When I was pregnant with Benson, everything was overwhelming to me.
I typically LOVE celebrating holidays with my family, but the thought of creating a holiday celebration during those trying 9 months was almost more than I could handle. I felt so sad that something that typically brought me so much joy became a dreaded event to be endured.
I was afraid that, because of the busyness of raising 5 kids, I would never again enjoy holidays.
But to my relief, once the dust had settled after Benson was born,
I was once again dreaming and planning fun events to bring our family together
and holidays were joyful again--something I loved to anticipate and create traditions around and enjoy together.
Although our celebrations are typically very simple,
we feel united as a family as we enjoy those simple things together.
And, as demonstrated by the title of my blog, I am a big advocate of embracing simplicity in family life.
So bear with me as I finish catching up this blog with a re-cap of our holiday celebrations,
finishing up with our fun Valentine's Day activities.
I love to celebrate love--romantic and non-romantic alike!
We had grand plans for Thanksgiving this year.
My friend and her husband were going to drive up from Atlanta and my sister was going to fly in.
I was planning an extensive menu
and dreaming up a gorgeous table consisting of pine boughs, clementines, gold-brushed pinecones, cranberries, and white dishes placed on thin slices of a log.
But gradually my well-laid plans fell apart.
My friend ended up not being able to come,
my sister had plans to travel out of the country for work so she pushed her trip up earlier in November,
and everyone I asked already had plans.
I said good-bye to my mental celebration and wondered if we would have yet another Thanksgiving spent alone as a family. Our kids don't even enjoy most traditional Thanksgiving food much, so it seemed pointless to even have a feast.
I can be pretty sentimental, especially when it comes to traditions, so I was feeling down about it all.
To me, Thanksgiving=lots of (traditional!) food and LOTS of people,
so the thought of eating tacos with just our family was bringing to the surface all the sadness of the challenge of living away from family.
But then, we ended up gathering with some other loner families at our friends' beautiful home on acres and acres of wooded land where we made new friends, ate lots of yummy food, and played games until late in the evening.
In the end, Thanksgiving was filled with lots of food and lots of people, and I came home that evening filled with contentment.
I snapped these pictures in those kind friends' backyard.
Today the kids are out of school for parent-teacher conferences and we are having a "yes day."
Which is why it is after 10:00 and the kids are still in their pajamas,
playing pretend video games they created out of construction paper
while squashed together in the hammock.
We may not have a high-tech game system (or even a TV, for that matter!),
but hey, we have cardboard, construction paper, tape, a stapler, and pens.
And that's kind of the same thing.