Monday, January 23, 2012

Trip to Atlanta

This year I've made a commitment to not work (play) on the computer when the boys are awake. I don't want them to think whatever I'm doing on the internet is more important than they are and I want to set a good example of prioritizing for them. Besides, I'm realizing how quickly time is flying by and before I know it I'll have three boys in school and I'll be missing my babies at home! All that being said, naps and evenings are not quite long enough to get it all done and I'm a little behind on the blog. (Blame Pinterest for that!)Two weeks ago, Erik and I went to the Atlanta Merchandise Mart to buy things for the store. We took Melody (The Lloyd Company's amazing decorator) and Jonas along. Elliott was supposed to go also but got sick as we were walking out the door so he stayed with GranMols and Papaw instead. We were fortunate enough to stay with Uncle Scott and Aunt Cindy. Yaya (from TN) and Aunt Jessica (from FL) also made the trip to spend some time with us while we were there.Erik, Jessica and Becky spent the day together on Wednesday. They enjoyed some history and culture in downtown Atlanta while Melody, Jonas and I bought Christmas decorations for the store. Aunt Jennifer joined us for dinner on Wednesday evening at the Schade house. This picture was taken on Erik's phone and I couldn't figure out how to turn it. Sorry, Jennifer!On Thursday Erik joined us for his first experience of gift buying for the store. We met Becky and Jessica for lunch and then Jonas got to spend the afternoon with them while we finished up our buying - which was a welcome relief for my back and shoulders since the mart doesn't allow strollers and I had carried him the entire day Wednesday and all morning on Thursday!We had a very successful trip for the store and enjoyed every second with our family. Thank you to Yaya and Aunt Jessica for making the trip to be with Jonas (and us) and a HUGE thank you to Scott and Cindy for opening their house, fixing yummy food and even giving up their bed to accomodate all of us. You all are wonderful hosts and we hope to repay the favor sometime soon!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Today is Grandma Litter's 90th birthday!

We had a surprise birthday celebration on Sunday and about half of the family was able to come - mind you, that's over 30 people! We all showed up at church and she was definitely surprised as people kept filing in. The service was so nice, with songs chosen especially for her and an oportunity for people to say something to/about her. After church we all headed over to the Bell Tower for lunch, presents and cake.

The whole family worked on a special book full of pictures and memories written by each person. It was fun to see her open it and I'm sure it will be read through many times. I enjoyed reading the different memories that everyone contributed.

Happy birthday, Grandma Litter! You are such a special person to me and my whole family. I am so thankful for all the days I've been able to spend with you or just stop by your house for a quick visit. I love how excited my boys get each time we drive up your driveway and that I'm able to call on you occasionally when I need to drop them off somewhere for babysitting. I love seeing them sitting in your lap to look out the window and watch the birds. I love the stories of how you are the only person mom could leave me with when I was a baby - even though I cried for you too! I love how there is always something yummy to eat in your kitchen, especially when it's your vegetable or potato soups or your raisin-filled cookies. I love that my 90-year-old grandma picked my 5-year-old up from school last week when I was out of town. I love making apple butter at your house. I love getting parenting advice from you - you know how to handle just about any situation, from experience! I love that you still insist on riding the lawn mower and going fast. I love how your landscaping and flowers are always the most colorful and beautiful of any around. I love that your Bible is always open near your chair. I love that you always have a crochet project going even when your hands hurt, and that you share those with us as Christmas presents. I love your green zip-up shoes and sequined hat that you always wore to games when we were in high school. I love seeing you snuggle babies, especially mine. I love hearing all the wonderful things people have to say about you and knowing how special my grandma is to so many people. I love how you throw your head back and laugh when you find something really funny - Mom does the same thing. I love how Mom is so much like you. You're such a wonderful grandma and grammy and such a wonderful example of what a Christian woman should be. I love you!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Happy New Year's!

This year we hosted our 5th annual New Year's party! It's hard to believe we've been doing this for 5 years already, but it was another great evening with wonderful friends. This year only one kiddo was in attendance:

...and this is how he looked by 8:00:

A special THANK YOU to all the grandparents who watched all the other kiddos so we could enjoy an evening together!

We had lots of yummy food and some pretty humorous entertainment, thanks to Just Dance on the Wii. Check out Kelsey and Mary Allison:The girls fought hard but were defeated by the boys in a game of Trivial Pursuit (their final question asked, "where is Miami?" Really?!) and we saw the ball drop at midnight - no repeat of last year's fiasco since Christina was in position way before midnight this year!

Thanks to all our friends who celebrated with us. We had a great time with you and can't think of a better way to ring in another year full of fun! With that said, mark your calendars for December 31st @ the Allsop's!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Building Things

One of Malachi's favorite gifts was his fancy Erector set. It's a really cool construction toy but unfortunately it's a bit too advanced for him right now. Oh well, luckily for him it was one of Erik's favorite gifts, too!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2 Year Old Tantrums

Here are some recent pictures of Elliott:
There are many explanations for why he looks like this so often recently (later bedtimes during Christmas break, less attention since Malachi's home from school, shorter naps and less downtime because of traveling and other holiday activities, he's two years old, etc.), but we're definitely dealing with some attitude from Elliott now. He's started saying, "no!" whenever he's asked to do something that doesn't fit in with his agenda and he's definitely expressing himself by crying (screaming) and stomping, kicking...

Because of all this he's getting many looks like the one below from Mommy and Daddy, along with other discipline of course!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

3 Months Old

In the midst of all the holiday bustle, our littlest guy turned 3 months old! Jonas is such a sweet and easygoing baby. I don't know how much he currently weighs, but he's definitely eating well and growing - he's getting a little chubby! He's sleeping pretty well, usually only waking once for a middle of the night snack, and still naps various times during the day. He smiles easily and often and is starting to giggle more and more each day. Baby giggles are my absolute favorite sound in the whole world and I tear up each time one escapes...and then I try to get him to laugh more and more! He is mesmerized by his big brothers and they are usually the ones most often rewarded with smiles and laughs. Elliott is still pretty rough with him (I've recently caught him trying to shove a stick down Jonas' throat and sitting on top of Jonas, riding him like a horse), and Malachi still does his best to protect him. Even with all this chaos that is our home, Jonas rarely cries and seems content to just take it all in!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Christmas Day

Christmas morning this year was so much fun! Malachi was definitely excited anticipating Santa and because of that Elliott was excited too. The boys actually slept in more than normal (until almost 8:00!) and even woke us up before tearing into their stockings and presents.

Elliott was excited about all his new "tractorrrs."

Malachi couldn't wait to play his Angry Birds game.

After opening presents and playing for a short while we headed to church.

After church and lunch at Grammy Litter's we came home, the boys put jammies back on and we took naps before heading back to GranMols' and Papaw's for dinner.

Grammy Jane got to hold her two youngest great-grandsons, Jonas and Oliver, while more presents were exchanged.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Christmas Eve

We spent most of Christmas Eve in the car driving home from Knoxville, but lucky for us we had some fun activities to look forward to at the end of our trip! We went to GranMols' and Papaw's for dinner with all my siblings and their kiddos and then decorated cookies and exchanged presents.

Elliott had to make sure they were good enough for Santa!

GranMols with half of her grandkids, waiting patiently for presents.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Christmas Happenings, Pt. 4

Thank you Yaya and 'Buelo, Bruce, Sigi, Kevin and Kayla, Grandpa Gene and Grandma Alice, Aunt Jessica, Uncle Mike, Austin and Whitney for all the gifts we received while in Tennessee.
The girls also continued our tradition of exchanging scarves - who doesn't love a new scarf?!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Christmas Happenings, Pt. 3

While in Knoxville, we spent one morning at the mall. The boys were not too excited about "going shopping" until they saw the playground and the train that made trips around the mall. After they played for a while, Yaya was nice enough to take a ride with them.Another morning Granddad treated all of us to some bowling. Malachi and Elliott were very excited about bowling and even had their own lane with bumpers.

We also spent a lot of time just hanging out and playing. The boys were very excited that Aunt Sigi still had lots of Kevin's toys. The Hotwheel tracks were a huge hit - which worked out pretty well since that is what Yaya and 'Buelo and Santa got the boys for Christmas!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Christmas Happenings, Pt. 2

As soon as Malachi finished school on the Tuesday before Christmas, we loaded up and headed south to visit Erik's family. We went to Erik's aunt and uncle's house in Knoxville, where Yaya and 'Buelo joined us. We had a great time hanging out and visiting with Bruce, Sigi, Kayla, Kevin, Granddad, Yaya and 'Buelo.

The first day we were there we decided to go ice skating. We weren't sure how the boys would do, but thought it would be something fun to try - and it definitely was! Malachi did a great job and was getting pretty confident with himself by the end and Elliott loved going fast!

Thanks to Yaya for keeping Jonas warm and cozy so I could join in the fun!

These things were great for the kids to use while learning.

Malachi and Kayla

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Christmas Happenings, Pt. 1

We've had a very busy and very fun Christmas break - as is probably obvious from my lack of posts! Our festivities began the Sunday before Christmas with Malachi participating in the children's choir and bell choir at church. He practiced his songs a lot while in the car and I'm pretty sure I could hear his voice in the crowd!

That same day after church we had the Litter family Christmas party at Grandma Litter's. We were missing quite a few people but still had a great time, complete with the traditional "walk-through," (Aunt Tweed sets up a video camera and tapes each of the families walking through one by one) and program. This year we each had an ornament that had a verse or saying written on it that we read and then put on Grandma's tree. Malachi even read his own this year!

GranMols has her hands full with these two!

Grammy Litter with her "September babies," Audrey and Jonas.

All the great-grandchildren that were present: Adeline, Audrey, Liza, Elliott, Jonas, Malachi, Walker, Grace and Oliver. Isn't it funny how our definition of a "good" picture changes when it involves lots of kids?!

Be sure to keep checking back this week - I'm promising the rest of our Christmas festivities!