November is the real start of the holiday season, and I LOVE IT!!!! Between the family visits, delicious food, and gracious attitude, November sparks something is people. It seems that we are all much more aware of our blessings and we are willing to be a little more patient and kind to those around us.
Andrew, Grace, Cali, and I drove down to California to spend 2 glorious weeks with my family and celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. My parent's house was filled to the brim, bursting with 3 babies, 3 dogs, a toddler, and lots of Thanksgiving energy.
It was so wonderful to have the whole gang home together in California, and we definitely packed in the fun. The boys went to a Duck's hockey game; the girls went out for breakfast and reflexology massages. We watched movies, blasted music, cooked the most amazing turkey we have ever tasted, and caught up with extended family.
We were also able to get some family pictures taken. It is amazing to think about how much has changed in just one year. These new babies have brought so much joy into our family
Our last big event of November occurred at the end of our California trip. We were able to spend a day at Disneyland and introduce Gracie to all the Disney magic. She is still a little young to appreciate it, but it still was so much fun. There is something especially magical about Disney during the holidays (although I do have to admit that the holiday fireworks show was a complete dud). We took our fair share of pictures (as you can see below). It was the perfect ending to a great trip.
I love my siblings. It's difficult because I haven't lived close to them in years, but I love the time I get to spend whenever it comes.
Yesterday, Andrew and I went hiking with my little brother, Jacob, and his wife, Danika.
Happy Mother's Day!
If you have never met my mom, I'm sorry for you. She is amazing. So fun, and caring, and sweet, and outgoing, and funny, and great to talk to, and full of sage advice....and so much more. She is my best friend (apart from Andrew).
Speaking of advice, I feel like my marriage with Andrew has gone as smoothly as it has thanks to the example and advice from my wonderful mother. I have learned so much from her throughout my life. Here are just a few things I have gleaned from her loving words and example:
Serve with love....even when you are tired.
My mom is a wonderful example of service. And service is one of the best ways to show love.
She serves the women at church; she serves our family, and most importantly, she is an example of how important service is in a marriage. I remember times when I'd see her make a special dinner for my dad or give him a massage after a long day of work. She did this even after her own tiresome day, and I remember asking her why she did it. Her answer was simply that part of her responsibility as a wife was to support her husband, and service was often the best way to do that.
Her example and selfless service brought the spirit into my childhood home. It brought peace and love and a sense of responsibility to serve each other. It is a feeling I hope to emulate in my own home and with my own children one day.
Thanks, Mom, for all your selfless service to our family. It has not gone unnoticed.
Enjoy every moment.
This is one lesson I have thought of often throughout my life. Originally my mom taught me this while talking about raising children, but I think the lesson applies to all parts of life.
Simply stated, don't just look forward to the time when (fill in the blank here)...for when I get married, for when we have our own house, for when I get a specific promotion, for when the kids are older, for when...for when...for when...
If we are always holding off our happiness for a future event, we will find we never are truly happy in the moment and we will miss a lot of wonderful opportunities to have cherished experiences. So enjoy every moment.
I feel like because of this advice, I really have been able to love life more fully. I enjoyed (most moments) of my single life, I enjoyed the engagement to Andrew, I enjoyed ever moment of our wedding day, and I continue to enjoy every moment of our new lives together.
Thanks, Mom, for this wonderful advice.
Love people....and tell them
Lastly, my mom is so great at telling those around her how much she loves and appreciates them. As I grew up, I was never in doubt that my mom loved me. We are a family who cuddle and hug often. I don't think I realized how much I cherished that until I had moved out (it wasn't nearly so easy to tell friends and roommates that I was in desperate need of a hug or a cuddle). Whenever I go home, my mom's hugs are one of my favorite parts of my stay.
I am grateful that love was given so freely in my parent's home. Some families don't have that, but luckily I have been taught well (and I also happen to be married to a man who is also a fan of letting people know he loves them). So this is definitely a lesson that I will keep with me forever.
Thanks, Mom, for all your love and hugs. I love you!~
"When I Think of my Mom"
To end, I found a post I had written a few years ago on another blog of mine. I cried when I read it again because the statements are still so true and so meaningful in our relationship. You can read it below, but just know that it is a poem purely dedicated to the most wonderful and loving woman I know.
When I think of my mom, I think of daily phone calls to her just to say hi. I think of loyal, weekly emails while I was on my mission, keeping me updated on the happenings at home.
When I think of my mom, I think of burying my tear-streaked face in her lap as a teenager and asking her to fix my broken heart. Friends and boys failed me many times, but I always knew I could count on my mom.
When I think of my mom, I think of sound advice and selfless service from a woman I strive to be like. I think of prayers I know she prays on my behalf and dreams she holds high for my future.
When I think of my mom, I think of big, comfortable hugs when I come home after being gone so long. Rocking back and forth in each other's arms, content just to stand embracing in the hallway for minutes.
When I think of my mom, I think of country songs playing from the car radio and my little sister rolling her eyes in mock embarrassment as my mom belts out made-up lyrics. I think of laughter and pure enjoyment while I am in her company.
When I think of my mom, I think of sweet goodbyes at the airport and movie quotes like My Big, Fat Greek Wedding's "Why you want to leave me!?" We both laugh through the tears.
When I think of my mom, I think of texts just to say "I love you" or to remind me how much we cherish each other's friendship.
When I think of my mom, I think of my best friend and my greatest role model.
I love you, Mom. :)
Andrew and Maichael
Check out our About page to learn buckets about us.