happy holidays!

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A little late, per tradition:

Happy Holidays!
Love, The Grays

This year, we squeezed in a family photo shoot by smuggling our camera into church a couple of weeks ago and asking a friend to grab a few shots between meetings on the front steps. That's how we do. Also, I totally chose all the photos where I happened to look my best, because I'm a selfless mom like that. It's becoming increasingly less likely that we will ever get a family photo in which we are all looking and smiling at the camera- especially with Eliza's talent for silly faces. But, what are you goin' to do??


Anyway, we want to wish you all the best in this new year. Our 2016 was beautiful and beautifully challenging. We watched Eliza grow and mature, and we enjoyed/endured our second pregnancy. (I can say "we" because everyone has to put up with those crazy lady hormones.) We were able to travel a bit and spend time with friends and family. We were blessed with many things, including a job promotion for Sam. I would also say that this year has made us feel like Berkeley is our home. We may not stay here forever, and most likely won't be able to, but I think it's the first time in our marriage where we have felt happy and content right where we are with no intentions of "moving on." We are constantly on the receiving end of so much love and support from our community here.

And, of course, we welcomed little Sadie Lee and she changed our world for the better. The girls have grown so much over the past few months, and we are really feeling like a family. I know that might sound weird, but it honestly takes me a few months to feel like I know my baby as anything but, "the baby." Sadie is one of us now, and our lives are starting to feel like, "Yes, this is the way it is supposed to be. This is the way it was always supposed to be."

When change comes around, my world gets a little rocked. It's taken me years to realize that I might not do so well with change. When we had Eliza, I had a hard time trying to expand my energy to fit all of my family's needs. In the end, Sam always seemed to get the shaft when it came to my love and energy. The past few months, Sadie has needed much of my energy. And, I continue to have that terrible "mom guilt" that everyone else down the line is really getting the brunt of my impatience and exhaustion. I'm not looking for any sort of "You're doing great." I know I'm doing ok. But, I would like to be better. 

So, my goals for this new year involve one major thing: love.

I want to love my family more. I want to be more kind, more patient, and more loving. When I become impatient, I want to think "Love first." Perhaps this will give me that 2 second pause to remember that I love this person, and allow me to choose my reaction instead of letting me heightened emotions choose it for me. 

I want to love myself. I'm hoping to rid myself of guilt each night, as I lay in bed thinking of my day. I'm hoping to be patient with myself. And, I'm hoping to take care of my mind and my body. I am forming specific plans for those last two.  

I also want to love those around us. I plan on organizing small, monthly service projects for our family to do together. And, I want to be more aware of how I can help those who really need a little extra love.

I hope that you find happiness in the coming year. Thank you for all that you do to love and support my family!

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