All I have to say is WOW… 2016 has been a crazy wonderful year filled with many ups and downs. Time is such a funny thing. When you are in it, you feel that the days are long and that those moments will last forever. […]
Holiday traditions lay at the heart of my family. My mother raised me with a love of traditions that were passed down from her mother. It is amazing how these simple little traditions define my childhood. They are the reason that I look forward to holidays or smile when I think about family gatherings. These traditions bring families together and create warm childhood memories.
Now that I have a family of my own, I really appreciate those traditions that define our family. It makes you feel connected and even those loved ones that are no longer with us. Today, I would like to share with you my favorite holiday traditions. Some are ones that I was raised with, some are from my husband’s upbringing, and some are purely our own.
Cutting down the Christmas tree
One of the traditions I loved growing up was walking the snowy fields, looking for the perfect Christmas tree. My sisters and I would pick out the one that we loved the best and watched in awe as my dad would cut down the tree. Nothing was more exciting then setting up that tree for the first time, and unwrapping our special ornaments.
I am so happy that my husband loved this tradition growing up as well. This is a cherished family event that we look forward to every year to experiencing with our own children. It’s amazing to now watch my own daughters watch my husband cut down the tree, like I used to do with my dad.
‘Twas the Night before Christmas- A Visit from Santa
Christmas eve was a very special time in my childhood. My family and I would dress up in our special Christmas outfits to go to my Grandparents’ house in northern Minnesota. Aunts, Uncles, and cousins would all be there. Our evening would be spent eating, laughing and playing games. My favorite part of all, was the anticipation for the arrival of Santa. Yes- Santa!
My grandparents are amazing. Every year, my grandparents would have a family friend dress up as Santa and he would pay us a visit every Christmas Eve. He would bring us each a present and we would get to sit on his lap. Little did I know, that my parents had bought, wrapped, and hid the presents in the front hall closet for Santa; but it was so special.
When my husband was growing up, he also had a special Christmas Eve tradition. This is a tradition that we carry on with our own daughters today. Every Christmas eve, my daughters get to open up one gift a head of time. That gift contains a brand new pair of Christmas pajamas for them to sleep in. It is so fun to watch their eyes light up and be so excited to wear them. We then leave cookies and milk for santa, and then head off to a magical night of sleep.
The Joy of Christmas Morning
A new tradition that my husband and I started with our family, is the tradition of rudolph pancakes on Christmas morning! Nothing is more exciting then the girls waking up and running into our room shouting that santa came! Festive pancakes are just a fun way to kick off the festivities and excitement of the day.
What are YOUR favorite holiday traditions?
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and happy holidays from my family to yours!
It never stops amazing me how breathtaking my Grandfather’s farm is. Every time I step foot around that property, I get this overwhelming feeling of contentment. When you are there, the time doesn’t matter. You can just disconnect from the crazy world and enjoy the simplest of things. The girls of course loved running around with so much freedom. They could explore and use their imagination without limits. It was very freeing to watch them run around and create the footsteps that I used to make.
The highlight of my whole weekend was visiting with my Grandpa. As the years go by, he grows with age and so does the fear of losing him. His body may be aging, but his humor and spirit never skips a beat. His whole world is that farm and listening to his stories of years past, just warms my heart. Seeing my Grandpa is always a blessing. You can never take those precious moments for granted, because you just know how long they may last. (more…)
According to The Forgotten Initiative, each year there are roughly 250,000 children who enter the U.S. foster care system. These children are separated from their parents and are placed in foster care for a variety of unfortunate reasons. Some of these children will be taken quickly out of traumatic experiences and are placed into foster care, with no personal belongings and nothing to comfort them. Many children get eventually get to return to their parents’ care, but unfortunately many will also be left to remain in the system.
This week, I am featuring a woman who has one of the biggest hearts I have ever known. She is so kind, generous, and is an inspiration in faith. She felt a true calling, took a leap of faith, and opened her family’s home to make a huge difference in the lives of many children in the foster care system.
I first met Amber, a little over three years ago, through the community of our church. I was pretty new in attending, so I decided that joining a growth group would be a great way to meet other women. So I signed up for a “mommy and me” playgroup that met once a week, and Amber was hosting. Right away Amber was an inspiration to me. She was so welcoming to me, my children, and the other women around us. She has a kindness about her and such a positive outlook on life.
Our moms group decided to do a service project together to help those in the community. Amber introduced us to a wonderful organization called The Forgotten Initiative, and we decided to create a few journey bags for children who are entering into foster care. Often times these children are taken into foster care quickly and don’t have time to bring personal belongings with them (so no favorite blanket or teddy). These journey bags are filled with items to help them, and their new foster parents, transition into their new surroundings.
It has been such a blessing and inspiration to watch Amber’s journey of becoming a foster parent. She has the biggest heart and has so much love to give the children she cares for. She is super woman to me. Its truly amazing to be able to balance not only being a mommy for her own two little boys, but open her heart to so many others. She loves so greatly and expects nothing in return. Amber is a true inspiration.
Women Who Inspire: Meet Amber
What first inspired you to start get involved into foster care?
My husband and I spent a few years struggling to conceive and decided to look into adoption options. I’m a “full speed ahead” kind of person, so I was knee deep in research and scheduled appointments with agencies in no time.
One night, as I was lying in bed, I realized that none of it felt right. When I talked to my husband the next day, he shared those same sentiments. We took a break to just be our family for a while and I decided to start volunteering with The Forgotten Initiative; a nonprofit organization that works to support the foster community. During my experience volunteering, I began to feel like I wanted to start fostering, but my husband was not on board. Some time had passed, and something (God) started to change his feelings towards fostering, and made him open to attending an information session. We walked out of the meeting, and he said “We have to do this” ….Nine months later, we were licensed and had a newborn placement within days!