a visit with santa 12.23


Wednesday, December 31

each year we go visit santa on the first day that josh is off work for the holiday season. this year, even though it was closer to christmas day than usual, the line was shorter than usual. while we waited, miller spent his time watching santa.

then, miller waited with me while he watched santa.
and, finally . . .
we got our turn with santa. miller ran and gave him a hug before telling him the same thing, "i wanna choo-choo twain you can wide on an say 'all-are-born!'" and, carter just shrugged her shoulders and said, "i don't know." pitiful! you can tell from the picture she doesn't feel good. approximately an hour later she began to complain about her ear. bless her heart!

gift exchange 12.20


Sunday, December 28

because we know our children are even worse than us about waiting to give someone a gift, we decided the saturday before christmas we would split up and take them shopping for their sibling. then, we met back at our favorite pizza place for dinner before returning home to exchange gifts. when i asked carter what she wanted to get miller, she said she wanted to get him new paint, markers, crayons and paper because she knew he loved to make things. how thoughtful! i was very impressed. josh helped steer miller in a few directions, and then he chose what he wanted to get her. carter got miller new crayons, markers, paint, paper, a toy story color wonder set and a diego metal lunchbox. his gift was quite large because i started to feel bad that he was getting stuff that needed to be replaced anyway. miller got carter fancy nancy shoes and a crown. we tried hard all through dinner to explain not to share your surprise yet. carter suggested we wrap it while they had dessert. so, josh and i are in the bedroom wrapping their gifts and carter yells, "miller said he bought me shoes and a clown!" and miller immediately yells back, "NOT a clown!" it was too funny! they loved what the other picked out and it was so sweet to see them really put thought into giving each other a gift.

zoo lights 12.19


when we heard the weather was going to be so fantastic on the friday night before christmas, we decided it was definitely the right night for zoo lights! 

for some odd reason, miller decided to bring a friend. cookie (or duudie, as miller calls him) loved playing in the "snow". i love the way miller holds him by the eyes.
the little mommy pushing her baby brother and cookie
carter as a peacock
miller eying "dasher and dancer" 
what do you do when you need to spread the icing on your cookie and there are no knives or spreaders to be found?? use your hands and lick them clean. then, add more icing.

merry christmas!


Thursday, December 25

bah humbug


Wednesday, December 24

i feel like faith hill asking "where are you christmas?" see, i am enormously pregnant and feel like somehow in the hustle and bustle of trying to live life, christmas has gotten shuffled aside. i would like to say it is because we are prepared for the baby, but that would be a blatant lie. it is christmas eve and as i sit typing this, i have not a single gift wrapped. not one. that is one of my favorite things to do at christmas. but, i will say that after wrapping 23 books i learned that wrapping presents with a baby bump is not so easy and can cause quite a bit of pain. i am also unmotivated as i have still not received one of their gifts. that's right, you heard me, one of their gifts has not arrived at 4:15 pm on christmas eve. the store blames it on the shipping company (who, i don't know) and inclement weather-really?? so, see what happens when you try to be prepared and buy all your gifts online so you don't have to go shopping at the mall and have inappropriate comments made about your condition. ugh! 

then, we head to the mall yesterday for our annual trip to visit santa with daddy and, while the mall was hassle free and our experience was pleasant, carter starts complaining about her ear on the way to eat lunch. first, she said she couldn't hear and that it was "paused like the tv." she kept saying it didn't hurt until we finished ordering our food and she was literally wallowing on the booth in severe pain. she was pulling on it, pushing it, squeezing my arm against it, etc. i knew immediately. i picked up my phone and called the pediatrician. they said we could come in an hour. so, we finished up and headed over. carter was miserable. josh thought i was being proactive (or over reactive) due to the holiday, but i already knew what they would say. we get to the doctor and she sits in my lap complaining while we wait. they call us back and the nurse preceded with her questions:
how long has she had the symptoms? approximately 1.5-2 hours
has she had a fever? no
vomiting? no
nausea? no
trouble sleeping? no
okay, the doctor will see you soon. 
what she really meant was, you overreacted, she is fine or she would have some of these other symptoms. ironically, we have never seen our doctor during one of these times. last year, the exact same thing happened the day before thanksgiving. the only other two episodes were with our previous pediatrician. yet, no matter who we see, the response is always the same- "impressive." i don't even know what that means, but that is what each one has said. i will back up. the doctor comes in, reviews my questions, does all the basics-listens to her chest, looks in her mouth and nose, looks in the "good" ear, and then, barely glances at the bad ear before they proclaim the same thing, "impressive!" so, here we are on christmas eve, fighting a severe ear infection, fighting the crazy stores trying to find an emergency replacement gift, and fighting an attempt to steal our christmas spirit and forget the true meaning of the season. but, that will not happen, because we all know, it's the most wonderful time of the year!

the alpine village 12.13


i have always heard wonderful things about the alpine village at trinity baptist church. this year, we thought we would try it out. they set up a little village of shops in their gym and it is quite magical for the kids. right after entering the doors, we went into the living nativity. carter was so amazed. they let the children walk right up to the baby jesus who was a "breathing" doll. once inside the village, we visited all the little shops and made reindeer food, angel ornaments, gingerbread cookies, etc. there were three men dressed up as wise men and carrying gifts to baby jesus. miller was in awe of these enormously tall "kings" who let him look and touch and smell baby jesus' gifts. then, we played in the "snow".

a little girl just walked up an attacked miller with a ton of snow. he was not impressed at all. bless his heart, this is only the beginning!
look at their sweet faces (and my chubby one!)
then, to finish the night, we visited santa, again! this time, they spoke to him and told him what they wanted. carter said she wanted makeup. this is what she asked santa for last year. i really don't know why, but she is constantly saying she doesn't know what she wants santa to bring her. she made a christmas list in october from the american girl catalog, but she said it was only for grammie and papa joe-ha! miller, on the other hand, has but one request- "a choo-choo train you can ride on and say, 'all are-born!'" seriously! you would think the kids had watched too many silver spoon reruns because we have no idea where he conjured up this gift. stay tuned to see if miller will be the next ricky!

storytime with santa 12.09


one of our absolute favorite things to do each christmas is visit the enchanted forest the evening they have storytime with santa. the kids wear their christmas pajamas, santa reads a couple of stories, and then it's time for doughnuts and chocolate milk (and peanut butter cookies, but that is a whole other soap box!) after the sugar high is achieved, you can tour the enchanted forest and visit with santa. carter actually asked to go this year because it is one of the things she remembers about christmas last year. i think it is a curse and a blessing that we have reached the age of remembering. but we don't mind this memory! 

miller and his friend, addy, listening to santa read.
not sure if he will win the sleepiness fight!
it is so fun to see the magical trance each child develops as they walk through the forest. it makes me sad that as i get older, i see things for what they are and not what they were meant to be. that is why i love to see things with my children because everything is so miraculous, especially at christmas.
look at that little belly!
miller and avery obsessed with the train
an interesting perspective
waiting for their turn with santa
how sweet is she!
this time it was miller who had to be coaxed into santa's lap, but a candy cane will always do the trick!

a day at the square 12.06


a few weeks ago, josh had several friend shoots at the collierville town square. we thought it might help with some of the kids if ours were out there to help distract and play. it was frigid! it just so happened that santa was in the pavilion and they had free carriage rides. once they found all those distractions, the kids hardly noticed the cold. here are a few of ours that were shot along the way.

carter on the train tracks. i love the way the wind is blowing her hair.
miller's feet. i think josh and i might have a shoe fetish because we are always taking pictures of the kids' feet. but, seriously, how cute??
miller was ecstatic about santa. he ran up there and waited so patiently. well, once we grabbed him and held him still until it was his turn. he didn't even have anything to say, he just wanted to see him.
carter, on the other hand, not so much. we coaxed her up there for the photo op, but notice how tightly she is pinching her brother's arm. i guess he will be her protector even if he is younger.
and, here is carter on the carriage ride with her sweet teacher, ms. jennifer, and her daughter, emma.

a family tradition or two


Monday, December 22

we have started a couple of new traditions this year. first, we are a family of book lovers. as a teacher, i have tons of books and my children could read all day long. christmas books are no different. last year, i read on another blog (but no idea which one) about wrapping your christmas books and letting the kids open one a night. of course, it was too late to do it then, so we decided to start this year. in case you want to start this one next year, i will tell you how. first, go the day after christmas this year and buy a few new books half price. they get so excited when it is a new one. then, next year, wrap 23 christmas books in one paper and wrap the night before christmas in another paper. then, on christmas day night we will read the christmas story from their children's bible. my children have loved this new tradition. they take turns opening a book each night-they have not fought over it once, they always know whose turn it is, and they allow the other one to help. the only problem is that each night they both want to take the book to bed, but we can usually fix this dilemma by letting the other one pick a book we already opened.

second is this little guy. actually another literary find. this is charlie the elf. he lives at our house from the day after thanksgiving until christmas eve. elf on the shelf was another day after christmas find at the book store last year. the book explains exactly what his job is for the season and what the rules are for him to stay. the first rule is to name him. since our favorite newborn of this time had been born exactly one week before the elf arrived, they decided to name him charlie. here is charlie precariously perched on the art easel. isn't he cute?

christmas crafting


Sunday, December 21

being pregnant during the christmas season is crazy. when i was pregnant with miller, i remember feeling this way, but he wasn't due until april. being this pregnant during the christmas season is chaos. i am constantly trying to mark things off the hundreds of different lists i have created: gifts, school, baby, etc. in the midst of all this chaos, i have managed to create a few gifts and a few decorations. notice i didn't say finish. i think finish is relative because i don't know that i ever think of anything as finished. to me, everything is a work in progress or a work that can be improved. so, with that in mind, here are the ones i have progressed enough with to post.

"merry & bright" christmas banner

every year i struggle with a way to display my christmas cards. this year, i came up with this and i love it!! it makes me happy! they are strung on the ribbon hanging between the bookcases in the playroom. i can see them from where i sit on the computer, watch tv, craft, etc.
a close up of the clips i used
 my tree collection: a vintage button tree, a vintage paper ribbon tree & a tree made of something that resembles marabou
a close-up of the button tree. it was the first one i made and it sits upon a miniature milk glass candlestick (thanks, mom).
and, button magnets. they are addictive. what you see below is my children's teacher gifts. i bought these adorable stands at one of my favorite shops, added the ribbon and made the magnets to hold one of our christmas cards. all you do is come up with your design and hot glue it all to a magnet or whatever else you come up with. they could be paper clips, thumb tacks, pins, barretts, etc. note in the picture my non-type a husband had to line them all up.
aren't they adorable!

fyi, i will be blogging a lot in the next few days to hopefully catch up before christmas day and before the baby arrives!

boys will be boys take 2


the older miller gets, the more i am often astounded by how much testosterone is in his little body already. see, as a girl, there are some things i will never understand, but know he only does because he is male. having a girl first, i sometimes forget i need to heed a warning rather than assume his common sense will step in and intercede for me. two recent examples are below.

what i said was: "sure, you can color your baby Jesus picture on the way home." 
and i frequently say: "we color on . . . " and they answer, "paper!"

what i should have said: " sure, you can color your baby Jesus picture on the way home, but do not, under any circumstances, color your shoe!"
picture taken by iphone
ugh! live and learn. i would just like to thank the wonderful sunday school teachers at our church who so graciously gave my two year old a set of non-washable crayons and a reusable picture of baby Jesus to color on our 30 minute ride home.


picture taken by iphone
what is that, you ask? that is miller's christmas tree. 
and, what is that on the tree? miller's self made ornament. see, we recently bought ornaments to hang on the tree, but miller go upset that i punched holes in them to hang them by. therefore, his tree sat empty until he took it upon himself to make ornaments out of string cheese. that's right, i said string cheese. 

once again, live and learn. next year, i will say, "we cannot use the following foods to decorate with: cheese . . ."

brown paper packages tied up with string


Monday, December 15

my very precious friend passed this along to me a couple of weeks ago. and while i am very behind on blogging due to the craziness of being this pregnant during "the most wonderful time of the year"(see i told you we were those people), i am supposed to tell you six of my favorite things. 

so, here are six of my favorite things, holiday style.

1. these precious faces. some of you will be seeing a similar version coming soon to a mailbox near you. oh, don't they just make you smile!
2. cupcakes. red velvet cupcakes especially. my sweet, sweet husband showed up with these one day because he knows i have an extreme sweet tooth during my third trimester. they were delicious!
3. hobnail milkglass. or hobnail. or milkglass. i love it all! i grew up in a house of antiques. i was toted to estate sales, garage sales, antique stores and anywhere that may have contained a hidden treasure my entire life. my mother collects milkglass. when i say collect, i mean hordes. she has tons of it. whenever i am looking for something, i just go shopping at her house. this little gem is holding my silver tinsel tree this year. isn't it pretty??
4. christmas cards! oh, how i love this time of the year! first of all, i love getting mail. not bills or bank statements. mail. you know, invitations and thank you notes and announcements and christmas cards. it is a dying art and it makes me sad. seriously, if you live in the south, and you thought you didn't have to send a christmas card anymore, you are wrong! go, now! run, don't walk, to your camera, snap a picture of your children and upload it at the closest digital stand. you owe it to your children. seriously, people!
5. oh, this one makes my heart melt!!!! homemade ornaments, especially with my child's picture in it. as i pulled out each one it made me so happy. as i placed them on my dr. suess tree on the table i worried about little fingers. josh said, "you don't want them to touch them?? they made them." yes, they may have made them. but they are mine. mine. mine. this is the best gift i receive each year and i know one day when everyone is gone to college or with their own families, these will be treasures. along with my christmas cards! 
6. and the reason why we celebrate this season. a babe wrapped in swaddling clothing and lying in a manger. this is not only one of my favorite visions during the season, but my children love the nativity as well. mary, jofef (as miller says) or jofes (as carter used to call him) and baby jesus. it is so fun and exciting to see them love to learn the story. carter knows all the details while miller searches for the wise men each time. i pray their love for their savior continues to grow as they do! 
"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." Luke 2:19

"And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him." Luke 2:40


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