Christmas is Here!

Christmas has officially hit our house! I know, yes it is before Thanksgiving.  People have such strong feelings on whether it is appropriate to decorate before or after Thanksgiving.  In years past we have always decorated Thanksgiving day, but that was before we had the babies.

This year I have been looking forward to the babies’ reaction to all the Christmas decorations and I could not wait any longer to put up the tree.  So we jumped outside of the box and decided to….(GASP)….decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving!!! I know I know, we are such risk takers!

The boys have loved it!! Since we normally decorate Thanksgiving day I hardly ever get to actually enjoy Thanksgiving.  This may also be the last year we get to decorate the bottom half of the Christmas tree or put out our Christmas village because the boys will be mobile and able to get into everything next year! So why not enjoy all the Christmas decorations a few weeks early? It is my favorite holiday after all!

Every year we buy a new Christmas ornament for the tree.  We try to buy ornaments that depict something major that happened that year.  A trip we took, a major memory of the year or just one we love to look at.

My parents actually started this tradition when I was young so that once I moved out on my own I would already have ornaments to decorate my own tree.  Jeremy and I have continued the tradition and I cannot wait to start collecting ornaments for the boys.

This was my very first Christmas ornament! Yes I still have it! I also have several other ornaments from my childhood.  Some I have picked out over the years, some my mom actually made for me.

Honestly I treasure each one of them.  I just love hanging them on the tree and being reminded of the memory each ornament represents.

These three ornaments are from our first year of marriage.  The cruise ship is a model of the actual ship we went on for our honeymoon.  Such a fun time! Every year when we pull this ornament out we talk about our first trip together as husband and wife.

The other two ornaments were gifts to use from our family.  The “yes” ornament was given to us the year we got engaged and the couple ornament was a gift from my Hubby’s family.

This ornament is from the year I was accepted into nursing school! That was such an exciting time in my life, I had no idea what I was in for once I started nursing school.  I am so proud that I got to go through this phase of my life.  It taught me so much about myself, God’s calling on my life and one of my true passions in life.

This ornament we bought in Mexico while we were visiting my parents.  We got this ornament the first year my parents moved to Mexico.  That was such an exciting and scary time.  My family is extremely close and it was so hard telling my parents good-bye as my Hubby, sister and I walked through the airport terminal heading back to Oklahoma while leaving my parents in Mexico.

What would I do without my Mom and Dad close by?  Would we get to spend birthdays and holidays together?  How often would I really be able to see them? When we left them I had no idea.

When I look at this ornament I am reminded of that time.  A new phase for the entire family.  I am so very grateful for this time.  My parents were able to walk in the calling God had placed on their lives and I was forced to no longer be dependent on my Mom and had many areas of life I had to walk through on my own.

I honestly believe I am stronger because of it.  The 5 years my parents were in Mexico brought so much joy to our entire family.  We all grew as individuals and in our relationships with Christ.

This ornament is one of my Hubby’s.  He actually had this one when we got married.  Boys just are not as sentimental as girls are and although my Hubby loves talking about all the ornaments we have accumulated as a couple, I just don’t think he is really attached to any from his childhood.

When I told him I was going to begin a collection of ornaments for the boys he tried to warn me that in all honesty they probably wouldn’t care.  I know they probably won’t when they initially move out of the house, but once they are married their wives will love it and so will their children as their daddy tells them about each ornament.

Some of our ornaments are from trips we have been on.  This ornament represents a year when we took a trip to San Antonio.  We didn’t have much money and had not been on a real vacation (except to Mexico to visit my family) since our honeymoon and we desperately needed time together.

We live close to San Antonio so we decided to make the drive and spend a week vacationing.  We had a blast!! We went to several theme parks including Sea World and every time I see this ornament I am reminded how you can still have fun while living on a budget within your means.

This ornament was bought for us by my parents.  It is from a trip they took to Africa.  The organization they work for started a branch in Africa and my parents and sister had the amazing opportunity to travel there.

Each time I look at this ornament I am reminded of the poor and orphaned around us and our calling to care and love them.  I think this ornament depicts the true meaning of Christmas for me and the importance of a giving spirit.

Some years we have not had anything exciting happen.  However, we still wanted to have something to remember that year and have an opportunity to discuss and look back on any small events that may have happened.  Although these ornaments are more generic they are still an amazing reminder of each year that flies by.

This year I have no idea where to start purchasing/making an ornament to represent the happenings of the year.  So many amazing things happened!!

We ended last year finding our we were expecting and then discovering that we were having twins!

In January I started Nurse Practitioner school! I know, knowing I was expecting twins and proceeding with school is a little crazy, but life will only get crazier.  I had to jump on the opportunity while I could.  I worked hard to complete as many courses as I could before the boys arrived and have since spent many late nights/early morning working on homework until 2am because that is when the house is quiet.

In February we took the trip of a lifetime and went to Italy.  We stayed in Rome and then traveled to Florence, Venice and Naples.  It was the most amazing trip I have ever been on!

We decided to commemorate this trip with a homemade ornament.  I simply bought a giant glass ball ornament and then took our remaining train/plane tickets, maps and various admission tickets from all the sites we saw and tore them into strips. I then stuffed those strips into the glass ball and finished it all off with a 2011 tag and a ribbon bow.  it was quick simple and it is fun to look at the ornament and remember our amazing trip.

In March we found out we were expecting boys! Two amazingly precious perfect little boys! We had no idea how much we would love the boys or how they would completely rock our world.

In June we celebrated our 6 year anniversary! I cannot believe that we have been married that long or that we have been together for almost 12 years!  It seems like all you need to do is blink and the years fly by.

In July our world was turned upside down and our hearts grew bigger as we welcomed our two precious boys into this world.  We have completely fallen in love with these two! Their smiles, coos, laughs, and even cries bring so much joy to our home.  We prayed for these boys for a long time and feel so blessed to have the opportunity to be their parents.  We also have discovered not only what it is like to be first time parents but also what it is like to be parents to multiples! It has been a crazy ride, but also the most amazing ride I have ever been on.

How do you find an ornament to represent all of this?  Something that embodies major changes, amazing trips, and parenthood.  We may just have to buy several ornaments to represent this year.  It was one big year for us!

I also want to start the boys’ collection of ornaments.  I started looking for a “Baby’s first Christmas” ornament but they all look so cheap and cheesy.  So I decided I am going to try and make their first ornament.  I found this ornament on pinterest.  I am so excited! I cannot wait to attempt these.

The ornament looks easy enough to make, but trying to get perfect hand prints from two babies is going to be difficult to say the least.

I plan to buy clear paint (if I can find it) so that I can place the boys’ hand prints on the glass ornament and then cover the paint with glitter so it has a little sparkle to it.  I then can write (with sharpy) or paint the date on the ornament.  I hope they turn out as cute as this one did! I will let you all know!


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2 Responses to Christmas is Here!

  1. Caitlin says:

    Whitney, I love your Christmas tree! I get a new ornament (or two or three!) every year also, most often in the sales. I’ve never thought to tie it in with what happened that year. I think you just need several different ornaments to represent this momentous year! How sentimental your tree must be.

    We do try to pick up a Christmas ornament every time we go overseas though. Here in Oz we start preparing for Christmas a lot earlier (in the shops Christmas things normally come out in October!) since we don’t have Thanksgiving. We normally get our tree out at home in the first week of December but I’m hoping to do ours next weekend.

    My Mum always let us kids choose a new ornament for the tree each year. I’ve continued this tradition with my boys. I wonder if I’ll get a chance to do it this year?

    Looks like your boys love the lights!

    • Whitney says:

      I love that Christmas things start making their appearance in October. I would love it there. Christmas is my favorite time of the year, I just love everything about it. I hope you get a chance to pick out a new ornament with your boys this year. You have had a momentous year as well! You are right, the boys love the lights. We know have a new babysitter in our house that is cleverly disguised as a Christmas tree. Sometimes laying the boys under the tree and letting them look at the beautiful lights buys us a few precious minutes to complete whatever task we are working on.

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