Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2011 was different for our family this year. Generally we spend it together...just the 4 of us in our little family unit enjoying each other. However, a week before Christmas David had a spinal fusion in his neck, Brody got pneumonia and an ear infection, and Chloe got a sinus infection and an asthma flare-up. Needless to say, I was thrilled when The Blevins showed up on Friday afternoon. I was finally able to get a much needed break from medication distribution and breathing treatments galore. 

On Christmas Eve, we were able to share, with my in-laws, the traditions that we have established. We always go to the Christmas Eve service at church followed by a walk along the Riverfront to take in the beautiful light exhibits, and then we had our annual dinner at Wendy's by the River. We started this when Chloe was 1 so it's definitely a tradition now. This year I only got two pictures before my camera battery died. Then when we got home, we made cookies for Santa, sprinkled the Reindeer Food in the front yard, and checked the Santa Radar a few times. The first time I asked Chloe where she thought Santa was and she said, "I'm pretty sure he is in Bethlehem!" Then her second response when we checked again was, "mommy I think he is in Afghanistan now." I personally think she has heard me talking about Jesus's birth and Uncle Jordan's job. HAHA!

Pose by the lights...hats, gloves, coats all on

Then Christmas morning came with joy, laughter, and excitement as the kids woke up at 7 ready to see if Santa had stopped by our house. I LOVE this age for Santa! The wonder of it all is so much fun. So, battery fully charged and ready to go, here is how the rest of the day went down...

Barbie Dream House, baby bunk beds, LeapPad - each year the kids get 3 Santa gifts

Transformer Fire House

Awesome Construction Set with Remote Control Dump Truck

 LeapPad for Brody too!

First look...

Super excited over electric toothbrush

Same for Chloe...

Playing his "kids iPad"

Opening up his game

Slushie maker from Granny

BatMan car

Looking a little overwhelmed I think

Taking his time...

Serious expression


David's 91 year old grandmother. Isn't she cute?

Marble Racer from Grammy and Op-Op (my parents)

Brody mixing up the birthday cake for Jesus. The helmet is new and it stayed on all day long!

Decorated and ready to eat

Putting on the finishing touches.

I loved having extended family here this year and we decided that having family here needs to be included into our tradition. The kids loved it as well and after all, is there any better way to spend the holidays?!? Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Team Blevins!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

More Adventures of Ernie...our Elf

Ernie has been up to NO GOOD this past week...especially on this day :

He got into my canister of flour and made himself a snow angel. He and my kitchen were a MESS! Chloe and Brody, of course, thought this was hilarious and asked if Ernie was going to be in trouble. And then Chloe said something that gave me the idea for the next night's elf adventure. She said that Ernie was going to have to take a bath since he was so dirty. So...

That is what he did...took  a bath in my sink! 

Ernie has been such a great source of fun for us this year. The kids have loved him and we have equally loved setting everything up to surprise them each day. Poor Ernie has his last night with us tonight. He leaves each Christmas Eve night to go back to the North Pole not to return again until next December 1st. Stay tuned for his final shenanigan! It should be fun - or funny!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Pictures

Just snapped a few or 20 photos of the kids this morning after they got dressed for church. Hope you all enjoy these sweet little faces...after all, I did have to bribe Brody with gum and a Bug Juice to let me take his picture.

an obvious out-take

cracking herself up

and if they aren't fighting...this is what they are doing all day - laughing hysterically

My goodness I love this boy of mine!

I Wonder If...

I have been awake since 3:45 with just one thing on my mind...

I wonder if Mary was ever awakened by the sounds of Jesus' little feet pitter-pattering down the hall to her room in the middle of the night. I bet she was!
I wonder if Mary was ever slightly annoyed that Joseph and Jesus could fall asleep in 2.2 seconds yet it took her forever to unwind at night.
I wonder if Mary ever gave Jesus "eskimo kisses" and if they giggled about it in the process.
I wonder how Mary taught obedience to Jesus as a toddler - especially a 3 year old.
I wonder if Mary ever got frustrated with Jesus - surely she did?!?
I wonder if Mary ever just caught herself staring at Jesus and silently began thanking God that he chose her to be Jesus' mommy.
I wonder if Mary knew that she would only have 33 years with her precious Son what she would have done differently, kept the same, done more of or less of, etc...

These things, along with many other, cross my mind especially this time of year. We are coming upon the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I feel like I have fallen into the Christmas spirit of frenzy, decor, gifts, parties, and activities with the kids. Don't get me wrong, these are are wonderful and exciting things when kept in perspective. It's just that it has been and will continue to be a busy season for Team Blevins. I had chemo 5 days ago, David is having surgery tomorrow, I'm having another thyroid biopsy Thursday, and our family is coming for Christmas. There are groceries to be bought, meals to be prepared, a house to be cleaned, kids to keep entertained, a husband to take care of post-operatively, and the list goes on and on. Not to mention that I haven't wrapped a single present yet. Oooh, I can just feel my anxiety level creeping up as I type. I wonder if Mary's anxiety ever crept up as she just thought about what her days entailed.
It's time to stop, bring the focus of Christmas back and let it be what drives the rest of the season forward. If you find yourself like me, all caught up in the "to-do" lists that seem to grow with each passing day in December, take a  moment to breathe, really thank God for the birth of His Son, and bring Christ back to the forefront of your mind this season.

I'm off to spend some time with Him now and as I do, I will not only pray for my family and the week we have ahead of us, but I will pray for each of you...that your week will be filled with things that scream Jesus and bring you back to the real "Reason for the Season."

Monday, December 12, 2011

Our Elf and ICE

We made our annual trip to ICE on Sunday which again proved to be lots of fun. We headed to Nashville after church and got there just before the crowds showed up. This year's theme was from the movie Merry Madagascar and it was amazing as always. Here are some pics of the event, and then below are the pics of Ernie, our elf on there shelf, and how we have found him recently... The kids are having lots of fun with Ernie and his crazy shenanigans lately.

Everything made of ice!

Of course Brody is touching the ice when they have told everyone to NOT touch the ice. Ha!!!

He loved them!!!!

Check her out...hands up...Wheeeee!!!!

just hanging around...

checking things out from the candle sconce...

playing Brody's game Pirate Pop Up

Drinking the syrup.... silly elf!

Learning a Casting Crowns song on the ukelele...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

The Christmas decor is almost all up. Just a few outdoor touches left to do and it will be done. This year I decided to do things just a little different with our advent calendar. Last year, the kids took turns opening the doors each day (beginning on Dec. 1) and inside would be a slip of paper with what the activity for the day would be. Some examples are : go to the library and choose Christmas books, make Christmas brownies, give canned food to the food bank, etc... So this year we are doing the same thing, HOWEVER, in each box is also a little "surprise" that goes along with a Bible story. For example, the first day each kid had a quarter in the box which represented 25 days left until Christmas and the story was about the poor widow who gave her only 2 coins and how Jesus blessed her for giving all that she had. They will give their quarters for offering at church on Sunday. Then on day 2 they each had a grape sweet-tart and the story that went along with it was of Jesus' first miracle turning the water to wine. I changed it up just a tad to grape juice so they would get the correlation between their grape candy and the miracle. Chloe was really surprised that Jesus was invited to a wedding. HA! I think that may have amazed her more than the actual miracle. Anyways, I am excited to do this with them each day and be able to correlate it with scripture. There truly are ways to ALWAYS tie in Christ with everyday things.
Anyways, here are some pics... oh, and before I forget, Ernie Elf (our Elf on the Shelf) has arrived again and is working hard. He has come up with some pretty clever hiding places each day which have left the kids in awe. He is quite the silly elf according to Chloe.

Dining room table

Chloe at the Festival of Nativities - this was a first for us and we really enjoyed it!

1 of the numerous Nativity Scenes that were on display 

I may totally be making this up, but if I remember right my parents had something that looked similar to this...only it was white. If not, I have no idea where that came from. Anyways, I loved it!

My favorite Nativity Scene ever!

Close up of it

Chloe again - by this point Brody had tried to touch every single set and was crawling under the rope so David took him back to the car while us girls stayed to check it all out...hence the no pictures of Brody there

Ernie Elf (our Elf on the Shelf) showed up on the ceiling fan on Sunday morning!!!

And of course here he is hanging with Barbie. He and Barbie go way back...he probably helped make her back in Santa's workshop before he got promoted to an Elf on the Shelf :)

In the midst of running crazy I captured this sweet boy's picture...I think he has candy in his cheek.

In the hall - I made these - and they look a lot better in person.

Kids' stockings

Team Blevins 4.0 tree 2011

this board is where we will hang Christmas cards this year

The living room in the midst of being decorated