Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas 2012 wrap up

"Wrap up".  I crack myself up with all my "witty" puns.  I realize I'm the only one amused and I accept this.

Well, since tomorrow is New Years Eve I figured I better get all the Christmas festivities updated on the blog, especially since we packed up Christmas at our house on Christmas night after the boys went to be bed.  That's right, our Christmas tree and decor was put away on Christmas night.  That might make me a bit of a Grinch, but I like to wake up on the 26th with a normal house so that I can clean clean clean.

I'll try to make this short and sweet with lots of pictures-  I got the idea from Pinterest to do a small Polar Express type experience with the boys at home.  We read the book, then I made special golden tickets and hid them in their beds.

We put them to be early so that we could take them to Santa Land (which Jackson still thinks is the North Pole) to see Santa.  I honestly didn't think this little idea would be a big deal to the boys because they don't really care for The Polar Express book yet, but Jackson freaked out when he realized he had a golden ticket.  He didn't even know what it was for and he was jumping up and down with joy, literally.

  I also made them bags with candy and treats inside for them to eat on the way to Santa Land.

We arrived at Santa Land, aka the North Pole, and Jackson was so excited to see Santa!  I even told him we have a LONG wait to see him and he was excited the whole time

First, we got in line and we stayed there for 2 hours!  Oh. my. word. it was a long wait, but the boys did really well.  Austin fussed a little the last half hour and Jackson got a little crazy at the end too, but all in all they were excellent.  To pass some time Daddy took them to see all the cool sights and lights while I kept our place in line.

Here we are just waiting...

Austin pretending to sleep...

Austin really falling asleep...

And then finally, just after 10pm (2 hours after bedtime) we were finally next in line to see Santa.  Jackson spontaneiously did a happy dance when he realized he was just about to see the Big Man which made the whole 2 hour wait worth every minute.  Austin hated Santa and Jackson was so excited, but more so tired, so he couldn't even muster a smile, but I promise that was one excited little boy.

Jackson told Santa he wanted a Leappad for Christmas and Santa delivered!  He came to see us a few nights later and filled the boys' stockings.

Austin was fascinated (and still is) by a little candy light saber that Santa brought him.

And Jackson kept asking to play with his stamp set all. day. long.  And to be honest we still haven't even opened that stamp set.  I have to do that tomorrow.  Mostly, I just loved this face that he made-

And my favorite part of Christmas morning, the snow!!  We woke up to snow then it snowed even more as the morning progressed.  LOVED IT!!  Every last snowflake!

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Making salt-dough ornaments

So we made some salt-dough ornaments last weekend and Jackson has far better ornament making skills than his mother!  I kept messing up, but time and time again his ornaments came out perfect.  He's a chip off the old crafting block!

Austin didn't want anything to do with the dough, but he had a good time chewing on the cookie cutters.

This face is so cute!  I just want to squeeze this little boy all day!  Look at those sweet little cheeks.

Jackson's perfecting his dough ornament skills.  Seriously, he made no mistakes.  Not one.
He gives his brother a run for his money on the cutest little face in town!

Jackson with our ornaments this year.  Look at the humongous hand print- I swear his hands are almost as big as mine already.  He's so big!

Jackson wanted to take a picture of the ornaments all by himself.  He did a pretty good job.  And check out those ornaments- I told you he's an ornament making champ!

Jackson's school activities

I can not say enough how much I LOVE Jackson's school!  I like that it's a Christian environment so they have REAL Christmas activities and programs.  The kids are so excited this time of year and I like that even at school Jackson is reminded that Christmas is about Christ.

Jackson had his first Christmas program.  It was the story of Christ's birth.  SO SO SO cute!!  I get so emotional when I think about how much Jackson has grown up already.  Just being at a school for a program for him made me tear up while I waited anxiously to see him.  Then I saw him walk out in his little angel outfit and I cried uncontrollably.  In fact, I'm tearing up again just thinking about it.  What is wrong with me?!?!  Jackson did perfectly!  He was loud and irreverent.   He wouldn't keep his little angel halo on and loudly told his teacher that he no longer needed it right in the middle of the program.  He picked his nose (which, honestly, he doesn't even do at home- I guess that's for special public occasions only).  He loudly told the music teacher that he wanted to go sit with his mommy and daddy (several times).  And he yelled sang so loudly that I could hear him above all the other children.  But my most favorite part was when he first took his place on the stage and then started frantically looking for Jim and me.  You could see excitement and relief on his face when he finally saw us.  I was so proud of my beautiful boy even with the nose picking and acts of irreverence.  Oh, how I love my real life angel!

Today was Jackson's first school Christmas party.  He had a lot of fun and made a cute snowman and ate really good food.  He was so excited!

Well, since it's Christmas and Jackson now has a teacher we got to make his teacher an ornament for a gift.  Jackson painted the letter "K" (for Mrs. Kennedy) gold all by himself.  I might have done a little touching up, but he pretty much painted it by himself.  The ornament turned out so cute I made an "N" for our tree.  I think this might be the start of a Christmas tradition- the boys will make their teachers ornaments.  You can never have too many ornaments.

He was so proud of himself.

Here's the final product.  I told you it was cute!  We have run out of Christmas cards so I made Mrs. Kennedy a card.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

St Nicholas Day 2012

St Nicholas day this year was a little difficult.  If you're not familiar, it's a German tradition that children leave their notes to Santa in their stockings and an elf comes and takes the note back to Santa.  The elf leaves a treat if the child's on the good list and rocks (or coal) if the child is on the naughty list, and then the child has the next 2-3 weeks to get back on the good list.  Well, Jackson has had a rough week and yesterday was no different.  He finally cleaned up his attitude and started making good choices just in time for me to call Santa and tell him he can stay on the good list.  ...for now.  I really thought this was going to be Jackson's first year for rocks, but he saved himself in the "Nick" of time. hahaha, pun intended!

Last night we let the boys pick out some toys that they want out of some toy ads and then they glued them on to paper to give to Santa.  Here's Jackson with his stocking and letter last night.  He was so excited that I couldn't get him to sit still...

This is the first year that Jackson was so excited he couldn't sleep.  Bless his heart, he was worried that the elf wouldn't come and that he might get rocks because I told all day that rocks were in his immediate future if his attitude didn't change.  And yes, I would have told Santa to send the elf with rocks if he didn't change his attitude.  Jackson called his dad into his room last night a few times to ask if the elf had come yet.  So cute!  I remember clearly when I was 4 and how excited I was for Christmas.  It was the first year I didn't sleep much.  I'm so excited that Jackson has reached this stage!  This morning he was surprised and thrilled that the elf left him and Austin some candy last night.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Let the Christmas festivities begin!

I LOVE this time of year and I LOVE that the boys are both big enough that they can both participate in fun Christmas activities!

 First, we started the 24 days of Christmas on the 1st of December. It's basically just a song and a Christ centered activity every night that leads up to Christmas. The first night Jim and I both got a little teary and it was only a little 5 minute video clip along with the song "Away in a Manger". Anyway, you can join in the 24 days of Christmas anytime, here's the link.

Second, I want all of our December FHE's to be about Christ's birth.  Yesterday's FHE was SO MUCH FUN!!  Jim and I had just as much fun as the boys did.  I got the basic idea from Pinterest and kind of made the rest my own.  After prayer and a song (Away in the Manger again- it's my and Jackson's favorite) we read the story of Christmas from the book The First Christmas by Carol Heyer.  It has great pictures and tells the story a little bit easier than the actual scriptures.  Then, we had a scavenger hunt to find all the pieces to their manger scene.  Ahead of time I put together some clues and hid the pieces.  If you'd like, I'll send  you a copy of my clues, just leave me a message with your email address.

The top clue in the picture is of Mary on our bookshelf- here's Mary hiding.

And Jackson wanted me to add a picture of the 3 wise men hiding in the window.  They kept trying to escape to follow random stars... ;)

After the Nativity scavenger hunt, the boys put together their own manger scenes on paper.  It was just a nativity scene that taught shapes and cutting.  You can find the activity here.

I tried to get a good picture of the boys with their nativity pictures and their Little People nativity set, but once again, these are the faces we got from them.  I don't know why they just won't smile for me.  Oh well, at least you can tell their happy and had a good time...

This is Austin's best Popeye face-

Another idea I had this year was to do a fun Christmas activity every weekend as a family leading up to the big day.  This weekend we made Christmas trees with ice cream cones, green icing, and M&Ms.  Unfortunately, the icing melted and our M&Ms all fell down, but it was fun!

Jackson was concentrating on his Christmas tree masterpiece.

Austin actually decorated a tree all by himself.

But mostly, he just ate M&Ms.  

It was a lot of fun!  Here's our melty trees (from left to right:  Austin's, my tree, Daddy's, and Jackson's)

I think we're also going to make all kinds of ornaments, become our own nativity scene, and create a Nuffer family Polar Express experience.  I hope the boys enjoy!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Happy 5 years to My Favorite

Today is our 5 year anniversary.  I have been thinking back on all I put Jim through 5+ years ago.  Poor guy, I was very scared of marriage.  I loved him very much, but in the back of my mind I kept waiting for him to leave, and subconsciously, I kept pushing him to leave.  There's not one marriage in my family, in my lifetime, that has lasted or that has been a good marriage, so I was very afraid to fail.

But here we are 5 years in and going strong.  Every day I love him more.  Every day I get a better look at just how big his heart is and how greatly he loves.  I don't know if he wakes up in the morning wondering how to make my day better or if it just comes naturally for him, but not a day goes by that he doesn't make my world a better place.  Honestly, I've said it before and I'll say it forever, Jim is a much better, kinder person than I am, and a great example for me on how to love.  He's not only an amazing husband, but he's also an incredible father.  Awhile ago, I was in another room, but I could hear Jim with the boys and tears just filled my eyes because of what I heard.  How grateful I am for the man I married because I've never known a better father. 

Jim, you are my heart and my backbone.  You are my best friend and my favorite EVERYTHING.  I love you with every thing that I am and every thing that I have.  Thank you for our beautiful boys.  Thank you for our wonderful life.  Thank you for every day that we have together.  Thank you for loving me years ago when I know it was hard to love me.  Thank you for fighting for us when I didn't know how to.  Thank you for taking a chance on me when I wouldn't have.  Thank you for every moment that we've had the last (almost) 6 years.  But mostly, thank you for still loving me and making it so easy to love you.  

I love you and I always will.  Always.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My birthday 2012

So, it's no secret that Jim and I are both students and I'm a stay at home mom which basically means we are super poor.  ...I mean, super budgeted.  And my birthday is mid November, a couple weeks after Halloween, the week before Thanksgiving, 2 weeks before our anniversary, and about 6 weeks before Christmas.  Needless to say, my birthday gets skipped over every year.  My birthday just has terrible timing for our family.  ;)  Anyway, this year I expected the same, not much of anything- maybe some birthday hugs and kisses and a card from the boys that Jim helped them make (which usually makes me cry because I love them so much), and possibly a date night.

BUT this year...

Well, you all know now that I was pregnant and VERY sick.  I felt really good that day until nap time hit when the nausea decided to be extra strong.  Jim and I had planned a dinner date while my mom watched the boys.  I had already decided that I would definitely go out that night because Jim needed a break.  Every day when he got home from work he sent me to bed while he took care of the boys for the rest of the evening- Yeah, he's that wonderful!  Anyway, I wanted Jim to have a night away from the boys because I know how draining it is to be with the preschool posse day in day out.  When Jim got home I was resting with Austin in bed watching our old standby, Blue's Clues, but my mom was with him.  I kind of thought that was odd.  I figured she'd be by in awhile to watch the boys.  Side note: she had taken Jackson so I could get some rest while Austin napped.  Anyway, my mom, Jim and the boys were at our house and Jim promptly told me that the birthday festivities had begun (a day early) and to wait where I was until I was told to come out.  When I was finally "let out" there was the cutest little cake that Jackson decorated just for me, party hats and lots of presents.  All of which was a little to much for my hormonal self and I immediately started to cry-  good tears, happy tears.  I was truly shocked and surprised!  My mom and Jim let the boys pick out some gifts for me- some plastic little girl hair clips and ties.  It's so adorable that they're trying to figure out what I might like since Jackson is just not realizing I'm a girl.  ;)  I got a CD I wanted and my mom made me several different colors of this cowl scarf that I LOVE.  (Now I just need the winter weather to stop by Texas so I can wear them) BUT the best gift of all was what Jim got me- A RED KITCHENAID MIXER!!!!!  I have wanted a Red KitchenAid for years!!!  YEARS!!!  I just couldn't see spending $300-$400 on myself.  Ever.  Ever.

So, as ecstatic as I was to see this gorgeous mixer (which also made me cry) I immediately thought, Oh no!! Jim always jokes about selling drugs on the side so we can sit more comfortably, but I never thought he'd actually go through with it!!!  And I handle the bills so I know good and well we don't have an extra $300+ just lying around.  Great!  Now my husband is going to prison for selling drugs!!  I wonder how much longer we have together!?!  Actually, what he did was take a side job making cash that he's been saving so he could buy me this mixer secretly- no drugs or illegal activity involved!  Phew!!  Jim won't be spending the holidays in the state pen!!  ...not this year anyway.  ;)

I tried out my beautiful new RED mixer yesterday.  We made these cookies.  AND THEY WERE DELICIOUS!!

As much as I love my beautiful RED mixer, I love Jim more!  He's so thoughtful and selfless that I can't explain how lucky I am.  I'll never have the words, but I'm grateful I have eternity to show him just how much I love him.  With or without my beautiful RED mixer.  ;)

Monday, November 26, 2012

What I'm grateful for...

I have been debating whether or not to publicly announce what our family has been through recently, but I decided to tell our story because of the many blessings we have received from all those that love us.  Jim and I got a little surprise awhile back when we found out that Nuffer baby #3 on the way (hence I've been "sick" for so long).  We weren't expecting another baby, but we were ecstatic nonetheless.  We had a lot of ups and downs with this pregnancy, beginning with a miscarriage scare due to my low pregnancy hormone numbers that weren't doubling correctly.  I went in to my first OB appointment expecting to confirm a miscarriage, but miraculously, there was a tiny little bean with a beautiful beating heart.  It was the 3rd most beautiful little heart I have ever seen. My OB warned me that our baby was still in the danger zone and he sent me to see a specialist the following week.  Again, miraculously, the following week our little bean had grown and had an even stronger heartbeat.  The specialist warned us that he was still leery and wanted to see us back in two weeks to make sure every thing was ok.  Unfortunately, that's where our good news ends.  A week ago today I went in for my second appointment with the specialist and our newest little bug was no longer with us.  Our little bug's heart stopped beating and growth had stopped shortly after our last visit.  My body was unaware anything was wrong with the pregnancy so I was scheduled for a D&C last week, the day before Thanksgiving.  Our hearts were broken, but I think the hardest part was telling Jackson that the baby was gone.

I'm telling our story not because I want to dwell on our sadness or our loss, but because of how loved I felt after hearing we lost our little bug.  We told only a few immediate family members and a few friends as we were worried that things might not turn out well.  I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and love that we were given by just the few people that knew.  Our wonderful friends offered their prayers, their support, dinners for our family, everyone offered to watch our boys whenever we needed (even during a holiday), they offered their shoulders to cry on, they offered to stay with me after the procedure, and everyone sent their love to us.  I have never felt more loved and supported by people that I know Heavenly Father sent to us in his physical absence.  I prayed throughout this whole pregnancy that Heavenly Father would prepare my heart for whatever may happen, and I know He did.  Not only has He prepared me spiritually and emotionally, but He sent His best people to love and hug me through this heartbreaking loss.  Even though my heart hurts, I can't help but feel overwhelmingly blessed because of how much love I have in my life.  Of course, it doesn't hurt that we have two perfectly healthy and beautiful boys at home, and I'm married to the most wonderful human being I've ever met either.  ;)

Recently, I came across a Dr. Suess quote, "Don't cry because it's over, but smile because it happened".  We did lose our sweet littlest bug, but so much love and so many blessings came from this pregnancy that I am so grateful for every moment of it.  Till we meet again, my little June Bug...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

It's off to the pumpkin patch we go!!

Sadly, since I've been sick we only made one trip to the pumpkin patch this year and we didn't get too many pictures, BUT we had a great time!!  And Grandpa Tyler, Grandma Viv, and Grandma got to join us this year.  We went on a hayride out the the pumpkin patch and picked out some awesome pumpkins.  Then we went on another hayride that night to see a bunch of really cool carved pumpkins that were all lit up.  We didn't really get any pictures of the glowing pumpkins, but they were amazing.

Grandpa Tyler found this tiny pumpkin for Austin and he loved this little pumpkin to death, literally.  He carried it around for a couple days until the pumpkin was soft and mushy from being "loved" so much.  It was so sweet how much he loved his little pumpkin.  Here's a picture of Austin's little pumpkin in tribute...

**I just realized I don't have any pictures of Grandma at the pumpkin patch, but I promise she was there!  She even got to see a pumpkin carved to look like Elvis.  Oh, how she loves Elvis!

Happy Birthday Grandpa Tyler and Grandma Viv!!

While my dad and Vivian were in town it was my dad's birthday and Vivian's was just 2 weeks earlier so we threw them a good ole' Nuffer family birthday party complete with embarrassing hats and cheesy decorations!

It's party time!

Grandma and Grandpa with their cake.

Happy birthday Grandpa Tyler and Grandma Viv!!!

Well, it finally happened...

I met my dad!  I blogged awhile back that after 32 years I had found my dad and my brother.  Well, I finally met him and his fiance, Vivian, last month.

I was so worried that it would be awkward because my emotions about the whole experience have been so overwhelming, but it was really nice.  I was so surprised that there was no awkwardness at all.  In fact, it feels like I've always known him.  And Vivian is just wonderful, she's like an old friend.  Anyway, I'm very happy to report that the visit was fantastic!  It was good to spend time with both my dad and Vivian, and it was sad to see them go, but what a great visit we had together.

I never thought I would have a picture of my mom AND dad.  ;)

Austin goes to Nursery... almost.

Well it's time for Austin to start attending nursery.  When Jackson went to nursery for the first time he didn't even look back to see if we were with him, but I knew Austin would be a different story.  I didn't go to church that Sunday because I was sick, so it was just Daddy, Jackson, and Austin.  Daddy took him to nursery and had to stay for awhile, but then the nursery leader brought out Mega Blocks and Austin went off to play so Jim slipped out.  He did really well until the last hour of church when another baby bit or hit him and he was done with nursery for the day.  I can't blame him, it's a dog eat dog world in nursery.

This is the start of his first day.  He doesn't look too excited...

This is how sad he was when he was returned to Daddy.  Look at that sweet face.  Maybe next time will be better...

I just like this picture because you can really see the resemblance between Daddy and Austin here.  Austin is his Daddy's mini-me!

The really sad part is that I've been so sick that we've all missed several Sundays because Jim has been staying home to take care of me.  It's going to be like starting all over again when we get back after the holidays.  My poor Big Poppa.

Halloween 2012

Wow!  I have really dropped the blogging ball!  I keep putting the blog on my "to do" list, but as you can see I haven't gotten around to it.  So it's a little late, but here's Halloween 2012.  We only made it to one carnival and Trunk or Treat...

Our pumpkins

Every year I make a goal to make at least one of their costumes for a little stretch of my creativity and to add a little originality.  This year I made Jackson's knight costume.  It was a little rough around the edges, but he liked it.

Austin HATED his costume!  Actually, he just hated the hood.

He wasn't a fan of the carnival.  He's doesn't like new people or strangers so I think all of the people threw him off for the night because this was how he acted all. night. long.

Jackson LOVED the carnival!

It's almost impossible to get a good picture with both boys- Jackson and his crazy faces and Austin satisfying his urge to eat anything he can get his hands on...