Our 2017 Christmas Story

It has been a long time since I’ve sat down and written (typed) up my thoughts. A million of them bounce around in my head on a moment by moment basis. Therefore, I hope to remain focused in this blog. I can’t promise, but I can hope for the best.

As the 2017 holiday season is coming to a close, my heart is full and genuinely warmed by the experiences and conversations over the last month or so. I am surrounded by great people that have great perspectives and provide me true inspiration. I am extremely grateful for the people in my life. I hope you know who you are. If not, I’ll do a better job telling you rather than assuming you already know.

So, everyone has their own yearly Christmas story right? We all have things that are predictable and are the same each year, as well as get surprised by some great, and some not-so-much news and experiences. Either way, I’ve learned to embrace ALL things during the holidays as being part of our ‘Christmas Story.’ And for the good spirit in me and with my motivation to write (and while Bella happily plays with her new toys), I’d like to share a little of the 2017 Smith-Virnoche-Zecher-Sande-Blankenship-Hendricks Family Christmas Story. 🙂

————–2017 Christmas Story———————–

After an amazing Thanksgiving FEAST, my sister, brother-in-law, niece, mom and dad went on our 2nd Annual TREE HUNT. Baby Clara slept ok, not great (thus parents were in exact zombie-ish-new-parent-like shape) and after Beau took an early airport drop-off drive; our clan had a coffee in hand (or had consumed two before departure) as we set off to find the PERFECT tree. After we jumped in the back of the truck (some inside, some outside), we enjoyed the trip through the rainy, muddy hills to the corner of the lot where ‘the big trees were.’ Dad found one. Beau found one. We voted. We chose. After a good hand-saw-fresh-pitch smelling tree was hauled down to purchase, we were a little soggy, but happy with the selection.

Following our Christmas Tree Hunt, the tree remained undressed till the following afternoon. One-Step-At-A-Time. 🙂 Next was our 4th Annual Alderbrook Christmas Breakfast and Santa Pictures. We rented out the wine room and spent our morning together with Bloody Marys, Coffee, The-Best-Eggs-Benedicts-EVER, and French-Toast-Deliciousness, as we shared stories, prepared for Christmas and simply enjoyed time together. The Santa experience was flawless (which is worth celebrating! a 3 month old, a 3 and 4 year old=unsure outcomes in a lot of things: especially with Santa).

This year we started some new traditions that I look forward to continuing.  We had our 1st Annual Friends-Christmas get together hosted by the amazing Randolph Family in their beautiful home. I have not laughed that hard for a long time. The conversations and laughter shared was truly one of my favorite things about this holiday season. The Syran Wrap Ball. The Dining Room Conversations. The PERFECT little Mia. The Pure Happiness and Solid Friendships. I can’t wait till next year.

Next, we had our every-year-I’ve-been-alive (and more) Virnoche-Hendricks get together; Our 3rd Annual hosted by Brad and Christy. I snuggled Clara for a long time (made this aunt happy!) and had a change-the-world (of education) conversation with Bree and caught up with some family that I haven’t seen over the year. I always want more time spent together. I love you all and I look forward to more times spent together.

To jazz up our story, we had to go get a second tree because the first one we cut down was not taking water (even after fresh cut). Our family-trip-attained-tree was BONE dry. Therefore, we went to get another tree for Christmas and thru New Years. Yet this trip wasn’t so orchestrated. We packed our chainsaw, turned on the Christmas Music and drove 5 miles down the road to Hurd’s Christmas Tree farm. Our tree was chosen, cut and hauled out in less than 10 minutes. And it’s a beaut! 11 feet tall standing proudly in our living room. (After trimming a foot or so off the top as it attempted to be a Clark Family Tree.) The star was placed on the top and is decorated and ready to play the part.

Next, came MY 12 (and a half) Annual Smith-Sande-Blankenship Christmas Eve festivities. I love the traditions that hold for this night. Carols. Santa Claus. White Elephant (with a new twist this year) and the games that bring out the competition and the kids participation. This year the knock on the door from Santa made us all jump as we were singing our traditional Silent Night led by Grandma Bea. The new white elephant game may not have given us the ‘steal and deal’ that we typically deal with, but we all ended the night with a smile (and maybe with an off-the-wall calendar) and could laugh at whoever got the Toilet Bowl Coffee Mug (at least it came with shot or two of Baileys). 🙂 To top it off- we will always remember it being Bella and Paisleys first white Christmas.

Now for Christmas Day, Bella, Beau and I woke up in our matching footed onesies to ‘go see what Santa brought us.’ Bella was all squeals and happy-as-could-be about Santa eating her 3 cookies and the reindeer enjoying her baby-carrots. She treasured each gift and if it had a “B” on the gift tag (from Bella or To Beau included), she thought it was her gift. She had the true joy of giving the gifts that weren’t hers to us and her grandparents. She made me very proud for her humble and joyous spirit. We could all learn something from a child’s innocence.

After a delicious breakfast (breakfast casserole, cinnamon rolls, fruit, bacon and french toast sausage), shared with Beau’s parents, we sat on the couch and played with our toys a little more (while Tim took a short post-breakfast-snooze). Bella started playing during this time and didn’t stop till almost 9 pm. She was in heaven with her imagination.

We stayed in our pajamas for as long as we could on Christmas Day (and can’t lie, I am trying to do the same today (the joy of holiday break)). After an afternoon refreshing shower, my lovely parents came over to unwrap gifts and to enjoy Beau’s (I-don’t-know-how-long-he’s-done-it) Annual Rib-Eye (and mom’s delicious Apricot Chicken). As Beau and I smothered the Rib-Eye in butter and seasoning, we turned up the music (thank you Alexa) and shared the joys of preparing for our feast to somewhat conclude our Christmas Day. Sitting at the dinner table, we shared some heartfilled conversations where I got to know my dad and Beau a little better from what they shared.

I think we all got a little closer over this holiday season. I feel like my friendships are stronger, my family is closer as we experienced the true holiday spirit of love and laughter shared together.

The days in between then and now, a lot of things have unfolded around us. We pause to honor those that have faced loss during this time. Our family sends our best wishes for peace and renewal. We cherish each other and memories made together more so because of recent loss around us.

As my dad clearly shared; it really is a wonderful life. We must embrace the joys and not fester on the struggles or losses. We must overcome by seeing the greatness in all things.

I conclude this lengthy post with another attempt to inspire by a great song. I hope these lyrics touch your soul in the same way it has mine.

May it be an enriching, joyous 2018! May you find joy in all things.

What a Wonderful World
I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They’re really saying I love you
I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more than I’ll never know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world



One thought on “Our 2017 Christmas Story

Add yours

  1. What a wonderful Christmas you had. Laughter is so important. You are making lasting memories for yourself And Bella. That’s important. Thanks for sharing. Your family is so important to us. Love you all.

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