We are so fortunate to be able to spend the holidays with all of our family every Christmas. This year, after returning from the big holiday festivities with the Halberts in Alabama, we celebrated again with the Quists in Nolensville. Mimi and Grandpa were thrilled to host their favorite (and only) grandchildren, along with their parents, for a fun Christmas celebration. The boys were showered with many gifts and there was food and fun a plenty! What great ages: 7.5 and nearly 2, the boys both find the holiday magical and the gifts exciting! We are blessed beyond measure. Come share a bit of Christmas with us...
The boys were up early and happy to see that Santa did, indeed, know exactly where we were on Christmas day (at Meemaw's house.) As you can see, Santa's sleigh was weighed down heavily by the numerous wonderful gifts that the boys received.
Both boys loved all of their gifts and excited played with as many as they could during the morning before we headed out to Aunt Ginny & Uncle Erle's house to celebrate Christmas with most of our extended Halbert family, 23 or so of us, including all the little ones! Jack enjoyed playing his new Nintendo DSi against his cousins Amy and Laura, who both had their own DS handhelds with them, along with Laura's husband, Ross! It was a DS fest! It was a fun day all around. Jack kept talking excitedly about all of his "cousins". You'll have to take our word for it, though, since not a single picture was taken that afternoon (SHAME ON ME!)
We saw a lot of THIS for a few days after Jack got his DSi, complete with his favorite game: Super Mario Brothers (after playing it on Christmas day with Amy & Laura.)
Christmas was very exciting this year, as it often is with little ones. The excitement of decorating the house, seeing Santa, spending time with loved ones and receiving gifts with little kids warms the heart. And to see it times 2 this year made it all the better!
We spent Christmas Eve with the new babies in the family. What fun to see Meemaw's house filled with the laughter and excitement of 4 little ones this year! We've waited a long time for Jack to have siblings and cousins to play with at the holidays...he had to go it alone for many years. Now the house is full with 3 babies under 2 and he loves them all!! We were sure to get a few pictures of the cousins...
Jack giving Preston some cousin-ly advice.
"He comes in with all those presents from WHERE??"
Jack enjoyed being the Christmas "pro" (and the only reader in the kid group) and handed out all the gifts from under Meemaw's tree.
It was a fun evening with our growing family, though we missed cousins Cayce and Jason, who were celebrating with the Williams family this year. Tyler was fascinated with his very own "fish tank" from Aunt Peggy and Uncle Mike.
The boys were happy to head to bed knowing that Santa was coming soon. Of course, they were not disappointed. Santa remembered that they were traveling to Alabama!
(a parting shot of our boys playing...a bit rough at times these days)
Christmas is coming and the countdown has begun. Jack checks our advent calendar daily for a little 'gift' each day (I was informed that today's gift of an ornament was BORING.) We are excited to spend the holidays with family and Jack is, of course, excited for what Santa will be bringing.
Yesterday was our day to go and see the man in the big red suit. Jack asked for a sticky note that was 'tall'. I gave him a list-style Post-It note and he began writing:
a guitar a DSI picks for the guitar DSI games
He then came to me and said that maybe he should think of some more things, as his paper wasn't full yet. I told him that his heart was, indeed, full and that maybe he should allow Santa to bring other gifts to some of the other children that don't have as much as he does. He seemed ok with that idea. Off to the mall we went, where Jack shared his list of 'wants' and informed Santa of where we will be on Christmas Eve, so he'll be able to find us. It was sweet to see his innocence for the holiday is still in tact.
The boys after their visit...and Tyler with his 'bravery' reward.
Today Jack received a special video message from Santa himself! He was glued to the monitor, and nodded and responded right along with Santa. He was very surprised that Santa would talk to him directly and I think he was just thrilled with the personal message. Here's that message...
My heart welled up as I watched him understand how special this message was and really believe that Santa knew what a good boy he'd been this year and how well he'd tried in school. 7 is truly a magical age and this is a magical time of year.
Jack can add a new title to his resume: Actor. Yes, our sweet 7 year old excitedly participated in his school's First Grade play "A Penguin Christmas" this week. And, I must say, he did AWESOME!!!
In this year's play, Jack's role was that of a (smart aleck) penguin, complete with his very own short but perfectly delivered speaking part! Mimi graciously created a most amazing Penguin costume for our actor to make his acting debut in.
Waiting for the play to start
There was dancing...
and a most perfect delivery of his line!
Several times afterwards we heard "he's a natural! he's found his calling! he should consider a career in acting!" We certainly agree! Way to go, Jack!
Some days, like today, I pause for a moment and realize that progress is still being made...
K: I'm going down to the garage to get some Cottonelle wipes...be back in a minute. J: For me? K: Yes. I'm getting them for the downstairs bathroom. Do you need any in the upstairs bathroom? J: No, we don't need any upstairs. There are still some left up there. I just need them downstairs. You know, the bathroom I always go in? But bring some for later for upstairs, too, Mommy, ok? K: Ok. Got it. I'll bring some extra!
Unusual? Not in the least. Except that not too long ago, that conversation would have looked much more like this:
K: I'm going down to the garage to get some Cottonelle wipes...be back in a minute. J: For me? K: Yes. I'm getting them for the downstairs bathroom. Do you need any in the upstairs bathroom? J: No.
There just wasn't much dialogue. It's not something an outsider notices, of course, but when you are around other kids you hear how much more they add to their answer. The back and forth. And then one day, we had it too. I don't think I'm quite used to it, as every once in a while it still takes me by surprise. Just an ordinary moment that isn't so ordinary at all.
We're making memories over here at the Halbert house...Jack is currently having his very first sleepover with his friend Jayden. Jayden and Jack became fast friends while in Kindergarten and, though they are not in class together this year, have stayed good friends. They even get to ride the bus home together on occasion, and both think that is a real treat!
So, when I say that the boys were eager to have their sleepover during Fall Break, that might not do their excitement justice. As we picked up Jayden this morning at 9:30 a.m., both boys were beaming from ear to ear. And their excitement never waned today. They played together, ate together, and played some more. They tolerated an interested toddler little brother, rode bikes, played Wii and in general, had a blast.
Lunching and gaming...
This was the view for a good part of the afternoon...no Mommies or little brothers allowed!
After dinner and a little more playtime, the boys changed into their pajamas and went to hang out in the den. Guess who had to be right in the mix? Little brother Tyler, who adores Jayden so much (that he'll poke him in the eye!)
The boys enjoyed being in front of the camera and decided to try out some different looks. Not sure which one is my favorite, but I think I'm leaning toward silly!
After a quick "Cars" story, the boys were headed to bed. Jayden called "top bunk" and Jack was excited to let his friend have his choice.
They were asleep by 9:15 and as of midnight...not a peep! It doesn't come as much of a surprise that the boys are already planning their next sleepover...though Jack admitted he was not exactly ready to sleep at Jayden's yet.
I'll call this a major milestone and proudly add it to the list of Jack's accomplishments! I'm so glad that Jack has a friend like Jayden and so happy for the excitement of little boys and sleepovers.
The upcoming holiday, celebrated each year at October's end, is not a favorite of our little guy. Sure, he's participated in most years, but it isn't the holiday that he counts down toward with gusto. So, as the discussion turned to costumes, there was some waffling. I started to think that, perhaps, the time had come to end the ritual of trick or treating for our eldest. What IS the age that it becomes child fodder?
So you can imagine our delight when Jack proclaimed that he thought he might like a Wall E costume. We discussed creating the costume out of a cardboard box but then decided to peruse the internet...and stumbled upon this beauty!
From the moment it arrived, our little boy has been completely enamored with this costume...
And here's the actual costume in action at our church's Trunk or Treat event, accompanied by a sweet little tree frog.
And again on Halloween night with his friend Clarissa and her family and neighbors.
We're glad to see that trick or treating is alive and well again this year for Jack. It was wonderful to see him enjoying trick or treating with friends (he didn't get excited about Halloween until Clarissa invited him to T or T with her!) and we had a long fun night of neighborhood strolling in the near-rain.