Monday, November 23, 2015

Christmas 2014 & iphone dump

One of my favorite things to do each Christmas is go to a Christmas Eve church service. When we've spent Christmases in West Virginia, we've participated in a Christmas Eve communion service. At the Taylor's church, during the communion service, families can come and go within a certain time span and there are people ministering in song or reading scriptures while you take communion. Our family typically goes last and that ends the service since Tim's Dad was the pastor. This year was their last communion service because he retired shortly after so it held an even more special place in all of our hearts. Prior to us arriving in West Virginia, the Taylor's had asked me if it would be ok for Kennedy to assist in serving communion for the duration of the service. Of course I said "yes" because I knew she'd be thrilled to have such a special privilege. We arrived just in time to get a couple of pictures of her serving before it was our families' turn. She enjoyed her role immensely. 

I mean, I just have to make fun of my own family and our attempt at getting pictures with one another. What on earth is Grey doing in this picture? I mean, come on! Poor Micah looks like Uncle Fester. I promise there's a neck and a chin in there folks! Avery looks like she's spotted Santa. I mean, I just don't even know y'all. 
This is the point where I don't care if they aren't all looking, I don't care if Avery is fixing her hair, Grey is talking to Pawpaw and the baby is crying. I'm taking the picture dangit because we're going to have family pictures and they are going to document our REAL life...the one where it's not all neat and tidy with a bow on top. 

Once we got home from the communion service it was time to leave out any items for Santa that we wanted him to have. 
Of course my crafty critter Kennedy had drawings and artwork for both Santa and Mrs. Claus. 

These sweet little packages were all Kennedy as well. 

The letter Kennedy wrote to Santa was written much earlier but I feel it should be included here with all of the other Santa stuff. Plus: how cute is it that she asked for a sleigh bell (clearly we enjoy the Polar Express around here). 
Christmas morning brought some sweet Micah smiles and time with his Pawpaw.

These three slept later than I anticipated but they woke up ready and raring to get the Christmas show on the road. I insisted on getting some pictures of them in their Christmas jammies before the festivities began. These PJ's were compliments of Nana and Pawpaw and they LOVED them. 

All of the Christmases I've spent with the Taylor's have begun the same way: with the Christmas story being read. Tim's Grandpa has read it, Tim's Dad has read it, Tim has read it and this past year for the first time...Kennedy read it. Very special and very sweet. 

First up: stockings!

Santa replied to her letter and was sure to include one of her requests from the letter she sent him.
A bell - cut right off his sleigh! Santa is awesome like that! 
As you can see she equal parts surprised and elated. Love it. Doesn't this totally make y'all have a Polar Express moment...the bell still rings for her :). 
I love these chubby fingers on Daddy's shoulder as he patiently waits for his cars to be taken out of the plastic. 
Time to line em' up!
This! This was the big gift...the thing we figured they'd be most excited about...the thing we spent the most on. This was the big Christmas gift "moment".
This one is the "techie" of the three so she hopped right to it. This is the Kindle Fire Kids can format it to have a profile for each child and that profile will automatically add appropriate content based on their age, their current likes/dislikes, etc. 

It seemed as though it would work just like we hoped/thought it would, but I'm sad to report that after months of less than stellar performance, we called Amazon so we could send it back. Their initial response was not good - they said that you could not return/exchange outside of 60 days and that we could send it back but there would be zero refund. Well, who in the heck would ever do such a thing? I pitched a high holy fit in all honesty because after emailing and calling to try to get to the bottom of our issues no one EVER mentioned that policy and or offered to send me a new one to see if ours was defective or anything like that. The management went back and listened to my customer service calls and in the end sent me a full and total refund Praise the Lord. I think we did in fact have a defective unit, however, I think the memory is so small on this particular item that with three kids we would have run into issues at some point down the road regardless. 

Tim received a macdaddy tent which he now refers to as the "Tajmatent" (courtesy of my Brother in law who owned the first affectionately named "Tajmatent" in our family). It is really nice. Our entire family including a pack and play fit in this jumbo beast on our first camping trip after receiving this and we could still move about pretty's awesome.  
These! These things are/have been AWESOME. There are lots of versions of these on the market but ours in particular are called Playmags. They are magnetic tiles and I first saw them at a children's museum in Rock Hill near my Moms house and the kids loved them so much there that I thought we'd get some for the house. Seriously: I can say this now 11 months removed from them opening them - they play with them all.the.time. There are so many cool things that they construct and use them for. It's nuts. My only regret: not getting the larger set (they came in two sets and I got the smaller sets that didn't have triangles in it. I ended up purchasing a supplemental set for Grey's birthday in August but I wish I would have just bought the 100+ piece set right out of the gate because it would have been worth it. Anyhow - I suggest you look in to them if you're trying to decide on a cool and creative Christmas gift for this season. 

The kids matching Christmas Jammies were a gift from Nana and Pawpaw. I'm so glad we were able to get a decent picture of them all together. 
Grandma came over for the meal plus a little visiting time. She couldn't wait to get her hands on Micah. 
He even gave her some gummy grins while she was there. 

And now for some current of the current going-ons: 
This, my friends will be an iphone dump of sorts. 

I'll try to keep my explanation of each quick and to the point so that this won't be the longest blog post known to man though it still may be even if I go easy on the wordage. 

Ave learned how to ride her bike this summer/fall - no more training wheels! 
 He won't be long behind her because he's totally mastered the balance bike. 

 Homecoming week - super hero day. 
 Loving her Lego's she got for her birthday. I never plaid with Legos: did y'all?

 Homecoming Week: Hawaiian Day. 
 Headed to church with K's BFF in tow. She looks like she could be ours, doesn't she? 
 Stud muffin at 11 months. Don't let that belly fool you - he's still less than the first percentile in weight. Tiny peanut. 
 She totally feels these boots (she just received via hand me down) are made for walking! 
 Not so flattering but oh what a moment - wrapping up my first ever 1/2 trail marathon. 
 Even better than finishing? Placing 2nd in my age division. Tim took this silly picture to send my sisters. I was pretty pumped. 
 It was one of the hardest races I've ever done. I was super happy to be done and even happier to have placed. 
 Where is the time going? This boy is getting on and off of riding toys, cruising like crazy, and standing in one place with no assistance. We will have a walker before we know it. 
 He's also pointing. 
 & he's really proud of it, can you tell? 
 They are forever and always asking me to paint. Sometimes I let them..this picture is proof of that. Ha! 
 We had our first serious experience with croup this Fall. We ended up having to purchase a nebulizer so I could give my poor patient breathing treatments. It amazed me how still he sat through each treatment. It made me wonder if it actually felt good. I hope we won't need to use this thing again anytime soon. 
 We try to enjoy the sun any chance we get. Thankfully we get warm days even into October. Exhibit A: 
 Wherever she goes...he follows :)
 After we do pre-school (when we do pre-school ;) at home, we usually spend some time together doing something of this girls choice while her brothers nap. On this day we did "beauty shop" and then she wanted me to take our picture. Love.
 Kennedy is always creating something and one afternoon she built this Fairy House (thank you Tinkerbell). I thought it was so cute. She was most disappointed that it wasn't still there a week later :(. 
 Cousin Pizza Party/Movie Night/Sleepover!!! Enough Said. 
 He's going to be riding bikes and scooters and what not before I know it but for now I savor the wagon rides. 
 He's a fan of a wagon ride. Can you tell? 
 We found a new park nearby and it is super cool. Amongst the most cool things about it? This partner swing...for Momma's and their littles or for siblings or whatever. It evokes squeals of delight from my wee one. I love it. 
 Also, it has ziplines and my kids ride until they are slap worn out. 
 Tim and I have some really sweet friends who have made a big commitment to improving their overall health. They've lost tons of weight and are still going strong. Aside from eating better, they've joined this really cool nearby gym called Carolina Sweat. On Saturdays Carolina Sweat is not only open to the public but it's open to spouses (mostly it's a ladies place). We've joined them a hand full of times which delights me to no end because I love working out with my man but it also has made me super proud of their family because these workouts are NO JOKE. 
 see: we're dead!  
 You can even take your kids along. He says: what are you waiting for? Let's get moving. Ha. 

That's all for now and I'm sure all you people are sayin' thank heavens and Amen!