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Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas at home.

The 4 of us celebrated our family Christmas on the morning of Christmas Eve. We began upstairs by reading from Luke 2. The boys still had no idea that this morning would be any different than any other morning. So Jeremy and I decided that we would leave one toy each, unwrapped for the boys. Simply because there is something extra special about approaching the Christmas tree to see a new toy sitting and waiting for you, even if it's not from Santa Clause. So we left Holden's new car rug out with some new wooden cars. And Pax had a new sit-n-spin that was ready to go. As Holden saw the new toys sitting out, he completely stopped paying attention to the stairs and he nearly tumbled down them 2 or 3 times. It was a bit scary and I should have helped him. But I really wanted to capture his expression with the camera. :) And it's blury, but you can still see his excitment. I love that his less than $20 toy was such a delight!
Holden immediately began playing with Jeremy. I thought he would first hop on the sit-n-spin. But he was really more into the simple rug.
And Pax hasn't quite figured out the sit-n-spin, but he hopped right on that morning.
We loved watching the boys tear into their presents. Holden knew exactly what to do. And Pax caught on pretty quickly.It was a fun time for our family to celebrate together.

After lunch we went to an early Christmas Eve service. The boys went to the service with us and did really well. It was a sweet time of worship. And even though the boys don't get it, it was a blessing to have them with us during that time. And then it was on to my parents house for more Christmas and time with 7 little cousins. That post is coming soon.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Advent Calendar, days 20-23

December 20 - We gathered up some new and old toys for children that might need them more.

December 21 - At our house, we had a small birthday party for Jesus with some friends. There we brought the toys mentioned above as a symbol of our gift. We ate lunch, sang Happy Birthday to Jesus, had a cupcake and a messy time.

December 22 - We delivered homemade Christmas candy to our neighbors and mailman Mike. We love mailman Mike.

December 23 - It's our family's Christmas Eve as the 4 of us will celebrate at home tomorrow! Jeremy and I decided this morning to divide and conquer. Holden and I shopped for Jeremy one last Christmas present, while Pax had the joy of shopping for me with Jeremy. We ended the evening with a fun reading of T'was the Night Before Christmas while wearing our festive Christmas jammies. And did I mention that 11 days of vacay started for Jeremy today? His work closes down between the holidays. Wow, I'm not sure that I will be able to adjust once he returns to work. :) But we are looking forward to some much needed family time and rest.
Pax wants to give a special Merry Christmas to you! I just couldn't resist this picture. And honestly, I can't resist this boy!

Since I will probably be away from the computer for several days . . .

Merry Christmas from us!

Jeremy, Melodie, Holden and Pax

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

This Christmas

Have you thought about giving in a meaningful way this Christmas? Possibly involving your children and teaching them what true needs look like? Please take a moment to read about Shiloh Restored. This effort has been on my heart lately.

The very first time we visited our new church, an eager but sweet couple approached us before we left that Sunday. They had noticed us with Pax in the service and it opened up a conversation on adoption. And if you've spoken with us much, you know that's where our passions and hearts lie. Originally, adoption was always part of the plan for our family. Eventually. Further down the road. But we talked about it early, before we ever married. Then in 2008, it became the only way we felt comfortable in growing our family. And it was something we were genuinely excited about. And now, it's so much more than that to us. So attempt to have an adoption conversation with Jeremy and I, and it will be hard to shut us up. But we met Niji and Lali that first Sunday, just over a year ago. We spoke very briefly on adoption and exchanged emails. One week later, my family of 4 was sitting at their house having Chai Tea and dessert. We were practically strangers, but it felt far from it. They allowed our 18month Holden to play on Niji's Indian drum. And that FREAKED me out no matter how many times they assured me he couldn't hurt it. They truly loved on our boys that evening. We were able to share our adoption journey and they were able to share their desire to adopt. And there was connection. Our passions were similar. After a handful of dinners and open, honest, vulnerable conversations we got a glimpse of who they were. So it was not a huge surprise to us when they returned home from a mission trip from an orphanage in India and Shiloh Restored began to fall into place. I encourage you to check it out and ask how the Lord might want you to be involved. Even a one time Christmas donation could greatly impact one of these young girls.

Current cuteness.

I just want to document some cute things said and done by our boys lately.

Yesterday we were in the car driving to get 1 more Christmas present (the story of my week!). And I'm not sure that I've mentioned it, but Pax has realized that he LOVES to talk and babble. He attempts to repeat most things we say. But alot of times he gets going with conversation and just babbles away. So yesterday Pax was enthusiastically pointing out the car window and saying "gobba bee tee pfff gobba bun" or something like that. I turned my head and laughed at him. As I checked in my rearview mirror, Holden was watching him and just smiling. Now in case you haven't met him, Holden loves to be the center of attention. But I often catch him taking a breather and watching Pax. And unbeknownst to him in those short fleeting moments, he's giving bubba some spotlight time. And he's actually enjoying his place in the audience. I love to catch these moments where Pax is making Holden smile and laugh. Anyways, this was one of those brief moments. And then Holden said, "momma?" And I said "ye?" And Holden said "he's saying 'gobba bee tee pfff gobba bun'". And yes, he pretty much quoted Pax's babble-talk. And then he and I had a little laugh. I thought it was cute.

Today as we headed up the stairs to put the boys down for naps, Holden was quoting rules to himself. "Do not get out of bed. Do not open that door." It made me chuckle. Jeremy normally does Holden's nightime routine and maybe they are still going over the rules at night. I'm not sure. But I often catch Holden reminding himself of different rules throughout the day. And I just think it's funny. He sure wants to obey and be a good boy, but sometimes that other side wins out. :)

On a rare occassion, Pax doesn't want a diaper change or to lay down while I change his clothes. He typically goes with the flow, but on occassion he'll put up a fuss. When this happens and he is crying or fussing, Holden will rub his hair and say "It's otay bubba." I just love that he says "otay". And another cute one is "cut kate" (meaning cupcake).

The other day, the 4 of us were in the car and Jeremy pressed on the brakes. Nothing forceful, but Holden just noticed we were slowing down. And from the backseat we hear "go, people, go!" Uh oh! So not proud of that one. He got that from me. Except I normally just say "go people" in an annoyed tone. Not proud, but too funny not to share.

Okay, I know those sound more like Holden that Pax. I think it's just the age. Holden is talking up a storm and it makes us laugh often.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Thoughts on Christmas

This season has been such a meaningful one this year in my own heart. And I can't even pinpoint why this year has felt so differently. But it has. I'm wondering if this stirring has come from the many recent conversations I've had with Holden about baby Jesus. And even though we've been having many of these talks, I know he doesn't understand. There is this eagerness inside me this year. An eagerness for my children to understand the depth of why Jesus came. And why when we look at our nativity, we see him in a manger, rather than a palace. And how baby Jesus isn't just another baby. I want them to understand NOW. And they are 2 1/2 and 16 months. So they just don't . . . yet. So I will eagerly await the day they can start to grasp it. This season I'm loving the Christmas carols (which I normally DON'T). I'm listening to the words and really pondering the meaning of those old songs, that in past have just been rhythm, rhyme and tradition. I'm reading the Christmas story often to the boys. And I catch myself getting so caught up in this story that is full of miracles. And in my head it was always so simple. Maybe because I basically had it memorized. But I'm seeing this year how far from simple it really is. And I'm thinking alot about Mary and Joseph, who were parents like us, but to the Savior of the world. And I really can't even imagine what that life was like. Because lately, I've tried to imagine it. And what did it feel like to be chosen by God to be His mother? Honestly, with all my thoughts lately, I've been overwhelmed. Completely overwhelmed, but in such a good way. This story that I've heard my entire life is beginning to mean more to me. I'm realizing the humility in Christ coming to earth in the way that He did. And instead of sitting back and questioning why God chose this story for our Savior, I'm feeling grateful for this master plan of His. Why do I feel like I'm just now starting to get it so many years after my own journey with Christ began? I have no idea. But my heart is so full for Him this Christmas. And it's been a joyful time to celebrate His birth.

But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Luke 2:10-12

Advent Calendar, days 17-19

December 17 - Holden worked on some Christmas tree activities. One was just a coloring sheet, to which he requested I draw an airplane ornament onto the tree. And of course, I did. :) And the other was a shape matching exercise, to which he mastered. Here he is proudly showing off his hard, but fun work.
He's a little goofball sometimes. Well . . . most of the time.

December 18 - We spent a few hours Saturday afternoon with M, Pax's birthmom and her family. She has grandparents about 1 hour from us and so we made our way to their house and did a small Christmas exchange with them. Small for them, large for us. :) Last year they loaded down our trunk with gifts for the boys. This year, M's dad said they did better and went "light". As the many gifts were being set in front of us, I thought maybe he was being sarcastic. I guess their family went lighter on the gifts, but somehow we still ended up with this:
Does this look light to you? :) The boys had a ball ripping into presents and playing with their new toys and the other kids at the house. As always, we had a great time with their family and even extended family. They love our boys and it shows. This relationship that has formed because of a precious baby boy is a unique experience and I'm blessed to be right in the middle of of it. Here is 1 picture of Pax and M.
December 19 - Holden finally mailed off our Christmas cards! We're super late getting them out this year. But hopefully they will arrive to everyone just in time for the holiday. Holden had fun dropping all 60 into the mail slot on our street.

There's just one more week of these fun activities! What in the world will we do in January?!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Advent Calendar, days 13-16

Still having fun with the advent calendar!

December 13: The boys "helped" me make Christmas candy for Jeremy's co-workers and Holden's Pre-school teachers. We made Rocky Road Fudge, Peppermint Bark and these delicious cookies again! And actually, the boys didn't help at all. I thought Jeremy and Pax could have some one-on-one time and Holden would really get into helping me. But he didn't. Out came the candy canes and that's all he was interested in. Pax had his first taste of candy cane on this day also. He had a few licks, made a sticky mess and then he was over it. So it ended up in the trash. Oh well. Maybe next year.December 14: Tuesday evening was one of the best activities thus far. At least in my mind. Maybe that's because we got to spend several hours of fun with the Myers! We went to the beautiful Gaylord Texan and walked through Charlie Brown's ICE. The kids were free and I had a coupon for all of the adults. It was still a little pricey and definitely not something we will do every year. But it was so much fun and I feel like we made some really funny memories in that short amount of time. Get ready for picture overload.
We were bundled in our regular coats + the blue coats they gave us for sliding. The kids could barely walk. And poor Pax could hardly even move with his layers on. It was hilarious.
And here we go . . .
You might notice from this picture that I am wearing flats with no socks. I might as well have been barefoot! It was 9 degrees, people! And the weirdest part is that I knew all of the facts and never thought of wearing my warm winter boots.
Josh and Jeremy with the babes. Josh is holding Camryn though you can only see her hat. I'm telling you, they could hardly move with all the layers on. And Pax looks enthused, right? This is how he looked during most of our stay at ICE.
Oh! Mister Holden had a great time! And he still has some sort of wind burn on his cheeks today!
And he loved the ice slides! And so did I! Kinda felt like a kid again.
I set Pax down so I could take some pictures. He fell over and was screaming for help. He couldn't get back up. Amanda suggested I snap a picture before helping him back up. Smart thinking. :)
The kiddies. I love that you can only see Camryn's red little nose and her eyes. She was not a fan of the frigid temps. Funny funny memories. They won't remember but we'll have the pictures to prove it.
It ended with the nativity scene.
And a final group shot of us and our sweet friends. Fun fun evening, if I haven't stressed that enough.

December 15: Holden attended a Birthday Party for Jesus at school! I love that his school made that the focus of their Christmas festivities. And I love that later that afternoon as I was cleaning in the kitchen and he was rolling his little car on the floor of the dining room, I heard him exclaim with great excitement "Jesus is BORN!" There was great emphasis on BORN. :) Sometimes as he's playing he has little conversations with himself. And yesterday I heard him repeating what some dramatic storyteller had said at school that day. Oh my little boy, he's getting bits and pieces at just 2 years old.

December 16: Today Holden picked out a Christmas gift for Pax. We went all out and shopped from the dollar spot at Target. Holden is into police cars right now. And so he chose a small wooden police car for Pax. And then he played with it throughout the rest of my shopping. And then he wouldn't let go of it. I had to pry it from his hands for the cashier to scan it. And then he got yogurt on it during his snack time. And I was continually reminding him "remember you are giving that to bubba for Christmas." I don't think he completely gets it. It's a tough lesson in giving for a 2 year old. :) But Pax will also be getting Holden something fancy from the dollar spot also. Perhaps it should be another police car. :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Advent Calendar, days 10-12

Man, we've had a great family weekend. Just a full day of fun on Saturday with my favorite people. I LOVE family time. And I can be selfish with my family time such as evenings and weekends. So needless to say, our advent calendar this weekend included some great time with just the four of us.

December 10: I failed. The day got away from me and I never got around doing an activity. But I made up for it by doing TWO activities on Saturday.

December 11: Part 1 - We went to Bass Pro to check out Santa's Wonderland. It was all completely free, including a picture with Santa! And the Santa looked fabulous! It was a little bit of a wait, so we ate lunch while we waited for our time slot to get a picture with Santa. We had such a fun morning at Bass Pro. Holden was messmerized by an electric toy train. The boys got to ride a carosuel of reindeer, instead of horses. And last but not least, they had their picture made with Santa. We made a pretty safe prediction on how that would go. Pax would freak out and scream and cry. Holden would sit on his lap and smile for a picture (if we were lucky). Boy were we wrong. Holden was fine and dandy with the Santa plan until it was our turn. We start walking the red carpet towards him and he FLIPS out on us. On me actually. Jeremy had Pax. I thought I was going to have the easy child for this one. Ha! Had I not had a firm grip on Holden's hand he would have made a break for it. He was attempting to wiggle away from me and run off. But not after we had waited over an hour for this picture. No sir. So Santa whips out a small candy cane and Holden warms up. Sugar can win him over pretty easily. Pax, on the other hand? No freaking out. He wasn't thrilled by the stranger. But he did better with Santa than he does the church nursery. So our prediction was way off. They snapped a picture and the boys didn't smile. What else is new. See 2008 Santa picture and 2009 Santa picture. I am hopeful for 2011. But this little place even let us snap a few pictures with our own camera. So Jeremy did just that. And of course, Santa was the only one that cooperated.
Part 2 - After much needed naps, we fed the boys an easy dinner at home. Then we took them to Panera Bread (in their jammies). While Jeremy and I ate dinner at Panera, they shared an M&M cookie. Then it was off to see neighborhood Christmas lights! This is one of my favorite activities around Christmas time. I remember driving to see Christmas lights annually with my family. We did it every single year, no matter how old we got. Holden LOVES Christmas lights this year. Every night at the dinner table, he notices our neighbors lights turn on. He goes into this weird, enthusiastic voice and normally says something like "Momma, she turned on de yites!". His crazy voice sounds nothing like his real voice. You should hear it for yourself. We laugh everytime. Where do they learn this stuff!? So obviously, Holden is very into the lights this year.Pax was not squealing or overly excited by the sights. But he seemed completely content and entertained on our little car ride. And after a good tour of the area, we called it a night.

December 12: This morning, before getting ready for church, we danced to Christmas music. We don't have much time on Sundays between church in the morning and Life group in the evening. So I needed a quick and easy advent idea. Dancing to Christmas music worked perfectly. My boys can cut a rug! Back in his college days, Jeremy was sometimes called "King of the Electric Slide". So I guess shouldn't be surprised by their moves. They are learning from their daddy. :) I should have videoed. The pictures are a bit blurry.

a song.

The song below melts Jeremy's heart. Those are not his words, but mine. And since it melts his heart, then it surely melts mine. He told me about the song months ago and then quickly later we caught it on the radio while riding in the car together. It put a big ole lump in my throat when I heard it. And to be honest, it still does. Excuse the advertisement in the beginning. It was the best video I could find. And stick around for the end of the song. That's the part that makes the tears roll down my cheeks.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Giveaway Winner!

Let me begin by saying this giveaway was not rigged. Not a good way to start this out, huh? Well, both of my sisters entered the giveaway. And of course, I had no issues with that. Well, my sister Amanda won! When I texted her to tell her this morning, she instructed me to draw someone else. And I told her that was ridiculous because she won fair and square. She felt bad for winning since we are related. Ridiculous, right? I thought so. Here are some pictures of our very fair and honest drawing. Holden did the drawing. But he can't read yet. So there was no cheating, even though he does love his aunties. :)

The 13 entries:

About to draw the lucky winner.
And there it is . . . Amanda, the eloquent writer from A Time to Dance. Also, the middle sister.Thanks to everyone for playing. Now go and get your little ones the Jesus Storybook Bible. It really is amazing!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I always imagined that Jeremy and I would have girls. A house full of girls. I didn't prefer girls over boys. I think that's how I imagined my future family because I grew up with sisters. It's what I knew. I didn't know life that included little boys. But let me tell ya . . . I do now! I know all about little boys! That is my life. Two precious little boys that make me smile countless times throughout my day. These boys, that I knew nothing about a few short years ago, are ridiculously fun. And they have changed me and my girly self in some small ways. I still like bows and little baby girly clothes. And I still hope to have a daughter one day. And I might even request a girl through adoption one day. But these boys are pretty incredible. And daily I feel blessed that God chose me for them.

Advent Calendar, days 5-9

Tomorrow one of my handsome fellas will draw for the Christmas Giveaway. It's now or never. Click here and comment if you are interested.

December 5: We made these cute handprint ornaments, that are now hanging on our tree. I searched high and low for this little kit last year, but never ran across them. This year I got smart and searched online.December 6: This was St. Nicholas Day. Did you know that he had a day? I recently learned this. So on December 6th, Holden and I sat at the kitchen table during Pax's morning nap. While Holden did some coloring and Santa crafts, I read to him about St. Nicholas' life. After a few years of debating back and forth, I think Jeremy and I have decided to not do Santa at our house. I'm kind of surprised by our decision. We both grew up with Santa bringing gifts to our house. But for reasons I'm not even certain about, I've been hesitant about Santa since Holden's first Christmas. I barely touched on my feelings here. But it's one of those things that I'm not heavily opinionated on. To each his own. I just think for our family, it felt like the best direction for us to go. And the more I talk to others about it, I'm encouraged. Talking it out is often how I process my thoughts. :) I'm hoping that at our house Santa can be like Mickey Mouse. Kids don't walk around telling other kids that Mickey Mouse isn't real. He's just a character. Part of Disney World, like Santa is part of Christmas. Hopefully we'll figure it out as we go. I just don't want my kids to spoil it for the others that do believe. We will still be taking pictures with Santa, cause that's a Kodak moment I don't want to give up. And if we went to Disney world, we would also get our picture made with Mickey Mouse. ;) Is that even a good correlation? I'm still trying to figure it all out.

December 7: I read the Christmas story from Luke 2 and we acted it out with our nativity scene.

December 8: At bedtime, Jeremy read 2 of our favorite Christmas books to the boys. Christmas in the Manger by Nola Buck and Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown.

December 9: Today we played dress the snowman, which I found from this site. It was like a paperdoll snowman where Holden could choose his hat, scarf and other accessories. Pretty fun little activity. And all I had to do to prepare was print and cut. Nice. I do love the website that I linked above. It has some wonderful ideas for all ages.

Yep, no pictures this round. Apparently I've been a slacker. I hope to do better in the days ahead. But this Advent calendar has been alot of fun. It's made me be more intentional in planning my day and time with the boys. And they love the new activities. More to come . . .

Monday, December 6, 2010

Advent Calendar, days 1-4

I'm a little surprised that there are only 7 comments for the Christmas Giveaway. Maybe many of you already have the book. If not, click here and leave a comment before Friday!

Well, we've been using our advent calendar since December 1st and have had alot of fun doing some new and different activities. On the night of December 1st, I decided that I would read through the advent devotionals that went with the Jesse Tree. I like the idea of intentionally preparing my own heart for this season in a new way this year. I really do want my thoughts to be focussed on Him, amidst the hussle, bussle and fun things going on around us. I heard about the Jesse Tree last year and now that I'm a week into my reading, I'm positive that we will do this as a family next year. But on December 1st, I learned that advent ACTUALLY starts on November 28th. Good to know. Mental note for next year. So here are the fun things that the boys (though sometimes it's just been Holden) have been able to do thanks to the fun little surprise messages in the advent calendar.

December 1: We went to Hallmark and picked the boys out an ornament to represent them at this past year. Hallmark's a bit pricey, even with my coupon. I think we'll be going another route in ornament shopping next year. But Holden ended up with a Mickey Mouse train, because trains are his current obssession and he does like to see Mickey. Pax ended up with a tiny little See-n-Say ornament, batteries included. So cute. It's a favorite toy of his right now. And other than eating and books, he's not into a whole lot just yet.

December 2: We made a handprint wreath and then stamped some ornaments to later cut out and decorate the wreath. The process:

You should quickly see from the looks of this wreath, that I have never been a preschool teacher. :)

December 3: I was not home Friday night and most of Saturday. So on this day, Jeremy took the boys to Journey to the Manger at our church. They were able to see a live nativity and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies. Jeremy was sweet to take pictures while I was gone.
Apparently, on this night Pax was tired and just wouldn't have much to do with it all. He stuck close to the photographer (his daddy) and so he's not in any of the pictures.

December 4: Holden and Jeremy got to watch a Christmas movie together while enjoying some snacks. This all happened during Pax's morning nap. I wrapped up a $5 Thomas the Train Christmasy "movie". So of course, Holden was excited to open a present! And the fun activities will continue . . . I'm just a little behind from a busy weekend and not much time at home.