It's a miracle of all Christmas miracles. The SUN is actually shining in Nashville. It is streaming in my window as I type. I actually put my sunglasses on when I was driving home this morning. It has been at least a week, and probably more, since we've seen sun around here and I've missed it. Don't get me wrong, I love a good cloudy day, but not 7 straight days in a row. Granted, the sun is shining, but every once in awhile we get a little shower of rain.
Here's the best part about the sun peeking through the clouds.
This morning, the boys and I were sitting at the table eating breakfast. I had just opened the curtains and saw that it was raining again. I told the boys I was so sick of the rain and wished that the sun would come out. I hear Sam mumbling something, then he looks at me and says "Mommy, I just prayed that Jesus would make the sun shine today".
Skip to later...we walk out of his school after his Christmas party and the sun is shining brightly! We all got really excited, started yelling and got some interesting looks.
I looked at Sam and said "do you know what this means?"
He replies, "God answered my prayer!" with the sweetest smile on his face.
Thank you Lord for the sweet gift of answered prayer for my baby, for revealing Yourself to him in such a real way, and, for the gift of sunshine, for a couple of hours today.
Everyone has been blogging and talking about favorite Christmas traditions. I thought I'd throw in two of my newest favorite traditions.
My friend Christy gave us What God Wants for Christmas last year, so we are just using it for the first time this year. It is so sweet and really emphasizes the TRUE meaning of Christmas. It is very kid friendly, the boys love it, they ask a few times a day when we can open the next box. Follow the link to read about it and then buy it, you won't regret it.
Another is Elf on the Shelf, I've noticed that a lot of people are doing this one too. Sam's class at school has their own elf, Goldie, so he has been asking when our elf, Buddy (from the movie Elf, of course), would come back to our house. He made his appearance this morning in the Christmas Tree (pictured above). I'm not really big on telling the kids that they have to be good in order to get Christmas presents, but the thought of Buddy going to see Santa every night to report in on how Sam and Gabe are doing is so magical to them, we'll keep doing it as long as they like it. Buddy is supposed to hide somewhere new each morning, so hopefully, Neal and I will remember to move him! It comes with a book that tells the Elf's story and gives the kids an opportunity to name their elf. Very cute and fun.
This is the view we woke up to on Friday morning...
Then, of course, we got all bundled up and headed out to play in the snow.
We got enough snow that the schools called in an official snow day on Friday. The boys have been having a blast the past two days, getting in as much time with the snow as they can. I love this time of year!
For the first time we had Sam's birthday party at our house. I was a little nervous about what to do with 15 kids for an hour and a half. Neal was a little nervous about 15 kids walking around on our carpet. We were able to work through those issues and the party was a success. We sent them all in the backyard to run around with their lightsabers and play some soccer. Then we sent them into the woods on an "Asteroid Hunt" (I wrapped up random objects in aluminum foil and Neal hid them). The kids had a blast looking for the asteroids and traipsing around in the woods. My little 6 year old is quite the social bug. He loves being around people. The look on his face the entire party was priceless. He loved having all of his friends at his house, all at one time. Being the center of attention helped too, I'm sure. So did the fact that he was the one that actually broke the pinata, although Neal was close behind with one of his golf clubs, in case the kids couldn't break it with their lightsabers. Obviously, the party was a Star Wars theme. Sam is currently obsessed with all things Star Wars, like every other boy his school!
The little StormTrooper in the above picture is Gabe. He cracked me up in that costume.
He got this cute little birthday hat at school and wore it all day. We went to Cheeseburger Charlies for dinner and he opened up some presents. This was his reaction to the thing that he wanted the most...
Leggo Batman video game. He's so excited to play it every waking minute (or the minutes that we let him play it)!
His birthday party will be this Saturday...at our house. This is the first time that I will have 10 6 year olds running around my (new) house. It should be interesting!
Happy Birthday baby boy. We love you so much. You bring such joy to our hearts and to our family.
We woke up to a wonderful, wintry sight when we opened our windows this morning. The snow was falling and, although it didn't stick, it was sure pretty. It came down all morning and I bet Gabe asked me 20 times at least if it meant that Santa was coming today. We went to Target so Gabe could pick out a present for Sam's birthday. We talked about how it was a surprise and that he shouldn't tell Sam anything about it. I'm sure you see where this story is going. The second Sam walked in the door this afternoon from school Gabe says "we went to SuperTarget (he always specifies if we go to SuperTarget or "normal Target") and I got you Wall-E". Luckily, it sounded more like "whaley" and I don't think Sam knew what he was talking about. Little stinker.
Our Thanksgiving week got off to a great start on Monday when I picked up Laura, my sister-in-law. It took a turn for the worse that night when I woke up at midnight, after going to sleep feeling fine 2 hours before, with excruciating pain in my right ear. I haven't had an ear infection in years, but I'm no dummy - I knew this much pain meant a major ear infection. I literally suffered through the night and finally left my house at 6am so I could be the first one to walk in the door at the walk-in-clinic when they opened at 7:30. It was confirmed that I did indeed have a bad ear infection, I was given an antibiotic and sent on my way. I spent all day Tuesday in the recliner, the pain was so bad I actually had to pull out some of my "heavier" medication to help take the edge off. I haven't mentioned yet that Neal came home on Monday afternoon with a terrible stomach bug, so he was in bed still miserable. It was a good thing Aunt Laura was here to keep the boys occupied with an exercise video, that they all did together, and a trip to Sonic and the grocery store. She also did some cooking. Thanks Aunt Laura! In the afternoon, I felt a really bad pain in my ear and then noticed a few minutes later that there was...some stuff...oozing out of my ear. The pain had lessened considerably, but I still couldn't hear and was living with a constant whirring in my ear.
Adam and Lynn got in later that night and we started our few days together off with a breakfast at The Loveless Cafe the next morning, then the girls broke off and did some shopping. Then Neal and I took a trip to the pediatricians office with Luke, who ended up with an ear infection and Bronchiolitis. The Dr. did look in my ear and confirmed that my ear drum had ruptured, but that it looked like it was already healing nicely.
That night, Lynn watched the boys and Adam, Laura, Neal and I all went to Cozymel's for some Mexican food and then to see "Four Christmases". We heard it had bad reviews, but we all really liked it and laughed a ton.
We spent Thursday the way you are supposed to spend Thanksgiving Day...cooking, relaxing, watching football, taking naps, walking down to the park and stuffing ourselves full of good food. I have to say that my husband cooks the best turkey I've ever had. Last year, when I was pg with Luke, I wouldn't touch the turkey, so Neal was in charge and did a great job. So this year, when he asked me how I was going to cook the turkey, I replied with "I don't know, how are you going to cook the turkey"? True to form, he tackled the challenge, with amazing results and is now in charge of cooking the turkey forever! Later that night, Lynn, Laura and I went to see Twilight. I'd read the book last week (in one day, it was so good I couldn't put it down). The movie was great, I liked the book better though.
Friday morning we had our Christmas celebration together and the boys got to open presents. Then we got a babysitter that night and went to an amazing dinner at The Melting Pot. We did all 4 courses and were not disappointed by any of them, especially the chocolate! Yum. And of course, we took a trip to Krispy Kreme (well, Luke and I sat this one out, but they all had fun eating yummy snowman and glazed donuts)
It was a great week, we were glad that they were able to come in from Houston and spend the holiday with us. I'm just sorry I had to ask everyone to keep repeating themselves so I could be a part of the conversations!
My friend Christy moved to Atlanta this summer, she's been back a few times to visit, but we've been trying to find time for me to go see her and her new house. Last weekend, my sweet husband came home from work early on Friday so I could drive the 4 hour drive before dark. The drive from Nashville to Atlanta was gorgeous, I had a few new cd's to listen to, so I thoroughly enjoyed quality time with myself in the car. I got to Christy's around 7 and was treated to a yummy home cooked meal of Vegetable Stew, Roast and Salad. We spent the rest of the night catching up by the fire.
The next morning, we hit the town and didn't get home until 10:30 that night! We did some shopping - of course - and spent a few hours at H&M. I would consider Atlanta the "New York" of the South. They have every great store you can imagine. Nashville is sorely lacking in the great store department. We topped off our evening at Pappasitos. Three weeks prior to my trip, Christy and I both went on a diet and swore that we wouldn't cheat too badly until we went to Pappasitos. Tortillas, Dr. Pepper and Queso have never tasted so good! We were so happy with our meal that we didn't even want dessert.
We had a lazy Sunday morning and I headed out around noon. It was so nice to get out of Nashville and spend the weekend with one of my best friends. I'm so glad to be able to picture Christy in her house now and to have seen her new world in Atlanta. I'm still sad she's not in my Nashville world anymore, but it's exciting to see what the Lord is unfolding in their lives in Atlanta. And, I'm glad to have a place to go that's a little closer than the 15 hour drive to Houston!
I don't really have much to blog about. I keep waiting to post until I have pictures to post, or something earth shattering to say. I don't have any pictures and I certainly don't have anything earth shattering to say, so I'm just going to go for the good ole' random post.
* My back shouldn't be hurting so bad from a tiny mis-step on the stairs while I was hanging Christmas garland, I'm only 21 for goodness sake. 21 year old's backs should not be so delicate. Right? That's supposed to happen when you are in your 30's.
*Oh - I just thought of something I can blog about and it has pictures to go with it. Can't believe I forgot to post about it. That'll be coming soon! I feel better now.
*My house is twinkling cozily with twinkle lights galore. We are officially decorated for Christmas. Oh, there's another post! I'll take pictures of all my twinkly lights...maybe. I love how cozy the house feels with all the decorations out. It was fun this year, decorating the new house. Especially the front porch, you know how I feel about my front porch.
*The boys and I are picking up my sis-in-law, Laura tomorrow morning at the airport. Neal's mom, Lynn and brother, Adam are coming in Tuesday night, but Laura was able to come in a few days early. I'm excited to see her and spend some time with her!
*I can't wait for Thanksgiving Dinner. Greenbean casserole always tastes the best at Thanksgiving.
*Gabe was sick with a bad cough the end of last week and passed it on to Luke. Poor thing sounds terrible. I hope he feels better soon.
*It's so cold in Nashville right now. We went to a birthday party at the park yesterday and it took a good hour after we got home for my toes to defrost. I'm glad it'll be cold this week though. It makes the holidays feel a little more festive.
*I read Twilight a couple of days ago. It was addicting. Yes, it's about a vampire, but it isn't freaky, scary or terrible. I'm glad the other 3 books in the series are already out, so I can read them all quickly. Hopefully, we'll get out to see the movie sometime soon. I also want to see Australia.
*That's as random as I'll get right now, I'm going to go work on that other post before I go to bed!
This next little visitor might take the cake as the best visitor this fall (no offense Shana and Amy)! My friend Kandice had her second son, Ezekiel - Zeke, on November 10th. Amy was in town to be a part of his birthday, along with all Kandice's family, so it was a big party everytime we went to the hospital to see them. I've not seen him since he was a few days old, so I'm excited to go over there and hold him as much as I can really soon - he is a little sweetie, as you can see...
The day after Shana left, Amy came to stay with me. I've know Amy forever, we went to church together when we were growing up. It's always fun to sit down an listen to Amy tell a story - she is quite the story teller. She's also a wonderful friend and someone that you could leave your kids with and not worry for a second. As you can see, my boys love her. We got a great picture of the two of us, but it's in her camera and she hasn't sent it to me yet because she has been off on a trip being all business woman-y. I'll post it when I get it, for now, you get this last picture of the two of us shortly before we went to bed. Love you Ame!
We have had a busy fall with visitors coming in and out. Fall is a beautiful time to visit Nashville, in case you ever want to plan a trip. The trees are just breathtaking right now. When Shana came a few weeks ago, she couldn't stop taking pictures of all the trees. We had such a nice weekend together, we did some shoe shopping and Shana got a major bargain on three pairs of tall boots at Marti and Liz (you must go there for shoe shopping). We had an amazing breakfast at The Loveless Cafe - their biscuits literally melt in your mouth and the Hashrown Casserole is delicious. We took a drive through Percy Werner park an enjoyed the beautiful scenery and played on the playground (well, Gabe and Luke did, while we watched). We made a trip to Dippin' Dots, one of Shana's favorites. She also took some great family pictures for us. Here are a few pictures from her trip, we only managed to get one of us together - but at least we got that!
More pictures to come of some other special visitors...
See Gabe's cute little bike? Do you see anything that should be on a 3.5 year old's bike, but that's not? Maybe 4 wheels, instead of 2? Our little dynamo can ride his bike with no training wheels! I literally took them off Thursday, and today he was all over the place, going up and down driveways, standing up while he was peddling, yelling at everyone to watch him ride his bike. I helped him get the hang of it a little bit, but overall, he taught himself how to do it. He is so proud of himself. We are still working on Sam, he would rather walk than ride his bike with two wheels! It's fascinating to see their differences play out. Yay Gabe!