Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas with Granna & Papaw

We live about 12 hours away from James' family.  It's difficult, especially since Hudson is their only grandchild.  Granna and Papaw graciously drove in in November (before the threat of bad weather) to celebrate an early Christmas.

Helping Granna open her presents.

Merry Christmas, Papaw

Happy Boy


The aftermath

Blowing bubbles with Granna

Group pic
 The hilarity when Granna and Papaw want to get a picture with their wiggly, toddler grandson.

"Let me down!"

"I'm outta here people"

The best shot we could get

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Card Outtakes

Last year, we did our first ever photo Christmas card and it was such fun.  Behold the beauty of my sweet baby laying in front of his Little People Nativity Scene.

This year, I wanted to do a photo card as well.
So I scoured pinterest and found my inspiration:

With Wondering Awe - With wondering awe the wise men saw  The star in heaven springing,  And with delight, in peaceful night,  They heard the angel singing:  Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna to His name!

Cute right?  Looks simple enough.  Well, those pinterest pinners are liars people.
If not liars, they are definitely NOT working with a real-live toddler.

Between tears, not looking at the camera, refusing to smile, trying to get up and leave - it was an exercise in frustration.  Behold the attempts of trying to photograph a very active, stubborn, toddler boy.

First shot - he's obviously enthralled with these lights.

Would be cute had he even somewhat looked at the camera.


Such a pitifully sad face.

So exhausting.

Thankfully I did get one decent shot.

Still NOT looking at the camera, but at least he's not crying and almost has a shy smile.

Props to for the finished product.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Next year, I'm just sending out a facebook Christmas shout out. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Balloon of Grace

In typical toddler fashion, Hudson is obsessed with a few things.  Namely balls, brooms, books, and balloons.  Why they are all "b" words, who knows?  Anyway, I have threatened to never go into Wal-mart again because Hudson immediately sees the helium balloons, which seem to be everywhere and points saying (screaming) "bababa, boon" over and over again.

This week, we went into town to run errands.  We had to stop at the Dollar Store to get some "White Elephant/Dirty Santa" gifts for our children/youth Christmas party.  And of course, the minute we walked in Hudson starts pointing and excitedly saying, "bababa boon" over and over again.

I was determined that he was not going to get a balloon.

He was gifted one at Old Navy back in October when we went to get flip flops for our Operation Christmas Child shoebox that is still inflated plus he swindled me in a weak moment into a Halloween balloon at Walgreens just to get him to quit screaming.  Therefore, he was not going to get a balloon.

My determination that he was not going to get a balloon was solidified when he wiggled out of my grip and ran to the balloon section. How is he so Houdini-like at only 18 months?

As I'm dragging him away, in tears, can you guess what the sweet Dollar Store clerk does?  Yep, you know it.  She hands him a balloon.  It is a "Happy Thanksgiving" balloon - she says he can have it at no charge, it's out of season and will just be thrown away soon.  No, I do not want him to have a balloon.  He does not need a balloon.  He definitely does not deserve a balloon.  Everything in me wanted to firmly say, "no!" but she had already handed it to him so what was I do to?  I gave in, deflated.

All the way home every time I saw that silly balloon in the rear-view mirror I was angry.  Angry at Hudson's obsession.  Angry at Hudson's disobedience.  Angry that the Dollar Store clerk intervened in my parenting.  Angry that I had given in so quickly.

Later that night, while praying and thinking about it - the Lord revealed something to me.  That balloon was grace to Hudson.  Does he need it?  No.  Does he deserve it?  No.  But that's the definition of grace - receiving what we do not deserve.  Hello conviction of my bad attitude.

Does my son need to get over his obsession with balloons? Of course.  Does he need to obey?  Absolutely.  But does it hurt him that the clerk was kind to him, even in his disobedience?  No - in fact, if he were older it would be a lovely teachable moment about God's grace to us.

Parenting is so humbling.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Advent Adventures (half-way there!)

Advent activity calendars  - they are all the rage.  Growing up, I knew nothing of Advent calendars.  Well, that's not true.  Every year or so we'd get the little cardboard things where you punched out a box each day to find a piece of fake-chocolate candy.  Haha.

Last year, Hudson was only 6 months old during the Christmas season therefore he was pretty oblivious.  This year, at 18 months, he's much more aware so I decided to make a little Advent activity calendar for us.  I'm resourceufl (read: cheap) so here's what I created:

Yep, it's about as cheap as you can get.  I found the cute little green envelope printouts here.  They are super easy to print, cut, and tape together.  I wish I had access to a laminator because I really should have laminated them so they'd last well until next year.  I stuck them to the fridge because honestly, I wasn't sure where else to put them.  Thankfully Hudson left them alone after the first day.

On to the activities!  Thanks to pinterest, there are so many options but since Hudson is only 18 months old, I kept it pretty simple.

- A few days of eating special Christmas candy (chocolate orange, marshmallow Santas, etc..)
- A few days of making homemade Christmas treats (decorating sugar cookies, cupcakes, etc...)
- Several days of unwrapping and reading Christmas books (thanks to my years as an elementary school teacher, I have quite the collection)
- Getting out Hudson's Fisher Price Nativity
- Decorating a gingerbread house
- Setting up Hudson's little tree with his ornaments on it
- Drinking hot (lukewarm for Hudson) cocoa
- Christmas art, courtesy of the after-Christmas clearance dollar spot at Target last year
- Buying and wrapping a gift for a child in need
- Christmas Sensory Play
- Christmas Pizza
- Christmas Eve Box

We're half-way through it now and it's fun.  Honestly, Hudson doesn't have a clue but that's OK - I'm making memories even if he doesn't remember.  As he ages, I plan to tweak the activities to be more Jesus-centered and service-focused but for now, it's all fun and games.

Enjoy the pictures of our Advent adventures thus far.

Playing with his nativity for the first time this Christmas season.

Sugar Cookies!

Watching Carrie Underwood pretend to be Julie Andrews in "The Sound of Music".
Hudson was glued to the TV, for about 3 minutes.

Stirring the hot cocoa!

No idea why this is sideways?
Enjoying lukewarm cocoa in his snowman sippy cup from his nursery workers last year!

Reading Dr. Seuss by his Christmas Tree

Opening and reading one of our many Christmas books. Sideways, again?

Gingerbread house time!

Don't let the picture fool you - he was not helping, he was
removing candy from the doorway to eat!

Do you have any daily Advent activities to help prepare your Christmas?  If so, share!