We Will All Be Together

This year definitely has a different feel to it. We're less rushed, less stressed and more peaceful. How is that, you say? TELL ME MORE. Okay, I will. Here goes. 

One major theme is that we've been better with managing our money. We have almost one year of You Need a Budget under our belts. This budgeting software has been life-changing. Instead of stressing about holiday expenses, we saved throughout the year for presents, the tree and even our Christmas cards. Yeah, baby!

We planned ahead to do some things that tend to be rushed or prone to kid meltdowns. For instance, we shopped for our live Christmas tree on a peaceful Sunday morning when the girls had full bellies and warm coats. (Yes, we skipped church for this at my suggestion. Jonathan almost fell down in shock since I am the Wake Up People and Get to Church on Sunday type of Mom.)

We also said no to some crazy-making things that we just didn't need to do because we were invited. I have been shopping online, too, with the budgeted present money (easier than shopping in a store!). I also reviewed the next six months of plans and dreams our family has and scratched out some quick dates and budgets (Go ahead and say it: I am a complete financial nerd.) This exercise (oddly) has made me realize that the month of December will be followed with the Rest of Our Lives. One month does not a Happy Family make. We still have to wake up and do it all again come January 1. 

We will also see my beloved brother and his family for Christmas, and this makes my heart sing. So, I've been thinking about that visit and how happy we will all be. Lots of wine and great dinners. Cousins playing and romping. It's going to be AWESOME. 

And I am grateful. Grateful for these small moments, like when my 3-year-old asks if TODAY is Christmas. She's always sure it is. Or when we light the Advent yule log and the older girls squeal because now we're lighting two candles...not just one...which means Christmas is SO close. Yeah, so I'm grateful in general. And I am grateful for the meaning of Christmas. 

Here are some snaps of the ole Homestead, below. Nothing is neat; nothing is perfect. It's okay. I need to go back and tell twenty-year-old Jen this. We figure everything out. Eventually. 

Happy Hanukkah to our Jewish friends! And a warm Merry Christmas to all. Thanks for stopping by our blog.