Tag Archives: holidays

It’s the MOST wonderful time of the year

Friday night, after an intense {and incredibly fun} time at Toys R Us, where my mother and I sauntered through the aisles, dragging my father along with the cart, we checked out {WAY} over budget {but Zoe just had to have that beautiful Christmas dress} and as we were leaving the store I said to the bouncer… {that’s legit. There was actually a bouncer outside the door to Toys R Us…but when you think about the mass quantities of crazy moms outside, you would understand}. Anyways, I said to the bouncer, “Merry Christmas!” and he laughed and said it right back to me.

And my spirit raced with excitement.

It was officially Christmastime!!!!

For that split second, I could look past the fact that it was still in the 80’s here, and that on Thanksgiving and for the whole Thanksgiving weekend, I was wearing short sleeves, capris, and flip flops. I can look past the fact that some trees here still haven’t turned to fall colors because it’s just not cold enough. I can forget about the fact that, once again, I will not see snow at Christmas. That’s all OK….

Because it’s Christmastime.

Christmas 2

It’s a month of twinkling Christmas lights, curling up on the couch with a good book and Christmas music in the background, grabbing some hot apple cider and driving around the Riverside area with Brad looking at AMAZING decorations, Salvation Army people jingling their bells outside of Publix, Christmas decorations at the shopping malls with Christmas music, coming home to a house filled with decorations, parties, cookies, white elephant gift exchanges, baking….

Christmas.

I love every second of it. I always have.

When I was in the 8th grade my older sister gave me a book called Winter Dreams Christmas Love, it’s a classic “coming of age” story that follows a girl from the first day of her freshman year to her junior year of high school…and, of course, the guy that she falls in love with that first day of school. Their big events happen at Christmastime every year… and it’s what the book revolves around. For over a decade I read that book every single year the day after Thanksgiving. Cover to cover. Truth? I started a snow globe collection because the main character in that book has a snow globe collection. That book instilled a love of Christmas in me that I hope I never shake.

Christmas 3

When I was 19 years old and living in my very first apartment away from home, I went all out buying my own decorations. Ten years and numerous moves later, I still have almost everything I bought that year. Except my snowman, Michigan… Hemmingway ate him last year. I cried. I remember sitting on the couch in that living room, the whole house decked out in Christmas lights, Delilah was on the radio playing Christmas music and I was curled up under a blanket reading a book… there was a stillness in the room, and a magic that can’t be explained. I fell even more in love with Christmas.

Christmas 4

Then I moved to Michigan, and instead of adding to my snow globe collection, I got to live in one. The day after Thanksgiving I was shopping with my friend and it started snowing. I called my mom back home in Florida and when she said “hello” I started singing “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” at the top of my lungs, bursting with excitement over the snow. She let me sing a full verse before she told me that I was on speakerphone… and she was in the middle of the mall. That year when she came up to Michigan for Christmas, she brought with her a singing teddy bear dressed up in a red velvet coat with a top hat. He sings…you guessed it…”It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”. I woke up to my first White Christmas that year, and I was ruined forever. Florida’s palm trees will never hold a candle to a true winter wonderland.

Christmas 6

Today, Zoe and I got bundled up because for the next couple days it’s going to be in the 60’s {hallelujah}, and we went off to the Town Center to buy some Christmas stockings. On the way there we turned up the Christmas music real loud and jammed out to “Sleigh Ride”. When we got there we enjoyed strolling around outside, stopping every 10 feet so we could dance. Once inside Target, Zoe got to pick out her very own Christmas stocking. Her choice? Hot pink with sequins. She chose that over the zebra strips with pink fur and the dancing snowman…. go figure. But, my point? I’m getting to experience this through the eyes of a 1 1/2 year old. Sure, she doesn’t understand the anticipation of Christmas, the reason behind it or anything other thing that we’re doing over the next month. But, her eyes light up when we plug the tree in. And today, she went from decoration to decoration inspecting all the new things in the house. Her favorite is the contraption that I rigged up to our chandelier, just a bunch of red ornaments on ribbon…but they shimmer, and they sway, and they’re wonderful to look at while she’s sitting in her high chair. Then, to top off all the “new” things in her world, her Gammy {Brad’s mom} came by with a few Christmas books and a singing teddy bear! Does it get any better than this?!?!?!?!

Christmas 5

I can’t even contain my excitement for this Christmas. I can’t wait to take Zoe to the local man-made because we’re still mostly hanging out in the 80’s Winter Wonderlands. I can’t wait to let her taste some hot chocolate, and then laugh as she begs {and gets} more. I loved watching her examine the tree this morning, and sit in her armchair right by it, content to just stare at the lights. I’m excited to “help” Zoe “make” presents for her family. I’m just excited…. period.

Merry Christmas Ya’ll!

What are some of your very favorite Christmas traditions? What’s your favorite Christmas memory from childhood?

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Easter baskets and such

**The pictures throughout the blog post are from Easter lunch/dinner at my in-laws house. The only person not pictured is my brother-in-law, Brian, and Zoe in her pretty lace dress…that came off at church}

I read this blog, pretty much everyday, and Katie {the author} was talking about how her mom’s “thing” growing up was Christmas stockings and how this year she’s decided that Easter baskets are going to be her “thing” as a mom. When I read that I thought, “hmmmm, I wonder what my ‘thing’ is going to be?” and “What the heck are we going to do for Easter in this family”.

{My Mom and Dad}
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You see, I was raised in a house where we didn’t believe in Santa, the Easter bunny, or celebrate Halloween. There were no Easter egg hunts, no baskets, and I’m pretty sure we called it “Resurrection Sunday” rather than Easter. Let me rephrase that, I think that we had like maybe 1 Easter basket growing up, and I think that we did like 1 or 2 Easter egg hunts. But, you get the idea, we didn’t really celebrate the secular side of it. In fact, I didn’t know that people had big Easter dinners until I was in college. Brad, on the other hand, did all of the above. Easter baskets, egg hunts, pictures with the Easter bunny and big family dinners.  And now we’re married, and have a baby, and we need to figure out how we’re doing this thing.

{Baby Quinn, Alexis, Aunt Ronda}
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I have mixed feelings about Easter, more so than Christmas. I want my children to feel like it was a special day, because it’s the most special of days, but I don’t want any confusion about why we celebrate it. For the past 2 weeks I’ve debated this over and over in my head, “Do we do the Easter bunny route?”, “Do I insist that this is strictly religious?”, “Do we compromise?”, “Where is the compromise????”

{Zoe with her Bubba}
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I know that you’re probably reading this going, “What the heck?!??!?! Just get her an Easter basket already!” But, if you weren’t raised with Easter baskets, then it’s not exactly the most natural thing in the world to start celebrating the secular part of Easter. I honestly wrestled with it. But then I remembered this passage of Scripture in the New Testament. Paul is talking about food offered up to idols, and there are some Christians in his time who have no problem with eating it, and others who had a HUGE problem with eating it. His response was {and I’m paraphrasing BIG TIME}, “What’s it to you if the food is offered up to idols? We know that there is no other God but the One true God. So, go ahead and eat the food. But, if your conscious doesn’t let you, then don’t. Each one do what his conscious allows. However, know that you can eat the food if you want to.” I thought about that for days…it was freedom.

{Gammy and Aunt Ronda w/Missy the dog}
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So, Sunday over a pancake breakfast, excuse me…a flapjack breakfast, Brad and I discussed Easter traditions so that if we decided to do the whole egg route I could get some on clearance the next day. This is what we came up with: We are going to do up the Easter basket, big time. It might not be on par with Christmas, but it will be cool. I want them to wake up and look forward to their Easter baskets. I want them to look back on Easter and think, “Man, we always got really cool Easter baskets.” We will always participate in or host a big Easter dinner. We are not going to tell our children that an Easter bunny exists, just like we’re not going to tell them Santa Claus does. We are not going to do Easter egg hunts HOWEVER we’re not going to say “no” to them either. If there is a community one, or a family one, or grandma wants to throw one…sure, of course, or even if they ask us to do one…absolutely we will, but we’re not going to make it a big deal. Most importantly, we’re going to make a really really really big deal out of why we celebrate Easter in the first place…because Jesus died, and then rose again and because of that we have LIFE, abundant LIFE…just like Zoe’s name.

{Pretend like Brad is smiling like a normal person in this picture. It’s the best one we took…}
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And so, that’s that…for this year. We might change our minds, our kids might decide they want a say in the Easter traditions. It’s the weirdest thing in the world coming up with your own family traditions. Really cool…but really weird.

{My dad and my sister Jamielynn}
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So, what about you? What do you do for Easter?