Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas is finally here

After another long awaited year my favorite holiday season is here. Christmas marks some of the best memories from my past and most importantly is the birthday of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

I love to decorate for Christmas, I love the smells of Christmas and I love what Christmas does to people. People become friendly, smile more, are courteous and I believe it is due to the season.....granted I do live in North Carolina and the excessive heat can turn even the happiest of folks grumpy BUT I would like to believe it is due to Christmas!

This year did seem to run smoother then previous years, maybe it is because the kids are getting older, maybe it is because I no longer work, maybe it was because my mom and dad are here and that in it self always makes my holidays joyous, maybe it is because my mother in law got her storage shed built and has been able to move her stored items out of our basement and was ever so kind to give me a table and dresser to "do crafts on or to wrap presents at" and the dresser is to store ribbons, tissue paper, gift bags and tape. That was a wonderful gift and I had never thought to do such a thing as store these items in a dresser....then again with 8 children who has "an extra dresser" to use to store these types of things.

Like decorating the entire Christmas tree with a 22 months old only to move the ornaments to the top of the tree, you also can not put presents under the tree before Christmas eve.

I like to put presents under the tree before Christmas, it builds the anticipation and gives kids the opportunity to look but not touch, wonder, ponder and build excitement. After realizing that if little L.J. can not stop "undecorating" the tree there is no way I can get pleasure out of watching the kids go crazy over what might be behind the pretty paper and bows.

On Christmas eve day while little Logan was taking a nap we redecorated the tree and formed a human chain and passed presents from the adults in the basement and on the stairs, to kids at the top of the stairs through the dinning room, the kitchen and into the living room where our newly beautifully decorated tree sat and awaited Santa's arrival. This was huge for the kids because in previous years they were not allowed to touch and I would purposefully place gifts under the tree in a way that you can not see the name tag so it makes them wonder even more. When we were done we piled the 10 of us in our little Prius' and mom and dad and Braxton in their RV and we drove to my husbands parents house for dinner and gifts.

Around 7 we left to come home and get ready for Santa, we asked the children what the meaning of Christmas meant to them......

Savannah 9 years: "Jesus giving birth, being born, sacrificing himself, and dying"
Avery 8 years: "giving"
Gavin 7 years: with a shoulder shrug he says "family?"
Emily 8 years: "we all get together and have fun and decorate the tree"
Tyler 11 years: "getting presents and Jesus being born"
Makayla 12 years: "the birth of our Lord and Savior"
Annie 9 years: "getting out of school"

With that it was time to read T'was the night before Christmas.......

We tucked all the kids in and we broke out the card table and played Euchre until 1am when the oldest got out of her bed and told us we better to go to sleep or Santa would not come!

I was wakened almost 3 hours later, yes you heard me right at 4am I hear kids running up and down the hallway giggling and whispering, I come around the corner to 6 of our 8 kids sitting in the middle of the living room floor gazing over the presents. I put my hands on my hips and said "are y'all crazy? go back to bed" and I went back myself!

Everyone reawakened at a decent hour so we had no choice but to roll out of bed. You know it is funny to me I try really hard to get a decent photo of these kids for a Christmas card and I beg them to pleeeeeeese cooperate so its quick and painless I never thought all I would have to do is stick a bunch of presents under the tree and VOILA...........first shot!

It is a pretty decent photo! Then the chaos began.....

 Avery got a "really awesome army tank"
 Savannah excited about her scrapbook kit

 Makayla got a little something from M.J.

 Surprise Annie it's "Puppy Surprise"
 The quilt I made for my little man

 Emily's puppy surprise surprised her with 5 puppies!
 and there were game room games for their future game room.
 Nope it is not puppy surprise......Grandma got special surprise earrings from grandpa

M.J. got paper between her toes

And now onto Gavin's 7th birthday on December 27th.......Jenn

Thursday, December 25, 2014

As they get older.......

Christmas was ever so difficult this year, and I feel like it is getting harder and harder every year. The 8 kids are between 6 and almost 13 (she is going on 16), and little Logan at 22 months old. I struggle as they get older to find the perfect gift, I keep notes in my cell phone all year long of things they see in the store and which child peaked an interest in it, but when it comes down to the grind sometimes it is old news, no longer interested or I might get lucky that it will just be perfect.

The two oldest kids were my most difficult what do you get an almost 13 year old girl and almost 12 year old boy? I had to get creative and I had to get creative real fast!

She's almost 13.....Makeup! Husband was not at all impressed.....he will get over it......eventually! I also decided to make her a homemade gift, I try to do this every year as no amount of money or "coolest toys for this year" will ever bring the joy and happiness that a "made especially for you from mommy" gift does......

Tyler was another story he was the hardest, I of course went after the quick and easy gifts I knew he games, movies and the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid book, but I had to find that different gift, the one he wouldn't expect but also something that says he is getting older and growing out of the toy stage. I walked the aisles and stopped at the gift set section as something caught my eye.....

DESERT FIRE......I had to get a photo and see what hubby thought about this for Avery.....Avery just turned 8 years old in October and hot sauce is his ketchup, his mayo, his I WILL PUT HOT SAUCE ON ANYTHING cause it is simply just that good! I got a very quick response that this would be a must, so with this cool gift I looked on again for Ty.

In the same aisle I found a Hershey's Smores kit. Included was Graham crackers, Marshmallows, 2 coffee mugs, hot chocolate, and Hershey's plain candy bar. This was perfect this kid loves to make smores and to take it one step further I stretched my imagination and also bought him a fire pit because we use our outdoor wood stove to roast marshmallows and it is a tight squeeze,
a fire pit would make this extra cool!

Boy was I right, I was told this was the best Christmas ever as we sat outside and roasted Hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire pit!

Until next time.....Jenn

Sunday, December 21, 2014


My parents FINALLY arrived safely from their 3 months excursion all over Canada and the USA in their camper. They arrived and I got sick and kids got sick and I am so behind on my blogs now and everything in life including Christmas.

I wanted to put in a quick blog though as I still have holiday things to catch up on and my children love so much to read about themselves in my blog so I just had to make a post in all the chaos that surrounds me now.

As I lay on the couch sick as I have never been in years, I am watching our son play with our sweet family pet MJ. I quickly realize this poor dog puts up with so much from Logan! She is his buddy, his playground, his horse, his taste tester, his punching bag and his learning tool.

What I mean by all of that is they are partners in crime but he WEARS the pants! They go everywhere together, he climbs all over her, he sits on her back, he gives her his food before he eats it, he at 22 months thinks hitting is fun and walks up to her and just waps her, and he pokes her in the eye as he says "eyes" then he pokes her in the nose as he says "nose" and so on.

Our pound puppy is the sweetest dog ever and I am so happy we were fortunate enough to be able to rescue her, we couldn't ask for a better companion.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Elf on the shelf

Elf on the shelf is all the hype now a days. I remember being a little girl my granny had an elf, he was so scary looking and his name was Cracko. Cracko delivered gifts to my moms house for us and he delivered gifts to my grandparents cottage where we spent most Christmas'. He was similar to this one.....
Cracko never brought any of us good gifts, it was a roll of toilet paper or an empty kleenex box and every year papa's big 4 foot long Christmas stocking was filled with the junk drawer contents from the kitchen and a big ol lump of coal. As I stood this evening looking at our elves I was remembering the fun we had with Cracko.

Our children have 2 elves. The girls named their elf Sparkle and the boys named their elf Reindeer. Meet our elves......

Don't be fooled...they look cute and sweet and nothing like Cracko but they certainly act like him!
Sparkle shoved Reindeer down into the DVD's....
We had an Elf snowball fight.....
Sparkle of course pegged Reindeer right in the forehead knocking him over......
Then MJ our border collie snatched him up off the table and carried poor Reindeer into the living room and ate the marshmallow off his forehead!

Someone got tired of all the miss behavior in the night hours and decided to do something about it....
Looks like Reindeer had an embarrassing accident! So Tyler ate his first Elf poop, he said it tasted like chocolate!

All I can do is hope and prey they will behave tonight.....Jenn

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Tonka Truck for my son

Tonka trucks were big when I was little, everyone had at least one, My brother had some too and I remember playing in the backyard under the lilac tree with him and his trucks.

I have been searching for "affordable", original Tonka trucks, not the ones they make now that are mostly plastic. I wanted the metal Tonka trucks my brother and I played with for my son.

I gave up trying to find them and just moved on as I had found many "rust buckets" and well overpriced trucks. I decided if it was meant to be I would stumble across them when I least expected it.

My mother in law keeps everything, and everything is neatly wrapped in paper or placed in zip lock bags and labeled. Who it belonged to where it came from etc... She gave us a bunch of totes and my husbands childhood toy box that was built for him. We found all kinds of childhood memories even his sports glasses for baseball! He was all smiles as we sifted through his memories.

We got to his big toy box and inside was all of his Tonka Trucks, planes and GI Joes. All his favorite toys were cleaned of sand and dirt from the yard and neatly wrapped in paper and tied with string. He was amazed that one of his airplanes still had all of the bombs in the many compartments underneath, he said "I don't know how mom ever found all of these and kept up with them." It was like Christmas all over again and watching him as he unwrapped another memory brought such joy to me.

We brought his trucks upstairs and Brian played with each one amazed that he remembered how each worked. He was so proud.

We also stumbled across this beautiful fire truck that we could not stand to leave in the basement wrapped in paper

Now the toys sit upon shelves in Logan's room as I have found something greater then a Tonka truck for my son, we found his daddy's childhood memories wrapped in paper and twine to pass down to the next generation. I will neatly wrap and tie each truck and save them for Logan when he is too big so he can one day have them for his son, as Brian's mom had done for him. 

Until next time....Jenn