Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas in Colorado

Today, we celebrated Christmas early here in Colorado.
But, first, we decided to try one last time for a good Santa picture.
Here is our 2013 Santa picture:
Harbor has never cried with Santa, even as a tiny babe, but Henry just doesn't like him.

After our failed attempt at Sam's Club, we tried one last time at Bass Pro.
Henry still wasn't buying it, but Harbor helped with a firm arm across the chest just long enough to snap this treasure!

And the tears were all but forgotten as soon as we left Santa and headed toward the fish aquarium.
There was a long line behind us and I joked that the people waiting didn't know what to look at:
Hollin's huge bow or Henry's attempt to make a break for it!
: )

We set up our tripod and took a few family pictures this morning before opening gifts.

Minimal makeup, glasses, and pajamas, but I'm so thankful to have these family pictures.
I've always tried to be in the pictures for my kids' sake.
I want to be in their memory, even if I feel I look less than fantastic.

At least I'm trying, right?

Henry had his 1st Christmas last year and Hollin's  first Christmas is this year.
A new baby in 2013 and 2014.

Need I say more?!
Busy and blessed. and more busy!

Harbor snapped this one of David and I after I put the camera down.

And because Henry likes to open his presents along with everyone elses,
 Harbor spread his loot out up high on the dining room table.

Love this picture.
Love that the kids will look and smile, even without a person behind the camera.
Moving away from family has forced us to get creative with photography.
Harbor leaning his head on David's arm, Hollin peeking out with big eyes, and Henry's little smile.

Harbor had a special gift for us, too.
An ornament of his hand print complete with a little poem.

I admit I cried after reading the little poem.
My first child is on his first Christmas break.
I almost can't believe this day has come.
Christmas is magical when you share it with the ones you love!

Things I want to remember:

Harbor's favorite gifts were Legos.
Henry played all day with his new Melissa and Doug zoo train.
Henry cried during the reading of the Bible story because he wanted more milk in his sippy cup.
Hollin lasted through all the picture taking and gift opening without having to nurse once.
David declared no gifts for adults and cheated and bought me a gift anyway.
Henry thought Harbor's new marbles were candy and almost swallowed one.
We all ate my Granny's cabbage and potato soup for lunch and watched Rudolph.
Harbor declared his books to be awesome because he is quite a reader these days!

Merry Christmas, friends!
May your heart be light!
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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Our 2014 Christmas Card {among other things!}

We have been "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree!"
Lots going on!

For starters, Harbor just wrapped up his school year in their old building as they prepare to move the entire campus to a new facility over Christmas break.

He is feeling sad about never going to school again in the building he has come to love,
but excited to be the very first ever kindergarten class in the new building.

And here he is, wrapping up homework one afternoon.
Can I just tell you how excited I am to have him home for three long weeks!
I miss him a lot- and he is only half day.
Being gone all day for 1st grade might kill me dead.

Harbor and Hollin have such a special bond.
Since there are only 19 months in between Henry and Hollin,
Harbor is old enough to really be sweet and gentle with her.
I think he really appreciates having a baby in the house.

We've been trucking along with our book advent every night.
Sometimes we get behind and play catch up and sometimes David works really late and we skip it altogether, but we are trying our best.

And just for my memory's sake:
this is how it really really looks most nights.
Harbor reading, Henry flipping off furniture, and Hollin with her darting, cautious eyes, 
taking it all in.

Real family life can be wild and silly and messy.
I love it and sure hope these kids grow up remembering the traditions.

Hollin, at three months, is rolling over both ways.
Gone are the days of leaving her on the changing table alone.
So fast.
Where is my teeny tiny newborn?

Christmas cards have been made and are long gone.
I sent out about 250 cards this year.
One went as far east as New York city, one as far south as Amelia Island in Florida.
One flew to Malawi, Africa and one to Japan, at the base of Mt, Fuji.
The rest scattered everywhere in between.

Red card stock, red and white jute, cake doilies, a picture, and a newsletter:
I started this year right after Halloween because I knew procrastination would eat me alive if I delayed.
Thankfully, they were all finished soon after Thanksgiving. 

I have done a billion color schemes in years past, but I really do love a traditional red, white, and green. 

I always seem to work on my cards in the kitchen.
Every year, regardless of the state or the craft room I have,
I work late at night, alone, in the kitchen.
Standing, no less.
I just go into a trance like state, I think, and find a rhythm.
I find the whole process very soothing.

They got stuffed, stamped, and sent.
A little Christmas cheer!

I bought a beautiful hand crafted bracelet for myself from a friend who recently adopted her 5th child and was raising funds to help cover some expenses.
I adore it- and love a good cause! 

We had a play date before school one day with a fellow classmate, his sister, and mom.
The boys had to play in their uniforms and we left and both drove our mini vans to class together.
Half day schedules can be tough, but I feel really good about the efforts I've made this year to stay social.
And we love having people over. So good for the soul!

The kids have been blessed with a few early Christmas gifts from friends here in Colorado.
This is so classic of pictures lately:
Harbor smiling because he tends to be very obedient when the camera comes out and Henry cheesing it up because he can! Ha!

Point in case.
Before I took this, Henry was just sitting, unsmiling, but when the camera came out, 
Lights! Camera! Cheese!

I love these boys.
My heart just cannot handle the cuteness of kids at Christmas.

And this girl?!
What did I ever do without her?
Of course we were destined for three children!
I mean seriously.
She is SO needed in our family.
A perfect little match.

Last night, we hosted a family dinner for 11 people.
A dear childhood friend of mine from Arkansas, who now lives in South Carolina called up the day before and said he was out this way on vacation and could he stop by.
Those are the moments when you pray for the most generous spirit of hospitality, to welcome an old friend over after so many years. 
Our kids met for the first time. I met his wife for the first time.
Truly a special night.
{Yes, Harbor is wearing Hollin's bow. And Henry is missing because he wasn't interested in sitting on the couch. Pick your battles, my friends. Ha!}

Harbor did take a picture of the grown-ups, plus Hollin, and I was very thankful.
I love the age he is at- so helpful!
{and our smiles here are on the verge of laughter- David I think was truly already laughing- because Harbor was all about taking 55 pictures and changing his angle and stance and position. I mean, really. Where does he learn this stuff?? Grin!!}

He had his Christmas party today at school, and I volunteered to bring a snack for the kids.
We had seen on Pinterest reindeer pudding with dark pudding cups,
 but needed an idea for the vanilla pudding as well.
We decided to make both reindeer- and snowman pudding cups for the white.

They turned out so festive!

I used foam pop dots for the eyes to give them some dimension.

And added stick arms and antlers, too.

But funny story on Harbor:
he came home today with his pudding uneaten.
When I questioned him, 
he said he didn't want to eat his reindeer because then he would have to throw him away in the trash can.

I guess sometimes things are just too pretty to eat.

I personally haven't met a sugar cookie I didn't like!

One afternoon, during Henry's nap, 
Harbor and I stung up pine cones and ornaments for our little front yard tree.

And on another day, my friend, Melissa, came over to teach me how to felt soap.
As if I need another addiction.

But seriously, y'all.
Her snowman soap is

Now that I type all that we have been doing, on top of regular activities with Scouts and church,
I actually think we are busier than I previously thought.
Rockin' around the Christmas Tree, indeed!
But the best is yet to come!
Arkansas bound for the holidays in just a few days.
{and not a single bag packed yet!}
How about you, friends?
Staying busy?
: )
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