Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holidays Update

We've had another full, fun week of holiday stuff and I HAVE to take a minute and write it all down so I don't forget!

We did our annual holiday cookie making at my mom's house last week! I didn't get any photos of the finished product... so sad... but I did snap a few of Tucker because he was CRACKING me up.  He was so in to it.  He wanted to roll the dough out all by himself, cut the cookies with the cookie cutters all by himself, and put them on the cookie sheet... all by himself.  He was feeling quite a bit bigger than his 17 months :) 

And speaking of Tucker, he has become quite mischievous this week!  My sweet little cuddle buddy who loves puppies & babies & singing "E-I-O" has been a little walking disaster.  It's kept me in stitches, for sure... a few of the "highlights" that I captured on camera...
this looks so sweet... and it is... what I'm not showing you is the contents of my underwear drawer all over the place... he made himself a little outfit out of them too!

He would much rather run away while I'm trying to dress and change him...

He decided one day this week that his best line of defense against his big brother was his teeth.  HOPEFULLY that was a one time occurrence.  Poor Westin!

Kreg took Friday off last week for us to reconnect our family :) We have learned over the past three years that if we don't do that, these months where he is working two jobs gets to be really hard on all of us.  It was certainly much-needed and we treasured our time together! Kreg started it off with a daddy & the boys donut run :) Then, we got ready and headed up to Denver where we hit one of our favorite malls and knocked out a bunch of Christmas shopping.  Then, we made our way down the street to Chuck-E-Cheese for lunch and fun with the boys. 

After a little more shopping, we headed downtown to an adorable ice skating rink!  I was so impressed with my 3 year old... he has some incredible balancing skill!  He had a blast and was not ready to leave :) 

We stayed up in Denver with my grandparents that evening.  I feel so blessed to be close enough to do that!  We had some great, relaxing fellowship & the boys got some good "Pop Pop & Gigi" time in.  

The following day, after a big, tasty breakfast, we went to "ride Gigi's horses" (the mall carousel).  Westin has been doing this ever since he was about Tucker's age and he has never forgotten.  He loves to do it & my grandparents are gracious enough to oblige him whenever possible.  He also got to ride the train with Pop Pop which was special for all three of those boys! 

Kreg & I had to get back for his office Christmas party Saturday night.  We were so thankful to Todd & Tiffany for keeping the boys for us so we could go and enjoy some more great food & fellowship! I wish I had got a better picture of us that night because my date was looking especially handsome!

I'm so thankful for the fun times we have shared so far this season and am looking forward to the rest that we have planned.  I've learned to be better about being flexible and realizing that everything we have planned will NOT get done, but am striving to appreciate the little moments that happen spontaneously and not to let the changes of plans ruin the joy that is in every precious day.

As I sit down to write this, Tucker has snuggled up on my lap, laid his head down and fell asleep :) Moments like this remind me how incredibly deep my love for my children is and in turn, reminds me of how deep our heavenly father's love for us is.  Even deeper than this love I feel for my children, which is beyond my comprehension.  I am so thankful for His love, His grace, and for His making me a mommy so that I could better understand Him and His perfect plan for his children.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Santa & The Boys

We did letters to Santa this year for the first time!  Westin has been telling us for a month now that he is going to ask Santa for: "A toy airplane, a toy car, a toy dinosaur, and a toy monster."  Every time you ask him that's exactly what he says and that's exactly what he put in his letter :)  I found this great template for Santa letters here! I printed ours on some scrapbook paper and we went to town filling them out.  

Westin is doing a really great job on his writing!  For a three-year-old, I'm impressed :) You can see his little backwards "3" at the top and I'm not really sure what the circled "E" is all about at the bottom, but he probably could tell me if I asked... wish I had now!

After we wrote our letters, we did a little Christmas baking!  These boys love to help in the kitchen.  I hope they don't lose that as they get older because I really love our time together here... and I may or may not ever have any girls to help!

 We took our letters to Macy's to mail :) Have you guys ever seen these?  They're adorable!  And Macy's donates $1 to the Make-a-Wish Foundation for each stamped letter mailed... up to a million dollars.  That's kind of cool :) 
 We took a day-trip to Estes Park with all of my family Sunday.  We saw the "cabin" site, which is really just staked out and cleared.  They haven't broke ground on the new one yet, but when they do its going to be nice :) And they're getting close to starting.  My grandparents have started rebuilding next door and their's is looking fantastic.  The fire completely changed the look of the neighborhood, but the new views of the surrounding mountains (thanks to the sad loss of hundred-year-old trees) and the pretty new construction is really going to make for a very nice neighborhood.  We also took family photos and snuck in a visit to Santa!
 Westin was SO thrilled to see Santa-- such a change from last year!  And Tucker was a little apprehensive but as long as he was holding my hand he was happy to chat with Santa.  He talked his ear off about something... wish I could have translated :)

Back in Colorado Springs, we FINALLY got some real snow to play in!  The boys had a blast getting bundled up and waddling around the backyard.  And I, of course, grabbed my camera and took advantage of the pretty conditions and my sweet boys!

Just a few things I want to remember from this week:

Westin: Favorite phrase right now is "That's Bilarious!" Hehe.  Gets me every time.  My favorite conversation with him this week: ME: "Hey Westin, do you think we should have a sister in our family?"  WESTIN: "Oh, no.  That would be TERRIBLE!  How about we have another brother like Tucker?" (no, I'm not pregnant... just came up in conversation)

Tucker: Has learned to say "I love you" :) He won't say it every time you ask but when he does say it it's the sweetest thing in the world.  It sounds like "I E You" and he mostly says it to his Daddy as he's headed out the door.  "I know" is also a favorite this week, as is "My tune (turn)." 

Hope you all are enjoying your Christmas season!  We are :)  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Just loving this time of year!  As always.  I know most people enjoy this time of year, but I really think my family may enjoy it more than the average... and I'm pretty sure my Grandma Barry is the reason for that.  Christmas & Grandma Barry are almost synonymous to me.  If we could do "Christmastime" all year long, I'm pretty sure she would!  She's just so good at it.  Here's a little recap of how we've spent the beginning of the season:

I got to put my tree upstairs up just before Thanksgiving!  It was a good compromise :)
My helpers!

 We were so blessed to have Kreg's mom, Carol & her husband, Craig come to visit us over the Thanksgiving holiday!  It was a short trip, Wednesday-Sunday, but we made use of every moment we had :) 

 We started by taking in an Air Force basketball game that Kreg was working on Wednesday night.  We had a great time, and Tucker even enjoyed himself & managed to NOT try climbing the bleachers this time!

Thursday morning, Kreg & I ran our first Turkey Trot 5K together.  It was SO fun. I'm totally hooked on races.  We're planning on running a half marathon together in May, so January 1 starts serious training for that :) Craig & Carol were gracious enough to babysit for us while we went.  

"Dinner" was at my mom's house as usual :) We had 30 people there this year, including kiddos & it was bustling!  After dinner, we all went to the movie theater & the boys & girls split up... girls went to Twilight & boys went to Skyfall.  Perfect.

Friday we did a little Christmas shopping-- I'll be honest, we did not go nearly as crazy "Black Friday" shopping this year as we have in years past... I'm not sure if that's because they typically all run the same sales year after year & we've already done them all... or if we're just getting too old to stay out all night/early morning!  It was very enjoyable this year-- not too crazy, just enjoyable!  Friday night, we ordered pizza & had "Christmas" with Pops & Nana.  SO FUN.  So glad I talked Kreg into letting me put up my tree in the front room so we could have Christmas a little early with Craig & Carol! The boys LOVED it, of course.  Westin is still excited about his Super Mickey shirt that Nana bought him at Disneyworld, and Tucker lovingly refers to his "Chuck" toy from Nana as "Nana."  It cracks me up every time.  I love that he knows where it came from and that he loves playing with it so much :)

 Also on Friday, our Elf on the Shelf, Polo, made his first appearance of the year.  I LOVE this tradition & so do the boys.  Their first thoughts every morning are "where did Polo land this morning!?" And I remind them both throughout the day that Polo WILL be reporting their behavior to Santa tonight... so ya better watch out! Magic how well that works :)
Have I mentioned I now have elk antlers mounted & hung in my living room?  That deserves a post all to itself! Maybe later.

Saturday we packed full of fun also!  After I finished an early "rise & shine" photo session with it'sallgood photography , we did a short hike at Garden of the Gods-- always a treat.  We are so thankful to live near such a marvelous display of God's workmanship. I got to test out my new BOB.  I'm a total convert!  Thanks, A Nation of Moms, for blessing me with the opportunity to review such an awesome stroller!

Then, we drove up to IKEA and spent the afternoon/evening shopping & eating.  You can seriously spend all day in that place and not even realize it! 

Sunday we finished putting up the Christmas decor.  I want to go through the house and document it all this year... hopefully I'll have time & it will make it on the blog :) it's a goal, anyway...
Downstairs Tree
This week, we went to my Grandma & Grandpa Barry's house to make gingerbread houses! This is the first year we've done it with the boys, but I hope to make it a tradition for many more years.  Everyone had a blast & it was so good to spend time together enjoying the Christmas Spirit that Grandma is so famous for! I'm just kicking myself that of all the pictures I took, none of them are of my kids & Grandma & Grandpa!

I can't believe how quickly the past week flew by us... this is my only complaint with the Holidays... they get SO busy that some days I forget to stop & enjoy.  Our photography business exploded last month and I am realizing I'm going to have to take a step back from it & let the other girls take over some of what I've been doing.  I've put a limit on how much I will take on during the week and I feel really, really good about that decision. Today we're doing some baking & writing letters to Santa :) more on that next time!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Kicking off the Season

I have made a decision.  I have a new disposition on the Holidays.  Some of you may not agree with me, but here is how I have decided to proceed with the Holiday season from here on out, indefinitely:

The "season" begins October 1st.  We will celebrate "fall" and begin doing festive things like decorating the house, baking, visiting pumpkin patches, making costumes for Halloween, etc.  Halloween will now be considered the kick-off for the Season.  Once Halloween is completed, it is Christmastime.  I know.  Don't judge yet.  Thanksgiving is one of my very favorite times of year, but I've always told myself I can't start enjoying Christmastime until Thanksgiving is over.  Not only does that make me appreciate Thanksgiving less, but it cuts my "Christmastime" way too short to enjoy. SO-- I will still have to work on Kreg regarding the decor in our home, but I plan on listening to Christmas music and Christmas shopping and Christmas book-reading beginning November 1st. Thanksgiving will be celebrated as a special part of Christmastime.  Because I think it fits in perfectly with the "theme" of the season and helps keep our focus in check.  Why should we be thankful for all we have one day, and the next day (black Friday!) rush out to fill ourselves and everyone we know with more, more, more??  I think it should carry out throughout the Season.  

Whew. Okay, now that I have that off my chest... here's how we've begun this year's Season so far:

The Pumpkin Patch:
Although VERY cold, and nearly out of pumpkins... we had a great time :) We went to the Colorado Pumpkin Patch, which included a petting zoo, hayrides, hay slides, hay mazes, hay pyramids, and gourd launching.  We had a great time together and the boys picked out their pumpkins.  I won't lie... it was a pretty expensive little outing and we may look at changing it up next year.  We'll see! 

Pumpkin Carving:

We had every intention of the boys going as Iron Man & Captain America to their Halloween parties... we even had the Iron Man costume and the Captain America mask.  But as we searched and searched for a Captain America costume the day before our first party, we came up empty-handed and Westin spotted these adorable Mario & Luigi costumes and decided that they would be PERFECT.  I agreed :) The smallest they had was a size 6 so Tucker's needed a little altering but that was much easier than starting from scratch on a Captain America costume, which was what I was afraid was going to happen.

Trunk or Treat:
Instead of trick-or-treating in the neighborhood this year, we went to our church's Trunk or Treat.  It was AWESOME.  I would definitely do it every year.  I felt very safe, didn't worry about things being too scary for the boys, and we had some really great chili, desserts, and praise around the bonfire.  

My cute parents & their 50's themed trunk

Mario & his cute friend, Mia the police officer
The GORGEOUS sky God blessed us with over Trunk or Treat.  No photoshopping whatsoever!
That sums up the kick-off!  I'm really looking forward to all that the rest of the Season has to offer :) This week has been a busy one, especially with Kreg out of town elk hunting... but when he gets back next week I plan on having LOTS of fun activities planned for us! Stay tuned.