Saturday, December 30, 2017

snapshots of Christmas | 2017.

Another Christmas is in the books, and I still can't believe it came and went so fast. This holiday season was our best, fullest, sleepiest one to date, and I'm already wondering what it will be like next year! Christmas is my most favorite for lots of reasons, but none more special than this: traditions.

We had two gatherings on the 23rd, four on the 24th, and four on the 25th, and then you can guess what we did on the 26th...yep, we CRASHED. Well, mentally anyway. It's hard to crash with two cute little minions who depend on you for everything, but we love our new normal. Even through sleepy eyes and moments when cranky wins out over gracious, we are so blessed. So thankful.

This was our most fun Christmas season with Braxton so far, and it tickled us to watch him excitedly open present after present throughout the days. He got all of his favorites, which included lots of Paw Patrol, PJ Masks, Ninja Turtles, and Captain America  gear/toys, and he hasn't stopped playing with them yet. I don't know if he ever will! He was even happy to part with some of his old toys to make room for the new ones, a chore that we decided to let him be a part of in order to teach some lessons about giving.

Bethany slept through most of the gatherings, but she still racked up on lots of things. We asked for her gifts to be practical this year, and everyone got her just that. Now we've got gift cards for when needs arise, clothes to last her through next winter (praise hands!), bows to add to her growing collection, and more. Everyone swooned over her everywhere we went, and we were so proud to show her off as our daughter. She has added so much to our family in just six short weeks, and she is already SO LOVED! This mama's heart is overflowing with gratitude.

TJ and I have been in purge mode for the past few days, and it has proved to be quite difficult with two kiddos who constantly need us for such different reasons. WHEW! I finally got all of our new stuff organized yesterday after doing a little here and there for a few days. Clutter KILLS me (like really bad), so I breathed a huuuuuuuuuge sigh of relief when Bethany's rug was finally clear of her and Braxton's gifts. We will probably start taking Christmas decorations today, too, because I am ready for everything to be back in its place again. Our house is where I stay all day long most of the time, and a clean house is all I have control of most of those days -- hence, why clutter is not a friend of mine.

So much has changed since last Christmas. We've been in our new house for over a year, our oldest babe is going to be three years old in less than two weeks (I'm sorry, WHAT!?), and there's a new girl currently sharing our room with us. This time last year was when TJ and I were both whole-heartedly committed to pursuing adoption in order to grow our family, and we had hoped and prayed that our extra bedroom would be home to a sweet baby by the time another year rolled around. We are so thankful that God saw fit to do just that. Even in the midst of craziness and exhaustion, we have never been more blessed than we are right this minute.

And I can't think of a better season to celebrate gratitude than Christmas. Hearing Braxton tell us the story of Jesus being born while holding Bethany in my arms is the most amazing things we've ever known. Oh, how I pray that both of these sweet babies will never shy away from wanting to know more about the Prince of Heaven who came to show them the fullness of a life lived for a greater purpose.

That's what Christmas is all about.

...Scenes from Christmas Eve...
...Scenes from Christmas Day...
Merry Christmas from the Bargerons! All FOUR of us!

Friday, December 22, 2017

stockings hung with care.

Who knew that four simple stockings hanging on our mantle would be such a huge testimony to the faithfulness of God? I never did until now.

Even though there are still three days until Christmas, we’ve already experienced the magic of this season in magnificent ways. What a blessed time this is, through both exhaustion and exhilaration.

I’ll never take these four stockings — or the four intertwined lives they represent — for granted.

This is our thrill of hope.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

christmas baking | 2017.

Last weekend marked the fifth year in a row of the Bargeron gals gathering to whip up some holiday yumminess. Peanut butter balls, oreo balls, sausage balls, and more were on the menu, and we worked for hours to get it all done. Mimi had everything organized in true Mimi style (bless her precious heart), and we all pitched in to complete our Christmas mission before dusk. Now, we've got pantries and refrigerators full of sugary treats!

The food we made is good (reeeeeally good), but the people I get to do this with each season are even better.

That's the timeless song that Christmas always sings year after year: the best part of our traditions aren't the memories we make but rather who we make them with.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

bethany victoria | one month.

My, my! I cannot believe you've already been with us for a whole month, sweet girl. Your story is one worth telling, and I'm already praying over the day you begin to tell it yourself. It begins with fear, continues with faith, and abounds with hope. So many people (literally THOUSANDS) are the reason that you're here with us, snuggled safely in our arms, and I'd be a foolish mama if I hid that from you. You didn't grow in my belly, but you're my daughter. The weight behind that truth is astounding, but it's one I proudly bear. You've been grafted into our family by adoption, and you'll always be ours. Always.
You've shown so much strength this past month, little one. From an unexpected nine-day stay in the NICU to learning to do so many things so young, you've inspired us in so many ways! Your lungs may have been a little under-developed when you were first born, but now they work perfectly -- we know that because you have no issue crying. Honestly, you don't cry all that much -- only when you're hungry, getting sleepy, or having your diaper changed. Otherwise, you are such a happy little thing! You looooooove to sleep, especially during the day (we're working on that), and you eat about every three hours. You're slowly gaining weight, and we're fully engulfed in the world of bottles. The cool part about feeding you is that you're being fully fed by breastmilk from about fifteen different mamas right now -- seriously SO COOL! We've been blown away by those who have selflessly donated their hard-earned milk so that you can eat liquid gold, but more than that we are THANKFUL. So very thankful! I tried to induce lactation for you, but sadly I wasn't able to keep up with the demand of trying to help you take a bottle (a hard-fought battle that sometimes took an hour), pump for thirty minutes, take care of your big (wild) brother, and somehow maintain our home. I am proud that you had the milk the small amount of milk I was producing while you were in the hospital, and I'll never forget the short time you nursed. It was so hard for me to give up this dream, but one thing I'm learning after so many things haven't gone the way I've prayed they would is that there is freedom in being flexible. Instead of being fed by me only, you're being fed by more than a dozen other mamas who have come to our rescue. What a testimony! In just the two weeks we've been collecting milk, we've already filled up an entire deep freezer of milk for you -- AMAZING!
You've had two visits with your first mama since we left the hospital, and they've been so sweet. I can't wait to tell you all about her, and I really love that our open adoption will give you the blessing of getting to know her yourself. I know you'll have lots of questions one day, and I pray that this truth will always be at the forefront of your mind: you are so loved by her. She's an incredible woman who is worth more than she knows or believes, and I know that because I've seen in firsthand. We are so grateful to have a piece of her with us always because of you.
And not that anyone is surprised, but you already have your daddy and big brother WRAPPED. Girlfriend, they are so in love with you! Braxton gives you hundreds of kisses every day, sings to you when you cry, and loves to sit beside you and hold your hand. And your daddy always steals you from me as soon as he gets home. Like I said -- WRAPPED!
Being a stay-at-home-mom of two the past month has been the most difficult, most beautiful time of my life, baby girl. You have blessed us more than we ever thought you would, and you just simply make us happy. So happy! One of my friends said it so perfectly -- the bags under my eyes really are a badge of honor. I'm so proud to be your mommy! I look forward to watching you grow, try new things, reach new milestones, and more. And I really hope you never, ever stop wanting to be snuggled into my chest. Mmmm, it's the sweetest.
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