Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012

On Christmas Day Bryan was scheduled to work at 8am but the doctor on the early shift let him come in late at 10am.  We were so thankful because that enabled him to see the boys get their Santa gifts and enjoy that time with them instead of rushing out the door.  

Joshua woke up first - not because he was thinking about "Santy" but just because he was ready to be up and was fussing!  We woke Caleb up at 6:30 so they could come downstairs and see their gifts.  Santa brought them a toy kitchen to share, and then each of them got new rainboots, books, a movie, stuffed animal and stocking stuffers.  The kitchen was a big gift so we tried to stick to the "something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read" theory for their Santa gifts this year.

Santa came!  And he was done by 11pm because his elves worked overtime at the beginning of the week on toy kitchen assembly!

Bryan bringing the boys downstairs

Checking out their Santa stuff

Enjoying the new kitchen

Joshua sautéing some vegetables on his tip toes

Doing some early morning artwork using stocking stuffers from Santa

I was a little bummed when Bryan left for work since my family wasn't in town yet.  I took the boys outside which was a good way to pass the time! They had a blast jumping on the trampoline together.

Around 1pm my family arrived in College Station.  My parents, brother, his girlfriend Haley and his two children made the drive to see us since Bryan's work schedule wouldn't allow us time to go back to Houston.  We were so grateful they were willing to accommodate our schedule!  We decided to let the kids open gifts right away since they would probably go nuts if they had to wait until after dinner when Bryan got home.

Caleb opening his first gift from my parents

His very own guitar!
This little buddy loves music and we are excited to see that interest of his develop!
My brother has owned a guitar since he was 2 years old and plays bass in a band so he was able to give Caleb lots of tips and get his new guitar tuned!

Caleb and I did his skeleton puzzle while Joshua took a nap.

Unfortunately my poor Dad (who just got over a horrible virus and sinus infection that Caleb & Bryan also had) developed an awful earache on Christmas Day.  His pain was almost unbearable so Mom took him up the the ER in College Station to get him checked out.  Bryan was working in the ER in Bryan so he didn't see him, but one of his colleagues took great care of Dad and got him some relief and some prescriptions.

In the meantime, our power went out at least 15 times due to high winds and storms!  We were beginning to get nervous that we wouldn't be able to prepare our dinner!  Luckily the power outages stopped around 4pm, exactly when Haley needed to put her famous roasted chicken in the oven.  

I was grateful for my niece Isabella and nephew Malikai on Christmas Day.  They did such a great job playing with both of our boys.  Caleb and Joshua both had a blast playing hide and seek and all kinds of other games in the house.  Many kids their age (11 and 13) would rather go do their own thing but they were generous with their time and sweet to our boys.  Even when Isabella played a computer game she let her pesky little cousin watch over her shoulder :)

Once power was restored, the women got to work!  Mom, Haley and I worked together to get dinner ready and I'm happy to say it all turned out great!  Roasted chicken, ham, dressing, fresh corn, salad, broccoli cheese casserole, green bean bundles, pretzel rolls, banana pudding and lemon bars!  It was definitely a group effort and lots of fun to be in the kitchen together.  

While everyone was busy cooking or playing, Joshua helped himself to the markers from Caleb's stocking.

Bryan got home before 6pm (his shift ended at 5pm) and we managed to all squeeze into the dining room with the family Christmas tree for our meal.  It was a tight fit but better than sitting at separate tables!  I was so happy to have my family in town for our first Christmas in our new house.

Once everyone left, Bryan took the boys upstairs for baths.  They had been playing hard all day!  Before Bryan could even get the bath water run Caleb had fallen asleep on his bed.  Poor buddy was exhausted after several days of fun with cousins on both sides of the family!  I managed to get him in his pajamas and into bed so he wouldn't sleep all night in his clothes on top of the covers.  I'm pretty sure this is the sign of a wonderful Christmas!

Joshua was still going pretty strong since he took a 2.5 hour afternoon nap.  Bryan snapped a rare photo of me with my sweet baby doing our nightly bedtime routine.  He is making his classic "Cheese!" face that I love.

We had a very Merry Christmas and loved spending time with both of our families for the holiday.  My cup overflows when I look at the pictures from the past few days and see all the tangible ways that God has blessed us - and feel in my heart the intangible blessings too!

Luke 2:11
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

Christmas Eve

This year Bryan was unfortunately scheduled to work most of the days leading up to and after Christmas, except for Christmas Eve.  We made the plan to head to Houston after his shift on Sunday and spend Christmas Eve celebrating with his family before heading home.  

Unfortunately our plans were somewhat changed as Bryan's grandmother, Grandma Pickett, passed away on Tuesday December 18th at the age of 88.  Bryan was able to get his shift covered on Saturday, so we ended up bringing the boys to my parents on Friday so we could attend the visitation and funeral in Louisiana.  We are sad to have lost Grandma Pickett but were so encouraged by the legacy she left of faith-filled children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Bryan drove to College Station and back to work his Sunday shift and then we headed over to his parent's house to celebrate Christmas with them.  Craig, Michelle, Carolyn, Billy & Will came over on the morning of Christmas Eve so we could exchange gifts and have Christmas lunch.  

The boys opening up their big gift from Gran Jan & Pop Pop -
a new trampoline!  It has been a big hit.

Will got a Cozy Coupe Truck!

Our best attempt at a group shot on Christmas Eve

Gran Jan & Pop Pop with their grandsons - notice Caleb's feet aren't even touching the floor

Daddy & Caleb having fun outside 

My sweet Joshie, who is now big enough to swing on the big boy swing all by himself 

Will was kind enough to share his truck with Joshua,
Joshua was kind enough to share his shoes with Will,
and Michelle was kind enough to push them around at 33 weeks pregnant!! 

Will's turn to drive 

We drove home to College Station that afternoon and our boys were pretty much maxed out-- Caleb had multiple massive meltdowns while in Houston, and Joshua had a huge 45 minute meltdown when we woke him up from his nap to get him out of the car.  All signs pointed to total disaster if we tried to attend church (with no nursery service!) so we opted for an evening at home.  

Bryan put together the boy's trampoline outside while I made Pioneer Woman homemade spaghetti sauce, salad and bread.  We ate in the dining room with candles and the boys thought that was really special.  Of course Joshua had to bring his new favorite lovey, a stuffed Fairy Godmother doll he calls "Boppity" to the table.  She is included in our family photo leaning up against my cup :)

Caleb was excited about the candles and couldn't wait to blow them out after our meal. 
Of course he wanted to use a portable fan.

The boys took baths and then we made some cookies for Santa.  The boys tasted them to make sure they were going to be ok.   

Bryan read the Christmas story out of the Bible and we had the boys help act it out with our Fisher Price Nativity.  Sadly Caleb got distracted mid-story and we soon found a toy front-loader rumbling straight towards the manger scene.  We never have a dull moment around here :)

The boys were exhausted and went to bed easily that night which gave Santa plenty of time to get to work!    

Baby Shower for Michelle & Charlotte

On Sunday December 16th I helped to host a shower for my sister in law, Michelle.  She is expecting baby Charlotte in early February.  Charlotte will be the first granddaughter on both sides of the family so we have all enjoyed buying all things pink!  We hosted the shower at Jan's house and did a bird theme to tie into Michelle's nursery bedding for Charlotte.  It was so fun to celebrate Michelle and baby Charlotte.  Michelle is going to be a wonderful Mommy! 

I forced Michelle to do the awkward by-the-table pose

Bird cage centerpiece

Yummy food!

Our sign in table

Delicious cake from Lisa Barcelona - we made the cake topper ourselves!

Diaper cake made by Jan

Scripture for Charlotte's room
Thanks Pinterest

Monogrammed onesies and bird houses on the mantle

Michelle opening a fun box of year round holiday outfits for Charlotte - gift from Jan

More fun outfits for Charlotte!

The Grandmas, Virginia & Jan

Michelle with her Mom & Jan

Michelle with her Mom and her sister, Katie

Sisters in law!

The hostesses with Michelle
Mary Lou, Carolyn, Me & Connie

"Santa for Little People" Party

The boys attend the School for Little People at Christ United Methodist Church in College Station.  Each year they have an annual fundraiser and we attended this year for the first time on December 7th.  We were happy to have all four grandparents join us, too!  The event was very well done although chaotic with tons of preschoolers running around hyped up on sugar!  They had a dessert table, hot chocolate, balloon artists, craft stations, a silent auction and of course an opportunity to visit with Santa and have your picture taken.

Caleb with one of his fantastic teachers, Ms. Susan

Caleb insisted he did not want to go talk to Santa which is fine by me.  I know some people love to have a picture of their kids with Santa each year, even if the kids are screaming.  Caleb has always known what he likes and does not like - and visiting with Santa is not at the top of his list of things to do.  I know if we forced him to do it we'd likely end up with a screaming 4 year old making a huge scene on the stage so I choose to pick my battles and let him bypass the visit with Santa!  Joshua said he did want to see Santa so we waited in line, paid the $15 for the picture and then he refused to even let Santa touch him!  So we had a great time with me posing next to "Santy" as Joshua calls him.  

Joshua's $15 visit with Santa

One of the most popular activities was playing with the "snow" which was styrofoam popcorn peanuts.   

I wish I had gotten more pictures, especially ones of the boys with their grandparents but it was a little hectic.  We had a great time at the event and won some great stuff at the silent auction, many of it thanks to the generous bidding of the grandparents!  

Friday, December 14, 2012

Santa's Wonderland

On Thursday, December 6th we took the boys to Santa's Wonderland/ Santa's Town in College Station.  Joshua had never been, and it had been 2 years since Caleb visited.  I scored a fantastic Groupon that got our family of 4 in for half price.  The coupon was date restricted, but luckily we live so close that going on a weeknight works fine for our family.

Caleb tried to say that he didn't want to go in once we pulled up.  I think he was worried it would be overwhelming.  Luckily he trusted us and decided to participate, and ended up having a great time!

Headed to the hayride to see the lights

Family photo on the hayride

Hanging out in Santa's Town enjoying fudge and listening to live Christmas music

Watching the "snow" fall from the sky (aka snow machine)

Checking out one of Santa's reindeer

A close up of Prancer

With my sweet boys by the fire!  

We are loving this magical time of year with our boys, who truly enjoy every activity surrounding the Christmas season!