You know what else I love? Instagram. It's such a good way to share little snippets of our life and have them there as a record for later when I've nearly forgotten about what we were up to at a certain point in our lives. It's faster than blogging and admittedly a lot less work. And you can print out little books with all your pictures and captions, thereby using Instagram as a journal of sorts. I use chatbooks and have loved it so far. I even made a few custom books for family members as Christmas gifts this year. So I guess my point is that even when this space is looking pretty bleak I usually take time once or twice a day to post on my IG account, so be sure to follow along with me @lifealaskanstyle.
Yesterday was Christmas Sunday, and it was so full and yet so laid back and relaxed and warm and cozy. We all dressed up and went to church, then headed downtown for brunch afterwards at the Valley Hotel (our favorite breakfast place by far in Palmer). Then we walked just down the street to Vagabond Blues for vanilla chai (me), green tea (Steve), hot cocoa (Riggs) and cookies/treats all around.
When we got home the kids went right down for their naps and Steve and I watched a movie together. I wrapped presents while we watched and am now pretty much done with presents, other than edible presents, which I'll be baking tomorrow. As soon as the kids woke up we got them dressed again and piled into the truck to head back to church for the Christmas program and yummy treats afterwards.
Yesterday was special because it really truly felt like Christmas, maybe for the first time this year. I've always loved Christmas so much, but it's been hard for me to adjust to being the main source of all the magic. I'm the one (well, technically me and Steve, but let's be real...mostly me haha) doing the decorating, and planning the fun Christmas outings, picking out the presents and then wrapping them with care, and teaching Riggs about what Christmas is all about. I don't get to be the one on the other end of that anymore, and it's definitely much more stressful and less fun than I imagined. It's a lot of work, even with the simplest of Christmas traditions and I'm still getting used to my changing role, nearly three years into parenting.
Yesterday was one of those days that made me realize what really makes Christmas so magical, it's about sacrifice and love for our family and friends. Jesus' life on earth was the perfect example of that, the example that we strive to imitate in our own lives. It's only by God's grace that we can even attempt to love those around us in the way we should, putting others before ourselves.
Baking cookies with our kids, despite the mess we know we'll be cleaning up after. Staying up late getting ready to host our friends for Christmas parties. Wrapping presents during nap time, and then rewrapping them after the baby rips the paper off five minutes after they wake up from their nap. Putting in extra time at Church to prepare for a special Christmas service. Baking hundreds of cookies for friends and neighbors. Spending half the day in the kitchen on Christmas day making that amazing Christmas feast for family and friends. The list goes on and on and on. Throughout it all, trying to remember the reason we're spending so much time making this season special.
Yesterday was winter solstice, and I thought a lot about it for some reason. This winter hasn't been ideal, and it's hard for me to get fully into the Christmas spirit when there's no snow. But I realized that snow or no snow, winter is a reminder of the amazing rhythm of God's creation. I love this quote..."the countryside sleeps in winter and within it lies all the potential of spring, summer and autumn." Instead of rushing around trying to decorate our houses perfectly, trying to get just the right gifts for everyone on our lists, trying to make every last party, trying to host the perfect party, we should be taking time this season, time to reflect and prepare for the year ahead of us.
"This is the solstice, the still point of the sun
it's cusp and midnight, the year's threshold
and unlocking, where the past
lets go of and becomes the future;
the place of caught breath..."
I hope all of you have a magical Christmas week and take time to acknowledge and enjoy all the beautiful things God had graced you with in this life. Take an extra moment at each Christmas gathering to look around at friends and family and relish the time you have with them. Watch your children's faces as they experience all the magic of Christmas and let their joy and wonder seep deeply into your heart. Enjoy a plate of cookies cross-legged in front of your brightly lit tree.