Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas In J'Town


Christmas 2012 meant our 4th year of Christmas Eve matching pajamas at our house!


We three exchange ornaments on Christmas Eve as part of our little tradition in our pajamas. I loved the excitement this year. Randall was onery with his ornament, I was overly thoughtful and Henry was stoked over his.


Santa stopped by to leave Henry his silver truck like daddy's with a bobcat and a trailer and his "quitar". He asked for these specific things for the 2 weeks leading up to Christmas. Santa produced!


Henry thought it all so cool. He really didn't even know what to look at first or how to react to all the excitement on our den floor. I love seeing Christmas through his eyes.


Nana and Papa joined us again this year and we loved it. Henry was giving Nana her Woody ornament. Those 2 have a Toy Story bond like no other. It is pretty cute stuff.


Henry scored some new boots on Christmas Eve because word was out that it was going to Snow, snow, snow! He loved his boots and wanted to show them off.


And snow it did! Henry wanted to get out in it and play. We bundled him up and out we went.


We pulled him on the sled and threw snowballs over and over. It was so fun to have him at an age where he could participate. Henry reminded me of Ralphie's brother on The Christmas Story. It was priceless and so fun.

 
Christmas at our house was very special and memorable this year. We are blessed more than we deserve. Sharing the season with this little cutie in the snow made it even sweeter.

Abby

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas In The Fort


We had a super fun time in the Fort visiting mama. We all gathered together the weekend before Christmas for fun, food and gifts.


Mama gave me a surprise gift. The nativity my maternal great-grandmother made for my paternal grandparents. It was super cool and unexpected. I love that she wanted me to have it to display in my home.


Henry got way more than he could take in and loved the stick horse from his Marmie a whole bunch. He named it "Todd". Anna is so cute in her new monogram ballcap in this photo and Mama's grandma sized smile is precious. I love this crew.


Being at "home" with my sister is one of my highlights of Christmas. We have modified it a lot from what it used to be, but it still works and it produces lots of happiness. Our grandmother sent us gifts to open together. They were painted plates our great-grandmother had painted. We were both so excited to receive them.


Riding the train at the park is a fun tradition for our little crew. We missed Stephen and Samuel this year, but the ride had to go on without them! They had to head back home for the night to do Christmas music at church. We had  fun at the train and then downtown at the ferris wheel and carousel. Cold and cheery times in the Fort make for blissful memories.

 
 
 Seeing Mama light up with all of us together made my heart glad. She had a tough Spring this past year and it was a blessing to see her healthy, happy and as beautiful as ever this Christmas. Our little Christmas blessing.!


After a fun few days of being spoiled rotten at Marmie's, it was time to take Henry home to wait for Santa to arrive. He was indifferent on wanting to go, as you can see in his facial expression. His cousins might have tied even with Santa this year. Henry loves our Fab Four....but who doesn't?!
Christmas in the Fort was a wonderful time, once again.

Abby

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Twas' The night


The "Twas the night before Christmas" recorded book that my Daddy did for Henry a few years ago is a bedtime favorite right now. If you know my Daddy then you can only imagine how animated it is. It is fabulous fun to listen to. Henry loves it when he says our names in it. Henry will look in amazement and say "Granddaddy say my name, mama!"

 I was in Henry's room putting clothes and toys away while he listened to it, and glanced over to find him with his Santa hat on. He has a dress up/pretend bucket full of hats and such. He had grabbed it and put it on while I wasn't looking. I snuck into the kitchen to grab my camera and capture this little memory. Such a precious picture of my Christmas baby!

We are gearing up for Christmas this weekend with our trip to the Fort and then heading back to do Christmas in J'town. We are excited to celebrate the season with the ones we love!

Abby

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Greetings


 We are linking up to Kelly's Korner again today and displaying our Christmas card. Our card is always one of my favorite things about Christmas. Randall and I have always had a photo card since our first one in 2003. We used a wedding photo then. It is fun to go back and see how they have changed and stayed the same. We have a Christmas album that holds our card each year and our Christmas letter....I write a letter also. It is a 15 year book. We have filled 10 of them. Hard to believe sometimes.


It is so hard to choose a photo to represent us most years. We have such fun memories and our camera cards are always at capacity! This year I could have done an entire album but a greeting card can only hold so much. Our beach friend, Michelle was gracious to take these photos for us again this year. They are love in action this time, for sure! It is hard to keep a 3 year old boy contained for a photo session on the beach! I hope through our card you can see how thankful we are for the joy Jesus gives us and the love we have for Him and each other.

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!
Abby


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ramblings

You know I love a list, so here we go.

** I have felt so un-frazzled this Christmas. I don't know what the reason is for it, but I am loving it.

** Everytime I think about the stockings hanging in those homes in CT that won't be filled and gone through, my eyes fill with tears. Such sadness during this time.

** I've also been very mindful of Danny Elder & Gina Rodger's son Austin. He lost his life after falling off of a cliff. Gina is a few years older than me but we were in the same youth group at church. I have such funny memories of her. And Danny. Well, I have always loved Danny. And to know that they are hurting so badly, also brings tears to my eyes.

** By some strange happening, we have more presents under the tree for the boys than we do for Anna. She is not happy about it at all!! I don't know why she is so hard to buy for this year.

**My kids Christmas lists this year were funny. They contained requests for candy, coloring books, model plane glue (the blue kind) and underwear (but not pink, because HE already has that color!)

** I'm excited about the hope of seeing some good friends when we go home for Christmas. I love seeing faces that hold such fun memories.

** Speaking of "going home" for Christmas. I texted Abby and told her when we would be going home for Christmas. She texted back and said she was confused. Did going home mean going to Fort Smith or Pine Bluff? I thought it was funny. I still think of Fort Smith as home.

Ok, I'm off to clean the house and clean-out bedrooms, to make room for Christmas presents. This part of motherhood is no fun!!!
Julie

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Walking In Memphis


We took our little munchkin to the infamous Enchanted Forest in Memphis. It has been in Memphis since the 1960's. My Daddy used to go through it as a youngster. It was originally in the Goldsmith's Department Store in downtown Memphis. Goldsmith's closed downtown and then got swallowed up by Macy's. The Enchanted Forest is now located at the Pink Palace. It is the exact same display as when my Daddy viewed it in the 1960's. It is really amazing to see it in person and know it is the original deal.
Randall and I went through the display our first Christmas together, right before we married, and sat on Santa's lap at the end of the tour. I asked him for a new car and he told me his credit was too bad. A funny, precious Christmas memory!


 Henry was really taken with the Dr. Seuss tree and the Peanuts tree. The trees are donated by businesses and the money to see the display is given to the children's hospital in Memphis. This picture cracks me up because it is both of us in mid sentence about him trying to get down and run and touch the trees. True life snapshot. He is so busy!


 And then this one is even better...he was ready to run and I was still trying to pose. Randall was just laughing at us and said "OK, I give up!" Sometimes you just have to.


Henry spotted the model trains and he was in heaven! He would have stood there all day if we had allowed him to. He was so excited about all the movement on the tracks. It was pretty cool to watch as an adult, so I know he must have been in sensory overload.


The he spotted the fat, jolly man in the red suit. He is yelling "It is SANTA!"...but he was not wanting to get close to him. We just watched from afar. I love his excitement in this photo. It lights me up.

After we left the Enchanted Forest we dropped Henry off at my Daddy and Connie's and Randall took me to an adult only meal. I was in great need of a good meal that required me to feed only myself. Selfish, maybe...just being honest. We do not get "breaks" very often because we do not have family in town and we don't pay a babysitter as often as we should or could. Sometimes a little adult only outing is needed for our sanity. We had not had one since the weekend after his surgery in early November.  It was much appreciated and needed this night.


You know the song "Walking in Memphis"? Well, if you do you know that Muriel played the piano every Friday at the Hollywood. This is the spot and the piano in which Muriel played at The Hollywood Cafe in Tunica, Ms. Not the casino called Hollywood, instead it is the hole in the whole old Commissary building known for its Blues music and great food.


I was so proud of my man for taking me off the beaten path and surprising me with dinner. I thought we were going to Bonefish. We had a coupon for lobster and steak and had talked about it all week. When we left Daddy's and got back in the truck he turned the wrong way on I-55. I said "so, we are going to Como?" and he laughed. We used to go to the Como Steakhouse in our Mississippi days when we had extra money to blow. He said "nope. it's a surprise." He got off on the Tunica exit and I said "REALLY, A casino buffet?!" He hates a buffet and I adore them, so he laughed again. He told me to shut it and sit tight. We rolled into Tunica and he turned off onto a "shady" street (In the delta all streets are a bit shady in more ways than one) and pulled up into a run down building and I said "A bar? really?" and he informs me this is where we are eating. I was like "What the what?!"

These fried pickles are their claim to fame and they were the best ones I had every put in my mouth!


Randall had eaten dinner here a while back while planting in the area. He knows I adore unique places and especially in the delta. I was so excited to get the info on what makes The Hollywood Cafe famous and to see it up close and personal...and touch Muriel's piano! It was a wonderful steak and a peaceful meal full of adult conversation. Thank you Daddy and Connie for allowing us to slip away for a couple of hours and rest!


Of course it was back to parenting and activity we went! We got Henry a Home Depot gingerbread house because he LOVES the Home Depot. Loves it. It is possibly the ugliest and most deformed Home Depot ever in the history of gingerbread Home Depot houses, but it is ours and it was made with love! Even Henry asked, "Where it doors go?". No doors on our Home Depot, baby boy!


We added it to our gingerbread display. It is no Enchanted Forest of gingerbread houses, but it will do for our busy little house. I love these simple, unplanned memories. What a blessing.

Abby

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Show Me Those Teeth


 Henry was about as excited about the new ASU hire as his Daddy( note the newspaper headline)...and being at the dentist reading about it made it even more sour. He was not excited about opening his mouth after all he went through with his surgery last month. In hindsight, I should have waited a few more months to take him.


We went back and he sat in the chair and was most intrigued by the light above him. He was all excited about it at first but then decided he might not be that crazy about this experience after all.

  He reached for me to come sit with him, so I did. I held him while they tried to get him to show them his teeth. I love my dentist. He and the girls there are wonderful. My dentist took great care of me when I was pregnant and having terrible problems with my teeth. He called me on my cell after Henry's appointment to talk to me about it and see how he was doing. Seriously, who does that anymore?! He should let me do a commercial for him, honestly!


Henry finally showed the girls his teeth after a treasure chest bribe. Stella, our dentist's daughter, caught his eye and I think he was wanting to show off a bit for her also by shining his teeth for everyone. Whatever it took, he did it! They said he had great teeth.
 

He was so excited when they let him get 2 things out of the chest. What a fun first for our little Henry. They called this his "happy visit" and I think it proved to be happy by the glee on his face.

Abby

Monday, December 17, 2012

Giving is the Best

 
I know this is an odd picture but I have a story.
For years I've guided the children to give the people we come in contact with, that provide us a service, a gift. It never is anything big. It's been a candy cane, a thank you card, the year Polar Express came out we gave silver bells.

This year we decided to give cold bottled Sprite with an ornament to the trash guys and the mailman. It's been warm here, so a cold Sprite is more welcome than a mug of hot chocolate!
 Daniel met the trashman at his truck this morning and I could see his smile from where I stood inside the house.
This is our mailman. He was so happy to receive a gift from us that he turned off his truck and posed for a picture. It didn't appear that he shared our Christian faith, but he was so sweet and wished us a Merry Christmas.

This is one of our favorite things to do at Christmas. It doesn't take anything expensive or even handmade. A candycane tied with a bow can bring a smile to someone's face.

Do you do anything with your kids to celebrate Christmas?

Julie

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Happy Birthday, Jesus!


I teach the Puggles class for our Awana program at church. We celebrated Jesus' birthday this past week. It was our last night to meet before Christmas. It was a fun night celebrating the real meaning of Christmas.


Henry is of course a Puggle and the teacher's pet. He gets there early each week with me and starts in before the other children arrive. He was playing with our classroom Little Tikes nativity. He loves it. He sometimes puts Jesus on top where the angel should go, but hey....Jesus does reign on high.


Here are some of our sweet Puggles enjoying a cupcake and blowing their horns in celebration of the birth of Jesus. They were so confused, bless them. They kept asking where Jesus was and Henry and Aubrie thought it was Henry's birthday party and asked for his presents. It was sort of funny and a wee bit sad thinking it confused them.


Our gift to Jesus was 6 grocery sacks of food for our church food pantry. I like teaching them service. We have done art projects for shut ins and that was a lot of fun for us and the people who received the art. This time I thought since the pantry was low and in desperate need, this was perfect.


Amanda and I walked them down to the pantry drop box in the preschool area and let them fill it up. It almost made me cry to watch them. They worked so hard and took it so serious. Henry said "We feed the people, mama. For Jesus!" They really don't get the scope of it all, but they get pieces of it. I pray each piece will fit into a beautiful puzzle of faith for them someday.


I made manager ornaments for each of them and then a photo ornament for them also. I know I loved having photo ornaments of myself from VBS and Sunday School growing up. The parents seemed excited to have both of them.


Our Puggles enjoyed celebrating Jesus and running around the tree and large nativity in the preschool at church. They exhaust me most Wednesday nights, yet put a spark in my spirit every week. This week was extra special. Happy Birthday to our Newborn King!

Abby

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Make Believe With Me


Henry's imagination is on overdrive right now. It leaves me in awe. Sometimes my jaw literally drops. It is amazing to watch the light bulb go off and how he comes alive. It is almost like he gets in a trance and you can't stop it. Fascinating. This photo was sent to me by his teacher this week. He loves playing dress up at school. He may be the cutest Woody on the planet!

"Buzz Like You" is what he calls Buzz. His face cracks me up in this picture. What a doll. His teachers are so good about sending us pictures of him throughout the day. We are blessed to have him in such great care.

Here are some things he has done lately to leave us in stitches:

* Henry has decided he really likes Polar Express and we watched it about 524 times this past weekend. As you know the sad little boy on the train says "Christmas just dosen't work out for me". Well, Saturday when Henry REFUSED to get near Santa at Breakfast With Santa (which we did not even stay and eat bc he was so cranky about it all)  he looks at Randall and me with tears and says "Christmas just dont work out with me"...he changed the words up and it was so fitting for the moment. I didnt know if I should laugh or cry. Henry is a sponge with his TV viewing. Never a dull moment with that secret Santa loving boy!

*Henry sat on his fire truck (that is NOT a riding toy) and scooted up to the fireplace and pretended to be at a drive thru. All the sudden we hear him say " I need coffee coffee. 24. 2. no whip. pumpkin. Have a nice day!" and then he scooted away as though he was driving away. We literally bellied over laughing. He mixed our 2 coffee orders together and pretended to order coffee! Randall gets a 24 ounce with 2 shots of espresso. I get a pumpkin latte with no whip cream....and I always say "have a nice day" as I drive off. Neither one of us has gotten coffee in 3 weeks either. That child is a piece of work!

*Henry was pretending to be randall and randall was to pretend to be henry. henry went on about it for almost an hour. It was hysterical. I wish I had recorded it. He put on Randall's ball cap, His Cars bike gloves and acted like he was working on the combine. he then cleaned out his toy box and sat in it and pretended he was in Randall's silver truck. He took Henry to school and told him not to cry. Randall pretended to cry like henry always does at drop off. Henry told him he would not get any french fries when he got home and he better use the potty like a big boy. He then goes and picks him up from school and he had wet pants. he went to the kitchen and got a wooden spoon and spanked him and said "YOU A BAD BOY FOR THAT! No french fries for you!". he then got wipes and tried to wipe R's bottom...it was the funniest thing EVER! He even got his elmo cell phone and talked on the phone just like randall does...said all the things randall says to his guys and called all the guys by first and last name on the phone. We were speechless! The babies are sponges!



*And for some insane reason when he is cold or wet from sweat, rain or the bath he says "It is cold as booty"....embarrassment is an understatement! I try to say "Ice, Henry...ICE" and he will yell back "No, it's booty, mama!" I cant help but laugh. Oh my word...he is gonna be the death of me!

*He loves magazines and catalogs. He will request to see his toy catalog each day and tell us what new things he wants for Christmas. He will always correct us if we put his "MaZaGine" in the wrong spot. Hearing him say "MaZaGine" is the cutest thing ever!

* He prays just like us. It leaves me in awe. The other night at supper I asked him to pray and he said "Dear God thank you for the food and a good day. Amen!" and he always does his prayer hands. How do people NOT tell their babies about Jesus?!

*We have the little tikes nativity set, thanks to Mama Sue allowing us to borrow hers this year. He is obsessed with it. He takes baby Jesus with him everywhere. He also goes into the living room and stares at the ceramic nativity. He is right at eye level with it. I like standing there and watching him stare at it. Christmas through a child's eyes is so enlightening.

Abby






Friday, December 14, 2012

Holiday House

We are teaming up with Kelly's Korner today and displaying my home on her Christmas tour of homes. I think I have done this the past two years and little has changed but what the hey!



This is my front porch all aglow with Christmas cheer. My pig has on a velvet and jingle bell collar. My windows all have wreaths with red bows and we have plastic cane canes lining our walkway. We also have 2 lighted reindeer in our yard and 2 iron snowman in flowerbeds. I did not get a photo of this at night, but you can imagine it. We have a wonderful Santa Razorback sleigh that was made for us by a coworker in Memphis, but Randall could not handle putting Razorbacks on our fence this year after the year they have had. I think he feared we might get egged over here in Red Wolf country!


This is my entry way. My wonderful neighbors from Byhalia sent us the beautiful plant this week. It really spruces up this boring little area. I have no plug ins for a tree or a lamp in this spot but have plug ins inside cabinets in various spots throughout my home. No clue what the electrician was thinking. 


My living room is right off the entry and it is our "sitting room" like all old school southern homes have. We are so not those people, but I love pretending that we are! I go loud and proud with the tree in this room. It gets busier each year and I love it. My nutcrackers have to go up high on the mantle at this stage in life because I live with a 3 year old boy who is obsessed with them.


My dining room is always the last thing I do and my lack of creativity usually shows in here. I took this photo before my cookie exchange so it normally does not have cookies as the centerpiece. I am good, but not that good! My forest of alpine trees got smaller this year. I lost 2 to bad lights and I did not have the energy to fix them this time. They were returned to the attic. Maybe next year they can shine again.


My kitchen is so fun, I think. This photo was also taken before my cookie exchange. We made a red polka dot curtain and bought a new Christmas rug this year. Out kitchen is normally yellow, white, gray and black year round. I love being all festive with it all this year. It makes me smile. 


I have 3 really cool cookie jars that were all given to me by special people. Putting them out each year is so fun. I really have way too many Christmas dishes and serving pieces and need to downsize this next year, but I hate parting with things. Randall says I am a Christmas decor hoarder. He may be right, as much as I hate to admit it.

 
 This is our den and where we spend most of our family time. This is where my tree with all my ornaments is displayed. My ornaments are "insane" as I have heard many say over the last few years as the collection has grown. We purchase ornaments on every trip we take, new attractions or places we visit for the first time, and milestone events made throughout the year,  and each year we give and receive ornaments on Christmas Eve from each other. We also exchange with Melissa, Julie and Connie, and my mother in love each year. I also have a fascination with Santa faces. I have no idea how they all fit on my tree. It takes 5 hours to decorate it. I have them from our wedding/first Christmas and all of Henry's first year ornaments. I love, love, love it! This year we have a Little Tikes nativity on our fireplace that Mama Sue is letting us borrow. Our handmade stockings are all hung by the chimney with care and all my frames are displaying photos from past Christmas'. I love this room.





 Henry's tree displays the Mickey Mouse Clock Shop that came from the attic in Randalls' childhood home. It sings 26 carols in the voices of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse characters and they all pop out of the houses. This also has to go up high, as you can only imagine! He also has a rubber duckie nativity on display. He loves turning his tree on and watching it. He is not real sure about the duckies though!




This is a little peak into our Christmas wonderland. We hope no matter how your home is decorated this Christmas, that Christ is in the center of it. He is all that matters. The rest is just festive fluff. I love Jesus and I really like festive fluff!

Abby