As Grace and I carefully packed up the Christmas tree and ornaments and the nativity scene, it seemed hard to believe that another Christmas had come and gone. Although it was a busy week or so, it was wonderful to see so many of our friends and family. We feel blessed to be surrounded by such love each and every day.
|Family photo after our Christmas Eve service.|
We had a relatively calm Christmas Eve, enjoying time at home just the three of us. After finishing wrapping the presents, we created a gingerbread house together and made some family memories.
|Kyle helped Grace open a new sign for her playroom.|
|Grace was excited that mommy got the new Ghostbusters movie.|
|Kyle was excited for his new Fight the Fight shirt.|
|Mommy got a new necklace with the names of both her girls.|
Our only real plans that day were a Christmas Eve service at our church after dinner, and we joined my mom and dad for the candlelight service and to sing some of our favorite songs. My favorite part is when they turn off all the lights in the sanctuary and we light candles and sing Silent Night. Kyle snuggled Grace and watching the two of them in candlelight was very special. After extinguishing our candles, our pastor reminded us to be the light into the world during Christmas and beyond, a special message for sure.
After church, we decided that since Santa had already visited our house, it would be okay to open presents just the three of us. Santa left a few fun things for Grace, like the movie, Finding Dory, a new book called, "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" and her very first Precious Moments. Mommy got daddy a new Fight the Fight shirt, and daddy got mommy a necklace with the names of both our girls on it. I might have cried a little. In the hectic days of the holiday season, it's always so nice to have a little time to celebrate just the three of us.
|Cousins photo on Christmas.|
|Making homemade pizza with Grandma Kim.|
|Somebody was excited about a new soccer ball.|
|Family Christmas photo at the Herschelmans|
|My two goofballs at Christmas.|
On Christmas morning, we woke up early to head to the Atwater Christian Church with Kyle's family. We might have tripled attendance at the church by the time his family all arrived, but it was fun to share in the service together.
Once the service was over, we headed back to Kyle's mom and dad's house for lunch and to open presents. We enjoyed watching our nephews excitement as they opened their packages to find trucks and tractors, and other things that made lots of noise. Grace snuggled up in her wagon and watched as we opened presents for her. She was so happy just to be with everyone. And we were too.
The nice part about having both of our families so close in proximity is that we got to stay and visit for awhile before heading to dinner with my family. It was relaxing and fun to get to catch up some.
|Cheesing with Papa John and Grandma Susie.|
|Uncle Johnny liked his Grace-filled journey glasses.|
|Kyle was excited about his new Pentagon shirt.|
|Grace's baby sister got a new Bitty Baby.|
|She definitely sparkles and shines.|
But all too soon, it was time for another stop, and we packed up all our goodies and headed back to Hillsboro for dinner. My brother and his wife were driving down from the Chicago area, so we all met at mom and dad's for dinner and more presents. Again, it was nice and relaxing just to sit around and visit for awhile.
|Hanging out with the Barkley girls.|
|Lunch at Gianni's with our friend, Kristin.|
|Dinner with Karen, and she made a snuggle blanket for the baby.|
And though the holidays prove to be busy, we always enjoy getting to see family and friends even if it is brief. The day after Christmas, we got a visit from my friend, Nicole, and her two girls, and then had lunch with my cousin, Stef, and her parents.
The next day marked the Galer family Christmas at my aunt's house, which meant more great food and presents too. It was fun to see the kids open their presents, and to snuggle with Grace, who really just enjoys all the attention.
|Galer family Christmas: Johnny and Keith.|
|Galer family Christmas: Grace and Izzy.|
|The new babies got matching onesies!|
We ended the week with lunch with my friend, Kristin, and dinner with a college buddy, Karen, who was in the metro area with her family from Mississippi. As we closed out the week, we headed to Farmersville for a family-friendly New Year's Eve party with some friends. The kids sang karaoke and played together, and we had a chance to catch up with everyone, while we rang in the new year.
The visits aren't always as long as we hope they would be, and Christmas seems to come and go very quickly. However, we share the love and hope they bring us all year long. Thanks for everyone who made time to see our family over the holidays, and we wish you all the best in the new year.
|Herschelmans on New Year's Eve!|
Kyle and I have decided that we aren't really big into resolutions, but our goals for the new year include raising more awareness and funding for INAD, welcoming a new little girl into our family and making memories as a family that we will remember forever. And we're so grateful to everyone on this Grace-filled journey.