Thursday, December 31, 2015

a very bungalow Christmas.

Christmas morning didn't look like we thought it would (story of our lives), but that didn't stop us from praising + celebrating. There are four things that I spent most of this day reflecting on: 1) God wants His children to glorify Him when, by the world's standards, there is seemingly no reason to praise at all, not just when there is an abundance of reasons, 2) life is a miracle, and I am so unbelievably thankful that God chose to let me celebrate Emmanuel's coming with my people on this side of eternity for another year, 3) the spirit of Christmas, the everlasting presence of God being with us, should last all year long, and 4) every day that I get to spend with this precious family of mine is the best gift.

Our fourth Christmas at the bungalow was sweeter than all the others despite the disruption of tradition, and we were able to give thanks for life on several new levels. Y'all, God is good even when the circumstances aren't. His plans are exponentially better than any of mine, and I pray that I will never hold on to mine so tightly that I miss out on the blessings of vulnerability and flexibility that come with trusting Him.

It was also a count-our-blessings day, because we had one more person enjoying it with us. Braxton loved ripping into his presents and playing with them all, and TJ + I were floating on the clouds as we watched him grin, bang, crawl, hoot + holler, and enjoy the mess around him. Our baby seemed to think that this Christmas was the best one yet, and I absolutely agree with him. As a new mama, seeing my sweet little boy experience my favorite day of the year for the very first time was so, so thrilling. He and his daddy are the greatest gifts I've ever received, and I love sharing these special moments with them.
2011 || 2012 || 2013 || 2014

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Through Braxton, their legacy lives on. Oh, how my heart rejoices over watching the baby of the family be loved by those who were once just babies themselves.
"Grandparents are a family's greatest treasure, the founders of a loving legacy, the greatest storytellers, the keepers of traditions. Grandparents are a family's strong foundation."

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

baby's first Christmas.

We began our Christmas celebrations on December 20th, and we are just wrapping up for the season. Big families call for multiple gatherings, and adding an almost-toddler into the mix made for some interesting celebrating (who knew?). He got lots of goodies from family + friends, and his favorite gifts were boxes, tissue paper, and toys with bright lights. He used his beloved pointer finger and cute little "ooo!" in unison when he was excited about something, and he crawled + cruised all over the place while everyone watched him take in everything around him. We all agreed that he added exponential amounts of joy, thankfulness, and excitement to this Christmas, and I was so proud to look at him, even when he was across the room, and think to myself, "I'm so glad he's mine."

I won't ever forget how much love he received throughout this sweet season, and his daddy + I look forward to showing him these pictures one day so he can giggle along with us. There are lots of reasons that this year will always tug on my heart strings, and his life is at the top of my list.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

all the sweets.

Out of all the traditions I have the honor of being a part of throughout the year, none are quite as sweet as this one. It was my third year baking with the Bargeron girls, and the four of us rolled, crushed, dipped, mixed, and repeated for hours before our time in the kitchen came to a close. Mimi even surprised us with matching aprons to wear! Peanut butter balls, oreo balls, vanilla oreos dipped in white chocolate, Ritz crackers with peanut butter dipped in chocolate, sausage balls, a homemade strawberry cake with homemade strawberry icing, spinach dip, and homemade pimento cheese were all part of the end result, and TJ + I have thoroughly enjoyed munching on them since we brought our portion of the goodies home. I may or may not have eaten them for breakfast while sipping my coffee the past few days (insert monkey covering his eyes emoji here). I love an excuse to spend time with those I love the most, and nothing brings families together like chocolate. Can I get an amen?

Merry Christmas Eve to you + your family! I pray that your memories will be sweeter than usual as the countdown to Christmas comes to a close. One more day, people!

2013 || 2014

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

full of light.

Remember that time we made a last-minute decision to see some local lights instead of driving to Hollywild mainly because the family we usually go with couldn't go? And remember when we got in line at the local place just as this same family was walking up the hill to get in line, too? What a thrilling surprise to meet our Cribb family unexpectedly to keep our light-seeing tradition alive! I'm still amazed that it happened, and we decided that very night to never try to break tradition again because we obliviously aren't supposed to see lights apart from each other.

We ventured to TNT Lights in Mauldin for some hot chocolate, popcorn, a very entertaining visit with Santa, and wandering through hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights + festive decor. We learned of this house in 2013, and it instantly became an annual event that we look forward to every December. Braxton pointed and "ooooo!"ed with each new scene he saw, making my heart melt over + over again. Liam kept us entertained while we walked, and Addy was strutting her stuff in her birthday attire.

Another memory to be thankful for has been etched into my mind, and I pray that I never forget the lessons I learned on this day: 1) good things are always worth the wait, 2) Santa really isn't as popular as people say he is (just ask Braxton), 3) God's plans are always better than the ones we make for ourselves, 4) light always trumps darkness, and 5) good friends are among the most precious things in the world.
"Let's take a selfie," we said. "The kiddos will surely cooperate," we hoped. "Well, that's as good as we are going to get," we laughed. Our group picture may not be full of smiles, but it's full of something even better: life.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

lights on lights on lights.

We had heard great things about Christmas at Heritage Park, so the Bargeron crew decided to check it out for ourselves. The verdict: SO GOOD. The lights were synchronized with the radio, and we were all amazed at how cool it was! Santa's Village was all set up at the end of the light show, which was filled with several carnival rides, food normally only served at the fair (aka FUNNEL CAKES!), train rides, a petting zoo, and more. Mimi and Pops spoiled us (as usual), and we were all full of extra Christmas spirit as we drove away. Braxton was mesmerized by everything that he saw, and TJ + I were on cloud nine as we watched his eyes get bigger + bigger with awe.

Our sweet baby's first Christmas season has been even more perfect than I imagined it would be, and there are only four days until the big day is upon us. Who's excited? ME!
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