Sunday, December 28, 2014

Nick & Kalli's Wedding

The Saturday after Christmas, Anthony and I got to go back to Tampa for a friend's wedding. He and Anthony were good friends and aquarium buddies before he went on his mission, and we were close with his parents and siblings and their families (which made up a huge part of the ward there!). We wanted to go, but we didn't want to make the drive with the kids, so it worked out that my mom was in town because she agreed to watch them! It was a 2 1/2 hour drive one way, so we left around 2pm and got back around 10pm. If you know how much we hate driving long distances, you know what a big deal it was for us to do that!

The reception was beautiful! They got sealed in Utah last week and had a reception there, so this was their Florida reception. They had it outdoors at a small ranch with barbeque and picnic tables. It was beautiful, simple, and rustic. It was so much fun to catch up with old friends from our ward in Tampa! They were all disappointed that we didn't bring the kids (James was 6 weeks old the last time we saw any of them!), but there is no way we would have had the ability to talk and visit like we did if they were there.

Aren't they the cutest couple ever?

They had a fun photo booth set up with props and instant printouts of your pictures. One copy went to a scrapbook for the bride and groom and the other copy you got to take home.

At the end of the night we all walked out to a large field and lit paper lanterns to release. They were hard to get started, but they were beautiful once they were in the sky. There was a little hiccup when one dive bombed out of the sky and fell, still light, onto a nearby field. We were all worried that it would start a brush fire, but the ground was wet enough that it didn't spread. Whew!

Rett was running a fever and feeling sickly, so I was a little anxious about him, but overall it wasn't too bad leaving them for so long. Anthony and I had a good time in the car ride, talking without interruptions and remembering what good friends we had in Tampa. So many people asked us how we were doing, and it was nice to realize just how happy we are where we live and in our life that we wouldn't change anything!

Riding the Sunrail

The morning after Christmas, Anthony and I got up at 6am to get ready to take James on his real train ride from Santa. The closest train to us is a commuter train for the Orlando area that takes about 45 minutes to get to. It runs early in the morning and late in the afternoon for the working crowd, so our goal was to make the 8am train. We woke James up around 6:30am and he didn't even fight getting out of his pajamas and into his regular clothes (which is always a battle), so that tells you how excited he was. We left the house around 6:45 (Rett stayed home with my mom) and got to the train stop at 7:30. We still had to buy our tickets (Santa's tickets were just symbolic), so we just missed the 7:30 train and had to wait for the 8am train. It was colder than we expected, so we had to bundle up as best we could while we waited. James was so excited!
 Once we got on the train, you can choose seats on the bottom floor, a mid level floor, or all the way to the top of the train. James chose the very top because he wanted to be able to "see everything" out the window. They have groups of four seats facing each other with a table in between them, so I sat across from James and Anthony. James had a peanut M&M that he had been holding in his hand since we left the house and he wanted to put it on the table. He didn't want to eat it, but he didn't want anyone else to touch it or hold it.
Waiting for the train to start:
 We finally got moving! It wasn't as fast as I expected it to be, there were a lot of times where the cars in the street next to us were passing us. That suited James though because it gave him time to look at everything out the window.

We rode the train south for two stops and then got off and crossed the tracks to wait for the northbound train back. It was about a 15 minute wait and James really didn't like the very loud announcements on the speakers. He had his blanket and his hands over his ears!
 Checking to see if the noise had stopped:
When we got back on the train and the worker checked our tickets, he came back and gave James a foam train toy that they give out to kids. He asked me why it was soft and I said so that it wouldn't break anything in the train. Then he asked me where we were sitting (since it is a replica of the train we were on) and I showed him which window on the  toy train.
 When we got off to walk back to our car, the worker that helped us buy our tickets stopped to ask James how he liked his train ride. Then she offered to take our picture for us! James was worried that the train was going to make a loud noise so he wouldn't take his hands off of his ears, but he still smiled!
It was a fun adventure, I'm glad that Santa had such a good idea ;)

Christmas Day

Christmas eve was a fun and busy day! My mom and my brother arrived to visit for the rest of the week and we had the missionaries over for dinner. James helped me pick out little presents for them so they would have something to open when he and Rett opened their presents from Elfie James 3 (Christmas pajamas). They gave us a little lesson on the Restoration and then we had a huge feast of Chinese takeout. Yum! After the boys fell asleep, Santa came!
 Christmas morning James came into our room around 7:45 am (which is his usual wake-up time now). His eyebrows were at the top of his forehead and he whispered, "Santa came and brought presents!". He insisted on showing us the presents, but then he agreed to watch Curious George until Rett woke up so we could open presents together.
After I made breakfast, Rett woke up!
 James loved his candy in his stocking, and his new candle tea light. Rett got one too, but James says his is brighter :)

 James was our official present passer this year. He would pick out each one and bring it to us to read the label for him. Then he would bring it to who it belonged to. He was very good about being patient and watching while someone else opened their presents. He also loved to help ripping off the wrapping paper! He informed us that Rett is too little to open his own presents, so he will have to show him. We decided to compromise and have Daddy help so all three of them could open Rett's presents together:

 James really wanted to ride in an airplane for Christmas, so Santa left an envelope with a small toy airplane and a note. The note said that there were no airplanes available from the north pole, so he got him train tickets to ride a real train instead!
James got a school bus from Rett:
He also got a rocket book, which he instantly turned into a toy rocket and was blasting it off across the room:
Rett got this ball popper toy that I just knew he would love! You put the balls in, they bounce around and then come out of the dinosaur's mouth. Rett sits there and puts the balls back in over and over again.
He also likes to watch the balls come out of the dinosaur's mouth, so he will lay down right in front of it. It is so cute!

 James' sunbeam class made presents for all of their family members, so I got to open mine. It was a note that said "I love you Mom" that he colored and a basket of seashells. Anthony got a note and some lotion and Rett got a tub of play-doh.

Rett got an airplane push toy that pops out little balls, so James helped me put it together. So far Rett has been a little scared of it, so James has taken over the responsibility of playing with it :)

James got a new toy lawn mower that comes with a pretend gas tank for filling up his gas. This is important because a few months ago he got into our shed in the backyard and filled up his other toy lawn mower with real gas. After we talked about how dangerous it was that he did that, his response was, "Well, I need pretend gas!"
He loves that you can actually pull a cord to start it up, instead of just pretending with his old lawn mower. It is really loud though, so it might not have been the smartest purchase for the grown ups to endure.

The very last present to open was a large package from Santa to James and Rett: a toy kitchen! James has been very interested in helping me cook lately and is actually getting pretty good. Now he can make us food all day long! Rett loves taking everything out and opening and closing all the doors.

Of course, it wasn't just the kids opening presents, we got to open some too! I got some great gifts this year: a Harry Potter scarf and blanket from my brother, an activity tracker bracelet (that tracks your steps and sleep, etc...) from Anthony, and funny enough a different brand activity bracelet from my mom! After a good laugh about how great minds think alike, I spent some time comparing the two bracelets and picked one to return. Choices, choices!
Anthony got boat wax, a new foam pressure washer for cleaning the boat, and cash towards his new rod and reel he wants to buy. You can't go wrong with anything boat related and money!

My brother started this funny tradition of getting cards to go with presents that are obviously wrong (different language, different occasion, etc...). So this year, when we went shopping for my brother's present I couldn't resist getting him a card that sings to you in Spanish when you open it! It was the best one so far, if I do say so myself. To go with the card, we got him a special mitt for cleaning his car and a 3D printed bobble-head Daniel to go on his desk at work:

My mom got a grandmother necklace with crystal birthstone rings on it for each of her grandchildren, a new 2015 James and Rett photo calendar, and this funky poster from Daniel. The back story of this poster is that it hung in our family's dining room growing up and everybody who came over to our house commented on it. It got lost years ago and I've bought her posters from the same artist, but Daniel finally got the exact one we used to have.

 After presents, we cleaned up a little bit and everyone got on their Christmas t-shirts. It was a tough choice deciding who had the best one this year! None of us could decide, so we put all the pictures on Facebook and left it to a vote.

 My mom:
I got James a Grinch shirt, but he didn't want to get out of his pajama's and put it on. Daniel was sure he was going to win, but by the end of the night the score was: my mom: 10, Me: 5, Daniel: 4, Rett: 3, and Anthony: 0. She won the Christmas chocolate, but she shared it with everyone so we were all winners :)

The rest of the evening we ate lots of ham, rolls, green beans, apple pie, and ice cream while watching Christmas movies. We watched the original Home Alone and James sat through the entire thing for the first time. He loved Kevin McCalister. We told him that the little boy was him in 5 years and he really took that to heart. He kept saying, "Oh yeah, he is me but older". I guess we should start watching out for booby traps at our house!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Our little Sunbeam

The day has finally come! After 2 years and 5 months of nursery, James has finally graduated to the Sunbeam class at church! I thought he would have a hard time transitioning from playing with toys most of the time to actually sitting down in a classroom and then more sitting for sharing time and singing time. In fact, I think he was more than ready to leave nursery! Literally everyone in nursery is almost a year younger than him and for over a month he has been making up excuses to come be with me during church (in primary). So when I gave him the choice of staying in nursery or going to class with his best buddy Carter in primary, he gladly chose going to class! They had the best time, with the most wonderful and patient Sunbeam teacher who has a great structure for their class. James fit right in! I couldn't resist, I had to get a few pictures during singing time of him sitting with the big kids.
 For singing time, the kids got to take turns finding "shepherd's crooks" (candy canes) around the room with Christmas songs on them. When it was James' turn he got so excited, jumped up and said "Oh yeah!". He raced to the piano and grabbed a green one, he said he picked it because it is his favorite color.

A few weeks ago Anthony's parents came over with a ladder to help us put up our Christmas lights. I had a tiny cold, so I wasn't feeling too well. While Rett and I took a nap, James helped climb the ladder and put on lights. Really he just climbed up and down the ladder, but he was very proud to be helping :)

I have to add a few pictures of my chunk. I bought him this onesie at Walmart because I couldn't resist it. It says "Girls dig chubby dudes". The first day he wore it, we went the park and at least two little girls followed him around the entire time, they thought he was so cute. I guess it is true!