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Family Christmas Photos & Reflections on the Holiday Season

This post is something that is going to be slightly different than my "normal" blog post. We took the most beautiful family pictures this year with Pics By Nic who has been capturing our family since I was pregnant with Leona. Instead of using them for Christmas Cards and moving on I want to share them in more detail, pause, and reflect on the moment and memory, and soak in these last memories of the year. So here goes...

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday for as long as I can remember. Sure as a kid it's great because you get presents and Santa comes but as I got older it became so much more for me. It's the magical feeling in the air on Christmas Eve, it's about spending time with our loved ones, laughing and celebrating life, and most importantly being thankful and appreciative for all that we are blessed with throughout the year. As I have had babies of my own it's now about keeping that magic alive for them and making this a holiday that I hope one day- they too-will look back on with the best memories and still just want to spend time with and be content with me, Keith, and hopefully families of their own.

While I love the hustle and bustle of the holiday and shopping for people and finding just the right gift that I know will put a smile on their face, it's not about any of that. Like I said its the magical feeling, the pureness of the day, and the time spent with all of our family and loved ones through the holiday season that mean the absolute most to me. This year, that hits especially hard for me.

In an effort to make this another special year for my kiddos, and the first one that Porter will actually be alert enough for, I kicked off the season by attending the Waukesha Christmas Parade on November 21st. On this day, a tragedy happened that I will never forget. One that could have ruined my love for the holiday and ruined me. Instead, a couple weeks out and still dealing with the aftermath of seeing and hearing the events of that evening- where a man recklessly drove his vehicle through the parade route and struck parade participants 1 car length away from us- I am using the experience to grow, learn, and deepen my appreciation for the holiday and every day beyond.

This season means so much more to me than I ever thought possible. I am taking that night and forging onwards, truly living my life to its fullest the best way I can for myself, my kids, my husband, and my family. This holiday season is another opportunity that I am blessed with. I GET to be a part of the hustle and bustle of gift buying, I GET to crappily wrap all our gifts, I GET to spend (too much!) money, I GET to enjoy the days with the people I love the most and I GET to experience another year of the most magical season. I am blessed.

While this is me, my life and my journey, I know this is not everyone's favorite holiday for many of the reasons above and having challenges of their own. After all, we are all fighting our own battles... But I encourage you if you are struggling to think about the holidays (and every day really!) as a privilege rather than a chore. Hold those you love a little tighter this year and let go of all the rest of the things that don't really matter. At the end of the season, the gifts, the trees, the "stuff" and the "fluff" are not what matter...

Leona (4)- You amaze me everyday with how gentle and kind your soul is. You have the biggest heart and are the BEST sister ever. Your brother is so lucky to have you and so are we! You always challenge me to look for and appreciate the simple moments in life like the sunsets, the joy of seeing a dump truck "waking up", the new beautiful buds on flowers as they get ready to bloom, and just appreciating the details of your surroundings and days. You are so funny and your laugh and smile could light up the sky a thousand times over. You are bold, strong and fierce, & although at times that makes my life nearly impossible, I hope you never loose that spunk and that feistiness within you. Keep dancing, smiling, and making people around you shine just as much as you do!

Porter (1, not for long)- I can not believe just how fast you have grown. You have a heart like no one I've ever met before. You think of other people first and always go out of your way to make sure everyone around you has what they need and want. You love your mama so sweetly and deeply and I never knew it was a love I was missing. Your smile is infectious and your laugh is medicine for my soul. You are wild and crazy and boy to the core and although it makes me crazy at times, I hope that wildness never goes away. You are the biggest goofball I have ever met and I know one day I will be getting calls about the class clown (you) and all your shenanigans, but never stop being you. I hope your love for frozen waffles, "rawrs" (dinosaurs), and your hats cocked to the side never leaves you. Keep marching to your own drum and making others laugh around you.

And Keith- thank you for being my rock, my love, and the hardest working person I know. You support me in everything I do and all of my crazy ideas and for that I am so thankful. While you may not always agree with these ideas, you still cheer me on and make me believe anything is possible. I love traveling the world with you and exploring new places but I also love being home and safe with you just sitting on the couch. Thank you for helping me live out the life I always dreamed of as a little girl. You are my best friend through it all and I can not imagine doing life with anyone else.

Thank you for being here with me and my family through it all and thank you for allowing me the space to write and express myself in this way. Wishing you all the most magical and special holiday season because it truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

Outfit Details:

Keith top, Keith pants (similar), Keith boots (similar)

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Maria Elizabeth

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