The 4 Webbs spent Christmas eve and Christmas morning with our mortgage lender's family, who we met only one time last month. The story gets even weirder and better, but i'll save it for the pictures below to explain.
I've been sharing so much of time with the twins over the past few days that I'm even proud of myself, as a dad. There are many things I could do with my time, but i'll never regret the adventures and experiences and conversations with my two offspring. Yes, it's cold and yes, we are struggling a bit with being stuck indoors most of the time but there are some great things about cold and rainy weather. The twins have been building forts and playing games and learning to work around the house.
As we unload our belongings into the house, piece by piece we are putting things back in order. My bike was uncrated the other day. This is the first time i've seen my most prized possession on the Earth in over 3 months. I smiled from ear to ear when they pulled this beauty out of the box.
We've done more shopping in the past 2 weeks than in the past 6 months combined. So much to buy for our new house that it's ridiculous. On one of our trips to Bed, Bath, and beyond, Layla saw the candles and asked to buy one. After smelling 20 or so candles she settled on some berry medley. She proudly lit it up at home and we've been smelling the lovely scent all week long.
This is what it looks like to be trapped inside when it is cold and snowy. The view from our dining room across our small side yard and white fence, to the street next to us as the snow comes down. I read an article about how it is good for kids to be bored sometimes. The reason is because it gives them a chance to figure out some imaginative things on their own. It is rare for Easton and Layla to both be standing still, but the huge snow flakes falling on our property was awesomely shocking for them to see.
Meanwhile, Kendra filled holes in the walls with putty. I know she doesn't like me posting pictures of her in "work mode" with her hair messed up, but i like to express the realness of our lives and not just the glamour shots highlights. Layla asks her often to let her hair grow out so Kendra is committed to keeping it shaggy through this phase so that she can get to the long hair stage again.
Oupa said the number 5 cause for divorce is moving. It is stressful, but we have done really well together in spite of the odds. I told her to pretend she is choking me just for fun, but she didn't play along very well as being the psycho wife. We've had our moments of disagreements, but even through the furniture shopping, repair projects, and improvements we are still holding hands, talking through the issues, and being a good team.
So now we get to the Christmas story to beat all... Neill and Jenny know a family in Seattle. He is a mortgage lender and we needed to buy a house. Neill connected us and he helped us get through the home buying process. As we were texting he asked if the 4 Webbs wanted to come over for Christmas weekend. I don't mean "stop by for some dessert" or "lets go caroling". He offered to let all of us stay with them in their house for Christmas eve and Christmas morning. Many people make offers just to be polite, but I could tell he was serious. I agreed and we showed up on Christmas eve with our battle wagon packed for the festivities.
Come to find out, they had another newly wed couple, who is his best friend, staying the night as well. Their son, Ace, is 11 years old and did a decent job of spending time with the twins. Monopoly is a very good weekend-sleepover kind of game.
I was glad to see Easton experience what it would be like to have a "big brother" to put him in a headlock and rough house a little.
We've been wearing our onesies everywhere; around town, to the store, out for dinner... people look and make comments and smile and some even pay us compliments. I do this because I want Easton and Layla to know it is ok to stand out and be different. it's ok to be fun and silly and have people look at us. going over to Neal's house and staying with them for Christmas eve/day was spontaneous, but I'm glad we went.
We stayed up until 2:00am talking with the adults. Christmas morning was exciting for all of the right reasons. We slept in a bit, the twins were awesomely patient, and after a big breakfast we had presents to unwrap and stockings to empty. This is crazy neighborly love. Neal invited our family to stay the night with them in their house. They fed us meals. They gave us presents. This is not normal, but i want us to live this way. We were the recipients of the most amazing gift of hospitality that i've ever experienced.
some of the gifts were from family, like Nana and Papa and aunt Joanie.
Watching Easton and Layla open gifts is a joy in it's own class of greatness. I love seeing the anticipation and the expression of excitement for the gift inside.
Even Kendra and I got in on the present unwrapping goodness. My mom made a vest for Kendra to match the ones she made for the rest of the ladies in our family. Even though we weren't able to be there it was a small link to the togetherness of the Webbs we are missing lately.
After presents we had a birthday party for Jesus. We had candles and a cake and a birthday song just for him. It was odd because we've never done that, but I'm glad we did because that is really the emphasis of why we have Christmas. Every person who takes a day off work, every business that shuts down, and every dollar that is spent all are in honor of Jesus' birthday whether people recognize it or not.
We left around lunch time to get back home to the crazy chaos of our house. I took the twins out for a hike because we all needed some physical activity and sunshine. The old saying, "make hay while the sun is shining" applies. If the sun comes out, then we go outside. period.
Ouma and Oupa arrived the day after Christmas. Their presence is the present. Although Christmas wouldn't be the same without gifts. She made Easton and Layla their own personal quilt. My grandma made me a quilt and I still have it to this day! I bet the twins will have these for decades because they are so personalized.
The last week of the year was spent painting. I mean every second of every day from december 26th to January 1. After the new flooring went in, we painted every square inch of our house.
Ouma and Oupa were given yet another opportunity to wear their "in-law moving and repairman service" shirts. They have been such a blessing for us to make Kendra's personal touch on the house and clean up effort become a reality. i can't imagine doing this without them.
Max has been bored for days. cold weather and busy family leads to inactivity for poor Max. He laid down on Alaysha's bed by the fireplace. She is sleeping on an air mattress in the living room while we remodel her room. Max takes advantage of the comfy spot by resting peacefully as we scurry around the house like worker ants.
There is a city park just down the street from our house. I took a break from the work to get us all some exercise and vitamin D. The twins have been so amazing this past week as we work long hours each day to reduce the chaos and bring order to the functionality of our home life. I'm proud of them for making these many transitions so gracefully. Kids are resilient and I believe that even more after seeing them do so well in the past 4 months of craziness.
I consider this final picture to be our official Christmas picture of 2016. Everyone is supposed to act like the character of their onesie. I'm a tree... Just a silly Christmas thee and this is the wrap up of my 2016.
Here's my facebook post that I want to be sure to capture on the blog because it summarizes my attitude about the new year:
2016 was awesome! I had difficulties, pain, loss, concern, and change just like everyone else. Hollywood stars died just like they do every year. Political elections and voting happened just like every year. I got older, just like every year. 2016 was not perfect nor insurmountably disastrous. No year is.
I'm going to focus on two things: firstly, great things happened this year and I choose to focus on what is good and right and positive. Secondly, i am the same person on the last day of this year as I am on the first day of next year. I am the only thing I take with me into 2017. Just me. The amount I am willing to adjust regarding what I believe about myself will determine the level of growth I experience in 2017.
I don't blame a calendar or a politician or friend or relative or any other external circumstance for who I am or who I become. The responsibility rests entirely on me and my response to whatever 2017 has in store. I get to live in a peaceful rest even in the middle of incredible change. At one point in 2016 I was car-less, homeless, and jobless. I have a new job, new house, new state, and a new life. Fresh starts are a blessing. Trials are a blessing. Overcoming is a blessing.
I am thankful for 2016 and the people who were a part of my journey through it. I am excited about the functional relationships I get to discover and develop as we plant our roots deep in the community in 2017. Happy New Year, family!
see you soon