December was full of miracles for us! As all newlyweds and new parents can probably test. It's hard. It's work. And making ends meet is especially hard at the holiday season. Halfway through the month Loren was blessed with a raise at work. He was already getting benefits, but now he's making salary and getting paid holidays and vacation. We were so grateful!! But there was one particularly hard day. We were at the point where we were pretty sure we couldn't get a Christmas tree which was VERY difficult for me to accept. I am so used to having one! And it didn't feel quite like Christmas without it. Loren kept telling me that it would be ok and so I was believing him. That night we decided to get out of the house. So we went to his co-worker's wife's dance recital. (Which happened to be free). Afterward we drove down Candy Cane Lane to look at all the lights. At the end of the street was a house beautifully decorated with Santa and Mrs. Claus sitting out front! So we stopped and asked to take a picture of Alysha with them. They were so nice and we got Aly's 1st Christmas documented with Santa Claus. :) (Again. Free.) I was so excited to get a picture that I didn't have to pay $12 at the mall for!
Then we went to Walmart to pick up some baby formula and some Christmas lights which Loren said he was going to use to decorate the apartment and make it feel a little bit more like the holiday season. With all the coupons we had we only owed 26 cents. I was thinking that was pretty amazing, and then the cashier said, "oh don't worry about it." A previous customer had not accepted his change and it was still sitting on the register. It was 26 cents. We decided to push it a little farther by going to dinner at Famous Dave's. (Loren's newest favorite BBQ place.) I had gotten him a gift card for his birthday a couple weeks earlier which we were going to use. I realize that this was technically paid for with our own money, but the point is that it was money already spent and put aside for when we needed a treat. Including the tip it came to $30. Exactly the amount of the gift card. Loren had a surprise for me when we got home. He'd called a friend of his and told him our situation with the Christmas tree and asked if they happened to have an extra plastic tree. He did and they got it into the van without me noticing at the dance recital. Once I learned what he'd done and put together everything else that had happened that night, I started crying. I was so overwhelmed by how blessed we had been! We spent the rest of the evening decorating our beautiful tree and being grateful for everything we'd been given!
We spent a wonderful Christmas eve with my parents, siblings, and a good family friend. Christmas morning we went back to my parent's house for breakfast, presents, and fun! :) We played with new games, tried on new clothes, and spent some wonderful time together as a family. Loren and I were so happy to be spending our 1st Christmas together and getting to share it with our beautiful little girl!! Loren got me the most wonderful coat!! It's Calvin Klein and puffy and white! It's got down feathers and I LOVE it SO much! It was the one thing that I wanted for Christmas and he got it for me. What an amazing guy! I needed a warm coat so badly and now I'm not cold anymore!
The week after Christmas we took a quick trip down to Logan for Angela's wedding! It was a very very cold day, but it was beautiful. Angela and Bryan are so happy together! It was great to get to share in their joy. Thanks guys!!
We ended the year exactly how we wanted to. Together.