Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Jolly the Elf

This year, for the first time, we started the "Elf on the Shelf" tradition.  We had so much fun with it!

Our elf, who Parker named "Jolly", arrived the day after Thanksgiving and left Christmas night.

I will repeat some of what I said in my last post (see below)...

I know everyone has their opinions about "Santa" and "Elves" and what to have your children believe.  I don't want to go into all of that here and now because I'm all for each family doing what's best and right for them. 
  
I also say that we have talked to Parker a lot about Jesus.  He will tell you that "Jesus' birthday is on Christmas" and he knows that Jesus' Mommy and Daddy are Mary and Joseph.  He also knows how many kings brought gifts and that Jesus later died on a cross.  We are keeping Christ in Christmas, but having childlike fun as well.

One day, when Parker is older, he will come to learn and know that "Santa" and "Jolly" aren't real or magical...but you are only little once and we want to share what we experienced as children with him. It's all in good fun as long as he knows what CHRISTmas is really all about!  Afterall, we only give Parker three gifts because that's how many Jesus got.

Okay, moving on from my editorial public service announcement.

I snapped a picture of Jolly each night and all of the antics he was up to.  This is what Parker woke up to each morning.  He would come out and try to find Jolly and always got a kick out of his silliness.  
 






























I was a bit sad to see Jolly go, but we will welcome him back with excitement next Christmas season.

Until we meet again...
Riley

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Snow & Sugar Cookies

It's the most wonderful time of year, but it's also the busiest time of year - all in good fun though.

Obviously I have been absent from the blogging world since Halloween.  The months of November and December have been non-stop with various things going on here, there and everywhere...and this dearest blog of mine has been put on the back burner.

I fully intend to share about the wonderful Thanksgiving that we had, but I still need to sort through all of the pictures to pick a few favorites.  We stayed home for Thanksgiving as our family of three - we enjoyed a yummy feast and decorated for Christmas over the weekend.  I love that this blog documents our life so I will post our Thanksgiving pictures as soon as I am able to - hopefully before next Thanksgiving!

In the meantime, life has been full to the brim, but we are having lots of fun and trying to enjoy all of the wonderful things that the Christmas season brings.

Last week, Parker and I tried a new experiment and made SNOW with two ingredients - baking soda and shaving cream.  It even felt cold and we were able to make a little mountain and build a tiny snowman.  It was a great activity for Parker's tactile therapy (being more comfortable touching and feeling different textures), but he had a lot of fun with it too.  I sure hope we get real snow this winter so we can play in it.







Last Friday we had a sugar cookie party!  Our Elf (his name is Jolly) left all of the stuff we would need to make cookies.   

Side note - this is our first year to do "Elf on the Shelf".  I know everyone has their opinions about "Santa" and "Elves" and what to have your children believe.  I don't want to go into all of that here and now because I'm all for each family doing what's best and right for them,  

I'll just say that we are having a lot of fun with "Jolly" this year - I don't know who will miss him more once Christmas is over - me or Parker?!  I also say that we have talked to Parker a lot about Jesus.  He will tell you that "Jesus' birthday is on Christmas" and he knows that Jesus' Mommy and Daddy are Mary and Joseph.  He also knows how many kings brought gifts and that Jesus later died on a cross.  We are keeping Christ in Christmas, but having childlike fun as well.  

We spent the whole morning making dough, cutting it into Christmas shapes (which was Parker's favorite part), baking and decorating cookies.  There was flour, frosting and sprinkles everywhere - it was a magical morning full of sweet memories.    








I didn't get around to taking pictures of all of our decor this year and doing a home tour - perhaps I'll try next year, but here's a shot of our stockings and Christmas tree.  
Eight more days until Christmas - wow, the season has passed so fast.  There is still lots of fun to be had and memories to make - then we will look forward to 2015.  This past year has been one full of changes, but we are blessed indeed! 

I hope to blog more regularly in the coming year, but we'll see what life has to say about that.  I'll be back when I can, but know if I'm not here I'm enjoying these days with my two boys.

Until we meet again...
Riley

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Halloween Weekend 2014

Between our Fall Festival at church, Halloween night and a neighbor's birthday party - we had a fun-filled few days of celebrating last week.

Picture overload WARNING... I tried narrowing down all the pictures we took to a few of my favorites and still ended up with about 60 between the three events.  I promise you'll enjoy them all though (at least I did!)     

Let's take a quick look back at Parker's first two Halloween costumes.  The cutest Charlie Brown and Linus that you ever did see.

Halloween 2012...



Halloween 2013...
 
This year's costume was quite a bit different than the lovable Peanuts gang...

Beware of the SHARK! (or Sharker as John cleverly came up with).  Have you ever seen a more adorable shark?
I enjoyed making Parker's costume so much this year.  I made/put together his first two Halloween costumes and knew I wanted to do something homemade again this year.  Parker really enjoys sea creatures and had a blast at the aquarium so I thought a shark would be a neat idea.  I looked around for ideas on how to make one...so I used some of the tips I found and came up with a few things on my own.  I love the way it turned out. 

Last Wednesday night, we went to the Fall Festival at our church.  This is a big, highly attended event every year.  Parker did really well and had a great time.   
The shark and his Daddy waiting for the tractor to pick us up for the hayride. 
Parker LOVES tractors so this was a happy sight for him to see - he really enjoyed the hayride.
Notice how he wants to keep his focus up ahead on the tractor rather than be bothered by a group picture - ha! Oh how I treasure our little family - fills me with such joy! 

Parker and sweet Zoey (or Doc McStuffins).  Parker and Zoey are in the same Sunday school class and have been together since they were babies. (Parker was born in February and Zoey in April)

Zoey loves Parker and is so sweet to him and excited to see him each Sunday.  We recently started going to a new Sunday class and Zoey's parents are in there.  It's been nice to get to know them better and talk about these growing kiddos we have - can't believe they will both be 3 next year!  Zoey has a little sister on the way as well - exciting times!

There was a little petting zoo - the ducks were Parker's favorite.

He even got to climb inside a fire truck - he loved it and wasn't ready to get out. 
We love our church and it was a beautiful fall night for some good ol' family fun. 

On Halloween night, we ordered pizza and went trick or treating on our street with a few of our neighbors.  There are several young kids on our street so that makes it lots of fun.  It was a cool, but really nice night.  This was Parker's first time to go door-to-door trick or treating - he had a good time.  He was a little unsure of what all was going on at first, but he got the hang of it - it was really to watch. 










Norma, one of our neighbor's down the street, even made cups of apple cider for everyone to keep us warm while candy hunting!  We are so blessed to be in this new neighborhood.  

On Sunday afternoon, we had a birthday party to go to for Lincoln who lives a few houses down from us.  He turned 5 and had a superhero birthday party at a local children's museum.  Lincoln and Parker have enjoyed playing together.  Lincoln may be a couple of years older, but he's so sweet to Parker and plays with him so well.  Lincoln has a little sister, Landrey, that will be one in December.  

We had never been to the museum before, but it was awesome.  Parker had a ball - he would have stayed all afternoon.  It had a lot of hands-on exhibits and things to play with.  There were lots of activities to do and things to "play pretend" with.  

Parker and the birthday boy - the both wore Batman shirts!


I love, love this precious boy of mine!
This is Landrey, Lincoln's sister.  Isn't she a doll? She just turned 10 months old and has been walking for a while.  She's so cute!


Taking in all of the birthday excitement. 
He went to town on the pizza and cake - yummy in our tummies!
Sit down in your thinkin' chair and think, think, think...

The airplane was hands down Parker's favorite part of the museum. He must have played in this 20 times or more. 








The bubble room - pop!






Dillon (who turned one in May) lives down the street.  He and Parker had matching shirts. What a cute pair!
Our little superhero - what a great day!  This was Parker's first birthday party and he enjoyed it so much.  We will definitely be going back to the museum as well. 
So much fun in just a couple of days and the fun is just beginning.  We are but three weeks away from Thanksgiving and then the Christmas season begins.  We have a lot going on between now and the end of the year and lots of fun stuff planned.  Parker is at such a neat age - especially for the holiday season.  I am bursting with excitement for all the great things coming up.  Rest assured, I'll be sharing pictures of it all as I can.

Until we meet again...
Riley