Merry and Bright

December is always a blur… because from start to finish, there are so many awesome things going on.  And I’m not sure if this is 100% true, but it feels like today is the first day I’ve had some down time to sit and process it all so this would be my big December post with just a few pictures of the many things we did.

  1.  Children’s Christmas Program…  strangely, this is the first one in forever that our own kids weren’t a part of because they have finally aged out.  That being said, Ellee helped out with our littlest ones so that was sweet and despite all of the work it is each year, it’s always my favorite to see our children telling the story of Jesus’ birth.

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2.  Nana came to visit.  And we loved having her here.  She and Ellee spent a good amount of time watching Christmas movies and she also helped us set up our first Christmas decorations.

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3.  Serving the City.  We do it each year.  This year was an awesome conglomeration of teens handing out food and warm winter clothing and we were so proud of them.

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It’s hard to believe, but he is in his fourth year of officially being in our youth group and what makes me most happy these days are that he and his friends are still as connected and committed as they were in Jr. High.  The teen years are basically full of ups and downs, but we could not be prouder of these awesome kids and thankful for all that they do.

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Also, this is a rare picture of me with my amazing friend Victoria that I thought I’d throw in there because it’s nice to acknowledge life in front of the lens at times as well.

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4.  My Photography Business… it’s thrived this year and I am so very thankful.  I haven’t been great about sharing about it online but God has continued to bless it in so many ways, with so many wonderful clients and friends.  December was nice and full and I’m so thankful to everyone who reached out and let me capture their beautiful families.

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5.  Our Family Christmas Photo.  It was blood, sweat and tears to get one this year.  Okay so maybe not the blood part, but trying to convince two teens so freeze in the snow for the sake of their mom sending out a Christmas card wasn’t the easiest, despite what the picture may show.

*Our picture caption was “Family is always worth Snowball Fighting For.”  It was a cute way to show the challenging stage we find ourselves in, trying to parent two teens well.  It’s often not easy, but always worth working towards so that was the message we embraced this year.

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And I have to admit, there are many times I am so NOT gracious about this stage of my life.  I want our kids to be perfect and happy all the time, but that is ridiculous and lately, I’m working on trying to accept and appreciate the hard times as well as the good times.  I’m overall thankful that we eventually got our picture, and the cards mostly got sent out.

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6.  EBCYG Christmas Party.  One of my favorite nights of the year.

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We had an awesome turnout of leaders and students and we really, truly love them all.

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7.  Fake Jingle Bowl.  I got to hang out with this ridiculously sweet puppy.

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It’s definitely the flag football time of year and a few weekends ago we met up with these brave souls to play football with our friend John Caprari, who was our former EBCYG student and is now a missionary in Tanzania with his awesome wife and  THREE baby girls.

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8.  Living Room Christmas Party.  I have no idea why this picture is sideways, but I’m too far in to writing this post to worry about it too much.  This was also another favorite night.  We invited our teen small group for a meal together and it made my heart so happy.  There is something beautiful to breaking bread together and this night was no exception.

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9.  Real Jingle Bowl.  Every Christmas Eve morning, we play flag football together and this year it was awesome.  I even set the camera down to “play” with the teens, but mostly I ran around and prayed no one would throw the ball to me or run me over.

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We had a great group and it was a great morning.

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10.  Christmas Eve Candlelight Service.  Probably my favorite one of the year.  Because at the end, we light real candles and sing Christmas songs and it’s so beautiful.

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11.  And finally, Christmas at the Herrs.  After the craziness of the Christmas season, we always spend Christmas day, low key and home and together.  And sure, while is this little part of me that miss the days of our kids being little for Christmas, there is also this growing part of me that loves exactly where we are at.  Because in the past, I felt like it was more about what I could do to make Christmas special for our family but these days, it’s growing more into what we can all do together.  So today, Ellee helped me make our traditional Christmas morning Swedish pancakes.

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I maybe should mention that we’ve never been early morning Christmas people.  By time time we opened stocking presents and had “breakfast” it was one in the afternoon.  We opened and enjoyed the presents sent by extended family.

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And as mentioned before, this year was extra awesome because for our kids, it wasn’t as much about the getting of presents.

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Instead, I saw so much more joy in them during their giving of presents.  And that was really fun to see.  I have to note here too, that one of my favorite gifts was from this kid and so reflective of one of the things that we are loving these days.  This past fall, our entire family got memberships at East End Fitness and it’s been our favorite pastime to go to the gym together, multiple times throughout the week.  If you are parenting teens, you know the ups and downs, but the gym helps us SO much.  We are all happier after going to the gym together.  And while this might not be a big deal for some, for Christmas  this year, Christian promised to try one of the many gym classes I love with me and I could not have been happier with his gift.  Because really, what beats spending time together while sweating out all of your stress and anxiety :).

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It was a Merry Christmas for our family and I’m so thankful.  We all enjoyed gifts and clothes and Starbucks and fun foods.  Her favorite was getting a new desk (with mint accessories) as well as being spoiled by Grandma with a pair of Uggs.  And we could not be prouder of Christian and his heart to help others and just overall being pretty awesome these days.  Jeremy surprised our family with a few days getaway (hooray) and spoiled me with many fun things as well.

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And finally, in a closing to our incredible month, full of so many merry and bright moments, was this… Christian gifting his dad with the most glorious wall art imaginable.  They were both delighted and it was the Christmas icing on the cake of this wonderful and full month.  Thank you for enduring this long post of fun Christmas moments and I just want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year as well.

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lauraherr8

I love Jesus, my Youth Pastor Husband and our two beautiful children. I'm a professional photographer and I love people, especially kids. My best days include time with my family, Hot Yoga and a Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream cone.