Saturday, December 31, 2011

Another year has come and gone...

I am not usually too excited about New Year's. In the past I've had high expectations for New Year's Eve celebrations and more often than not they have not lived up to all I hoped for especially when I was in my 20s. And, it didn't matter if I was single or dating someone it ended up the same, another typical night and in some cases even worse than a typical night.

Now that I am older, married, and have a couple of kids New Year's is different for me. My bah-humbug attitude about the holiday has completely changed.  I'm not really interested in dressing up in something glitzy that I can't wear any other time of year, going to a great party with my significant other and sipping on champagne until midnight. I am more interested in what it all means. 

New Year's is a time for looking back on the previous year, a time to celebrate all the wonderful, amazing moments and events that happened during the year. It is also a time for mourning the sad, tragic, challenging events that happened or are ongoing. This time of reflection gives me peace and hope for the coming year. It is in this moment right now that I am looking back at 2011 with gratitude for the year I have had. A year of new beginnings, challenges, happiness, and sorrow. I pray that I will be blessed with another year filled with more new beginnings, more challenges, more happiness and more sorrow that will continue to teach, enrich, inspire, and ground me.

Happy New Year! I wish you and yours a happy and healthy 2012!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Blessings

Incredible Chase ready to save the world!
It is the day after Christmas and we are spending the day at home, thankfully we have no where to go. The aftermath of Christmas morning still all around us. Wrapping paper, cardboard boxes, toys upstairs and downstairs, and both boys still in their jammies. Although Chase has changed outfits a few times, from his new Batman jammies (thanks, Aunt JJ!) to his Mr. Incredible costume. He wore his new superhero costume all Christmas day, he was quite the sight at Christmas dinner. Although we are all exhausted we are still basking in the glow of another wonderful Christmas spent together.

Our first photo with Santa, much better than our second!
 We are truly blessed. Our Christmas was filled with all the things one dreams and hopes for on Christmas, wonderful family near and far, kids running about playing with toys as happy as can be, and just spending time together laughing, eating, and being merry.  There is always this huge feeling of joy and I must say relief when Christmas day arrives. All the hustle and bustle that goes into planning the perfect day for your family can be so rewarding, exhausting and overwhelming all at the same time. But nonetheless, we enjoyed all the events and activities leading up to the big day. 

Chase's Sing-A-long at school
Our days were filled with baking cookies, shopping at Costco more than once, Christmas sing-a-longs, two visits with Santa, Fantasy lights and Zoolights, finding our Tree at the Christmas Tree farm, decorating the house with lots of Christmas decorations, Christmas music and movies, the Goodman Middle School Christmas party which we hosted, walks around the neighborhood to see all the lights, and of course this year's highlight, Daddy's pink mohawk which is now a bald head with fuzzy hair on top. Scott's hair grows fast so by the time school is back in session, I suspect he'll have a full head of hair! The boys had the opportunity to see the "mohawking" happen first hand. At first Chase was a little board with the whole event but perked up when the pink spray hair paint was applied. I even had a chance to partake and make Daddy's hair nice and pink.

This year was especially fun because Chase was so excited and tried his best to be a good boy every day. We also had an advent calendar made by Grandma Helen complete with little treats that we enjoyed every day leading up to Christmas. Chase was so excited each and every morning, he would wake and say, "Mama, can we do our number now?" He loved waking up and getting his little "number pouch" full of goodies! He often would receive little matchbox cars which he loved most of the time especially the ones that had fire painted on the sides because the fire makes the cars go really, really fast. There were times when he would opt for Colby's treat and "trade" him for his toy. Colby didn't seem to mind. I doubt that will be the case next year.
Alfie, the McD Family Christmas Elf

We also experienced the joy of our very own Elf on the Shelf. He arrived at our house and as instructed we quickly gave him a name, Alfie, and we enjoyed watching him move all about the house, each day a fun, new spot. Chase could always find Alfie after a few minutes... he loved searching for him. Colby even started to look for Alfie in the mornings. Colby is often the first one up and would often spot him before anyone else. Scott and I had fun moving him all around the house in the morning. There were a few mornings where I'd wake up and remember that I forgot to move him the night before and get up and race to move him to a new place before the boys would wake up... I think Chase misses Alfie now that he's gone back to the North Pole.

Colby and Gramdma Nederhood have a moment during our gift exchange

We enjoyed spending Christmas Eve with our family in Olympia, Grandpa Britt, Grandma Helen, Great-Grandma Nederhood, Aunt Betty, Brooks & Annette, and Uncle Mike. The perfect start to the Christmas holiday, lots of gifts for everyone. We drove home that night to be at our house for Christmas morning. After all, Santa was coming to our house and so we had to be home to put out our cookies and wake up to all the presents under the tree. We enjoyed being at home, sleeping comfortably in our beds but we did have a few challenges with little Colby during the night, he's teething and interrupted Santa a few times.
The boys on Christmas morning, excited to see all the toys Santa brought.

Chase slept until about 6:45 a.m., we actually had to wake Daddy and Colby. We ventured downstairs to see the tree all lit up and presents from Santa under the tree and in our stockings. We spent the first part of the morning playing with Santa gifts, we would open one every 20 minutes or so because we had to stop and play with the new toy for a few minutes of course. We then logged on to skype and were able to see our family in Florida, GrandPops, Gram, Great-Gramma, Great-Grampa, Uncle Matt, and Aunt JJ. We had so much fun showing them Santa's presents and opening their gifts with them. It's amazing what you can do with technology these days. It was so special to be able to open gifts with them even though we were so very far away. And, even though we weren't with them, they could see the boys opening their gifts and their joy. Most of the time that is, Chase is often quite honest about the things he likes and dislikes and isn't shy about letting you know about it. He did this with a few gifts but I must say, he's played with everything, even the toys he opened and said "I don't like this." He always comes around, just needs a little time to let new things settle in. Colby was thrilled with everything although he is always curious about what Chase has and we've had a few minor skirmishes especially with the remote control cars and the Handy Manny tools.

Chase comparing his Lightning McQueen car to Colby's.
Among all the gifts, Chase's favorites include his remote control Lightening McQueen car, remote control helicopter and semi-truck, Batman car, new bike with training wheels, his hot wheels suitcase and his Mr. Incredible costume. He's so funny when it comes to superheros, he just loves to get all dressed up in a superhero costume especially one with muscles! He often asks me why he doesn't see any superheros around. I say that we're so lucky to live in a small, safe town we don't have any bad guys around and we don't need any superheros to save us.

Colby has enjoyed all of his gifts, too. He likes everything but his favorites are anything that rolls, his pillow pet and Lightning McQueen car -- he has one, too. He also likes his Rocking horse. The boys also like their new art table but I think that is mostly a gift for Mama and Daddy, a place where the boys can sit together and have enough space for both to color and play. Chase is really enjoying coloring and cutting paper and now even writing his name. He's pretty good, he sometimes gets his "E" and "A" in the wrong spot but he's doing great!

Other gifts for Scott, me and the family, too, were a Keurig coffee maker from GrandPops and Gram!! (LOVE It!!!) and from Uncle Matt, a Wii!!! We just set it up and are learning the all the bells and whistles. Scott is eager to buy games and wants to do a little shopping today. I wouldn't mind investing in the Wii fit, it may help me get fitness back into my routine, although if I don't have time to run on the treadmill, when would I have time for that? 
As for me, today I am content with staying home and watching the boys play, I wouldn't be opposed to taking a nap either. Looks like Colby already has the idea! He's exhausted and couldn't even finish his lunch, this is not normal for Colby he loves to eat!
Colby just couldn't make it through lunch --
completely exhausted from all the Christmas excitement!

I am truly blessed and grateful for so many things this Christmas. My wonderful family and friends, our beautiful and healthy boys, our home, my husband, the chaos, the quiet moments, the joy I feel every day when I hug my kiddos. Throughout the year there are those peaks and valleys, the good times and bad but at Christmas time all those challenging moments just seem to melt away... The joy of the season makes us appreciate those we love near and far and all that we have.

Our Christmas Card this year -- photos from our trip to Disney World in August, 2011
From our family to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! May your Christmas be merry and bright and the the new year filled with all your hopes and dreams and the wonderful blessings that the season brings.