And the Stockings Were Hung

Our holiday season was much different this time last year.  I remember standing in my parents kitchen on November 29th, when I received that call that no expecting mother ever wants to receive.  My obstetrician called personally to explain that Zoe's heart looked significantly smaller than normal on my 20 week ultrasound.  The tears flowed and the fear began.  It was December 1st that we met with Dr. Merrill (Perinatologist) and met Dr. King for the first time.  At that appointment, it was confirmed that Zoe had Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.  

Christmas was very difficult last year.  We had no idea what the following year held and looking back, it is still so unreal that our story is really ours and that we lived and are living it.  

This year, we have been determined to soak up every ounce of holiday cheer that we can find.  We even tried to get a fresh Christmas tree the week before Thanksgiving, and nobody would sell us one because it was too dang early.  

Christmas jammies for PJ Day @ preschool and rocking super cute earmuffs @ Target  

Decorating the house and tree with Christmas tunes blaring.

New stockings for all four of us.

Every Christmas, we each pick out an ornament that reflects the past year.  I chose this frame with the year 2012 engraved on it.  We have the most perfect angel and her heart atop our lovely tree.  

Lulu's very own tree in her room

Our ward Christmas party had a theme of Christmas Around the World.
We were asked a couple of months ago to create a booth about Asia.  My friend Kourtni let me borrow lots of her Korean items to display and we had various Asian snacks/candies to sample, a game using chopsticks and taught the kids how to make origami.  
It was a lot of work to plan but I learned a lot about Asia that I didn't know... which isn't saying much, because they picked the whitest Asian in our ward to cover Asia.

Londyn looked like a little Asian doll.  She is seriously the cutest!

Andrew looked the part of a very skilled Japanese sushi chef in his happy coat and I wore a traditional Korean hanbok.  

We also had a photo booth with the shoji screen as a backdrop.  We had lots of Asian accessories and robes for people to play dress up and get their photos taken.

My nieces Emma, Samantha and nephew Kyler

After the ward Christmas party, we were pooped and Andrew needed to get to bed early as he was getting up at 5am for work the next day.  After walking in the door with a car packed FULL of Asian garb, Londyn said "We didn't see Zoe at the cemetery!"  We were exhausted and since it was close to 8:30pm, I figured we would just go the next day.  But my husband said, "Let's go!"  Andrew is so sweet and doesn't visit Zoe's grave without flowers, so we made a quick stop at Safeway for a lovely bouquet of red roses.  
Whenever we go to the cemetery at night, Andrew parks the car towards the big maple tree and shines his brights in that direction.  I'm so glad that we visited when we did.  It was proof to me that no matter how busy or tired we are, we will always remember Zoe and keep her with us.  
We were running late the next morning for church and as we headed out the door, Londyn asked to bring her church bag.  I explained that we wouldn't need it because she would be going straight to nursery.  I did not expect her reaction when she said, "But we are going to miss Sacrament!"  Seriously?!  I really need to have a talk with her Nursery teacher (ahem... GRANDMA) because I can't even get away with playing hookie every once in a while.  Teachers these days really need to quit the teaching part and just stick to toys and snack time.  She continued to remind me all day with, "We can go to Sacrament next Sunday... okay Mom??... Yes or no?"

Christmas is a beautiful time and even more so after this difficult year.  Our sweet baby Zoe has opened our eyes up to the true meaning of Christmas.  It is about family and the pure love of Christ.  Zoe encompasses both to the fullest.

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