Friday, December 23, 2011

Celebrate Jackson and Sophia!!

Well, it's been a busy week here for us.  There, of course, is the normal hustle and bustle of the Christmas season.  The cookie baking.  The gift purchasing and wrapping.  Various Christmas programs and activities.  Family visiting from out-of-town.  But, on top of all that, I have not one, but TWO Christmas birthdays.  Let's just say, that if I don't see another piece of cake until next month, that will be just fine with me. :)

Here's a look at my TWO Christmas babies THEN....

Sophia Hollis Gregoire


Jackson Von Gregoire

  And NOW....

Sophie is mischievious and fiesty, yet oh, so sweet when she wants to be.  With all her funny little quirks and expressions, she makes us laugh until our sides hurt.  She loves playing with baby dolls, yet can hold her own wrestling with Daddy and the boys. 



Jackson is a sensitive and sweet little boy.  He is always the first to tell me "Mommy, you're bootiful."  Melts.  My.  Heart.  He is funny and is always making a joke and keeping us laughing.  He loves to sing, and boy, does he LOVE to dance.  So does Sophia for that matter!

We love you so much Jackson and Sophia!  We wouldn't trade you for the world.  You have brought so much life and laughter into our home and this week we celebrate YOU.  Praising the Creator tonight for the gifts He has given us.

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be" 

~Psalm 139:13-16


Friday, December 16, 2011

A Perfect Christmas

I always have the desire to want holidays to be perfect.  Don't you? 

A clean house.  Beautifully wrapped presents.  Tons of delicious foods.  Picturesque decorations. 

Everything.  Just.  So.

But this year, as I trim the tree and bake the Christmas cookies, I feel the anxiety beginning to build.  Slowly, at first....and then faster as the holiday approaches. 

Now, I am truly, TRULY thankful for family coming to visit.  I am SO excited, I cannot contain myself.  Really, I am.  I LOVE having people to our house, especially at Christmas time.  But, our house is teeny, tiny, and our extended family, is, well....big. :)  17 of us altogether under one roof for ten days to be exact.  And my need to control, and maintain order and perfection kicks in.  How will I possibly keep my house clean with that many people?  Where will all our STUFF go?  Where will we all sleep?  And so on and so on.

But you know what?  That first Christmas?  The one that took place in a STABLE??  The one where a poor, pregnant teenager was confined to give birth in a smelly barnyard?  A feedbox full of scratchy hay for a cradle?  A murderous king out to find and kill the newborn baby?  Yeah, that story.  Well, that one wasn't perfect either.  It wasn't even close.  And yet, something about it was, and still is, beautiful.  After all, 2,000 years later, we are still celebrating. 

Perhaps it was the simplicity of it all.  The fact that is was so ordinary, so relatable, that makes it beautiful.  Perhaps it was the love story of a God who so desperately loved His creation that He entered our world.  Emmanuel.  God with us.  I'm quite certain it was all of the above.

Growing up, holidays weren't always Hallmark-approved either.  Oh, they were wonderful alright, but often times they felt more like that first Christmas than the spreads I see on the cover of a Better Homes and Garden magazine.  Some of my fondest memories of holidays, however, were around my grandmother's table.  Or tables....depending how you look at it.  Her home was modest, but every year the dining room table was busting at the seams with people.  And when that table filled up, there was card table, after card table set-up extending into the living room.  Family. Friends.  Even strangers graced our table a year or two.  Never once would you hear Mimi say, "No room at the inn."  Anyone who needed somewhere to go was invited.  All were welcome.  And, it too, was beautiful.  Just like that first Christmas.

I am certain that it was the love that abounded.  The relationships that were formed.  The room that we made, not only in our homes, but also in our hearts for others.  It isn't the perfection I remember so much, as the imperfections. 

Are we more concerned with perfect table settings this year?  Things being "just so" on the outside?  Tons of gifts, perfectly wrapped?  Inward beauty taking a back seat to outward perfection?  I'm hoping not.  I'm praying mine is a home of laughter this year.  Of joy.  Of the pitter-patter of LOTS of little feet.  Relationships.  Food in the oven.  Fire crackling.  Christmas music playing.  Oh, I'm certain there will be messes to clean.  I'm even certain that on the outside, it may not look all that "perfect" to you.  But that's OK, the perfect is found in the imperfection. 

I cannot wait!!  A house full of life, and laughter and children.  Hearts set in anticipation of the One whom this celebration is all about.  An absolutely perfect holiday.

Looking for a place to spend Christmas this year?  I may just be able to scrounge up an extra seat or two at our table. ;)


Thursday, December 8, 2011

'Tis the Season

Christmas is such a special time of the year for our family.  I'm sure it is for many others as well, but for us, it holds some very beautiful memories.  Take a look:

~Charles and I were engaged December 19th of 1999.  The following week, we were spending Christmas together with his whole family in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

~A year later, we got married on December 16th, 2000.  We spent our first Christmas as a married couple together on our honeymoon in Hawaii.  Instead of a Christmas tree that first year, we had a Christmas pineapple!!  Mele Kalikimaka. :)

~Fast forward three years, and we found out ON CHRISTMAS MORNING that I was going to be a mommy.  Literally peed on a stick before my husband woke up and then wrapped it up as a present. :)  Merry Christmas to us!! 

~As if THAT weren't enough, on December 24th, 2007, our third child, Jackson decided to enter the world.  That's right!  My water broke in the church parking lot as I walked into the Christmas Eve service that night.  The next morning, my husband and good friend of ours loaded up the car with gifts and kids and brought them into the hospital room.  I got to spend the morning watching my kids open their presents from the comfort of my hospital bed.  I honestly could not think of a better way to spend my time there! 

~AND.....two Christmases later, on December 18th, 2009, we welcomed our youngest daughter, Sophia, into the world.  THAT time, we were home for Christmas!!

So, as I prepare for the Christmas season this year, it causes me to pause and reflect on all of God's many blessings.  Both tangible blessings in the life of our family, as well as the free gift of grace that was given to the world in the form of a baby 2,000 years ago.  Thankful that HE CAME HERE to rescue the world from sin.

"The Word became flesh and lived for awhile among us.  We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." 
 ~John 1:14

So much to be thankful for this year.  He is so good.  And so worthy to be praised.  Won't you join me this Christmas season in lifting our eyes and hearts in praise to the One for whom this holiday celebrates?

Oh Come, oh come Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel

That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appears

Has come to thee O Israel.

Joy to the world, the Lord has come
Let earth receive her King.

Let every heart
prepare Him room

And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing.

O Holy Night
the stars are brightly shining.

It is the night of our dear Savior's birth.

Long lay the world, in sin and error pining
till He appeared and the soul felt it's worth.

A thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices
for yonder breaks, a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees
Oh hear, the angel voices

Oh night divine
Oh night....when Christ was born

Oh night.....divine
Oh night.....O holy night.

May HE be first in our homes and hearts this Christmas season!