New Year's Eve

Christmas pictures from the big camera.
Two things.

1. If you can believe it, I'm only sharing a few pics and sending links to family to the rest. I have nearly a 100 in the Christmas 2013 folder. You're welcome for not sharing them all. Actually with Flickr's new crazy-town photo sharing, you can just click through a slideshow of all of them.

2. Anyone else feel frustrated that their photos are unable to capture or convey the sheer joy they're feeling at the moment they snap the picture?

Okay, 3 things. I'm really ready to have my own computer back. Enough with this little laptop nonsense.

William and Rory playing the DS on the bed.

The glazed looks on Camden and Xavier's face should tell you they're playing the Wii.

Camden and Rory's Christmas present.

Their reaction when they opened the present.

Oh, yes, we did get a big jar of Nutella for Christmas.

This is self explanatory.

The guy's took a walk/bike ride after Christmas dinner.

The goodie table. Oh, we definitely needed a whole table. And the picture doesn't even show the extra tins underneath the table.

Family picture

Dirty Santa. William opened the first gift, and it was a beauty set. :)

Xavier, on the other hand, opened up a Star Wars clipboard.

Uncle Matt with the kiddos.

Three very serious super hero boys wearing their new super hero hoodies from Uncle Michael and Aunt Liz.

Tossing a girl into the mix.

Just a few final thoughts about the 2013 Christmas season for my own documentation. It was the year we simplified even more than previous years. We decided early on (with the kid's input) to not give gifts not only to each other but to pretty much everyone else who is typically on our list . . cousins, friends, colleagues, etc. Instead, we chose to use the money and give to others. We chose deliberately to focus on Christ, to read Scripture and sing together each night in front of the tree, family togetherness. We did surprise the kids with tickets to the Legoland Discovery Center (to be used during spring break) and I bought Brian a small gift (much to his dismay) so we didn't totally stick to the no present rule. The look on their faces when they opened the envelope was priceless. And instead of a pile of presents that they will not remember in a couple of months, not to mention the financial stress of a big Christmas, I know they will remember choosing to give away their present money and then the surprise of a Legoland ticket.

I love that we kept it simple; the kids were still spoiled thanks to grandparents and they were so, so sweet and generous to voluntarily give up their own Christmas presents for someone else. We will keep this tradition I think. What we won't keep is not giving physical gifts to others in our lives. I want us to remember that there is joy in giving, and I think we lost that just a bit this year. We gave away to causes and monetary gifts to other people who have less than we do, but it wasn't personal. There is definitely joy to be found in choosing simple, meaningful gifts to those we love in our family and I want to make sure we remember the value in that.

The tree and decorations are down and put away (anyone else breathe a sigh of relief when that is done?). The house looks so fresh and clutter-free as of this afternoon. We're spending the evening with our church family playing games, and then New Year's Day is blissfully quiet and completely event-free.

2013 was a good year. It had its hard moments, to be sure . . . my dad's heart surgery and multiple hospital stays, but he is doing well and I had no chemo . . . for an entire year! I don't know what 2014 holds, but we're blessed to be starting a new year together.


Vicky said…
I admire how much intention you embraced for Christmas. You not only picked a way to do it- but you also had a reason for it and the result you hoped to achieve. That speaks so much to me. We cut way back too- we get by with less and less. We just need to get better at finding ways to give too- more intention is what I need- will hang on to this for next year! Thanks for paving the way :) A year of no chemo- how did a whole year go by just like that? Happy 2014!
Wow. This sounds, and looks, like the perfect holiday!! I love all the thought and love you put into it… it shows. (And why do we not live closer so that we could "live" chat about photography concerns?!) I see the joy!

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