Merry Christmas!

Our little family after church this past Sunday...wishing you all a blessed and wonderful Christmas!!

December Fun, Part 2

Oliver's room has been a mess, to say the least. And when things get disorganized, rather than have the motivation to get it organized, I freak out internally and want to avoid the disorganization at all cost. Not the greatest strategy in the world.

A few days ago I'd had it. Enough with the mess. So I went in and rearragned, finally added Oliver's big laminated World & US maps to the walls, and organized. It felt good. It feels good. And there has been a lot of playing going on in there since. And oh how I love keeping clean, organized rooms clean.
I mentioned in my last post how Oliver has been building a lot with his legos. He's getting more imaginative and just better and better. It's really fun :) This one he did all by himself in his room, came to me and showed me: it's Jonah on a boat, and the black lego sticking out is the plank that Jonah walks off (at least he does in the Veggie Tales Jonah movie :)) into the ocean. I was impressed!!

Sully loves getting the laptop and getting situated up at Oliver's table. He does this over and over. It's so cute :)
The boys' cousin Payton came over to play a few nights ago, and she's always a big hit with my boys :) These boys love their Payton!
And yesterday was finally the day to do our gingerbread house!! We've never done one before, so I thought I'd start with the kit from the store :) We had lots of fun putting it together and decorating!

With Seth and my perfectionist tendencies, it was an internal struggle doing this with a 3-year-old :) Next time I think I'll get one for the children and one for the adults :) This one is a combination of our doing and Oliver's doing.
Yesterday we ran a few errands and then decided to see if Santa was around. He was, and the line wasn't too long, and Oliver was excited to see him! Here we are waiting in line, which just happened to be right by some little rides, which was perfect for the boys to play on while we waited our turn!
And here's our Santa picture. Besides Santa creeping me out a little, I thought the boys turned out pretty cute :) I know I'm their mother and all, but these boys just bring so much joy to my heart.
And after their picture with Santa, Oliver earnestly told Santa what he would like for Christmas. He was so cute, and I love how "touchey" Oliver is. Sweet sweet spirit. Sullivan couldn't have cared less about Santa. I was worried he would cry or be scared, but he was so chill. Totally indifferent. Kinda cracked me up, actually :)

December Fun, Part 1

This year will be our very first year to be home at our little house, with just our little family, on Christmas Eve & Christmas morning! We are excited and embracing the newness of this year with joy. With Seth being a Worship Pastor, you would think it would be common for him to be involved in our Christmas Eve services at Fellowship, but since there are 3 Worship Pastors, Seth's boss has been so kind as to encourage us to travel to spend Christmas with our extended families each year. After 5 years of this, Seth decided this year it was time for us to be involved here. Plus there was more of a need for it this year than in years past, and I think the Lord has really prepared our hearts for this new year.

Christmas has always been my very favorite time of year, and Christmas traditions and nostalgia are a big part of what I love. Up until this year, I have still thought of myself as "the kid" at Christmas. Remembering the magic of Christmas through the eyes of "Joy-as-a-child", which makes it hard as things change, traditions change, etc. In years past, the thought of spending Christmas here at our house without extended family has sounded so lonely to me! I was just not ready for it.

This year I have finally embraced being the "Mother" at Christmas. And it's been a really neat thing for me. I am embracing the fact that I now have my own family, and it is up to me and Seth to make Christmas what we want it to be for our children - to form our own traditions for them. I don't know why it's been such a long process for me to get here, but it's such a wonderful feeling to embrace this with intentionality! We have really really enjoyed our Christmas season here at our house, and I am so grateful for the Lord's gentle grace and love in helping me to embrace this new mindset and live intentionally.

One of the fun traditions of the Christmas Eve service at Fellowship (so we've heard...we've never actually been to one!) is that all the kiddos come in their Christmas jammies. So the boys and I loaded up and headed to Old Navy to see what we could find. We're really excited about the outcome! I sure am going to have some cute Christmas monkeys on Christmas Eve :)
Never fear; we will not go without spending special time with our precious family this year at Christmas! This year is our year to spend Christmas with Seth's family down at his parents' home, and we will head down there to join the rest of the family on Christmas afternoon. It's kind of like the best of both worlds this year; having our own family Christmas here, and then joining our other family for more togetherness and celebration. We couldn't be more excited.

(And I know I haven't blogged about it yet, but we spent a wonderful week in Colorado with my parents and sister! I took all the pics of that week with my parents' camera and forgot to get them off before I came home. There's a rumor going around that my sister is trying to get them to me asap, so you can expect a belated Thanksgiving post soon.)

Alrighty, in other news, Sullivan is climbing more and more. The other day I noticed Sullivan wandered around the corner of the kitchen, and after a minute I walked in to see what he was up to. Well, for the first time, he had climbed up onto Seth and my bed and was playing with Daddy's laptop.
He wasn't too happy when I got him down :)

Oliver-the-dog :)
Cheesin' it up for the camera again!
Oliver got this "blower" from "school" at Fellowship the other day, and he l-o-v-e-d it!

Oliver has been building a ton of things with his legos lately, and Sullivan has started to really enjoy them as well. He loves putting 2 of them together and pulling them apart, putting them back together, etc. Very intense :)
And Sully loves this, too! He whines for me to turn it on so the train will go round and round and the music will play. (Yes, we're trying to work on words instead of whining.)

Our mantel, stockings, and nativity. I love my nativity. Funny side story: Sullivan is getting really good at several animal sounds, but I had not taught him what a "sheep says" yet. I was holding him up to look at the nativity, and I held the sheep in my hand for him to look at, and he immediately said "baa". I was shocked! I guess they've been working on what a sheep says at school. Love them.

A little Christmas spirit!

Upon returning from our wonderful Thanksgiving week in Colorado, Seth got the Christmas boxes down from the attic, and the boys and I began decorating! Oh how I love this time of year.

I thought Sullivan was going to be a mess with the tree, but so far so good!
Oliver took his stocking out of the box and immediately began finding toys from his bins to stuff it full with :) Seth's parents got Oliver this singing/dancing squirrel a few years ago, so I was excited to pull it out and see what Sullivan thought! Oliver wasn't too sure when he was Sullivans age....but Sully loved it! His face lights up with a big smile every time we turn it on, and after it's over, he whines sweetly to hear more. The boys listening to the nutty squirrel.This was hilarious -- I held the camera up to Sullivan and said "smile!"...and he actually did! This is immediately what he did :) Cracked me right up!Another funny.... Before we even had the tree decorated, Oliver had brought out several toys and lined them all up in a row under the tree. I love his meticulous little mind!Oliver was so excited to decorate his very own tree in his room! It was fun to use the little snowmen ornaments that he made with Grandma Lou over Thanksgiving holiday.Another of Oliver's favorites... we got this wonderful keepsake from Seth's parents a few years ago for Christmas. It plays music and a train rides around it's track. Oliver loves sitting and watching it.When I pulled the garland out of the bottom of one of our Christmas boxes and laid it all out to get ready to hang around the fireplace, Sullivan quickly climbed in and got settled right in the middle of it. Such a little dear. And here is the completed tree! I haven't done ribbon before, and Seth and I both are really happy with the addition. I think I will experiment even more with it in the future. I love all of our personal ornaments... several from my childhood, Seth and mine from before we had children, and now the boys' special ornaments... those personal touches are my very favorite part about a Christmas tree!And this little ham... what a joy he is to our family!

Friends and Coloring

A few weeks ago, Oliver's best friend Parker came over to play. They've been in class together during the week at Fellowship since they were 3 months's so fun that they're growing up together! There's one other little boy, Ryan, who is in the same situation, and I think they're the Three Musketeers at school :)
I loved the way Bella's arm is propped up on Seth's leg. She's such a lover. Sweet girl.
We did some coloring recently, and I decided Sullivan needed to have a go at it. I hadn't done any coloring with him up to this point, so I didn't really know what to expect. He did great!
And was very proud of his handiwork :)
Oliver is getting to be quite the artist. I'm actually really impressed with him quite often! He doesn't prefer to color in the lines of coloring books, but he loves to draw. Reminds me of his Daddy and pictures I've seen of his when he was a little guy. Oliver is getting quite decent at writing his name. He can do the "O", "l", "i", and "v" very well. The "e" and "r" we're still working on, but he's getting there. He draws "O" shapes a lot and now loves drawing "legs" on them. It's fun to see the imagination and creativity in kids' drawings!
Seth did this with Oliver one time, so now Oliver repeats...not my idea of how to do things, but that's why Seth's good for me. He always helps me to think outside my box :) Thank goodness, cause he will add much creativity to our children's lives!

Oliver's Christmas Program

Oliver had a Christmas program at Fellowship a few weeks ago, and he is definitely getting better and better at performing as time goes by. When I say "better and better" I mean that he doesn't just stand there anymore; he actually gets a few of the movements in :) It's always so fun to watch!
There you go...
...oops, held it a bit too long :)
Great job, Oliver!

A few more...

I was in the kitchen and looked into the living room to see what Oliver was up to... there he was, sitting quietly on the chair eating goldfish and perusing the Pottery Barn Kids catalog :) Did it all on his own... cracked me up!
Another partial costume, and one messy living room.
Daddy helped the boys make a "castle", and here is Prince-King Oliver!
A few weeks ago after church, Sullivan was exhausted... obviously. Couldn't even make it through lunch. He had never done this before!