Friday, December 28, 2007

WAHOO!! Christmas 2007

Now for the Christmas post. Go me, I am actually posting when I said I would. Warning, I got carried away, this is a long one, (with lots of pics), but it's Christmas, so get over it ;)

To start, we have pre-Christmas pictures that are just to dang cute to not put on here. Michael has a super soft and oh-so-cute Santa hat (among other cute holiday hats we have collected over the years). In the picture with Tyler you can see his attempts at smiling. He smiles and talks all the time now. Yesterday he was 3 months old. Where has the time gone? He is adorable and we love him to pieces. Both older boys love to hold him and are getting pretty decent at it. With all the not growing issues we had in the beginning, he sure is growing now. We can't wait to see what the doctor says at his next appointment.

Now for the actual Christmas part.

We made the boys wait until we were ready. It was more like until I was ready. I had to unload the pictures from the camera before the fun could begin. Michael was asleep for the beginning of the fun, but he did come join us later.
Thomas was so excited to discover a camera hidden inside the wrappings. We figured if he likes to see pictures so much, and he loves to play with Aunt Amanda's camera (she lets him), why not. So he spent much of the day playing photographer. We had to keep cleaning off the random pictures to make room for more. Really, random, he was taking pictures of the floor while he was walking. He got some really cute CLOSE ups of Michael that we may put up later. You are not mistaken, that is a cookie my kid is eating for breakfast. Hey, it's Christmas for goodness sakes.
Uncle Doug, Aunt Kristen and company sent fun games for the kids and these adorable towels. I love the Jerry face in this one, even though Thomas looks drunk. They ran around in their costumes until I took them away to wash them. I am thrilled to have hooded towels for the boys. We had a baby one, but they are obviously a bit big for those now. Thanks Ohio folks for the fun and useful goodies!
Michael's box was almost as tall as he is. I just thought it was funny.
So, Michael needs to grow up a little bit before his gets lots of use, but he is still a cute little birdie.
The Ohio crew also sent a super soft little dog for Michael. He is little, and adorable, and did I mention soft? Every time I rubbed it on his face he would smile and start talking again. He has already puked on it, but that is proof that he uses it. Tonight he was snuggling and trying to eat it again. We love the little baby size goodies people give us. I don't know where all you guys find them, but don't stop :)
Lolly gave both of the boys books, imagine that. Hmmmm, where did that love of reading come from? Is something like that genetic? Mom has this amazing knack of finding things that are different, fun, and adorable. This time it was a bowling set. There are six pins that are different animals. They make one of three different sounds, and the ball jingles. You can do all kinds of activities, like matching the sounds in pairs, doing "Old MacDonald," and of course bowling. Both boys have had a blast with these. Did you know that bowling has cheerleaders? At our house there are. "YAY JERRY!!!"

This year we tried something new. Tyler and I did not do gifts for each other. Instead, we helped put together boxes for the homeless. Our ward supports this each year and had a large goal of 100 boxes this year. We were able to provide simple necessities to those who might not otherwise have them. They would appreciate a hat and gloves, shampoo, toothbrush, soap, chapstick and other items far more than we would appreciate something that takes up space. We involved the kids, so we were able to teach them as well as help others. It was truly a blessing to all of us to help with this project.

We had the missionaries again. The tradition started while my brother was on his mission. We hoped someone was taking care of him, so we try to take care of ours around here. We try to have the missionaries over for holidays and give them the family experience they probably miss. Of course, after our house, they may not miss the family experience as much. Sounds like a win-win situation to me.

Most of you may recall the wonderful Thanksgiving experience one of out missionaries had. He earned the name "Elder Ralph," among others. BTW, he went home December 3, but his legacy lives on. Before they crew got here, they apparently had bets on who would puke first. I have a feeling this story is going to be around for a while. "You're going to the Holmes? Dude, did you hear about the Elder who puked at their house?!?" Needless to say, there was lots of encouragement all around to keep eating more and more. No puking this time, thank goodness. Does that mean I win the bet?

One of our missionaries is a Marine. I will leave the story there and let your imagination run with how much Tyler enjoyed him. The rest of us heard "blah blah blah" or maybe it was the "wah wah wah" of the teacher on Charlie Brown. Whatever. They enjoyed each other, and that is important.

Missionaries got stockings from the ward and played with the kids all day. They also talked to their families for hours between them. Mom's car broke down on their way home and I had to go rescue them. Next thing we knew, I was cooking a huge pot of chili to feed everybody. Yup, two meals and lots of fun later the missionaries went home. We all had a blast and hope everybody else did too. Tired mommy, somewhat cleaned kitchen, taken down tree and decorations, and a couple more phone calls to our families, and we finally crashed.

We are so grateful for this Christmas season. It gives us a chance to focus on the birth of Christ and what it means for us. There are also more opportunities to serve others. We have wonderful families that we love and who support us in our doings. This year we really tried to focus on others and to stay away from the commercialism of the season. I think we were successful and the holiday was better for it.

We hope all of you had as much fun as we did. We wish we could all be together with friends and family, but I don't know of a place big enough to hold everyone we would want to be with. We are grateful for the season and the blessings that come with it. We are grateful for all that everyone has done for us. Soon we will see you again, but for now we will have to make do with pictures. We love you and pray for blessings for you!

One last note... CONGRATS TO MY COUSIN!!! We can't wait for July and the chance to meet the baby! Keep us posted.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Eve Fun 2007

For now, this will have to do.

We went to Charlotte (Waxhaw) for Christmas Eve to see Gingams at Uncle Clayton and Aunt Libby's house. The weather was incredible and we had lots of fun at the barn. Thomas was more interested in the cats and dogs than the horses and chickens. Jerry loved the horses and sat on a couple. He even sat without help from daddy and stayed up for a few steps. Spanky kept coming up to Jerry to say hi. Michael loved being outside too.Thomas meets Spanky while Jerry watches from a safe distance.
Jerry sitting on Spanky

All three boys had lots of fun on the tree swing with Lolly. We have decided to sell the house, buy either an RV or a double wide, and park ourselves on the 26 acres of beauty. Tyler is really looking forward to the daily commute.
Tyler spent a good amount of time snuggling with one of the new puppies and trying to convince me that we need one too. Lindy is a couple weeks older than Michael. She is so cute. I don't do dogs, but she is sweet and adorable, I must admit. You can see how teeny she is by the size of Tyler's hand. I started to feel jealous that he snuggled and spent so much time with her. They even took a nap together. Good thing she stayed when we came home, that could have caused quite a few issues.
Not only do I not do dogs, or cats for that matter, but why get a dog when I have kids? Especially when those kids think it is great fun to hide and play in dog cages. Aren't the smiles proof enough? They played for quite some time, even trading cages back and forth. It is so nice to see my kids know how to share.After the drive home, yes we did a day trip, we stopped at Lolly's house for Christmas Eve. Chasing kids, taco soup, and the Christmas story (as wild as ever) and we were headed home. Santa spent time wrapping while Santa's helper talked on the phone.When I say wild, I mean it. This is just one little sample of the Christmas story with my family. Yes, the angel is sticking out of the stable. My sister is the master of getting the angel to stay on top of the stable. This year, we couldn't find a tack to stick the star, so we got creative. Te angel is balanced by her wings in the rafters. Here are some other samples for your enjoyment. Joseph traveled with his "exposed" wife. The wise guys came from the east. They brought gold, frankenstein, and fur. Christmas Adam is the day before Christmas Eve, it says in Genesis that Adam came before Eve. No, not all these came from little kids, most came from the big kids.

Just like we have Christmas Eve before Christmas day, the same goes for posting. For now, you get the fun of Christmas Eve, and tomorrow, if I am having a good day, you will get actual Christmas day.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Climbing the Walls

This is one of those days. Jerry is all but climbing the walls, and I am ready to follow suit. Of course Thomas wants whatever Jerry has, and Jerry isn't so good in the sharing department. Result... lots of tears and tantrums. I feel like a referee. Jerry has also learned to push the chairs to get what he wants. I have found him in the sink about to break my dishes, erasing my white board calendar and drawing on it (where he found a marker I'm not sure), trying to get water out of the fridge dispenser (I locked it after his first successful attempt today), standing inside the fridge getting food, in the dishwasher, and the list goes on. This morning Thomas got into the pantry, used a chair, put a stool on the chair, and got the package of Starburst that was hiding on the top shelf. I can barely reach that shelf on my tip toes except to put the foil up at the front.

I was also reminded why I hate going to the doctor. Yes, I took all three with me. Yes, all three made it home. Michael is doing great. We saw the same doctor that we saw every other day when he was born, and she was so excited to see him. His head and length (23.5 inches) are right on track. His weight, 12 lbs 5 oz, is a huge jump from last time. The doctor said he just proved to her that even babies with lots of trouble in the beginning can jump way up and surprise you. She was floored that he rolls over, until he did it for her. She says his motor skills are advanced and he is going to be crawling and walking early at this rate. I am afraid of early since Thomas and Jerry both walked at 10 months. On a sad note, Jerry has two ear infections, one with pus on his ear drum. Good news is the tubes have it draining out and down the side of his face, but it is still bad. One more of these and they are sending us back to the ENT to check the tubes and possibly get another set. Right on target for one of my kids. At least if we do another set I won't be in the hospital having a baby the same day. Small blessings.

Now that I have vented, I feel better. My kids may make me nuts, but they are good kids. I am lucky to have them and blessed that they are happy and healthy enough to make me crazy. Even when I am ready to quit, I can still be grateful for the blessing they are. The smiles and random hugs and kisses make everything better.

Not that this is new, but don't plan on a family Christmas letter. Not going to happen again this year. Maybe we will go for an Easter letter. That way you can all be surprised by one letter in the middle of the year, rather than ours getting lost in the midst of all the other letters that come at Christmas. Yeah, that's my plan, that's the real reason I don't send one out. Not that I am busy, or a slacker, or a procrastinator. No, I just have a different plan. I also have "some ocean front property in Arizona" and "if you'll buy that, I'll throw the Golden Gate in too."