Camera issues prevented the taking of memorable photos during our trip, but we did capture this one during our time with Claire & Kyndra. Auntie Elise was probably next to me, jumping up and down in hopes of getting everyone to look forward at once.
Not bad for 6 kiddos, huh?
Not bad for 6 kiddos, huh?
We are three weeks into the new year, and still, I am feeling so thankful for the start of a new year. And it's all because of the week between Christmas and New Year.
We spend that week with Andy's family, in Southern California. I'll be the first to admit it is hard to travel at Christmas time. We do it every year, and with a young family that seems to grow in number on a very regular basis. Most years I threaten that this may be the last time I'm willing to spend the week before Christmas doing all the normal celebratory activities AND packing up our whole
Every year, our travel time is a wonderful opportunity for Andy and I to catch up. We talk about anything and *everything* during the six hour drive to Southern California. And my sweet husband is so patient that he doesn't even complain if I talk his ear off about whatever topic is closest to my heart at the moment. I suppose at the very least, it is entertainment during a long drive! :) Seriously, though, God uses this time every year to knit our hearts closer together as we evaluate how our year has gone, and what changes we need to make regarding any areas of life that are not running so smoothly.
And oh, how we love to dream together. We talk about books we want to read with the kids (Narnia!), home projects we'd like to start (landscaping and a chicken coop), and ways to better organize our time. The kids travel pretty well, so although there is always some restlessness, for the most part it's not too bad. This year we listened to half a dozen Adventures in Odyssey cds! (Incidentally, we avoid the Aventures in Odyssey dvds and books like the plague. We love using our imagination to picture the town, the people, and the adventures.)
Once we arrive in California, my week of bliss begins. Maybe it wouldn't be bliss to others, but I love it! I often go to bed a little earlier than Andy, and relax in the quiet of our room as I listen to Keandre and Brooklyn sleeping peacefully. I definitely get more sleep than at home, even if Brooklyn decides to go through a growth spurt and get her first tooth in the same week, and wants to cuddle and nurse every 3 hours around the clock. In fact, I may complain a little, but I'm more rested than usual, so it's really not too bad. :)
In the morning, we take turns getting up at 7am with the kids, who have strict instructions to not leave their rooms until then, and we eat breakfast or snuggle by the woodburning stove while I feed Brooklyn and read Keandre stories. During the day, we go on long walks with Grandma's dogs following along behind, traipse through the many acres Papa and Grandma live on, make dams down at the creek (which was actually running this year!), and watch the kids ride trikes, skateboards, and play tractors down the steep driveway. Oh, how they squeal with delight! There is also lots of cousin time. For Destany and Lisa, that means playing with dolls; Lucas and Cooper spend endless hours playing outside. Oh, the memories they are creating.
This is also the only week of the year that I actually have time to read, journal, pray, and reflect on how things are running in our family, what God seems to be calling us to in the new year, and start getting excited about the weeks and months ahead. And I take full advantage of it. By the time we are heading home, I feel refreshed, excited for the new year, and ready to jump in. The new year is so full of HOPE!