Friday, December 31, 2010

More Gurian Christmas fun!

Man these two had so much fun. This is Eli with my niece Rebekah. She is 15 months old and such a cutie.  She loves to just follow Eli in whatever he is doing and he was so good with her.  Plus he got a LOT of practice learning to keep his cool while sharing...and you can't beat that!

A moment to play in the snow!

After Christmas there was LOTS of shopping to do. My mom, aunt, and I went to Target to peruse the discounted Christmas stuff (one of our traditions) and I picked up some cute napkins and Christmas tins for next year.  Then it was movie time!  We all went to see the new Narnia movie, minus my mom who stayed home with the kids (she's not a big fan of movies).  I LOVED the movie and really want to see it again.  So many amazing analogies!

Grant and I ready to have our 3D Narnia experience! I really love this picture.
These were the best 3D glasses we've had so we took them home for our next 3D experience!  Don't worry, we didn't steal them.  It was optional to recycle them.

Another Gurian tradition that Bekah got to do for the first time...
This is one of our favorite restaurants, Nakatos.  With everyone there we had enough for our own table which was fun.  Bekah LOVED the food, no surprise there.  She really can't be a Gurian and not like it!  lol

We were all heading home the next morning and I realized we still hadn't taken a family pic!  So this is the best we could do this holiday.  With little kids, nap times, etc it will be a challenge to get the picture taken each time we are together!  But I'm determined to have pics of the kids each time we are together.

The next morning we packed up and headed home refreshed and ready for the new year!


This is our Christmas morning, the main tree in my parents house.  Stunning isn't it!

Waking up to a white Christmas! I didn't get any pics where the snow flakes turned out but it was so fun that the snow was falling on Christmas morning!

This was an extravagant Christmas for Grant and I and we are overwhelmed at the way God LOVES to bless His children and my parents too!  My husband and I have chosen to not have our children believe that Santa is real and the one who brings the presents.  I know that a lot of people don't understand why we would do this but to us, Christmas is about celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus and having an opportunity to bless and be a blessing.  I think that sometimes Santa can distract from the real meaning of Christmas and put the emphasis on the presents.  Honestly, it's impossible to be an American during Christmas and not have Santa be some kind of a reality.  But we have chosen to celebrate who the real Santa was (Saint Nicholas) and his extravagant heart to give.  We have just told Eli that the Santa's he sees in the mall or wherever are people pretending to be Santa and we pretend that Santa is real but he knows the truth.  He also knows not to go around telling everyone what the truth is.  We do want to respect other people's desires and traditions.  

That being said, I love that Christmas is a time to pull out all the stops to bless our children and family!  I am a gift giver and I LOVE scheming and thinking about how to bless the socks off of the people I love!  Our Christmas began with Eli getting to discover his new kitchen I wrote about in the Christmas Eve entry.

He had SO much fun discovering all the features and wanted to go get his mittens so he could have "oven mitts" to get the cookies out of the oven!

Here is my family Christmas morning.  I absolutely LOVE that God has given me this man to walk with and these kids to raise! I truly feel I have the BEST life there is! We were sleepy from staying up so late to put the kitchen together.

Gifts, Gifts, Gifts! 
I didn't get a whole lot of pictures of the gifts but here are some of the highlights.

This is Bell's first stocking to open...

My mom got my dad an ipad (something he's wanted for a while and would never buy for himself).  He was so shocked and surprised!

One of the most fun gifts was for my sister in law.  4 years ago their wedding video was all loaded on my computer at my house and our house was broken into.  The computer was stolen and we discovered that we didn't have any back up copies of their video...thus we lost their wedding video with absolutely no hope of recovery.  Miraculously, (after moving twice since then) this summer I stumbled upon a box with some tapes in it.  I was looking for a tape of mine and found all the tapes to their wedding!!!!!  This is truly a miracle because we are pretty meticulous to go through and weed out old stuff every year.  And after years of doing this we have never found the tapes! So my brother and I decided to make it a surprise Christmas present for her.  I made a dvd and gave it to her as her present.  I told her that is was a slideshow of pics I put together (its just a Christmas lie, right? lol)  So we put the dvd in and it started showing their wedding!  Then I told her the story of how we found it in the attic surprisingly and the went the tears!

So fun to surprise and bless! The other fun thing was that one of the tapes had a ton of people's video blessing to them for their marriage so they will have fun looking back on all of that.  This summer will be their 5 year anniversary.  

Another fun surprise was a new Wii!  We got a wii a couple of years ago but it has been broken for over a year.  My dad got Grant and Eli a new one with a new hunting game and attachment gun.  It has been really fun and Eli keeps asking non stop to play "bidy-o" games!

We finally got all cleaned up and got ready for Christmas dinner.  I LOVE this pic of Eli. It showcases his personality really well.

Our little family pic!

I can't believe that we didn't get a big group picture.  Grant's parents were with us and we didn't get a pic with them either.  

Me and my love...

Callie's first Christmas pics...

This is not a very good pic but it showed her whole outfit.  

She is just the cutest!

I love this one. She looks like she's holding her dress up on purpose!

Then the little photo shoot went south since she was hungry AND tired.

After dinner it was time to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus!

What a wonderful day!  

Christmas Eve 2010

Christmas Eve my brother and sister-in-law arrived with my niece and our Christmas guest Bell. Bell is a Chinese exchange student that has been staying with my brother over the holiday break.  It was a lot of fun to have him with us! 

Here is Bell reading the Chinese bible my parents got him for Christmas.

Here are a few pics from our fun..

One tradition I am excited about starting is getting the cousins matching pajamas.  I know a lot of people who do the same thing or something like it but I am so excited to get this going with my family.  Here is our first pic of the cousins in matching pjs.  Quite a hard feat to get a 3 year old, 15 month old, and a almost 4 month old to pose.  Ha!

But they looked so cute and it made Christmas morning so fun to see them running around matching.

This was the first year that Grant and I had to stay up late assembling a toy for Christmas morning.  My parents got Eli a big play kitchen that needed assembling.  Here is Grant with my brother reading through all the directions!

And here is the finished product, ready for Christmas morning!

Its a sweet kitchen.  The microwave and the oven has buttons that make noise, it makes a boiling water noise, has a place for the salt and pepper, a sink, a silverware drawer, and more!  He already plays with it a TON!

Christmas in Missouri....

We journeyed to Missouri this year for Christmas to spend some time with my family.  We had a nice long week vacation that seemed to absolutely fly by!  The day before Christmas Eve I had the great idea to do a gingerbread house with Eli.  I hadn't done one in AGES and thought, this will be so fun!  But I was wrong.  Eli had a really hard time understanding why on Earth we were putting the candy on the house and not in our mouths!  He kept sneaking pieces!

This is our finished product....

And this is our finished product 15 minutes later...

So needless to say that I don't think I have a future in house construction!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Eli heard Jesus!

     I may have already written about some of this but this story really begins by explaining that Eli and his daddy are best friends.  Every day the first thing Eli wants to do it play with Daddy and is often really sad and disappointed to find Grant has already gone to work.  And about once a week he has a really sad moment during the day when he realizes Daddy hasn't been home that morning and won't be home until later that afternoon.  He truly is a Daddy's boy and could spend all day with him.  Its the delight of my heart to see their special bond and to have a husband who is truly the best father in the world.  He spends LOADS of time with our little man playing, wrestling, dancing, or whatever is in Eli's heart to do.

      So back to the story... The other day Eli had one of these "miss my daddy" moments. He looked at me and started frowning really big and his eyes welled up with tears and he started crying for Daddy.  I tried to console him but he was really sad and wouldn't move on. (Sometimes we call daddy and video chat and this helps him move on but we had already done that once that day!)  So the only thing I know to do in those moments in my life is to hear God and let him speak to whatever place in my heart needs it.  We've done this before with Eli but it hasn't made a difference until this day.  I told Eli, "Buddy, can we ask Jesus to help you and comfort you?"  "Yea," he said while crying.  So he repeated after me as I prayed, "Jesus, would you help Eli/me.  Would you make Eli's heart happy again?"  Then I told him Jesus was going to speak to him so he needed to be quiet and listen to what He had to say.  After a few seconds I said, "Did Jesus speak to you?" His eyes lit up and he said "Yea" with a big smile. "Well, what did He say?"  "He said He would make my heart happy again!" And he was laughing as he said this.  "So is your heart happy now?" I asked.  "Yep. Its happy" he replied.  And then I realized that Eli had just heard God speak to Him for possibly the first time!  There was such a noticeable change in his spirit like only God can bring and it was so fun to watch!
    I know this little man has a HUGE destiny on His life and I believe that his relationship with his earthly daddy is just a reflection of what His relationship will be like with His Heavenly Daddy.  I love watching him grow in the Lord!

Christmas Crafts...

There's 4 days left until Christmas and I have been busy finishing all my christmas keepsake crafts for this year.  Here are the ones I chose to do and am loving the way they turned out.  I like to put little art pieces and photos of big moments from the year in our tree each year and these fit right in. Take a look!

These are Eli's fingers that I made into little snowmen.  I saw this idea on a blog and LOVED it.  Such a fun way to remember the size of his hands without being so obvious (like the ones below haha)

Here is Callie's.  I'm in love with this one and SO wish I had done something like this for Eli.  It makes a great addition to our tree.

Eli wanted to make one of these too because he wanted to get his feet painted!  I smeared some of the colored paint on his but oh well.  In the words of Hannah Montana... "Nobodies perfect!"

Here are the smaller ones nestled in my tree.  

  The last one I didn't do but really wanted to (I just might if I can find the time) is DIY snow globes.  I found this on a blog I absolutely love called and here is the link to how to do it.  A super easy craft and really cheap if you have and glass baby food jars. Here's the link to that post so check it out!  DIY snow globes

Monday, December 20, 2010

Flexible Sleeper...

    For as long as I can remember I've never had trouble sleeping in weird places or positions.  My brother makes fun of me because one time I fell asleep at his apartment upside down in a chair.  I had my head on the footrest and my feet up over the top of the chair. Not sure how I dosed off but I did and slept for a good nap like that.  I know, thats weird...and I don't do that very often.  But we have had a high value of getting our kids to be flexible sleepers. We seem to be always on the go and I am one who doesn't like to miss out on anything so we decided not to do any sleep training methods that say your baby has to sleep in his bed all the time.  I figured he would fall asleep when he's tired anyway.  We did/do have a schedule with Eli but we never felt compelled to keep to it all the time.  I would change things up for him, having him fall asleep in my arms, or putting him down while he was wide awake and he has learned that you choose to go to sleep when you need to.  It has really paid off for us and allowed us to still do fun things after 7pm, etc.  But last night I had a first!  I was holding Callie and she had fallen asleep on my lap.  Eli wanted to be held too and since he didn't get a nap yesterday afternoon I suspected he was tired.  Then he stood up and leaned over my shoulders and was talking to me.  About a minute later, he was asleep!  And snoring directly in my ear!

I'm still a little unsure how he was able to sleep like this but he is my son and I can sleep in weird places too.  After about 15 minutes Grant put him down on the couch to keep snoozing for a little bit longer.  I was laughing thinking, I know I have not yet regained my pre-baby body but I didn't think I was so easily mistaken for a pillow!  Haha! I love snuggling with my sleepy kids though :)   

So day 2 of Eli's super flex sleeping he told me he was cold so he snuggled up with a blanket.  It was his nap time so I told him he should go get in his bed but he said he wanted to play a little bit more.  Next thing I know...he's asleep!  So precious.

He almost always naps in his bed but how can you resist how cute this is!


         I so look forward to Christmas time and all the fun holiday baking that we get to do. I am such a fan of giving little goodie tins to family friends for Christmas and its one of the highlights of my holiday to make stuff to give away.  Growing up we had one or two people each year that would bring homemade goodies to our house for my parents and I couldn't wait to dig in!  This is the first year Eli could really be a part of it and that was so much fun! Certainly messy but I know we are making memories.  Eli really loves to cook.  He loves to be in the kitchen with me and put on his little red apron and be my sous chef.  He is great at stirring and dumping things in the bowl!

Ready to put the cookies in the oven...

So proud of the work!  Note the incredible amount of green sugar sprinkles on the cookie closest to him.  He was going to town!  I had to take this picture 4 times because he kept looking at the sprinkles wanting to eat them.  

My creation. I was so excited to make my own frosting this year and ended up making two different recipes that were both terrible!  I was really bummed so we kept these for ourselves and snacked on them.

The finished product that we gave...

We made chocolate covered pretzels (white and milk chocolate), Peanut Butter Balls or Buckeyes, sugar cookies dipped in chocolate bark, hershey kiss peanut butter cookies and peppermint bark.  I'm getting hungry just looking at the picture!

After we gave these out I thought about doing chocolate covered oreos which are a holiday favorite of mine.  So we have some of those at the house now too :)

This and That

  So I have pretty much become obsessed with the blog world.  I feel like I have stumbled upon a hidden treasure and I want to scream it to the world!!  I love to do crafty things but am not the best at coming up with stuff to do on my own. I "pride" myself on being able to make replicas of other people's great ideas, lol.  Lately I have been blog surfing and found SO many awesome blogs for crafty/creative people like me.  As I surf Im usually making a face like this one...

because my heart starts to beat faster and the creative juices start flowing and I escape into this other world I sometimes live in where all I do everyday is create beautiful things. My husband tells me its my new facebook.  He's so right. I would so much rather look at beautiful, funky, fun and creative stuff then read about who just filled up with gas at the gas station or who is having a really bad day and just needs to tell somebody (or hundreds of somebodies) about it.

  If you are a crafter at heart like me, take a little tour of the links to the blogs I love on this page and let your heart be inspired too!  I just wish I would have found some of these a week or two earlier so I would have had time to enjoy some of the chirstmas-y crafts.

Friday, December 10, 2010

My mighty man of God Eli...

I really wanted to dedicate a post to who Eli is at this stage in his life! This is my little 3 year old. He is 3 and 2 months in this pic. He's always been super tall (97%) and always looked much older than he is.

This is my little muffin just a few days old...

Its amazing how the time flies by. Eli is our world changer and a truly unique little man.  He's a nurturer and very attentive to the moods and needs of others but he's also a warrior.  You will find him wielding his invisible sword to fight all kinds of bad guys throughout the day. He has a sweet spirit and is by far the funniest kid I have ever known.  Eli has a knack for imitating facial expressions and acting.  

He is so expressive about everything he does.  Did I mention he LOVES to dance?  This kid can dance his heart out for hours.  Dance Party is one of our favorite games we play and he break dances and interpretive dances until he drops.

Every morning he wakes up and comes into our bedroom and says, "Its light outside!" He knows that when its dark outside he has to stay in bed, but when its light outside he can get up.  And typically he comes in and sees that Grant has already gone to work.  He'll say, "Where's daddy?" "He's at work buddy."  Then he replies, "Aww".  Pretty much everyday! 

Such a funny kid with an incredible imagination. Everyday with Eli is an adventure!!  We have a Rick Pino song on a cd in my car and every time it comes on he says, "It's the Holy Spirit! We need to pray. Pray Mommy!" And he and I will pray for a few minutes.

The other day at Target he and Grant were standing at the checkout and a kid had a shirt with a skull on it and other gross images.  Eli declared out loud, "Look Daddy!  That's not honoring God! Thats yucky!"  Grant was stuck because the other kid heard him say that!  I'm sure there are more moments like that to come.  Eli has such a heart for God!

We so love this kid and are beyond thankful to the Lord that he is ours!