december traditions

I can't believe it is already December! I'll be honest, I had kind of forgotten that today was the first day of December until yesterday afternoon. Grayson reminded me that our elf, Doodle, always comes back on the 1st AND we could start unwrapping our 25 books of Christmas. You know what that meant? All 25 books needed to be wrapped. oops. So I went to bed at midnight last night.

I really do love this season & experiencing it with kids is just so much fun. Even at age 8 (and sometimes acting way too cool for school), Grayson still believes in the magic of Christmas and gets so excited for December. I love it!

He is my traditions kid. He loves a good tradition and remembers everything year to year. Most of his personality traits are from his daddy, but that traditions loving part? That is all his mama. I love hearing about Christmas traditions that other families do & thought I would share some of ours! 

One of my favorite things we do in November to kick off the season is fill up our shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. We have done this each year with our kids & I think it is a really simple way to teach them about giving. We typically let the kids pick the age and gender of the kids that we are buying for and they pick out the items for their box. You can even add tracking to your box and in a few months, you will find out where your box went! Two years ago, we came back from our beach trip with a letter post marked from Africa. It had a hand written thank you note AND a picture of the sweet girl that had received our box! Our kids thought that was so neat. 

This year I really wanted to volunteer as a family with a local organization. It can be hard to find a way to serve with young kids, but after searching, I discovered a local ministry that we can help with! GraceWorks is in Franklin and each year they have volunteers sign up to shop & deliver Christmas dinner to a local family in need. We will be doing this a few days before Christmas and I hope it will be something we can do each year! 

One of my favorite traditions is our 25 books of Christmas. This sounds a little overwhelming, but if you stock up on books after the holidays, it really isn't bad! We now have collected way more than 25 but I wrap our favorites and it is a fun way to countdown to Christmas. The kids take turn each night opening a new book and we read them before bed throughout the month! Some are new books, but my favorites are the ones that I had when I was a kid.

Today was one of my most favorite things to do in December: the Franklin Christmas Parade! I have always loved downtown Franklin and it is especially charming at Christmas. The parade has the local high school bands and a bunch of businesses with fun floats. It ends with Santa Claus and fake snow...fake snow and downtown Franklin...it's magic!

We have so many more--Doodle the elf, drinking hot chocolate and driving around looking at Christmas lights, decorating the trees together, the candlelight Christmas Eve service at church. Truly, I could share so many special things that I hope continue to be special to our kids. Things that they request to do when they are young adults and come home for Christmas. Those are the traditions I hope to create!

So now I am curious...what are some things your family does each year that are special traditions? 


a life well lived

88 years. That is how long my Granddaddy lived on this earth. We actually went down to Georgia this past summer to celebrate his 88th birthday with him. He was battling leukemia, but he looked good & he felt pretty good. We ate chocolate cake and spent the day with him. I actually have a video of my kids singing "happy birthday" to him as he blew out his candles and it is a video I will cherish forever. 

Grief is such a weird thing. I have felt so many emotions over the last week but the sadness really does just feel like a gut punch every now & then when I least expect it. I sat on my front stoop last Sunday while hanging our outside Christmas lights and just cried. I knew the end was near & I just sat down and wrote out all of my thoughts that I wanted to say at the funeral. He went to be Jesus the next day. It is sad, like, the very thought of never seeing him on his couch at his house makes me just want to fall apart, kind of sad. BUT, my Granddaddy was a man of God--he loved the Lord. I know he is with Jesus & he is no longer suffering from that awful disease. The many emotions I have been feeling? That's where that comes in. Relief, because I know he no longer hurts. JOY, because I know that it is not a forever type of goodbye...I will see him again. My heart is full knowing that he is reunited with his wife of 63 years. 

There are so many things I will always remember about my Granddaddy's character. He was such a good man.  He was a generous and kind man; even as he was getting poked and prodded ALL the time these last few months, he always told his nurses "thank you." His caregivers all spoke about how kind he was. I remember the lawn guy telling my dad last month how sorry he was that Granddaddy was so sick because he just really enjoyed him. I never once saw him get angry. He was gentle and patient. Those are the ways I hope that I can be more like him. He left quite a legacy & I am so thankful our kids got a chance to know him and love him. Cheers to 88 years of a life well lived! 


Mic check. Is this thing on?

oh, hi.
remember me? it's been a while. actually close to 2 years. yikes.

This has been something I have thought about resurrecting many, many times but I often get overwhelmed and just push it aside. I also think, "who actually reads blogs anymore??" -- well, you know, the real blogs with real content -- those seem to be hard to find these days.  I started this blog as a newlywed who had just moved to Tennessee and didn't have a single friend or family member nearby. Thank God I made actual real-life friends soon after that, but this little blog? It brought me so many lifelong friends who have walked this motherhood journey with me & I still love this little space of mine so much.

My Granddaddy was one person I could always count on to read my blog posts. He always told me he enjoyed them and once they started to fade away, he tried to get me to continue my blog because he liked the little life updates he could read. My Granddaddy passed away on Tuesday and in some sort of way to honor him, I am going to try and bring this blog back to life. I don't care how many readers I actually have & you certainly won't find gift guides or sponsored posts here, but I do want this to continue to be my life scrapbook. A place where I can come to pour out my thoughts; believe it or not, I have a lot of those. A place where I can share what we are doing as a family. A place where I can just have my own little piece of the internet.

A lot has changed since my last post. a lot. 
Grayson and Griffin are both in elementary school now--kindergarten and 2nd grade.
Cheney is in pre-k & could actually go to kindergarten next year. HOW? spoiler alert: she's not.
We have continued to make our beloved money pit a home.
I am still teaching preschool part-time but also now have a 2nd job; I am a travel agent with FTM Travel and I am loving it.
We lost my beloved little chihuahua in July 2017 and I still miss that feisty little Jack.
We've joined a new church, met so many wonderful friends, and just feel very content.

So, here we are. Dusting off the ol' blog. I'm happy you're here!