Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas

Christmas was wonderful this year. It was unhurried and full of patience and gratitude. We had church at 9am so we only did Santa presents before church. To my surprise there were no complaints from my kids. Not a single one. They willingly helped get breakfast ready and didn't fight my while getting ready for church. I think they were giving me my Christmas presents early!

The kids showing me their favorite Santa presents. Of course Tawny's is food!

Church was wonderful and again, all three of my kids were good and let me listen to the speakers. That is a very rare occurrence for me so it was much appreciated. I enjoyed having sacrament on Sunday. It reminded me of why we truly celebrate Christmas.

Tawny loved her hair for church and wanted a picture

Right after church. And believe it or not, but I only took one shot and they all happened to be smiling.

After church we opened gifts at our house. Ethan's favorite was the Nerf guns from Uncle Anthony. He thought the whole thing was so hilarious. He would run after every single bullet shot, bring it back to Greg and sit down on his lap so they could do it again. Brayden's dramatic acting when he was shot only added to Ethan's laughter.Ethan also loved his colored pencils. For some reason he loves to dump them out, put them all back in and dump them out again. That is what he does at church every week for at least 20 minutes.

Brayden and Tawny loved their pillow pets.
After lunch and Ethan's nap we went to my mom's house for even more present opening. Steven and Ashley were there (with Jordan) plus my mom, dad, Austin and Grandma Wanda. With all the people and crazy present opening Ethan was a little overwhelmed. I helped him open a few presents, which he drug to a far corner, sat down next to them and didn't move for over 20 minutes.Of course Brayden and Tawny were excited for even more presents. I'm glad I didn't get them much because they got so many presents from everyone else. It's going to take them weeks to get around to playing with all of them.
This is a picture from the day after Christmas. I had a lot of cleanup to do, and was busy in the other room when I suddenly noticed it had been quiet for way too long. That usually means they are doing something they know they shouldn't be doing. I had mentally prepared myself for something naughty, but found this instead. They were all curled up on our chair and Brayden was telling Ethan and Tawny stories. It's a memory I never want to forget.

To all those who sent cards and gifts, thanks for remembering me and my family. The greatest gifts are those that are received all through the year- a kind word from a friend, a hug from my children, a knowledge of who I am, of my Savior and the ultimate sacrifice He has given me. I love having an extra reason to attempt to make my home Christ-centered. This year for Christmas I made a Christ book. It has scriptures, simple explanations, pictures and songs that chronicle our Savior's life, death and resurrection. Every night in December we read a section, discussed the pictures and sang the songs. It served as a daily reminder of why we have Christmas. I wasn't sure how much my kids were retaining, but when we read the Christmas story in Luke on Christmas Eve Brayden and Tawny were whispering little comments to me that we had discussed all month. It is definitely something I will be doing next year too.

The Lost Pictures

The pictures that were lost last post magically appeared on my camera this morning. I have no idea what happened but I'll take it!

Jingles playing Wii

decorating our tree
Ethan huggin his doggie ornament chowing down at the parade

Tow Mater, without the "T"
watching the parade (notice BRayden has on)

Christmas crafts

genuine smiles. love it!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Spirit

As a heads up, this is going to be a pretty long post. So if you intend to stick around grab some cocoa and put your feet up.

Greg is picking cotton which means very long hours every day of the week. He leaves at 5:45 every morning and doesn't get home until about 6:30-7pm. It's been hard to make sure he is included in all the festivities. We've adjusted the kids' sleeping schedule so they actually get to see him at night. They have new pickers this year that are much more efficient than the old design. They are the first of the kind in our valley and have caused quite a stir. We are all looking forward to the end of January when cotton harvest will be done.

This month has been full of fun activities so far. We started out the month with a Christmas parade here in town. I somehow lost the first two weeks of December's pictures, which included the parade, but the kids love it and so did I! Our favorite float was a tow truck painted to look like Mater from Cars. They did a great job because it really looked like him. We also decorated our Christmas tree that weekend (pictures also lost). Brayden and Tawny have a tendency to put all the ornaments in one section of the tree, so it looks very unbalance, but I resisted my urge to fix the ornaments. They were so proud of how it looked that I just couldn't.

Even though to most it isn't very cold here, we have really been enjoying a fire in the evening. All the kids crowd as close as they can (don't worry, we watch Ethan really closely). The kids had a little photo op in from of the fire one night. I had to include a few because they are all so cute!

We harvested the corn in our garden the second week of December. This was round two of our corn, planted in about October. Since it was colder, it was small but very sweet. The kids love to help Greg shuck it, always making a huge mess in the process.
Ethan just loves to eat it. Actually he likes to eat pretty much everything!

This is one of his favorite places to hide when he has something he really likes and doesn't want anyone to take it away from him. It's the bottom shelf of the vanity in our bathroom (obviously homemade so the underside isn't stained.)
Ethan faithfully guards his "snacks" (food on the floor under his high chair) every time the vaccuum is turned on. He runs to his corner of the dining room and sits right in my way so I can't vaccuum. He'll alternate between pushing the vaccuum away and putting food in his mouth as quick as he can. Soooo funny!We have an elf this year that reports to Santa nightly on the behavior of the kids. They named her Jingles and she is quite mischievous! One night she spilled sugar in the kitchen and made sugar angels (another lost picture). She packed Brayden a lunch of olives, tuna fish and garlic powder. Another night she was caught in the shower.
One night she took the kid's letters to Santa. The next morning she had written Brayden and Tawny a little note. I think this might have been one of their favorites.Last Thursday Tawny asked what her Christmas dress was going to look like. Somehow I hadn't even thought about a Christmas dress for her. So with a little quick thinking and resourcefulness I altered the flower girl dress I had made her this summer. I took off the lace and blue accents and added red ruffles, bows and a waistband. She loves it so I'm happy. I think it turned out pretty cute.Brayden, Tawny and I made matching Christmas aprons this year. They're from oriental trading, but I got them for free at our church's rummage giveaway this fall. They helped me hot glue all the felt in place (I sewed it on later so I can actually wash them). I think it would be fun if we kept them and pulled them out every year to use during the Christmas season. I'll have to come up with something for Ethan, the baby on the way, and any other future children we have. The kids LOVED that we matched. Greg was a good sport about it, even though I'm sure he didn't really want to wear such a manly apron.We decorated "gingerbread houses" made out of graham crackers, which was a huge hit with the kids. Tawny piled so much candy on her roof that it caved in at one point. But we were able to fix it before she completely fell apart.

Ethan didn't really participate in the building, but he very much liked the eating.

I had to include a picture of my dad's house. For some reason he really struggled with the construction of his house. I t was quite hilarious to everyone but him.

A few days later we also decorated Christmas cookies, which the kids liked even more. They spent almost a hour and a half decorating their cookies. Everyone else was done in about 15 minutes, but I didn't see any reason to rush them.

Ethan's favorite part was again eating them. In this picture he's telling me how yummy they are.

chowing down....

and begging for more.We decorated my mom's tree after that. Since I didn't get any picture of our tree I snapped a few of them decorating my mom's.

I'll finish out with a picture that's a little bit random, but worth including. After baking so much this week, my flour container was pretty low. Tawny decided she would be helpful and fill it up for me. This is what I found when I walked into the kitchen.The mess wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but even if it had been I wouldn't have minded. It was so sweet that she was trying to find ways to help me. And you can tell from the picture, she was so proud of herself!