Friday, December 21, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

This December has been lots of fun.  James got out of school kind of early (earlier than other schools, anyway) and I did too, which has allowed us a good amount of time together as a family.  It's been really fun.  Now that Christmas is a mere DAYS away (cannot believe that), I am realizing more and more what a nice time we've had relaxing and enjoying one another... and celebrating Christmas in all of its forms.  Here is some of what we've been up to...

Derek grew a beard in November.  Then, when December rolled around, he trimmed it to look uber redneck. A true homage to our ancestry. ;)

We hosted Anderson Sunday... a tradition we have been letting slide too much as of late.  Shawn and Mindy and their girls came over, and it was wonderful to spend time with them.  We ate a fantastic "brinner" and kicked in it our pjs.  Super formal.  It's how we roll.

James wrote a letter to Santa... complete with gorgeous illustration (and all by himself)!  He took a long time working on it, and I was so proud of him-- for not only the hard work and effort he put into it, but also the fantastic penmanship and drawing he produced!

We decorated Christmas trees (instead of gingerbread houses)!  Much easier, much quicker, and much (with young children at least) more fun!

And later in the month, Rose (pictured action-like in the trees picture... she's my friend from across the street) came over and built/decorated a gingerbread house with the kids (hers and mine).  It was at our house, but I was mostly uninvolved.  A girl's gotta shower, ya know. :)  I always joke that Rose is my polygamist wife (or Derek's, rather).  She's often here when I'm panicking to get James off to school and myself ready... and she'll just start making mac-n-cheese while I'm showering.  Derek often comes home for lunch to find Rose mothering our kids and me rushing around in the background.  Haha.  She's the best.

We also (finally) got our tree up, our lights working (grr - prelit trees are on my black list) and our halls decked!  After the frustration of getting there, the result was quite beautiful!

James has done a lot of photographing lately (little sneak), so I'm including a sweet picture he took that shows a sweet iPhone and little hands reflection! :)

Another ornament picture I'm including is one that my Grandma Bunny gave me when Derek and I were first married.  It represents a lot of our (Grandma's and mine) relationship, and this year it meant a whole lot to me.  The reason is likely because my Grandma Bunny passed away this year.  November 30th.  So a large part of December- the beginning part, at least- was filled with tears and mourning and grief.  I know I'll see her again, but I really, really miss her now.

The children also have their own little tree in their room.  They still put their "fancy" homemade decorations on the family tree, but I think they enjoy having a little bit of Christmas in their bedroom.

We've had our fair share of Christmas folly this year as well.  James had a Kindergarten Christmas Choir Recital at his school, which was the festivity that kicked it all off for us.  He was so excited, and it was super cute.  Since the first of November, he'd been telling me all about how I need to make him a Christmas tree costume for a concert thing they were doing.  I disregarded what he said for a long while, since I hadn't received a note or anything regarding it... and, well, kids make stuff up sometimes.  But eventually, I did get a notice.  It said that the kids could wear their regular school clothes (uniform) or Christmas apparel.  I'm pretty sure that meant a nice dress or church clothes... but James took that very literally.  He held on to his original idea: he wanted to be a Christmas tree.  I was worried he would be embarrassed when he showed up and was the only one all decked out like that.  I should have known better.  He was in fact the only one in full Christmas costume... but he looked amazing and got a ton of (positive) attention.  That boy sure knows how to shine!  I was so proud of him for being individual and not worrying about being different.  It was a highlight (and teaching moment) of my parenting thus far.

I have done a good deal of shopping- both with James right after school (as Derek comes home at the same time as James gets out and would stay home with our little sleeping beauty while James and I ran some errands) as well as by myself.  It's possible I got a few things for myself while I was out.  (guilty)  I realized that James and I shop similarly... we both are ridiculously indecisive and slow at it!  Oye.  It was really fun to get some one-on-one time with my boy, though.  Since he's started school, that's happened less and less.

We attended our ward Christmas party, which was delicious and entertaining.  The Primary kids put on a nativity show... and it was darling.  James was an angel.  So sweet.

And Kurt and Bonnie came down (over?) to visit!!  Woohoo!  Jolie discovered that Kurt makes a pretty spectacular horsie.  Giddy up!

We haven't had tons and tons, but we have received a good deal of snow this December (unlike last year's dry and warmish winter).  Which means we were able to play in the snow a bunch.

It also means we have spent a good amount of time indoors... having all sorts of fun.  We have certainly watched tv/movies (Christmas movies, especially).  

But we have done a lot of imaginative play as well, which I love.  It's been fun to see the kids play so well together.  With James home from school, he and Jolie have had loooots of time to just play together.  They've done a little bit of everything, and had a lot bit of adventures!  PS. The sweet LEGO man picture is by my little photographer son.  Seriously, the boy's addicted to snatching my phone/camera.  PS#2. You may notice that most pictures have been in our jammies (or the funky outfits Jolie throws together for herself).  There has also been a great deal of not-getting-ready-for-the-day.  It's been a little bit fabulous.

It's been a wonderful month so far.  We have made many wonderful memories and spent a good deal of time bonding and growing closer as a family.  Tonight I think we're going to visit Santa Claus at the mall (I'll post on that if we do).  Then we need to get presents wrapped and our house ready for Christmas!!  We don't have long to do it... so I'd better get busy! Looking back at this month, I feel the saying is most definitely true: It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Saturday, December 1, 2012


I am so thankful for my life, for my family and for all of my many, many blessings.  I have a good life.  I live in a peaceful, safe, happy place.  I have a warm home to live in and plenty of healthy food to eat.  I have a seemingly unlimited supply of clean water to drink.  I have the Gospel of Jesus Christ in my life, the Priesthood and the many blessings available to me through that, temples and the covenants made there, the Holy Ghost as my companion, and a family that has been sealed for eternity.  I am especially thankful for eternity as this month I have lost a couple of people I love.  I have friends that love me and entertain me and support me, a job that I  genuinely love, and money and means to take care of our family and myself.  I have a good life.  I do.  This Thanksgiving season, I am especially thankful.

One of the apps on my phone that I enjoy fooling around with is Instagram.  Mostly, I enjoy the sneak peeks into my friends' and family's lives and the interaction I have with them through this medium.  In June, I participated in a Photo a Day June challenge on Instagram, and it was really fun to have an excuse to take at least one photo a day for the entire month, and to see others' photos that they took.  This month, I decided to do something similar: a personal challenge, I suppose, that I called "Thankvember."  These are the photos (as well as the commentary) that were included.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Day 9

Day 10

Day 11

Day 12

Day 13

Day 14

Day 15

Day 16

Day 17

Day 18

Day 19

Day 20

Day 21

Day 22

Day 23

Day 24

Day 25

Day 26

Day 27

Day 28

Day 29

Day 30

Thankvember Day 1: I'm thankful that today is warm, enough so that I can air out my house after going crazy with a new room spray!

Thankvember Day 2: I'm thankful that we live nearby (some) family... so we can play with darling little cuties like this one!

Thankvember Day 3: I am thankful for [Brittney Pack] and a spectacularly fun girls' night out! Woooo! ;)

Thankvember Day 4: Thankful for the chaos... it means I have two beautiful, healthy, energetic children in the house.

Thankvember Day 5: I'm thankful for the education/awareness/knowledge I have regarding health and nutrition, and the tools/resources/support I have that help me implement said knowledge into my life.

Thankvember Day 6: I'm so thankful for children with correctly formed, intelligent minds.  It's amazing to see James absorb so much knowledge and develop so many skills.  Kindergarten is awesome!

Thankvember Day 7: I'm thankful for a good, hard run.  And for beautiful fall weather that makes it pleasant!

Thankvember Day 8: I'm thankful for my children's friendships.

Thankvember Day 9: Today I'm especially thankful for a warm home.

Thankvember Day 10: Thankful for the awesome and often hilarious men in my life. :D

Thankvember Day 11: I'm thankful for the ever-rare (and now nonexistent, ha) excess money that allows us to buy fun and frivolous things.

Thankvember Day 12: I'm so thankful for the amazing father of my children.  There's no one I'd rather go through the rest of my crazy life with.

Thankvember Day 13: I'm thankful for the energy and motivation that resulted in a nice, clean house!

Thankvember Day 14: I'm so grateful for the abundance that we have.  That I can feed my family, and that I can provide healthy, delicious meals.

Thankvember Day 15: I'm thankful for my job.  For the money of it for sure, but more so for the amazing and inspiring people that come into my life because of it!

Thankvember Day 16: Thankful for wonderful little boys who will someday be amazing men.  You're welcome, world.

Thankvember Day 17: Sooo thankful for a husband who let me sleep in and cleaned my house while I slept!! Sorry, ladies, but my husband is more amazing than yours! ;)

Thankvember Day 18: So, so thankful for the Book of Mormon and the inspiration, comfort, and guidance that I find within its pages.

Thankvember Day 19: Thankful for late night snacks... and that my metabolism hasn't entirely crashed and burned just yet. :)

Thankvember Day 20: I'm so thankful that I'm able to be a Stay at Home Mom.  Especially on days like this when one or both of my kids needs extra attention from mommy.  I'm glad I've got it to give to them.

Thankvember Day 21: I'm thankful for the incredible power of imagination!

Thankvember Day 22: Thankful for good traditions, even the small ones.

Thankvember Day 23: Thankful for family movie night(s)!

Thankvember Day 24: Thankful that my in-laws are not my outlaws! So many people can't stand their in-laws, but I really quite love mine!

Thankvember Day 25: So thankful that I "chose wisely" a husband who loves God and the Gospel and honors his Priesthood and church responsibilities.

Thankvember Day 26: Lousy picture demonstration, but I'm thankful for modern medicine and the quality (and quantity) of life it allows me and so many others.

Thankvember Day 27: Thankful that my potty trainee is cooperative... today.

Thankvember Day 28: I am thankful for good books.

Thankvember Day 29: Thankful for quality entertainment.

Thankvember Day 30: There's not much better than a cozy evening at home as a family.  I'm thankful that this evening was one of them.  It was much needed and much appreciated.

And because the whole reason for thinking such thankful thoughts was Thanksgiving (say that five times fast), here are a couple of pictures of my darling kidlets on Thanksgiving.  My gosh, I love these two.


Happy Thanksgiving!!  I hope your November was as wonderful and filled with thanks as mine was!  Love you all.  xo