It's not a secret that I LOVE Christmas and that going to pick out our Christmas Tree is one of my favorite things to do. Well, this past Sunday, we decided that was the day! We went out and fought the Charger's game traffic (on accident) and went to go buy our Christmas Tree. When we brought it home, our sweet friend Melissa helped us get it in the house and in the stand. Then Alex and I put the lights on the tree and Madison put most of the ornaments on by herself. We helped with the top of the tree, but she was so in to decorating the tree this year. While we were putting the lights on she turned on our Christmas music and danced for us as she waited to help.
Madison's favorite part is watching the lights come on at night. We were able to find a plug that is attached to a switch, so Madison is able to help us each night with turning on the lights. All day, she's been saying, "I love our Christmas Tree! Can we keep it up even after Christmas?" My daughter takes after my love for Christmas and it's such a blessing to watch Christmas unfold through her eyes. She's in love with the baking of cookies, the Christmas music, the Christmas movies, the Christmas decorations, the story of Christmas, and shopping for Christmas. She just plain LOVES Christmas! Everywhere we go, if there are decorations, her face lights up and she gets a big smile.
Our sweet friends the Brewster's had a little birthday party for their son Levi (one of Madison's best friends) this past Saturday. We were so excited that it worked out for us to be able to go back to 29 Palms to visit and help celebrate his birthday. Levi had a bowling party and it was a HUGE success with all of the kids. Kids just LOVE to bowl! It was so much fun watching Madison play and have fun with all of her friends from our old neighborhood.
After the party, we went back to Ben and Di's and hung out, caught up and had a yummy dinner, graciously served by Diana. We love you Brewster's and are so thankful to have you in our lives and are so touched by how God has kept us close even without being a few houses apart anymore. We look forward to many more years of love and friendship!
The last few times we've been home it hasn't worked for us to see our friends the Bell's and the Petrick's, but this time we were able to work out some time for us to get the girls together to play. Madison had so much fun and Erin was a gracious hostess, as always. We played at their house for a couple hours in the morning and just hung out and caught up with each other. It was so wonderful to see them. Madeleine and Vivienne a just a few months younger than Madison...it is so much fun going home and still having little friends for Madison to play with.
While on our many trips to the many different malls we visited in Thousand Oaks, we took pictures at all of the different HUGE trees they had decorated for Christmas. Here are a few of the ones of us and Madison and my parents and Madison.
On the Saturday, after Thanksgiving, we went to the mall and there was a cute little train ride that Madison was dying to go on. Grandma, always wanting to please her sweet granddaughter, bought tickets for us all to ride the train around the mall. It was a lot of fun and Madison had a blast! We were able to get a couple of pictures before the train took off!
This is the first year that we weren't able to go to our usual Janss Market Place in Thousand Oaks and get a picture taken with "my" Santa. This past year, the Santa, that I grew up with, passed away suddenly from a heart attack. I had literally been going to him for the past 25 years, including taking Madison to see him since she was born. This year we went to find out what his "replacement" looked like. He was okay, but nowhere near as good as "my" Santa.
Despite begin disappointed with Santa, we still were able to get a cute picture of Madison with Santa. She was so excited to see him. She was glowing and had a smile from ear to ear. She told Santa that she wanted ice cream for Christmas. I thought it was a little silly that they used a "Green Screen" for the picture background this year and then just digitally added whatever background best fit the child and the pose the photographer was able to get of the child and Santa.
My sweet friend Sarah and I are not only pregnant together, but we have due dates that are only about a week apart. Sarah was a bridesmaid in my wedding and we've been friends for almost a decade. I am so thankful for her friendship and so blessed that God placed her in my life when He did! Now we are going through a pregnancy together...her third (a girl) and my second (a boy). When we did our family pictures with Sarah a few weeks ago, Alex snapped a quick one of the two of us and our baby bumps.
Sarah I am so thankful for you and for your friendship!
This year for Thanksgiving we went to my parents house! This is the first time in four years that we didn't have a house/backyard full of 20-50 people at our house for Thanksgiving. It felt kind of strange. While we lived in 29 Palms, we always hosted Thanksgiving and Easter at our house. We just felt it was something we wanted to do and we loved the idea of celebrating these holidays, not only with our biological families, but with our Marine Corps family as well. Many of our friends were far from their families and couldn't be with them during the holidays or their spouses were deployed.
Alex and I decided, long before Madison was born, that once we started having children, we'd spend all holidays at our house and that we'd have family and friends over to join us. We still firmly believe this because we want to keep our own traditions going within our home, but this time it just worked out better for us to go to Thousand Oaks and I'm so glad we had the chance to. But, from here on out you'll be seeing our holidays at our house once again! :)
Anyway, since we moved we haven't felt the need or the calling to do quite what we did in 29 Palms just yet, so we went to Thousand Oaks for Thanksgiving. It was so nice to be with my parents on Thanksgiving....due to my dad's volleyball schedule they were never able to come join us for any of our 29 Palms Thanksgivings. So, as well as it being the first time in 4 years that we didn't host a Thanksgiving it was the first time in 5 years that we'd spend Thanksgiving with my parents b/c we moved to Virginia just before Thanksgiving, and spend that one with our friends Matt and Jen. All that being said, it was wonderful to spend the time with my parents this year.
Alex's parents and brother drove down for the day and joined us for the day. We had a dinner filled with turkey, stuffing muffins, creamed corn casserole, pickles and olives, crescent rolls, homemade gravy, twice baked mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and sparkling cider. Then for dessert there was a selection of pumpkin cheesecake, cherry pie, and carrot cake. We had an wonderful spread of food. My mom made a wonderful hostess and it was such a joy getting to cook along side her in the kitchen all day!
We are looking forward to having everyone over for our Christmas celebration this year! This will be our last Christmas as a family of three! Craziness!
Alright, so after a year an a half I was finally able to make time to have my sweet friend Brienna cut my hair this past Wednesday! Hallelujah!!! I was sooooo over due! Anyway, I finally remember to get the camera out when I was ready for the day instead of at the end of the day, so I had Alex snap a picture of me at 25 weeks (well just about) so you could see both the belly and the new hair!
The Marine Corps' 235th Birthday is tomorrow and this is a 10 minute video showing the sacrifices made both in the past and present. Please take a moment and watch this video in honor of the Marine Corp's Birthday!
On Halloween, after Madison's nap we started getting ready for our church's Harvest Festival: Hallapalooza. Madison had so much fun getting ready. We did make-up this time instead of just a nose and eyelashes. Then once we were done we walked from our house to our church's parking lot where Hallopalooza was taking place. There were probably thousands of people there by the end of the night. They had everything from jump houses, to rocking climbing walls, to games, to pony rides. Madison had so much fun. We pretty much stuck to the games and finished the night up with a pony ride. On our way home Madison asked if she could do a little trick-or-treating, but a lot of the houses had already closed up for the night, so we just went to a few houses that still had people sitting out front. Madison had so much fun! She is already talking about next year's Halloween.
On Halloween, we got up and went to church, then rushed home to get ready for our first party of the day! Our friends Amy and Evan were throwing a little Halloween party for the kids in the early afternoon. Madison had so much fun! There was dancing, a jump house, a parade, a pinata, and an amazing spread of food and candy for the kids to enjoy. We were able to snap a lot of fun pictures, including some cute ones on the dance floor.
Madison was so bummed when we had to finally go, but we decided that it would be best to leave the party a little early so that she could get a good nap and be well rested for the evening festivities.
So, for the last three weeks, we've been hearing this frog outside, but anytime we get close to the door it stops making noise. Well, This past weekend, Alex and Madison decided to go on a hunt for the frog. Alex had Madison look in our flowerbed while he planned on watering our potted plants for me (such a great help). To Alex's surprise, when he went to water the plant in our foyer, the frog was staring right at him. We were able to snap some pictures and we check on this little guy daily and, for now, he has chosen to stay. As a result, Madison has decided to name him. He has had quite a few names and his name seems to change daily, but the two that Alex and I found to be the most amusing were "Coffee" and "A." Most of the time she calls him "A Frog."
Alright friends, I have heard you! I keep getting requests for belly pictures. It's not that I don't want to take them and post them...it's just that I either forget or when the camera is out, there is no one else around to take the picture for me. Well, tonight, before we finished with everything, I had Alex take a picture of my belly. I will be 22 weeks on Tuesday! Sorry about the attire...I just stayed in my "pumpkin carving" outfit!
Tonight we cut open two of the pumpkins we bought on Saturday and pulled out all of the seeds. Madison was sooooo excited to help with every process. She even helped me rinse and prep the seeds for roasting. Once we cleaned up from the "real" pumpkins, Alex and Madison pulled out a small fake pumpkin we had bought awhile ago to carve at a friend's house, but never ended up being able to. Alex and Madison first created Madison's pumpkin on Starfall.com so that they knew what they were hoping to make. Then, Alex helped Madison bring her starfall creation to life. (A side note: for those of you who have never used starfall with your kids...it's an amazing website. I used to use it all of the time in my classroom. Check it out, you won't be sorry you did).
While they worked, I roasted the seeds from our "real" pumpkins.
I think Alex and Madison created a beautiful pumpkin! Madison is so proud of it. She has it on display in her room. Now we have to find a little light to put inside of it, since we can't use a candle.
Once the pumpkin was carved and the seeds were roasted, we watched Monster's Inc as a family and ate our seeds! It was a great end to a wonderful weekend! Hope you all had great weekends too!
We had been wanting to go to the pumpkin patch for some time now, but our weather kept spoiling the fun. Well on Saturday, we finally had the time and the weather to go have a fun morning of rides, animals, and pumpkins. We always think the more the merrier, so we invited our friends the Williamson's to come along and, as usual, they were up for the adventure! We seriously had soooooo much fun! We did a little of everything. We took pictures, of course. Then, Madison rode a train, went to a petting zoo, rode a ferris wheel, went on the swings, drove a motor boat, went down a HUGE slide, and picked out pumpkins! We had a blast and would highly recommend this pumpkin patch to all who haven't been or are going to try to go again!
I love to get up early and work out. It starts my day off with energy while giving me peace and quiet as well as time to myself to talk with God. I am married to a wonderful man with whom we have a beautiful daughter and a dashing son! Life can't get much better than this!!