Saturday, January 2, 2010

Christmas Eve 2009

We were grateful this year that we were able to go up north and spend Christmas eve with family. We were able to drive home that night so we could have Christmas at our house. It made for a long day but it was worth it. The past few years the weather has not let us do that so we were glad it worked out this year.

Since we were not going to be home for Christmas eve dinner I decided to do our Christmas eve traditions for family night on Monday. We had our annual Christmas eve dinner of roast beef, mashed potatoes and Christmas drink(sprite and Grenadine) I looked forward to being able to set a place for Wyatt. Each Sunday as I've gotten down the nice dishes there is always one plate left up in the cupboard. The plate I bought special, right before I had Wyatt so that we would have enough plates for everyone on Sunday dinner. It's been a painful reminder all year when I've had to leave that plate up in the cupboard. I'm so grateful for the inspiration that came to me last year to set him a place each Christmas eve. It does my heart good to at least set him a place once a year.

During dinner we were able to talk about our "No Empty Chairs" family motto. Just like we did last year. We talked about how Wyatt didn't have a chair at his spot because he has filled his chair in heaven and is waiting for each of us to take our place at our family table there. We talked about what each of us needs to do so that we don't have any empty chairs in heaven. We know all too well how hard it is to have an empty chair. I personally look forward to the day when there are no empty chairs. It will be so wonderful. We also talked about how we still set a place for him at our Christmas eve dinner because he is still a very big part of our family. I truly feel he is with us more than we could even imagine.

After dinner we had a little family home evening lesson on the Savior and listened to a really neat CD with prophets and apostles testifying of the Savior. It was hard not to feel the spirit when you hear the voices of so many great men testifying of our Savior. We were able to talk for a moment about the gratitude we have for the Savior and the gift that he has given us of the Resurrection and Eternal life. After our lesson we went to Wyatt's grave and sang "Silent Night" and put a lamp on his grave. At that point I couldn't hold back the tears anymore. Oh, how we miss him and love him. We then came home and took Wyatt's stocking down and filled it with gifts to Jesus.(we wrote down something we could improve on this year) We also got out our "No Empty Chairs" box and reviewed the gifts we gave Wyatt on his birthday.

I'm mainly writing all of this down for my own self so I can refer to it next year. I'm grateful I did it last year so I could remember those new traditions we are creating since Wyatt died. How grateful we are to be a forever family. I'm especially grateful for the many memories we have been able to experience this Christmas. We truly enjoyed many, many nights of Christmas movies, treats, going in the car and looking at the lights, reading Christmas books around the Christmas tree, lots of Christmas music playing, candlelight dinners and drinking lots of hot chocolate. It was a very peaceful and fun December. I really tried to have as much done before December so we could truly enjoy the season. I think it was pretty successful.

One of the highlights of the month was doing something for someone in need in memory of Wyatt. I hope that will be one of the things that my kids will always remember. I'm grateful for the inspiration I received this year in regards to this new tradition. I feel we experience the purest joy when we do something nice for someone else.

The table with Wyatt's chair missing.



Wyatt's place Our yummy dinner...delish!

Kids by the Christmas tree.
Christmas Eve at my parents house
Hayley in front of the Train. My dad has a fun tradition of letting the kids run the train. They have to be able to go forward, backward and stop at the right spots. If they pass they get to pick a candy bar from the train. The kids look forward to this tradition every year.
Emily with the train.
Tyler and the train. Emily and Hayley at their spots. Kid tables
Adult table.
The nativityTyler and Emily got to be Joseph and Mary this year. Hayley was the littlest angel.Angels
Wyatt was the star. This part was retired last year and dedicated to Wyatt. I'm so grateful that he will always have a part in the Christmas eve traditions in our family.
My mom and dad sent us an identical star to put on Wyatt's tree. So grateful for their thoughtfulness.
My grandmas Christmas cactus was in bloom...just beautiful and neat to have a part of her with us that night.
Kids in their PJ's before leaving for the drive home.

And one more last tradition we re-started this year. We re-named it the "Wyatt" star. I found this star a couple of months ago. It was from a story I had a few years ago. I really can't remember the story that went with it but I remember what we use to do with it. Since we moved 5 years ago it was put in a basket and I didn't find it again until this year. I don't feel like that is a coincidence. Stars have so much more meaning to us now and remind us of our Wyatt. The star is a "service star". We would rotate it through the family by doing acts of service for each other. Once we did something nice for someone in the family we would leave it on their bed. Then it was their turn to do something nice. It didn't go around as fast as we would have liked but I think it brought a special spirit into our home. At the end of the season we hung this star on Wyatt's tree...ready for next year and the tradition of the "Wyatt" star. I'm sure Wyatt is happy any time we are serving each other and bringing the spirit of love into our home. I hope this new/old tradition will do just that.


Alison said...

Dearest Andrea
Daniel did find a way to let me know that he is close and that he loves me was written all over and in between the lines of the beautiful message that you posted on my blog.
You were the very first person to comment and as my laptop is right next to my bed, it was also the first words that I saw this morning when I opened my eyes. My day was so much more peaceful than what I expected. Daniel died on the 6th of January but today a year ago was the last time that I saw him alive.
Thank you for being with me.

jel-gar said...

Wow Andrea -

Everything you wrote was so inspiring. I love the amazing traditions you are making with you're family and the ideas it gives to all of us who read what you write. I say it so often but the way you honor Wyatt's life is beautiful and I know he is up there just smiling and loving the special time he had on earth with you as his mother but loving even more that he has you for eternity. - Lots of love, Janelle

She Made Mention said...

What a beautiful christmas! LOVE the dinner table. I love the quote about no empty chairs. My sister-in law also uses that on her blog. Wyatt is so lucky to have such a creative, loving mother. I'm new to this... as you know, so hopefully I'll have some of my own traditions in memory of Stephen. I love checking in on you- you are amazing. The longing for your son is apparent, but you do it in such a beautiful way! Thanks for sharing.