Monday, December 22, 2008

Blog-a-thon...Major Picture Overload:)

Ok, I've been having a major blog-a-thon tonight and have tried to catch up on posting some of the highlights of the Christmas season. I guess this teaches me not to neglect my blog or it takes too long to catch up!:) many little time:) Sorry for the picture overload...It's almost 2:30 so I'd better be off to bed...Merry Christmas!...we're off to Virginia til after the holidays...!!

Nice Neighbors

We have been really blessed to have nice neighbors. We have one lady a couple houses down that is constantly serving us...watching the kids, taking the boys to pre-school for me, stopping and getting milk for me...just whatever I need, she is constantly helping me. Our neighbors across the street have given us things for our kids that their grandkids have outgrown. And most recently, our next door neighbors gave our kids a special gift. Mr. Jones called us and asked us if he could give us a riding Jeep that his grandkids have outgrown. These retail in the store for a couple hundred dollars! He said he'd like to give it to the boys "from Santa". So we wrapped it up and after the boys opened all their normal gifts we told them they had one more to open in the family room. They opened the Jeep and were jumping up and down with excitement. They have played with it so much just pretending to drive it...and can't wait til it warms up so they can really drive it outside:) It just overwhelms and amazed me sometimes at the kindness and generosity of others. This same neighbor came and snowblowed our whole driveway two days ago just to be nice....and he said he has two more riding cars to give us in about a year when his seven year old grandson outgrows them. We are so grateful to live near such wonderful and kind people who have given us so much:)

Christmas morning...early:)

We will be traveling down to Virginia for Christmas this Santa came to our house a few days early this year:) On Saturday the kids opened all their presents...I really love playing Santa:) It's so fun to watch them open their gifts and get excited about them...

Pre-School Christmas Party!

The boys had their Pre-school Christmas party on Thursday. The whole family was invited so Scott took off work for the "special occasion" which the boys thought was great. There were lots of fun things to do...and Mallory and Preston had a blast exploring the whole pre-school room:) There was a special surprise visit from Santa (who happened to be the highschool principal:) who brought gifts for all the kids (that the parents secretly brought ahead of time). I love their lead teacher, Mrs Bischer, and the whole pre-school program in general. I'm really glad I decided to enroll them. I had debated about it initally, but now wish I would have had them go when they were three years old too. I will have Mallory and Preston go when they are three. are a few Christmas party pics...

The Blessings of Service at Ashley Court

Today I taught the Laurels and the Mia Maid class in Young Women and we talked about how "it's the GIVING, not the getting" that really brings the spirit of Christmas to us...and that we need to have the "spirit of CHRIST" with us to feel the "spirit of CHRISTmas". One of the highlights of my holidays thus far was our visit to the nursing home this last Thursday. We visit the Ashley Court nursing home each month and have really gotten to know the residents and staff there. This month for our visit, we sang Christmas Carols and it was so wonderful to see the residents light up, many with tears in their eyes...and many singing along with us. They all have various stages of alzheimers so often they can't remember what they had for breakfast, but they can remember every word to all the Christmas carols from all their years of singing them. I was so proud of Logan and Tanner...when we first started going there, they were hesitant and a little fearful of the older people, but through our monthly visits, they feel totally comfortable and give them hugs, squeeze their hands and talk and play with them. Logan sang a solo called "Make Each Day Special" and Tanner sang a solo of "Jingle Bells". In the picture they, along with Heather's kids Emma and Bella are singing "Once there was a snowman". It has truly blessed my life to visit these people and has been a wonderful experience in teaching my kids about love and service. After singing, when we were leaving, Logan went around and asked all the residents if we cheered them up and brightened their day:) Funny boy:)

Christmas Par-Tay...and Cookie Exchange!

I love the holidays... I've found that most of the holiday things I do are for others...decorating, baking, shopping, buying and wrapping gifts, etc. I enjoy doing these things, however, I do have to say that one of my favorite things about the holidays are gatherings of friends because it is fun for ME (not focused on my kids:)...selfish I know:) Anyways, my friend Laurel had some of us girls over for a Christmas party/ladies night and cookie exchange. It was a snowy night...but we were determined to party no matter what! So we had fun drinking our (non-alcoholic:) drinks, eating appetizers, exchanging cookies, and just chatting. I ended up having to leave early because Preston cried for over and hour and Scott couldn't get him back to sleep (the drawback of a nursing baby:)...but the next day I looked really good giving my neighbors some plates of a variety of cookies I had gotten the night before:) Thanks Ladies!

Pinckney's "Light Up the Park" Celebration!

We went to Pinckney's "Light up the Park" Celebration. The boys enjoyed seeing Santa, petting the animals, especially the reindeer, and going on the horsedrawn wagon ride...but man was it cold! I'm a wimp and made us leave early cuz I couldn't stand the freezing weather:)...but it was fun while it lasted:)

My Mom's visit...continued

I know I already posted pics of my mom's visit...but here are a few more. It was just so great to have her here. She was my sidekick for 10 days just helping me with the kids and doing lots of fun activities. Life seems so easy when she's here:) My mom is one of those people that "serves quietly". She doesn't talk about it or tell you she's doing it, but she just goes around doing dishes, laundry, making meals, cleaning, playing with the kids, etc. Before she came we made a list of things we wanted to do for fun and a list of jobs to do. So while she was here we went sooo many places, taking the kids to do things, Christmas shopping, and she went with me to all my normal scheduled things and it was great to have her here. Mostly I just love staying up late and talking to her about life in general... She is a great listener and since her and I think so much alike and are so similar it's fun to talk about our interests, opinions, and life experiences. She gives me good advice and encouragement and praise that always lifts me up. So while she was here, she did all the jobs around the house that I "never get around to":) in the picture, she's mending the boys comforters:) So nice...I love my Mommy and miss her already:) When I took her to the airport I cried the whole way home:( Tanner and Logan were very concered:)...When I told them Grammy had to fly back to Las Vegas, Tanner said "awww, but I want to keep her!":)...and Logan said "next time she visits, let's lock the car so she can't get out"!:) hehe I will miss her, but appreciate her visit...she always reminds me to be more patient, spiritual, loving, and a better wife and mother...Love you MOM!

Making Christmas Cookies!!:)

For the past month I have made a point to spend lots of quality bonding time with my kids baking cookies....I thought I had done a good job of this, but the other day Logan said "Mom, when are we going to make Christmas cookies?" I replied that we had already made many batches of different kinds of Christmas cookies, especially while Grammy (my mom) was here. He said "no, Mom, I mean CHRISTMAS cookies!...The kind you cut out with cookie cutters and decorate!" Apparantly my batches of peanut butter balls, chocolate chip cookies, no-bake oatmeal cookies, and everything else DIDN'T COUNT as Christmas cookies:)! And then, lo and behold, my wonderful visiting teacher from church, Robbie Schneider, saved the day and brought me a batch of cookie dough already mixed up with sprinkles and cookie cutter and all:) They were delicious and the boys had such fun finally making their "Christmas" cookies:) Thanks Robbie!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I Love My Mommy!

This week we are being blessed with a visit from my mom:) We are thrilled she is here and is definitely a big break for me!:) It's so nice having her do fun things with her, as well as the all the extra help with the kids!!! Here we are before church (minus Scott whose taking the picture:) I love my mommy!

Visiting Santa at the Mall!

Last week I ventured out and took the kids to see Santa at the mall. I don't go to the mall very often anymore, so I supposed this is my semi-annual trip to the mall. The kids loved seeing Santa of course (except Preston, as you can tell from the picture)...but I think the kids loved the mall playland even more:) Here Logan and Tanner are pretending to be "king of the world"...and you can see Mallory and Preston are fighting over something:) It's already begun! I think holidays are sooo much fun with kids:) ~julie

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's Beginning to Look alot Like Christmas

We decided to put up our Christmas tree and all our decorations this last week. After the kids went to bed Monday night, I put everything up exept for the Christmas ornaments...then on Tuesday, the boys helped me put all the ornaments on the tree. I love just sitting in the living room and looking at the Christmas's so beautiful and peaceful. I like having it up for Thanksgiving weekend...although some may think that is too early...I say that I want to enjoy all the decorations as long as possible!

Mark and Betsy

My uncle Mark (my Dad's brother) and aunt Betsy and four kids, Jessica, Devon, Marissa, and Robert came to visit from Kentucky for part of the Thanksgiving weekend. It was such a blast to have them come! We swam at their hotel, went to Three Cedars Farms, McDonald's playland, and just had a great time! Jessica and Marissa loved the babies and took great care of them (nice for me!!)...and Tanner and Logan loved to play with the boys, Devon and Robert. We had a great visit! I couldn't fit all the pictures in one there are a couple posts after this one with additional pictures. Thanks Mark and Betsy! We had a great time!