Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Dinner

Christmas evening we traveled over to Rocky and Ashley’s house for Christmas Dinner. They were hosting this little get together for families at church who had decided to stay in town for the holidays.

Included in the fun were five families: The Benders, Wyatts, Hazlewoods, Huntons, and Jensens. All of us have kids so it was a packed house.

Everyone brought a little something for the dinner and it turned out to be a wonderful holiday spread that we all enjoyed.

After dinner, the kids starting playing so well together that Rocky pulled out Outburst for the adults to play. Though the guys won the close game, we all really enjoyed it.

What a great night and hopefully, a great new Cumming tradition!

The Benders
The Hazlewoods

The Jensens

The Huntons

Unfortunately, I missed getting a picture of the host family. Here is a cute one though of Ashley and her sister Lindsey.

Kiley, Dylan, Riley, Jackson and Camp
(Shepherd and Sam were off exploring I guess)

Jackson found Rocky's tripod and thought it was a camera. I don't know if this means he has had too many professional pictures taken where they look through the camera on a tripod or what?

Playing Hungry Hungry Hippos

Rocking Out with Camp's guitar

Look where I finally found Shepherd! Too cute!

Christmas Morning

I am not sure who was more excited about Christmas Morning - Wesley or Jackson! Both woke up at 6:00 ready to go down and see what Santa had brought for Jackson.

I on the other hand could have used a few more hours of sleep so I had to make them wait so I could take a shower and wake up! As I was getting ready, the two of them sat on the top stair waiting (not so patiently) as I showered, put on make-up, did my hair and got my camera ready!

Finally, Jackson had the all clear and hustled down the stairs to see what was awaiting him. I think he was really excited about all the Santa had brought him.

Look at all these cars!

Santa also brought a couple of movies, games, books, and 2 oranges!

After playing with his Santa toys, Wesley and Jackson distributed all the other packages and we started opening.
Wesley's family distributes all the presents before any opening begins. We decided to pick up that tradition and Wesley and Jackson handed them all out.
Jackson didn't want Wesley to miss any of them!

Jackson finally got tired of handing the presents out and just settled in until the opening began!

All Jackson wanted to open were his "Thomas presents" from Mimi and Pop Pop. Though the actual presents had nothing to do with Thomas, they caught Jackson's eyes the first day they went under the tree and he was so anxious to get into them!

We took a break mid-morning to enjoy a Christmas Brunch. Note to self for next year: Don't use the same recipes your Mom uses to feed 10 people for just 2! We had so much left over but it was delicious.

After brunch, we continued opening all the wonderful presents from our family. We were so thankful for everything!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

The fun part about being home for the holidays is making new traditions. Yesterday we started a list of all the things we were doing to make sure we remember for next year.

The list continued today as we got up and went shopping. We were not looking for anything particular; we just wanted to get out and do something. We spent most of the morning at Barnes and Nobles playing on the Thomas train set.

One thing I wanted to make sure to do this year was go to a Christmas Eve service. We never went to a service growing up because they started so late. We were able to find quite a few around here that started in the early evening.

We decided to head with the Wyatts to Mountain Lake Church for their 6:00 service. It was a beautiful service, but much different than I had expected. I thought it would just be singing Christmas Carols in the candlelight, but they had singing, a sermon and even gave out communion for us to take at home as a family.

After the service, we headed over to the Hazlewood's house for dessert. Kate had mentioned that we should drop by after the service and since it was still early, we headed their way.

Well, it was more than just dessert they had for us! Kate had made the most delicious spread of appetizers for her and Ben and told us to enjoy as well. After we finished the appetizers, she pulled out a chocolate peppermint cake out of the oven. Oh my! I don't usually go crazy for chocolate, but I could have eaten the entire thing! It was amazing!

Jackson didn't eat much that night but loved playing with his buddy Sam!

Once we got home and got Jackson to bed, Wesley and I went downstairs to make our brunch for Christmas Day. Once all the casseroles were made, we took a picture of the refrigerator because I don’t think we have ever had a fridge this full!!

It was a great day but at the end of the night Wesley and I were both exhausted. The last thing we did before heading to bed was to check out Jackson. He was fast asleep waiting on Santa!

Elf on the Shelf

On December 1, we welcomed a visitor into our home. Appearing in Jackson's room at bedtime was an Elf on the Shelf. For those who may not be accustomed to this December guest, he is an Elf sent by Santa to watch Jackson. He comes complete with a book explaining his past and his duties while with Jackson.

That night, Wesley read the book to a mesmerized Jackson and explained that this little Elf would be with him all month long. Every night, he would fly to Santa and tell Santa how Jackson had been that day. The next morning, Jackson would have to find where the Elf decided to land after his evening flight to the North Pole.

The first thing we had to do was name the Elf of the Shelf. Jackson named him "Elf on the Shelf" (since then he has shortened it to Shelf) Each night, he starts out on Jackson's train track in front of the monorail and Jackson has found him in various places through out his room. One morning, he even showed up with a toy from Mimi's house!

Tonight is the last night Shelf will be with us. Jackson and Daddy will place him on the monorail and wish him luck. If all goes as planned, he will fly back to Santa and help with the evening deliveries. He will then stay with Santa all year long until next December when he makes his appearance again in Jackson's room.

We have loved having Shelf around and to be honest, will miss seeing where he ends up each night and seeing how excited Jackson gets when he finds him each morning!

After Jackson finds Shelf each morning, he goes back up to his spot on the train track.

Jackson and his new little buddy

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Caroling

Instead of a typical Wednesday night service, our youth minister, Rocky, planned a special night of caroling for the tonight. He had selected a few widows from our church as well as some elderly couples he knew would enjoy some Christmas cheer for us to go visit.

There were two large groups that went out. Our group visited three houses. All three of our families were so excited to see us. One lady said that we had made the joy in heart run over so much it would last all through the weekend!

Here are some pictures from the night out:
Wesley and Alec (and Rocky pictured below) all were in the Holiday Spirit with their Santa hats!

Rocky and Camp

Jackson and his new friend Harrison

Our group praying over the family we came to visit

Mommy and Jackson

Jackson all bundled up - it got cold out towards the end of the evening

Da Da and Jackson

Holiday Walk

Since we decided to stay around Cumming for this Christmas, Wesley and I have been busy thinking of exciting "traditions" we could start with our little family.

Today was a beautiful day so Wesley suggested we take a stroll on the new Green Way that has opened in Cumming. We packed up Jackson, Flash and the wagon and headed off. There were very few mile markers so we really didn't know how far we had gone. We just kept walking until we reached Majors Road which seemed like a natural turnaround.

On the return trip back to the car, we realized we had walked about 2.5 miles. Thanks to Baby Philip, it felt MUCH longer than that!!

Jackson and Flash did great. Flash walked the entire time. Jackson walked most of the way but towards the end settled for a seat in the wagon.

We had a great time and as long as the weather is nice each Christmas, I believe this will become a holiday tradition!
Jackson stopped to watch a squirrel he saw in the bushes.

Jackson, Flash and Da Da

Jackson, Flash, and Mommy

Jackson wanted a turn pulling the wagon. He actually pulled it for a long time. He loved taking it under Flash's leash!

Towards the end, he traded in pulling the wagon for riding in it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Jackson's Preschool

Jackson's teacher sent out some pictures of his class. I thought they were cute so I wanted to share.

It is fun to get a glimpse of him in school. I just wish I knew who all these kids were! I do know the names of a few since he is constantly talking about Matthew and Tommy.

Here are the pictures from his Christmas party:
He is sitting next to Matthew and Kerrick. We think Tommy is the little boy at the back table but we aren't sure.

They did a book exchange for Christmas. Jackson received a Winnie the Pooh book so he was very happy!

My poor baby! This was taken at the Thanksgiving party. My guess is it was taken right before I got a call from school saying that he had fallen asleep at the table and asking if I wanted to come get him early! Needless to say, I went and got him immediately. He must have been exhausted!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Last Minute Gift Idea

If you are searching for a last minute gift idea, I want to recommend two games: Scrabble Slam and Monopoly Deal.
My sister Emily gave these to me for Christmas (we exchanged gifts early) and Wesley and I have loved playing them this week.

Both are card games that can be played with only two players. It has been so nice to have something to do at night after Jackson goes down other than watch TV (or do housework - who wants to do that at night!!)

This week they are on sale at Target for $4 each so if you are in need of a last minute gift for a friend, spouse, or if you just want to treat yourself, I highly recommend them!

Have fun!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Lunch with Patricia

Today Jackson and I ventured out in the pouring rain to have lunch with my friend Patricia. We wanted to squeeze in one last visit before the holidays and before things got crazy with Philip’s arrival.

When we got inside Chick-fil-a, Patricia was already there waiting on us with a Christmas gift for Jackson. She has found a cloth fire truck basket and filled it to the top with things for Jackson. There was a car, toothbrushes, books, games, a Santa bubble pen - everything Jackson loves!

He was so excited to get this special gift and then to give Patricia her Christmas present (holiday ornaments). I too received a holiday gift – a gift certificate and homemade fudge – yummy!

Before we ordered, Patricia said she had something in the car for Philip. She ran out in the rain and came back with a beautiful diaper cake! What a special treat! I was so excited to show it to Wesley but sadly, it didn’t do so well on the ride home. When Wesley went out to get it, it was in pieces :( Thankfully, Patricia had taken a picture of it before she left her house. Look at how cute it was:

In addition to diapers, it contained baby outfits, blankets, shoes, and toys. So cute!!

Thanks, Patrica, for making this holiday lunch so special!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Play Group

A few of us were talking awhile back about doing a Christmas play group. Since everyone is so busy around this time of year, Katey thought it would be a good idea to do a low key group at the church.
Five of us were able to make it Wednesday morning and it turned out to be a lot of fun. We met around 10 and let the kids play until lunch time. After pizza, we pulled out sugar cookies and some holiday toppings and let the kids decorate their treats.

At first, none of the kids were into the frosting. Brooke and Alayna finally took the plunge and enjoyed the icing. The boys just kept eating the undecorated cookies and the toppings. Jackson ate his weight in marshmallows!!

Here are some pictures from the fun:
Jackson and Mommy

Ashley, Shepherd, and Camp
Can you see Baby Shepherd eyeing the cookie in Ashley's hand?!

The kids eating lunch

Let the decorating begin!

Camp making his silly face for me.

Jackson enjoying the marshmallows

I think Sam enjoyed the chocolate chips the best

Brooke enjoyed eating all the frosting off her cookie.

Alayna enjoyed every bite of her treat!

I caught Shepherd up at the table while the other kids were up playing. He was sliding off the seat and holding onto the table for dear life. Of course, instead of going to get him, I got out my camera and got this photo. As soon as I snapped it, his mommy came in and rescued him!