December FLEW BY. I always feel like the holiday season is like that. There aren’t enough hours in the day (or month) to do all the things. I definitely didn’t watch enough Hallmark movies, but I did give more time to baking this year!
The month began with a date with my boy. We were celebrating what was supposed to be his last night before he returned to daycare… I found out the next morning that his physical expired, so we waited two more weeks to begin.
Greenhouse Church celebrated its volunteers by throwing a huge volunteer Christmas party. It was way past bedtime when we thought it would be a good idea to attempt a nice photo. Fun fact: the last time I wore this dress, I was pregnant with Selah and didn’t even know it!
Alex, Ethan, Selah and I drove down south because I had my last wedding of the year in West Palm Beach! Well my car battery died so we waited two hours to get help from Triple A. I am so fortunate to have had Alex with us. He literally told me that he had no reason to come with us, but felt an urge to come. I know that I know that was the Lord’s protection over us, because had I been alone, it would have been much more challenging to wait with the kiddos. Plus, Alex encouraged me and asked me to make the best of it with him and have dinner with him. We had a faux Thanksgiving dinner together at Wendy’s since we didn’t get to celebrate together. Then we laughed so much just by playing a simple matching game with Ethan. The night ended up being the highlight to my week.
Shot my last wedding of the year and Alex joined me as another shooter!
Last mini session of the year the very next day!
Since Ethan wasn’t able to return to daycare until the middle of the month, I had a friend graciously watch him full time and give him all of the quality playtime with her two littles. That little girl right there is one of his closest friends. We have a birthday drawing from her on our fridge. These are some of the ways I feel loved… when my children are loved. Aren’t these two precious?
I’m so grateful to have people in our lives that love our children as their own. Ethan and Selah will never lack in snuggles from our people. Along with the cuddles, they even take him to school, do pick ups and even have park dates.
Ashley hosted an ornament making party! This was a lot of fun and super easy. We used Crayola Air Dry Clay and little letter stamps to write words on them. I love how they turned out. Another highlight was the fact that she created another beautiful (and yummy) charcuterie board. I live for her boards!
We finally put our tree up a week before Christmas! Ahhhh. Well worth it for the smell and lights. Ethan got to place the star at the top this year. I think Ethan has developed a new pose… TA-DAA!
Our microchurch had its annual white elephant Christmas party! My friend, Emily, and I baked these cranberry brie pastry tarts and they were DELICIOUS! For someone who usually only bakes brownies, and it’s from a box, I was so proud.
I love all of the people who fill these shoes every week. So much life happens with this group.
Ethan started daycare and a week and a half later performed at the school Christmas show… front and center for his class! I have a confession. I used to make fun of moms who would record and hold their phone up, blocking everyone else… BUT THAT WAS ME! I couldn’t help it. I cried, cheered and even chased him down so he could see that I saw him (even though we weren’t dismissed). No shame in my mom game.
Later that week was the MP Christmas party, which was my favorite MP gathering to date! We sat around my kitchen counter for hours just chatting and munching, enjoying spending quality time together. Then we moved on to the most intense minute to win it games before we did our annual Secret Santa. If you want the most entertaining minute to win it game, I highly recommend Snowman shake. Kim’s husband came in first and we were all impressed.
The day after, was Tori’s birthday! We celebrated her by watching the sunrise at Payne’s Prairie and grabbing pastries/bagels for breakfast. Then we had a party with all of her friends and family at Ashley’s house. A moment that stuck out to me this day was watching all of their nieces and their nephew chase my brother Alex around. Their mom had to put a timer just so that Alex could have a break. It was so special to me because it shows how much both families have grown so close, that both play and take care of the children from the other family. That night, we capped her birthday with games at our house!
Wayne, Ethan, Selah and I celebrated Christmas just us before we got on the road for West Palm. Wayne and I have had this tradition since our first year of marriage when we had nothing. I didn’t have a full-time job and we had just gotten married the month before. We decided to give ourselves a $5 limit and get creative with a gift. That first year, I found Farkle at Walmart for $4.99. We play that game ALL THE TIME. Since it was so fun to find ways to be creative with only $5, we decided to make a tradition out of it. This year I found the perfect shop… Five Below! How did I not know of this store before? I got him a toy lacrosse stick the color of our high school team and he got me a $5 letter board. For our kids, we give ourselves a budget of $30-$50. To be honest, Selah doesn’t need toys or clothes (or anything right now), so we gave three presents to Ethan (1. a toy 2. a book 3. an activity). We explain that he gets three gifts like Jesus did from the three wise men. We allow him to open one of his three gifts from mommy and daddy the morning before we leave for West Palm. After he opened up his book, we realized pretty quickly that we needed to give a lesson on gratefulness. Yikes. Parenthood!
My family has their big Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve (or Noche Buena). We celebrate it at my cousin’s grandparents house every year and take turns posing in front of the tree. I’ve been fortunate to grow up celebrating holidays with both sides of my family in one house, my mom’s relatives and my dad’s. Some of the highlights of Noche Buena was: 1. Watching the oldest of my family play with the youngest, Selah. 2. All of the Cuban food! 3. Catching Ethan and his cousin Eloisa stargazing together 4. Watching my cousin read to my boy and my nieces. 5. Having my immediate family stay together under one roof.
Christmas morning the three of us snuggled in my bed and enjoyed in some quiet moments before everyone woke up! Wayne and I were super excited about Ethan’s gift this year. For his toy, we originally bought him a cash register, but found out that my aunt had already purchased one. We were left with no toy two days before Christmas, until I remembered how much fun he had with the play kitchen at the ice cream shop earlier this month! A quick search on Facebook Marketplace and we found a used Ikea kitchen set (originally $99) for $40! A little sanding, spray paint and backsplash (extra wood lying around) later…
My immediate family does a Secret Santa gift exchange and breakfast. Then Wayne and I head out to celebrate with his family for a big lunch and gift exchanges. We returned to my parents for a candlelight steak and lobster dinner in their backyard. You can see the kiddie table to the right with Ethan and Eloisa eating a candlelit dinner as well!
Last morning snuggle of the year! Slower morning with my girl before a day full of work and a night full of celebrating the new year. We celebrated New Year’s Eve with a small group in our back porch. We sat around, painted nails, played Catan and ended the night sharing our favorite memory of the year. I mentioned our season of maternity/paternity leave that allowed us to care for an infant full-time and get to know each other as a family of four without anything else competing for our attention or time.
One thing I wish I would have done better was to take time to process through the past year as a whole. I could have used some stillness with the Lord this month to reflect on all of the things that were hard and all of the things that were great. This is why I am grateful for the documentation of these Carney Monthbooks. I have it all here to review. I know we’re in a new decade and all, but the change that has happened in the past decade doesn’t surprise me since these monthbooks are proof that so much can happen in a MONTH.
So much hope for what’s to come. Cheers to 2020!