All is calm, all is bright, those are the words that kept coming through my head over and over again Christmas Eve. As I walked out side and looked at the luminaries that my sons and I put out in front of the house, all was calm.

There has been a lot going on lately it seems and it is things that are not outside of the norm. Work, preparing for Christmas, Family obligations, etc. But in the midst of the chaos, life has not been calm lately, far from it to be honest. I feel that I’m worn down and in a difficult place in life.

And by difficult, I mean, life. Life has been life. Let’s be honest, as parents, we deal with a lot on any given day. We have the stresses of work. We have the stresses of financial bills. We have the worry of knowing that we are putting our kids on a bus each day and trusting that someone other than us will protect them.

But in the midst of chaos of last week, I found a since of calm. I stopped all of the work issues for  a few days. I put aside all of the financial stress and worry, granted it is still there, but for last week, as we approached Christmas, life was ok.

As parents, we want to always do what is right by our kids. We put their needs first and ahead of our own. I will go with out in order to give my kids something that I did not have. I learned that lesson from my mother and though she will never told me all that she sacrificed, I know that she did. And I’m doing the same for my kids and no, I will not tell them either. Why? Because it isn’t important.

So, Christmas Eve, after attending our old church for the early service and as soon as I walked in, I was at peace. Granted, that did not last very long, as Boy B wasn’t happy that they did not have a children’s service in his old class and had to stay with us. But never the less, I enjoyed watching the service on tv in the lobby of the church. Point being, even in the chaos of that moment, I was calm.

And as we got home, we started putting candles in the bags and lining them up on the street. This was a tradition that I had when I was a kid and it was something that I LOVED doing each and ever year. And for me as a kid, it didn’t seem like Christmas until we did the luminaries.  And as we braved the cold and the wind and a few quick snow showers, we were able to light the street up in front of the house all the way to the front of our home. And then, all was bright.

All is calm, All is Bright - Christmas Luminaries

So, as I type this, the after Christmas, the calmness has subsided and chaos has returned. But I left the house this morning with two little boys laughing and playing with their new toys.

From my family to yours, I hope that you had a safe and Merry Christmas.

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Happy 4th of July everyone, even thought his is going up a day late. Life sometimes gets in the way, as many of you reading this can relate.

As many of families did on the 4th, we spent the day with our boys, we laughed, played and had fun. And later in the day, the boys and I fired up the grilled for our traditional American BBQ, hamburgers, brats and hotdogs. It is funny how as the boys are getting bigger and older, the more interested that they are becoming with grilling and cooking. As I’ve had conversations lately with my mother, she told me that my father never did any of these things with me and how happy she is that I’m teaching the boys these basic lessons of life and it got me thinking.

I really can’t think of a time that my dad fired up the grill. I really can’t think of a meal that my dad ever cooked, maybe scrambled eggs? And I never cooked, until I had to. And I have the boys now helping me grill, smoke and cook in the kitchen as often as I can. Yes, they are supervised and no, I don’t let them do anything dangerous, but they are learning about food safety, pairing of foods, types of woods that we use when we grill, etc.

So, last night as we grilled the boys and I were listening to music, I smiled and I watched the boys and realized how fast they are growing up. But the highlight of the day, wasn’t grilling out, but instead we took the boys to see fireworks for the first time. All day, fireworks was the topic of conversation and it is funny, I’m really protective over Baby B, probably to a fault. I was concerned that he wasn’t going to like the fireworks and hold his hands over his ears the entire time and miss out. So we had my father in law bring over ear muffs and as the fireworks started, for a minute, he used them. And then, something happened, he started taunting the fireworks, as if they were going to get him. He would say “come and get me fireworks, if you can!” and then he would laugh.

I was basically concerned about nothing and I’m having to realize that more and more the boys are growing up and becoming and more and more self sufficient. So on this 4th of July, the only time that the boys will be 4 on the 4th of July, I hope that everyone out there had a safe and happy holiday. I hope that everyone got to spend quality time with family.

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Happy 4th of July.

If the weather permits, spend some quality time at the grill. Flip some burgers, if you are a fan of beer, then drink a nice craft beer. But most importantly, be safe and spend time with your family and friends.


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We are just a few days away from Thanksgiving and the start of Christmas. But as we get into the crazy times of the holidays, I wonder, what are you giving to others? And I don’t mean toys and Starbucks giftcards (always a nice gift by the way), but are you giving of your time this year? Are you giving to charities?

Let’s be honest for a moment, our economy is not doing well.  That is just a basic and simple fact and who suffers from that? Yes, those that have lost their jobs, but so does the church, charities, etc. So, this year, my family is doing something different. I have finally hit my point of being frustrated with the Christmas season and all of the giving to give. Not this year. This year, we are giving to others. We are buying gifts for 4 families this year from the Angel tree at church. We are giving to the Ronald McDonald House, the one that my niece stayed at for a week and they supported my sister and brother in law for that week and helped them get through a time of uncertainty. We are giving to St. Jude, because today, we have two wonderful and healthy little boys and if there is ever a problem with them, I’m packing up and taking them there.

So what are you giving this year? Are you giving your family crappy gifts that are either given to someone else or worse, thrown away? This year, I challenge you to do something different. Step outside of your comfort zone and give to someone else in need. If you have been blessed this past year with a job and food on your table and a roof over your head, then help someone that has not been so lucky.

Here is the St. Jude’s video, I defy you to watch it without getting a little teary eyed. Giving is a wonderful thing, and can give more sanctification than giving a family member a tie. So, give. Give because you can and you want to.

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We are only a few months past Christmas for this year and we are already talking about the next Christmas. Why? Well, for many reasons.

1) staying at home instead of running around
2) planning meals around feedings
3) first year, go less on presents
4) start buying gifts early and throughout the year to save money

Staying at home instead of running around
This past year, we spent the holidays with family. But next year, we have decided that since the boys will have more of an idea of what Christmas is about, that we will be staying home. It is important to us to establish traditions as a family. So, family will be invited to come over next year, instead of us going to visit everyone.

Planning meals around feedings
The boys feedings last year were different last year, but this year will be different.  Now that there feedings have changed, only 3 bottles a day, we will be able to plan our family meals better.

First year, go less on presents
We only purchased a few gifts for the boys this past year.  We will more than likely continue this again this year, primarily because the boys still really will not need a lot.

Start Buying Gifts Early
We have already started buying gifts for family members now. By spreading out the gifts, we are not scrambling to find gifts for family and friends in December right before Christmas. It spreads out the cost throughout the year and not just in 1 month.

These are just a few things that we are looking at for Christmas 2012.

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