Monday, December 31, 2018

Our 2018 in Review

It's hard to believe that 2018 is coming to a close today. I greatly enjoyed looking back over the year in photos and seeing all of the fun we had with family and friends. The photos certainly don't reflect all of the moments this year that were tough but they are just as important as all of the fun times. 

Here's a very abridged version of our 2018!

"Make it Sweet" by Old Dominion

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Tis' the Season to Be Joyful (..and Stressed)

There is a lot to reflect on tonight as I'm sitting here looking at a messy house (all for good reasons), the twinkling of Christmas lights, and looking through lots of pictures that show a happy family enjoying this holiday season. It feels like the time from Thanksgiving to today passed in the blink of an eye. If I'm being perfectly honest, I feel a little of those post-holiday blues which is a little mixture of happiness from enjoying it all, sadness it's all over, and also a little anxiousness to return to a clean/organized house and normal routines. I am so thankful for time spent with family, the many wonderful things we were able to do, and the generosity of so many this holiday season. 

The hardest thing about this holiday was the stress/anxiety that Colin felt (which then of course was how I felt). He has felt this way for years and we are pretty confident that it all has to do with the disruption of normal routines (despite being really excited) and discomfort with so many "unknowns". In years past, the anxiety started at least a week before and he had a lot of difficulty with many of the holiday activities that we did. However, this year, he did so much better with the weeks leading up but it all started to fall apart the day before Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve and Christmas day were really rough and only today was he starting to act a little more like himself. To others it may have just appeared as though he was "grumpy" and not behaving well but to us, he was visibly uncomfortable and this was made worse by a new behavior of licking/rubbing his lips and face. He literally rubbed/licked it raw (I read an article on "lip licker's dermatitis" which in many kids is the result of stress/anxiety) and that increased his discomfort. It was a really stressful few days more so because it has been so hard to see him so upset and not be able to do anything to relieve that discomfort. He continuously asks when all of the decorations are coming down and at this point I think it will be this weekend!

His lip was so red, chapped and swollen!
The holiday season started out with a visit to Santa (the first of several) at the kids' Karate school and Colin was so excited to share what he was really hoping for from Santa (Broadway tickets to see Aladdin). This was the first year everyone was really excited and there were no tears!

Everyone was so excited and ready for the holidays to come that we had the decorations up the day after Thanksgiving with our new fake tree for the family room followed by the real tree not too long after in the front living room. However, due to a week of illness (2 with the flu, 1 with strep/cold) it took awhile for the trees to actually get decorated. The kids were asking every day when we would finally get to decorate and were so happy once everyone was healthy enough to do so (as was I!). 

We spent the month doing a lot of fun holiday activities like going to see the Grinch in the movies, 

ran in the Jingle all the Way race together as a family in support of Special Olympics New Jersey

spent a night getting pizza, visiting the mall, and driving around to look at Christmas lights, 

snuggling on the couch watching Christmas movies, 

visiting Sesame place for their Christmas events, 

attending the Old Fashioned Christmas event at Allaire Community Farm

lighting the Advent Candle together as a family at our church with the holiday celebration, 

and Chris and I even made it out to a New Jersey Devils' game to celebrate Team NJ's attendance and successes at the Special Olympics USA games this past summer. 

The kids were fortunate to have some fun holiday celebrations at school and I was lucky to get to attend Cody's this year (last year in daycare!).

By the time the holidays arrived, we had spent some time talking about holiday etiquette in terms of using manners with gift receiving, visiting different houses, etc. but there are always so many variables that come into play like excitement, late nights, (stress/anxiety with Colin), etc. This always makes it a little tough (and a little stressful for me), but it's hard to contain all of that excitement surrounding the magic of Christmas and little kids. We spent Christmas Eve with Chris' family (after first spreading the reindeer food)...

...and then Christmas day with my family. There is nothing like the magic of kids and Christmas morning after a visit from Santa, the squeals of "thank you Santa!" and all of the smiles on their faces. 

Colin received his long awaited Broadway tickets for Aladdin (and Santa didn't take into account how long the wait until February actually was...) and was so excited! 

It was an amazing holiday season and we truly have been blessed!