Tuesday, December 21, 2010

tra-dish-uns. and some semi-deep thoughts.

so my interweb friend, libby, got me thinking about different traditions each family has for christmas. she is hosting a little link up party so you can share your traditions and read others.

for those of you who plan on turning your blog into a book, this is great to write down as a part of the story of your family. don't let these things get lost!

so here's our first tradition:
christmas cards(this years card is below)...or sometimes new year's card when it might not get there in time for christmas . just something that says, "hey, we love you. and we love making fun of ourselves."

no, my husband does not really smoke a pipe. well i think he would, if he knew how to work that thing. and this is not what we really dress like in real life. and lila really can't read. or say words for that matter. and yes, actually, layne really does wear those suspenders in real life. he loves them. my sis, audrey esmerelda-kachina baker, came up with the idea for this photoshoot and also took the pictures. she is brilliant.and those are not really her middle names.

the other tradition we have is cutting the end off the christmas tree and writing the year on it. and other random things. i wish i would have made the writing on these cuter, but i mean, it's a tradition and i can't change the sloppy permanent marker look.

and i always make home-made treats to give away as gifts.  i end up eating half of them, so it kind of defeats the purpose, but whatev. it's like a present to myself for the holidays.
(these are brownies baked in a jar. i'll post a tutorial soon.)

hmm, we also decorate the tree TOGETHER. except for 2 meaningful ornaments(one from my grandmother and one we bought on our honeymoon in hawaii), the kids can put anything, anywhere on the tree. i don't go back and fix the tree so it looks better and we definately hang ornaments from school or ones we make, even though they are hideous...i mean, cute. but lila basically breaks anything breakable on the bottom half of the tree. she has destroyed 3 ornaments so far this year. with spoons. where was i? why did she have 2 spoons in her hands?  these are questions that can only be answered when we enter the pearly gates, people. i don't know, but i heard them break and came rushing in. that's what counts right? no one was injured. i'm awesome.

when i was growing up, we made sugar cookies every year. we still do this with that side of the family(although my mom tries to cut this tradition out every year, which is rude, mother). then we judge them and make fun of the worst ones until that person almost cries. then we remind them that even though they really sucked, like really horrendously bad, they are still loved by God at least. awww, the true meaning of christmas.

a new tradition we are doing as a family is the advent rings. this has been fun and made us be really intentional about sharing the meaning of christmas to our kids along with the Gospel. sample conversation with layne last night:
layne, do you know why we celebrate christmas?

SANTA! (we don't even do the santa thing here, btDubs)

no, that's not it.

-when we get a treat after we read that paper and tear the ring!

ok, no. that's a little discouraging...but i admire that you keep answering with such confidence.

-when we go to a party at lola's and get presents! 

(enter stage right, impatient mother who just gives the answer because she's frustrated)
i'm gonna shoot you straight here layne, those weren't the right answers, i'll just tell you...
so i went on to explain the Jesus concept, yet again. we'll see what he says tonight.

on a kind of more serious note, every time around this year, i remember what christmas was like for me 2 years ago. my husband was having an affair(GASP! for you new readers out there, click here to get the scoop or click on the marriage tab of my sidebar to read more about our progress) and i was miserable because i knew something was wrong, just wasn't sure what was happening. i had basically become a single mom and felt alone. during that season, i shopped for gifts alone, i decorated the house alone, many nights i slept alone, ate dinner alone, cried alone, raised a newborn and a toddler alone. it was incredible, gut-wrenching pain...all in the middle of "the most wonderful time of the year!".

when i look back on those moments, i can still feel the pain of God working on me and drawing me closer to him...when everything in my life was falling apart, it is a miracle that my husband and i are still married. not only are we married, we are closer than we've ever been. he loves me better than anyone could. and he is a better father than he could have ever been. all because we hit rock bottom. (i freaking think he's so awesome...just side note. i am in love with that pipe-smoking, cardigan wearing, filipino.)

so i think about that every year when the seasons change from cool to cold. God sent his son Jesus, as a baby, to save us from ourselves. he takes ruined situations and uses them for good. and actually, i think it was good that all of this happened 2 years ago around thanksgiving and christmas. there are no better seasons to celebrate redemption and remember God's goodness in hardship.

well that post went from lighthearted to super serious in a jiff, didn't it! whew, i'm real graceful-like aren't i? ha. well, contrary to the unrealistic depiction us on our christmas cards, this post is real life people. jump on the for-reals train...it's fun.

and oh my gosh...super long post. lo siento.


  1. I love love this post. has to be one of my favorites!

  2. I just started reading and I just wanted to tell you how blessed and inspired I am from reading your story. The Lord is so good. Thank you for the reminder of that and for the encouragement to me, a newly married girl - to keep loving my husband and my God no matter what comes along!

  3. your christmas card is THE cutest card I've ever seen. Your family is ridiculously adorable.

  4. So basically, I'm lovin' your family photos.

  5. i'm about to be on my period so i almost ugly cried when i read this. what? did you not want to know about my monthly cycle?

    anywho, i'm proud of you james. you and nato continue to minister to so many people including zach and i. i have a real life story of how god answers prayers. he told me he makes all things new and he has. PTL...PTLOH.

  6. I have like 90 things to say about this.

    1. Those pictures are the CUTEST EVER.
    2. Ever.
    3. How did you get your husband to wear a sweater vest?
    4. Who is Hux?
    5. Finley was born with clubfoot. He had some pretty cute casts when he was itty bitty.

    That's just the first 5.

  7. rachel, my husband loves cardigans and sweater vests. i have conditioned him. he also rocks a comb over sometimes because i love it.

    HUXley is our dog. that is part human.

    good to know about finley. was it weird i even asked? ha.

  8. i wanna be you when i grow up! wait, i am like a decade older than you. dang

  9. Okay my commenting is starting to get ridic, don't get scared yet.

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who says BTDubs.. I think I said it in a comment last night to you, ya know while I was on my comment to you rampage.

    Your family is cute enough to eat, if I ate people. Right now I don't.


  10. Some of my favorite friends didn't talk when they were teeny beany. They saved all their words for endless long distance phone calls with friends like me. So Lila's probably just saving up for her besties.

  11. Those pictures are the cutest shots I've ever seen. Ever. This post rocked

  12. Jami,

    First thanks for linking up! I LOVED reading about your traditions. What an awesome post. I love the whole cut the bottom of the tree tradition off. That's an awesome idea. Did ya'll just come up with that? or was it past down to you guys?? im curious. Love it.

    And all the pictures.. ahh they're great! You guys are a beautiful family.

    Thanks for being so real. You are an inspiration. Both you and your husband. God is good!

    Hope you guys have a fabulous Christmas!

  13. those pictures are amazing!! what a beautiful family. :)

  14. i can never clear my mind when i read your posts because i have so many things i want to comment on. a) i look more pregnant than you do, and i'm not pregnant. b) you're stunning c) in love with the pictures, your sister did an amazing job d) i try to convince my hubster to wear sweater vests ALL the time. what's your secret? e) i want to eat those brownie jar things right now f) i want a new years card g) thanks for sharing your heart

    annnnnd last but not least, had a girls night the other day with a bestie of mine and we made wreaths and watched eat pray love. she brought up the affair post of yours that i linked a while ago and after i told her that we (you and i) were internetbests, i asked if she continued to read your blog. she does, we do. we laughed about your funny-ness and she wanted to know where you lived and why we couldn't hang out

    merry christmas, friend!

  15. You truely are inspiring. Your honesty is like a breath of fresh air. I swear I'm not usually this corny ;P Thank you for sharing. P.S. LA-UVE your Christmas card :)

  16. What fun holiday traditions- and I love your Christmas Card Pictures this year! You have such a beautiful family!

    Merry Christmas!

  17. May god continue to bless your family and your marriage. Merry Christmas to you friend!

  18. Such a beautiful family and lovely traditions :) That brownie jar looks deeelicious,

  19. I love your pictures. they are the cutest ever! and because timothy and lila are talking twins I thought you should know that timothy is talking up a storm now. Of course most of it sounds a lot like smurfish but it's talking and i will take it. (he likes the movie despicable me and calls it disculpame-which means excuse me in spanish and i think it's hilarious)
    So I hope that encourages you that Lila will talk eventually and she may or may not end up sounding like a cartoon character ;)
    Merry Christmas

  20. loved reading this post, james...love to hear what jesus has done and continues doing in the lives of the natos...he is GOOD! merry christmas, friend.

    p.s...as i was reading this post, ray l. came on (our wedding dance song), which made me twice as emotional! nice pick! :)

  21. your photos are so darn amazing...love them! How fun! :)

  22. Tears in my eyes. You guys are amazing and I tell people that any chance I get. So glad we met up last week - it was very "real life". :) My kind of get-together. ;) I've never been one for surface or superficial relationships. Oh, and cookie decorating has been banned from our massive family gathers - the boys kept making naughty body parts. ;) Merry Christmas!!

    P.S. That last pictures is freaking hilarious.

  23. Obviously my blog roll forgot to show me this post and the most recent.
    Don't worry, I am reading that one one too.
    -double take
    -snort again
    The pictures are awesome, in a make me laugh hard kind of awesome. And I look forward to reading about the worst day of your life, in a good sort of way, one that helps remind me how God works.

  24. well after i'd done a substantial amount of creeping on your blog, i decided to let you know that i am one of those 'strangers'. my name is torrey, i am a 15 year old in california. i found your blog through mel's (thelarsonlingo.blogspot.com), and now i am thoroughly in love with yours! i am thinking of starting my own, to document high school and what not, any tips? hope to hear back, hope im not too creepy (:

  25. So basically, I'm in love with your blog. you are such an inspiration. did you know that?! God bless your precious little family. oh and your playlist Rocks. I had it up all morning while I was cleaning.

  26. I'm a new reader...and I'm so inspired and encouraged by your honesty. You wrote that some people don't want you to be quite so honest...but man, we need your honesty! Thanks so much for sharing your life and your heart, and the redemption that comes with the Gospel - in a real way. In a way that when people are really hurting, they can relate. Keep sharing, God is using you!


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