Reflections of a Mom's Life

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Morning - Happy Birthday Jesus!

So, I don't have any pictures from the kids opening up their gifts on Christmas morning. I have it ALL on video but I found it difficult to take pictures and video at the same time...well, actually impossible because I didn't get one still shot! :) Oh well, we have the whole thing on video and that is probably more important anyway!

We kept thinking the kids would wake up early but they didn't. We finally went up to get them at 7am because we were gonna be leaving for VA around noon and knew we needed to get things started if that was gonna happen! Anthony went up and got the kids while I set up the video camera. They were SO excited to see that Santa had come! He brought them both exactly what they wanted...Harrison got his Wii and Jackson got his Yellow Robot. We went and visited Santa a few times and each time they would tell him what they wanted. Jackson kept adding to the list but Santa only brings one gift in our house. :) I have an adorable picture of all three of the kids with Santa but it's a hard copy and I don't have a scanner. I guess it won't be getting up on the blog this year! :)

After they had looked at their gift and then sorted through all the stocking gifts Santa brought...Santa brings all the Stocking gifts too (they got books, new bowls and cups, candy, etc...) we moved on to the gifts from us to the kids and gifts from Aunt Vonda & Uncle Ian. They had a ball. I feel like the kids get to open things almost all of December because we always do Christmas early with Anthony's parents, Mommom's presents come early, then we have our own Christmas celebration and when we get to VA they have even more things to open from their Mamaw and Papaw and Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins. What a GREAT time these kids have! :)

Harrison playing the Wii. He LOVES it and we ALL love it too! It's SO much fun!!!

Jackson checking out the Cash Register from Uncle Ian and Aunt Vonda and his scooter too.

After we had opened presents and played for a while, I made cinnamon rolls and we lit the candle to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. The kids loves this and it's our little breakfast tradition. I probably would make a big breakfast if we weren't traveling on Christmas day. We have left midday the last 3 years and headed up to VA to spend a few days with my family. It works for us now. We may not leave on Christmas Day in the future, we'll just have to see. There is something really nice about not having to leave and enjoying the whole day at home. Right now, leaving has worked and we'll see what next year holds. :)

on our way to VA!

opening presents with Mamaw and Papaw.

I was a little bummed on Christmas because Janet and Grace's families had to leave Mom's before we got to VA. We didn't see Grace's family on Christmas but the next day. We were staying with my mom so we saw Janet, Jon, and the kids that night. It was nice to have a few days with them. Harrison and Jackson LOVE their cousins and enjoy every moment they have with them. I love seeing them have so much fun with their cousins! Anthony and I went to a late movie on Christmas night with Chris and Jessica, we spent some time with the Schrodt's over the weekend, I got to run 7 miles with Katy on Saturday. All in all, it was a wonderful trip and we had a very blessed Christmas!!! Looking forward to next year already! :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Christmas Story and "one" gift

After we got home from the Christmas Eve Service, we all got in our Christmas jammies that my mom had sent us. She always gets us pajamas at Christmas...not always Christmas themed...but this year I wanted them to be. They were adorable! The boys had little gingerbread men and houses all over them and were the perfect color red! The boys love them!

Once we were all ready, Anthony read the Christmas story. As the boys listened, we had them use the Nativity Vonda and Ian gave them last year. They would fill the stable as each person arrived in the story. It was a GREAT way for them to be part of the story and they listened and enjoyed it much better this year doing it this way.

We always let the boys open one of their gifts from Mom and Dad on Christmas Eve. It gets us all excited about what is to come. :) The boys picked the two gifts wrapped exactly the same so I was excited. They had both been asking for swords so they could pretend to be Knights. I found these cute Knight sets at Target and they LOVED them. They were so excited they were exactly the same...and so was I! That way we could argue about who's was who's. If they look the same it just simplifies EVERYTHING! :)

Addison just taking it all in...wearing her "My First Christmas Jammies"

Harrison had made me a magnet with a picture of himself at school. He had wrapped it and placed it under the tree. He was so excited for me to open it and of course, I LOVED IT!!! :)

(can you tell I'm surprised???)

Mommy and Daddy always open our gifts early. I'm terrible at waiting! Ha! Anthony opened his up so he could use it for our Polar Express movie night. But really, we want the kids to enjoy themselves and for all of our focus to be on them...capturing every moment and expression on Christmas morning. So, we have always opened our stuff up on Christmas Eve when the kids open their one gift. Anthony always gets me something fabulous but we really don't put a lot of emphasis on gifts. He always gets me something WAY better than I get for him, but that's just the way he likes it to be. :) This year, he out did himself! He got me a Garmin GPS running watch. There is probably another name for it but that's a good enough description I think. :) It is AWESOME!!! It tracks all my runs, helps me keep a steady pace, alerts me when I reach each mile, and does all kinds of fancy things, etc... I LOVE IT! He's been so supportive with my running. He's so excited that I've started enjoying working out that I think he wants to make sure I keep it up! Ha! :) It was the best gift ever and I had no idea how much I would love it! He is the BEST! :)

After the gifts, the boys got the cookies and milk ready for Santa and headed up to bed. We forgot to sprinkle the reindeer food and by the time I remembered they were asleep. So, I went out and sprinkled the reindeer food so if Harrison asked in the morning I could tell him I had taken care of it! :) Off to bed we Santa could come! :)
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Christmas Eve Meal

I decided to do appetizer's this year for our Christmas Eve meal. It was perfect and VERY yummy! I think we'll continue that for years to come. My Nanny always did appetizer's on Christmas Eve and it made it feel special to do it for my family. After we ate we headed over the church for the Christmas Eve Love Feast. We always go to the 6pm service because of the children. They serve sticky buns and cider and it's just a very fun atmosphere. There are always TONS of kids there and it's actually quite loud!! ha! This is the second year I've been able to sing at the service and I just love being a part of it. Lots of beautiful music and singing of Christmas Carols really just sets that Christmas Eve mood.

At the very end, we all light candles and sing Silent Night. We allowed Harrison to hold his own but Jackson is not quite mature enough to handle that kind of responsibility. I would HATE to send some poor woman home with burnt hair on Christmas Eve just because she happened to be sitting in front of my active three year old!!! :) He did manage to burn his own nose which was quite hilarious. He was insisting on holding the candle and getting quite loud about it..."GIVE IT TO ME, GIVE IT TO ME!!!" Of course, Anthony was holding strong. Jackson managed to pull the candle toward his face and burnt the tip of his nose. He yelled "OOWW!!" and we got a little laugh out of it, as well as the whole row behind us! Jackson sure makes everything a lot more fun and interesting! :) The boys were excited to get on our way home so we could read the Christmas story and set out our cookies and milk for Santa!!!
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas for Daddy and The Polar Express

Anthony is very clear about the fact that he does NOT want presents. I don't know why he's so against them but he just is so generous to us and always sacrificing for himself. I'm not very good at following the rules so I usually have to get him something...little!!! I just can't do it! I have to give him something and the kids need to be able to give their daddy something! :)

His tradition that he loves each year is watching The Polar Express with the kids. We always do this on December 23 and we make homemade pizza. It's a fun night for our family and the boys look forward to it. Since one of the other things he loves to do with the boys is eat popcorn I though it appropriate to find him a set of popcorn bowls for his Christmas from the kids. They were pretty good at keeping the secret although Jackson did tell him he was getting popcorn for Christmas. I think if he had only know how to explain things a little better he would have blown the surprise! :) He is GREAT at acting excited and getting the boys in the fun! After he opened his gift, they were able to watch The Polar Express with the new popcorn set! VERY fun! :) He was glad I didn't listen.
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Monday, December 22, 2008

Looking at lights

All bundled up and slept the whole time! It WAS cold!

Another tradition we have is looking at lights. We went right after we delivered our cookies and looked at more lights. Then we drove out to the Lake Myra Light Show in Zebulon. It's GREAT! We love it!!! It's all set to music and quite entertaining. It's almost 30 minutes long so you get a GREAT show and it's FREE too! If you've never been, you should definitely go next year!
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A new tradition - part 2

aren't they so cute! :)

This is the house Harrison picked as his FAVORITE! I think he picked a great one! The family (we don't know them) was very excited to receive the cookies AND the honor of being the best, according to Harrison. He was SO cute. Jackson rang the doorbell for him and then he held out the cookies and said he had brought them cookies because they were his favorite house with lights! :) The mom was so sweet to him and the dad said "FINALLY, someone who appreciates all my hard work!" I think we made an impression!

It was a really fun thing to do with the kids and I look forward to doing it again next year! :) Thanks for the great idea Vonda and Cheri!
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A new Tradition - part 1

Harrison helped me make some Christmas Cookies this year. He was a GREAT helper and we both had a lot of fun (the tasting is the best part!)

Vonda told me about one of her friend's traditions that we just HAD to make our own! They make Christmas cookies and then each child gets to pick our their favorite decorated house in the neighborhood and deliver cookies to them...letting them know their house is THEIR FAVORITE!!! I love this and the kids got very excited about it! Jackson picked Donny's house. Harrison and Donny are good buds at school. His decorations WERE very cool. They had four inflatables in their yard and lights on the house too. Mr. Deon was very excited to see the cookies arrive! :) We headed on our way for Harrison to pick his favorite house...
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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Gingerbread House and presents from Mommom

We enjoyed working on our Gingerbread House this year. While the icing set up, we let the boys open some presents that had come in the mail from Mommom. She always wants them to be able to open their presents right away. She says they'll have plenty to open on Christmas so why should they have to wait for hers??? :) Of course, the boys are fine with that.

Harrison's favorite thing from Mommom was a little music mp3 player. It's nothing real fancy, just holds few songs but he loves it! Anthony downloaded some of his songs from church and he just sings at the top of his lungs with his earphones in! Hilariously cute! :) I think we have another singer on our hands!

Jackson got a fun new ball and they each got some clothes. THANK YOU MOMMOM!!! You're the BEST!

This year I tried to remain more hands off on the decorating of the Gingerbread House. The boys did most of it. They ate a lot of the candy too! That's the best part, right??? :) It's one of those fun little traditions we started last year and we love it!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Addison Grace & Bella Joy

My dear friend Megan came over to spend the afternoon with us during December and we had to get a picture of our girls together. We have a similar picture of Harrison and Josiah laying on the floor next to each other but Josiah was only a few weeks old and Harrison was 4 months old. In this picture Addison is 6 months old and Bella is 3 months. What sweet little girls they are!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

pretty in my tutu

I'm sure you can tell from this post how FUN this is for me! I am loving having this baby girl! I knew I had it in me to love the girly things and boy was I right! Mimi knew too...she picked up this little tutu for Christmas and we had the best time with our little photo shoot. Addison is a doll!

God has blessed us with a beautiful, healthy, contented baby girl! I can't say enough how sweet she is. Makes me want to grab her out of her bed and give her a great big squeeze and a kiss right now just thinking about her! OK, I'll wait, she IS peacefully sleeping. :) She is so much fun and she truly makes each day brighter now that she's in our little world! Did I already say I'm having fun??? :) We love you sweet Addison Grace!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas with Mimi & Papa

she's gonna LOVE her brothers! :)

Harrison has started to hold her while standing when he has our permission. He LOVES this and feels like such a big boy!

so sweet!!!

I love this boy!

and I love this boy, too! :)

and I love our little family....well, OK, big to some people but doesn't seem too big to me! ;)

doesn't the food look so yummy! thanks Mimi!!!

first taste of sweet potatoes...

I like it Mom! I think I would like Mimi's sweet potato souffle even better though! :)

Mimi & Papa love getting the same thing every the point that they have told us to get them the same thing every year! :) It's a photo Calendar. I love making it and work hard to get as many pictures as possible in there because I know they love pictures so much. Hope you enjoy your new calendar Mimi & Papa! :)

Harrison was very excited about his gift from Mimi...the Disney Scene It Game and he LOVED his marble run from Papa. You will notice in most of these pictures Anthony putting the marble run together. It took him a day and a half! :) It's very fun though and was well worth the wait.

Jackson LOVED his Castle from Papa. He had asked for this specifically. When he opened it he said (in his adorable Jackson voice) "dis just a me want! dis JUST a me want!!!" He was so excited! :) Mimi gave him some new school stuff to do with Mommy and we've been enjoying those new things!

Hey Mimi! Thanks for the FABULOUS lunch! ;)

Papa and Harrison playing the new Disney Scene It Game. They were so hilarious to watch...Papa and all his antics! :)

Jackson and Mommy building together

Anthony...still working on the Marble Run

Look at this sweet girl! :)

some silly teeth Mimi gave Harrison

there's Anthony... :)

checking out all the new toys...and Anthony still working

Sunday morning before Church

my three precious children! oh how I love these babies of ours!

they sure do love their Mimi & Papa!

and it's finally finished...and very cool too!

don't you just love those reindeer feet??? :) she loved grabbing them and trying to eat them. it sure was fun dressing her up this Christmas! :)

We had a wonderful time with Mimi & Papa! What great memories we made!