Monday, December 26, 2011

Elf Yourself

I had forgotten about the Elf Yourself website where you can put your faces in and watch yourself do hilarious dances each year at Christmastime.  So I put in Justin, Elias, myself, and Mrs. B since she's as beloved as a member of the family.  The video it made was hilarious - click here to watch my favorite.  (I believe the link is only live until January 15, so hurry on over if you want to see it.)

However, another version of the dance wasn't as good, but the ending pose was too hilarious - I took a screen capture to save it forever!

Justin dipping me and Elias dipping Mrs. B.  Couldn't get any more lifelike than that!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

More Christmas Fun

In addition to the birthday party for Jesus, here are some other pictures from our Christmas Day together.  We went to church in the morning, and it was a really neat service.  They brought all the kids on stage and read the Christmas story from the Jesus Storybook Bible, which rocks my socks off.  I have never read anything out of that book without crying.  Ever.  If you have kids Elias' age or older, get one for them.  Anyhow, here is my adorable boy in his Christmas church outfit:
Who can resist a cutie in a sweater vest?  Not me.
Then the weather was really beautiful today - warm and sunny!  So my boys spent quite a bit of time playing outside!
My adorable boy in front of the neighbor's display of inflatables.  You should see their front yard!

Elias rode his tricycle.*

And we all played frisbee!
Then for dinner I cooked an ethnic Indian meal.  In my mind, it reminds us that the angel said "I bring you glad tidings of great joy, which will be FOR ALL PEOPLE!"  But really we just like Indian food.
Butter chicken, green bean & potato curry, and tomato rice.  YUM!
So we really had a special and enjoyable Christmas together!!

*Note: I've had a video of Elias riding his tricycle on these adorable ramps that Justin set up for him for MONTHS, and I've just been too much of a slacker to blog about it.  So, uh, look at these awesome ramps that Justin made for Elias, and see what fun Elias has riding his trike on them!!!

Christmas, Birthday-Style

Every year at Christmastime we really try to make it as meaningful and as honoring to Christ as we can.  So we try not to tie ourselves to traditions, but to be willing to try new things in order to make the holiday special.  This year we were at home just the three of us for Christmas day, and so we tried something new that I think was REALLY fun!!!  Instead of making it like a traditional Christmas, we celebrated it more like a birthday party.

Elias helped me make a pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing.  (YUM!)  Since it was just us, we halved the recipe and only made one layer.
The 1 candle just happened to be the only one we had in the house that would work on a cake.  But hey, Jesus is God's one and only Son, not to mention He's just #1.  So it works.
Then we decorated with balloons and streamers!
The balloons looked pretty awesome when the fan was spinning!  On the back wall is Elias' Christmas-themed artwork, some from school and some we did at home.
We lit a candle and sang happy birthday to Jesus!

Then, instead of giving gifts to each other, we chose various missions and ministries, and we gave donations as our gifts to Jesus, since He is the Birthday Boy after all!

It was really a lot of fun, and the birthday party atmosphere really resonated with Elias.  There was absolutely no confusion at all about what we were celebrating and why.  Happy Birthday, Jesus!!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Family Portraits

We also got some family portraits taken, and those turned out great too!  Most of you will see the first one in our Christmas card.
Elias being a ham.
My sweetheart & me
See Elias' portraits from the same session here.

3-1/2 Year Portraits

Since I totally dropped the ball on getting 3-year portraits of Elias, we got some at 3.5 instead!  Worked out well to get family portraits for our Christmas cards at the same time - see this post for those.  :)  Here's my precious buddy at 3.5!  (Click to enlarge.)
We had to get at least one shot with Mrs. B - the love of his life.  :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Zoo With Nana & Granddad

As I mentioned here, Justin's parents came for a visit shortly after Elias and I returned home from our trip to Atlanta.  Unfortunately, I'm way worse at taking pictures when we're at home than when we're someplace new, so I don't have many pictures of Nana & Granddad's visit.  One thing we did together that I got some great pics of, though, was visit the zoo!
Elias loved this dragon sculpture in the pond.
An otter saying hi to Elias, Granddad, & Nana through the glass.  Elias LOVED this!
We were there in the morning and the tiger must've been hungry for his breakfast, because he was making some loud growling noises!  Elias couldn't decide whether that was terrifying or awesome.
Checking out the elephant
This monkey was by far Elias' favorite part of the zoo.  He was swinging wildly around his pen, and Elias thought that was hilarious!
You can't see it well because of Elias' reflection, but the monkey is right on the other side of the glass from him, walking with its arms in the air.  Elias thought that was so cool!
He really liked these crowned cranes too!
Elias and Daddy went up on the observation deck, and this giraffe got really close!
Even though we don't have more pictures than this, we had such a great time with Nana & Granddad, and we're so thankful they came to visit!!!     

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Atlanta Trip 9: Wrapping Up

Can you believe I had 9 posts worth of pictures from this week-long trip?!  It was so much fun, though, and I'm so thankful for that time with my family!  If you're still hanging in there in this long series, here are a few pictures that didn't fit anywhere else:
The kids' table at our Sunday afternoon cookout.
Grandpa bought Elias a ride on the train at the mall!  He was beyond thrilled!!!  Notice the blue tickets he's holding - he still has his souvenir train ticket!
Jessica has an app on her iPad that is an adorable version of The Monster At The End of This Book - a book we used to read when we were kids!  Elias absolutely stinkin' LOVED it!  He would just laugh and laugh - scream laughing!  We definitely bought that one for our own iPad.  This picture is Grandma showing it to them before bed one night.  Many thanks to Patriot & Azlan for putting up with his craziness while reading this one!
So that was our visit!  Our return home was also an adventure, since Atlanta traffic caused us to miss our morning flight.  However, there was another flight 2.5 hours later that they put us on for no charge, and it was really no inconvenience to us at all to get home a little later than originally planned.  So, we enjoyed a long car and train ride with my sis to get to the airport, then extra hangout time waiting for the next flight!  Score!  So it was a fantastic trip - all that I had hoped it would be - and I'm so thankful for how good Elias was to travel alone with!  What blessings God has given me in my family!!!!!

Atlanta Trip 8: More Celebrating

Patriot and Azlan's birthdays are only a couple weeks apart, so we had a family celebration for both boys, since we wouldn't be able to come back for Azlan's party.  Also, Patriot and Azlan are both in karate classes, and while we were there, they passed their tests to move up to orange belt level!  Way to go, boys!  (We went to watch their testing, and Elias LOVED seeing all the kids doing their karate!  He sat still on my lap for the entire hour just in awe of all the kicking and movements and shouting.  He still walks around going "A-ya!" like the kids did.  Maybe martial arts are in Elias' future too?!)  So we had a lot to celebrate that day!

And when you have a lot to celebrate, where else do you go but Chuck E. Cheese's?!  It had been more than 2 years since Elias went to Chuck E Cheese's (with the same crowd actually!), so it was definitely more fun for all of us this time!
Loving the helicopter flying around in this game.
Pushing buttons on Deal or No Deal.
This was a helicopter-type ride that you pedal like a bike.  He wouldn't actually ride it, but he loved to just touch it and shake it!  He called it the Thingmajigger from The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That.
What's really funny is that even though he loved touching the games and pushing their buttons, he refused to actually play or ride any of them.  So we didn't spend one token there, which actually ends up being a lot cheaper...  So if he's happy to just run around and look at things, I guess I'm ok with that!
Looking adoringly at Chuck E.
Then he finally found the thing he loved best - seeing himself on TV with the bluescreen!!  He danced there until it was time to go.  :)
Then we went back to the house for cake, ice cream, and presents.  I for some reason didn't get any pictures of cake time...  But it was yummy!  Then it was present time, and in true Grandma fashion, she had brought one for Elias!  She said she felt bad that the other boys were getting birthday presents, but Elias wasn't getting anything.  I think that's sweet.  So all three boys were simultaneously ripping into presents!  Mayhem.
They were all very excited with their haul, and Elias didn't let go of his little Cars 2 Lightning McQueen and Fillmore characters for the next 48 hours!  (He's holding them in the pajama photo in this post!)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Atlanta Trip 7: Birthday Insanity

One of the reasons we scheduled our trip when we did was so we would be there for Patriot's 7th birthday party!  It was possibly the coolest party ever!  It was a video game-themed party, so they rented something called Rolling Video Games.
There was a very large number of very loud, very excited boys.  I've never seen such a thing!  Kinda glad my kid is only 3...  I've got some time before we're doing things like this...
It was a trailer outfitted with 4 large-screen TVs, and up to 16 people could play simultaneous video games in there!  So Patriot had 15 friends over, and they had some intense video game action in there!!!
Not being a gamer myself, Elias and I only peeked in to see the insanity, but it was hilarious!  The boys were so excited!  After the boys had turns, they let some grown-ups in to give it a try.
Birthday boy playing an intense game with Grandpa, Brother, and Daddy
Only after the truck left were the boys willing to come in and participate in the rest of the festivities: pasta, cake pops, and presents.  Jessica had ordered cake pops shaped like video game controllers - how cute were these?!
Elias sure thought it was tasty!  He gobbled his down and immediately said "More?!"
Patriot's birthday was actually the next day, and so we went to school to eat lunch with him on his special day.
It was Elias' first time in a school like this, and my first time since high school!

It was HILARIOUS how much Elias LOVED the school cafeteria food!  For Elias, I chose something that Patriot called "stuffed crust," which in my mind would be something like a pizza calzone.  When Elias was eating it, though, I saw that it was all white, so I asked Patriot what it was stuffed with.  He said fish.  HA!  Elias LOVES fish, so he actually enjoyed it way more than he would've pizza.  So there ya go. 
I chuckled at how my child is probably one of the few who would be happier about fish than pizza.

Then after school, the whole family met Patriot at the bus stop, and they even took the dog decorated with some birthday balloons to celebrate his big day!
So happy birthday, Patriot!  Can't believe you're seven already!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Atlanta Trip 6: Decorating Pumpkins

Grandma had brought with her 3 pumpkins donated to her grandsons from a friend in Kentucky, so one afternoon we decorated them!  I say "decorated" because Patriot and Azlan carved theirs, but Elias and I opted for drawing with a sharpie.  When I say "Elias and I," I mean me, because he didn't care in the slightest about the pumpkins.  But I drew a really cute cat on ours!  So there.
This is as long as Elias lasted.  You can see him already getting out of his chair to go run up and down the hill some more.
This is the really scary face that Azlan wanted to put on his pumpkin!
Then he decided he'd rather have the Red Power Ranger on his pumpkin, so Grandma printed out a picture and helped him draw the design.
Patriot using the dremmel.
Jessica is deep in concentration.
Mom used a terrifyingly large knife.
We ended up with three awesome pumpkins!