It has been a whirlwind week and a half around here! Last week it was just me and the kids while Ed was away in sunny Los Angeles for work. We made out just fine - but whenever Ed is traveling I am definitely reminded just how much he does around here! He's a real hands-on Dad.
While he was gone, I was hard at work getting the Christmas decorations out and displayed. I love Christmas. And Gavin loved the Christmas decorations so much - especially the lights. I would put it all up early mainly for him - so he could enjoy it longer. Now that he's gone, I will likely continue that tradition... like a little wink to him in Heaven. I put up the tree, the lights and my homemade banister garland (I went nuts with a glue gun a couple years before Gavin was born).
Brian and I were excited for Ed to get home from his trip so we could put up all of our special ornaments together.
But first - we took a little road trip! The four of us drove to New Jersey - stayed in a hotel, which is always a ton of fun for Brian - and went to an Aquarium.
Brian had a lot of fun - at the aquarium and the hotel. Hope loved the aquarium - but the hotel... not so much. Little Miss Mobile was not happy that I wouldn't let her crawl around on the floor in our room. I'm sorry, but I've seen too many exposés about how dirty and germy hotels are! Thankfully for all of us, it was a short little trip.
Hope was much happier at home - and even helped us decorate the tree!
Kinda. After snacking on some styrofoam.
Brian did most of the ornaments this year!
It was heartwarming to hear his comments along the way. "Aww, look -it's Gavin's ornament. We'll remember him every Christmas!"
"Awww, my pirate ship. And the lighthouse that we climbed, Mommy!"
I love, love, love our personal tree. Every ornament has a history - and some ornaments are from my own childhood so I guess they would be considered "ancient history!" Ha!
Brian even included Hope - showing her some of his favorite ornaments along the way.
It was fun to finish the tree as a family.
Here's the final result! If you're curious about our angel tree topper, she has a very special story. I had it custom made after Gavin died. You can read all about it in THIS post.
I didn't intend to decorate outside the house, but yesterday was a shocking 70 degrees here in Pennsylvania! Hope and I spent all morning outside putting the lights up. She loved sitting in her stroller watching me get all tangled up in strings and strings of lights. And every time the wind would blow across her face, she would laugh and laugh and laugh. Putting up Christmas lights this year was definitely not a chore, thanks to her. When Brian got home from school he spent some time playing outside with his friend, Daniel, on our playground.
And when it started to get dark, we took a trip up the driveway for a look at our hard work. I won't put the lights on and leave them on until after Thanksgiving. But it feels good to have it all done! Now I can get through Hope's first birthday - Brian's birthday - and the lead up to Christmas with less stress. Well... in theory.
We do have a little stressful situation on the horizon. The company that Ed works for, Shire, recently announced that they are relocating their headquarters to Lexington, Massachusetts. Employees, including Ed, have to choose to either relocate or take a severance package. This is not something we take lightly. If our situation was different - it would be an easier decision. But since Gavin died our biggest priority and main focus has been Brian. He's had a lot of life changes. We may not be able to avoid piling on another one - and we'll have to hope that he'll show the same adaptability and resilience he's shown over the last year and a half - actually, over his entire short life when I think about it! If you could send some positive energy our way - especially for clarity! - we'd appreciate it.
This new development hasn't rattled us too, too much. Obviously, we've endured far worse. And we remember that we really have much to be thankful for.
Brian is happy and maturing and learning more and more every day.
And Hope is sweet and easygoing and boy, is she determined! She started crawling like this today...
...and she even got herself up to stand all by herself! No walking yet - but it's soon! (I know - I've been saying that for months. But I really mean it this time!)
And then there's Gavin... who has never really left us. He continues to remind us of what's really important in life. It's not the turkey dinner... it's not the stuff we have... it's nothing tangible at all.
This year we are thankful for time - which is never promised.
And for love - that never dies.
From our family to each and every one of you - Happy Thanksgiving.
I am personally thankful for the love you send our way. It means so much to me.
(p.s. - Don't forget to join in the worldwide celebration for Hope's first birthday! You can read more about how you can participate HERE.)