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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The halls have been decked!

Last night was a fun one! It was the night where we decorate the Christmas tree as a family. Even pre-kids, Jeremy humored me each and every year, by allowing me make a big deal of it. It's a tradition from my own family that I'm carrying on. (And so are my sisters.) Jeremy has always participated 100%, which I appreciate. Yesterday, I spent some time during the boys naps decorating the mantel and putting up the other Christmas decorations around the house. So after our fun dinner (we eat differently on decorating-the-tree-night), all we had left to do was unwrap and hang the ornaments. The boys really got into helping hang the ornamnets and only broke one glass ball in the process. Here is a glimpse into our fun.
Finishing up dinner. I'm going to link some recipes below that might be worth trying out. We tried out some new things and really liked them.
Holden checking out his sock monkey ornamnet that his buddy Lyndon gave him. When I pulled it out of the box and handed it over to him, he pressed it up against his cheek. This boy is crazy about his sock monkey.
They took their jobs of hanging ornaments very seriously. :)
I was there too. :)
As was Jeremy.
The completed project. I love putting it all up and I'm never ready to take it all down once the holiday is over.
And here are the new recipes I tried out on my family last night. I've always liked chicken salad, but after trying this new recipe, I love it. It tasted like a chicken salad you would order at a cafe. It was soooo good. We also had these little guys. I'll definitely be making those again. And the last new recipe I tried was Cinnamon Roll Cake. I'm just going to be honest and tell you it looked and sounded better than it tasted. At least to me. It tasted good. Just not fantastic. And if I'm making a dessert that calls for 3 STICKS OF BUTTER, then it needs to taste fantastic. Holy smokes! I didn't realize it required so much butter until I was already in the process and there was no turning back. We did throw some fresh veggies and hummus in the mix, but for the most part, it wasn't healthy eating last night.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Preparing our hearts for Christmas

Well, here we are. Four weeks from yesterday we will be celebrating Christmas. But I know for most of us, the fun and preparation for the holiday has already begun. Adding children to our family really changed how we wanted to do Christmas. So, how we thought it would be 5+ years ago, is not how it looks for us now. We've changed our minds on some things in the last 3 years. It was just last year that we decided not to do Santa Clause with our kids. And I'm still not completely clear on why. . . I mean I have my own ideas that steered me that direction. But even in our own vagueness of how we came to that decision, Jeremy and I are in solid agreement about it. So even though we don't think he's bad and we really enjoyed that part of Christmas in our own childhood memories, we've nixed him. That's one thing that I never imagined we would do.

But as December 1st creeps closer and closer, lots of ideas and plans are cooking in my head. As the boys get older, it becomes just a little more fun. For example: We set our tree up last night when the boys were asleep and tonight they will help us decorate it. Holden caught sight of the tree as he came down the stairs this morning and he let out a gasp. Then he quickly requested I turn on the lights. It's the little things that get them excited at this age. I love all of the fun traditions of Christmas including: Santa, Christmas trees, gifts, driving around to see outdoor lights, Christmas cards, making candy, cookies and other sweets, etc. And we will be doing most of these things in the next month. But the excitement of all these little things can really cloud out the reason we're celebrating. Unfortunately, I can easily get distracted by all the fun. We will still be doing our fun little Advent calendar that we first did last year. A month full of activities - some fun and whimsical and some focusing on Jesus. Again, I will attempt to document every single one. :) But this year we are adding the Jesse Tree to our days of Advent. I first heard about it 3 years ago and I'm excited to do this as a family each evening after dinner. I've already skimmed the devotionals and I think it's going to be an amazing adventure traveling through the Old Testament stories and the lineage of Christ. And just last week, I was gifted this book:

Beginning December 1st, it provides a daily scripture reading in preparation for Christmas. And my prayer is that on December 25th my heart will be in full celebration of my King that came as a baby. And maybe that sounds like alot in an already busy month. But I'm afraid that I NEED this stuff to keep my focus where it should be. So even when the lights, music and fun traditions pull for my attention and normally get it, my heart can celebrate the true meaning of our holiday. And hopefully that can aid in steering my kids to find and celebrate Jesus.

So tell me, how do you prepare your heart to celebrate Jesus on Christmas? And the one I'm still trying to figure out: how do you prepare those little hearts to be thankful and not greedy. To want Him and not all the stuff! I would love to hear your traditions and ideas. :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

The Thanksgiving holiday quickly came and went and now we are in the spirit of Christmas at this house. But I can't completely skip over Thanksgiving on this little blog, even though I didn't do too well with my camera on the actual holiday.

My sister, Amanda, and her family live in Colorado. So we don't get to see them near as often as we see the rest of the family. But we did get a few days with them for Thanksgiving, which was really nice. The little cousins spent a couple of nights at our house last week, which was lots of fun for my boys. Holden loved pestering the girls. And Pax loved being Bella's baby. Yes, that's right. At some point early on, she convinced him that he was her little baby boy. She carried him all around the house for 2 days. He wrapped his little legs around her, like he normally does to me. He rarely spoke, since babies don't speak. He became nearly helpless, like any good pretend baby. It was hilarious. When he had to take a nap or go to bed at night, he cried buckets of tears and would sadly cry out "I want my Bella." He wanted to sit by her when we sat at the kitchen table. He followed her around like a little shadow, when he wasn't in her arms. It was sweet, cute and completely ridiculous. But it made us laugh alot last week. And when it was time for final goodbyes on Friday night, there were lots of tears. Not from Bella. Just Pax. He loves his cousin Bella. And I have to admit, she is pretty lovable. I can't blame him one bit. Here is the duo. She is reading him a book. This is about as far as he got from her. He was normally in her lap. :)
We did a little turkey craft on Thursday.
And the littlest of the 5 quickly finished and showed off their art. Notice the printed H's all over Holden's. He has mastered the H and it makes me proud. :) Forget coloring these days. All he wants to do is practice writing his H.
Some more playtime in Holden's bed. (Holden, Ava, Pax and Bella)
On Thursday morning, we headed to east Texas and spent the day with my mom's extended family. No pictures. I failed.

We stayed the night in a hotel on Thursday night so we could spend Friday with my dad's family. All 4 of us in 1 hotel room was quite interesting. Let's just say it was a little challenging getting 1 little boy to settle down and actually sleep. Even after no naps that day. The 3 year old was so over the top excited about us all being in the same room, he had a hard time chilling out. But here are my little loves cuddling up and watching a movie together.
We plan on them sharing a room in the very near future. After Thursday night, I'm not sure how that is going to work. In fact, I ended up sleeping with Pax and Jeremy with Holden. It just wasn't working the other way. There was lots of playing and giggling going on. But no attempts at closing the eyes and sleeping.
On Friday morning, we headed to meme's house. My dad took TONS of pictures on this day. I only took 1. Failed again.
My meme has saved alot of my papaws things. He passed away almost 5 years ago. Well, she decided to pull out his old caps and share them with her little great-grandsons. Pax received a hat also, but was napping when I snapped this picture. Just thought these ugly hats were pretty funny.

Like every year, I have much to be thankful for. It was a wonderful celebration with family this year. Hoping yours was a thankful, happy day!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Christmas fesitivities . . . already??

Last night, a nearby town was having their annual Christmas tree lighting. It always catches me off guard that this takes place before Thanksgiving. In fact, last year it caught me off guard so much that we completely missed it. But here is a little peek from 2009 and how much Holden and Pax have changed in 2 years. As weird as it seemed, dressing the boys in their Christmas tees in mid-November, we went with it and enjoyed the free Christmas festivities last night. Of course Santa and the elves made an appearance. They were being pulled in the carriage.
The boys loved seeing the huge Christmas tree. They will be thrilled when we get ours set up at home. It should be a fun season with a 2 and 3 year old.
They were able to have their picture taken with Frosty and Rudolph. Which Pax did NOT love. He was "sca-wud" as he told me. He had a tight grip on my shirt and legs wrapped tightly around me. There was no peaceful way he would've had his picture taken with those creatures, unless I was there holding him. So I did. But he better man-up before it's time to get his picture taken with Santa. ;)And just a few more pictures from our evening.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mr. Cool

Pax is still obsessed with wearing hats and wears them as often as he can. But when he puts them on, they always end up looking like this . . .
Even if I fix it so that he can see more easily, he pulls it back down to where you can't even see the top half of his cute, little face.
He looks like quite the cool dude, huh? :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Holden's type of fun.

An evening game of chase with daddy. A great way to work off dinner!

The ever so popular toy car wash. The boys love to do this! We've been enjoying this activity for a couple of years now.
Sliding down head first . . .
Forget sliding. He'll just jump.

Running and splashing in puddles.
Cars, dump trucks, diggers and cranes . . . he loves them all!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Signs of fall . . .

Butternut squash and beets from our organic food co-op.
A pantry stocked with plenty of canned pumpkin. Pumpkin dip and whole-wheat pumpkin muffins are being made in my kitchen.
Cute hoodies for cute boys.
Little winter jammies. One of my favorites!
And this chick is a brunette. Again. And I don't think I'm ever going back blonde, in fear that it might fall out. It took 3 attempts with dye, during 2 appointments and a total of about 7 hours of my life to get us this point. The blonde just didn't want to give in. NEVER AGAIN. Someone make me sign a contract. And just last night I was debating chopping it off to chin length but have decided to sleep on that decision another month or so. So fickle when it comes to this head of hair.
It's definitely looking and feeling like fall around here. I love it.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Families Like Us

After moving back to Texas two years ago, I began searching for transracial adoption groups. I knew that our adoption playgroup in OKC was something I was really going to miss. And I felt it was something worth looking into for my boys. I've actually found many different possibilities in the greater metro area. We attended one other event this past summer that I never mentioned on the blog. But finally we were able to attend another event this past Saturday night with a group that is very local to our specific area of the metro. (Meaning one family even lives in our neighborhood!) So Saturday evening we spent some time cooking out and playing at Rocky Top Ranch (which you may have heard of if you've read Same Kind of Different as Me). It was a great experience to meet more families in our area that our passionate about adoption. And as always, some pictures of our fun . . . The boys got to go on their very first hayride. The trailor was being pulled by a woman driving a tractor and she wasn't playin' around. She was making it fun for the big kids and the tiny ones weren't so sure about the bumpy ride. Luckily my boys really loved it. And of course, Holden didn't want to get off once it was over.
(That's a terrible picture of me and I almost didn't include it. I look like a tired girl with a bad hair day. But it's the only picture of Holden and Pax on the hayride. So there it is.)We're grateful to have made some more connections that will be an asset to our family as the boys continue to grow older.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

National Adoption Awareness Month

November is National Adoption Awareness Month! It's one of the many reasons I love the month of November. If there is anything that I have learned in my short 3.5 years (almost to the day!) of parenting, it's that I can't convince everyone to adopt. ;) Ha. That should have been a given from the beginning, but it took me awhile to get it. In my defense, I just wish everyone could experience the blessing. Sure, there is a need with adoption. Somewhere around 145,000,000 if you want a visual. That's just a rough number of the orphans in our world today. And it is that type of statistic that sometimes keeps me up at night. I often wonder what God has in store for us next. And I wonder how that growing number can ever shrink if only a handful of people are involved. So yes, there is a need. But the family that receives a child is the one that recieves the blessing. It's not the other way around. Here's my thought on it. God had his hand on my boys before we ever knew they existed. Had we said "no" to God, he would have found someone else. But Jeremy and I would have missed out big time. Someone else would have received 2 ENORMOUS blessings that God had wanted to give to us.
Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him." Psalm 127:3
Who would ever regret adopting a child!? I've never heard such a thing. So if God is nudging, don't dare miss out on the great blessing He has in store. Coming from a girl that looks into the face of 2 blessings every day, that could be tragic.

Tomorrow is Orphan Sunday. I'm a little sad to say that it will probably go unmentioned at our church. But in a way, I hope that's part of the reason why we're there. Open some eyes. Open up hearts. Help others to think outside of the box when it comes to God's design for family. I just have a great passion for more people to be involved until there are no more orphans. Every child should have a family. Tell me, does your church celebrate adoption, participate in Orphan Sunday and/or have an adoption ministry?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trick or Treat!

Last night was our most fun Halloween to date. I think it mostly has to do with the age of the boys (2 and 3). They are both just into the fun stuff now. They are both understanding so much more. They are both communicating well. So last night was a blast for the 4 of us.
We started the evening with a large jack-o-lantern pizza from Papa Murphys. They're only $6. Why am I just now finding this out!? Pax had 2 small slices and Holden could only choke down 1. And I know why. He gets so excited about different things. He has a one track mind. He was so excited about trick or treating, that eating dinner was just a chore. So he finished his small slice of pizza and then he was read to costume-up! And here is our 2011 little circus act! You may remember the elephant costume from last year. This is only Pax's first hand-me-down costume from Holden. I looked for him a different one, but didn't find anything as cute as the elephant I had at home. So we did a little repeat. And he definitely made a cute little elephant. People oohed and ahhed over him all evening. No joke. He was a big hit!And can you see why? Well, it's because he's adorable. :)
And meet Hoopy the Clown. That's what his costume was titled when I ordered it. I needed something to go with the elephant and this was all I could come up with. But Holden was the one and only clown I saw last night, which I liked. And a complete stranger told me "cutest costume I've seen in YEARS." Really? He's just a clown. Obviously she didn't see our peanut/elephant duo last year. But we'll take the compliment. I sure thought he looked cute. And he loved wearing the wig, the hat, the nose . . .all of it! Holden really enjoyed dressing up.
I adore this little family that God has created for me.
Pax was the brave soul last night. He owned the neighborhood. He walked up to doors, knocked, and waited. Then softly said "twick or tweeeeeeeet". He then would rummage through their treat bowls and choose his own candy. I found it funny that he wanted to pick it out. And all of the neighbors sweetly obliged and let him do so. Then he told them thank you and started moving towards the next house. Holden kind of followed behind, and was more timid last night. He wanted mommy or daddy close by and was often found holding one of our hands. It was just kind of funny to see the little brother take the reigns last night.
Yep, most fun Halloween to date. The boys loved dressing up and going house to house collecting candy. It was fun family memory. And a favorite in my book.