Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Poor Santa...

 We returned to Bass Pro this year for visits to Santa.  It proved to be just as traumatic for Rhett as it was last year.  Poor thing doesn't care to sit on a stranger's lap...and I'm okay with that.

I really like Bass Pro's display.  There is a HUGE santa's workshop, elves (including the creeper to the left in pic above), stuffed reindeer, fake snow and all sorts of Christmasy stuff.  It's fantastical for the kiddos.  If you go at the right time there is hardly a wait.  I think we waited 5-10 minutes this year and we went at 4:00 on a Monday.  Last year we went at 7p.m. and that was a mistake.  Thankfully there is lots to keep boys occupied at Bass Pro.  You get one pic for free and can take as many as you want.  

 Jude actually told Santa what he wanted this year!  He is wise to the whole santa deal, but I thought it was cute that he still let him know, you know, just in case:).  

Santa was also at our church this year for pictures.  This is one of our older pastors.  Jude raised a hairy eye-brow right away when he saw him.  All of the other kids in his class were giddy and screaming, "santa, yay!"  Jude b-lined it over to me and said, "Mom, is that santa or is that pastor Ron?"  He's no dummy.  He knows who to come to if he wants to hear it straight.  

Poor Rhett...I promise I do not get pleasure out of seeing him cry.  He has a love/hate relationship with old man Christmas.  He pretends like he wants to see him, claps when he does and then screams bloody murder when we set him down.  Then as we pick him up he sounds like an emotionally abused child and repeatedly says, "santa's a nice boy...a nice boy." Maybe next year.  

Here is my favorite santa pic to date...

Two years ago and two crying boys.  Same santa!  This dude is like 6'5" and super nice. 

There are a lot of places around town to get free pics.  After talking with some friends I learned that some places are charging $20 for santa pics.  That's crazy!  Even Navy pier had free pics in Chicago.  Another one of my favorites!

Jude wasn't scared.  

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!  We are all super excited around here.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Breaking the rules...

So, these past two weeks it has been so hard for me to keep the rules that I set for myself nearly 11 weeks ago.  I may have eaten a few cookies and had a sip of champagne at a recent cookie swap...everyone was doing it!  I've also given in, just slightly on the no running rule.  I have been doing intervals on the treadmill, so the most I run at a time is a 1/2 mile.  Why is it so hard for me to resist?

I must say that I can live without the sugar, caffeine and processed food...easy!  It's the running that I'm dying to get back to.  I love it.  I can't explain it, but it makes my day.  I only have 6-8 weeks left!  

I was thumbing through some old pics this past weekend and was thrilled to find some of me and my running partner!  I love her and we will always be running buddies no matter how many miles are between us!  We have run 1/2 marathons in Dallas and Austin and run several local 15k's together.  We have an annual tradition to run a Thanksgiving run together every year when they are in town visiting for the holidays.  We even ran a race on her wedding day...the entire bridal party wearing t-shirts that said something like, "running Sarah to the alter".  It was so much fun, and I'm so thankful to have a friend to share this amazing hobby with.  Love her!

Ice pelleting, deer jumping Austin half

Thanksgiving Hog Jog 2005

Sunday, December 11, 2011

2nd love, 1st born, stealer of my heart, bff {Jude}

When Jude was born he changed our lives.  He stole our hearts.  He was everything we expected and so much more when we saw him for the first time.  I knew in my heart that he would be blonde haired and blue eyed.  He was and is so incredible in every way.  We are in awe of him everyday.  

I was thinking today that poor Jude doesn't have any baby documentation on our family blog because it wasn't created until after Rhett was born.  This post is an album of Jude's beginnings.  Like any new parents, we were completely in awe of our little blessing.  

Our friends are finally having babies and I get so excited for all of them to see their little one for the first time.  That feeling...there is nothing like it and nothing can prepare you for it.  It is truly priceless. 

This is my very favorite picture of us after he was born.  Our very first family picture...and so the tradition began:).  

Jude was born 10 days early (so was Rhett) and I was so happy that I got to experience going into labor. I preferred not to be induced and really prayed for him to come on his own, when he was ready.  

First visit to Illinois.

First taste of rice cereal.

He liked it. 

Jude loved to swing.

 First Halloween.

First visit to the pumpkin patch.

First illness (only illness to date).  This boy is healthy as a horse!  He's never had an ear infection and is very rarely catching things going around.  When he was 10 months old he got MRSA (staff infection) and we were so so worried and terrified.  As you can see it was not pleasant.  To add insult to injury he would not take his medicine and we had to pin him down to try to get it down him (this was our first encounter with an antibiotic).  We would get it in his mouth and think it was all good only to watch it seep out the corners of his mouth.  We finally had it all compounded into suppositories and it was all good!  The huge ice storm of 2007 hit and we were without power for a week while he was sick.  Like I said, we were terrified.  It all worked out:).  

 We swung through Chicago on our way to grandma's for Christmas and stayed on Michigan Avenue.  Jude met Santa for the first time at Navy Pier!  

Cruising around Chi-town.

First family Christmas card, first Christmas ever, first time on Santa's lap and first time to sled and see snow!  

Jude has curls!  This boy had to cutest platinum white curls.  I hated to cut them, but Dallas made me when he was about 18 months old.  He was being mistaken for a girl a bit and Dad wasn't having any part of that.  I wish I would have kept them a bit longer.  

First pony ride at the Farmstead in Kansas City!  

 First MLB game.  We met grandma and granddad in KC and went to a game. 

2nd plane ride...headed to grandma's house!  He flew several weeks earlier to Mexico to see our friend Aja get married.  

 The curls are gone and he looks like such a big boy!

 My boy loved hats as a toddler.  He wanted to wear this one all of the time. 

 2nd Halloween he was John McCain.  The election was right around the corner and Dallas' parents had this old suit from when D was little so it just worked out.  It was funny. 

 2nd B'day.  Oh goodness...so many gifts. 

 3rd plane ride, back to grandma's we flew!  

 This was taken the fall that Rhett was born.  Jude was a big brother! 

Random picture that I love from Easter.  

As a baby and toddler Jude was not a sleeper or an eater.  I prayed those things specifically over Rhett because of our experience with this cutie.  Don't get me wrong, he would nurse all day if I let him, but when when it came time for table food later on he was not a huge fan.  Then the twos hit and forget about food.  He very well may have lived off of cow's milk for some time.  Jude also was not a consistent napper.  He had torticollis as an infant and that disrupted his sleep a lot.  He always had to lay on one side and it wasn't ever a comfortable situation.

He always wanted to be near us...he still does.  He never cared for television and is still not a huge fan.  He loves for Dallas and I to entertain him.  He has just recently played more by himself and with Rhett.  He typically wants one of us playing along too.  He walked days before his first birthday and never looked back. We had to move him to a big boy bed around 18 months because he would climb out of his crib and we thought it was dangerous.  This led to one of us (usually Dallas) laying with him until he fell asleep...this took 2 hours sometimes.  To be completely honest, this didn't really get better until we moved into our latest house when he was 3-1/2.  He goes to sleep wonderfully now.  Jude has lived in 3 houses in his short lifetime.

I am so thankful that God chose me to be his mom and I don't take that responsibility lightly.  We sacrificed a lot for me to be able to stay home with him and I do not regret a single bit of it.  I would not change a thing.  We are so blessed to be his parents.  

On another note...doesn't Jude look like my sister?  We are told most times that he looks like me, but these pictures caught my eye when I saw them a few years ago...

Here I am as a little girl...

(don't mind the boy haircut)

I think he looks more like my sister than me!  It's strange because I have a niece who everyone thinks looks like me.  It is so odd to me how all these genes get divvied up.

Soon my child will be 5 and I will cry myself to sleep.  Sigh.  

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The simple gift of water...

I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink - Matthew 25:35

Hi friends!  

I know that it is Christmas time and so much money is being spent on gifts for our loved ones, but I would love to give you the opportunity to give the gift of water to children and families across the world.  My extended family donates to a charity each year around Christmas time, and this year we are raising money to build a well through Healing Hands International.  They are bringing the gift of fresh drinking water to Ethiopia, Haiti, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Honduras and India.  They are a wonderful organization that not only brings water, but brings the message of Jesus Christ - Hope.  You can check out their work here .

The water crisis in other countries is not something we hear about often in our comfy U.S. bubble.  Even the homeless and poorest of poor have access to water here.  6000 people a day die because they lack access to clean drinking water (90% of them children) in other parts of the world. 850 million people lack access to clean drinking water.   I can't imagine spending my days hauling water, not being able to send my kids to school because I need them to help fetch water, or watching my kids die from dehydration or sickness resulting from drinking contaminated water (a child dies every 15 seconds from water-related issues).  Seeing what I saw in Haiti, my heart breaks for these people.  Watching the reactions of children getting clean water for the first time is breathtaking.  Mothers weeping in their realization that their daily journey to provide water is over.  Unimaginable.  

Please visit the link below to our families well if you are interested and able to give.  Please help us bring water-hope-life to a place where there is none.  All of your donations are tax deductible and you will receive a receipt for your donation.  

Merry Christmas and God Bless! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

goody goody gumdrops

SO, today was build-a-gingerbread-house day on our advent calendar.  Jude has been eyeballing the gingerbread kit I bought a few days ago and has had many questions.  He was super excited when I picked him up from school today and he found out that today was the glorious day we open the box!

Unfortunately someone had a bad attitude at lunch and earned himself a time-out in my room, which turned in to 2 hours of this...

Next thing I knew he was awake and stumbling out of my room asking if his 10 minutes were up.  Two hours did the body and the mind good.  He was in much better humor and ready to have some ginger fun.

Here is our first attempt at a ginger bread house.  It was hard...that frosting is like paste and dries really very quickly.  AND it tastes gross...so I hear.

Rhett just wanted to eat everything.  

We are all ready for Christmas around here.  Tree is up.  We bought our "first" tree this year.  We had a charlie brown tree that we have used since we got married, but I wanted something a little more husky and grown up feeling this year....I am 30 after-all, and that does classify me as a grown up.  We went ahead and put up charlie brown and the new tree.  Jude insists on moving decorations around daily until they are just right.  I let him because that is a small battle to lose :).  He has fun with it and it's not hurting anything.  We are definitely in need of some new ornaments for next year.

Dallas strung lights on the front of the house a few weekends ago and all of the gifts are bought.  We are set! I am so excited to be visiting my grandparents in southern Indiana this Christmas.  My kids have never been to the "farm" or "up on the hill" as we say.  We had some fabulous four-wheeling fun on the hill over the years.  I'm excited to show them what country living is like.  

Rhett has been running around saying, "Merry Mismas!", and talking about how he saw Santa at church. He doesn't mention throwing a kicking screaming fit when asked to sit on Santa's lap, but that's another story for another day.    

Question...does anyone have any good volunteer ideas for kids?  I really want my boys to know what giving is all about.  I think Christmas is a special time to highlight giving.  We want them to see it all year round, but needs are great this time of year and we want our kids to learn to love others this time of year and not just to love gifts.  We are doing angel tree and working in the food pantry, but have any of you heard of any other good kid-specific ideas?  Let me know.  

Everyone else ready for Christmas?  It's coming and it is my favorite time of the year!