So, I didn't actually make it to 1000 gifts in one year...at least not on paper (or the computer screen technically). But, there's no doubt that 2013 has been a blessed year for us. Blessed doesn't mean it has been all sunshine and flowers though...there have been a few really, really low points during this year among all those amazing high points. The thing I have learned from spending my time counting blessings though is that from each of those hard moments comes some nugget - or even mountain - of good. I know that for every moment I haven listed here - all 854 - there are two more that I didn't write down, maybe didn't even see. Life is beautiful, and counting gifts this year has reaffirmed that for me. I look forward to another year of counting gifts each day (in fact...I've already started)!
813. finding Christmas cards from friends and family in the mail!
814. fourteen December graduates from our school!
815. Discovering Christmas lights with Gavin
816. Wrapping up gifts for my children and family
817. homemade hot chocolate
818. sharing the Home Alone movies with my children
819. mixing, rolling, cutting, and baking Christmas cookies as a family
820. Trees and fields blanketed in ice - "They've been carved from ice!" exclaimed Logan
821. Discovering Bas Pro decorated for Christmas with the boys
822. An indoor carousel ride on elk and deer
823. Coming out of store to find it snowing!
824. Logan catching snowflakes on his tongue
825. Frosting and sprinkling Christmas cookies with Logan and Gavin!
826. Starting a new tradition: Christmas Eve boxes for the boys loaded with hot chocolate, popcorn, movies, and new pjs!
827. A Christmas Eve service by candlelight
828. Watching the boys dig into their stockings with glee on Christmas morning!
829. The expression of pure surprise and joy as Logan opened his gift of dinosaur bones - exactly what he wanted more than anything this year!
830. The perfect gift from Justin
831. Opening presents with Mimi and Papa
832. Christmas dinner - calm and relaxing with Mimi, Papa, Gigi, Great-grandpa, Aunt Holly, Uncle Mike, and cousin Spencer
833. Logan sitting with Spencer learning how to play a video game
834. And one more round of presents for everyone!
835. Very tired boys tucked into bed early, and Justin and I busy building Lego sets and a ninja turtle lair!
836. Waking up to sounds of my excited boys as they discover their Legos and lair all built and ready to play with!
837. Two boys discovering the secrets and fun of the ninja turtle lair together...for a long, long time!
838. A safe and "quick" drive up to Iowa
839. Logan and Gavin climbing and sliding down piles of snow with Grandpa and Aunt Dannielle
840. Logan and Gavin getting to open presents with their cousins at Grandma and Grandpa's house
841. Finding out my brother and sister-in-law are expecting another baby!
842. Catching up with extended family at my grandma's Christmas gathering
843. Holding my cousin's tiny baby boy
844. Discovering another cousin is pregnant after years of hoping!
845. A White Elephant gift exchange among cousins, aunts, and uncles
846. A trip to the hospital to see Grandpa Jeff - recovering well from a recent lung transplant!
847. Sharing pizza and gifts together!
848. Logan hugging tightly the "Herkey the Hawk" stuffed animal he had begged for on our last visit to see Grandpa Jeff (Way to go Grandpa Jeff!)
849. "My logs! My logs!" shouted by Gavin as he discovered a gift of Lincoln logs from Grandpa Jeff
850. Exploring the hospital with our guide - nurse Dannielle - and catching up more with her!
851. One last family dinner out (minus Dannielle who was still working - boo!) before everyone left for home
852. Sharing hugs good-bye with my brother, sister-in-law, niece, and nephew
853. Hanging out with Mom and Dad just talking about everything and anything on our last night in Iowa
854. New Year's Eve at home with my little family - Good-bye 2013! It's been great!