Monday, December 12, 2016

Santa, Silliness and Sentiments

The holidays are in full swing around our Nashville/Louisville life. We're packing our days with all of the cookies, Santas, snowmen (silly putty ones of course), shopping, New Kids on the Block Christmas Album and more that we possibly can and I LOVE it! Bennett is over the moon excited about Christmas this year. He really understands what is happening, he races down the stairs every morning to look for his Elf on a Shelf, CoCoa, sings along with me to Christmas Carols in the car, and talks about Santa and Baby Jesus on the reg. It's a happy holiday around here for certain!

We got back from New York (NYC part 1, NYC part 2, NYC part 3) and hit the ground running. Bennett headed off to school and his teacher assured me he was in the Christmas spirit. She sent me a note telling me he was walking down the halls looking at all of the Christmas decor and asking for his photo to be taken in front of all decorations :). This kid love Frosty the Snowman. Teehehee.
And here is his little class around the Christmas tree!
I plan to share a full recap on all the fun places our Elf has been around the house this holiday season, but at the beginning of December he dropped the kiddos off some fun Christmas PJs with his face all over them and they were so excited. They've obviously been on repeat at bedtime for weeks now.
We hit up the Nashville Christmas parade with some friends and got an up close glimpse at this year's Grand Marshal, Kelly Clarkson and her daughter! It was a chilly morning, but the kiddos loved it.

After the parade, we met up with my cousin Jordan and his fiance, Rebecca and we all headed to our first NFL game to see the Nashville Predators. The kids were on a sucker and cotton candy overload and we had a BLAST! Hubs and I used to go to hockey games at our Alma Mater, The University of Kentucky, and they were always so loud and fun. This was exactly the same and I'm so glad we checked it off our bucket-list before we move.
And because Lainey is rocking her first pair of Jordan's, it had to be documented.

We've had a way too many jammy parties and Christmas movies screenings than we can count, and we LOVE it.

Hubs and I even took a small parent break and had a night out with some pals to see The Nashville Symphony's rendition of Home Alone. My friend, Andrea, invited us to join in their tradition and it was really cool. You watch the movie on a giant projector and every time there is music in the movie the symphony plays it live instead of on the sound track. A great little night out.

Here's a look at real life though, with extra fun comes less sleep and more sugar, which can often lead to more meltdowns. So, there is also this ...
But nothing a cookie can't fix?! :) Or a little visit from St. Nick! I've mentioned before we're raising our children in a Christian/Catholic home. And anyone who is Catholic knows St. Nick is one of the best kept secrets of Catholicism (as a kid anyway, ha!). There are many ways to celebrate, but essentially is a stocking full of goodies. Some of my friends used to leave their shoes outside, some would fill their actual Christmas stockings. In my house growing up we never left anything outside, we just always received one white tube sock filled with goodies on our doorstep. And per tradition, in our house St. Nick still comes in a big white tube sock on December 6th, every year.  The kids were so excited and surprised to find some fun goodies in the morning!

And Mr, CoCoa brought one of Bennett's favorite Christmas toys this year again - The Melting Snowman! We build this guy 1400 times a day and watch him melt, Bennett loves it and we get really silly with the placement of his arms and eyes sometimes. Three year olds :)
And since the littles were sick in NYC - we skipped the big Macy's Santaland production this year, and instead visited our mall Santa. And we cheesed a little at home before we left because they're just so darn cute when they have little people clothes on.
Bennett LOVED Mr. Kris Kringle and Santa was very impressed with his eye contact and articulation #ThanksSanta - momma needed to hear that today. He again asked Santa for a blue yoyo and told him he could bring a red one for his baby sister because she can't talk yet. My heart :) Lainey on the other hand, was less enthused.
We've been knocking out our Christmas list left and right, which includes tons of shopping lunch dates.

Anda few mid-morning big brother pep talks on dealing with overly crowded stores.
Along with LOTS of Hallmark movies, gift wrapping and late night laughter with my boyfriend.
My little helpers and I mailed out our Christmas Cards - which I will share later this week, or next once everyone receives them.
And we wrapped this weekend with some good friends and walked through Bethlehem. Woodmont Christian Church does an AMAZING rendition of the streets of Bethlehem and what it would have been like had we lived when Jesus lived. I'm talking real fish on ice at the fish market, actual potters spinning wheels to make clay, real animals, the whole to-do.

Throughout the markets you can make gifts ... dolls, clay pots, etc. and at the end when you meet Baby Jesus your child decides if they want to keep their gift or give it to the newborn King. And ya'll to watch these littles part with their masterpieces to bless their baby Jesus is simply the sweetest! No tears, no hesitation, one by one each of them happily gifted their precious creations to baby Jesus. Melt me!
Whew!!! It's Christmas around here, and we are loving every minute of it. But, switching gears a bit - if full disclosure I need to share something in the same breath, Christmas is hitting me hard this year. I've always watched movies, or heard how the holidays can be hard on people. They've lost loved ones, or don't have people to share the season with, they don't have money to make Christmas magical, etc. However, to be 100% transparent ... until this year, my life has really been butterflies and rainbows. I'll be the absolute first to admit that. Sure, bad things have happened, we've sorted through some tough stuff, but for the most part everything still felt in control.

This year has flipped "control" on it's axis and it's left me vulnerable and in places I never thought I would be. For the most part, I've usually been able to keep it all together. But this year has really changed my perception. And it truthfully has my heart aching. Not always for me. But for everyone else. I don't know if it's motherhood, growing older, or maturity, but I feel like my eyes are opened to so many more things. So much more heartache, so many tragedies, so many hardships that others are facing and some days it honestly feels like more that I can physically process. Shane and I have talked A LOT about what this year is calling us to do. What all of this means, why have we faced these challenges, and how can we come out on the other side doing more.

On one of our shopping trips this week, Lainey had fallen to sleep in the backseat and Bennett was playing quietly in the passenger seat.  While we let baby sister get a quick cat nap before tackling the store, it was silent. And the silence in this particular moment, was deafening and I started to cry. Real choking tears that were coming from a deep place. Some were coming from a place of mommyhood, wanting to freeze time and keep my Santa-believing babies little and at home with me. Some were coming from a place of fear, fear of the unknown, fear of being out of control and knowing we're still in the midst of fighting a health battle. And others were coming from an unknown place, a place where I could truthfully feel the heartaches of strangers. It called me, it pulled at my heartstrings - and I wanted to share some sentiments.
I could be overly tired. I could be stressed to the max with health stuff. I could be pushed to limit with hearing my name 400 times a day. But, I think it's more than that. We've all be given talents. Some of us are amazing athletes, others are amazing mommies, some are talented entrepreneurs, and others are simply good at drawing a picture. At the end of the day though, why have we been given these "talents"? I don't believe it's solely so we can feel good about ourselves at the end of the day. Sure, there are some days where that is why - because making it from my bed to the kitchen means I should win a real trophy. But our talents are God's gifts to us, and what we do with them is our gift back to Him.

And I do believe there is more. And I do need to do more to figure out what that is. God gifted us this beautiful and messy life. And He intended us to do more. He meant more for me. And He meant more for others. And it's time I really start listening in those moments of silence. Because He's calling us. Calling us to help, calling us to heal, calling us to hug, calling us to say "I'm Sorry", calling us to tell someone they're doing a heck of a job instead of criticizing how we would have done it differently. We're being called my friends, but are we listening?!

And again, maybe it's the holiday brain ... but I know I can try harder. I know I can better utilize my time, my platform, my day to day for the betterment of others. Because I am not the only one fighting a battle. My battle may be different than theirs, but it is a battle all the same. And finding a way to bless others, blesses me far greater in the end.
So, I'm off my soapbox ... But I want anyone who is reading this to know, I am praying for you. I am praying health, happiness and wholeness this holiday season and beyond. Because we're all in this together and it's a heck of a lot better when we lift each other up!

Have a happy week my friends! Cheers to more Santa, Silliness and Sentiments :) all year long!

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  1. Looks like such a fabulous weekend :) Love it
    Chelsea @

  2. Hey Katie - I have been following your blog ever since I lived in y'alls house on Grosvenor Senior year of college (thanks again for letting us have the BEST house in all of Lex with my 4 best friends!) I love your blog and outlook on life - just thought I would share, that I'm praying for you too! :)

    1. Ah, girl .. can we all go back for a big alumni party on Grosvenor?!? Thank you Kayla!! Merry Merry Christmas!!!

  3. Y'all have been having lots of fun!! We have been watching all kinds of Christmas movies too. I love the last part of your post. Thank you so much for sharing, friend!!


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