Thursday, December 29, 2011


This has been a very special Christmas for us. We are all together, finally settled in a location we will hopefully be in for more than 6 months. Jake is at such a fun age. He is exploring & starting to figure things out. Jake understands parts of Christmas, but not all. His school focused on the birth of Jesus instead of Santa Clause. They didn't "outlaw" Santa, they just didn't talk about him or make him the focus. We don't really have any Santa decorations, so while Jake knows who Santa is, he really doesn't understand that Santa comes & brings gifts. And that is fine with me. I know in the next few years, Santa will become a bigger deal to him. But right now, I'll take & cherish the fact that he could care less if Santa visited him or not and was more excited to talk about baby Jesus. I thought maybe after Christmas morning, when he saw the presents Santa brought, he would get it. He didn't. We asked him what Santa brought him & he said "nothing". We asked him who brought him those presents & he started naming his grandparents.  
Santa brought Jake 2 big gifts - a V Tech tablet (basically an iPad for toddlers) and a train table & track. We wanted a table that could grow with Jake & be used for things other than trains. My husband (a person after my own heart) couldn't find one in a store he liked, so he decided to make it. We finally fell into bed around 2:00 AM Christmas  morning. We really did feel like Christmas elves. We were not just putting together a child's toy, we were making it. (And when I say "we", I actually mean just Robbie. I was no help. I was up working on my own projects.)

There are actually lots of trains & a little city that goes with the train track, but Santa knew since we would be moving it to Jake's room after Christmas morning, he left those in the box.

Christmas Morning!
Jake Christmas Morning - I was sooooo excited to see what Jake thought when he saw all of his toys. He just kept standing in front of them looking at them, saying he liked it. Then he turned around & saw his old toys in a basket in the back of the room & proclaimed "oh my toys, I want to play with them!" and ran to them. We had to tell him he had to play with his new toys today. Once we got things out from under the tree, he started to slowly start playing with them. I guess it was a little overwhelming for him.
He is better than me on the tablet. I was having trouble just getting it to come on.

I actually made a breakfast dish for Christmas morning. It was my first time to bake from scratch. I'm not going to lie. I cannot taste the difference. Definitely going with the mix next time. 
The Bush's came over & saw Jake's gifts that Santa brought him. Then we headed down to Prattville to celebrate Christmas with my family.
Our family
Can you tell they were excited?
After the tornado went through
Nana & Gran's big gift to the grand kids was this McDonald's restaurant set. The kids were about as efficient and organized as most fast food restaurants are. 
My grandmother's sister, Aunt Virgina, gave the granddaughters some of her old wigs to play with. They reminded me of the Golden Girls.
The Hollon Family (can you tell a little boy who is over-stimulated?)
Some of Jake's favorite gifts....
He got a camera from Mimi & Granddad
My sister got Jake the cute pajamas that he is wearing in these pictures (which I love!). Her husband told her there was no way they were going to be the aunt & uncle that just bought their nieces/nephews clothes. So they ventured out to Target to purchase "fun" gifts. Well they succeeded. They got Jake a car that lights up, makes noises & drives off. It also has no on/off switch or volume control. I'll make sure he brings it to their house the next time he stays with them.
Cousin Jackson got Jake the Diesel's Thomas movie for his birthday. We've only watched it 100 times so far. A little 2 page flyer came with the DVD. Jake loves it & "reads" it all the time. He is so funny with it.
He got lots of cars for Christmas
I love to find the random places he will have them all lined up
My parents got him for his birthday the garbage truck from Toy Story 3 with a talking Lotso on the front. Love a gift that combines 2 joys... Garbage Trucks & Toy Story
For his birthday, Aunt Lindsey & Uncle Brooks got Jake a sword fighting costume. I was taking these pictures while sword fighting with him. (He only has 1 sword, which he always gets & whoever is fighting him, has to just fight with the sword holder.)

Mimi & Granddad got him a talking globe & karaoke machine
My parents got him a boxing Sponge Bob air bag & blowup gloves. It's hilarious to watch him box.
Jackson got Jake a paper foldup train track with miniture Thomas trains. Jake loves it.
My parents big gift to Jake was a grill. He is so excited about it, but it has been too cold & rainy to put it together & out by Dad's grill. Every time he sees it, he asks me if he can "cook it".

Another combination love of 2 things - Scooby Doo & Pirates
Jake still has some gifts that we are trying to space out & give him. I want him to be able to enjoy his gifts & not feel overwhelmed by too many at once. But he keeps finding them & insisting on opening them. So we do. He is a very lucky little boy to have so many people spoil him rotten.

Through all of the busy craziness of Christmas, we tried to stay true & focused on the reason we celebrate Christmas. How very lucky we are, that God gave his most precious gift, his son, a perfect being, to be born into a world full of sin, so that he could save us and give us eternal life.

How very lucky we are. 

Week leading up to Christmas...

Christmas Decor
One of the fun things about moving into a new house is finding the new places to decorate. I don't go overboard, but I do love a few & simple little Christmas decorations.
Front of our house
We kept it simple, just a few wreaths on the windows

We did not have close to enough ornaments to decorate the tree (the backside is completely bare). This tree was much bigger than what we've had in the past because we had more room. Add on top of that that when I opened the box, half of our ornaments were broken (completely our fault, when I packed them up 2 years ago, I wasn't packing them for a move). So it just looked a little sparse. I was too cheap to go buy more because I knew they would be on sale the week after Christmas.
Christmas Cards... LOVE!!

Jake loves the Little People nativity scene. I highly recommend it.

Jake is funny, one of the wise men is carrying what looks like a vase of gold. Jake thinks that it is a bottle for baby Jesus. He kept telling Jesus to drink his milk. He also gave all of the people their fair share of time on top of the manger where the angel is supposed to go.

Christmas Projects
A.K.A... things that take me twice as long as I think they will & twice as much money had I not just purchased them from the store.
The wall college that I made (with Robbie's help cutting the wood) for my mom

These stocking holders were a little harder to make then they looked in the picture, but worth it. Thanks again Robbie for being my saw man.

I'm starting to learn to applique. I love it, I just don't have much time for it. Plus I'm very slow at it because I have no idea what I'm doing.
(Note to self - start working on Christmas projects in September! Not the week of Christmas.)

Christmas at the Bush's
Robbie's sister & her family were staying in Chattanooga Christmas weekend, so they decided to come down to Birmingham the weekend before Christmas so we could do the Bush Family Christmas.
Jake loves his cousin Jackson. They played & played all day long.
Christmas Dinner Setting
Just a few gifts...

Jake liked to open gifts once they were started. But he would get hung up wanting to play with whatever he just opened.

Jake's Granddad Jake & GG Kathy gave him a Leap Frog touch screen. It just so happens, that is what we gave Connor for his birthday. When we bought it for Connor, Jake LOVED it. He cried when we wrapped it. So when he opened his very own, he kept calling it Connor's. He still calls it Connor's toy.

During the Week
Jake's school had their Christmas party on Tuesday, and then let out early. He'll be home with me for 2 weeks. Usually I like working the week before & after Christmas because the office is quiet and I can get a lot done. The last 2 weeks have been anything but quiet at work and having Jake home all day has made it, well.... interesting. He has popped in on a few conference calls, sent a few blank emails. We have ventured out a little though...
We went to the neighborhood golf course clubhouse & saw Santa. I think Jake was nervous for the elf woman.
It rained that day, so I let him put on his rain boots & go outside & play

Mommy birthday gift idea for Jake - a raincoat that fits

I really meant to put this photo on his birthday update but forgot. I wanted to remember all of the items that he just HAS to sleep with. These are the regulars - Hippo pillow, Pig, Curious George, Llama Llama, Puppy, Puppy's Sister, Buzz, Woody & T-Rex. Since Christmas, we've also added a talking Mator. These are just the regulars. Each night, there are about 5 extra guests that get an invite. Usually its cars, but sometimes it is a magazine, a plane, his socks. He is very random. After he goes to sleep, I go in & remove half of it & put it at the foot of his bed. When he gets up in the morning, it's his daily challenge to see how many of the items from his bed he can carry to our bed. Robbie & I love it when talking Mator wakes us up at 5:00 AM telling us he passed gas. And Mator does not talk in an indoor voice.

Cousin Photo Shoot
I have so much respect for photographers. That is one thing I could never do. Unfortunately, I don't have my act enough together to actually arrange for someone to come take pictures, so I get stuck doing it at the last minute. I was trying to get some good shots of the kids for my mom's Christmas present.

Jake, Maddox & Marrell
Sweet cousins. (What was really happening - Maddox was choking Marrell & Jake. Marrell was crying & trying to get away.)

Playing ring around the rosy. (What was really happening - they just liked to fall on the ground. And they got completely dirty doing so.)
Looking for adventure. (What they were really doing - trying to get away from me from taking pictures.)

 Laughing. (What they were really doing - about to throw leaves on me.)
 Going for a walk. (What they were really doing - Maddox was bringing back Jake from trying to run away.)
 Hugs. (What they were really doing - hiding under the covers, fighting and then popping out.)

Fighting. (What they were really doing - fighting. Jake & my dad love to play fight.)
Nana & her munchkins
Zoo Lights
Friday night, Robbie & I, along with the Bush's took Jake to the zoo to see the safari lights. He was very interested until he saw the train ride by. After that, there was nothing he wanted to do except ride the train. We had a lot of fun though & he seemed to really enjoy it.

Looking at the lights
Jake with Granddad & Mimi

Finally... on the train!

When you walked in or out, they had snow falling. Jake was very intrigued.
Merry Christmas from the Bush's!