Saturday, December 30, 2017

Mattie's 5th Christmas

Dear Mattie,

Merry Christmas and happy 4 1/2 year birthday!  We celebrated another Christmas without you.   A lot has happened to our little family since last year.  We moved to another house in another town in another state and have been adjusting to being so far away from you and the rest of our family.  We haven't been able to visit you this year like we usually do.  Your family has visited you and put flowers on your grave for your birthday and other holidays.  We really miss having you here with us at Christmas and every day.  At almost 5 years old, I know you would be getting so grown up and wanting to do more big girl things.  You would be preparing for kindergarten and may be going to pre-k at your big brothers' school.  We wanted to see you open your presents along with your brothers and see your little face light up with joy and excitement.  We wanted you to be a part of our family pictures and memories.  We wanted to see you enjoying Disney World with your brothers and know you would have loved to do all the princess stuff.  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.  Watching Mattox and Grayson playing together so well shows me how much you would likely have loved your brothers.  I think you and Brody would have been very close since you were the closest in age.  He was so excited to get you.  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 honored and remembered you this Christmas: 

Our family pictures never feel complete without you. 
You would have worn matching pajamas with us. 

I know you would have loved the Christmas tree and helped decorate it. 

Your special ornaments, little tree, stocking, and picture are still my favorite decorations. 

We finally got to visit you and take you some new flowers after Christmas. 

It was your baby brother's first visit. 

All of us together. 

I love all 5 of my babies! 

Daddy and Cocoa love you too. 

You would need some elf pajamas to match your brothers' other Christmas pajamas. 

A new Christmas dress for you. 

I don't know if you would need a sweater dress too much here, but it has been pretty cold this month. 

You could definitely wear this one more around here with a little sweater if it turned chilly. 

For presents, you may have wanted an American Girl doll

Barbie dolls would probably also be a hit.  I love these "professional" dolls. 

More barbies

And barbie clothes. 

And a Barbie house too. 

We hope you enjoyed your Christmas in heaven watching over us again!



Thursday, December 28, 2017

A Joyful Christmas {2017}

This Christmas season was truly a joyful occasion.  We enjoyed spending our Christmas day with just our little family and spent most of it in our pajamas.  The boys' Christmas gifts this year loosely followed the simple list of something they want, need, wear, and read.  They each got one "big" gift they wanted from Santa, and then a couple of gifts they "needed" from us.  I did take the bigger boys over to a friends' house after lunch for a little while.  I just love Christmas through the "innocent" eyes of my young children.  You definitely glimpse the "magic" through them.  The day after Christmas, we hit the road to celebrate with our NC family.  It had been a long year away from our home state.  Our visit was short, but it was full of memories.  I think it was a Christmas for the books!

I forgot to take a picture of our milk and cookies and carrots for the reindeer, but they were all gone that morning.  Santa and Brewster left his usual note to the boys.  There was a big gift under the tree for Grayson.  

Evan's present was all set up for him complete with a picture from his Star Wars adventures at Disney.  He received a new desktop computer and all of his pictures and music were already loaded on it.  It is really hard to find "new" affordable desktops these days, but we are happy with this "refurbished" Dell we purchased on Amazon.  It is a perfect computer for younger users.  Laptops are too easily broken, and I really didn't want something they could drag around too much.  This gift fulfilled both a want and a need for him as he is needing to use the computer more for school work. 

Mattox's big Santa gift was a cool car to drive.  He was very excited.  Brody's big gift was a new Kindle with photo and video taking capabilities.  We compared an ipad to the new Kindle, and for the price, you can't beat what the Kindle offers.  It also is easy to set up restrictions for kids.  He loves watching youtube videos and playing other games online, and the Kindle allows you to "block" videos and sites that aren't appropriate for kids.  It also allows you to set restrictions on how much they can play and can even make them have to read for a certain amount of time before accessing any games or other functions.  

Grayson liked his new little playhouse, but he also loved big brother's cool ride.  I showed Brody all the things he can do on his new device.  He had music and pictures already loaded too. 

Evan read Santa's letter to us all while Mattox climbed on his car. 

The boys always get presents for one another.  Evan got a new basketball from his brothers. 

Brody got some new books. 

Evan's "wear" gift was some new football cleats that were a great deal at Dick's on sale. He wears them for baseball too.  Brody loved his Color Wonder paint set.  He loves to paint, and we can't always get out the messier paints with little brothers around. Mattox opened a little car from his brothers. 

Grayson opened a little piano from his brothers. 

Evan finally got the game of Risk.  He loves it.  Me, not so much.  It takes so long to set up and play...almost as bad as Monopoly! Brody's "wear" gift was new shoes too. 

I could not resist getting Mattox this little old school Fisher Price music player with a microphone that he can record himself singing into.  He loves to sing! 

Grayson couldn't wait to dig into his stocking. 

The boys always love their stockings filled with little goodies.  They each usually get a new movie, underwear, and other small treats.  We do still do DVD's occasionally because they are great for in the car.  
Daddy helped Mattox dig into his stocking. Brody showing off his stash. 

The boys' stocking stuffers. 

Grayson got to sample one of his chocolate marshmallow treats. 

Daddy filled my stocking too.  I didn't get a picture of his.  Brody made us a lovely work of art on his new paint pad.  His brush lights up in the color of the paint used.  Cocoa even got a new bone...which she did not really like.  She prefers real bones over rawhide.  

Mattox gave Brody a ride in his car. 

We took the Beamer out for a spin on the road. 

Cute boys out for a drive...probably cruising for chicks. 

They are just too cute together.  I am a little envious of the special relationship these two get to share. 

The living room was a bit of a mess after the chaos of Christmas morning, but Brody doesn't seem to mind. 

Brody had more art time while Mattox enjoyed his car. 

Then, Daddy read us the Christmas story.  Mattox wanted to help. 

After lunch, we enjoyed singing happy birthday to Jesus and blowing out his birthday candles.  Daddy made a yummy lemon poundcake. 

I completely forgot to take any pictures at our friends' house amid all the fun and chaos.  The boys all got some really nice gifts from them.  I brought Grayson's gifts home and did photograph him opening them.  

We made the trek home to NC and enjoyed spending the day after Christmas with Great-Grandpa and family.  Eddie enjoyed catching up with his Grandpa. 

I brought a cute little "Grandpa" book for all the kids to sign to give him.  Grady was writing his name. 

Mattox and Grayson thought Grandpa's walker was fun. 

One of our newest additions, Isaiah, enjoyed his first Christmas. 

Olivia is another "new" addition to the family as she and cousin Hudson got married this year.  Of course, she has been in the family for a few years.  Aunt Naomi's soon to be husband, Scott, is also a new addition.  The newlywed couples enjoyed conversing. 

We played our usual "dirty Santa" game.  It was a smaller crowd than usual as many of the family couldn't make it this year.  

Little Grayson was enjoying crawling around and trying to steal presents.  Isaiah just liked his money card from Grandpa. 

Evan read the special book to Great-Grandpa with the other great-grandkids gathered around. 

Christy and I wanted a picture of Grayson and Isaiah together, and Clara wanted to join too.  She is a great big sister.  
Mattox seems to enjoy playing the piano along with cousin Mason. 

We headed over to Grandma's house for our own family present opening time.  The boys all enjoyed opening their presents from Grandma.  Grayson got a globe so he can learn about the world. 

I actually can't recall what Mattox received.  I usually supply Grandma with a list of ideas so I know I picked out whatever it was he received.  Sigh.  Since I am writing this several months later, my memory is obviously not what it used to be. 

We gave Grady a fun little board game and some books to read.  The boys liked his big Caterpillar construction truck he received. 

Brody got a new Skylanders game.  Evan finally got the Star Wars DVD box set.  We just never have purchased it because it is always kind of expensive. He has seen all of the movies already, but he does love them.  Aunt Naomi and Grady gave Brody the awesome retro Snoopy snocone maker.  We haven't had an opportunity to use it yet, but we hope to soon. 

Brody opened Daddy's gift for him, and Grady helped his mom open hers. 
We had to pay our sweet Mattie a visit since it had been a long year since we had visited her.  It was Grayson's first visit.  We took her some winter/Christmas flowers.  

We also visited Grandma Mattie too.  My Mom's best friend sent me a picture of the wreath and flowers she put on my Mom's grave for Christmas.  I am so thankful she can do that since she lives close. 

All of those crazy boys piled into the backseat so Grandma could go home with us for a few days.  Grayson does not look happy with the sun in his eyes. 

When we got home, we were able to give Grandma her gift which had not arrived before we left.  I ordered it from the same place at the same time as Aunt Naomi's, and hers did not arrive.  It has her two children and 6 grandbabies' names on it.  

We drove around one last time to see Christmas lights.  Our town's biggest park was lit up in white lights.  They had some big Christmas events here that we missed this year. 

We wanted to see some of the winners of our neighborhood's light contest.  Some of the winners had already taken down their lights.  This house had motion lights so the scene changed frequently. 

The eclectic winner had a lot of colored lights and inflatables. 


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