Monday, July 16, 2018

D is for December

December 2017!! You came in with such a rush, and you did not disappoint.  It is always a challenge choosing how we will spend our time during the month of December, because there are so many great choices!  Here are our choices for this year:

I was able to go on my first Young Life weekend camp!  It was absolutely amazing; I had the best time with the girls in my cabin & with my best friend Hannah showing me the ropes.  I absolutely love the Young Life model; I find so much joy in the relational aspect of this evangelism ministry!  The kids are worth it, and I cannot wait to see where the Lord takes Matt&I on this journey.

Me&Chelsea representing Orange Park!  Southwind, you were absolutely beautiful in December.  Whoohoo, and so much fun!

Our cabin was packed full!  I wouldn't have had it any other way.

While I was away, super Dad kept our crazy crew for the weekend.  I came home to a house full of wookies!!  haha, these have been a really fun gift their daddy gave them; who knew wookie onesies would be so cute?

My new favorite hat came from Southwind. I love my beautiful sunshine state.

The boys all got some Young Life swag & so did Daddy.  I had a fun time bringing home souvenirs from this trip!

In December, you never know when you will see Santa.  Sometimes, even in Walmart.  I cannot remember where James was this day, haha! Walmart Santa gave the boys candy canes. (I didn't want to burst their bubble, otherwise we would have kept on walking...!)

The cheering section for the OPHS girls basketball team! I love taking our boys up to the school when we can.  It's fun for them to get to see a bit of what high school is like.

Oh Hayden, you are the sweetest. (all the heart eyes) ((translation: Christmas time is the best time of the year)). Yes it is you darling boy.

Young Life had it's annual Christmas party & I almost came home with a mouse!  The white elephant gift exchange was so fun, but I couldn't even begin to actually take care of a mouse.  So Megan got to take him home & I got a gingerbread nativity.  It was a really good trade.

Hannah&I tried our hand at making our own magnolia wreaths!  They were really fun to do, but they did crumble up a bit and brown up some when they aged.  Not a forever wreath, but so pretty for a few weeks!

The boys are really getting into all the games we play at YL club on Monday nights.  They now know to ask & we try out the games with them too for fun.  This was them being wrapped up in gift paper, and they had a blast bursting free!

Yes, those are storm trooper Christmas lights over my mantle.  Thank you Jessica Cummings!  We will enjoy these as long as they last.

This year's felt ornament was an ewok in honor of David's Halloween costume.  They turned out so cute!! I did have a little trouble making enough- Christina & Michelle, I still owe you one!

My view so many days- all four boys sitting together.  I absolutely love it.  And David was trying on the Clemson orange overalls that we got from my brother's family.  We were hoping for another National Championship title!

Calvin was a shepherd in his class nativity production at his school.  I loved seeing him in this show! It is surreal watching him do these same traditions that James&Hayden did just a year and some ago. I can't believe he's going to be in elementary school next year.  Boggling my mind!

All his brothers wanted to come see Calvin's show.  We had a great time together!

Matt somehow found peonies, my absolute favorite flower, at the Whole Foods during December!  It was the nicest treat for me.  A view of peonies&a Christmas tree!  I was so glad I downloaded Emily Freeman's 'Quiet Collection' for Christmas this year.  It was a daily advent style devotional, but it is an audio collection.  I loved being able to listen, sometimes multiple times during the day just for the fun, while I was doing my chores or driving to pick up kiddos.  It really did create some lovely quiet space for me; the Lord whispers to my heart in those quiet moments.

Matt went hunting with my dad up in GA, and they did have a very successful hunt!  No Scent must work really well, cause we have a freezer full of venison now.  I am super excited to see his buck once it's finished at the taxidermist!

Daddy got home, & we had some time to spend as a family.  So we chose to pack it full of holiday fun!  We took the boys to see the same Santa at the mall (like we do every year), and then the boys chose Christmas ornaments at Hallmark.  I love this tradition, & I adore David's face looking up at Santa!!

We got the boys in the car and drove them down to the Polar Express!!  We got on matching jammies and took them to ride a train down in Tavares, FL.  It was really a lovely time!  We were disappointed because we've always gone to the Cannonball Express, but it was closed this year.  The Polar Express was not a poor substitute, and our boys really enjoyed it.

Our Star Wars fans were really happy to go and see the new movie, The Last Jedi.  Even David is now a fan!

James made this 'ugly sweater' t-shirt for school, and although he was not excited to pose for this picture, he was very proud of his shirt.  I had him wear it over his Christmas PJs shirt to make it even better.  Love this kid.

One of the best views in my house.  Christmas tree up, stockings hung, storm trooper lights over the mantel, and sweet David snuggles with Daddy.  The view fills up my heart with so many things to be grateful for.

Our boys make us the most precious gifts, so I try to take pictures because the gift itself doesn't always stay in a safe place.  This card from James is just so sweet, and Hayden made me a really lovely Christmas tree that he colored and cut out himself.

We hosted a Christmas party at our house for our Young Life kids, and it was a blast (as always).  I am so glad we get the opportunity to be a part of their lives.

In a rare moment, Roo is waiting by the door for something or someone to come home.  Bless his sweet heart.

Another favorite for us at Christmas: the St. Augustine lights.  They put up so many, and it is really beautiful.  Our boys have always loved riding the canons in the park, and it is even better with the lights.  A good reason to go to St. Aug is always a yes in my book!

The beauty of the everyday.  I am amazed by how it never changes.

Hayden's favorite thing this December: making his own marshmallow snowmen!  Hilarious, and of course yummy too.  He did put them on their own 'beach' vanilla wafer.  That's the FL way.

Our Gingerbread Nativity!  We ate it immediately because it was delicious.  haha!

Grammy & Papa came down to visit us for Christmas this year because Matt didn't have any time off during the week of the holiday.  It is always a gift when we get to host our family.

Christmas Eve Service!

Daddy falls asleep sitting up sometimes, and I have to take his picture!

Hayden's letter to Santa, which he booby-trapped with glitter so he would know if someone opened it.    We opened it and set it by the fireplace, glitter all over the hearth.  I love his drawing of the sleigh and reindeer!

CHRISTMAS MORNING!! I absolutely love these blurry, happy, chaotic moments.

We celebrated Legos & Legos, and more Legos!! Hayden got a guitar & Calvin got a racetrack from the Cars 3 movie.  The Wookie talking mask was a big hit, and so were the warm-up stuffed animals from my Aunt Cindy & Uncle Robby!  I got Matt the Nintendo classic, and Aunt Michelle send the funny t-shirts.  Aunt Christina sent each of the boys a big box of Legos, and Christmas was a huge free-for-all!

Enter: the post Christmas chaos.  Lots of packaging laying around, many new toys with no homes being enjoyed and discarded, and then picked up by another child.  So many bits & parts & accessories.  But the loud laughing and the continuous sound and excited voices cannot be beat.  I love just sitting back and watching them sort through all the things while I drink a coffee.  I am so grateful to be able to celebrate with our boys in a way that feels extravagant to them and to me.  The Lord's love for us is beyond this extravagant, beyond the best and biggest surprise.  It is a glimpse of heaven.

Grammy & Papa didn't mind helping build legos with the boys.  I had to institute a rule that only one set could be opened for each child at a time in hopes that all the sets would be built, but not mixed up!  It was a great fun working on those together.

My post-Christmas-meal table.  The remnants of our tablescape remain, and looked so pretty in the light.  I just loved the glasses and chargers and all of it.  I was happy it was left behind because it reminded me of the joy of the moments.  I looked at it again, and counted it as a gift, cementing the memory and thanking God for it.

Some finished Lego creations!

Playing with one of my favorite families in town, the Zepps.  These are our bookend children, the bigs&littles.  They were so cute together I just couldn't help myself.

Christmas celebration at Mimi & Grandpa's house!  Checkout their beautiful room & how eager those faces are; we were spoiled again!

Thank you for the awesome suitcases!  We are looking forward to using them for summer camp. :-)

Roo and David were playing in the nerf gun war with the older boys, but I just loved the light behind them.  Such a beautiful evening.

Matt&I took the boys out to Hudson beach for a seafood dinner & it was freezing!  You never know when the temperature will just drop in Florida.  It likes to catch us when were aren't prepared!  But we made the best of it, and these wild men still wanted to eat ice cream.  It was a treat of an evening.

We were lucky that we were able to go bowling with the boys' cousin Jack to celebrate his birthday while we were in town!  Cosmic bowling and cupcakes were a huge hit! Happy 7th birthday Jack!

We made it to church in our sweaters, and the boys loved finding Grandpa at the end.

The Prose-Lyon family living nativity scene at the family holiday party!  What a blast. David was baby Jesus.

Wow, that's a wrap!  It only took me 6 months to get around to organizing this post, and I've got 6 more months of life to catch up on. But it is all worth it.  The boys love 'their' family books, and they look back through the pages more than I do!  I'm so thankful that I've been able to keep these up, and I'm hoping I can continue.  I know it means so much to me to look back over our memories and enjoy them again.  I absolutely love seeing how much we've changed as the boys have grown.  It is truly amazing to flip through the pages and see the years fly by.  That's pretty much how it feels in real time too, but this way at least I can look back often with a little more mental clarity that my memory affords me.

Thank you Lord for a wonderful year.  I am humbled by all you've brought into our life this year with the beginning of our journey in Young Life, and I am excited to see how you use it in our future.  I feel as though a new door has opened in our life that will lead to many places, and I am just so grateful to see how the Lord changes our lives in it.  Praise the Lord for a year full of his mercy and grace to us!