Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dashing Through the Snow!

The day after Christmas we were still at my mom's so we did a little shopping for some after Christmas deals, and then we decided to hit the slopes!  Well, I should say slope.  On a sled, not skis.  (Those of you in Colorado are laughing!)  But really, this was the hill I used to go sledding on when I was a kid.  And it seemed big then.  And quite frankly, when you are flying down it in a sled with snow blowing in your face, it still seems ginormous (ok, I see the little red squiggly line, so that isn't a real word, but it describes how I felt about this hill!)  Especially taking my two (almost three!) year old down it.
Can you tell I was freaked out?? Ha!
 I hadn't been sledding is ages!  It was scary!  I couldn't get over the fact that the hill seemed just as huge as it had when I was a kid!  Either that or back then I was just fearless- Does old age make you more paranoid about things?  Ha!

Andrew had a ball.  The second we got to the bottom he'd squeal with delight and yell "AGAIN!?"  I couldn't believe he wasn't scared!  (Because I was!)

 You can tell we dressed for the occasion.  Who says jeans and tennis shoes aren't a good wardrobe for sledding?  Besides the fact that my pants were soaking wet, I'd say we did okay for not knowing we were going to be sledding!  At least we brought Andrew's snow pants.  No boots though, so we substituted for hiking boots...close enough, right?  Yeah, we left his boots at day care.

Oh, and why were my pants soaking wet (in case you are wondering), it was because when we hit full speed and I somehow couldn't figure out how to steer a sled, I thought it would be a good idea to put my feet down in the snow to try to slow us down.  You would think the first time I tried it and it didn't work, I would have learned?  Nope.  Did it every time.  I made daddy go down more.  Plus, he figured out how to steer!  Apparently you can just tilt your body the direction you want to go?  Hmmm.  I am wondering when he had time to figure that out as you're racing down the hill at 90 MPH (ok, maybe not that fast, but it sure feels like it!)

Andrew found this snowman and his attention became diverted from sledding.  He wanted to hang out with this snowman the whole night.  He kept patting it and just standing there staring at it.  I think he thought it was supposed to do something?  (Too much Frosty the Snowman this year!)

I absolutely love this picture.  For several reasons (besides the fact that Andrew is smiling so adorably cute!)
That is my dad's headstone in the background (I won't try to explain which one it is, but it's there).

When I was growing up, my dad used to take my friends and me sledding all the time to this very hill (we call it "cemetery hill" because it is right by the cemetery.  Logical.)  I have such fond memories of doing this with my dad.  All my friends loved my dad growing up.  He was a likeable guy. :)  He made everything fun for us.

So when he passed away, it seemed appropriate that we get his cemetery plot near the hill where the kids would continue to go sledding every winter.  I love the idea of him being there, surrounded by the children that he loved.  (He was an elementary teacher and principal, and loved children, instilling that same passion in me).

And now, for me to take my own son sledding there, it was almost as if his grandpa was right there with us.  In fact, I know he was.

After sledding we headed back to Ga Ga's for chicken noodle soup before we finally made the trip back home after 4 days at Ga Ga's.  We had so much fun, but we were so excited to get home and get ready for Santa with Andrew.  I'll do our final Christmas post tomorrow!  (Scroll down for the first few posts).

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Day Memories

Thank you so much for all of your prayers for the Johnson Family.  They mean so much to us, as they treated Andrew like part of their family last year and we have traveled on this journey as heart parents together.  My heart just aches for them, as Josiah said his final goodbyes to his two beautiful children yesterday evening.

Things have really been put into perspective for me lately.  I know I shouldn't feel guilty celebrating Christmas and having my family with me, and I don't.  I am just reminded of the uncertainties of this life, and that none of us knows if our loved ones will be sitting by us next Christmas.  Each day is a gift from God, and only He knows what the future holds for all of us.  If anything, I have learned to hold on tighter to the ones I love, and strive to be a better wife, mommy, daughter and friend.

I am so in love with these boys!

We had a wonderful Christmas Day together at my mom's.  Someday I really want us to wake up at our own house on Christmas morning, and that had been my plan this year, but with the weather we decided to play it safe and stay at mom's.  So Santa came to Ga Ga's house, but we also had special plans for him to come again to our house when we got home Saturday night.  Andrew is still young enough not to know what day it is so he didn't notice!

We left all the paper out from Christmas Eve when Andrew was asleep and us adults opened our gifts.  I knew Andrew would wake up and LOVE to dive in all that paper!  When he spotted it he just dug right in!
He didn't even care there were no presents in this pile!
He got really into opening presents this year.  I wondered what he would do, because at home he pretty much ignores all the gifts under the tree, which is shocking I know! Ha!  He was so cute, once he got the hang of it, he'd rip the paper off, open the box and say "Oh WOW!"  It was so funny, he said it almost every time he opened something.
Here's my favorite story of the day care the week before Christmas the kids in the whole center (all ages) colored a picture of a present and there was a fill in the blank that said "What I want for Christmas is a __________."  The older kids wrote in their wishes, and the kids in Andrew's class told the teachers and they wrote it for them.  The day I went to pick him up I noticed all the pictures hanging up, and typical things kids wanted like a football, Spiderman, a race car or train.

Want to know what Andrew's picture said?

A Zebra!
This was so funny, because he absolutely cannot get enough of the movie Madagascar.  He loves all the animals in it, but the zebra is his favorite.  My mom found this zebra from the actual movie and couldn't resist getting it for him for Christmas (before we even knew it was his Christmas wish!)

So when we saw his picture, all we could do was just crack up.  The teachers weren't sure what he meant by "zebra" (I think they thought it was a little strange!) but we knew what he meant!  He was so happy when he pulled this out of that box- I'll never forget the joy on his face!
Andrew got lots of other nice gifts, too.  Like Sherriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear...

We were desperate to track down the actual Toy Story movies for him, since we knew he'd love them.  He's gotten really into movies lately.  After much searching, we discovered the movies are locked in the Disney vault until this fall.  Which is why I was surprised when my mom emailed me at school one day saying she had tracked down a copy of Toy Story 1 and 2, for cheap!  I couldn't believe it, because all the copies online that I could find were in the $50-$100 range (since they are always more expensive when the demand is higher).  I told her I didn't believe it- we figured she either wouldn't get them, or it wouldn't be the real movies or something.

Well, the movies arrived today, after a L-O-N-G time...

We just laughed and laughed when we saw this envelope came from Thailand!  It was probably illegal or something!  My mom is worried now they have her credit card number!  Lol!  Oh well, a certain little boy is just grateful for Ga Ga's persistence, because as suspected, he LOVES the movies!  And to think, they came all the way from Thailand!  Ha!

He also got his first remote control truck from Papa.  He especially loves it because it looks just like Papa's actual truck.
This picture makes me laugh- look at his hand on his hip!  I wonder where he gets that from?  Ha!  He was patiently waiting for daddy to get the truck out of the package.  Why do stores think they have to basically all but super glue the toys to the boxes??  It takes forever to take everything out and put it together!  Oh well, gives the daddies something to do, right?

 Thank you hug for Papa!

He also got some books- a Toy Story book and "If you Give a Moose a Muffin," complete with the Moose!

I just love this picture, because isn't this what it's all about?  Just relaxing, spending time with one another, reading the paper, drinking coffee and enjoying some leisure time?  And it just wouldn't be the same without Craig's festive Santa hat. (No, he didn't wear it to bed! Ha!)
And it wouldn't be Christmas without a little wrapping paper fight! (Craig started it!) Oh, and that is my new bedding I got from my mom.  I've had the same bedding on our bed since before Craig and I were married, so I was due!  I love it, it is chocolate brown, tan and favorite colors together!
We just spent the whole day watching Andrew opening gifts, taking breaks in between to make it last.  We had a delicious brunch (Papa made pancakes!) and later Andrew opened his stocking.  Have you ever seen such a big stocking!  It is bigger than Andrew!  His first Christmas he actually fit inside it (we have pictures!)

Andrew takes his movie watching very seriously.  Is Woody getting ready for an operation??

It was a very memorable day for all of us.  We enjoyed being together and relaxing, watching the snow fall.  That night we drove around to look at Christmas lights and came home for hot chocolate.  You just can't beat that!

And after a very busy and exciting day, Andrew nestled all snug in Ga Ga's bed, while visions of his special new treasures danced in his head.

Also, please pray for our heart buddy Logan who has a cath tomorrow in Iowa City!  Thank you!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Please Pray...

Tonight I am going to take a break from my streak of Christmas posts, because I just can't focus on anything but this family right now...

These are our friends, the Johnson's.  Andrew spent his days with them last year when I was working part time.  You may remember Andrew's precious little friend, Ava.  She is also a heart child who has had 3 open heart surgeries.  You can go back to this post to read more about Andrew and Ava's adventures.

Josiah (Ava's daddy) was diagnosed with sarcoma in the spring, and has just spent his last Christmas with his family.  They moved him to hospice the day after Christmas.

Please join me in praying for them.  I cannot begin to imagine what they are going through.  I know they would appreciate any support and encouragement.  Please leave them a message letting them know you are praying for them.  Thank you.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

All I Want for Christmas...

All I want for Christmas is snuggling in Ga Ga's bed with some cereal and my Sesame Street friends!

This was pretty much where Andrew wanted to sleep the whole time we were at Ga Ga's!  One day we let him nap in her bed and it was all over from there.  She even has a special little bed just for him at her house, complete with Thomas bedding!  Go figure.

As I said yesterday (scroll down if you missed the Santa post!) we left town a day ahead of schedule, to try to beat the snowstorm that was headed our way.  It was fun staying at my mom's an extra night.  She always makes it feel special to be home.  She made a delicious dinner- my favorite- beef stew!  So yummy!  We got in some extra shopping and visiting also, it was so fun.

We went to the Christmas Eve service at the church I grew up in (because Jesus is the real reason we were celebrating!)  Then we spent Christmas Eve as planned, with the Ellett side of the family.  This is my brother Tim with Andrew.  I just love spending time with Tim because he reminds me so much of our dad.  Andrew really took to Uncle Tim and wanted to spend a good portion of the evening on his lap!

Andrew even got "Kuncle Tim" to play trains with him!
My sister in law, Cindy, made us a delicious meal- ham with home made mac and cheese!  I hadn't had that in so long- it was so yummy!  Andrew had a great time playing with Tim and Cindy!  We think they are going to make awesome grandparents someday!  Ha!
This is their son (my nephew), Lindy.  It is always special to get to see him, and Andrew loved playing with his big cousin, too!
My niece, Mary, is in New York working so she couldn't make it home for Christmas.  We missed her so much!  She sent us all cards and drew Elmo on Andrew's card.  He carried it around the entire night.
Mary and Lindy are like the sister and brother I never had.  We grew up together, right down the street from each other.  I am so blessed to have them- it is almost better than a sister or brother- no fighting!  Ha!  Mary is also Andrew's godmother.  We wish she got to come home more often!

Here is Andrew opening up Mary's present- bear claw gloves!  He loved them!  He put them on right away and went "ROAR!"

Andrew got a really cool game from Tim and Cindy- called Animal Scramble.  It is so fun!  I highly recommend it!  It is perfect for kids his age.
You line up these little animals, and the giraffe talks and tells you which animal to "tag."  You can choose different games, so you can do it by color, animal name, etc.  Then it times you so you have to do it fast!  Andrew just loved it, and really caught on!

We went back to my mom's that night to open our presents from each other.  This picture cracks me up of Craig- he was in the Christmas spirit, with all his presents and Santa hat!  Ha!
This was my mom's tree before we all dug in!  (Most of the gifts were for Andrew!) Ha!
I love this lady!  My mom is absolutely without a doubt, the best mother on Earth.  She is exactly the kind of mother I want to be for Andrew.  She never puts herself first and is always thinking of others and what she can do for them.  She drops everything for us, anytime we need her.  Thanks for making Christmas so special, mom!
Christmas Eve 2009 

Christmas morning post is coming soon!  (I'm doing our Christmas posts separately so I can fit them all into one post!  Scroll down to see the first one)...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out!

That pretty much describes how our Christmas started out (although no Red Ryders were involved!)

Last Tuesday as I was frantically rushing around, trying to figure out what to pack, finish wrapping and baking and making sure I had everything crossed off my list as we decided to pack up a day early and head out to beat the storm... my little man decided to throw a wrench in the plans...

Whoever said getting ready to leave town was easy??
Andrew scared me to death when he was running around the house (big shocker) and slipped and fell into his toy bench.  Of course I was alone (Santa aka Daddy was out shopping!) and the blood wouldn't stop coming, so I drove him to urgent care, where we spent the next 2+ hours getting Andrew glued up (Santa met us there, thank goodness!)  We were a few drops of blood away from being shipped to the ER for sedation and stitches (because this was a trip to the doctor that Andrew did not find fun...they didn't even have suckers!)

Luckily they were able to get the bleeding to stop long enough to apply three layers of dermabond (glue) instead.  This was great timing I must say (just in time for Christmas pictures!)  So off to grandmother's house we went the next afternoon...I had planned to give the Santa thing one more try.  The mall in my mom's town is less crowded and rarely has lines for Santa, so I thought it might be calmer and Andrew would take to the big guy better.

Our experience turned out to be somewhat like Ralphie's experience in this movie...although Andrew was oblivious to the fact that his mama ended up getting yelled at by Santa and his elf!  Read on...

It started out like this:
Andrew had no intention of seeing Santa Claus (Daddy was thrilled too)... However, the pushy mama that I am (yes, I admit it), was insistent on at least trying (no one else was in line!)  So I edged towards the big guy and gave him "five," which immediately enticed Andrew to give it a try.
Santa reached out his arms and Andrew went right to him.  I couldn't believe it!  It was one of those moments I dreamed actual picture of Andrew with Santa, one where he's not screaming!  (Last year's picture was him giving Santa "five"!  No way was he going any closer than that!)

But Santa's Elf was determined to rain on my parade...It was right about the time I finished snapping this photo that I got yelled at...

 Apparently, there was a sign I ignored about not taking personal photos beyond a certain point.  What!?  Let me just say that Santa picked the wrong mama!  As the elf busily equipped her camera for the supposed perfect shot of Santa and my kid, she missed about sixteen adorable shots of him, grinning up at Santa with such love.  I was fuming mad.  Standing there with my camera in hand, unable to use it, was such a helpless feeling (I know, I am exaggerating somewhat, but I am pretty sure steam was coming out of my ears!!)  I begged her to take a picture.  Pleaded for her to let me take one with mine while she was fumbling around.  (Can you feel the suspense??)

I was completely livid by this point.  I tried to focus on the fact that after what seemed like five minutes, Andrew is still content as can be, sitting on Santa's lap.  He was happy as a clam, unaware that his mama was ready to go off the deep end.

Turns out the elf did get an adorable "cheesy" grin from Andrew, but the picture (which we reluctantly shelled out $11 for) was cheaply printed and overexposed...

Of course I complained about the quality of the photograph, and got nowhere.  I stewed over this for the rest of the evening.  By morning I still wasn't over it (I know, it's the little things...) so my mom and I headed back to the mall customer service.  It's the principle of the thing here people! (Because I know some of you can't believe I went to this great length!) You just don't get by telling me I can't take pictures of my kid, especially when elf wasn't doing her job and taking them herself.  Come on, you gotta capture the moment!

So as most of you know, I don't like to follow the rules.   Especially when it involves missing moments like this.

And this. (Enough said!)

*In case you are wondering, these were taken from the proper spot with my zoom lens and enhanced with my wonderful iphoto program.  No, we didn't get our money back for the above "professional" photo, and yes, Andrew loved adored Santa Claus!  But I'm pretty sure I'm now on Santa's naughty list.

And we think the pictures turned out splendidly...eye gash and all!

As a side note...I am going to need to do several blog posts about our Christmas week, because I can't fit everything we did into one (or even two!) posts!  And it's still not over yet.  In fact, the reindeer dust is currently on the lawn and Santa's already left cookie crumbs by the fireplace.

More tomorrow...
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