Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Day...

Christmas Eve we didn't get the kiddos to bed until almost 11- I was so proud of Eli because he really wasn't that must have been because of all of the attention he was getting. When we got back to my parent's house, Eli was very upset that he had to leave his tractor; we reassured him that he could ride it again first thing in the morning.
After the kiddos were down, the "adults" (me, Chris, Brad, Alison and my parents) stayed up for our Christmas exchange.
Christmas morning we all woke up, said "bye" to Brad, Alison and Miss Emma and then made our annual Christmas breakfast. While Chris and I were cooking, Eli was playing on his new tractor...again.

After breakfast I laid down for a little bit while Chris loaded the car and packed our stuff. I lifted a ceiling fan that I probably wasn't suppose to and pulled all kinds of muscles...Christmas Eve I could bearely walk, but Christmas morning I felt better until after breakfast...then it was pretty bad again.

When we were all loaded we headed to Canyon to spend the rest of the day with Chris' family!
We got there around noon and Eli played outside practically all afternoon.

Later our nieces and nephew got there! 

Followed by Derek and his crew... 

We all opened gifts together and snacked.
Here is another round of super-cute daddy/Eli pictures that make my heart melt; Chris is just a wonderful father. 

Miss Addy Grace came next with Tim and Amber! I have to say that I was a little jealous of her coat and hat- look how adorable she is! 

Tim wanted to show-off a gift from a client...we have got to have some made for Chris next year! Priceless! 

Here is Addy showing off her paint can! I made one for all of our nieces and nephews... 

Around 9 we left Canyon and headed back home.
It was really great to see and spend time with everyone! Eli loves his cousins sooo much. He asked about them for days.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

There once was a boy...

There once was a boy who loved his daddy.

Eli loved having his daddy home over the long Christmas weekend- mommy loved it too.
These pictures made my heart happy.
They were taken at Chris' parents house on Christmas Day. I still can't believe that we were able to let Eli play outside with a light jacket and Aunt Steffi's little hat.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Eve...

If I could freeze any image in my mind in hopes to captivate our Christmas Eve, it would be this picture.

We are so, so blessed to have this beautiful, smart, glowing baby boy. When I think about what a blessing he and my husband are every other "thing" falls into place.

I have been thinking a lot about "things" and how quickly everything in your world can be turned upside down lately. Basically, there was a horrific accident involving a family from here in Amarillo.
I didn't know this young woman, her husband who is a coach at the high school just a few blocks from our house, or their two precious little girls- 6 and almost 2. Many of my friends knew her; she could have easily been a couple that we went to church with or one of our photo clients- with so many close circles, I am sure our paths might have crossed one day. She was 30 weeks pregnant with a little boy when, while traveling home from Christmas they were in a head-on collision. She was air-lifted and the baby was delivered by C-section and is in critical condition. She passed away the next morning leaving behind her husband of 9 years, two daughters and a newborn son.
I guess what has me so shaken is how we seem so similar. She was a 30 year old stay-at-home mommy with 2 kids, one on the way and a loving husband. That is straight in line with where we want to be in three years, when I am 30. It all just seems so relatable that it has really turned my last few days around.
So, instead of working on my photo editing tonight, like I should, I wanted to take time to post about our Christmas Eve. Someday I hope that Eli (and hopefully our future kiddos) will look and treasure the time their mommy took to let everyone know just how special the small moments are.

Our Christmas Eve is pretty much the same every year. I hope that it is like this for a very long time.
We woke up early that morning to take family pictures for Brad and his little family. After that we let the kiddos open two gifts.

Here is Eli in his rocket tent from Uncle Baff and Aunt Alison- they scored big time. Eli loves his new "cave".

Then, my dad took them out on the patio to see his big surprise...John Deere Tractors...motorized John Deere Tractors. 

Eli hasn't gotten off that thing since he saw it. He even wants to eat on it instead of his highchair- wonderful, huh?
It was so precious to watch him and Emma's little personalities shine through as they explored their new toy. Emma was fearless and pretty much took out anything in her way. Eli, on the other hand was very cautious and careful, taking his time and playing it safe. I wonder who he gets that from? :)
Today he drove all around our living room, but from the looks of these pictures, I thought it would be at least another month before he was riding around!

Aren't they cute? 

Sorry, I just had to throw in this precious picture of our Kaikeyi smiling for the camera! 

After our church's candle light service, we headed back to my parents' house to get everything together for dinner.
Now, don't be too jealous...I know the awesomeness can be too much to handle, but here are the "ugly Christmas sweaters" that I made for our clan this year. Just let the awesomeness of the picture speak for itself. 

After dinner at my parents' house, we headed to Nanny's for gifts!

Here is the hat that Eli's Aunt Steffi made him! He wouldn't take it off! Since then everywhere we wear it we have no fewer than 3 people come up to us and tell us how adorable he is! Thanks, Aunt Stef! 

Here is a picture of half of the room... 

I love Christmas Eve at Nanny's. It is loud, crazy, stressful, hectic and flat-out insane; I wouldn't have it any other way....I don't think any of my cousins would either! :)

We hope that everyone had a wonderful time with family over the Christmas weekend. Thank you to all of our family and friends...we love you all!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Great Santa Debate

I have been struggling with the whole Santa issue for a while now. I mean, for years…before Eli was even thought about.
The whole issue is whether to introduce your children to Santa or not. I know of families that just don’t acknowledge Santa, ones that flat-out tell their children there is no Santa, and a mix of families that struggle to find a happy medium between reindeer and a manger.
Chris and I had the discussion last Christmas…it was tabled. We have had brief conversations about it this year, but really neither one of us can come up with a resolution. We know this is our last year of tabling the issue. Eli already knows what Santa looks like and that he says “Ho, Ho, Ho” but I don’t think he understands the connection between Santa, Christmas and gifts. I would love to hear what others have to say about the issue. I only personally know two families that tell their children from the get-go that Santa isn’t real.
My Issue:
*Please note, I realize that Christmas traditions can be seen as rooted as a Pagan holiday. The focus of this blog is not to tackle that issue, but really just the issue of Santa.
My issue with Santa is that I feel like it takes the center stage away from what I see as the most important reason for the season- the birth of Christ. Sure, families can talk about Jesus and the nativity, but come on, really, to kiddos, it is all about the gifts and that man in the red suit who will bring them what they want. Maybe I am underestimating children today, but I doubt it.
Now, if I could only focus on that one bit of reasoning, my decision would be made and we would never utter the word “Santa” in our house. But, it gets so much more complicated than that.
First, I don’t feel like it is my place or my right to ruin the idea of Santa for other little kids that Eli could mention it to. That is other parents’ place and issue to deal with; I would feel horrible to have that taken away from them because on my parenting decisions.
Second, this phase only last a few years. Children will realize soon enough that Santa, along with the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny and every other marketing scheme that someone came up with is a fraud. Should I really be that concerned about my children focusing on Santa for a few years? Chris leans toward the thought that Santa was a Saint and gave to the needy and that whole jazz…and incorporating those principles instead of the whole marketing cynicism…
Third, if I deny Santa in my house, I can’t justify the Easter Bunny or dressing my kids up for Halloween. Now, Chris and I are pretty much set on the idea that the Easter Bunny will not make an appearance at our house. However, the whole issue of Halloween is extremely hard for me not give into. Bottom line: How can I seem so “devout” and convicted on the issue of Santa but still send my kiddos Trick-or-Treating dressed up in costumes on a truly pagan holiday? One that I can’t seem to justify at all aside from the fact that Eli has looked adorable in the two costumes that we have put him in since his birth!
I know someone whose parents didn’t let him dress up for Halloween when he was a kid. It was their church that encouraged the action…years later, they don’t follow that standard any more. All of his older brothers were allowed to dress-up and go Trick-or-Treating, while when his turn came, his parents fell under the influence of that principle of that church at that particular time. Not to sound overly dramatic, but it really still affects him today. It makes me sad to think that Eli might still be hurt by my actions years later. I don’t want to go into many details, but it is an issue that this man still deals with in many ways.
I can just imagine what the ramifications would have been like for a kid growing up, having to explain why they weren’t dressed up, why they weren’t going Trick-or-Treating…it might just be the same for a little kid explaining why he wouldn’t write a letter to Santa in class or never knew what to say to people when they asked him what he wanted Santa to bring him Christmas morning.
However, aren’t we called to be salt? Aren’t we called to be different than the world? Who said that it would be easy for us, or our kids? Would that make their convictions stronger or would they shrink under the pressure of society.
I know that there are many differing views on this subject. I know plenty of what I consider godly families that teach their children to believe in Santa. Let me clarify- I don’t think that everyone who believes in Santa is going to hell. To me, it is just one more idea that we justify that makes us look like every other family out there. It seems like it is an ever-growing list of compromises that we are making, down-playing our faith. Don’t get me started on TV or clothing or any of the other million issues that Christian families have to tackle with their children. Is there anything wrong with the principle of Santa? No. My issues stem from Santa stealing the focus of the “Reason for the Season”.
Well, I digress. Please, I don’t need the hate mail. I know this is an extremely touchy subject. I am just looking for honest insight. Really, we are just struggling to find our way in this whole new jungle of “How to Raise Children”. Honestly, we are at a stand-still on this issue.

Oh, yeah, we are having a baby...

I have to keep reminding myself that we will have a little girl soon; as in 4 weeks. Ekkkk...that was a little scary to write out.
It is amazing how different your second pregnancy is...instead of day-dreaming about your upcoming bundle of joy, you are wrestling with your first-born, cooking, cleaning and just living. I can only imagine that it gets worse with the third, fourth, fifth...and so on. I am not going to lie, it is a bit of a downer.
I am sure that once "Sweet P" is here the afore mentioned won't matter.

Mostly, I am ready. Not in the literal sense of the word. I have a small, small, amount of clothing washed and ready to go. We have a few diapers. No meals cooked, but maybe after Christmas we can start planning that. Chris knows where the car seat is in the storage shed and I found the newborn inserts for it a few days ago while cleaning out the second bedroom closet. We are planning to get the co-sleeper out and next to our bed this weekend.

I think I am just ready to be able to focus on our little girl. Is it sad that I am looking forward to the hospital stay a little just so that I won't have to worry about Eli, cooking every night, bills, laundry and making sure the house is picked up? Yes, I think that is a little sad, but I am not going to lie! ;) I am excited about that time alone with our new baby. I am excited about having a girl; about having a boy and a girl. Even if I don't ever get to have another baby, I have both a boy and a girl. How wonderful is that?!?

I have been thrown off a little because everyone that I know around me has already had their baby...even if they were due after me. I am so very grateful that all of their babies are fine now and healthy. It makes me even more thankful to have a wonderful pregnancy this go 'round just like with Eli. I do pray that the delivery goes better with Sweet P though.

Things aren't looking too promising, however. A few weeks ago, we found out that she is breech. Of course I was relieved when the sonogram tech said that she is healthy and perfect...just upside down. She has moved no less than 6-8 times (that I know of) and as I write I can feel hiccups lower, so I think she is facing the right direction at the moment. Don't you love my scientific, fail-proof way of knowing how she is laying? Anyway, I am sure that she will turn back again as I lay down to go to bed. My doctor isn't worried at the moment and will plan to do another sonogram late next week to see where she is. We shall see.

Anyway, just a general update. We are busy here getting ready for Christmas, excited to see family and spend a few days together. Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas- be safe!

Monday, December 13, 2010


I can't believe that it has now been over a month since my last blog...I don't know if that has ever happened before.
It goes without saying that we have been uber busy, but we wrapped up our last photo session and all of the editing is just about done. I am hoping to back-date blog post within the next two weeks so in 5 years I don't wonder what in the world we had going on this entire month!

Yesterday we took Eli to an amazing Christmas party to meet Santa. This was our second year to go to the party- and it was just as beautiful this year as last.
(I am still going back and forth between the whole 'Santa' issue at Christmas, and I am planning a whole blog about it. I would love to hear what others have to think about it...but until then...)

I have no idea who told Eli about Santa or who he is, but he can call him out with the best of little kids. Anything red, white and fuzzy can be related to Santa. I think it was my mom, but I am not sure. I just know that one day out of the blue in early December he started pointing out Santa.

He was very excited to see Santa at the party. He looked a little unsure when daddy put him in Santa's lap, but that has been all he has been talking about since then! It is really cute...

My parents joined us for the party this year!

Santa's sleigh was outside...scratch that. Eli insisted that it was a boat, not a sleigh. Silly mommy. It took a lot of convincing to get him out of the boat.

And for fun, here is Eli last year at the same party with the same Santa...