I absolutely love this time of year! Sitting down with all my recipes to plan out the Thanksgiving meal, finding new recipes to try in addition to the ones we make every year, making a list of all the cookies and other baked things we want to make for Christmas, watching the kids come up with their Christmas lists, decorating the house, watching all the leaves turn colors then fall. We all love the holidays, as most do, but this year we are especially thankful Ryan isn’t recovering from brain surgery like he was last year. It was a pretty stressful time for us and by the time Thanksgiving came around, we had only been home from the hospital for one week and he was in no shape to celebrate anything. In fact one year ago today was a Sunday, and we were sitting in the ICU watching Ryan sleep the day away preparing for the third and final brain surgery in eight days. I don’t miss that hospitalization one bit, and this year will be different thankfully. Aside from Ryan’s continued seizures, everyone is healthy and doing very well which we recognize as a huge gift from God. I have the Thanksgiving meal planned (we will be home with Travis’s parents and my younger sister’s family) and have been laughing at the kids’ Christmas lists. Sidney said “I don’t want anything at all. I’m perfectly happy and don’t need anything.” What a blessing to hear that from my 12 year old! I’m thankful for her thankful heart. Trying to get her to come up with something has been tough; I’ve given her ideas like clothes, gift cards, volleyball stuff, iTunes gift cards. She doesn’t want any of it but instead said “If I have to have something then give me money and I will give it back to you to put in a vacation fund.” The kids all want to take a vacation but it’s simply not been something we’ve been able to do with Travis in school for the past three years and Ryan’s four surgeries last year. I hope this year is different, and we even tried to get a vacation through Make A Wish but were denied because they said Ryan doesn’t have an illness that could possibly end his life (which is not true at all). But with Ryan’s next surgery around the corner in January or February, we won’t be able to go anywhere for a while. I can’t tell you the guilt I feel for that, but I also realize it’s not the end of the world to not take a big vacation. I just hope they continue to understand. Trevor also came up with absolutely nothing for Christmas but when pressed he did say he wants an ipod. He’s also a very content child who doesn’t ask for much of anything. Then there’s Brad who has a list of 27 things he wants ranging from an ipod to gummy bears. He also says he is content but was more than able to give us a list. I’m just very grateful that my kids understand contentment doesn’t come from things and that you can’t buy happiness. Of course I want to give them the world, but their lives have been filled with some pretty tough situations and they’ve grown up fast learning along the way that you are only as happy as you choose to be, whether or not you’ve been blessed with vacations and the latest gadgets. We try to stay focused on I Thess 5:16-18 ~ Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Travis said he thinks he is really going to like his job. He has a week of basic orientation under his belt and is back at the downtown office again today for one last day of orientation. Tomorrow he’ll be at the office close to our house where he will be based out of and will start training for his position. It’s been a rough transition working Monday through Friday, and as he said, now he’ll have to take care of the yard work on weekends like normal people which he doesn’t like. He’s been very spoiled for years being able to have days off during the week, working 12 hr shifts. But in the end, I think this job will be something he really enjoys. The kids are definitely liking that he gets home every day by 4:30 and that we’ve been able to eat dinner together every night (I love it too).
This weekend we were able to go on a family date on Friday – bowling and dinner at Skeeter Barnes – with the three older kids. Then Saturday we spent most of the day with some very dear friends from Omaha and yesterday we stayed very busy with two volleyball games, lunch with my dad and a big family dinner with Travis’s family at Grisanti’s. We’ve eaten out way too much this weekend, but it’s been nice to see so many people we care about.
Blessings to you all!