Saturday, December 31, 2016

Our Christmas 2016

Our Christmas was pretty simple this year.  We enjoyed a nice Christmas Eve together as a family as we prepared for the festivities the next day.  Daddy did a lot of cooking to get ready while Mommy tried to wrap presents while caring for a new baby and keeping an active toddler from undoing her work.  Ha!  Christmas morning brought all the joys of watching the boys rush out to see what Santa had left for them.  After a couple of hours of joyful fun and excitement, we prepared to host lunch for Eddie's mom, sister, and nephew Grady as well as my dad.  We enjoyed a feast of chicken pastry (that's what we call chicken and homemade noodles in the south), green bean casserole, corn on the cob, rolls, pecan and chocolate chip cookie pies, and some yummy sausage balls and candied pecans for appetizers.  After lunch, we opened more presents together.  It was a fun and tiring day so we were all ready for bed early that night.  Well, Mommy is always ready for bed early these days since she is up several times a night.  The next day, we hit the road for one more Christmas celebration with Daddy's family.

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Stockings are hung, presents are wrapped, and there is only one more sleep until Christmas Day!

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Celebrating Jesus's birthday is the main reason to celebrate!

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The boys work together to make Jesus's birthday cake. 

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Happy 2016th birthday, Jesus!  The boys wanted hot cocoa with marshmallows with their birthday cake. 

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Santa came!  Evan's big gift was a Airsoft bb gun.  Brody's was an art easel.  Mattox's was a ball pit and his vacuum cleaner which was his favorite.  

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He loves his vacuum cleaner!  I debated getting one of the cute ones that looks more like a real one, but I liked that this little Fisher Price one sings songs and lights up.  He likes it too.  

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Some of Evan's and Brody's favorite gifts were wrapped. Brody finally got the Game of Life because he and Evan love playing it on the kindle. 

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Brody also got a Lite Brite and some fun Melissa and Doug food sets.  Evan got two Lego sets to build the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben.  

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Chef Brody loves his cookie and ice cream set.  I tried to get Mattox to open a present, but he just wanted his vacuum cleaner. 

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He finally opened one and got this cute little play steering wheel.  I actually wanted this one for the car because he loves to pretend to drive.  When we go out to the garage to get in the car, I always have to fight to get him in the car because he wants to get in his little car and drive.  I am hopeful having a steering wheel in the big car will make it easier to get him in his seat. 

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Big brothers all enjoyed Mattox's ball pit. 

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Mommy just may have bought the lite brite for herself.  I loved my lite brite as a child.  I do boys rock! 

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The boys are ready for their stockings. 

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Artist Brody is already making masterpieces while Evan and Mattox check out their stockings. 

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Mattox enjoyed his chocolate Santa. 

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Stockings were filled with a new movie for each, some chocolates, and a few other small gifts.  Evan got some bb's for his gun and a Harry Potter coloring book, Brody got an art smock, dry erase markers and erasers for his easel, and Mattox got some new books. 

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Grayson also got some treats in his stocking.  

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Mommy and Daddy also put some treats in one another's underwear and chocolate!

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Some of our yummy feast cooking. 

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The big boys enjoyed playing Evan's new Fantasy Monopoly game while eating some cinnamon rolls for breakfast. 

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Opening more gifts with Grandma and Papa.  

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Brody loved his new kitchen appliances from Aunt Naomi, and Mattox got another car steering wheel for in the house.  Baby Grayson got a new play mat set. 

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Grandma and Papa both got some new sweaters. 

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Baby Grayson just looked too cute for his first Christmas. 

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He finally got to meet his Great-Grandpa, his only living great-grandparent now.  

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Our family enjoyed another entertaining game of "Dirty Santa."  We love "stealing" one another's gifts. 

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Aunt Dava, Uncle Matthew, and Aunt Homa led us all in some Christmas carols. 2017 will bring some special events to our family.  Hudson and Olivia will be getting married, Aaron and Christie will welcome a new baby boy, and cousin Andrew and his wife Ashley will be welcoming boy/girl twins.  

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Cousin Marian, Grandma and Papa James watch the excitement while Kenny entertains his boys and Grady.  Cousin Kenny provided my comic relief for the day when he opened a gift that contained some lotions that were made from hemp.  It had a picture of a hemp plant on the bottles, and he was excited to receive his "marijuana" lotion.  Haha!  

Friday, December 30, 2016

Mattie's 4th Christmas in Heaven

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Dear Mattie,

We celebrated another Christmas without you.  Christmas is just one of those times when we really miss having you here with us.  It is such a special time filled with so many traditions that we would love to share with you.  We want to see you open your presents along with your brothers and see your little face light up with joy and excitement.  We want you to be a part of our family pictures and memories.  You would now be three and a half years old, and I don't know anything about what you would like or be interested in.  It is getting harder to imagine what you would want for Christmas since I can't know you here on earth.  I know in heaven none of these things really matter, but they matter to us down here because they are just another reminder that you aren't here.  You now have two little brothers who will never get to know you.  Watching Mattox love on your new baby brother shows me how much you would likely have loved your baby brothers.  I know you are watching over us all, and I hope you enjoy sharing in our traditions.  We love you and will never forget you.  We will likely have many more years of missing you here with us.  For now, here is how we honor and remember you at Christmas time:

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Mommy made another wreath for you this year.  I loved the pink and gold ribbon and ornaments and the special pink angel wings. 

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We visited you for Thanksgiving to take your wreath before your little brother arrived. 

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Mommy loves you. 
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And so does little brother Mattox. 
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Our family just doesn't feel complete without you. 

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Just a little idea of what we would look like with you here. 

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And you in our Christmas pictures. 

Christmas Outfits for you

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Some Christmas pajamas for you. 

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And a little Christmas dress. 

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You are definitely on the nice list...actually the perfect list! 

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Presents for you

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I don't know what you might like this year, but since you would be watching Mommy care for your baby brothers, I suspect you may want your own baby to care for. 

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Maybe an older looking doll too. 

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You would want to feed them. 

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You would need a tricycle to keep up with big brothers. 

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And you may want some more dress up clothes.  I bought your cousin some dress up trunks when she was about your age, and she loved them.  

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Santa and Elf Business

Our kids still enjoy our Santa and elf traditions.  We don't specifically try to encourage them to believe and just enjoy this fun tradition together.  If any of our kids ever specifically ask about the validity of Santa Claus, we will have a truthful discussion at that time.  We always stress that the true meaning of Christmas is about Jesus's birth and that he is the greatest Christmas present ever.  The traditions we utilize to celebrate Jesus's birthday are our most precious traditions but visiting Santa and seeing what mischief our elf visitor gets into every year is just for fun.

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Our elf buddy Brewster arrived a little later this year awaiting the arrival of our little Grayson.  He brought some Christmas doughnuts and a sweet letter to the boys. 

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Eating their snowman doughnuts.  Mattox got some too. 
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Brewster thought the boys would like chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast on another morning. Then, he trapped himself in a snow globe.  He was still inside the next morning so we figured he couldn't get out.  We took the bowl off of him so he could get out the next night. 

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He left the boys and Mattie a sweet candy cane love note, and he and Snoopy had a little sledding adventure. 

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He was hanging out on the stable above baby Jesus one day, and he built a Lego Christmas tree another day. 

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He drew the boys some funny face art on their bathroom mirror.  Apparently, he also really likes Home Alone because he quoted the old movie line and called the boys "filthy animals."  Haha! 

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After hanging out in the bathroom, he had an unfortunate incident.  We try to keep the bathroom door closed to keep Mr. Mattox out, but he got in there and gave Mr. Brewster a little bath in the least we hope it was the sink.  He brought him to me in the living room and handed him to me wet.  When I checked the bathroom, he had also knocked a glass candle onto the floor so I was very thankful he had not gotten hurt.  The next day, Brewster seemed to come down with a little cold and needed to recover.  After he was feeling better, he "elfed" the boys' pictures and gave them all little hats. 

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The boys all wrote their letters to Santa this year.  Our town had a special mailbox where we could mail our letters.  

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Taking our letters to the mailbox. 

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Everyone mailed their letters. 
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Santa showed up to pick up his mail!  Our town posted that picture on their facebook or instagram account. 
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The boys were so excited to receive responses from Santa.  It looks like Santa is a U.S. citizen since his address is in Alaska.  Or maybe he just keeps an address there so he doesn't have to pay crazy international postage rates.  Haha!

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The boys got to meet Santa in our little town. 
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We also had a little photo prop fun.  I think Mattox makes a really cute Santa. 

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And finally Santa showed up on Christmas Eve to leave his surprises and a special letter from him and Brewster.  The boys almost forgot to leave him some treats that night so I left him some of Daddy's sausage balls and candied pecans. 


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