Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Christmas 2016 Rewind!

Everything about the life I loved and held so dear was swirling around me in confusion and chaos. My whole world had been turned on it's head. But it was Christmas...and it was time to slap on a smile and make it a good one for the kids. It was hard, but I did it. :) And I think they had a really good one!

When we moved there were a lot of questions as to how exactly we were going to work out all of the holidays. No longer are we a two minute drive from all of our closest relatives! Since Eric typically works on Christmas Eve, it was decided that it would be easier to have the kids and me go to Red Bud a day early so that we were already there for Christmas. We could get ready in the morning and not be so rushed around...because getting five kids ready to go somewhere is a big task! Add in hauling all of our gifts and things, and it's a monumental undertaking. So...we had a sleepover at grandma's!

Pretty sure this is the kind of thing kids remember forever. :)

When we opened our eyes it was Christmas Eve! We all got ready to go to our first party of the day at great Grandma Robert's house, which just happens to be right across the street. Dang our lives were so convenient! 

Grandma had many of great Grandpa's shirts made into teddy bears, and everyone would get to pick their own. Of course the kids had all eyed their favorites! They couldn't wait until it was their turn to choose. We came home with seven different bears, and Grandma, the kids are loving them especially!

Everyone adores the mirrors in the bathroom at grandma's house, haha. I frequently catch the kids in here making faces at themselves. This would be one of the only pictures taken of me all day, so you get a Christmas bathroom selfie, for your viewing pleasure.

It's a little bit of a Christmas miracle to have all of the family gathered in one place for the same holiday anymore. We are scattered over the country, and often the years don't meet up for everyone and we have some here and some there. But this year, the whole gang was here!

The kids love when ALL of the cousins can get together. :) There were no children at all seven years ago!

Soon it was the mass chaos of playing and present opening that we've shared here year after year. 

Gracie ended up with one of grandpa's Hawaiian shirt teddy bears. :) 

Happy first Christmas, buddy!

It was time to go back to my mom's house where the Linnertz family Christmas was this year. Christmas Eve here means one giant pizza party!

I wish I had better pictures to prove it, but there are a ton of people in our family and there were pizzas everywhere. Pizzas on the island, pizzas on the counters, pizzas on the stove. You know those opening scenes of Home Alone where there are people running around and kids buzzing like bees and everyone is stuffing their faces with pizza? That's us. Every year.

Eventually it was time to pack it in and make our trek home. We had sugarplums to start dreaming about and stuff to do!

Each of the kids had special gift requests this year. Reagan wanted a helicopter. Gracie wanted a lava lamp. Evie wanted a sled. The littlest ones still don't really know what's going on, but there were a few things for them, too. ;) They were super excited to wake up on Christmas morning!

There were some cool old school toys found in our stockings this year...

...the favorite of which was a Magic 8 Ball.

Of course, now I find myself uttering the words, "It's just a toy, kids" 389475938475 times a day.

"Mom! This says my name is not Evelyn!"
"Mom, this says I don't have a brother!"
"Mom, I'm supposed to get married tomorrow!"

It's just a toy, kids.

Our kiddos got everything they wanted, and yet it was our cleanest most minimal Christmas yet. FINALLY I think we have figured out a formula that works for our family. A couple of wanted toys, one or two practical things, and maybe some stuff thrown in for the whole family to enjoy together. No one had more than four things assigned just to them. And no one felt deprived for anything. It was perfect

Grace had to try out her new skates right away....

Everyone wanted a turn flying the helicopter....

Bathrobes and slippers were a hit!

Reagan LOVES wearing his robe and slippers around. He sleeps in them! Haha.

As usual, we couldn't stick around and play forever because there were more Christmases to attend that day. But I think we'll leave it here for now!

I'm not a good faker when it comes to my emotions. I can pretend to smile for a while, but it takes a toll eventually. These were the hardest holidays I have ever had. But I was granted a few happy distractions to help get me through it. Once again, God showed his grace and mercy to me, and I was still able to find moments of fun with my kids. I am now convinced that there are no stronger people in this world...none...than moms who have a million problems of their own but who still continue to give and give and give of themselves to others. Even when the world is crashing down. I have a new respect for women doing it all on their own. 

It's hard to feel all alone inside and still nurture. Hard. There are a lot of women walking around today who deserve Nobel Peace Prices and Academy Awards for the good work they do each and every day all while acting like everything is okay. Because our kids deserve okay. 

Christmas was okay. And I am okay. :) And I'm hopeful that some of my darkest days are behind me. Thank you all so much for your encouragement over the last couple of days. It's soul feeding. You are my favorite people. Love!


Stefanie said...

Those pictures are beautiful! So many people fight unseen battles. That loneliness is so overwhelming. Praying you feel seen, loved, and strengthened today.

Adrien said...

Thank you! It's so never know what other people are going through! You have definitely played a part in making me feel seen, loved, and strengthened. :)


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