Homemade pizza and nachos for supper, per Emma's request, followed by the making of a New Year's Eve banner to hang in our dining room. We colored, designed, and decorated a large piece of butcher paper for over an hour. It was a family masterpiece, and I do believe a new tradition. A bubble bath for all of the children was next. The girls kept shouting Happy New Year while throwing soap suds in the air! They thought it hilarious. I thought it precious. After everyone was clean and snug in jammies we popped some popcorn and poured some bubbly (sparkling grape juice), and settled in to watch Dolphin Tale. Beautiful story about not losing hope, reaching beyond yourself, and chasing after your dreams. A worthwhile film on the eve of this new year brimming with hope and possibility. We ended our night with traditional ice cream sundaes, a game of Disney trivial pursuit (I won if you care to know), and party hats and horns at midnight.

Those were the beautiful moments of our night. But lest you think our family is perfect, traditions, and sunshine every single moment, there were several 'real life' moments mixed in for good measure :)! While making our fabulous family banner, permanent marker bled through the paper and got all over my beautiful white dining table. Kate had a meltdown when asked to put on her jammies, and crashed as soon as the movie started. Poor thing. Five years old and has never seen the ball drop! Emma ate too much popcorn and suffered a belly ache the rest of the evening. Boss is the only one who had a sundae. After all of the horn blowing, sweet Jack awoke frazzled and needed to be rocked back to sleep. It is now after one in the morning (I am waiting for teenagers to get home) and he will probably be up for the day in four short hours.

But that's life. It's our life. And I really would not change it. Crazy, silly, difficult moments mixed in to parts of every day. Stretching us, growing us. And all the while I just keep spinning, praying I am creating beauty along the way. Beauty from the messes. Praying that God is creating beautiful things through me. And it is those things, the beautiful ones, that I choose to remember. Emma licking her plate clean with pizza sauce on her chin. Kate tracing her five year old hand onto our family banner. Jack beaming proudly when he was handed a crayon, too. Emma with her high water jammies, because she seems to grow a foot every night while she sleeps. Kate's jammies half zipped, always waiting for a back tickle. The way Jack's hair smells after his bath. These are the things I choose to remember. And I pray my children are filing these memories away, too. Because amidst the messes (and there are plenty of those), there is always God's goodness. All we have to do is look and see. Taste, and we will know that the Lord is good. This is my prayer for 2012. That I will spend more time seeing and tasting, all the while strengthening relationships with my Lord, my husband, my children, my family, my friends. It is going to be a wonderful year. I can feel it. And the best part? God is already there. Happy New Year!

Just Because He's Stinkin' Cute

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas 2011

Tonight, Boss and I packed away the last of the Christmas decorations and hauled them into storage for another year. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly time passes. Too quickly as my babies are growing. I simply cannot believe that another Christmas has come and gone! The joyous season never lasts long enough. We had a simple, fun, somewhat quiet holiday this year. It was nice. Memories were made. On Christmas Eve we went to a special service at our church. Afterwards, we celebrated the evening with our friends, before heading home to put the little ones to bed. I love tucking my two big girls into my bed on Christmas Eve. We let them fall asleep there on this special night, and I love to hear them dreaming, whispering, giggling of all they hope the next day will bring. Sweet, sweet sisters. Boss and I kissed their sweet cheeks, gave them strict orders not to leave the bed, and then we headed downstairs to work some Christmas magic! Somewhere after midnight we crawled into bed ourselves. Satisfied, content, and happy.

The next morning we were awoken by little hands and big smiles! The children waited anxiously at the top of the stairs until they were given the go ahead to see if Santa had visited. He did! This year he brought the girls bean bag chairs and tote bags filled with pajama goodness. He brought Jack a basketball hoop and a new ball. Never has there been a more excited little boy on the planet! Next we opened our stockings and then had a delicious Christmas breakfast with Grammy and Da. Homemade cinnamon rolls (made by yours truly), sausage, egg, and cheese casserole, and fruit salad. After that it was present time! We opened gifts, took pictures, and laughed for the next hour before cleaning up and getting ready for the day.

That afternoon we drove to Chillicothe and celebrated the holiday with Boss' family. Cousins are so much fun! And Papaw and Grandma are always too good to us at Christmas. We ended our day at Boss' aunt's house, where his entire extended family gathered together for a meal on this special day. I love that. I love adult siblings that still gather together. I pray it will be so for my own children! We drove home that night tired, but deeply satisfied. Happy children buckled into the back. Mama and Daddy holding hands. Another holiday came and went, but the memories will be held in our hearts for years to come. Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Adam

A few years ago, we started a tradition with my parents on the night before Christmas Eve. And because I find it too confusing to say Christmas Eve's, Eve, we entitled our night Christmas Adam. Because Adam came before Eve. Get it? Bwahahaha! Okay, it's corny I know, but my children love it and greatly look forward to Christmas Adam each year. My mom hosts us at her house and serves us a meal of home made fettuccine, salad, and garlic bread. Yum. After that the kids get to open their coordinating Christmas jammies (compliments of their dear Mama, that would be me, ahem). They are all super thrilled about their Christmas jammies each year. They jump up and down with joy and loudly exclaim with adoration that I am the best mama on the planet. Okay, not really, but I am sure that one day they will look back on this tradition that I forced upon them with fondness. And until then, it does my mama heart good to see all of my babies in coordinating jammies sitting under the sparkling Christmas tree. Sigh. Tonight, after the Christmas jammies were donned, we piled into Old Faithful (our very large white van) and perused the wealthy neighborhoods looking for beautiful Christmas light displays. We were not disappointed! When we had seen enough, we went back to Grammy's for treats and hot cocoa, followed by a few rounds of Christmas Bingo. I love my family, I love our traditions, and I love Christmas! Happy Christmas Adam!

Christmas Elving

On this very busy week before Christmas, my girls and I have spent lots of time elving! We (okay, I)wanted our giving to be a bit more thoughtful, personal, homemade this year. More "Z" family creations, less gift cards. And while we still have a super long way to go (as there are still a few gift cards hanging out under the tree), I do believe we made a good effort this year! A few examples of some home made gift ideas we came up with: family movie night buckets (including soda, candy, a cozy blanket to snuggle under, popcorn and cute tubs, a dollar bill to be redeemed for a movie from Red Box, etc.), sweet little jars filled with Christmas gum for the girl's little friends (idea taken from Pinterest), and tins filled with cookies and sweets for neighbors/friends. None of these ideas earth shattering, but my girls and I sure had fun creating, baking, and packaging! And we have more ideas up our sleeves for next year. So you had better watch out. The "Z" family is on a roll.

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Yay! It's finally the Christmas season, the very most wonderful time of the year! I love the parties, the decorations, the family friendly music, the treats and the gift giving, the jolly old man in the red suit. I love it all. But I love the way that my children's eyes sparkle and dance throughout the entire season the most. My three children are so beautiful and precious to me! My most favorite gifts of all time. Beautiful trees, sparkly presents, and all things merry and bright could never compare. They are my merry and bright! But seeing and celebrating the Christmas season through their eyes? Priceless! It doesn't get much better than this! I am making it a point to slow down and enjoy this season with my sweet little family!

A Day of Thanks in Pictures