Saturday, December 29, 2012

December Fun

I still need to do a Christmas recap but for now I'll just post about other December happenings. And not at all because I'm too lazy to go get my camera and upload all of the pictures from this week. Not at all.

This has been such a fun month. I've done my best to try not to stress too much this year and I think I've done a decent job of letting the little stuff go and just be with my family and enjoy the time with them. I tried to tuck in some extra little adventures but promised myself not to over-commit or feel guilty about not squeezing it all in. Here's a little of what we've been up to this holiday season:

We took the kids to drive around to look at lights several times and they both LOVED it. We cranked up the Christmas music and I looked over and even Mr. Grinch was belting out the tunes. And seeing your husband sing cheesy carols at the top of his lungs to impress the kids? Pretty darn sexy if I do say so myself. Oh, how I love that man. One night in particular we were singing Frosty the Snowman, and just like every other completely normal person out there, by the end of the song I was seriously jonesing for a frosty from Wendy's. The kids had never had a frosty so of course we were then obligated to take them for one. So off for a special treat we went...but only because of the kids, of course. ;)

My thoughts exactly, son. My thoughts exactly.

I don't know what a snowman is but this frosty is amazing!



(I still laugh every time I think about the fact that I swore I would never have dirty kids. Ha ha ha!)

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We headed down to Victoria to see our godson in The Nutcracker and Ashley hosted a little Christmas party while we were down. Always a good time. 



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Harrison "sang" at our last BSF meeting. I find it hilarious and completely fitting that he is sitting down on the step refusing to sing or make the "O" for the song Trust and Obey. That's my kid, alright...obedience is definitely something that doesn't come natural to him. Ha!


He also "sang" on stage at church but I'm not going to worry about posting those pictures. Just imagine a sad, snotty little boy with tears running down his face, being held by one of the teachers (because at one point he tried to make a break for it), stretching out his arms in desperation, shouting, "MOMMMMMY!!! MOMMMMA!!! WAAAAA!!!!" So basically a repeat of last year. My poor little guy is such a performer but you get him on a stage and he completely freaks! 

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The kids have loved having Chip here. Each day they both ran around looking for him and would get so excited when they found him. Most of the days I just put him in a different spot but a few times I tried to make it a little extra special. I think I may have had more fun with it then they did. :) There are so many good ideas out there and I think as the kids get older it will get even more fun!

Hinting that Mom should make pancakes for breakfast

He propelled down in a pair of Harrison's undies with a message from Santa to celebrate the first week of potty training success
He had a tea party with Buzz and Woody
He indulged in a few miniature powdered sugar and sprinkle donuts

I stole this idea from my friend Brandy and the kids were SUPER excited to love on their elf for a day. Harrison kept talking to him and telling him how much he loved him and Harper pushed him around in her little shopping cart like her baby.

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As for December not-so-much fun, we all came down with sickness at one (or for some of us, multiple) point(s) or another this month. Just seems to be tons of it going around this year. But I am thankful for the extra snuggles when my babes aren't feeling so hot.
A nap on momma's chest...brought me back to her newborn days. {sigh}

When it was my turn for The Sickness I was in pretty bad shape. I thought if I barricaded them in the living room with me I could possibly get away with lifelessly lying on the couch trying not to die resting my eyes for a few moments. I'm blaming The Sickness for my lapse in judgment and inability to think rationally because I should have known that my two would never cooperate with this strategy. Ha! Here is the S.O.S. picture I texted to Rick:

Sweet! Mom moved this love seat over here so we could practice our mountain climbing skills!

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I got in some great girl time with this sweet lady. We went Christmas shopping and had a fun lunch date at Chick-fil-a. I love it when I get the chance for individual time with my kiddos. The dynamic shifts big time and they love the undivided attention. While Harpie-Harp and I were on our date, Rick and Harrison were getting in some good male bonding as well at "the fish store," also known as Bass Pro Shop, and of course the fine dining establishment ("eating store") of none other than Whataburger. :)

Look, Mom! Balloons! (it's the little things, right?)

One very happy little boy right here

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Santa came by our house for a special visit. The kids have had their picture taken with him every year since Harrison was 2 weeks old. Doug...err, I mean Santa, goes to our church and is a genuinely nice man. He starts growing his beard out in the summer and in December he visits kids all over our community and even gives each of them a little toy out of his Santa sack. His wife has been having some health issues so if you feel up to it please lift her up in prayer.

The kids invited a few of their friends over to decorate cookies for Santa and then to have their pictures taken with him. It went well for some and for others...not so much. Ha! But it was great for all of the parents because we have no shame in admitting that the cryers were quite entertaining. Nothing like torturing your kids for a few laughs, right? ;)

Cheese!

Best friends

cookie fun

I have a sneaking suspicion that this little one has some of her momma's ocd tendencies :)

And I have NO doubt that this guy inherited his dad's cookie monster gene!

Now onto the Santa pictures. Harrison was very excited to see him. He was a little shy at first but then warmed up and quickly informed Santa that he'd like a rocket and 2 more guitars....because he's 3 and so he needs 3 guitars. Can't argue with that logic, right?


But Harper...well, she wasn't much of a fan of  jolly ol' St. Nick.

Get. Me. OUT OF HERE!!!!

It's a bird...no, it's a plane...no, it's super santa and his very unhappy elf!

She's either warming up to him (slightly) or she's trying to poke out his eye

A high five is all she was willing to do

Zion was happy to see Santa

And Hollyn? Not so much!

I love these people. Like, A LOT. 

I'm sure there's more fun that was had, but I don't have any other pics to document it and my memory is pretty much worthless these days. I'm a little blue to see this season go. I'm going to miss my Baby It's Cold Outside duets with Harrison that he insists we sing together all.day.long. And the Rudolph duets where I'm only allowed to sing backup (the "echoes" as he calls it). And hearing him quote Elf all the time in his sweet voice with such adorable inflection...I love you! I love you! I LOOOOVE YOU!!!! Yeah, I'm thinking we're going to have to keep that movie in rotation all year long. :)


Sunday, December 23, 2012

2012 Christmas Card

Once again, I think I'm too late to join Kelly's blog tour of Christmas cards but I'd thought I'd still share ours anyway even though I'm not linking up. I ordered them through Pear Tree Greetings because I saw them on Groupon and thought they had a ton of cute ones on their website. I ended up buying the voucher and saved 50% and got them for about $0.80 each with really cute green chevron return address labels. I will say that overall I'm really happy with the way they turned out but it was a little cumbersome editing through their website. It definitely doesn't help that I'm completely indecisive and also that I didn't have a group of good Christmas-y pictures to use so I had to decide which others to use that would coordinate and fit in the right slots...let's just say that by the time I clicked "order" it was 2am and I was so OVER it. ha!


front

back

Not sure if you can tell from the above pictures that the card is trifold and printed on heavy matte cardstock. Here is a picture I took of it with my phone:





The morning after I ordered them I couldn't remember what I had written in the newsletter section and was kind of worried. Like I said, I was pretty delirious and just wanted to get them done. I told Rick I remembered saying something about us "being grown-ups" and tried to get online to see how bad it was but couldn't get the preview to work so I had to wait until they got here. It was kind of like one of those moments where you wake up from a night of one too many drinks and can't remember the details of a conversation and how far you put your foot in your mouth. Except I had zero drinks so I don't really have an excuse for my cheese. ha!

And just for fun, here are some outtakes of our unsuccessful photo session. We tried begging, bribing, threatening, you name it...I'm now convinced it is physically impossible to get 2 toddlers to cooperate for a picture when you want them to. :)

Okay, Sister. Here's what we're gonna do. Hold out on the smiles until the bribes get REALLY big.

Not a bad idea, Bubba. I like the way you think...

Don't look now, but they are really embarrassing themselves jumping around and acting like fools.

Oh, WOW. You weren't lyin'...

Are you positive we're related to them?

I just realized that they probably plan to embarrass us like this until we move out. We're never going to have friends!!!

I'll give you a hug/choke hold but I will absolutely NOT look at the camera.

Whatever you do, Sis, don't you dare smile. Instead you are to give them nothing but condescending scowls.            






Merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Three

My Hare-Bear turned three years old this month.


Harrison, you keep growing up on me.



You weigh 32lbs and are 38 inches tall.

You're in size 3T and wear an 8-9 in shoes. 

I am late getting this post up (as usual) but I am determined to try to document as much as I can about you so I can look back and remember you at this point in your life. It is SUCH a fun age!

I saw a cute idea to start interviewing you every year on your birthday to compare how you answer the questions as you grow up. Here are your answers at age 3:


Favorite song: Bye-lo Baby 
Favorite toy: guitar and a trash truck and amicrophone and a holder
Favorite food: grilled cheese
Favorite outfit: my poojammies
One food you don’t really like: hot chicken
Favorite book: The Elf on the Shelf
Favorite movie: Toy Story 1
Favorite TV show: Blues Clues
Favorite thing to do: play my guitar and turn phones on and off and then play music really loud!
Favorite restaurant: Whataburger!!!!
Favorite singer: Kenny
Favorite memory: Baby Jesus
Favorite store: Whataburger
Favorite game: football
What do you love to learn about: tractors and guitars
What was the best part about your birthday? My guitar
What was your favorite birthday present? My guitar
What does Daddy do for his job: Get his projects at Kirby Mercision Merchine
What does Mommy do for her job: She gets her projects ready in the black tower
What is something Daddy says to you a lot? Pick those pillows up on to the couch
What is something Mommy says to you a lot? Hurry up, hurry up, hurry up
What is something you say to us a lot? No!
What is something that you like to do most with Mommy? watch movies at family night and eat popcorn
What is something that you like to do most with Daddy? go to Nasa
What is something that you are really good at? Listening  
What do you what to be when you grow up? A man and a daddy and you’re going to be a bad boy and I’m going to spank your bottom
What is something that makes you happy? Going to Whataburger and Nasa makes me happy
What is something that makes you sad? When you spank me
What is something that makes you laugh? Sissy 
What do you think about before you fall asleep? tractors
Who are your best friends? Zion and Brody and Conning and Chuck, my pretend buddies
The coolest person on earth is: Sadie the puppy astronaut
Who is your hero? Zion
How old are you? 3
How old is Mom? 4
How old is Dad? 5

Here are a few other things about you at this age:

* There is officially no more baby talk. You replaced all of your baby words (like car-car and wa-wa) with the real ones probably within a couple of months after you turned 2 and you learned how to say your "r"s within the last month or two. You used to leave out the "s" any time it was before a consonant (like "outer pace" for "outer space") but you don't do that anymore either. Bittersweet!

* You love, love, love to learn. You are giving me a run for my money and there are many days when I wonder if you are smarter than me. Ha! "Why" comes out of your mouth constantly and I often times find myself scrambling for my phone to look up your questions on the internet. Pretty embarrassing, so please don't tell anybody. ;) Your mind works like your daddy's and you are so interested in how things are made and built and how things work.

* You also have a great memory. You can hear a song once and know the lyrics. You DEFINITELY didn't get that quality from you mom! You get so mad at me when you tell me to sing along and I don't know the words. You always tell me, "yes you DO, Mommy!"

* You are kind and gentle but also very wild and busy and hyper. The only time you are sitting still is if you are strapped into your car seat. And one ounce of sugar amplifies that energy. And I'm not exaggerating!

* You are a picky eater, no question. You decide you hate things before you even try them. You are so dramatic about it as well -- when I make you try something you are gagging before it even gets to your mouth.

* You are finally officially potty-trained!!! WOO HOO!!! We agreed that when you turned 3 you would wear underwear since that's what 3-year olds do. And that morning, you remembered and were really excited about it. You've only had a handful of accidents and I am very proud of you. 

* You are extreeeemely particular about certain things. Not a CLUE where you get that from. Ha! For instance, when we brush your teeth you will have a meltdown if we go out of order: top has to be first, then spit, then bottom, then spit, then eee's, then spit, then tongue, then spit. You get very mad if I try to speed the process up.

* You are always trying to figure out how people are related to each other. You like to refer to them by relationship as well; like, "I want to go to my daddy's mom's house" instead of Mamaw or "my mommy's brother is coming over" instead of Uncle Connor. I love this quirk about you.

* You have quite the imagination. You have started showing interest in pretend play where you take on different roles (doctor, daddy, mommy, trash man, etc). You love to pretend there are monsters chasing us. You have 2 imaginary friends, Conning and Chuck. According to you, Conning has blue hair and Chuck has red hair. I often walk in to find you having conversations with them...I just hope they are good influences and not bad! :) 

* You are sweet and you know how to use it to your advantage. When you really want something you will say, "Pretty please, with a cherry on top? And a cherry on the inside?" or "But Mommy, I love you sooo much." in the sweetest, softest voice. The other day when you were stalling you used the excuse, "But first I need to give my baby a hug and a kiss because she is such a cutie. Mom, look at what a cutie my sissy is!" You, my son, are quite the charmer when you want to be.

I could keep going and going and going on about you. You bring us joy and laughter every single day and I am looking forward to what three holds for us. Love you biggest, forever and always!
 





Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Cheer

the best way to spread Christmas cheer




is singing loud for all to hear



 It's safe to say we have lots of Christmas cheer at our house. :)


Monday, December 17, 2012

It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas

I had intended to play along and join Kelly Korner's Christmas tour link-up party but didn't get this post wrapped up in time. So now I'm just posting it because it was 80% done and the pictures were already uploaded. Either way, I am looking forward to getting some good ideas from everybody else!

I am slowly trying to make a few changes to our Christmas decorations. Every year I am determined to do a complete makeover but then I never do because a) I am cheap, and b) I am way too indecisive and always seem to walk out of the stores feeling overwhelmed with nothing in hand. Or, I buy the supplies for a project and then never start because I'm intimidated and then I also remember that I don't have 4 uninterrupted hours to devote to making a wreath. Ha! But this year I have taken a few baby steps so at least that's something.

I really wish I could get away with leaving up the Christmas decorations all year round because they sure do make my heart happy. Especially after having a December baby -- that first Christmas that we spent snuggling our little newborn next to the twinkling lights of the tree and the warmth of the decorated fireplace are some of my very favorite memories and I love how each year since the nostalgia of the season takes me right back there.

Speaking of fireplace -- here is ours this year. I got thrifty and used an old window that we picked up in Canton last spring. I used scrapbook paper and then printed 3 super cute chalkboard printables I found on Pinterest. When I was getting the stockings out of the box to hang, Harrison picked one of them up and said, Wow! What a cool sock boot!! and then put it on and ran around the house in it. This age is so fun.


Printables from here and here

I had been drooling over this mantel ledge from Pottery Barn for a couple of years but knew that there was no way it would ever be mine...and then I spotted it on eBay for a fraction of the price and snagged it up with our credit card reward points. I'm still trying to figure out just how I want it decorated but my plan is to rotate seasonal decorations.


I did get a wild hair and tried this tutorial for "the easiest burlap wreath you'll ever make" and I must say, it was, in fact, pretty darn easy. It just took one wire wreath form and two rolls of burlap ribbon (on sale at Hobby Lobby of course) and came in under $7 total. Did I mention I'm cheap? I'm hoping I can find cute seasonal embellishments to jazz it up throughout the year.

I got each of the kids their own tree for their room this year. And I LOVE them! Probably way more than my kids do, but that's neither here nor there.

Harrison's tree

Harper's tree. You can't really tell from this picture but it is beautiful!

And here is our tree. I actually kind of hate it. It takes me a few hours just to get the lights on it and shape all of the branches and by the time I'm done I'm not in the mood to actually trim the thing. I've been wanting to replace it for forever but it was never in the budget. Kind of one of those things where you tell yourself you're going to snag one after Christmas on clearance but then after Christmas you are so over anything related to Christmas.

Sitting on a box (because it's short) and only about 40% of our ornaments on display and on the top half only (because I have two toddlers who reeeeally like to test boundaries)

But this year was the year. I spotted this beauty a few weeks ago and fell in love...but sadly, not with the price tag. However, I have been stalking it ever since and it went on clearance this week and we snatched it up!!! It is pre-lit (can I get a hallelujah) with 1300 lights and the branches aren't the wired bendy kind so it keeps its shape all by it's handy dandy little self. It's the "realest" fake tree I've ever seen and I can't wait to get that sucker out of the box next year!

Better Homes & Gardens Hanover Tree


A few of our other decorations:


I love my Willow Tree nativity. My friend, Ashley, has given me the pieces over the years. I have my eyes on the stable (or as they call it, creche', because they are obviously very fancy) but I can't bring myself to drop $100+ on it. I have my eye on e-Bay and craigslist. And the kids are loving playing with their Little People nativity. Harrison put Jesus under his shirt and said, look mom! I have a baby in my belly! and has been so nurturing -- I often find him singing lullabies to him and rocking him. It seriously doesn't get much cuter. Harper loves him too -- she calls him Bebe Je-Je and is usually found trying to hide him from her brother. :)

One of my favorite things to do each day is check the mail. I love getting snail mail and especially Christmas cards. I keep them every year and eventually I want to bind them like I'm sure you've seen on Pinterest. I haven't gotten as many this year as I normally do...I'm thinking there are lots of people who are running late like I am. I just dropped mine off in the mail this morning so at least they'll make it before Christmas day...

H&H have even gotten a few of their own cards to put up in their rooms.

Here is a countdown and an awesome little advent calendar from Dayspring. Each day we read a little tile in the box about the Christmas story and then turn around the box to reveal another piece of the puzzle. I love that this is 3 calendars in one; one for Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving. This advent seems to hold the attention of the kids the best because I also include a tiny piece of candy that they get if they sit still and focus. Bribery, folks. Whatever works.


Here is our Charlie Brown tree that we got from the tree farm to use for our devotional ornaments. I mentioned it in a previous blog post. We are reading through A Meaningful Christmas devotional and put one of our handmade ornaments on the tree each night.



And I am apparently obsessed with advent calendars because here is yet another one that I introduced this year. This was so easy to make. I just bought little envelopes with cards and then embellished them with scrapbook stickers. I normally use this frame to display their artwork in the playroom and the envelopes fit on there perfectly. I wanted to have something to hold us accountable to show love to others and do acts of kindness throughout this season. I love all of the fun and celebration this time of year but it's important that my kids understand the true meaning of Christmas -- spending quality time with family and being a light to others. We haven't used this calendar everyday since my kiddos are still a little young, but we've done a few from my list. (That's another thing that I love about this calendar -- the cards can be switched around and the activities stay flexible and practical to our schedule.)


Here is the list that I came up with -- some of them we've used multiple times.

*Make Christmas cards/crafts for family
*Set up nativity scene
*Drink some hot cocoa
*Put on PJs and pop some popcorn -- time for a Christmas movie
*Go pick out a Christmas tree and decorate it
*Drive around to look at Christmas lights
*Go through toys and choose several to donate to children in need
*Bake cookies for teachers, friends, and neighbors
*Sing and dance to Christmas carols
*Take some change from piggy bank and give to Salvation Army
*Read Christmas books together
*Go visit Santa Claus
*Adopt a child through the Angel Giving Tree and buy a gift for him or her.
*Go to Festival of Lights
*Go Christmas shopping for Daddy
*Mommy & Harrison Polar Express Night / Daddy & Harper date night
*Bake a birthday cake for Jesus

The biggest change I've made this year is to try to take off some of the pressure I put on myself. I tend to have a little bit of Clark Griswold in me at Christmas where I feel the need to not only make traditions happen but also try to force them and the participants to be happy...not exactly the best example I want to set for my kids when I'm acting like a crazy lunatic because things aren't going just the way they are supposed to according to the picture in my head. So I'm trying to relax a little more and let go of some of my anal ocd tendencies and to instead just enjoy the time with my family. Learning to be less uptight sure is challenging for a girl like me...  :)


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