of me at 31 weeks pregnant. I am not good at all with having pictures of myself ever, but especially when I am pregnant. Christmas definitely afforded us a couple. I have had a few people who have politely (ha!) requested pics since I don't get to see you because you all move away. (You know who you are, I love you) So, here ya go:
Our sweet family enjoying our last Christmas with me as the only girl!
Ben has just patted my belly and hugged Ellie, he realy is gonna be a sweet big brother
We spend Christmas morning just us in our home. We love not rushing the boys through opening gifts. Our routine is wake up and do stockings, read Jesus' birth story over breakfast and pray together, then open gifts from one another. (no, we don't do Santa gifts. yes we already know about how we are stealing our boys childhoods and blah blah blah.)
This year Benjamin of course was up before 6, but Spencer is a saint and entertained both boys until around 7:30. We leisurely went through everything. Once we opened our gifts it took us about an hour and a half for the boys to open 3 gifts each because they wanted to play with each one.
This was the first year that we let the boys choose gifts for us. I think next year we may give them a little help and also let them choose gifts for each other. I don't have pictures of my gifts from the boys, but I want to remember that Ben chose a pink hat and gloves and Zeke chose a dog that plays "Who Let The Dogs Out?" He wanted to get me a pink dog and even through a bit of a fit in Target when Spencer tried to convince him the singing dog wasn't really what I wanted. I love my gifts and the fact that the boys thought of them all on their own. Spence got a school bus from Ben and a rocket ship from Zeke. He hasn't seen either since Christmas morning :)
The rest of the day, we played and just hung out. For dinner, we went over to the Douglas house. Zeke, Ben, and Max played so well together. Charlie slept the whole time pretty much (he is a month old). And the adults stuffed ourselves and enjoyed hanging out and having full conversations.
Here's the morning in pictures:
Ben was excited about writing
Zeke tried to read the book, but it was a notepad...
Probably the boys most loved gift,
but not mom and dad...
The BIG gift
Both boys got "cooters" (as Ben calls it)
Immediately setting up toys as they are opened :)
Ben chose a school bus for dad, and immediately took it
I'm not even sure Spence got to touch the rocket ship from Zeke
Yes, they are wearing these just around the house
but hey, when you look this good why wouldn't you?
One more gift they immediately had to open and begin playing with
We had to get Benjamin a new carseat because his last one was out of date and a piece broke off.
(side note, the whole expiration thing on carseats is legit, the carseat we were using had just recently expired and a piece just snapped for no reason except that it's part of the normal wear and tear on the seat. So, moral of this story is check your carseat for an expiration and replace it if necessary- it's for the safety of some pretty special cargo)
And we are back. Where were we, oh yeah... carseat. Of course the boys were way more excited about the HUGE box that it came in. We had fun for a couple days in it and I had actually planned to poke holes in one side and string some lights through it.
I changed my mind when we let the boys sit the box upright and play in it. Spence literally walked about 4 steps away before we heard lots of screaming and crying. The box had tipped. Ben tumbled out. Onto the couch. Chin first. He got a carpet burn so bad he bled. For a while. This is what it looked like a couple days later:
So, the box is residing in the garage ready for a prank or something else creative. But probably not for the boys..
Our church this year is having 5 Christmas services. Each service is identical and there will be childcare provided. Spence and I are attending the service on December 24 at 4:00. We would love for anyone to join us. Other opportunities to worship are December 22 at 6:00, December 23 at 12:00 and 6:00 or December 24 at 4:00 and 6:00. I will be serving at some of the other service times so I hope to see you there. If you would like more information, please visit the website.
The boys are enjoying the perks of the cooler weather. I do not like coffee but I adore hot chocolate (and have been known to drink it straight through the summer). We have been letting the boys test it out and the jury is in with a positive all the way around.
What's in here?
It's yummy chocolate
I'm a chocolate monster
They love drinking out of the mugs and have now gotten so addicted to hot chocolate, that I can't go to starbucks with out having to share once it cools. I may have to start getting them their own little kids cup.
I have been so very slack about Christmas posts, but we really have been doing a lot of fun things. We jumped right in as soon as we got home from Thanksgiving. The boys have had a blast doing all the activites we have planned. We actually haven't done as much as I would have liked because of my extreme tiredness and Ellie's recent desire to send me to the couch for hours while I am having some strong Braxton Hicks. Here are some of our pictures that I have caught, please excuse the picture quality they are all from my phone.
Ben wanted to put all the ornaments on the tree
Zeke wanted to watch Snoopy more than put ornaments on the tree
We walk over to see our neighbor's decorations often... Ben decided to become part of the decor
The boys room got festive with lights around the room.
It is very bright, so we sneak in and turn them off after they are asleep
For the 12 days leading up to Christmas, we are pulling a family activity from a jar.
One was bundling up and taking a walk through the neighborhood to see the lights.
A few of the others have been having lunch out as a family, getting donuts, and buying new Christmas books.
The boys have enjoyed these activities so far
What's Christmas with out an ugly sweater party?
Spence took it to the next level and wore one while making announcements
Ben go involved with a candy marathon while we visisted YaYa's
Our staff Christmas party included some special entertainment from some of the staff...
The church hosted a Ladies Night. We had a women only band, yummy desserts and one of our pastor's wives shared about our life being a race and that we have the security of knowing our finish line and staying the course.
The boys and I have had to get a little more creative with our activities. I saw this idea on Pinterest (ps have you heard of that? I'll do a whole post soon about my love of all things pinterest). I had these great ideas that this would keep the boys busy for a while (like 10 whole minutes in our world)... yeah that lasted approximately 47 seconds and then they were off and running to get into something else.
We have since done it and the boys do spend longer on it and it is an independent activity. If you want me to be quite honest, this is what they are doing while I sit on the couch watching my stories, eating bon bons, and having someone fan me with a huge leaf.
The boys love playing on our bed. It can be quite dangerous at times. Ben likes to jump on the bed...a lot. Zeke is getting braver and braver and even tried to jump off the bed the other day. The boys especially like my huge pillow that I use when I am pregnant. They call it their nest and fight over who gets to lay in it.
Side note: this is where Z has been napping since we put them in a room together and he has napped more in there than he has in his room in the past couple months!
Today I have the privilege of sharing Aftermath's new cd with you. Last year, I reviewed their debut album. When Jonathon informed me that they would be releasing a new one in January, I was so excited to get a sneak peek. I have to say that as soon as you can get this, you really need to do so. Not only did this make it onto my iPhone (first music ever on any i product for me, that's a pretty big deal I think), but I can't wait to burn it so I can have it in my car at all times.
In my less than professional opinion, Jonathon's voice seems to have matured over the past year. It isn't like we haven't heard him singing through out the year, but there is a quality to the cd that I hadn't heard before. I like this album even more than the last. I don't feel like that is always the case with music and I am so pleased it was this time. I don't know how better to describe the cd except to say that I would want it playing all the time. It is one that I catch myself humming and then realize that I am humming one of the songs. Spence and I have already listened to it a few times and I find myself playing it around the house while I am going about my day.
I highly recommend that in January you get this as soon as you can (January 10, 2012). If you didn't get last year's debut Aftertaste of Abandonment, seriously go ahead and go get it so you can get familiar with this band.
Here are the necessary details that you need to know;
So my buddy Rachael did this and I thought it was a fun idea, so here we go:
On my nightstand:
The Strawberry Shortcake Murder by Joanne Fluke. I recently read 3 pretty heavy books and I needed something light and fun. The murder series by Joanne are super cute and include fun cookie/dessert recipes. Easy, fun, lighthearted read
Expecting by Marla Taviano. This is one of those week by week pregnancy books. What I love about it though is it's link in with what is developing with your baby and a verse and prayer for your baby. I highly recommend it for any pregnant mama
Comforts from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick. This is an "Ohhh!" or "OUCH!" book. I adore Elyse and love reading this book. I really don't think I can describe how awesome this book really is.
Grace Based Parenting by Dr. Tim Kimmel. I'm just gonna say I am needing some grace and I am needing to extend some grace to my boys right now.
Movies I've Seen
Monday on my day off when Spence took the boys for the day to his parents, I watched Just Go With It. It was a cute chick flick that I would totally recommend.
Also, on Monday I watched True Grit with Spencer. I fell asleep, he said it was really good. I think it was really slow...
*The Chew- if you haven't caught this yet, you gotta see it! It is on at 1 on ABC everyday. It is a The View with food. Each day has a a fun theme and you can get the recipes from their website. LOVE IT!
*Parenthood- I am not a "let's solve all the problems so we can smile at the end of 30 minutes" show kind of girl. This is a great one that doesn't work out everything each week and deals wtih some real life issues. Some of the topics covered over the past year have been: adult daughter returning home to her parents house with her two teens, a child being diagnosed with Aspberger's and the family learning how to help him best, a guy finding out he has a 5 year old son he didn't know existed, fertility issues/adoptions falling through. So it is just wow for me. It is on a 10 on Tuesdays on ABC I think
Those are really the only ones I gotta see, but we do also watch The Office, Glee, Bones, and House
In my ears:
*Christmas music, of course! The kids and I turn on the directv channel and love it!
* In the car the boys always want to listen to "our music" which can be anything from Go Fish Guys to a cd I made with tons of kids music from church years ago to the current kids worship music from church
In my kitchen:
I am in such a baking mode right now. The combo of Christmas and my pregnancy nesting is baking is out in full force! I am baking about 2 different things each week right now. Up this week is Saltine cracker toffee and whoopie pies. YUM!
Looking forward to:
*Christmas parties we have coming up. Can't wait to hang with some friends and also with our church staff (who are our friends too of course)
*Spence preaching on December 18
*Christmas services at the Summit. We are having 5 services between the 22, 23 and 24. You can get more info at http://www.christmasatthesummit.com/.
Yes, we have been playing the "name that baby" game around this house since we found out baby girl was a girl in October. Spence and I even went on a date to name her and I promised we could get him his iPhone if we did it. Well, none of the stores had the phone in stock and we didn't get her named that night. After having a list of names on my phone and asking the boys what we should name her, we have decided on a name. Zeke had suggested fish, house, flashlight, and car. We opted to not go with any of those.
We are happy to announce that we will be naming our sweet girl Elizabeth Mae. Elizabeth means "promise of God". It was also my Grandmother's name. Mae is from Spence's Grandmother. We also like that Mae is spelled similar to Rae. I think it's a sweet thing for our girls to share that.
We will be calling her Ellie. I know, I know so flipping cute, huh? I can't wait to see our sweet Ellie's face. You should hear Zeke and Ben talk about her and call her by name. It's making it all very real that we are about to bring some pink in our dirt filled boy world :)
Zeke went to his first ever Carolina game a couple weekends ago. We have friends who have season tickets in the blue zone (apprarently a really cool thing with free food and great seats). So, Spence and Zeke met up with them and enjoyed a beautiful day (they left before the game ended so to them it stayed beautiful). Zeke was a hit with the crowd around him. He enjoyed yelling the TAR-HEEL chant. He has been running around yelling some other chant that I can't quite make out. His favorite part was any kicking/punting. He has talked about it for days on end. I am only a bit jealous of Spence getting to share this day with him, I am more excited for the future fun times they are going to get to have.
So, round two of potty training a boy began a couple weeks ago. I wasn't sure how Ben would take to my method I used with Zeke. After day 1 we were both so worn out I didn't want to try for day 2. It has taken a bit more motivation for Ben (bribery of chocolate hasn't really been enough for this boy). On the flip side though, it has been easier in some ways. He has woken dry from naps and nights (he is still in a diaper for those) the past 3 days. It took Zeke 6 months and me just taking the dipes away to get him off that crutch. Ben has learned to pee on command when we take him, he is only averaging 1 accident a day and it is a poop accident so I don't even really count it. He isn't telling us before he has to go yet, so we have to stay on top of how long it's been and what he has had to drink. But I think we can safely say I have 2 potty trained boys!!!
We always read on the potty
Please notice Zeke being the proud big brother in the background (he has been the biggest supporter of Ben's pt-ing I think)
Do you see that tiny little toosh?!
So proud of his undies!!!
There's always a naked escape while in serious training... like any good mom I grab the camera instead of clothing