Sunday, December 26, 2010

Celebrating Christmas

It has been a wild, wonderful, and whimsical past few days.

Christmas was such a joy with the kids and with our extended families.

Our children were spoiled, they were happy, and it is our hope that they also understood that all of the fanfare was for one very important reason…the birth of our Savior.

My camera was in hand as we played in the snow, opened presents, and gathered with family. I hope you enjoy these precious memories as much as I do:)




Time for food and treats!




Don’t forget some cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer!


Exactly how does he fit down here?


A family tradition…reading The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve of course. The copy we have is from my childhood




We also read a Christmas book that Matt had as a child! Brady held it close until it was time:)

DSC_0226 Cousins Evan and Ryan were there to help share the excitement of Christmas Eve.



Santa arrived as all the kids were snug in the beds.



Christmas morning arrived, and so did some very excited children into the living room!




The girls were thrilled to find a doll house waiting for them!



And the boys found a pirate chest filled with all-things-pirate!




Grandma Sandy, Grandpa, and Great Grandma Vera were with us to share in all the joy that Christmas morning brings with 4 kids under 4:)









After brunch and a little nap, it was time to head to my mom’s house for more Christmas fun!




DSC_0324 There was more exchanging of gifts and a little bit of Christmas chaos as the eight grandchildren tore into their new toys:)




It was two Christmases ago that we received news that something was seriously wrong with Brady. On December 23, 2008 we were told that Brady had Cerebral Palsy and that is why he wasn’t walking at age 20 months. We were truly heartbroken that Christmas, grieving over the loss of so much of what we had hoped for our child. Of course it was only a month later that we would learn that our pit was about to become much deeper and darker still.

That was our Christmas two years ago. The two Christmases we have lived since have been in stark contrast to that difficult time in our lives. I say all of this to maybe inspire hope to someone that may not feel joyful this Christmas season. What is supposed to be a happy season of celebration, is often a painful and lonely time for those who are hurting.

I hope that our story, one of faith and hope, can encourage you this Christmas season. To think of how far God has brought Brady and all of us in the span of just two Christmases just humbles me. We celebrate Jesus’ birth each year with joy in our hearts that replaces the despair we once felt.

May that same joy be yours this Christmas.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Good Tidings for Christmas

In the span of about 3 minutes, I was able to flashback the past 3 1/2 years.

Today Eli, Cara, and Brady presented their part of our church's Christmas program. They recited their bible verse and sang a song, along with cousin Aubrey and good friend Carson. The 5 of them make quite an adorable group.

And during their brief time on stage, it was as though their whole life flashed before me.

As Brady took the microphone and recited his verse, I thought about the three of them in the days following their birth. They were tiny, had wires and tubes attached to them, and they each were snuggled up in their own isolette in the intensive care unit.

When Eli recited his verse I thought about going into their nursery at night, seeing the three of them asleep in three cribs, and remembered the tingles I would feel all over my body at the realization that they were all mine.

And when Cara proudly said her verse, I remembered the day that they were dedicated at church. Matt and I were so proud that day to present our three healthy babies to our church family.

Finally when they sang their song, my eyes welled with tears at the sight of them all together up there. So many memories...good times...tough times...brought us to this day. I would be lying if I said I didn't think about Brady's cancer journey as I watched them. The familiar ache in my heart was there as I recalled those first days after the diagnosis. I must have wondered a million times if we ever would get to days like today.

But we did get there. God knew just how much today would mean to us. Perhaps just another Christmas program to some. For us though, it was just another confirmation that God does indeed make everything beautiful. Ecclesiastes 3:11 (actually all of Ecclesiastes 3 is a great reminder of God's perfect providence!)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Their Big Debut

The eldest Williams kids appeared in front of an audience for the first time last night. They joined their preschool classmates for the St. Paul Christmas Program. There were about 20 smiling and singing 3 and 4 year olds that started off the program with a few Christmas songs.

I had a few worries about my dear Eli as the big night drew closer. Standing still and not becoming distracted isn’t always easy for my sweet boy. But just as they always do, my trio surprised me. Eli stood up there and sang his little heart out and stood as still as you could expect any three year old boy to. Cara also stood there with a sweet smile, sang, and did all the arm movements.

Then there was this other boy with a smile on his face. Brady boy stood up there with this goofy little grin on his face. Instead of doing the arm movements that coordinated with the songs, Brady did this strange Little Drummer Boy imitation. It was actually quite funny, and distracting all at the same time. I was almost a little annoyed by him as he carried on with his arm movements throughout the whole performance. But then, my heart just swelled with pride that I had three healthy, happy kids up there among their peers. So you go right ahead and be silly Brady. You’ve earned it:)


ps This is the smile I was talking about!!!


Monday, December 13, 2010

Snow is Falling

It feels a little bit like this here in Western New York these days.


This was me after coming in from the cold. Cara and I walked to her dance class which is literally only 3 doors and a parking lot down from my house. But boy, it seems much farther away when you are walking through snow, wind, and temps around 12 degrees. Cara was such a trooper.

I definitely am not complaining though! I so don’t enjoy the heat, and I certainly love when it looks like Christmas at Christmastime. So bring it on Old Man Winter!

My crew and I got a lot accomplished today. I like to think that this amount of work done amidst the usual whining, crying, and fighting that goes on in this house is quite remarkable. Maybe not, but I like to think it is! Sometimes the kids were helping, sometimes the kids thought they were helping, and other times I was thankful for some great Christmas cartoons which allowed me to work all by myself!

Here is what I checked off the to do list today!

We assembled a ginger bread house (thanks Schwartz family!)







Up next was a little cartoon time for the kids while I made some rice crispy treats. Yummy.

Then it was time for mommy to “bake” some cookies. Am I allowed to use the excuse that I have 4 kids under 4 to explain why I use premade cookie dough?

After lunch, the kids got to decorate their own cookies.



DSC_0105 DSC_0106





Next, 40 fingernails and 40 toe nails got cut. Then 20 fingernails got painted with sparkle polish.

Finally nap time. I finished up our Christmas cards and decorated the cookies we baked in the morning.

After nap and snack time, it was time for homework! Yes, my dear preschoolers have a little homework. Nothing big, just cutting out 5-6 pictures for the color of the week. However, 3, 3 year olds with scissors and their 2 year old sister wanting to have scissors too, can be quite interesting!

Then it was time for a quick dinner and Cara and I headed off to dance. 45 minutes later we were home and it was time for baths, which Matt so graciously handled so that I could make some reminder phone calls for our MOPS meeting tomorrow night.

All in a day in the life.