Monday, December 31, 2012

every good and perfect gift.

we had an amazing holiday season this year- our first as a family of three.  everything felt different because we have bennett.  my excitement came so much less from my own anticipation of the holiday celebrations and so much more from watching bennett enjoy his "holiday firsts."  joe and i have talked a lot about traditions lately.  traditions have been big in my family since i was a little girl, and have always made christmas feel special and magical.  so, even though bennett is only an infant and will not remember his first christmas, we wanted to start some of our own family traditions this year.

on the friday night before christmas, we all got in our pajamas, got hot chocolate, and drove around looking at christmas lights.  bennett (who obviously did not have hot chocolate) fell asleep within minutes and joe and i proceeded to critique the straightness of lights hung on the eaves of different houses.  *magical, right?*  the sunday before christmas we celebrated with the wienke side of the family.  we opened gifts, played with the kids, and ate yummy italian food. 6 adults, 3 kids, 2 babies, and 4 dogs makes for quite a busy house, but we had a great time. its not all that often that everyone gets together, so we fully embrace the chaos when we have the chance.  on christmas eve, we drove to my parents' house in chanhassen and had chicken and dumpling soup.  we put bennett to bed and then watched home alone with my parents. such a classic.  ("buzz, your girlfriend.  woof."  L.O.V.E. it!)  christmas morning, bennett had so many presents under the tree!  i'm fairly certain, at least if speed of present-into-mouth is any indicator, he loved them all, but he's liked his musical puppy from uncle ryan and auntie jeanie the most.
cousins!  bennett and whitney
i love this picture!  bennett trying to eat whitney- she looks so scared!
opening presents!
we had pillsbury cinnamon rolls, a tiffany family tradition, for breakfast and then basically loafed around all day.  in the past, we've gone to a movie in the theater on christmas day, but decided that it might just be too much of a challenge with bennett. so, instead, on christmas night we all (joe, me, bennett, my brother, ryan, and his wife, jeanie, and my mom and dad) watched the cartoon "how the grinch stole christmas."  the next morning, my mom and i shopped all day (starting at 7am!) while joe hung out with my dad and bennett.  i'm guessing joe and ben will have an annual "boys' day" on the 26th from now on!

my boys
then just this last weekend, december 29th and 30th, we went to hudson, iowa to see my mom's side of the family. hard to believe that last year we announced we were having a baby and now we have a smiling, kicking, rolling, almost crawling little man!  we stayed with my grandma and grandpa and it was good to catch up with them.  my great aunt beverly (my grandpa's brother's wife) passed away on december 28th after four long years living with alzheimer's.  it was a blessing that she's in a better place now and it was nice to reminisce about beverly with my grandparents.  also, we were lucky enough to get to spend some time with my cousin amanda and her husband beau who were in from denver.  amanda has been one of my very best friends since we were little (we are 2 months apart in age) and beau and joe have settled into quite the bromance.  we don't get to see them nearly as often as we'd like so it was fun to catch up with them.  my aunt stacie and uncle jay (amanda's parents) hung out with bennett while amanda, beau, joe and i went out to old chicago.  it was nice to have a night out and have good conversation and lots of laughter with them.  on sunday we celebrated christmas with my mom's family.  after we ate a big meal, we all went around and said what we praise God most for this year, which was a really meaningful reflection for all of us.  health, safety, good jobs, time with family, healed relationships, anniversary celebrations, new babies, and peaceful goodbyes were among the praises.  we are a blessed family.

very focused
love the books from beau and amanda!
me, amanda, and bennett
"every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." -james 1:17

i'm thankful, and i'm praying for health, happiness, and a year of growing closer to God this year.

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