Thursday, January 6, 2011

Christmas Season Festivities ~ 2011

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This was the first year that Aaron talked about Santa as though he believes that he is real. When he sat on Santa's lap, he asked for the transformer called Optimus Prime.

This was a really cute Santa & Mrs. Claus couple.

Aaron Jr laying down on the floor to get just the right angle while he works on his ginger bread house.

Aaron Jr, Isaac, Malia, Sophia, Grace, Pearl with their ginger bread house creations.

Aaron's parents brought us this tree this year. It was a perfect little tree for our little house. After I put the lights on, I lifted Aaron Jr up and let him put the star on top.

Higginson Family Christmas party.

The food was wonderful.

The kids dressed up for the Nativity. My dad read Luke ll aloud while the kids walked in.

My parents surrounded by their grandkids. My mom made pillow cases for each of the grandkids this year. I love the hand made gifts my mom makes every year for the kids. What treasures. Thanks Mom and Dad.

We had a great night with the Higginson side of the family. Gifts were shared and memories were made. It was planned by Lisa and John and they did a great job. Thanks everyone. We love you all.

Sadie invited us all to their house to let the kids make ginger bread houses. Its so much fun watching the kids create and eat and create and eat and create. Thanks Sadie. It was fun.

Here is our Christmas tree all decorated. We only got to use some of the ornaments this year. I let Aaron Jr pick out most of them and let him hang them all on the tree. I gave him some advice about making sure they were all spread out, but he decorated the whole thing pretty much on his own. I thought he did such a great job.

Here is our tree in the light. It is an interesting realization when you wrap gifts for your child, then put them under the tree knowing they are the only gifts that will go under the tree. I reached an age a long time ago where I stopped caring as much about receiving gifts and caring so much more about giving them. So, the only reason I even mention this in this posting is because it is just one more thing that reminds me that Aaron is not here. Like I said, I don't care that there are no gifts under that tree for me... but after I put those gifts under that tree that night, I stood there staring at them. It was sobering knowing that they would not be accompanied by last minute gifts from my husband... or a gift from my 5 year old son that was bought by my husband for my son to give to me. The fact that there are no gifts under that tree for me is a not-so-gentle reminder that I am alone raising our son. I get a lot of those... daily... the not-so-gentle reminders of that fact. I love my job though. I wouldn't trade being Aaron Jr's mom for anything... ANYTHING.

I'm not saying I didn't receive any other gifts this season. I did. I am just sharing my thoughts from what was under our own tree this year.

Our stockings. I have to admit... these might have never been hung up before Christmas if Aaron Jr hadn't begged me. We didn't have any shelves or anything hung up on our walls yet... since Aaron Jr asked me day after day to hang up the stockings, I finally hung up this shelf and we hung up our stockings. I'm so glad he kept asking me to hang up the stockings. After the stockings were hung up, Aaron Jr kept finding little treasures that he wanted to put into Daddy's stocking. He found an unopened bag of sunflower seeds in the cupboard and immediately wanted to put them in Daddy's stocking because Daddy loves those.

On Christmas morning, after Aaron Jr was opening his stocking gifts, I had him open Daddy's stocking as well.

Here are the candles burning for Aaron and my brother Bruce for Christmas this year. Each of these candles burned for more than 3 days. I love that my mom has always had this tradition on special occasions to remember Bruce... and I will continue this tradition as well.

Christmas Eve, Aaron Jr got to open his new pajamas from me. He loves the show Phinneas and Ferb. So, I got him some pajamas that have the characters from that show on them. He LOVED them and was so excited to wear them. He is wearing them in this photo while holding one of the T-shirts I got for him for Christmas.

And here it is... here is the transformer Aaron Jr asked for. Optimus Prime. I love watching his face light up when he is excited about something. This year, I made a plan for the gifts I would give to Aaron Jr. As I having been trying to pinch pennies more, I bought things on sale and was delighted when I found this transformer on sale. It was a blessing. A few years ago, a friend of mine, Amy, told me about a tradition they have for Christmas. I adopted it this year. I am not going to go into it in this posting because it would take some time and this posting is already long... so I will share it in another posting.

After we opened gifts, Aaron Jr and I went to feed Shayla. We took her an apple for Christmas and spent some time there with her. I always wonder if animals know that it is a special day. We sure love her.

After we fed Shayla, we drove out to the cemetery. We took some of the stocking gifts that Aaron Jr had put in the stocking and the Christmas card that we gave out this year. We didn't mean to look so miserable in this photo... although I am not going to lie... standing there over my husband's grave was not the most joyous occasion...

Since Aaron passed away less than a month before Christmas in 2007, this was our fourth Christmas without him. Does it still feel wrong for him to be absent on this day? YES. Has it gotten easier to celebrate Christmas without him? NO. I had a really tough morning that morning. Once I started feeling a little emotional at the end of opening gifts, that is when I knew it was time to go feed Shayla and go to the cemetery. I knew immediately what was wrong when I began feeling out of sorts that morning.

Aaron Jr gave Daddy a little photo of Jesus in his stocking. You can see it in the plastic bag on the headstone.

Aaron's parents brought this tree with this heart hanging on it and set it up for Christmas. I am glad they do that. I love that they do that.

Ode and Aaron Jr. Pals.

Ode has his own stocking as well. Aaron bought it for him a couple of years before he died. We got him some doggy treats for stocking stuffers and my dad treated Ode to this can of beef dog food. Ode went to town on that... he scarfed it down really quickly. We sure love Ode. We can tell he misses Aaron so much. What a wonderful dog.

Harkness Family Christmas party. Here are some of the grandkids dressed for the Nativity. Steve Sr. read from Luke ll while the kids knelt around the manger.

Some of the Harkness cousins with Rudolph noses on.
We had a great night with the Harkness side of the family. Gifts were shared and memories were made as well. Sue made a scrumptious dinner and she hosted along with Steve. It was great. We sure love this family. Thank you all.

Aaron bought this for Aaron Jr when he was one year old, I think. I put it away because it said for ages 5 and up. Once Aaron passed away, I have given it to Aaron Jr for Christmas every year 'from Daddy'. This year was no exception. This is the first year that Aaron Jr is old enough, according to the packaging, to play with it. :) I was hoping to get away with tucking it away and wrapping it up every year for years to come, but we will see. This is the first year that Aaron Jr keeps asking to be able to open it. I told him it is a swimming toy, so we will see how it goes this summer. It is Bruce the shark from Finding Nemo. Its cute.

The Christmas cards and greetings we received.

On Christmas morning after Aaron Jr got done opening his stocking and gifts, I checked my stocking and to my joyful surprise, I had gifts in my stocking. Aaron Jr had managed to sneak a stick of gum and a pocket sized photo of Jesus into my stocking as well. Those were my gifts on Christmas morning. They truly meant the world to me. As far as tangible gifts, that was it for Christmas morning. But my true gifts on Christmas morning were more numerous than I can even count. I will mention a few...
A healthy son.
A thoughtful son.
Loving family.
Loving friends.
JOY on my son's face.
Hope, Peace, Love, and JOY in my heart and in my soul.
A Savior who was born in humble beginnings, lived a perfect and humble life, and suffered and died for us so that we can live again.

Yes, it feels wrong to be watching our son open gifts on Christmas morning without Aaron here. It will never feel right. But, as long as we try to focus on others and the true meaning of Christmas, we can still feel that Hope, Peace, Love, and JOY in our hearts because of the GIFTS of our Savior.

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1 comment:

Liz@Violet Posy said...

Aaron Jr has grown so big! It looks like you had a wonderful Christmas. Wishing you a wonderful 2011.