Monday, December 31, 2012

Storytime and Pictures with Santa Claus

I am the mother who waited until the week before Christmas to take her child for a picture with Santa.

We simply didn't have a weekend where we had time to go see him before then. I would feel bad, except it really worked in our favor. We had plenty of time to talk about him, look at his picture, talk about what we would say to him, that he says, "Ho ho ho," and convince Jack that it was nothing to be scared of.

I had quite a few vacation days left since I worked all of Thanksgiving week, so I took the Tuesday off before Christmas for a family event and to see jolly old St. Nick!

On our way to see Santa!
(But mostly excited that mom jailbroke him from the stroller.)

Northpark in Dallas probably has the best looking Santa in DFW. They have a not so complicated number system where they hand out numbers for the line starting at 9 AM. Santa doesn't start posing for pics until 11 AM, but the line forms to get numbers at 8:30 AM. You heard me: 8:30 for an 11 AM start time. We got there at 9:15 and got number 79 in line.

Before pictures, Santa has storytime at 10:30. He had his dog do tricks and told some cute little stories about Christmas around the world. We made it through storytime with the help of some popcorn and a stop by Starbucks for an apple juice.

Santa and his puppy

As crazy as this sounds, we had somewhere to be and couldn't wait to be #79 in line, so we loaded up and headed out. We went back on Thursday night with Daddy (same clothes, just washed and starched) for supper and the money shot. There were a million people there, but we packed our patience and just enjoyed the holiday hustle and bustle.

Jack didn't cry, and said, "Hi Santa!" just like we practiced. When the flash started going off, he was like, "what the heck?!?" So that is the face in the pic.

Our 2012 picture with Santa Claus

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dinner at Bethlehem

I'm catching up on some of our holiday happenings while I have time to sit and relax on Christmas vacation!

One of the largest blessings God has given our family here in Fort Worth is the community of believers we have found through our local church. People often ask why I commute from Fort Worth to Dallas for work each day, and I share openly that our church is one of the main reasons. Within the past several years, the church has made one of its highest priorities to reach young families for the Lord, and God is blessing that ministry.

One area of focus is preschoolers, which of course is right in our wheelhouse these days. Our Jack is still very young, so there are many activities that are a little too old for us (I can't wait for him to start Mission Friends where they learn about missionaries all over the world), but our first big organized event to attend was the first Sunday evening in December--Dinner at Bethlehem.

Our fabulous preschooler minister and her wonderful staff organized an evening in Bethlehem, culminating with a dinner theater that absolutely captivated my little Jack. Before dinner there was a nativity with animals for petting (complete with some of our HS students walking around as angels, Mary, and Joseph.)

After we saw the animals, we went back inside where all the kiddos could get headdresses like what the shepherds would've worn and a manger for us to get our picture taken as a family. And Jack wanted exactly nothing to do with that, so we moved right along!

From there, we went in for the dinner theater. The show was performed by teenagers in a fine arts program the church has for homeschool kids, and it was so spot on to share the message of the birth of the Savior to young children. We could not believe how well Jack paid attention! At one point one of the characters said, "Do you want to hear more songs?" And Jack shouted, "yes!" Cracks me up.

During supper.

What a wonderful way to teach our preschoolers about Jesus!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Eve 2012

For only the second time in our marriage, we spent Christmas Eve at home. Expecting a baby (9 weeks!), wanting to have Santa in our own home, and having worked some marathon days up to the Christmas holiday had/has us wanting to stick close.

So Christmas Eve, we got up and had a beautiful holiday breakfast of donuts from the local donut place. I was just not feeling like cooking a full breakfast that morning, and the boys in my family were great with it. The day was really relaxing and low key, which was just what we needed. Less time being busy, and more time thinking and celebrating the Savior's birth.

For the first time ever, Jack made cookies with me for Santa. Looking through the pictures afterward was seeing one of my best dreams come true. We love that boy so much, and I'm so blessed that God gave him to me.

(For the record, he knows the oven is hot and should stay away from it.)

Before the Candlelight service at church.

This was our first year to go to our church's candlelight service since we're usually out of town. Our Pastor calls it "the most beautiful place in Fort Worth on Christmas Eve." I have to agree with him. Everyone attends worship together (i.e. no nursery) so Jack came into the service with us. He did awesome, and when I told him it was time to stand and sing, he put his little fingers together and started into a very confident rendition of the Itsy Bitsy Spider.


After, we came home to eat and open some presents! Our supper consisted of fun holiday foods like party sandwiches, sausage balls, and cookies, then we headed to the Christmas tree where we opened presents from one another.

We figured Santa might like a nice, cold Dr. Pepper on his trip through Texas.

And then we tucked our little guy into his bed together for a good night's rest before Santa came!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Week 29

Two weeks in a row of pregnancy updates!

Great news: I passed the glucose tolerance test! Not as great news: my iron level was low enough to be called anemic, so I'm taking two iron pills a day. And those iron pills can't be taken at the same time, nor can either of them be taken with my prenatal, and my Zantac inhibits the absorption of iron, which means I am basically like a geriatric patient with all the pills I'm taking for my different issues, spaced at different times of the day. (I'm also taking other meds to combat the after-effects of the iron pills, the details of which shall remain unspoken on this little piece of the web. Motherhood is incredibly glamorous.)

Anyway, I am extremely thankful that my issues are minor in the grand scale of the miracle that is pregnancy.

This week I ordered the bedding for Annabelle's big girl bed , and of course it's back-ordered but should be in here sometime in January. I also managed to purchase her some newborn hair accessories from Etsy because I simply could not help myself. I'm looking for a great bow holder, and apparently now I'll need a headband storage solution.

We had a wonderful time at my Southwest Christmas party Saturday evening. I wore the heels, and by the end of the night, my feet were a little swollen. I wasn't expecting that, but it was worth it. The party was at Union Station, which is a restored train station in downtown Dallas right next to Reunion Tower. It was a beautiful venue, and Wolfgang Puck Catering provided the food. YUM. My very wonderful (and engaged!) friend Alisia played with our sweet Jack while we were gone. Such a good friend!

This weekend is our last Christmas party of the season - with our high school seniors at church. I have high hopes of finishing my Christmas shopping and purchasing some wrapping paper. My hopes may be a little too high. We'll see!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Family Pics Sneak Peek

whoa, mama.

Back in October when I realized my work schedule was about to burst at the seams, I e-mailed my sweet friend Hailey of Hailey Erickson Photography and told her that the only time I could foresee stopping for family photos would probably be the last week in November, which would give me all of about 14 days to order Christmas cards and get them out before they became New Year cards. And that would only be possible if she would commit to turning the photos around to me in about 4 days. And she did it! What a sweet friend to take the time to do that in the middle of parenting 3 young children, being a pastor's wife, editing all her other photo sessions, and hi, it's the Christmas season.

Thanks so much, Hailey, for taking the time to do this for my family. You will never know how much these possibly last pro pics of us as a family of three mean to me!

Here are more of Hailey's photos of my family over the years.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Week 28

As I sat down to write this post, I had to take a glance back at my Week 28 post for Jack to see how I was feeling then. It appears that the same feelings kicked in about the same time. The realization that my baby could be here in potentially 10 weeks (he was born in the 39th week) has brought a real and immediate need to nest to the forefront of my mind. It's all I can think about: prepare house for baby.

I actually already have Annabelle's bedding unboxed (so I can go in and occasionally look at it when I am stressed) and in her room. I chose to purchase it over making it because, seriously, my life is a circus right now. Her bed is in there too, still in its huge box, and waiting for her daddy to paint the room over the Christmas holidays. It's currently a lovely shade of yellow, and I have very fond memories of us painting it back in 2008. What will be going on the walls is a beautiful silvery grey that I have yet to pick out, but I am positive that it exists and will look lovely with Annabelle's petal pink bedding.

{I've gotten a lot of questions about this - my parents gifted us with a second crib for Annabelle. Jack isn't climbing out of his yet, and I am not about to mess with a good thing when we're about to go through such a big (exciting!) transition of adding a shishy. But there's a big kid bed in his room when he's ready for it.}

I've started ordering a few accoutrements for her walls, and one of my sweet college friends passed off huge load of baby girl clothes to be split with one of our other friends who is due two weeks before me. We went through those last weekend, and now Annabelle has clothes all over her room in all sizes. I need someone to 1. organize all of it for me and 2. order her dresser, have it delivered, and put them away. Any takers?

But hey, I got our Christmas pictures made and cards ordered in a 7 day window, so I'm getting a few things done. I might even get them out before Christmas.

This morning I had the glucose tolerance test at my monthly appointment. I don't go back for another month, which will be right after Christmas, then visits will be every 2 weeks. Annabelle is measuring 29 weeks and had a heart rate of 140. She sounded great and kicked at the doppler the entire time we listened to her heart. My sweet, feisty girl. I love her so much.

Our little girl looks good and feels strong, and we are well on our way to seeing her sweet face here in the third trimester!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What to Wear Where: Christmas Party Maternity Style

Obviously, it's Christmas party season, and while most of the parties we've been invited to are casual, my Company party is always after five dress. I came across this dress in navy at Pickles and Ice Cream a few weeks ago when I was last minute shopping for something to wear in our last minute family pictures. Below it's pictured in lurex, which I love. Maternal America makes such comfortable and stylish maternity clothes, and I'm certain that the navy will be a staple through the last months of my pregnancy.

I thought I would kick the rather simple dress up a notch with some glitter and round it out with a deep red lip and nails. MAC's Viva Glam is the most fabulous red for a night on the town. With some fresh highlights and a blowout that afternoon, I should feel like a million bucks even though I'll have to dose myself with Zantac to enjoy the evening.

And never fear, I have some back up gold flats in case the heels don't work out for big mama.

Maternity Christmas Party Style

I'm linking up with Amy at Forever 29. Click on over there for more holiday looks!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Giving Thanks

Well ho, ho, ho, and away we go into the Christmas season. It's only December 3rd and with the total assault on all my online channels by major retail marketers, it seems like it will be a fast and furious month.

That being said, we had a wonderful quiet and laid back thanksgiving with my family in Corsicana. We have so many things to be thankful for this year that 30 days of thankfulness wouldn't even scratch the surface. Of course the biggest blessings we count are our sweet children. Jack continues to be our great joy, and I can't wait to get my hands on those sweet cheeks of his little "shishy" as he so adorably calls her.

{He has no idea what a "shishy" is, bless his heart. And hers, for that matter.}

I had big, BIG plans to take the entire week off to hang out with my little guy, bake pies for thanksgiving, and fluff my house for Christmas, however that all went out the window, and I ended up working until 4:30 PM on Wednesday with just enough time to pack my bag to throw it in the car and hit the road. I had the good sense to realistically accept the change in plans coming the week before and ordered chocolate pies from Swiss Pastry Shop in Fort Worth. If you've not had one, you are missing out. They taste a lot like my Memaw's pies, and that's not a compliment I give lightly.

Knowing when to outsource is key to much success in life, no doubt.

Packed and loaded by dark, ready to head to Sugar and Granddaddy's house.

We spent Wednesday to Saturday afternoon out on the farm, which is a playground for boys of all ages, let me tell you. Jack fed the cows, called the cows (like this: "HERE TOWS!!!"), rode in the red wagon, stomped around in his boots and otherwise begged to be outside most of the daylight hours. His dad was pretty much the same, except he got up at dark-thirty to hunt and spent the afternoon napping. I just hung out in my pajamas and shopped on the internet. The good life. My mom's entire side of the family was in for thanksgiving, and it was really good to see everyone all together. It had been a while!

Saturday morning we stopped into the nursing home to see my grandmother (Memaw, the aforementioned maker of most delicious chocolate pies.) Jack provided plenty of entertainment and was well-behaved, compliments of the bags of Welch's fruit snacks I kept plying him with. Fruit snacks are one of God's many gifts to mothers of toddlers, amen?

So now here we are: in the final sprint of my project at work, as well as the final sprint into 2013. The goal is to finish the project strong so we can be out the entire week of Christmas!
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