This year I have so many mixed emotions going in to the Christmas season. I have always loved Christmas, I loved giving to others in need, and surprising my children Christmas morning. After being separated from my husband for almost a year now, all that has transpired during that time which has been caused by choices out of our control had begun to leave me feeling defeated.
Here’s the thing though no matter what has come our way the kids and I have continued to feel pure happiness, love and safety. We have a home, heat, lights, food and all the essentials which many go without all year long. We are so very blessed with these things and most of all we are blessed with an amazing support system who loves us, lifts us up and pulls us through with lots of inspiration.
Today the kids and I decorated for Christmas and I have to tell you all a little secret. Last year the kiddos were done with decorating by the time with finished the tree so I came up with a plan, we saran wrapped the tree and stored it all year. This year we were able to carry it up, unwrap it and plug it in, bam the tree was done! It was so easy and worked perfect! The only thing we did was add our completely random hippo ornament a friend of mine picked out for us this year and she is just so cute she is front and center!
We had plenty of other Christmas decor to decorate the rest of the house so we played Christmas music, danced, laughed and made memories that I pray will last a life time.
It’s days like today that remind me that no matter what else is going on in life I have amazing kiddos who love to help, who enjoy the small things, and who at this age still enjoy family time together! I also can’t believe how much my babies have grown and how quickly.
Christmas and holidays have come to be known for gifts, but I think the memories we make with our family are the true meaning of Christmas and the celebration begins and ends with the love we all share.
I have noticed on social media that the month of November has become a time to reflect on the things we are grateful/thankful for. I love this idea and I participate in it each year. Throughout the year though not just the month of November I try to remember how much I truly have to be thankful for. During really ruff patches in my life this helps me to realize I have way more to be thankful for than to worry about.
The things we can be grateful for can be big or small, but trying to remember each time something negative or bad happens to stop and think what do I have to be thankful for right now has always helped lift me up. It may not fix the situation but it gives me a bit of strength to face the situation before me.
Recently I was invited to a group on social media that is full of people who are regularly posting big and small things they are grateful for and I love reading all of it. Not only do I see the happiness in their lives but I am even more inspired to remember that no matter what I face in life there is something to be grateful for in my life.
In closing I want to list a few things I am grateful for and would love to hear from some of you in the comments about the things you are grateful for…..
Summer is starting to come to a end here for us in Florida. We will be headed back home to real life. Before that though we have a few more trips to the beach to make, a trip to Sea World and many more laughs and memories to make.
I keep thinking about the flight here. It was the kids first time on a airplane and the whole flight I watched them, listened to them and thought to myself this is going to be amazing! The look in their eyes when the plane took off, when we got above the clouds and their eyes got so bright as they told me how it looked like giant comfy pillows. Watching them was like seeing life through a child’s eyes and I can’t explain how much my heart filled to the brim with pure happiness.
Driving around town here is even a adventure. We are surrounded by water, ok maybe not surrounded but one of the main roads is about a 15 to 20 minutes straight stretch of road and as you drive along it and look to the right it is water, beautiful palm trees and sea life. This water they call a river here but being from MO if I see dolphins jumping, the waterway stretched as far as my eyes can see I have a hard time considering this a “river”. 😉 It is a river though and it is BEAUTIFUL!
We went to a place called Gator Land. As you can imagine it is filled with gators but it also has birds, snakes and the best part is there are these paths that go through it all right up close with all of the creatures. Your safe because your on a deck like structure but you are right there next to 100’s of gators. While we were looking over at about 4 gators one came swimming up with a log in it’s mouth and decided to do a death roll right by us. The kids LOVED this! Their eyes again so bright and their laughs and comments as they watched just made my heart fill up again.
Let’s discuss sharks for a moment, I thought my kids would be terrified of the ocean to be honest. Before we came they did research. LOL I am serious they got online and looked up all the sea life and all about sharks and shark attacks. So I thought when we got here I may have to convince them they were safe and not to worry. I was wrong! They jumped right in and haven’t stopped. There was a day at the beach when the man next to us was fishing, he caught something and while the kids swam they watched him pull it in…..it was a SHARK! The kids came in from the water and we walked over and watched the man handle the 4 to 5ft long shark and then release it back in the water where the kids had been swimming. I thought for sure our beach day was over and good luck getting the kids back to the beach……Nope I was wrong the kids went right back over to our stuff grabbed their boogie boards and jumped right back in the water! Yes, as a Momma I was a bit freaked out but this is the ocean, this is what has always been in the ocean, and I can’t let my fears hold the kids back. I was so proud of them! They enjoyed the rest of their day and had an amazing story to tell. 🙂
This summer has been one that I know I will never forget. I have watched my children grow, come out of their shells and live life each day to the fullest. I have always been drawn to natures beauty and Florida is overflowing with it, but I have also seen the beauty of my children’s growth, excitement and love of adventure and nature. This is what I will cherish forever.
I remember as a child my godmother would take my sister and I on trips each summer. We traveled with her to all different states. Most of the time we drove but once in awhile we would fly. I remember one trip so clearly, we drove to Washington DC to visit with my godfather and then made several stops one of those included Rehoboth Beach Delaware. Walking along the board walk, breathing in the ocean air, playing beach volleyball and seeing the bright neon lights at the different shops along the board walk is so clear in my memory. We visited history museums, the white house, the Holocaust museum, I really could go on and on but the point is that at 36 years old I can still remember, clear as day the summers I spent with my godmother. I learned so much on those trips, at the time I don’t think I realized I was learning, I just thought I was having fun. Looking back I realize how blessed I was to see all of these places and how much all of those moments have stuck with me.
I had hoped to provide similar experiences for my kiddos. We have been blessed with many camping trips and lots of trips to the farm. My kiddos love the outdoors, everything from fishing, four wheeling, float trips, and all the farm animals of course. My son has a great eye for spotting museums as we are driving, he loves learning about history, because of his great eye we have also learned a lot about different areas all around our state.
This summer we were blessed with an amazing gift. The kids had not seen the ocean or flew on a plane yet and this summer we were blessed with the opportunity to fly to Florida and spend the summer! Words can not express how grateful I am for this opportunity. Watching my children experience flying on a airplane, and stepping in the ocean for the very first time are two of the things that they have dreamed of and they have been able to do. This summer has been making memories that I know they will look back on and remember forever.
This adventure fell so perfectly in to place, my nephew came home for the summer from college and was able to house and dog sit, and everything else to allow for this trip to happen fell into place too. I was a nervous wreck because anyone that knows me, knows I don’t like to go to far from home and for sure not on my own but this new beginning is about starting fresh and why not start big with big adventures. 🙂
More on our big adventure coming soon…………………………………… 🙂