Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Day

We had a great Christmas Day celebrating with family, but before everyone came over, the kids woke up and found their presents from us!  We were surprised because we woke up in the 6 o'clock hour and both kids were still asleep.  Hunter finally got up around 7 and came into our room.  I asked him if he wanted to get in bed with us or go wake up Char.   I bet you can guess his answer:)
 
So we went to get her, and then all excitedly headed to the living room...
video

Watching that video makes me love Hunter so much...he's such a sweet big brother.  And I love that he was so excited to see the game before he even noticed his leapster!  Hunter has played with his Leapster pretty much non-stop since then.  The batteries had to be replaced after just 2 days.  Seriously. 

Char has tried her bike out, but it's actually still inside because it snowed and then when that melted it rained, so all of her trials have been indoors.

Some stills of the morning...

Char got a set of Disney princess figurines, and she'd excitedly say their name as she pulled each one out of her stocking...Ariel!  Tiana!  Belle!  Aurora!...


The family came over that morning and we exchanged gifts with my sister and mom and grandparents.  My mom had this fun "pass the present" game with the grandkids.  They each got $50!




Then the crazy gift exchange started.  My mom tried to make it more calm this year by passing a gift to everyone and opening all the gifts from the same family at one time (all of the gifts from nana, then all of the gifts from the Anson's, etc), but it still ended up being kind of chaotic...

That's okay, though, we like it that way:)

More Leapster games!


A ballerina Barbie!

Clothes...

Mini Cinderella dolls...

After the gift extravaganza, we all sat down to eat.  Look at our dessert spread...
Insane!  I've been eating like 2 desserts per day since Christmas because we have so much left over! 

While we were cleaning up lunch, we noticed it started snowing outside!  It kept on and the flakes got bigger and bigger!  The kids were pretty excited and after everyone left that night, James took them out for a snowball fight...

 
I stood in the doorway and took pictures:)
 
What a blessing to have a white Christmas!

We love you, Jesus, and we had a great time celebrating your birth and remembering your gift to us!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Advent Days 22, 23, and 24 - Presents!

On the 22nd, the activity was to go to the Hays' santa party, but sickness took over us, so we stayed home.  Normally this would make me completely crazy (my type A, rigid personality is insistent upon following through with things or checking them off the list), but I felt just bad enough that I didn't let it bother me...too much.  Charlotte was heartbroken, though, which made me really sad:(
 
Luckily, Day 23 was to exchange Christmas presents with Grandee and Poppy and that totally cheered her up!  The kids were thrilled when they pulled up to our house with a car full of gifts for them!  First Char opened her Disney princess puzzle...

And Hunter opened something that I'm unsure of...
But he loved it, whatever it was!  (Pregnancy brain makes me even more forgetful than I already am!)

He was so excited about this remote control helicopter...
And has already played with it a TON of times!

He also loves his remote control cars...
And has spent lots of time racing them around the house with James.

Char always loves clothes...
She's such a girly girl.

She even got a matching outfit for her and her Bitty Baby...

Then tonight we headed over to my sister's house to exchange gifts with Grandpa and Jennifer and her boys.  They brought SO MANY presents for the kids.  James and I both have such generous parents, and we are so thankful.

We all got HUGE stockings filled with goodies.  Charlotte was over the moon excited about all of her Disney princess gifts (and there were lots!)...

A wand...

A boomerang...
He thought that was really cool!

I can't really tell what this is, but Zack seems to like it:)

Same with this one...
Something One Direction themed, I'm sure:)

A Cars themed paddle ball toy...

Jewelry!


Candy!!
She ate so many sweets tonight...too many!

A One Direction bobble head...
Vanesa loves One Direction, and Niall is her favorite.  Anytime Charlotte sees pictures of them anywhere, she'll say, "Look mommy!  It's Vanesa's friends!"

Grandpa and Jennifer got both Hunter and Zack this toy...
The ball is floating up above it (It's kind of hard to see.)

Hunter has been telling me over the past week or so that he hopes he gets a gun.  I told him that he already has a ton of guns, so he probably won't (literally, I think he has 8 or 9 guns).  This was the first gift he opened (after the stocking), and he shrieked with excitement...

A Disney princess themed bedroom set...
She has her nightlight plugged in and is sleeping on her pillow as I type!

Our verses over the past 2 nights were Matthew 2:11-12 (still talking about the Magi)...
"On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route."

We reminded Hunter and Charlotte that the reason we get to open ALL of these presents on Christmas is as a reminder of the Magi bringing Jesus presents when he was born.  I explained to them tonight that people say Santa only brings you presents if you are good, but the glorious truth of our Savior is that he came to give the best present we could imagine to everyone, even though we are all naughty sometimes.  He gave us the gift of life with Him forever. 

Tonight's verses were from Galatians 4:4-5...
"But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship."

The Father sent Jesus to us so that he could save and redeem us...He paid it all.  He is the ransom for our sin, and because of that, when we accept his gift and submit our lives to him as our Savior, we become part of His royal family...adopted as his sons and daughters.  And that is the best present I can dream of this Christmas. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Advent Day 21 - Gaylord ICE!

Today's activity was to go to the Gaylord Texan!  I always forget how amazing that hotel is until I'm actually there.  The decorations are so beautiful and it is HUGE.  We headed straight to the ice, and there was no wait.  Nana and Rich met us there so they could spend the day with us!
 
Excuse my outfit.  I'm 32 weeks pregnant and don't have many comfy clothing options that are appropriate for 9 degree temperatures, so I wore my maternity yoga pants (not that I've done yoga at all this entire pregnancy...or at all in the last 10 years) and layered James's pants on top...
Hey, I was comfy and that's all that mattered to me...I don't do well in extreme temperatures:)

Hunter was so anxious to get inside that he boycotted our family photo...

Here's the one posed photo we got with him...and he's actually smiling!

Rich, Nana, and Char...

I wanted another picture of Hunter, so I took a candid shot:)

He was so excited about the slides! He knew they were in there and talked about them all the way until we got to the slide room...

Char hesitated for a while, but finally went down...
Such a brave girl!

He's so happy...

They went 4 times each!  And would've kept going, but we were getting so cold!

After we left that room, Hunter lost it.  He said he was freeeeeezing.  When we got out his poor hands were so red (he was wearing gloves, but I think all of that sliding down the ice was a little too much).

I love the room at the end...
Sweet baby Jesus.

After we left ICE, we headed downstairs for lunch, and then walked around and looked at all of the beautiful decorations.  It would really be a great free outing to just go and look around the hotel...mini trains, a gingerbread house made of REAL candy, tons of huge trees and photo ops.  Hunter saw a man making balloon shapes on the way down to lunch, but none of the rest of us noticed them.  After lunch, he was on a mission to find that man!  We finally did and he made Hunter a sword (and a tiny one for James so they could battle it out!) and a reindeer for Charlotte.  He had tons of cute holiday balloons he'd make, and he was great with the kids.

After that, we were about to leave and Hunter needed a restroom break, so Rich, mom, Char, and I waited by this nutcracker...
Char saw it, and said, "Take my picture."  I love that!  Especially since my son is always saying, "Don't take my picture!"  I tried to get in with her and she told me I wasn't allowed...she wanted a picture of just herself, her balloon and the nutcracker:)

It was a great day!  Can't wait to go back again next year!

Our verses tonight were Matthew 2:9-10, still talking about the Magi...
"After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they were overjoyed."

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Advent Days 19 & 20 - Ice Cream and Neiman Marcus

I had big plans to make this Advent more centered around giving, but there have been several days that it just didn't happen.  Yesterday was one of those days.  This pregnancy has been much more uncomfortable than my other two, so I'm just doing what I can do.  I think God's giving me a tiny glimpse of how crazy life is going to get with 3 kids.  I figure it's good to practice feeling like a failure now, so that when I don't get everything accomplished with 3 kids, I'll be used to the feeling and (hopefully!) won't be so hard on myself:)
 
The plan for yesterday was to go buy peppermint ice cream at Target after school and leave some money with a note in the toy aisle for someone to find and use...hopefully a little someone, but we weren't going to be that picky:)  I was just so uncomfortable and tired after working all day, and knew we had a long night ahead of us at church, so I opted to drive through Braums and buy 3 peppermint ice cream cones, instead.  We were also supposed to sing Christmas carols, which ended up consisting of Charlotte belting out her rendition of Jingle Bells in the car.  Hunter reminded me today that we didn't sing the Christmas carols yesterday, so I tried to explain that Jingle Bells was the singing for the day.  His face said it all - lame.
 
Today made up for it, though!  Both kids had their Christmas parties around the same time, so I went to Hunter's and James went to Charlotte's.  Here are the kids making the snack...Christmas trees out of sugar cones... 

Hunter, Greyson, and I...


After school, we came home, unpacked all of the goodies, and picked up the house a little before heading out to our acvitity for today...the tunnel display at Neiman's downtown!  I just knew the kids - especially Hunter - would love it!  The entire experience ended up being myriad of blunders...pretty good symbolism for this whole month so far.  We hit traffic on the way down - which ended up being a blessing because the kids got to snooze in the car.  Then, we had a very stressful drive around downtown because my iphone pulled up the address of the corporate office downtown and not the actual store.  We didn't realize that, though until we parked and walked into the building...we were really confused.  After we figured it out, we decided to walk to Neiman's because my phone said it would only take 5 minutes.  The wind was crazy cold, but this also turned out to be a blessing because as cold as it was, it was fun to walk the kids around downtown and give Hunter a refresher in pedestrian safety:)

We finally made it to the tunnels...yay!  We were a little confused because they seemed empty....aaaaand then we saw the sign.  They closed at 4, and it was 4:47.  My kids handled it so well, though.  We went in the little in between doors to wait in the warmth while James walked back to the car to drive it over and pick us up.  About 5 minutes later, the sweet workers saw us standing there and came over to tell us that adult crawl was going to open at 5:00 (completely different event....you pay $20, crawl through, and get a free cocktail).  She said the kids looked so sad that she'd let them crawl through first once it opened.  I was so thankful to her!  God really used that frustrating trip to show us ow He can bless us in all situations...big or small. 

So I called James, and he headed back over just in time to see the kids crawl in...

Hunter was so speedy that I could never get a picture of him.  Here's his back though:)...

Got a little more of him here!

He was going so quickly that Charlotte was way behind him.  We saw her get to this area which is right before a twisty, covered slide.  She started to turn around, but we yelled up that she had to go forward...
She quickly started crying and just sat there banging on the window, yelling, "mommy!" with tears running down her face.  I just kept shouting, "You can do it!  It's just like the playground!  You'll have so much fun!!"  It was at this point that James asked where Hunter was...I'm so thankful he was on top of that because our son was around the corner, standing alone.  On a busy street in downtown Dallas.  Safe.  Luckily, he wasn't upset and came skipping around the corner just in time for Charlotte to reluctantly slide down the slide.  It turns out my encouraging shouts didn't motivate her as much as the adult that was coming up behind her.  I guess he was more scary than the slide.

She went the rest of the way without stopping, but every time she'd look at me, her bottom lip was pooched out.



Until she finally escaped and gave me this face...

We cheered her up with a trip inside of Neiman's to play in the kids area and look at all of their beautiful decorations.  No pictures, though, because she was definitely not in the mood for that!

Our verses over the last three nights have been all about the Magi and King Herod...

"When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.  When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.  'In Bethlehem in Judea,' they replied, 'for this is what the prophet has written:

“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.  He sent them to Bethlehem and said, 'Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.'"
Matthew 2:3-8
 
Dun dun dun!  What a cliff hanger.  I told Charlotte and Hunter that I think King Herod was trying to trick the Magi, and Hunter said, "Yeah!  He's saying he wants to find Jesus to worship him, but he really wants to kill him!"  Smart boy:)