Adios 2014

11:59 I opened the front door and stood on the porch in my socks watching the miracle that fell from the sky.  Snow is pretty rare in the Sonoran, if you hadn't guessed.  It flurried down, seeming to leave the whole desert in silent shock.  We had celebrated the new year with friends hours earlier, but I still wanted to be up for the actual moment.

Midnight, that actual moment, an air horn broke the silence.  There was shouting, cheering, and the distant beating of pots and pans.  I'd never been more grateful to live in a neighborhood so smashed full of houses, all close together for a moment of unity: welcoming 2015.

Some people hate resolutions and the whole new year thing, but I think it's fantastic.  It brings people together to reflect on the past year, and also looking forward toward progression, betterment, higher and untraveled roads.

My list of resolutions is hanging inside of a kitchen cabinet, and I've already bent one of them.  But I think that's okay.  It's not about being perfect, it's about becoming the person I want to become, however I might get there.  I'm happy as long as these two are on the journey with me.

Here are a bunch of stragglers.  Pictures from the wonderful and spectacular year that was 2014.

 The year of the book-reading obsession.  Or, hopefully, the first of many years!

 These little buddies never want to be too far apart.

 The center of my world.

The first morning of 2015 the snow was almost completely gone.

But it was just enough of a winter wonderland for us.  We made tiny hand snow angles, and the toy cars went ice skating.

And all of our plants froze to death...

Except for our tree, which was covered in beautiful ice droplets.

 A fresh, cool start to 2015, I think.
So.  Adios 2014.

Merry Christmas To All… And to Roy a Good Birthday

On Roy's very first Christmas Eve with my family {days before we were engaged} we did something special and outside of our normal tradition.  We went out into the desert, made a bonfire, and ate shepherd's pie under the starry sky while reading the nativity story.  Apparently the new custom is to do this to celebrate whenever a person is brave enough to agree to marry into the Collett family.

It was great to get to know this guy better.  He is awesome, and we couldn't be happier for Alexa!

After eating some seriously amazing pie that I'm sure the shepherds only wished they could have gorged on, we shared testimonies and had some spiritual bonding time.  The night was beautiful; perhaps we would have enjoyed it longer if Camden wasn't so restless.  He knew there was chocolate in the house.

No cookies for Santa here!

Awkward self-timer pics, boo-yah!

It was a long night.  But it was all worth it in the morning to see his little face light up.

Cars cars cars!  Anything with wheels put this boy over the moon.

With Camden happily occupied, we set about getting Roy's birthday breakfast underway.  {AKA, Dad supervised Roy making his own breakfast. ;-p}

Celebrating Roy's birthday before diving at the Christmas tree was a really nice change.

Jacob fits in well.  Too well...

Happy birthday, love.  You're amazing and there's no one I'd rather be with.  Also, you're a hottie.  Thinkin' you should wear that hat err' day.

Christmas 2014

After Mexican food and a white elephant gift exchange at Grandma and Grandpa Reay's house, we headed down to Rocky Point Mexico to join Families Helping Families.

Mason didn't even need tools.

Pretty cool experience.  We got to help 200 other volunteers make four sturdy houses for families in need.  Families that were living on dumps {literally landfills} in cardboard structures.  Some of these families had nothing for the holidays.  As one mother put it, "We gave each other hugs for Christmas."

Talk about perspective.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas next to a decorated tree and I hope you gave gifts that lit up sweet little faces.  But I hope you gave hugs too.  Snuggled close to those you love most.  And stopped for a moment to think of that first, quiet night, and to feel the deep, unending love.  #heisthegift

Yuletide Fun

Is there an opposite of a Christmas Grinch?  Like a Christmas unicorn or something?  'Cuz that's me, all the way!  I'm telling you, my heart is two sizes too big this year.

Maybe it's because I have a beautiful little boy who is old enough to grasp a very basic concept of the season.  That must be why I got crazy and busted out the Christmas music before Thanksgiving.  Just last year that would have been considered a holiday travesty in this house, but not once did I get sick of hearing Nat King Cole, Celine Dione, Bing Crosby, or Josh Groban.  Nope, not once.

Camden quickly became a fan of Jingle Bells.  Especially the part where you scream "HEY!" at the top of your lungs.  {He liked to add a little hop into that part, too.}  There were lots of dance parties in the living room beside the tree.

Our tree looked a little lopsided again this year as we tried to keep only the plastic ornaments within toddler reach.  Luckily, Camden was much more interested in the felt tree.

Mother nature threw us a bone, and we got a few small bursts of season change.  Leaf collecting has recently been added to Camden's growing list of hobbies.

And she even sent some rain our way.  That doesn't stop this kid, though.  He wants to live outside, rain or shine, driving toy trucks off of ledges and down the slide and off the table.  I've just been happy for a reason to get some use out of these little jackets.

If you ask Camden what Santa says he will respond with, "Ho ho ho!" and a shy little grin.  He was very good at pointing out all of the Santas decorating the yards in our neighborhood.  Maybe there was too much hype around Old St. Nick, because when we finally got to meet him Cam was kind of like, "You're kidding me, right?"

The other Christmas character he was thrilled to identify was "Frosty the Snowman."  {Which is every snowman ever created.}  For two weeks straight we watched that 1969 Christmas classic at least once a day, every day.

And every day we found new Christmas lights to admire, day or night.  The inflatable things people have in their yards are pretty hilarious, and Cam loved all of it. 

We still trim the old Christmas tree Roy bagged for our first Christmas as a married couple, though I dream of someday splurging on real, fresh-smelling pines year after year.  Still, we met up with my family {and Alexa's fiancĂ©} to pick out the perfect tree for my parent's house.

{Lighting was bad, but I caught the bear hug in action…}

This picture had me in tears, Mason's face is so funny.  Oh no, I'm laughing about it all over again right now.  

We went caroling around the neighborhood with a group of friends, where Camden thoroughly enjoyed shouting "HEY!" during Jingle Bells.  There were Christmas parties, and shopping with siblings, and delivering goodies to friends, and watching holiday movies curled up with hot chocolate.

But my favorite part about the old Yuletide this year--the thing that really tugged on my heart strings and filled our home with Christmas spirit--was teaching Camden about the reason for the season: Jesus Christ.

After reading him a simple picture book about the birth of the Savior, it made his list of favorite stories. We read it over and over, and when we passed nativity scenes in people's yards, I got to watch his face light up with recognition: "Baybee Jee-shus!"  And "the mama" and "the dada."

Santa and Frosty are great, but this is what warmed my heart.  This is what it's all about.

And this is a very funny framed cross-stitch in my mom's house.  #santaisalilscary