Our Christmas

Christmas is by far our favorite holiday around here and this year did not disappoint.  Olivia was up for every activity from baking cookies to hanging 13 ornaments delicately on one branch of the Christmas tree.  The week leading up to Christmas Olivia got a really bad stomach bug that kept her down for 6 whole days.  She was back to her normal, crazy self just in time for Christmas eve though!  We always go to the candle light service with my parents at their church.  Olivia got to hold her own candle this year and besides whipping her hair around and almost catching it on fire a dozen times she did really well.  Her little face just beamed with pride that she got to be a big girl.  Jack chewed on the wick of my candle and when it came time to light them it wouldn't light. Probably for the best since I was still holding him and he was in rare form from the amount of candy he consumed during the service to keep him quiet.  We went back to my parent's house for a quick dinner and then home to get the kids in bed.  Olivia read Jack her version of "The Night Before Christmas" beside the tree and then we all piled in her bed and I read it again. It was one of those moments that I never want to forget, snuggled in with my family and the Christmas magic surrounding us.  Chad had a few last minute toys to put together and I had to set out the santa display so we got right to work once the kids were asleep. 

My children who usually sleep past 8am were up bright eyed and bushy tailed at 6:30am.  It was still practically dark outside.  I stalled Olivia by turning on the tv for a few minutes in our room and warmed up Jack's milk (yes, he still drinks warm milk in the morning and before bed and he's 17 months old haha) and coffee for chad and myself.  We chilled in the bed waiting for the sun to come up and then went to see all of their goodies.  Olivia tore through her presents pretty  quickly this year and Jack could have cared less about opening one single present.  Olivia was happy to help him open his gifts and then announce that the present inside was actually for both of them to share. 
We saved the big presents until last.  Chad pulled around Jack's fourwheeler and Olivia's princess carriage while we waited inside.  Olivia was so excited!  She had no time for pictures at all.  Jack jumped right on his and loved it.  Until he pushed the button and it moved and totally freaked him out.

We went to my mom's for a late breakfast with Ashley and her crew.  I did not take one single picture while we were there, but the kids always have so much fun playing together.  It was 76 degrees that afternoon so we took the party outside and let the kids burn off some energy. 
Chad and I cooked a traditional Ham Christmas dinner that evening and tucked our tired kiddos in bed early.  I am always sad when Christmas is over, but this year I am really down about it.  Maybe because it was such a great one, maybe because time is flying by so quickly.  We are holding on to our Christmas decorations a little longer this year and I may let the kids rock their Christmas jammies until June ;) 
I hope you all had the merriest Christmas and wishing you a happy new year!
"Hark the herald angels sing, Glory to the new born King!"

Jack Emmett 17 month update

Poor Jack, typical second child that has maybe 1/4 of the updates that Olivia got.  it has been forever, but I thought now was a good time to take a minute and document the wild tornado that is my son these days.  You guys, I don't know what has happened.  Over the last few weeks my sweet as pie, perfect angel has turned into a wild, climbing, mischievous, into everything, wrecking ball aka a boy.  I think he sleeps so much so he can store up energy to tear my house down, literally.  It is an every day occurrence to find him sitting on the island or dining room table, or digging in the toilet and trash can.  When he is caught in the act he gives the biggest grin that makes him incredibly hard to discipline.  He totally ignores the word "no" and keeps going right on with his business as if he doesn't hear me.  I am not going to lie, this is a really hard stage.  I find myself getting frustrated and frazzled on a daily basis (thank goodness for my friend, wine)  I have to say he does make up for it by letting me rock him before his naps and bedtime and he gives the sweetest open mouth kisses ever.  He has flip flopped back into a mama's boy lately and I kind of love it.  Whenever I enter the room, whether I have been gone 1 minute to 2 hours (like a solo grocery run because you know I don't get out of here alone...ever) he runs to me shouting "mama" with both arms lifted high for me to scoop him up and give him love.  Those sweet moments are what keep me from pulling my hair and his  out.
(click on photos to see full resolution)
I have no idea how tall he is or how much he weighs, but he is in a size 7 shoe and wears pretty much all 2t clothing.  He is really slimming up lately though and I don't like it one bit.  He still eats everything, but dude literally runs everywhere he goes so he is burning calories like crazy.  He has figured out the pantry holds all of the goodies and broke through that child lock I put on it in about 3 seconds.  He will bring me packages of fruit snacks to open for him and peanuts, he loves peanuts haha!  He still gets strapped into a high chair for most meals, but he loves it when he gets to sit at his little table with Olivia.  He thinks he is so big.

They have been playing so well together too.  Until he decides to go grab a chunk of her hair or whop her on the head with a toy for no apparent reason other than he wants to see her reaction.  Which is a high pitched shriek. every. single. time.  I was hoping I would have a little more time before they started fighting, but geez it is annoying ;)  Most of the time they do have a lot of fun together though.  Jack wants to do everything Olivia does and he loves to give her hugs and kisses.  They love to snuggle on the couch or on my bed together and watch tv.  It is so sweet.

Little man is talking!  It kind of weirds me out because in my mind he is like 6 months old.  I really had not even tried to get him to say a lot of things, but he just has on his own.  He consistently says, mama, dada, livya (Olivia), sissy, nana (for his grandmother and Elena of Avalor haha) drink, bite, bye bye, hey, uh oh, go, ball, up (for upstairs), out (for outside), tree (thanks Christmas) and his new favorite, NO.  He will try to say anything you ask him to say though and it's so cute even when he can't say it correctly.  He recognizes his house now, when we pull up he gets super excited and laughs and claps.  He loves to read books and this makes me so happy.  This has always been one of my favorite things to do with my kids.  I thought for the longest time he was going to have no interest at all.  Now he will go pick out books and come sit right in my lap and let me read almost  a whole book to him.  He also likes to pick books out and sit and look at them himself, he even babbles like he is reading, it's the cutest thing.

Still sleeping like a champ.  He will take two naps on days that allow it, but he is fine with one nap too, but it's going to be like 4 hours haha.  He loves his paci to go to sleep and I know it is time to take it away, but I just am not ready yet.  He also lets me rock him and if he is really tired he will even fall asleep and I just stare at him and sometimes I can catch a glimpse of my tiny baby.  Why oh why do they have to grow so fast??
He is my little adventurer.  He loves to be outside and getting dirty.  He digs in the dirt, eats grass and whatever bugs might cross his path.  I love to watch him play.  He has such a zest for life that I cannot help but smile as I watch him get such enjoyment from getting so filthy.
Ladies man all the way.  He flirts with every check out clerk and lady in line at target.  He has never met a stranger and is seriously the biggest ham, total opposite from Olivia.  He says hey and bye to anyone who will look at him.  And some who aren't looking.  I love his big, happy heart.
This age definitely has it's challenges, but the sweetness far outweighs any of that.  He absolutely melts my heart with those big, blue eyes and giant smile.  I could kiss his sweet, chubby cheeks all day and he gives the absolute best bear hugs.  I love that he still wants to come just sit in my lap even though he is crazy busy all of the time.  He hangs on my hip or my legs  while I cook and he is the best dishwasher unloading helper around.  Christmas is going to be the best this year!  I cannot wait to see how they both react on Christmas morning. 
  I love you sweet boy to the moon and back and could not imagine life without your happy self.  You keep mommy and daddy hopping and sister on her guard and I would not want it any other way.  You are strong willed and I know God has big plans for you to lead one day.  You live life to the fullest and never let a moment pass you by without getting in to something.  I love how much you love everyone around you, especially your sister and Daddy, you three are my whole world.  Life is so much more magical with you.  I love you baby bear and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for you! 

Christmas Advent Bucket List

The first day of December is finally here! It is actually cold outside and we are loving it!
This year seems like a big year for Christmas in our house.  Olivia really "gets" it finally and I want to make sure both of my children know the true meaning behind Christmas.  It is so easy to get swept away with Santa and presents and not celebrate what Christmas is all about.  Let me say that I am the first one to get pumped up about the Christmas section at Target.  I am trying to find the balance in the excitement of it all and celebrating the birth of Jesus.  I picked up an advent stocking set last year on clearance after Christmas and I have been so excited to break it out.  My plans were to put a scripture and a small activity or gift in each little stocking.  To be honest, that just sounds too overwhelming and I have no idea what kind of schedule we will have this month. Just keeping it real haha! I tend to go a tad bit overboard, especially when I am excited about something.  I am purposely scaling back just a little to get my heart and mind in the right spirit.  So I picked up a copy of The Story of Christmas for us to read today because the kids love to read and we will start with that.  I do have a lot of fun things I want to do this holiday season so I made a small bucket list of activities that we can do and check off our list! 
1. Go to the Christmas parade, yay!
2. Make ginger bread houses
3. Have a pop corn and hot chocolate family movie night
4.  Ride around and look at Christmas lights
5.  Make a Christmas wish list
6. Have a baking day (or two or three)
7. Take a wagon ride around the neighborhood singing Christmas carols
8.  Make homemade Christmas ornaments with hand/foot prints
9.  Go see SANTA
10. Attempt to go ice skating
11. Stay in Christmas pajamas ALL DAY (hopefully multiple times)
12.  Attend the candle light service at church (without catching anyone - or thing on fire)
Lofty goals I know.
I am sure there will be lots of festive breakfast and plenty of cute, matching outfits sprinkled all throughout the month.  As well as having Christmas Vacation and Elf on repeat.  Most of all I want to enjoy this sweet time with my family and make sure they have the best Christmas yet.  I found this advent reading plan and we are going to read it with Olivia and Jack each night.  My hope is we grow closer together as a family and to Jesus this year. 
Happy first day of December!