Merry All the Way

Loveys, how was your Christmas? I hope it was all kinds of merry and bright and wonderful. We've had a very Virginia kind of Christmas. With family and Honey Baked Ham and dressing and presents and last-minute shopping and Christmas cookies and movies and all that goodness. There was a rough start to our holiday, to be honest. It involved standing in line for hours and then our Frontier flight being canceled after at least 9 hours at the airport. (At which point, the kids and I cried and then a reporter came over to interview my distraught Ashtyn.) Then our awesome friend Mark came back to get us (after having dropped us off EARLY that morning) and Jeff decided to stay at the airport in the sea of maybe 600 bags (nearly all of Frontier's flights had been canceled, not a good thing, so many people didn't make it home for the holidays, and people had to wait days for their luggage, which never left the airport!). Then we loaded the kids back up in Mark's car (in freezing weather!) and we get down the road and Jeff calls to say that at least our luggage came down--not the car seats--so Mark turns us around and we go pick up Jeff. (Mark, we love you.) So, that night we went to bed at our house in Colorado, and everyone was sad because we'd woken up that morning, excited to go to Grammy's. Since our flight was canceled (and the next possible flight was a week from that day, good grief), we got in the car (then picked up the car seats at the airport) and drove. For one million hours and days.

And finally, we got to Grammy's house.

Getting there was rough, definitely, but worth it. And so our holiday began a couple of days later than expected, but we arrived in Virginia to warmth and love and plenty of teriyaki from Osaka. And it was wonderful.

I love my family. I really do. I love shopping with my mom, and cooking for my parents, and watching Tarzan with Mom and Dad and Jeff, and seeing the kids open Hogwarts cloaks and wands from Santa, and baking cookies at Laura's, and going to the candlelight Christmas Eve service. I love all those things that make up Christmas with my family. This year was no different. The lights on my mom's tree, the delicious food, kids running around in total excitement, gingerbread houses, fun gifts to surprise each other with. Togetherness and laughter and conversation.

Really. I'm so thankful. New traditions and old.

We baked cookies at my sister Laura's house, all of us girls along with Laura's sweet sisters-in-law. Ashtyn looked so cute in her apron, such a big girl wanting to help. We got to see the greenhouse that my brother-in-law put together for Laura, with Christmas lights and trees and even presents inside.

I didn't grow up in Virginia. But I went to college out here, and then Jeff and I lived here when we were first married, so it's very much another home to us. And I remember once, my mother telling me that whenever she goes home to her mother, she is home because home is where her mother is. And that is true for me too. I feel at home any place where my parents live because that's just the way our family is.
So we were together for Christmas and made so many memories. Ash and Link trekking through the woods with Grandpa, down to the creek. Grammy making oatmeal for Miss Lily. Movie nights and wrapping nights, and playing Go Fish and Old Maid, and munching on popcorn, and the house smelling like wassail (which just reminds me so much of my own childhood). Date night and finally getting to see Fantastic Beasts. Reconnecting with old friends.
All good things and my heart is full.
I have good memories of Christmases past, when I was growing up. And I want so much to give my kids the same. Good memories and feelings of excitement and happiness at the holiday season.
It's magic, loveys. For children and grown ups. It's a baby in a manger and a star in the East and shepherds and belief and faith.

And the gift of family. Lily running around with happy feet. Ash and Linc playing and eating in the breakfast room. Moments that are going quick and that are here for us to cherish.
The New Year is almost here, and another holiday season is wrapped up and behind us. But maybe we can carry the magic with us for a while longer. Maybe we can carry the love with us as we move into the new year.
Start fresh with perspective and faith and gratitude.
Family, faith, love, grace. These are gifts, lovey. I'll take them and keep them and be glad for the special moments that stay with us forever in our hearts.  

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