Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Reflection

Christmas was so much fun this year. I feel so blessed! This was one of the hardest years for me to get in the Christmas mood, but the Lord truly gave me joy last week as we celebrated as a family. We enjoyed 4 whole days together as a family with no major plans and it was wonderful!

We started off the week with good news that Matt passed his first section of the CPA exam. Praise the Lord! With all of our adoption related travels in November and with the craziness of adoption preparation in October, we weren't sure whether Matt would be able to get enough study time in to pass it. But we know that the Lord was merciful through all that we had going on and allowed Matt to be able to pass and pass well. God is good!

Wednesday night we went to our church's Christmas Eve service. I love candlelight services and singing Christmas carols and hearing the Christmas story. It's such a great way to keep my mind focused on what Christmas is truly about. This years service was a little hard for me because I kept thinking of how I had thought we would have a new little one to share the Christmas season with this year. For some reason singing carols and hearing about the hope we have in Christ because of his birth, death and resurrection got me to thinking about Jack and hoping that someday he would put his trust in the Lord. But God was my comforter that night and I'm constantly learning to trust that He is watching over Sarah, Jack and her family.

Benjamin was up early Christmas morning and well, sometimes on Christmas morning I turn into a 5 year old and get so excited about opening gifts I can't sleep late either. So we got Benjamin up and went downstairs and got him a light breakfast and made Christmas tea for us while we read the Christmas story. I was so excited about Benjamin's gifts this year because I knew he was finally old enough to enjoy the opening of presents. The Lord blessed us SO much this year with gifts for him. We had a very limited budget for Christmas this year due to many things, so we had two gifts for Benjamin that I had managed to find used. But our tree was full of gifts from others for Benjamin. I don't know what it is, but the sight of a tree with lots of gifts under it just makes me excited. I know Christmas is not about the presents, but I guess I still get excited about them. :)

After we opened gifts we had our traditional breakfast of cinnamon rolls. I tried a new recipe this year for Mini Maple Cinnamon Rolls and they were fabulous! I love traditions! I have been making cinnamon rolls just about every Christmas since we got married and I love that it's become one of our very own family traditions.

The rest of the weekend was very relaxing. We read books and watched a couple of movies and cared for Benjamin who got sick the day after Christmas. Poor little kiddo. But he is doing much better this week.

I couldn't decide which pictures to post, so I posted a ton. :)
We bought this tree at Walmart this year for $20. It's great to have a cheap tree with a toddler!
Benjamin dumping his stocking
Finding his treasures

I love this face!
And this one too!

The animal crackers were a big hit!
Opening his first gift from Grandpa and Grandma Anderson

Reading the book he got from Aunt Vicki
Lots of noisy toys!

Cute Old Navy jeans from Aunt Rachel
Chillin' out with a banana
Playing with his new Wedgits
Me attempting to remove a toy from it's Packaging
Benjamin loves trucks!

Monday, December 22, 2008

One Smart Kid!

Benjamin loves it when we count. He is quick to chime in with "two" right after we say "one." Of course every parent thinks their kid is smart, but well, he is! :)

Family Time!

First off, I just realized that this is my 100th post on this blog. When I started this a little over a year ago, I wasn't sure it was something I would keep up with, but it's become almost a hobby and I love it! Now for the post! :)

This past weekend was the first we have had in a long time that wasn't packed full of activity. We thoroughly enjoyed having time to play and relax as a family. Matt and I both got to read books for fun, which we haven't gotten time to do in a while, and we had a blast playing with Benjamin. He is becoming more of a daddy's boy all the time and I love watching them play. I remember watching the way Matt interacted with my siblings even before we started officially dating and thinking he would make a great dad someday. So now I get the blessing of watching him be just that to our little Benjamin. God is good!

Here are a few fun pictures:

Our Little Christmas Present!
Flying high with daddy
Silly boys!
The face of pure delight as he lands in daddy's arms
Piggy back rides with mommy
More silliness
Just looking handsome!
Helping daddy wrap mommy's present
Proving to Aunt Rachel and I'm not always happy. :)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lovin' Some Chocolate!

Last night Matt and I had a much needed date. We dropped Benjamin off at Spectrum for their Kids Night Out (a.k.a. parents night out), and we had 4 hours of freedom. We are in major frugal mode right now as we are trying to recover from having depleted our adoption savings and we have two very old cars, so we are saving as much as we can. However, those dates are so necessary. We had some money left on a gift card to Panera Bread (thanks to my MyPoints account), so dinner was only $1.70. Then we went downtown and walked around looking at Christmas lights. The Riverwalk is so pretty this time of year. We got a sweet tooth after a while, so we went to HEB, where we also have a gift card and got some ice cream to split. Then we browsed at Barnes & Noble for a few minutes before going to pick up the little bug. We had a great time, and apparently so did he.

Now usually I think of the gym as kind of a healthy place. I go there to work out so I can stay fit and healthy. However for kids night out, Benjamin ate pizza for dinner. (which I'm not complaining about because they watch him for 4 hours for $20 and dinner is included) What was a little crazy was that when we picked him up, it was almost 10pm and he had a gummy fruit slice in his hand. I mean, candy for a 17 month old. What? Fortunately he didn't seem too interested in eating it so I removed it from his hand and he was fine. But on the way out the door, the gave him this cute little stuffed bear that was holding a tiny little bag. Benjamin loves soft things, so he was delighted with it. We put him in the car and headed home. A few minutes later I looked in the back seat, fully expecting to see him asleep since it was so late, but instead I hear "mmmmm." It turns out that inside that little bag that the bear was holding was a piece of chocolate in tin foil. He had fished it out and was enjoying it, foil and all. He wasn't too sure about the foil though and handed that to me, but he was quite a mess and apparently is a chocolate lover. Hmmm. Guess he fits right into the family!

I still have to say, that even though he may not get the healthiest of foods during Kids Night Out, it's totally worth it to get a date once or twice a month. :)

Chocolate Covered Smiles are the Best!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Nights In Bethlehem

Last weekend we had the privilege of participating in our church's version of what it might have been like to walk through Bethlehem around Christ's birth. I wish I would have taken more pictures, but I was too occupied kneading my bread dough. Matt and I participated as the baker and the baker's wife. I did not get a very good picture, but we had a bakery complete with a smoking oven, hot bread, and great costumes. ;) We have some very talented people in our Sunday School class who built the oven and came up with the design for our bakery. Besides the bakery, there were people selling fish (real ones I might add), a carpentry shop, a lady selling cloth, a spice shop, a blacksmith, Jewish dancers, and of course a stable complete with live animals. Oh yes, and there was a jail which was constantly occupied by the thieves that kept running through the city stealing people's things. I had so much fun watching all the children that participated. Next year I'm hoping Benjamin can participate as well. He'll make a cute little baker's son! The bakery crew
Benjamin enjoyed some of the baker's wares

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fun times!

I am discovering that I'm not really that great at playing with Benjamin. I wish taking time out from housework and other activities to sit and play with him came more naturally, but even though it does not, I'm determined to work on doing it more. So today I did very little housework and we played. We watched a VeggieTales movie this morning, which I know doesn't sound like playing, but it was officially the first movie we have let him watch. I'm not big into movies at his age, but I thought it would be fun to watch it together. He thought the songs were so fun that he hugged the TV.

Then this afternoon after his nap, I decided to try making play-dough. I wasn't really sure what he would do with it since he still puts everything in his mouth, but he had a good time. He played with it for a while, then of course he had to try eating some. That only happened once! He was not happy with having it in his mouth and gagged on it until the taste was gone. Poor kid. But at least once was enough to teach him not to eat it. After he was done with play-dough I filled the kitchen sink up with soapy water and gave him a spoon, a spatula, and a whisk to play with. That was a full 20 minutes of entertainment which is very impressive for him. He loved it! By the end he was soaked, as were the counter top, cabinets, and floor around him, but he had a blast and I had fun watching.

Then I had fun playing with the photo editing site Picnik :)

Those bubbles on the dishes are pretty tasty
Working hard.
Digging into the water
Not sure what to think of it at first
Then having a great time!

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Christmas Funny

Well we have begun the task of Christmas shopping for Benjamin. We are on a SUPER tight budget this year, so gifts are going to be pretty small, but I have managed to find a couple of used items I think he will really enjoy. And so, since I purchased used, I will not have to pry his toys out of their packaging. However, having done that before, I heard this song by Sara Groves on the radio and about died laughing.

You can download the song for free at:

In case you don't want to download it, here are the words:

Nothing makes me lose my cool like
Toy packaging
Ask the kids to leave the room for
Toy packaging
I have no choice the money's spent
I've worked for hours to make a dent
I guess it's anger management
Toy packaging

Nothing makes me lose my cool like
Toy packaging
Ask the kids please leave the room it's time for
Toy packaging
I'm drawing up a battle plan to extricate this robot man
My self-esteem is in the can
Toy packaging

In the old days you could hold a box and shake it
And hear the pieces rattling around
My eyes tear up with these grommets, tape and twisty ties
Remembering their beautiful sound

Nothing makes me lose my cool like toy packaging
Kids you need to leave the room, mom's opening toy packaging
I'm sorry you have to see this sight
You must be brave, no please don't cry
I promise it will be alright
I hope to have it by tonight
Nevermind this dynamite
Toy packaging

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Little Christmas Fun

This year one of our local water parks (Schlitterbahn) decided to do a whole set-up for Christmas. Our friends Brian and Katie invited us to come with them and we had a great time! The entire park was decked out in lights with Christmas music playing throughout. They had carolers dressed up like they were straight out of the Christmas Carol, light shows on the river, a toddler straw bale maze, snow machines with bubble snow, hot cider, hot chocolate, and my very favorite, cotton candy. :) They also had sledding down one of the water slides, and ice skating, but we didn't do these since we had the kiddos. It even turned chilly that night so we could enjoy our hot drinks and feel more in the Christmas mood. Benjamin loved all the lights and things to do. He wasn't real fond of being confined to the wagon, but with it being dark and there being a lot of people, we couldn't let him walk much. So he and Cale shared the wagon that Brian and Katie brought and shared lots of snacks. :)

Pointing out the lights
Brian, Katie, and Cale - we love these guys!
Family Shot
Cale wishing he could walk so he could join Benjamin in the Straw Bale Maze
Very independantly doing the maze
Cotton Candy. Woohoo!
Being bad parents and letting our son try some too. He actually was not all that impressed.
The boys in the wagon
Doing what he loves best!
Going through the "car wash" - In the summer they have water coming down, but for Christmas they had a snow machine set up inside it.
Praise the Lord for wonderful friends!