I'm Tonia and this is my family. There's Hubs, my wonderful partner; Bug, my darling daughter; and Boo, my charming son. We are the Collins clan. We are a homeschooling family who try our best to live out God's will for our lives every day. There are lots of stumbles along the way, but we love each other and this little life we're carving out for ourselves. Recently we found ourselves called to make some big changes in our lives so we're packing up the McMansion and moving out to a little farm in need of a lot of TLC. We have tons to learn and tons to do and we invite you to share the journey as we turn our not-so-new heap into a home.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas at the Heap

Talk about some serious adjustment.....Christmas has brought up a lot of things that will forever be different for us. I'm not talking about bad stuff or anything, just different. And different can be hard when you're 7 or 10....or 36.....

At the McMansion we had two trees. I know, I know, a bit ridiculous, but there it is. One tree was upstairs and was color coordinated and had a lovely Christmas train under it, the other was downstairs and sported all of our family ornaments along with all of the gifts. It goes without saying that we now only have one tree- and that tree is pretty small. We had to move furniture around a bit in order to even put it up at all.

We have a tradition of getting the kids a new ornament each year- one that speaks to what the past year was all about for them.

There are the ornaments that remind us of their first Christmas.
And the ornaments that tell of a particular year's obsession- like trains....
Or the ornaments that signify a big event in their lives- like the year they took their first plane rides...

...or the year they got glasses.

For the first time, not all the ornaments could go on the tree- there just isn't room. That means, of course, that every ornament really means something. It also means that a lot of special ornaments are still packed away- like all of the ornaments the Hubs gave me on our first few Christmases together.
There are no other Christmas decorations up, which is hard for me, though no one else cares a bit. I love decorating and I love the cozy feeling of Christmas literally surrounding you. I am missing the fireplace most of all.

Last year we started a new tradition- one that means a lot to me. We have an advent calendar and each day, instead of candy or toys, I place something for us to do. Sometimes it's just fun Christmas stuff, like watching a movie together, but a lot of times it is a random act of kindness, like making cookies for the neighbors or hiding money in the toys at Wal-Mart. This really changed the holiday season for me. I love it and I love watching my kids learn to love on other people. This year, I put the activities in as usual, but we've only done a handful of them because I hadn't anticipated how difficult losing my income would be. So many of my ideas involve money- either because we have to buy ingredients or such things or because it involves us being out and about. There isn't money for any of those things right now. This has been hard for me- the whole point of moving out here was to be able to bless others more freely and to not be able to do that is heartbreaking. But, I know this is just a season and once we have the Heap made into a home we won't be struggling like this anymore. I also know there are tons of ways to bless others that don't involve money and we will need to learn to focus on that a bit more. For now, I'm embracing the different- we've had some lovely time at home, with no pressure and no where to go and that's been very, very good.

Some things haven't changed at all. The kids still decorated their gingerbread house, as they do every year. They'll smash it on New Year's Eve and eat as much of it as they want (which is usually only a couple of nibbles before declaring it "gross"). Christmas music is still on much of the day, Christmas movies on nearly every night. The number of presents has decreased, but they are still there and the kids are still dying to open them. We are still warm and well fed and looking forward to time with family over the holiday. There are adjustments to be sure, but we're still happy and healthy and there just isn't much more you can ask for.
And, yes, the kids still got their yearly ornaments- a chicken for Bug and a tractor for Boo. Some day it will be fun to reminisce about the year we moved to the Heap.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!



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