Ok, it's halfway through January and I am just now getting around to posting about the Holidays. Not very impressive at a time for New Year's resolutions and starting fresh, but, it's an accurate representation of how life has been of late. We have, collectively, either had houseguests or been traveling since the second week in November. It seems that the last two months of the year are destined to be crazy in the Gardner home, as they contain 3 out of our 5 birthdays and the two biggest holidays of the year. So here's a brief rundown of the last three months...
November 13th was Mr. Gardner's 35th birthday. I attempted to organize a surprise party for him the night before his birthday, with some of our closest friends coming over for appetizers and
drinks. It was very enjoyable, and our little home was packed wall to wall with people.
Three days later, Josiah turned 4. He is growing up so quickly! He amazes us with all his observations about life. He's an outgoing, kind, talkative, and sensitive boy. To celebrate, we had his favorite dish, Macaroni & Cheese, followed by yummy rainbow chip cupcakes. My mom was visiting, and it was wonderful to have her there to share in his big day. It's hard to believe it has been 4 years since I became a mom, I still feel like I'm trying to figure out parenting basics most of the time...
My mom left at the end of the week,
and the day she left, Mr. Gardner's mom came up from Phoenix to visit for the Thanksgiving holiday. She was able to stay for a week and a half, and we had a wonderful holiday, despite the fact that we all managed to get sick with various illnesses while she was here.
The boys got the stomach flu the night before Thanksgiving, and it spread through the whole house over the next few days. At some point we were all feeling well enough to go on a foray to the South Hills to cut down a Christmas tree.
A few days before she left, Grandma asked if she could take Eli home with her for a few weeks and bring him back for Christmas. Although the mommy in me was really quite distraught at the prospect of being without him for several weeks, Kevin and I both knew this was a wonderful opportunity for Eli to have a little undivided attention. He doesn't get much of that being the middle child in a family of three boys 4 and under.
So, off he went with his Grandma. I missed him terribly,
but Josiah and Noah kept me busy, and I was able to enjoy having just the two of them for a while.
Mr. Gardner finished his semester the week before Christmas, and that weekend, Grandpa and Grandma Dawson brought Eli back.
They had to share the upstairs loft with their grandsons, and I'm sure that they didn't get much sleep while they were here. But the boys loved every minute, and we were so glad to have them here. Our Christmas was not at all white, but that made for an easier trip home for Grandpa & Grandma the day after Christmas. Eli, in particular, was brokenhearted to discover that Grandma had gone home. It took him a few days to adjust to not being an "only child", but we could tell that the extra attention had really done wonders for him.
Three days after Christmas was Eli's second
birthday. I must confess that I often forget it is almost his birthday until right about Christmas
and it's a challenge to give the day the attention it should have. It motivated me to take down the
Christmas tree in an attempt not to have it overshadowing his Birthday. He was just happy to have a birthday cupcake for breakfast, although he was quite distressed by the burning candles on it, and would not be consoled until his (overly helpful) big brother blew them out for him.
Mr. Gardner and I worked over New Year's and then we were off to Salmon to visit my family for a few days. We had subzero temperatures for much of the visit, and spent a lot of time around their cozy wood stove as a result. It was a very enjoyable visit, and the boys seemed to especially enjoy roughhousing with their Uncle Jeremy.
So there you have it, that brings us up to last week. I'm feeling tired just thinking about all the activity these last few months have held. Still, we have made lovely memories, and closed out the year blessed, healthy, and happy, all the while in a state of perpetual, controlled chaos. Mr. Gardner and I often look knowingly at one another and wonder what we have gotten ourselves into...but we wouldn't have it any other way.
I was trying to explain what an absolutely life-changing experience it is to have children the other day and all I could come up with was that it absolutely consumes my life. It is the most challenging, wonderful, amazing, all-encompasing, life-altering, heart-expanding thing I have ever experienced. Our children make us less selfish, whether or not we want to be. We are the ones that they depend on for only everything. What an amazing responsibility. I pray that this year I would have the grace of parenting my boys well.