Friday, December 27, 2013

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I love Christmas. I mean, I absolutely positively love it. I love everything about it- Christmas music, Christmas decorations, giving gifts to loved ones, the charitable spirit that seems to take over communities. It really is just a magical time of the year.
As I look back at the holidays of my married life, I am overwhelmed with joy. Even through the years we were not lucky enough to have little ones of our own, we were still blessed to always be surrounded by family. We are blessed to have memories of being a part of Christmas with our nieces and nephews before having kids of our own. There is something so special about the holiday season for little ones who still believe in all the magic. (now I feel a "Why-we-do-Santa" post coming on....) I'm so glad my siblings allowed us to be a part of those memories for their little families. Even though we get together nearly every single Sunday for dinner, Christmas is just special. I can't explain it, it just IS.
Despite how wonderful our Christmas memories are, each year, at the end of the day, Jon and I get in our car and drive home. Each year we've hoped that it's our last to be spent as a childless couple, as we desperately hoped to grow our little family. There was a certain level of emptiness met with yet another holiday season without a little one to dote on and create memories for. A season that for us is all about family also served as a reminder of our struggles in creating our own.
This year was different.
This year, the joy of the season was paired with the joy of the homecoming of Chase- something that will forever change this time of year for us. This year, we got to play Santa, staying up until 2am on Christmas eve to make the perfect Christmas display, even though he wont remember a darn thing. (many of his gifts were actually re wrapped from his shower. Don't judge.Or other essential items that I bought but hadn't opened yet so they were gifts. I mean, Chase TOTALLY wanted a wipes warmer for Christmas, right?)
 Christmas morning was spent in our home. We woke up without an alarm, we lounged around in bed, enjoying the quiet stillness of morning. Chase began to stir shortly after I woke, and I scooped him up and snuggled him while he ate breakfast. My heart was so full of gratitude and joy. I am so thankful my Heavenly Father trusted me with this perfect little human.
As I laid there in bed, Chase snuggled on my chest, Jon fast asleep, Annie curled up at my feet, I could not help but be overcome with a sense of absolute joy. I am so blessed. We live such a blessed life. We may not have super fancy things. Chase might not have a lot of "stuff." He may never have the latest and greatest toys, he may be getting necessities rather than wants every Christmas for the rest of his life, but you know what? I'm really just thankful that we CAN supply the necessities- especially in this economy!
And of course, the dogs were not forgotten this season, either. Miss Annie is always front and center, and the Danes got plenty of toys for both inside and outside throughout the year that I put in a box and wrapped under the tree.
I got up and made breakfast, and My mom and Tanya swung by after. Carson was happy to help baby Chase open his gifts! After, we went to my mom's and spent the day with family. I wish Shelly & Nathan's family would just move here already- it would really make these kinds of things that much more special to have EVERYONE together.
At the end of the day, we returned home- this year as a party of three rather than two. There was no feeling of sadness as we have experienced in the past. There was no void, no hole that needed filled. Nothing was missing. No, this Christmas left nothing to be desired. We are so blessed. So fulfilled. So lucky. We organized and put away some stuff, and then ended the day in the same way we started it- the three of us (OK, four, Annie totally counts) snuggled up in bed, counting our many blessings, overwhelmed by just how amazing life is right now.
I know many argue that Christmas is just another day, that we should be charitable and grateful year round... and I do agree with the latter. But Christmas is not just another day. It's a special day. I look forward to instilling the holiday spirit in my children, and creating special memories that will last a lifetime. I hope they find this time of year to be as special as I do. I hope Jon and I are able to make it special. It's not about the commercial aspect of the holiday. It's not about gifts. It's about family. It's about Christ. It's about giving. It's about counting our blessings. It's about magic.
And in our house, it's about Chase. <3 This tiny little human that entered our lives and changed everything. I am amazed every single day at how amazing he is- how perfect he is. He challenges me and makes me a better person just for knowing him. This holiday season I am thankful not just for our blessings with are too many to count, but also for our trials this year- for the opportunities for personal growth. Most of all, though, I'm thankful for family. For Jon's family. For my family. For Chase.

Monday, December 16, 2013

What's in a Name?

Chase Albert Lanman
D&C 20:70
Every member of the church of Christ having children is to bring them unto the elders before the church, who are to lay their hands upon them in the name of Jesus Christ, and bless them in his name.

December 15, 2013 was a special day for our family and for Chase. Our families gathered together for Chase's blessing. This is an LDS tradition in which new babies are given their name that will be on record with the church, as well as a priesthood blessing for their spiritual and physical well-being.  It was so special to have so many people from both sides of the family present to support Chase, we are so thankful for those who could be here.
As I looked around the room, my heart was touched. I can't believe the immense amount of support we have around us. Jon's family made the 6 hour drive to be here for the special day, and it really meant the world to us.
I'm thankful that Chase has SO MANY amazing men to look up to. It makes me so happy that he will grow up watching these men and knowing that their wonderful examples will help shape him into a great husband, father, and friend. He couldn't be luckier, he has the best father, grandpas, and uncles anyone could ask for. And the women in his life aren't too shabby, either.
The name we gave him, as most already know is Chase Albert Lanman. Jon and I have talked baby names for three years, and we had a couple picked out we liked, but when I was about 13 weeks pregnant, we felt very strongly that though there were several names we really liked- THIS baby was Chase. That would be his name. We flip flopped on middle names a little bit. I believe a father kind of has a right to name his first born son, and Jon had the absolute final say on middle names. Having no family tradition of middle names, I did suggest that if he wasn't opposed to it, or set on anything else, that there was one name- one person- that I really wanted to honor with a namesake at some point. It didn't have to be the first born son, it didn't have to be this baby, but eventually, at some point I wanted to use the name Albert after my grandfather. We immediately loved the name Chase Albert, and just knew it was his name. It has been his name since before he was born, and unlike so many people who name babies before birth we didn't even consider changing it after he was born.
There was no meaning behind the name Chase. Honestly, I just always liked the name since hearing it on House though it wasn't until I was pregnant we ever considered naming a baby that. Though when Chuck told Jon it was a former nickname of his it completely solidified the decision!
My father made the decision to not be a part of my life. He made that choice. Luckily for me, I was still left with one of the finest examples anyone could possibly have for what it took to be a father, grandfather, and all around respectable being.
I could never list the ways that my Grandpa Albert has positively influenced my life. Through my childhood most of my very best memories include time with my grandparents. He is a leader by example and I've never questioned his testimony or faith in the Lord as I've observed how he lives his life. Even at my worst- even as an arrogant, ignorant, unruly teenager, I've never questioned that my grandpa Albert was there for me- that he loves me and wants me to be happy. Growing up, I really thought Albert had the answers to everything. How things work. How to fix things. How to solve problems. How to live life. And he always has! Now as an adult, I don't just think he has this whole life thing figured out- I know it. He is the wisest, smartest person I've been blessed enough to meet. I honestly believe that his influence has made me a better person, and the same can be said for anyone lucky enough to know him. The year I spent living with my grandparents was probably the single most life-changing year of my life. As I observed my grandparents, things just started to make sense. The way they lived made sense. I could clearly see the way their morals, values, lifestyle, and practices brought them genuine happiness. It changed me. (No, really it did. I even make my bed now. Thanks, Grandma Billie!)
SO, when it came to giving our son a name, we thought about what we wanted it to mean. We knew we want to give our babies family names for middle names. We have several we intend to use eventually. When I think of the kind of person I hope for him to be, the qualities I hope to instill in him- patience, kindness, charity, spiritual strength, a testimony of his Savior, etc. I can't think of anyone who better embodies these traits than my grandfather. It means so much to me that Chase has grandpa Albert's name. I'm so thankful that he has such a wonderful father to look up to- something I never had- because I realize that Chase won't have the example and memories of Grandpa Albert that I cherish so much. It means the world to me that he has his name.
 So that's the story behind his name. Chase Albert Lanman.