Sunday, March 10, 2013

'It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year'

What better way to get the holiday season into full swing than a Christmas Parade and the lighting of the downtown square.  At just 10 days old, this was Hudson's 1st big outing and he did great--snuggled up against mommy & sleeping through the entire thing.  :)  Hunter was in awe of all the lights but was most excited over his new "wight-up sword".  He's been excited about the parade since his light sword from last year quit working, after only a week or so, and we told him we'd get him another one when we went back. . .  it's been a loooong wait.  haha
There's something magical about seeing Christmas lights and walking around the square - it just never gets old.  
Hunter also recognized Santa Clause this year and even slightly waved to him (that's actually a pretty special gesture from our little man).  It was a beautiful night, full of  beautiful lights & great friends, ending the evening with dinner at La Huearta with Davin & Stacy and the girls.  (well, until Hunter woke up sick with a tummy bug during the night . . . I should have had a hint when he laid his head in my lap during dinner and fell asleep before 7pm).  :/
Next on the list: Christmas Decorating
It usually takes me alot of hard work for a couple of days to get everything set up & cleaned up but It took me FOREVER this month . . . actually, there were things I worked on all month long and still never finished.  lol  Oh well, that's life with a newborn baby & a 3 year old.
Hunter was all about 'helping' me with the decorating this year 
ESPECIALLY when it came to the tree.  He had been asking me about "our big tree wif wights" since the day I started decorating for fall. hahaha  I showed him how to hang the ornaments, but quickly realized that Mommy would be touching up completely re-doing it all, after bed time. 
(it was hilariously front/bottom heavy & leaning)
When Hunter went off to the store with Daddy to get more outside lights, he discovered the old-timey, big bulbed colored lights and begged to hang them instead of the pretty white lights that mommy loves.  ;)  Luckily Daddy came up with a great idea that thrilled my little man to pieces.  Hunter LOVED his "wights" and excitedly plugged them in every night.  Andrew & I decided that this will be a fun new tradition for our boys to look forward to every year.
I'm always one for traditions, and there are so MANY fun ones during the holidays. I usually make a list of fun things I want to do during a particular season, but this year I saw (on Pinterest) a fun way to make sure and accomplish all of these "fun things" and maybe it will become a new tradition as well. The idea was to make a "Christmas Bucket" full of Christmas surprises for Hunter to open to help count down the days to Christmas. For each day in December there is a "gift" of some sort to open. Only a couple of things were new, most of them were things we already owned, or things I made or re-used but mostly it included a lot of free activities to do.
Each package had a tag on it with a corresponding number and each day Hunter was allowed to open a gift that was Christmas related, which he was super excited about. (though he had somewhat of a difficult time only opening one each day)
A few things included in our bucket this year were:
  • Write a letter to Santa -- I remember momma telling me once to be careful about asking the question "what do you want for _______?" especially, if you've already finished your shopping. I learned why when it came time to write his letter to Santa Clause.  I'm not sure where his ideas of wants came from but they consisted of "a washing machine, a new play kitchen and new food" and most importantly, "a mighty truck."  WHAT??  What happened to the things he'd been asking for over the past few months?  lol . . . So began the search for a "mighty truck."
  • An afternoon date with Mommy - Christmas movie (DVR'd) with popcorn & Coke
  • Make and take treats to mommy & daddy's co-workers & Hunter's teachers
  • Christmas PJs
  • Make homemade tree ornaments
  • Go and look at Christmas lights
  • Bake Christmas treats for neighbors with Mommy
  • Pick names for family gift exchange and go shopping for gifts
  • Bake and decorate cookies with Mommy -- Hunter insisted on chocolate chip cookies & sprinkles . . . they actually turned out pretty good
  • Sort through old toys and take to a homeless shelter -- funny story.  So when it came time for this, I was explaining it all to Hunter; how that some children don't have toys to play with and how Jesus wants us to show his love to others and how by giving a few of his toys to those children would accomplish this.  Like usual, my sweet little man took a few minutes to process this and said so clear & honestly, "momma . . . I have a good pwan-idea.  How 'bout them just come over to our house and I just share wif dem my toys. That's a good pwan."  hahaha. What can I say, at least he offered to share rather than just saying no all together.  lol  As it turned out, I decided not to push the issue.  Sharing and giving away are hard concepts for a toddler, so we opted to do an Angel Tree - and buy a new toy for a needy child.  Maybe next year.  :)
  • Christmas movie & campout under the Christmas Tree -- this was really fun for all of us and we will definitely do it again soon.  We had DVR'd Disney's newest version of 'The Christmas Carol' with Jim Carey, and thought it'd be one we'd all enjoy.  Hunter only managed to stay awake for the first 15 minutes, but it was a good thing because it was actually a pretty scary & realistic version that had him hiding his eyes in parts. Oops.
  • Elf on the Shelf -- We started on the 12th this year, leaving us only 12 days with our new family elf, but plenty of time to get some good laughs out of him.  Hunter was in one of his "moods" the day he opened him. After I finished reading him the story and explaining about our elf, it was time to give him a name . . . I told Hunter he could choose any name he wanted, but his "mood" was not into it and without thought or hesitation snuffed, "Cwistmas Twee."  I tried to encourage him to think of something fun or different but "the mood" was in full swing and was stubbornly addamit our new elf's name was Christmas Tree.  I knew this name was going to be a source of constant confusion so I scratched the whole idea and decided to start fresh the next day.  Luckily Hunter's spirits had improved greatly and when it was time to name our elf he was excited & ready (although I was truly concerned 'Christmas Tree' would be the 1st thing off his lips).  Luckily it wasn't, and when he threw out the name 'Digger', I jumped on it. :)  'Digger' is a perfectly acceptable and cute name for our new family elf.
 And Hunter's favorite . . . 
Although we didn't necessarily do the whole "Digger's going to tell Santa you were naughty/nice" bit, he was still a fun addition to the family Christmas fun this year.  Hunter enjoyed looking for him each morning and I'm pretty sure Daddy had fun thinking up fun places to put him.  :)
  • Christmas Books (borrowed from the library)
  • Dated Ornament -- I grew up having a family tree and I love that I now have my very own full of special ornaments that represent us each year.  This year it was a given . . . Hunter's 2012 ornament must be construction related.  So when I found these cute matching 'dumptruck' and 'cement truck' ornaments, I was smiling as big as he was.  :)
One for him and one for baby brother . . .
Andrew's ornament is usually hunting related and this year was no exception.  I struggled finding mine this year but finally came across this burlap "Starr" and thought it fit me pretty good.  Pa also gave Hudson a dated 2012 'new baby' ornament to match his big brothers.

  • Have hot chocolate and popcorn before bed
  • A new Christmas DVD -- none other than 'Bob the Builder's Christmas to Remember'  :)
  • Record videos of ourselves singing Christmas Carols & send them to friends & family -- I attempted this on a couple different occasions, resulting with Mommy singing all alone . . . and I was NOT sending that off to loved ones, lol. 
  • Christmas Card Photo Shoot 

  • It's so hard to choose with so many cute expressions . . .
    And the final product . . . 
    Another Christmas activity we participated in, was a cookie decorating party with my MOPS small group.  We met at Meredith's house (who also happens to be Hunter's KDO teacher) with all of the needed supplies - Hunter was his usual shy self, but warmed up pretty quickly when he got to sit next to his new (big 4 year old) friend, "Bwody."  :)
    It's always so funny to me to turn the camera around at us moms . . . what our kids must think growing up with us paparazzi parents  :)
    The kiddos enjoyed decorating their cookies maybe a little too much . . . no one really wanted to eat much of them afterwards, including Hunter.
    Hunter & Brody were the only boys at a table full of beautiful little girls . . . and they didn't seem to mind a bit.
    My little 'hands on' boy loved this fun party.  He's all about crafting & creating.  
    Love him.
    We also joined up with some friends at a local nursing home to allow the kids to spread some Christmas Joy.
    This was Hunter's 1st trip of its kind and I was quite nervous due to our past experiences involving strangers and new places.  I did our usual 'prepping' routine of laying out as many details as I could as well as involving him in a craft project to distribute to many of the residents.  I forgot to take a picture of our finished product but they actually turned out pretty cute, similar to this picture except our candy canes were finger painted.
    All the kids did great, but I was especially proud of my Big Boy.  Hunter, while still very reserved, walked up to 20 individual residents and handed out each of his candy canes and told them 'Merry Christmas'.  I was extrememly happy & proud of him for being so brave and stepping out of his comfort zone (I probably told him 100x the rest of the day, besides calling & sharing the news with all of his Grandparents).  And since our visit, he has asked to return several times.  So return we will!
    Funny story:  We encountered a few residents that I was nervous that Hunter might be afraid of (a few even caught me off guard with their tone of voice & foul language) but it was a kind, ederly man that frightened my little man the most.  As he was talking to the boys he took Hudson's hand and looked at Hunter and joking said, "since there aren't any little babies living here, I think I'll keep him here with me."  OH.MY.GOODNESS.  I thought Hunter was going to fall apart -- those big brown eyes shot a worried glance up to me, as he threw both of his protective little hands across Hudson's body.  There was no way he was going to let that man keep his baby brother.  ;)  I couldn't help but giggle as I reassured him that the man was just teasing. . .

    So after a little playdate with his best buddy Ava, Hunter picked up a funny new habit . . . posing for pictures.  
     My little ham
    He loved his new 'Big Rig' shirt I found on the clearance rack and of course had to 'pose' for a quick picture before KDO in front of the Christmas tree . . .
     with Lily . . .
     And his sleeping baby brother  :)
    Gone are the days of standing nicely for a picture . . . as well as smiling sweetly.  Now every picture I take usually includes a grimace, tongue, or crazy facial expressions. lol
     I am still amazed at how in love and how much I enjoy these TWO little boys.  
    There was a time in my life *before children* when I would have squirmed at the thought of having TWO BOYS. . . ohhh how thankful I am that God knows us better than we know ourselves.  :)  

    You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

    Psalm 139:1-10