Monday, December 21, 2015

Family Filled Weekend

This weekend can be summed up in the following: Family, family, friends, and more family.

Our siblings have started to arrive for Christmas, and it made for a busy weekend! Really it started with my brother arriving in the middle of the week last week, and we were able to enjoy a big family dinner on Thursday evening with everyone but my youngest sister. Nathan hasn't been back to the East Coast since last Christmas, so it had been awhile since he'd seen Noelle and Jonah. I took them over to my mom's during the day, and Nathan got to play trains with them and see Jonah at his finest (and by finest, I mean Jonah was being pretty cranky and threw some good toddler tantrums!)

Saturday afternoon we spent time with Luke's family as two of his sisters got into town. Luke doesn't have any time to take off since he just started his new job, so we're trying to spend as much time with them as we can. On Christmas day, everyone will be here, as well as three dogs- which Noelle and Jonah will love.

Saturday evening we got to hang out with one of my best friends, Kate, and her parents. We went over to their house for dinner and got to catch up. I hate that she and her husband moved away, but I'm excited that she's getting to pursue her dream of PT school, and that they love where they live. Kate's parents have known Luke and me since before he and I started dating, so it was fun to catch up with them as well.

Sunday after church, we headed to Annapolis to meet my uncle and his wife for lunch. We only see them once in a while, so it was good to catch up. And I love Annapolis! It's been awhile since I've been down there, and had it been a little bit warmer, I would have liked to walk around and see everything that was going on.

Once we got back from Annapolis, we had Luke's brother and his wife over. It's so fun seeing Debbie pregnant and I cannot wait for my little niece to be born! What a blessing and answer to prayer! I got to talk pregnancy with Debbie, and it was so good to hear how everything is going for her and talk about what they've done to get ready and what they still have to do. They brought their dog, Nola, with them, and Noelle and Jonah had a blast with her!

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Toddler Life

Grocery shopping with two toddlers is becoming increasingly more difficult. There was one night when Luke and I took them out to grab some groceries, and even with both of us there, we knew we were going to have to throw that plan out the window. I took the kids out to play in the van while he quickly finished and checked out. When one of us takes just one child, it always seems to go so much more smoothly. But when both littles are there, one or both want to be out of the cart, or both want to be carried, or they cry when they want something and we say no. The other day, I ran out to Walmart to pick up a few things for our MOPS play date, and I one point I turned around to Jonah carrying a giant box of goldfish. And then in the produce section, I heard a Walmart employee say "Oh, you must like tomatoes"- and there's Jonah, putting his mouth all over a tomato. Needless to say, that tomato is now sitting my fridge waiting to be used.

I most definitely do not have this motherhood thing down, but in talking with most of my mama friends, none of us really do. I know I'm learning as I go, and I feel like I could always be doing better. One thing that I seem to forget over and over again is that I have to learn to let my plans go sometimes. I try to make sure I do fun things with the kids, but sometimes, those fun things just turn into not fun for anyone things.

For example, one of the activities on Christmas countdown (that was pulled from Pinterest) was to make a cranberry and popcorn garland. I didn't have cranberries on hand, so decided we would just make it a popcorn strand. Easy enough, right? The plan was to do it during Jonah's nap time, Noelle could hand me pieces of popcorn while she ate the rest, and I would string them onto the thread. We could talk about what she learned in school or about her friends or whatever she wanted to talk about. Fun for both of us, right? Nope- she kept getting the thread tangled in the strand of popcorn I was stringing, the popcorn kept breaking, she lost interest after about 2.5 minutes, and then Jonah woke up and only wanted to be held. So everything got put in the trash. Oh life with toddlers.

BUT I am so thankful that I get to do this motherhood gig, and that these two littles are ours to raise!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Christmas Cookie Baking

The last few days Jonah has been a bit of a mess, or "extra special" as Luke would say. He's been super whiny, and only wants me (and has now started calling me mommy.) He walks around saying "mommy, mommy, mommy", and will come grab my hand or pull on my clothes to drag me to wherever he wants to go. I am trying to be sure that I find a balance of doing things with him, sitting on the floor playing and reading with him, but also making him realize that he will have to wait if I'm eating dinner or talking to Luke. Well, at our small group on Sunday evening, Luke shared all of this as a prayer request, stating that Jonah was being "extra special." Right after Luke said that, Jonah piped up with a very emphatic "Yeah!" He's a stinker and he knows it!

This past Saturday was the day my mom had scheduled out for us weeks ago to do our traditional cookie baking and exchange. My mom, both my sisters, my mom's best friend Kitty, and Kitty's friend Anne were all there this year. I think between the six of us, we all went home with over 12 dozen cookies. So much sugar and butter! And so many yummy cookies.

Noelle came with me, while Jonah stayed with Luke (such a nice break, and apparently he was really good for Luke!) Noelle helped some, but spent a good amount of time playing with Becky's old dollhouse and the new train set my mom got for the kids. Noelle has been a part of our Christmas cookie baking and exchange since she was born, and I hope the tradition continues!

After baking most of the day, my parents and Becky watched the kids so that Luke and I could go to a Christmas party some of our friends invited us to. It was so nice being able to hang out with friends, eat delicious food (I was already stuffed from all my cookie sampling!), and have some kid-free time.

December is busy, and it's been a lesson to me that it's okay to say no to some things. We missed out on a few other events on Saturday, but you can only do so much. One of the things we talked about in my one MOPS group was that when we say no to something, we're saying yes to other things, and we have to weigh what our needs and our family's needs are. The example the speaker used was that when we said yes to being at MOPS that day, we were saying no to doing laundry or running errands. Rest is needed, time with family is important, and in this season, focusing on why we celebrate Christmas needs to be a priority.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Santa and Our Tree

I absolutely love Christmas, and I have to say I love it even more now that we have children! And especially now that Noelle is a bit older and understands things a little more, it's fun getting her involved and excited about the holiday.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving we went out to get our tree (I love to have it up for as long as possible before Christmas, but am usually more than ready to take it down by January 1st!) Our plan had been to meet up with some friends and their baby girl to go to a tree farm and cut down trees. Unfortunately, the day before had been pretty wet, and it was still overcast and little drizzly, so we decided to just head up to Home Depot and pick one out from the lot. Cheaper and less time in the cold! Noelle was so excited to help us get it set up and put on the decorations. And Jonah loved seeing it all put together when I brought him down from his nap.

We made a little red and green paper chain to count down until Christmas, and as I was making it, we added an activity on the chains to do each day. The first day was working on a puzzle while watching a Christmas movie, the second was writing a letter to Santa, the third was learning about Saint Nick. I had a meeting the one night, but Luke found the Veggie Tales version of the Saint Nicholas story and told me that Jonah and Noelle both enjoyed it!

Noelle told me what she wanted written in her letter to Santa- a replacement for the Mickey Mouse pop up/music book that had been ripped, and an umbrella of her very own. So fun hearing what is on her little mind about what she wants! (And thankfully both are on Amazon!) Of course when I took the kids to see Santa the day before Thanksgiving, neither wanted anything to do with him, and the picture turned out too hilarious to not buy!

We also are trying to spend time focusing on the true meaning of Christmas, and have been reading exerts from the Storybook Bible and from a few Christmas books we have with the nativity story. I really don't know how much Noelle understands at this point, if she's able to differentiate between things that are just stories versus the truth that Jesus is God and came as a baby. But I'm praying that at least a seed has been planted, and that God will pursue her little heart and draw her to Him!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 Fun!

Thanksgiving 2015 was full of fun and sunshine! We spent the day with the Perrault side of the family with all the usuals there- plus my sister's in-laws. It was a full day, and we had hoped that Jonah would nap at my mom's, but he was much too distraught about missing all the action, so he pretty much survived on the 10 minute car nap he took on the way to their house. And really didn't do too bad, considering!

Noelle loves hanging out with her aunts, and in my old room/Becky's old room, my mom has jars of various stones and beads that Noelle likes to empty out and put back into the jars. And Jonah also is starting to enjoy doing it. We sit on Becky's old bed, pour out a jar, and try to count out each thing as we plop it back in. It usually ends up with things all over the place!

It was a warmer day and so we were able to spend time outside playing with bubbles and chalk. Jonah was basically drinking the bubbles, and Noelle was bossing Uncle Jason around telling him what to draw with the chalk. We played some Ring Around the Rosie and watched Jonah and Noelle tackle each other in the grass. Oh life with children!

Luke and I were in charge of bringing salad- and we made way more than was needed. We just wanted to make sure there was enough- and we always say it's better to have extra than not enough. Am I right? When things were getting put away after dinner, one of the bowls of salad we had brought disappeared. We could not find it, and it wasn't until later on the next day that my parents found it in a drawer in their fridge. At least it was found and not rotting away somewhere!

The food was of course delicious, but everything was made better by some fun family news! I love that we live close to both our families, and that we are able to continue to build adult relationships with our siblings. Even though Luke's siblings are a little more widespread, and my brother is out west, we still love being a part of their lives and continuing to grow with them.

On Friday, we did a Chinese food Thanksgiving dinner with Luke's family- his parents, Lydia, Ruth, and Max. There was so much good food- all homemade- and of course, leftovers of the salad we made for Thanksgiving with my family. Noelle and Jonah were a bit picky about the food (surprise, surprise) and don't seem to be quite embracing their Chinese heritage. We'll have to work on that one!

On our table, we had a little Thanksgiving tree that I made during one of my MOPS meetings. Noelle told me what she was thankful for and we wrote them on the little hanging leaves. This year she was thankful for Roxy and Zipporah, Mommy and Daddy, "my baby Jonah", and her friends. Granted some of those may have been decided by my prompting...