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!
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.