Merry Christmas!

My parents came for Christmas this year, which was awesome. It was nice to have a distraction, especially on Christmas morning, which had the potential to be a little sad. On Christmas Eve we made cookies for Santa, and everyone helped decorate!

After the kids went to bed I had a lot of last-minute wrapping to do, so my mom helped!

When it was all said and done, everyone had overflowing stockings, and the tree was well stocked. Every year the sight of the tree lighting all the gifts in the darkened living room takes my breath away.

The next morning the kids had to find the pickle ornament. I’ve always had a pickle ornament on my tree because it was a gift from someone, but we never really did the whole “find the pickle” tradition. This year the kids told me to make sure I hid it for them to find in the morning, because they used to do that at their dad’s. Apparently I did a good job because they had to bust out the flashlights! Chase found the pickle so he got to play “Santa” and pass out the gifts. (But he eventually let Chloe take over, because he’s sweet like that.)

The kids got what they asked for from Santa. Well, Chloe did. Chase had no idea what he wanted this year so Santa just guessed. Chloe asked for a Fitbit, and Chase got a wifi projector so he could project his games/videos from his phone onto the wall for better viewing.

And of course we couldn’t forget the fur babies! They got new blankets, bones, and toys… and of course I had to dress them up a little, too.

Oh, and the old folks got some stuff too:

The framed artwork was from my brother and his family in Idaho. We knew we were getting a framed something (just by feeling the packages), but had no idea what. We opened them at the same time and my mom and I both started bawling. It is such a meaningful gift to me. I honestly don’t have the right words to describe how it makes me feel. It’s hard having my family so spread apart, especially right now. But my brother flew in when I needed his help with the dogs and such, my mom was begging to come for whatever I needed after Brian died. My parents weren’t planning on coming down for Christmas this year, but those plans quickly changed. Family truly knows no distance. I love them all so much.

My kids got me very thoughtful gifts this year, too, and my parents helped them pull that off. About a week before Christmas Chloe got a little panicked because she said she knew what she wanted to get me but had no idea how she was going to do it because their dad always took them to do that stuff. I told her to text Grandma, and they worked it out from there. Chloe found the item online and sent her the link to order it for her, and then paid her back when she got in town. Then on Christmas Eve my parents took Chase to Target to make sure he had a chance to get me something, too. Chloe got me a set of new cell phone cases (because mine was cracking and she took note of that… how sweet!), and Chase got me a pair of fuzzy slippers with hard soles so I could wear them outside when I take the dogs out in the morning. So thoughtful. I love these kiddos so much, and I am thankful that my mom stepped in to help them get me something I would use and love.

Of course while my parents were in town we had some other adventures as well. We decided to hit up “Christmas Towne” at Old Settlers in Round Rock. There was a carnival set up that Chloe saw one night while we were driving by that she got really excited about, so we went on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately the carnival was closed then and Chloe was super bummed… but it was just kind of “open” so we got sneaky and explored it anyway. (Shhhhhhhh…. We are so bad!) lol

Even though the carnival was closed, we were still able to explore the rest of Christmas Towne:

The adventure actually inspired us to take some pictures there for our New Years card photo shoot with my mom a couple days later. This time there was a worker at the carnival who actually let us get on some of the rides so it wasn’t so illegal.

The photos turned out so nice, but this one has to be my personal favorite. It just says everything:

Man, I’m tired.

My dad wanted to help me with something at the house so I asked him to replace my exterior lights that I have hated with a PASSION since I moved in, and I am so thankful he did that for me. What a difference! Every time I look at them they make me happy. It’s the little things!

And then of course I have photos of us just being goofy. Because that’s who we are:

This holiday was weird. It was a bit of an emotional roller coaster… in ways I hadn’t anticipated. It wasn’t like I sat around feeling sad about the kids not having their dad around or anything like that… it was more like I was totally fine until something happened and I lost my cool, and/or broke down and cried. My parents were so understanding. We had some fun, but we had some tears and frustrations. It’s OK, though…. They came because they knew I needed them… not because they thought it would be a party. That’s what family is all about, after all.

Merry Christmas, everyone. Lots of love to you all.

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