Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy 5th Birthday, Graydon!

During our Christmas Eve service, I glanced over at Graydon who was sitting nicely and coloring in his lap.  Then I thought back to Christmas Eve 2008, his due date.  He was quite content in my tummy and remained there for an additional week before the doctors forced him to leave.

And now that baby is FIVE!!!






Two of Graydon's biggest milestones this year were learning to ride a bike and starting preschool.  Then there were smaller moments, but big at the same time like jumping off of the diving board at the swim club and riding his first roller coaster at Sesame Place.

Graydon is kind of a gadget kid - he loves playing games on the tablet and it's always something that I have to limit with him.  He's also a huge fan of Super Mario Brothers on the Wii.  His creative side definitely shines through when he's given a few art supplies.  He'll often draw a picture first and then decide what it is instead of the other way around.  Or he'll create a new thing out of paper, sticks, rubber bands - or whatever he can find.  And he likes to see how things work.  On Christmas Eve, he and Curtis were given battery powered candles to hold up during the candlelight service.  But Graydon never got to use his because he completely disassembled the whole thing before it even got dark!

This summer, we saw a new interest perk when we started our garden.  Everyday, Graydon wanted to check on the garden, water it, and pick any new veggies that had ripened.  And he was always planting things.  One day Andy cut a small branch off of a tree and a few moments later I saw Graydon digging a hole so that he could 'plant a tree' from that branch.

Graydon seems to be doing well in school.  Andy and I have both noticed that he seems a bit shy and uncertain when we drop him off.  He generally doesn't like going in the morning, but always mentions it as his "high" for the day when we talk about "highs and lows' at dinnertime.

He has the greatest smile and a super contagious laugh.  

Simply put, Graydon is a huge source of joy in our lives and we are so happy and thankful to be celebrating another year of his life!


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas!

As you can see. . .
Graydon has the Christmas spirit.

Bella has the Christmas spirit.

But Curtis?  Hmmm. . .

Bella took a beautiful picture.IMG_3233

Graydon gave a fantastic smile.

Curtis?  Not in the mood.   (I was feeling lazy/rushed and opted out of an under shirt for him.  Mistake.  He refused to zip it up and this is the look we ended up with). 

In his defense, he hasn't been feeling well.  He has a mild case of croup - the barking cough mainly flares up at night.  But then his nose started running.  Not quite feeling like himself.   

Of course, after our second Christmas Eve service, he perked right up.  He was even climbing over the pews.  Not quite sure where the sudden burst of energy came from!  At least he smiled (and stood still) for this picture - even if his eyes were closed. 

Christmas Morning!

Present time!

But first, lighting our last Advent candle and singing 'Happy Birthday' to Jesus. 

Each kid in our family gets three presents.

Bella: Blingles kit, Earring holder, and Doll Armoire

Graydon: Tinker Toys, Paper Jamz guitar, and Jack and the Neverland Pirates tent (shared with Curtis)

Curtis: Stomp Rocket, Paper Jamz guitar, and Jack and the Neverland Pirates tent (shared with Graydon)




I love that both boys were totally cool with sharing their third present.  No complaints and just excitement!




After the kids opened their presents from under the tree, we brought out a ton more from church friends and the Texas Benetti family.  These are some well-loved kids!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Wisconsin here we come!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Programs

'Tis the season for Christmas programs!  Between church, Bella's school, and Graydon's school, we were really ushered into the Christmas spirit.

Here's some photos from our church program.





Bella was Mary this year!

Graydon was a king.




Curtis was a lamb.

That following Wednesday was the program at Bella's school:  'Our House is a Holiday House'.

And then Graydon's preschool program was on Friday. 

We were all responsible for our kids' costumes.  I intended to borrow a shepherd costume from our church - but they were all just too big.  I didn't realize that until the night before the program.  After a quick Google search, I was able to find materials from my house (a pillowcase and a large piece of fabric) and put his Shepherd costume together in about 20 minutes.  And it didn't cost anything!



The shepherds said, "I wish I were a shepherd, so I could go and see the baby born in Bethlehem, asleep on Mary's knee." 

Here are some of the video highlights from the three programs.  A little disclaimer on Graydon's program - I didn't have our video camera with me (forgot to charge the battery) and ended up using my cell phone.  I couldn't zoom with it and the footage was tiny - so I only included video from the end of the program when he was walking offstage. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Cell Phone Pics: November/December

Curtis gets some good Mommy/Daddy time on Wednesday mornings when it's Andy's day off.  Morning snuggles at Starbucks.

Bella really loves to read to her brothers.

Decisions.  Decisions. 

Balloon animals from a birthday party:  a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (Curtis called it an "inja turtle". 

All three sitting quietly at the table doing a Christmas crafts.  Moments like these are rare, but they do happen. 

Curtis helped make the brownies for Bella's class birthday treat. 

Graydon wrapped a few candles for our Christmas Eve candle light service. 

On my mom's last day in town, we spent the day in historic Smithville, NJ.  Over 60 cute little shops, a short train ride, and a Christmas light display on the water.  We started the day out with some hot chocolate. 

The train wasn't running at first due to rain.  We actually spent quite a bit of time in an indoor arcade.  But then the rain stopped and the train started! 



Girls Day!  Bella and I went to see the NJ Ballet perform The Nutcracker. 

In our seats and ready for the show to start!

At the end, she got an autograph and photo with the Sugar Plum Fairy. 

Kitchen projects with the kids.  This one is only a little messy and the kids can pretty much do it on their own. 

Winter has barely begun and we've already had two small snow storms! We even had a snow day!


A lazy afternoon.

The answer to our "ice cream park". Some friends recommended an ice cream parlour that has a carnival theme.  Worked for us!

The mirrors were a super hit.

And then we went to a park that still had some ice on the ground from our latest snow. An "ice park".  Close enough.



Christmas cookie time!