Sunday, December 22, 2013

I've been keeping a secret...

My lack of posts have not been on purpose...I've just had a little something that's been preoccupying my time/energy...

Wanna know my secret?? I'll let Madden show you:


Yep...you read that right!! Our little family is growing by one sweet little babe in June 2014!! We are beyond excited and feel incredibly blessed that God has finally answered our prayers. 

I will be back next week with more details about our journey to get to this point after the hustle and bustle of the holiday season dies down!

Love to each and every one of you, from the bottom of my heart...and Merry Christmas to you all!!

Until next time...

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Our Family Christmas Traditions

Man, oh man have I missed blogging.  It just feels so, so good to be back!  But you want to know what one of my most favorite things about blogging is?  A good 'ol link-up!  So, when my girl Holly announced this fun, festive link up, I just knew that I had to join in.

My immediate family (Mom, Dad, Sister and Brother) always had the same traditions every. single. year when we were growing up, and I loved every second of it.  As I've said before, both sides of my family (Mom's three siblings, their kids and parents and Dad's three siblings, their kids and parents), all lived/live within 15 miles of each other, so we always got together to celebrate Christmas with both sides.  Christmas Eve was always spent going to church, then heading to Grandma and Grandpa Rodehorst's (My Mom's side) eating, singing Christmas Carols, and opening presents before heading home to get some shut eye before Santa came that night.

Then, Christmas morning, us 3 kids were always up at the crack of dawn, (sometimes all sleeping in the same room just so we would all wake up at the same time) before running into Mom and Dad's room waking them up before we headed into the living room to see what Santa had left us.  We would spend the morning opening gifts, eating breakfast, watching Christmas movies that we got in our stockings and playing with whatever new toys/gadgets we had gotten.  Then, later that night, we would all head to Grandma and Grandpa Went's (My Dad's side) to eat supper, open presents, and hang out until we couldn't stay awake any longer.  

Those years bring back soooo many wonderful memories and for some reason, as I typed that out, I couldn't control the tears streaming down my face.  I loved every single minute of the Christmas season, and I want those same feelings to be passed down to my own little family.  Aaron and I have tried really hard to come up with some fun, family traditions that can be carried on from year to year.  Madden is at the age where he is really starting to understand what is going on, so this Christmas is probably going to be my favorite one yet.  His innocence is so amazing, I just can't wait to experience this season with him this year.  Here's a peek into what our "new" Christmas traditions look like:
I am kind of a freak when it comes to decorating our home for Christmas.  It takes a lot of work to get everything set up to just enjoy it for a couple weeks, so I typically set up the decorations the week before Thanksgiving so we actually can enjoy the blood, sweat and tears beauty of it all!  We blast Christmas music on the stereo, and dance around while trimming the tree.
Then, all season long, Madden sleeps in Christmas jammies, we read Christmas stories every night before bed and be sure to watch at least a couple Christmas movies a week.  Some of our favorites being "Elf", "The Santa Clause", and "Home Alone".  Just this year, we introduced the Elf of the Shelf concept into our house.  It has seriously been sooo much fun watching Madden come down the stairs every morning to see what "Randy" has been up to the night before.  It's definitely a tradition that will be carried on from year to year!
Christmas Eve is spent heading back to my parent's house late morning, where we eat dinner, open presents, and hang out before heading to church as an entire family that night.  Then, we still head to my Grandma's house to spend that evening the way we always have for the past 27 years of my life; eating, singing Christmas carols and now watching the great grandkids open up the gifts!

Now, call us crazy, but Aaron and I pack Madden up and head back to our house that night, usually not getting home until after 11 at night.  But we made the decision right before Madden's first Christmas that we want him to wake up in his own bed on Christmas morning.  And we have never regretted that decision!

Christmas morning is spent seeing what Santa left Madden, opening up gifts from Mommy and Daddy, eating breakfast (usually a crockpot breakfast casserole) before getting dressed and ready to head back to Columbus.

Ever since Aaron and I started dating, clear back in 2002, I have spent my Christmas Day with his family.  This is a tradition that is still ongoing as we get there late morning, eat monkey bread, divvy up the mountains of presents, sit in a circle and one by one, we each open up our gifts.  We usually let the kids (all six of them) go first, we take a break to eat lunch, then we continue on with the adults.  After that all day event, we just hang out, snack, and play games until we turn around and head back home that night.  

Whew!  If you are still reading this, I applaud you for hanging on through that all!  Our traditions may have changed a tiny bit throughout the years, but the traditions are still there, none the less!  I can't wait to celebrate this season with the ones I love.  And remembering now, more than ever, that Jesus is the Reason for the Season.
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Until next time...

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Peek into our Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving was one for the record books...we had five Thanksgiving meals in a week's time.  Yes, you read that right: Five Thanksgivings.  And no, neither the hubs nor I come from separated families.  Both of our parents have been married for 30 and 38 years...this is just what you get when all, and I mean ALL of your extended family (except for us) lives within 15 miles of each other...My husband hates every minute of it, but I, on the other hand, love it!  After all, that is what this time of year is all about: giving thanks for what you have and family being one of the most important.

The festivities began the Sunday before Thanksgiving when we got together with two of our closest friends for our first annual "Friendsgiving."  And just because it was a gathering of friends, does not mean we skimped on the feast.  We had everything from a 17lb turkey, to mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, dressing, rolls, spaghetti corn, salad, cranberry sauce, and a butterfinger dessert.  It was out of control, but we had so much fun and left there feeling exactly like that turkey on the table: stuffed.

Wednesday was a whirlwind.  Madden's Montessori had a Parent's day, where we were invited to come and do crafts with him, eat lunch, and then have him show us all that he has been working on this semester.  After that, we headed east back to our hometown for our first family Thanksgiving.  We got together with the 50 some family members on my Mom's side, stuffed our faces, and then turned around and drove the hour and a half back to our house that night.

Thursday was my husband's dream holiday.  It was just the three of us, with absolutely no plans, so this is what our day looked like:  I woke up early, burned off some turkey and mashed potatoes from the night before, then whipped up a breakfast of waffles, bacon and eggs for my main men.  Then, we loaded up and went to the movie "Frozen" had popcorn for lunch and then home for nap time.  During that time, while my guys were sleeping, I slaved away in the kitchen on my homemade cranberry sauce (first ever time making it) spiral ham, and homemade scalloped potatoes, per my husband's request.  We ate an early dinner around 4:30, so we could head out for some black Friday shopping.  We honestly had so much fun that day, and it is definitlely a Thanksgiving we won't ever forget.
We started the Elf on the Shelf tradition this year, by letting Madden open him up the night of Thanksgiving..."Randy" has already gotten into some mischief ;)
Later that night, after the boys went to sleep, my Mom and sister got into town around 10:30, where we proceeded to do more black Friday shopping until about 2 am, came back to our house, took a six hour nap, and then headed back out around 9 the next morning!  Crazy??  Maybe, but I got ALL of my Christmas shopping done!  Now all that's left is to wrap the hundreds of presents...any volunteers??

Saturday morning we loaded up the car, once again, this time bags packed, and headed back east for our final two Thanksgivings.  We spent the day on Saturday with Aaron's family, just hanging out, letting the kids play, while the ladies shopped online, and the guys watched football...then the hubs, Madden and I snuck up to my parents for a couple hours that night to spend some one on one time with them, since we wouldn't get the chance to do that during that crazy weekend!

Sunday morning, I got dressed up to head to a craft fair with my Mother and Sister in-laws for more shopping!  I scored some pretty cute door hangers for super cheap!  A snowman and a birthday cupcake...the husband just shook his head when I came home with those...men just don't get it, do they??

Then Sunday noon was spent at my Dad's parent's house with about 30 others for our last and final feast.  We left Grandma and Grandpa's around 2:30, to get home just in time to unpack and lounge the rest of the night before preparing for the week ahead!

It was a whirlwind week, and I will be trying to burn off the lbs of potatoes, stuffing, pie and turkey for the next month!  But it was so worth it.  We had a great time, made lots of memories and realized just how thankful we really are for what we have been blessed with.  I hope you all had just as much fun this Thanksgiving!

What about you?  Did you travel far?  How many Thanksgivings did you have?

Until next time...

Monday, December 2, 2013

My Apologies...

Ok y'all...I don't know what to say except these two words: I'm sorry.  There is no way around it.  I have been absent for the last month and as hard as it was to be away from all of you...my blog world friends, I found it necessary at the same time.

It wasn't your fault.  It was nothing that any of you did.  That's what made it so hard to be away without even a moment's notice.  It was rude on my part, and I only hope that you can find it in your hearts to forgive me.

After receiving a few emails from some of my readers in the past couple weeks, I knew that I owed it to all of you to explain my absence.  So, without going into deep, messy details, I will give you the jist of it...

So, you all know that I haven't ever gone public with this little ol blog, but I've also never made this place of mine private either.  So, that said, pretty much anyone could find me if they looked for me...case in point: if you type my name into Google, the first thing that comes up is "Jenna Rae Everyday Blogspot."  It's not hidden, so everybody and their dog could find me.  And I knew that, but I just figured that nobody that I knew would actually be stalkerish enough to actually google me!  Ha!  Boy, was I wrong!

Rewind, to my sister's wedding a month and a half ago...a few of my "friends" were invited and many comments were made by said "friends" to other guests of the wedding, some of which included my family members...cousins and a couple aunts.  Comments such as: "did you know that Jenna has a blog?  How bored, desperate and conceited is she that she feels the need to be pitied and gain "friends" via online?"  Mind you, these "friends" didn't know that who they were talking to were related to me, and they were a little "tuned in" so the words were just flowing like vomit with no filter what so ever.

I didn't come to find out about this until after my last post...and right then and there I immediately became sick to my stomach.  I was pissed.  I was furious.  I wanted to track them down and punch them square in the face.  But I was also sad.  And most of all, I was hurt.

You see, as I've mentioned before, I am not a person who likes confrontation.  It is one of my biggest fears.  I also really hate it when people don't like me.  So, I do my best to make everyone happy and I try to please people even when I know that I shouldn't.  It's just who I am.  How I was made, and I don't know if I will ever get over that.

Therefore, instead of facing my fears, I just hid from them.  I didn't say anything.  I just decided to take a break from spilling my thoughts on here for any and all to see.  But the sad thing is, it hurt me to be away from you.  The people that are actually here to support me.  To cheer me up, lift me up and to be my friends when my real life "friends" aren't who they appeared to be.

So I'm back.  I hated being away, but I felt it necessary to clear my mind, get over my frustrations and just spend my free time focusing on my family.  And you know what, it is actually just what I needed.  I have never felt more refreshed, rejuvenated and more ready to share with y'all what is going on in my life!  I've missed you all...like a lot!
These two have been my rocks.  I don't know what I would do without them!
So I hope that you can forgive my absence.  And I thank each and every single one of you (whether you reached out to me or not) for supporting me and checking in on me in a time when I needed it the most.  It just goes to prove that y'all are some of my best/closest friends that I've never even met.  And I am grateful for each and every one of you!

Here's to a new month.  A new chapter.  And a new look into my everyday life.

Until next time...