Monday, January 31, 2011

Holiday Season Part 6: Welcome 2011!

We rang in the new year with family, friends, and a serious game of Bingo, complete with the dreaded white elephant gifts as prizes! And the evening wouldn't be complete without little ones discovering the excitement in a New Year's horn. Aren't they cute!
Me with my sweetie pie niece, Aubrey!

SNOW!!! And ICE!! Jaden was so excited to finally see some snow this Winter (he didn't think that Christmas was supposed to even happen without snow)! And Elijah was just excited to be outside!
Just before New Year's, I was reminding my mom of the New Year's Eve parties we had with our cousins when we were little - hats, horns, leis, noisemakers... So my sweet mom went out and got the whole works for the party!

BINGO game-o!
Watching for the ball to drop.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! (And yes, Jaden partied the night away and stayed up later than anyone - and woke up earlier than anyone the next morning, too!)

Baby Landon is all partied out!

It seems like 2010 just flew past and 2011 crept in without a warning! 2010 will be an unforgettable year. It was filled with countless milestones for the boys' (Elijah walking and talking; Jaden's first soccer team...) and so many wonderful family memories (Our first trip to Disney World - pictures still to come!). It is also the year we lost my amazing grandpa; but his memory will carry on throught years to come!

I look forward to what is to come in the New Year and althought I am sad to realize that my two little guys are growing up faster than I'm ready to acknowledge, I can't wait to see all of the ways that they continue to grow and develop into their own little individuals! I look forward to growing as a family - not in numbers! But in love, faith, happiness, and unity. I look forward to being a better mom, wife, daughter, and teacher. And I also look forward to cooking more meals at home, living healthier, being more organized, cutting more coupons, doing more tot-school stuff with the boys, procrastinating less, and living and loving each day with true intention. Sounds like it's going to be an amazing year! Hope it is for you too!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Holiday Season Part 5: Christmas Day

Phew! Finally made it to my Christmas Day post! Thought I might never get here. It would have been much easier to just skip it and join the year 2011 with the rest of the world, but I hate for there to be gaps in what I consider my documentation of my kiddos childhood! And Christmas day is arguably one of the most exciting, most eventful, and memorable days, especially in the eyes of a four and two year old! As an adult, I would love to be able to see Christmas through the eyes of a young child. In their eyes it must be a picture of pure joy and perfection. They don't have to worry about all of the "behind the scenes" hustle and bustle of it all; although I do admit I love all of the busy preparations and and little details of the season as well. I love everything about the Christmas holiday.

This year we really tried to make it a priority to help Jaden begin to understand that the joy and beauty of the season is not only in the gifts we receive from others, but more so in the giving of ourselves to others. He was very receptive to it, and really is such a loving and caring little guy. He loved reading the Story of Christmas and was very curious about baby Jesus and wondered when he would get to meet him. He was sure he would be there when he woke up on Christmas morning. And he really got into the spirit of giving and wanted to pick out something for someone else everywhere we went; and of course, just like any other four-year-old little guy, he couldn't wait to see what Santa would bring him. And between ourselves and other family members, the underneath of the Christmas tree often looks like Santa's sleigh exploded in the living room. This year I struggled with deciding exactly how many presents would be designated "Santa" presents because I don't want the boys to think that Santa brings any and everything. I also wanted them to really appreciate the individual that the gifts actually came from; and besides, Santa shouldn't get all the credit, right?! So after much contemplation, we finally decided that in honor of the Three Wise Men and the gifts they brought to Baby Jesus, the boys would each receive three gifts from Santa. I felt it would be a meaningful way to tie Santa into the true spirit of the season!

Christmas Morning!

Just like any other morning, Jaden stayed true to form and was up before anybody else in the house. And after a long night of playing Santa, I was awakened waaay to early by a wound up little guy announcing Santa's arrival! But it's amazing how the fatigue was instantly transformed, and I felt just as joyful as Jaden did! Jaden got to open his stocking and presents from Santa while we waited for everyone else to wake up. The presents that Santa brings are always wrapped in Santa wrapping paper, and this year had a special bow and Christmas bell attached. I even had my brother-in-law address the labels so that I wouldn't be discovered! Santa brought Jaden an Imagniext Helicopter, Superheroes Dress Up Trunk, and a Transformer Jet. And in his stocking were some cars, baseballs, and a "real" football jersey. And I'm not sure why Santa thought it would be a good idea, but he also got the boys a ball house!

And Elijah, also true to form, slept most of the morning away! When he finally decided to join the party, he was amazed and excited by all of the people and commotion! Santa brought him a Little Tikes Shopping Cart, a Healthy Dinner play food set (which, ironically, you can see him admiring in the picture below while holding an iced sugar cookie in his hand), and the Little People A to Z Learning Zoo. And in his stocking, he got cars, a toy train, and a toothbrush.

On Christmas morning, my brother and sister-in-law and their baby Landon, and my sister and brother-in-law and their little girl Aubrey all came over to my mom and dad's house and we had one HUGE gift exchange. I feel so blessed that we are such a close family and really cherish these together moments. We are very fortunate to share the closeness that we do and that our own children are able to begin sharing these wonderful memories and traditions together!

When my brother, sister, and I were babies, our Aunt Jeanette made us each an amazing quilt with our names and birth announcement on it. This year my mom surprised us with a "special project" she had been working on, which was quilts for our babies that she had modeled after the ones my Aunt Jeanette made us! A true treasure!

Precious Moments.
We had such a wonderful Christmas and it's sad that it comes and goes so quickly! Fortunately Sam was off the whole week after Christmas, so this was only the beginning of a week full of family, fun, get-together's, tons of board games, and lots of love and laughter! If only we could bottle up all the joy, love, and peace that the holidays naturally exude and sprinkle a little bit of it here and there throughout the year...if only.