All Things Merry and Bright
Man I can’t believe Christmas is only a few days away!!! Wow I feel like just last week we were putting up our lights and tree. I’m super excited for the big day and all the festivities coming up soon, just want it to slow down a little bit. I’m feeling nostalgic this season and everything seems to hold a little more meaning to me this year. Josh tells me it’s because of hormones, and he could be right, but I’d like to think differently. I’d like to think its more along the lines of: I’m feeling the spirit run through me and just can’t help but be completely enthusiastic for the season.
Either way I have enjoyed this year. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s our first Married Christmas that makes it so special, or the fact that indeed I am carrying, that makes it uber special for the family and myself. Whatever the reason, I have completely enjoyed the season. So I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite things. The top five things to be exact, things I have enjoyed this season and hopefully you all will enjoy something similar to these with your family.
1. Enjoy your surroundings. From the beginning, decorating our home this year was fun for me because we actually came up with a “color scheme” that actually pulls together all of our decorations we had before we met. I have been stuck on the white and silver kick, and Josh had all the colors, as he says, “What is Christmas without color?” Thanks to my husband, I have begun to love the brightness of the colors. I have fallen in love with all the perks of a tree, like the gold garland, the colored and white lights mixed together around the tree, the train that goes ’round and ’round the tree that makes the kids scream, and lastly, the candy canes that go on at the end for the finishing touches. I have to admit it took me a while to come around to it all, but how happy he gets when the tree has it all is fun to watch. It was a tradition that he did with his Aunt and Uncle and now it has become part of our family’s tradition. It’s cute to see how Ayden even remembered the candy canes because at first we didn’t have them on, and he said, “Mom, mmmmm, something is missing.” The second thing, Josh has had this red tree skirt that I have never really loved but matched the tree so we’ve used it. Yet, I had this pretty big, fluffy tree skirt that I bought before I met him and wanted to use but it just didn’t flow with the tree. Well, this year Josh surprised me with red and gold pendant wreaths to hang on our gameroom doors that just make the living room look complete! Those two wreaths gave me so much Christmas spirit because then I was able to flow the red and gold into every room with the touches of silver that I had and it’s just like a Williams Wonderland should look. I told Josh how happy and excited I was with everything this year, and he gave a funny look and asked, “What, you didn’t like every other year?” Taken back a little, I had to quickly respond with an explanation of the importance of cohesiveness. The response my husband gave me was one that made me so thankful and happy that I married him. He simply looked at me and said, “Ashly, you don’t have to have the perfect decorations, and themes for it to be Christmas. Christmas is still Christmas without all the glitter.” Now admittedly, I do know why he said it; it’s really because he hates glitter all over the house throughout the month since it’s almost impossible to get rid of. It seem like every night one of our kids has glitter somewhere on them when they go to bed. All jokes aside, I know the true meaning of what he said, and the value of it. He’s so right, it’s not about all the little details that not one other person besides my mom has even seen this year. It’s not about every room having Christmas spirit, (although they all look super adorable) it’s about the meaning of Christmas being about who it’s spent with not with the things around you or under that tree.
2. Go on a Christmas Adventure. the second week we finally had little man for our weekend so we decided to go have a Texan Christmas at Gaylord Convention Center that was full of Christmas festivities.
For starters, we couldn’t ask for a better start to the weekend because it snowed here in Austin the night before we left!! To wake up to a trip the kids were already excited about with a white morning was the best. It was so much fun to make snowangels with the littles, to see the snow fall and try to catch snowflakes on our tongues was funny. Addie wasn’t too excited but boy was she cute!!! We even made the tiniest little snowman I ever did see!!
Once we got to Grapevine, we had snow tubing with Dad, Ice Sliding, Snowball Throwing, and got to tour ICE! The most amazing ice sculptures we have ever seen. Each room had a theme with sculptures 32 feet high and it was 9 degrees!!! Can you say brrrrrrr!!! Super cold!!!!
We all had snow gear on and they gave us parkas to wear over it all. It was hilarious to see us trying to manage all the coverage but our youngest wearing the full snow body suit with the parka walking around stole the show. It was hilarious, she was like a little marshmallow!! At the end of the tour there was a room full of iceslides that the big kids loved!!! Ayden went down until is little cheeks turned red. Check out the video below to see the highlight reels.
The next day we took all three kids to go ice skating for the first time. Never did we know that it would be so much fun mixed in with temper tantrums to equal one overall amazing time. To start with the bad as most people like to hear first, Little miss threw a huge fit because she didn’t want to get off the ice and I couldn’t keep holding her up from laughing so much at her being silly, she couldn’t quite keep her feet under her atfirst. Finally, we got a polar bear from nice girls that offered it to us, after asking help of course, and she was able to push it around like a big girl screaming the whole time, “I’m doing it Mommy!!! I’m a big girl!!!” Meanwhile, wearing skates that were three times too big because they didn’t have her small size. Amazing!
The progression that Ayden had while ice skating for the first time was amazing as well!!! My husband has always commended me on how well I learn things and how fast I pick them up. Well, it looks like Ayden is just like his momma and learns quickly as well! We were so proud of him, with just a quarter round of clinging to the wall, the other half to me, he was ready to try on his own. Then just two falls later, he had it down by himself!! Sooo amazing! It really is fun to see your kids learn something new, but to see them excel fast, stay patient while doing it, and never give up, just makes you feel so proud of not only them but yourself too. It makes you feel like you’re doing something right in parenting them. Now, I know as a parent its not always exactly motivating to get them all ready and try something during the holidays with tons of people doing the same thing, but the reward in the end really is worth it. The reward is their smiles and the constant bragging they do about their accomplishments around the house as they re create the experience.
The rest of the time has been full d festive moments that I can’t help but love. So the last two are home activities that have been a favorite of mine because they’re close and personal.
3. The annual s’more making tradition. Every year once the decorations are up we gather around the fireplace and make s’mores. It’s so funny because each year we have a new member added to the family so we never know what they’re going to do. Ayden has become quite proficient at it and barely needs help but admittedly, only likes to roast them but not eat them so much. It takes him like 30 minutes just to eat one marshmallow because it gets so sticky he doesn’t know what to do with it. However we’ve told him, he can’t roast anymore if he’s going to waste them so he musters through it. Aliyna is in love with s’mores, something else another one of my children gets from their mother. I love them and can eat them everyday. I have loved them since I was 14 when I had my very first one!! My parents used to buy me s’more ornaments for the tree and s’more makers for Christmas!! Awe flashback to childhood christmas’. That’s why I love this tradition so much, it’s something I have loved for a very long time and love to see my family falling in love with it as well. That brings us to Addie, who absolutely adores it, just doesn’t understand it. She’s up close and personal, watches, and enjoys to eat it of course, gets excited because everyone else does too, just isn’t too sure about the fire stuff. If you’re kiddos don’t like chocolate, or the marshmellows or something about the s’mores, just try roasting by the fire, because the cuddles we all got with the kids by the fire, is always a favorite.
Roasting some marshmallows
4. Start a new Santa Tradition. I normally don’t do any of the new Santa traditions that they do now only because I try to keep the focus on Jesus, and to be honest each year there’s just more and more new things that I can’t keep up with. My main focus is to keep the joy of Santa and Christmas alive through old fashioned stories and games. The one thing I have always done is find a local spot that delivers letters to Santa and make that moment special. This year I happened to come across a special mail box that delivers letters to Santa whenever we want. I bought it and brought it home. It is connected straight to the North Pole with a specific elf who comes to our house and picks up these letters every night. We have used this special box to even write apologetic letters to Santa when we make mistakes. It has served a bigger purpose than just a wish list. There is always something you can try that can cause some sort of new excitement for your family. It doesn’t have to be something big just try something new and see where it takes your family.
5. Make family Memorabilia. Lastly, we made a cute Handprint Christmas Tree deco that I had to share. It’s our first family Christmas tree!! The little hands are the cutest! Each one knew it was special because they all waited their turn patiently and would scoot closer and closer to get their hand painted so they could make their mark! Family in the end has become a huge stigma this Christmas season and I’ve enjoyed seeing us grow, get excited in our own little ways. To see us carry out our own traditions that I hope will last a lifetime, not only with us, but that they burn bright within my children that will make them want to carry these on with their children.
So again- My top five favorite Christmas Traditions this Season:
1. Enjoy the surroundings God has given you, no matter what they are.
2. Go on an adventure, somewhere and do something new with your family.
3. S’more Traditions is always an excuse for extra cuddles
4. Try a new Santa tradition even if it’s against everything you believe in, for the sake of your children, to keep the Xmas spirit alive.
5. Make something memorable for that year with your family. Whether it be an ornament, a letter, or a canvas Family Christmas Tree deco sign like ours. Make it for keepsakes.
If you would like to know more about Grapevine please comment below! I’ll share whatever I can to help start a new tradition.
Merry Christmas to all
-Ashly Williams (Diebel)
Our highlight reel from a Lonestar Christmas at Gaylord Texan :