My parents got Cardinals game tickets for all of us for Christmas this year. We went today and had so much fun. I love football and enjoy any kind of a stadium football game (and while it wasn't Mile High Stadium :) the company was even better). We laughed so hard throughout the whole day. Random funnies: My sister's "overly enthusiastic fan" routine, Matt and Melissa ducking away and making me think I lost them in the crowd when I stopped to check the score of a different game - haha guys, Marky's sunglasses, Matt trying to convince me to army style crawl under a pylon, and so many more. I would have some memories of Mark and Troy but they were . . . . oh yeah, up in the private lounge - toughing it out!! Very fun! I love my brothers and sister. Thank you mom and dad for a really great day! (and thank you Buzz and Billie for keeping the kids)
Christmas for us is a bit of a nonstop marathon of houses and family events. This year's schedule: Christmas Eve lunch at Buzz and Billie's house, Christmas Eve dinner with all the Kronwald extended family at Mom & Dad's, Christmas morning stockings at home, breakfast with my siblings at Mom & Dad's, quick Christmas lunch at Gram's with the Nothum side, a trip to Camp Verde for the Boyd family celebration and a final trip back to Gram's the day after because we didn't have enough time to exchange gifts with her on Christmas Day. Whew!
We used to say, "we are NEVER doing this much in two days again". I don't really feel that way anymore. I love how much my boys enjoy being with all of the different groups of family. We have an amazing family and there is not one stop that I would want to miss or want the boys to miss. Of course it is never without some casualties . . . this year's mishaps were the banged up Acura/the mailbox that took the blow and a banged up Grayson - he fell and was left with a very bloody mouth and nose. He woke up pretty upset about 2 am and I did not know what to do for him - crying and keeping everyone else up was not an option. I considered driving him around in the car, but the 15 degree temperatures were a deterrent. I pulled him into bed iwth me and pulled a huge blanket up over him and he was asleep on my should in about 3 seconds. He pretty much slept on my until about 5:45 am. As a one time event - I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy my snuggle!
This was the first year that I can remember my boys 'anticipating' Christmas morning so much and were SO excited when they came in our room in the morning. When I tucked Davis into bed on Christmas night (on a couch in Camp Verde) he said, "Mom, this is like the MOST fabulous day of my whole life!". I chuckled at my dramatic kid, but seriously, to him, at that moment, he could not think of a better day - that is a success in my book! Our family hopes that you too enjoyed a very Merry Christmas!! (Below you can choose to endure a flood of pictures from all these events that I really want for photobook purposes:)
Random Christmas funnies:
Parker: (when opening one of our nativity advent calendar doors - he pulled out a donkey) "Oh, look, Eeyore was in the Christmas story!"
Parker: (reading a Christmas story book - page of the 3 Wise men and they were giving Jesus gifts that were a metallic paper in the book) "Oooh, yeah, the wise men brought some Kryptonite". (laughed hard about that one)
Davis: (handing Mark a WRAPPED gift) "Here Dad, can I help you open your new shaving kit?" - way to keep it a surprise buddy!
Davis: (in Camp Verde after Erin let him play with some of her old Star Wars toys) "Mom, I didn't really have anything to play with in Camp Verde until . . . Dum , Dum, Da Dum, Dum Da Dum, Dum Da Dum." (singing the Darth Vader song - maybe you had to be there - SO FUNNY)
Driving home on Christmas Eve, we were talking about the fruits of the Spirit and how when the Holy Spirit lives inside of you, you can see Him coming out of your actions and attitudes. (This whole conversation stemmed from some things my Dad said to everyone Christmas Eve before we read the Christmas story - very cool to me.) In the car, Davis said, "When will I be ready?" (Me: For what?) "To have God the Holy Spirit living inside of me?" I prayed with him right then that God would give him a genuine desire for a relationship with Him and that in His timing would give Davis a heart that is committed to Him. To be clear, Davis didn't make any commitments out loud or anything but I was so encouraged to see God possibly growing in him that desire. I know that a true desire for Him can only come from Him - there is nothing more I would ever want for my kids. This was such a sweet conversation to have on Christmas Eve and a sweet reminder of the greatest gift worth celebrating - my God who loves me and was born to live and die for me. We continue to pray that God would grow desires for Himself in all three boys.
Family photos can be a dreadful experience. Lucky for me, my super talented cousin is willing to do our family pictures for us every year! There is a slide show on her blog if you are interested. You can link to it on the right - One 3 Photography. Thank you Kelly. We love you!
Check out my sweet baby boy/super handsome child model . . . I know, I know . . not biased at all. My cousin is the best ever, but it must help a little bit when the kid is SO PRECIOUS :) Grayson can be 'finicky' about people (I'll just leave it at that) and he actually loves Kelly - lets her carry him around and everything - so she can get some great pictures of my baby boy.
I love so many things about this season and one of the things I really love is traditions. I love the old ones that we try our hardest to keep so our kids can experience them too and I love the new ones that we are creating with our family that the boys will hopefully grow to expect and enjoy.
I take a picture by our tree shortly after we get it up and decorated and then have it made into a porcelain ornament. It is my favorite set of ornaments to put on the tree because I get to see their little faces from the previous years - so precious! This picture is the keeper for this year.
Another tradition I love is our advent calendar. I have a very cool advent calendar that has little doors with a magnetic manger scene in the middle. They open a door each night and there is a character piece inside so that on Christmas Eve we have assembled the entire Christmas nativity. We also read the Christmas story together when we open the little doors. When we were talking it about it last night . .
Me: So who is Jesus' daddy?
Me: So who is Mary's husband?
(he was channeling TJ's love for Moses - haha)
I am also a sucker for all the old Christmas movies. My kids love them so we bust those out after Thanksgiving and watch a movie together as a family a couple times a week before bed. Even my hubby loves the old school Grinch movie or Frosty the Snowman.
We also sing Christmas songs before bed instead of their usual favorite bedtime songs. Davis loves this and sometimes asks for these songs year round (which is kind of okay with me:) Their favorites are Silent Night, Away in the Manger, and Hark the Herald Angels Sing.
We have some other things that we try to do in the month of December like looking at Christmas lights, making hot chocolate at night and going to Zoo Lights. I love this time of year. It is all about Christmas over here!!
I don't really have any good pictures of Thanksgiving because I didn't have a camera with me but I stole this one from my Uncle Mike. We had a very pleasant, uneventful Thanksgiving which is a success in my book. It has become our tradition to have an early Thanksgiving dinner on Tuesday night with Mark's parents and then we eat lunch on Thursday with my Nothum side of the family. This is fabulous because you get to eat that fantastic meal twice without trying to pretend you enjoy eating it twice in one day!
One of my most favorite traditions is making the turkey with my Gram. It started nine years ago when I lived with my Gram for a couple of years before I got married. Every year since, I have gone to her house very early in the morning to get the stuffing made and the turkey in the oven. I love being apart of that family tradition, I love hearing her tell me the same stories every year about how much stuffing my Grandpa wanted inside the turkey, and I love making recipes with her that are family favorites. I know those are memories that I will always hold close to my heart.
This time of year I am always very mindful of how thankful I am for my family. God has blessed me and my kids with the most amazing extended family. At the very foundation of our family is a unity that we have through salvation in Jesus and for that I am most thankful!
Davis' favorite thanksgiving food this year was ham ("pink meat" - I always forget he like this), sweet potatoes and sweet rice. Parker can never, ever have enough sweet rice (smart boy) and Grayson had a little bit of everything - he isn't overly opinionated yet. I think if he appeared to like anything above the rest it would have been the fruit platter . . . next year we will work on making the stuffing his fave!
We had a particularly nice weekend this weekend. It was much busier than the usual Filleman pace, but tonight Mark and I both commented that it was just a nice weekend. Saturday, while I threw a baby shower, the boys got to spend the entire day with Mark's extended family - center of attention - their fave! Saturday night we had more cousin fun at Eli's birthday dinner and today we had a really pleasant afternoon with family and friends at an outdoor wedding. In any other circumstance, a wedding with all three boys would probably never have been described as "pleasant" but an outdoor wedding, on a beautiful day, surrounded by wonderful people, with hay rides and tractors to entertain the boys made for a really great afternoon. Davis was actually interested in the "wedding" part. During the ceremony he was full of questions: "Why is her white dress so puffy? THAT is what Eli wants to do?? (haha) Who will go next, do we all have to go up there to get married? Why did Grayson just eat your make-up puff? (uh huh, awesome!)"
I don't always see it - but Grayson's expression and chubby little face in this picture looks a lot like my baby pictures to me.
This will be my last soccer post for a while - promise :) The last game was last week and the team had a party at PPP afterward. The boys had the best soccer coach. He didn't even have a kid on the team and he did such a great job of giving the boys some skills and primarily helping them to learn to enjoy the sport together. Davis loved all the different game style drills at practice. At the award ceremony they received a trophy but he also made special certificates for each kid, with a team nickname and their best attribute on the field. I know each kid felt special and each of the awards was so appropriate.
One funny (somewhat soccer related) story: After one of the games in the car . . .
D: "Great news Mom, I think Coach Travis knows God"
Me: "You do, Why do you think that?"
D: "Well, he was talking about Him."
Me: "Oh, (in my head, hmmmmm) what did he say?"
D: "He said, God made dirt and dirt is okay" - pretty sure that is D's version of the cliche "dirt don't hurt" :)
I tried not to laugh!
Davis was so proud of his trophy. His award says: Davis "Mr. Competitive" (hmmm, yet appropriate) and his award was for "most coachable player" - I'm very proud! Coach Travis said that when they would tell Davis to do something on the field he would always do it.
All three boys with their awards . . . great season! Come on Johnsons, play in the spring :)
My oldest nephew Eli turned six-years-old last week. I love all my nieces and nephews tremendously and I have especially memorable memories of the day Eli was born. There was quite a heard of us gathered in the hall waiting to meet my sister's first baby. I was working at an office close by and would often bring my lunch to Liss' house to hang with baby E for a while on my lunch break. I appreciate tons of things about Eli, but to name a few . . . in true first-born fashion, he does a great job of caring for all the little guys and he sets a great example for them, he is super sweet to Grayson, at a very young age he has a really great understanding of God's Word and applies it (SO super encouraging to me as a parent to watch God work in his heart) and he is always good for an awesome camera pose!! Recent, "so Eli" story: I was at my mom's while she had all the kids and she was trying to round up all the Filleman and Johnson boys for dinner in the kitchen, moments after sitting down Eli is out of his seat and in the kitchen. My mom says, "E come get in your seat". Eli says, "but I was just trying to serve you and aunt shell, you guys don't have any water and all the kids have water" - precious boy - "just trying to serve you" - cracks me up!
Family fun at the State Fair! Yes it is dirty and the same price as a ticket to Disneyland - but the kids had a really fun time. We got to see lots of animals - Grayson of course loves seeing and petting animals - and we rode a couple of rides. Our friends the Moores met us downtown. It was fun to get to do something together with their family. This is the crazy slide ride that both the boys rode. They thought it was great fun - I was glad Mark was willing to go twice because it was a little too high for me. The kids would have been happy to ride this thing all night long. Grayson got to ride a bumblebee ride and all the boys enjoyed corn dogs. Those things kind of gross me out, but Grayson thought it was pretty wonderful.
Parker was walking with my mother-in-law the other night and Parker was saying something about being scared:
Billie: Parker, we don't have to be scared, Jesus is with us.
P: NO he is not Grammie.
Billie: Well yes he is (you can just hear her voice - totally unsure why my son seems so adamantly opposed to the idea)
P: No he is not with us, because he has to come back someday, so he can't already be here!
As I mentioned before, Davis has been really trying to get his mind around the idea of Jesus coming back someday. Parker has never even engaged in the conversations at all . . . guess he is listening :) Of course we pray like crazy that when Jesus does come back, our little boys' hearts are ready!
This is just another classic way God is using my children to complete a work in me . . . This past Saturday my attitude was less than Christ-like (and by "less than" I mean MUCH "less than" . . as you will see . . .
In the midst of my grumbling in my head, Davis brings me his Bible and says, "Mom will you help me?". Already realizing I need this more than he does, "Sure buddy, what do you need?" Davis says, "I'm just looking and looking in here for a verse about happy hearts so I can show it to you . . . can you find one?" Yes, good idea indeed. I wish that I would have been modeling a better attitude but I am grateful he could tell my b.a. was in contrast to God's Word . . . looking on the bright side here folks!
And finally, Davis' introduction to the kindergarten we might send him to . . . We went to Eli's school for a jog-a-thon and Davis was super excited about cheering for him. He was asking 100 questions per minute on the way there about how fast the race would be, would there be a finish line, would they blow a horn, would E win a trophy . . the list goes on. Anyway, when we are on the sidelines before they start the race, Davis yells, "You HAVE to win Eli - just shove down all the kids that are in your way!!!!" Awesome! A proud moment indeed - maybe a good time to go meet the one and only kindergarten teacher . . and maybe I'll just save that intro for another time :)
We had a great time celebrating Halloween. We carved pumpkins at my mom's annual pumpkin carving party, trick-or-treated with cousins and friends and then spent time walking around in our own neighborhood. Random Halloween shots:
Davis with Papa
Getting some candy
Logan and Parker - looked so cute together!
The clan before heading out to trick-or-treat
My super cute cheetah
the boys dressed up
a cousin picture - all the boys plus cousin Dillon as James the train
Mark carving his huge pumpkin - sadly the only picture we took together at Halloween . . or in a while for that matter . . oops!
I am a mom and a wife. I know that those two things are the greatest blessings God could have possibly given me. I have three wonderful little boys that bring joy, entertainment, laughter, unconditional love, lots of energy and occasional moments of trauma to our home. Davis was born in January 2005, Parker was born in February 2007 and Grayson was born in August 2008. God also blessed me with a wonderful husband who keeps me grounded in the midst of what is sometimes of whirlwind of chaos. He is a great dad to his sons and a wonderful friend to me. I am cannot comprehend God's continual blessing to our family, much less His amazing saving grace. I can only be thankful and pray that God would make me more and more aware of His greatness.
Psalm 100:5 For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting, And His faithfulness to all generations.