A Christmas non-card from the Falls

I kind of have a love/hate relationship with Christmas cards. You know the ones with a beautiful and often professional photograph on the front and all it says is, "Merry Christmas! Love, the Smith Family". You see, I love a good family photo. And I love pretty stationary. A Christmas card like that should be the ultimate combo for me then, right? Well, I also love true, authentic connection. I love depth. I don't get a lot of that with those cards it feels a little out of character for me to send those. And I have a hard time figuring out what to say on the card. Do I just write, "Merry Christmas from the Falls!" or a few line about our year that you probably already knew from Facebook? Or do I write a long, somewhat sappy letter about what our year was really like? And the part that I like the least is that come January, all those pretty cards we spent time and money on will probably be thrown in the trash. Or the letter that I wrote will be read quickly, and throw in the trash, and I probably won't hear back from the person because we're all too busy to reply around Christmas, right?

Ah, the dilemma.

Anyway, I didn't figure out the answer to any of my Christmas card concerns, but I did decided to do a little year recap and photograph for those of you that keep opening your mailbox everyday looking for a Christmas card from us.

We spent half of 2015 living in Sacramento, California, and the other half living in Austin Texas. Behind us is the park that we lived near and took the boys to almost everyday. Salem turned two in January, and is now almost three. Judah came into our family in February, but now it seems like we've never lived without him. When Brian graduated from his Forensic Psychiatry fellowship in June, we left Sacramento and bought a house outside of Austin. 

We made a commitment to keep dating again. Salem's at an age where I feel comfortable letting him be with other caregivers, and Judah has a pretty easygoing personality which makes it easier for us to get out a little more! Last week we had a babysitter that successfully put both of them to bed without either of them fussing. She'll definitely be coming back!

Brian spins a couple different plates for his job, but hopes to be doing more work for his private practice in 2015. He started a new hobby, playing drums, but mostly spends his time pouring his love into our boys when he's not working. He and Salem have a blast wrestling and playing sports and going on bike rides and taking trips to the zoo. He loves holding Judah and doing "rocket ship" with him.

Salem is happy and rambunctious and all boy. He loves playing soccer, basketball, baseball and football. Balls have been his #1 favorite toy this year and he is known to cuddle with his football to sleep at night. All of those cute little mispronounced toddler words are slipping away. The only ones left are the ones we never corrected him on because we loved his little way of saying things so much! He calls strawberries "stroller-bees" and to say "hold you" he says "heedj-you". He started preschool in September for two mornings per week which has been fun for him and a huge help to me. He loves to play pretend now. We spend a lot of time hiding from pretend dinosaurs and being robots. :)

 Judah is pure sweetness and a super contended baby. I just wish he would stay my baby forever. He's 10 months old now, starting to crawl and getting a little harder to entertain! Thankfully I have Salem around who is his #1 source of entertainment. He could watch his brother's shenanigans all day long. He loves going on the swing at the park, getting splashed by Salem in the bath tub, wrestling with him (as much as a 10 month old can wrestle), blowing bubbles with his lips and when we blow on his face. He's silly and happy and sweet.

Oh, and me. I mainly spent my days caring for my people. No major accomplishments to name, just devoting myself to humble tasks. I'd like to think I became myself more this year. I started caring less about what others thought of me and more about living out God's design of me. I started this blog. I realized I love writing. I took the Strengths Finder test and which made me realize my strengths are in empathy and connection and nurturing others. I realized I want to become a doula one day. I surrendered a lot of fears to God. I felt more myself as a mom this year than ever before and fell in love with what I do everyday again. 

It was a sanctifying year, as it usually is. But there were evidences of grace each day and Christ sustained us though every joy and trial.

How do you feel about Christmas cards? How do you decide how much you want to write about the year? Do you think Facebook making Christmas cards and letters obsolete?

Photos by Amanda Rose Photography.