Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas 2011

Last year Henry expressed his great desire to have "Santa clothes". When asked to explain that, he said, "you know, the clothes that Santa wears!" It was so sweet. Not being any sort of seamstress myself, I found a cute pair of red plaid pajamas and sewed white fur around the arms and leg cuffs. He thought they were great but couldn't quite get past that they were actually pajamas.
For Henry's birthday last year, my wonderful sister-in-law (who happens to be a really great seamstress!) made Henry real, true, Santa clothes. She completed the package with a hat and Santa bag to carry around his goodies. Henry was so thrilled! By that time of year, though he had really gotten over wanting to dress like Santa every day. So they were pulled out a few times to dress up, but mostly stored away. However, at Christmas time they came back out! Henry was so happy to have the outfit and wore it throughout the season. He doesn't like to draw attention to himself, so it made him a little self-conscious when he was out of the house dressed like Santa...but he sure brought smiles to the people we met!
Last year we started a tradition of seeing a movie at Christmas time. It's kind of a dangerous tradition to start because you never know if a good, family-friendly movie will be out at the right time! Luckily, "Alvin and the Chipmunks, Chipwrecked" was still playing in our theater. Kelly and I took all the kids to see it on Christmas eve. Santa was at the theater too, so we got to have pictures taken with him and he gave each of the kids a free bag of popcorn! :)
Christmas eve, another of our traditions: We always open one gift, usually something small and fun. This year all the kids got new pajamas!
The kids put out plates of cookies and milk, along with last-minute notes for Santa.
I stayed up late and sneaked a picture of Santa at the tree delivering goodies!
Christmas morning the kids awoke to find that the Twinkie Tree had mysteriously changed this year...probably due to the severe drought we experienced this past summer. Instead of producing the twinkies and cupcakes that it has been known for, it bloomed chocolate candy bars and bubble gum this year! Craziest thing.
Later in the morning, Dave and Mary Beth came over to spend some time with our family. We enjoyed a break from all of the gift opening chaos and had a cup of coffee with them. We always look forward to Grammy and Grandpop coming over and we got to exchange gifts with them outside of the big, entire-family gathering that was to come later.
Henry's greatest treasure...his brand new Bible! He also got a brand new hunting knife (Bear Grylls brand!) that he is super excited to have.
Jonah loved everything, especially his new scooter and the knife/flashlight combo that he got from Henry.
Bridget's treasured items were her new baby doll stroller and the battery operated toothbrush that Jonah got for her.
Sam was completely spoiled, as usual. Christmases are best when Sam gets more presents than anyone else. ;)
We had a wonderful Christmas and were able to slow down from the busyness of the season and focus on Christ and His sacrifice for us. We spent really fun time together as a family and enjoyed baking cut-out cookies many times throughout the season...more than we have ever made in the past. I'm so thankful for my sweet family!!!

Christmas Week Camping!

A few days before Christmas, we went camping. Cold, you say? Nope. We live in Texas. :)

Sam had the crazy idea that since he already had time off from work, we should go camping Christmas week. And Jon and Kelly were just crazy enough to agree to go along with us!Sam's first order of business was to put up the tree. I mean, it was Christmas week, after all! And nobody loves Christmas quite as much as my Sam.
We went to a very close National Park (15 minutes from our door!) and had a fantastic time. There were some great geocaches to be found by this crew:
Crafts, painting, and hot chocolate with marshmallows not too far from the fire:
We also had a few fun firsts: After much practicing (and lots of help from her big brother) Bridget learned to ride her bike with no training wheels! She was so proud of herself...and we were proud of her for sticking it out when it got difficult.
And the other 'first' was Jonah losing his second front tooth! It had been loose for a long while but his adult tooth is coming in funny and not pushing on the old one...the dentist had warned us that he may have to pull it...but on the first morning camping, it came right out! :)
Henry led many biking expeditions...
We had the coolest tree to climb around on right behind our campsite.
It was a really great camping trip and we all had so much fun! It was so nice to step away from the hustle-bustle of the season and take some time to just enjoy our families and relax.
I'm so glad I married into a camping family! :)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

We started Thanksgiving off this year with what I hope becomes a tradition for our family...we ran in the turkey trot 5K! I've always wanted to do it, but since I usually host Thanksgiving dinner at our house it just didn't seem feasible. This year I decided that we would just make it work. It was SO fun!

Jonah and Bridget ran in the kid's run. Six and under ran one lap around the building, seven and up ran two laps. Here is Jonah as he starts off his run (he's in the white shirt)...he was just SURE he was going to win. He finished strong, at the front of the second group of kids to come in.
And here is Bridget finishing up her race. She was so excited about the race, talking about it for a week ahead of time; but when it came time to line up at the start, Bridget wasn't so sure. She said she wasn't going to run, but Sam talked her back into it. She agreed as long as he would run with her. As soon as they started though, she didn't really notice whether Sam was there or not...she just RAN!
So proud of Jonah and Bridget...what great runners!
After the kid's race was the 5k (3.1 miles). Henry decided a while back that he wanted to run in a 5k with me, and this was this first one that we could work out. He has been training by running with me a few times a week, a mile or two at a time. Henry asked Sam and I to run with him during the race, so we all agreed to stay together. He was fairly nervous as we waited to start, but he found his groove once we got going.

I wish I had a picture of his face after we started and the people started to thin out a bit (it's always REALLY crowded right at the starting line)...Henry had the biggest smile on his face. He was loving it! After about the first mile, Henry looked over at me and said, "I really need to run faster, I've just got to go!" So we picked up the pace. I got stuck as the runners all funneled through a bridge and it took me at least a half mile to catch back up to Sam and Henry!

I finally caught up with them right at the 3 mile mark, just as Henry spotted the finish line and took off at a sprint. I couldn't keep up with him! Henry finished his race at 28:32 which was way ahead of the goal of 30 minutes that I had set for him. (He was so proud to find out later that he even beat his Sunday school teacher!)

Here are the three of us right after the race...
It was so fun! I hope that we will be able to run many more 5k races together as a family! :)
Thanksgiving was lovely, by the way. We hosted it here at our house, and we had Sam's folks and his brother Dave and family. The day was relaxing, yummy, and full of good conversation.

The day after Thanksgiving, Mary Beth and I headed out for a little shopping (we slept in and didn't go out for any of the crazy early sales, but we still found good deals) and Sam and his dad worked on splitting wood. Later in the day, we decorated the house for Christmas. I'm always a little sad to put away the fall decorations (I love the colors of fall!) but it's so nice to have the house decked out for Christmas.

And now we have entered advent and we are preparing our hearts for Christmas...what a wonderful season!