Some random facts about me; I hate to write. I can't spell. I never journal. So, why blog? Well, as many of you know or will soon come to know, my life has taken quite the turn in the past months. My heart is on the mends, although, will never be completely whole again. Therefore, I am constantly looking for ways to comfort this ache. Over these past months, reading other blogs exclaiming stories about life, death, random facts, daily encounters and simple pleasures, have somehow tended to my aching heart and have allowed me to experience small moments of joy. Blogging has allowed our world to capture a small (although sometimes quite large) glimpse into another ones life, creating a thrill that is addictive and slightly contagious! My blog will hopefully nurture that thrill in hopes to offer you a 'front row seat' into my journey through this crazy experience called, life. Life, in the essence of what gives, breaths and sustains. Maybe my blogging will one day attribute to caring for another ones aching heart.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

December 'Firsts'

This past December, Eric and I experienced a number of 'firsts'.  

Beginning the month, we purchased our first Christmas tree together!  The original thought for the day was to travel to a local tree farm, hike through the snowy woods, chop down just the right size evergreen while sipping hot cocoa and, together, carry it back to the car.  Well, as the day went on we both grew impatient and decided to save the tree farm and hot chocolate outing for when a Baby Bender joins the family.  So, we contently ended our search at good ol' Home Depot where we found just the perfect little tree!  


Another 'first' was Christmas decorating together!  This past June when I moved into, what used to be, Eric's bachelor pad, every girls dream presented itself.... time to re-decorate!  Yes, Eric has graciously allowed me to move in and make a few minor changes.  Miraculously, the old bachelor pad has transformed into a contemporary-modern, cozy, newlywed home.  This December we had fun adding a bit of Christmas cheer to our little place.


Spending Christmas Eve together was a first for us as well, since last year I spent Christmas in Puerto Rico. We enjoyed having some of our closest friends over for the afternoon (a tradition we would like to begin), attending the Christmas Eve church service with my family that evening, and enjoying appetizers with Eric's family that night.   





Another 'first', was not only waking up on Christmas morning next to my HUSBAND, but hosting for the first time, our annual Hunt family Christmas brunch.  First, Eric and I gave one another our Christmas stockings, stuffed with necessities of course.  Then we exchanged gifts soaking up the memories of our first Christmas morning together.


Next, as most of you know, my husband is the most amazing cook, so whipping up a ham and cheese egg frittata was no sweat for him.  We were joined by my parents, brother and his new wife, Meredith.  Together we enjoyed mom's delicious monkey buns, Meredith's festive french toast and Eric's incredible egg frittata.  After brunch we headed to Garden Spot, where we spent the afternoon and evening with my grandparents and Aunt Sandy.  


December held a number of 'firsts' for Eric and I... yet, the most treasured 'first' may just have been celebrating the birth of our Savior, together, praising Him for giving us the gift of LIFE.  Without LIFE with our Savior, we would not have Hope... that is, Hope to see my Katelynn again, Hope to see this hurting world healed, Hope to spend an eternity in the presence of our Creator.  
HOPE.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Memory 5

Memory 5
Family Christmas Portrait

The fifth and final memory (although a day or so late).  The following pictures capture years of the Hunt family Christmas portraits.  At times it took a monumental effort to arrange all 3 children to 'look' at the camera, not to mention keeping dad's eyes from squinting and mom's eyes from being closed!  I tried to include as many years as I could find... although a few are missing, the ones I have posted capture a great deal of emotion.  

Enjoy viewing Christmas' from the past through the Hunt Family eyes...

1983 (Aftan's 1st Christmas)

1985 (Katelynn's 1st Christmas)


1992

1997

1999

2000

 2003

2004

2005

2006

 2007

 2007

 2008 (our last Christmas picture with Katelynn)

2009
Last year was the first Christmas without our Katelynn and we could not bare to spend it in familiar surroundings, so we traveled to warm and sunny Puerto Rico, where we were at least comforted by a different climate and culture.

2010
This year the Hunt family has grown by two...Meredith, my beautiful sister-in-law and of my course, my amazing husband, Eric have become very much a part of the family.  


Friday, December 24, 2010

Memory 4

Memory 4
Candle-lit Silent Night

One of our favorite christmas traditions includes singing, Silent Night, by candle light during our Christmas Eve church service.  Christmas Eve consisted of cleaning/decorating the home for guests to arrive, wrapping last minute gifts, helping mom bake the neighbors shortbread and helping dad light the luminaries.  Of course, since Katelynn and I were little, that night we would dress in our special christmas dresses (sometimes matching) and attend the evening church service.  The best part of the service was the final song, Silent Night.  As children, we very carefully were allowed to hold our own special candle and sing the beautiful song... often dripping that dreadful wax on our brand new dresses!  As we grew older, we cherished the song and sacredness of the words.  

I know this Christmas, Katelynn is singing along with multitudes,  glowing brighter then any small church candle she had lit in past years...


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Memory 3

Memory 3
Advent Calendar

This, now 'vintage', advent calendar decorated our basement door as it hung for over 20 different Christmas seasons!  Each pocket for the day of the month was filled with a Hershey kiss.  Each one of us siblings were assigned to a week and had the privilege of moving the special mouse.  As you may notice, there are 4 weeks in the month and there were only 3 of us... so who got that 4th week!? (a major dilemma when chocolate is considered) Well, no worries, Dad made sure that it was even and the three of us alternated days leading up to Christmas eve day during that 4th week.

So many memories wrapped up in this advent calendar.  First, the fact that my mother selled Avon products for a few years back in the early 90's when she purchased this infamous calendar. Second, who could forget the tears and bickering that was had over who got to move the mouse to receive the Hershey kiss inside (oh the joys of sibling love). And third, the anticipation in seeing the '25th' fast approaching and the excitement that followed!  This calendar holds a special place in my heart as I look back on the years of Hunt family traditions.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Memory 2

Memory 2
White Christmas

Each and every Christmas, for as long as I can remember, was spent watching, White Christmas.  The film was first introduced to my siblings and I by my Nana.  We would curl up in her living room, eating pretzels and vanilla ice cream and giggle together as we watched the 1954 classic.  Nana taught us to love Bing crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney.  Often, my cousin Jana would watch the film with all of us, and together, we would rewind over and over again our favorite line in the movie; Danny Kaye, "Have the doggies teeth pulled out!"

Monday, December 20, 2010

Home for the Holidays; Memory 1

Last year was the first Christmas without Katelynn.  As a family we decided to spend the holiday in different surroundings.  We traveled to Puerto Rico.  The warm sun, beach and ocean-front room helped to ease the pain of not having Kate around for the holiday season.  One thing our family has learned throughout this past year without Kate has been; changing traditions or spending holidays/events in different surroundings can help to make those events a bit more bearable.
Although, we realize we can't always escape during a tough season, instead we must face reality... but this does not mean we have to face it the way we used to.  We can change things up a bit, make new traditions, etc... this is all part of creating a 'new normal'... a term often used throughout the grieving process.
So, this year, my family will be spending Christmas here at home.  Yet, 'home' has changed for Justin and I as we both were married this past year... God graciously changed our 'normal' for us!  What a blessing.  Eric and I have the opportunity to host our first Christmas brunch in OUR home.  We are looking forward to having Justin and Meredith and my parents join us even though, we all will be missing Kate greatly.
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In memory of past Hunt family Christmas celebrations, for each day this week I will be posting a fun memory or tradition from past Christmas with Kate. 

Memory 1: 
Jesse
As most of you know, Katelynn had a unique love for our beloved dog, 'Jesse'.  (AKA; 'Mr Jon', 'Wee Wee', 'Jon Jon)  Each Christmas Kate made sure that Jesse received just as much love and attention and could NEVER forget giving Jesse his stocking gifts.  Jesse passed away last February 6, 2010, just one year after Katelynn's passing.  Katelynn enjoyed 13 fun-filled Christmas days with her pup.


 






Christmas Cookies

This past Saturday was spent baking christmas cookies. I had the privledge to learn from one of the best, Mrs. Diane Bender herself!  While the girls baked in the kitchen, the boys talked football and the latest technology. 




 

A great day spent in the kitchen baking with loved ones.