"First" Christmas

This was my first Christmas without my mom.
It was bittersweet to say the least,
but we were still celebrating Christ's birth
and that's something wonderful to celebrate
no matter what is going on in your life.
I also wanted to make it special for everyone else.

It was, in many ways, my first Christmas.
-My first time to have it at my house
-My first time to make Christmas day dinner
-My first time to be in charge of all of the traditions, etc...

First up, making homemade German hamburgers
for Christmas Eve.
This literally took me all day!
I started at 10 am and worked solid until 6:30pm.
They almost didn't get finished by dinnertime. ha!
SO Delicious!

Then it was time for our annual trip to see the lights downtown!

Back to the house to make sugar cookies
(one of my favorite traditions!)
I had to alter the recipe a little bit since I can't have wheat,
but these cookies truly tasted just like
my mom's recipe which was a huge relief...
BIG shoes to fill people!

We always love to get creative and make our own. ha!

After they cool it's icing time and it's the secret to these cookies.
It gives them a little bit of sweet and keeps them moist.

love these faces! such joy!

Right before bed, we always do our own little candlelight service.
We go around the circle and talk about all the things
that we are thankful to the Lord for.
It's always a favorite tradition of mine and I always cry.
Even this year, with all of it's hard moments,
we have SO MANY things to be thankful for.
This year we were all a little emotional and
since the girls were with us, we tried to keep it
a little shorter than normal so we wouldn't completely lose it.

I finished putting all the gifts under the tree...

and stood back to look at the fun glowing tree and just gave thanks again for how incredibly blessed we are. We only do 1 or 2 presents for the girls and a fun stocking, so not all of those are for us, but even the fact that we had enough to get presents for our friends and family is such a blessing.

Christmas morning was a blessing.
We LOVED having my dad with us.

We tried to focus on the girls and keep things light and did pretty well, until Dasun gave us a keepsake gift about my mom. He got the girls playing with their toys and took us to another room to open the presents. It was a precious ornament with a poem, and my dad and I who had been doing pretty well stuffing everything back, both lost it.
It was okay, we probably needed to.
The Lord was so faithful,
but we missed her terribly...still do.
She was so fun and made everything so special.
It's just not the same without her.
How lucky to have had a mom like that!.

This is the only thing Dasun really asked for.
He LOVES it : )

Kennedy got a scooter from my dad, so we
went outside to enjoy the beautiful day and try it out.

Then we came inside to get ready and finish cooking.

It wasn't my mom's cooking,
but it was yummy and we were blessed to be together. : )

Happy Birthday Jesus!
We are SO very thankful for Your birth,
Your life, Your death, and resurrection,
and your constant faithfulness in all things!