Thursday, December 31, 2015

Christmas at Home {2015}

We spent our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at our house this year.  Eddie's family decided to have their celebration the day after Christmas so we asked Grandma, Great-Grandpa, and Aunt Naomi's family to join us for Christmas lunch and present opening.  My dad also joined us for the day and stayed a few days after Christmas with us while he recovered from a little injury.  Eddie prepared a delicious turkey dinner with homemade mashed potatoes and gravy.  I made a yummy broccoli casserole.  We also prepared some sweet treats.  I attempted gingerbread cookies and wanted to cut them into shapes and decorate them, but the recipe I used from Pinterest was a flop.  It did not call for enough dry ingredients obviously and was just a wet sticky mess.  I tried to make it more solid by putting in the refrigerator and letting it sit and then added a lot more flour, but it would have taken a lot more to fix that mess.  I did bake them as drop cookies, and they tasted decent.  We also made our traditional birthday cake for Jesus, and Eddie made some yummy peanut butter balls.  I think everyone enjoyed the food and had a fun day.

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Brody carefully supervised my cake preparations.  He is definitely my chef-in-training.  I got no pictures of any of Eddie's delicious feast except for his yummy peanut butter balls.  He was a cooking machine all Christmas Eve, and I failed at documenting any of it.  

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Mattox got to open his first present from his big brothers on Christmas Eve night. 

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Mattox (and Brody) loved his new Lego train.  Brody opened his present from Evan and Mattox.  The boys pick out what they want from each other, and Brody picked out this little zombie nerf gun set.  Sigh.  He has definitely been under Evan's influence. 

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Evan had wanted a big (and expensive) Air Hog remote control helicopter.  He found a smaller (and much cheaper) one at Ross and picked that out for his gift.  He was very excited about it. 

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Mattox has been a crawling machine this month.  He finally started crawling on his knees although he still moves slowly and often will drop onto his belly to pull himself the rest of the way to whatever he wants to get.  He is actually better at pulling himself up and attempting to cruise along the furniture.  I just loved watching him crawl around playing with his new toys. Daddy assisted Evan with setting up his new helicopter. 


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After a decent amount of play time with their gifts, the boys helped put out milk and cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer before they went to bed so that Santa could do his thing.  Our small living room was pretty cramped after Santa delivered a large play restaurant/cafe for Brody.  When I saw that little cafe on Amazon, I knew it was perfect for Brody the chef.  He has been asking for an inside playhouse for a while.  I thought we may attempt to make a fabric one, but I don't think we could have made one for the price of this one.  It is actually pretty sturdy and large enough for Eddie to stand up inside.  The only spot it would fit was in front of the front door.  Some additional surprises were left inside for him.  The play grill is actually for his outdoor playhouse when the weather permits us to move it outside.  He also got his own broom set so he can clean his house (and mine too).  

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The kids' present piles.  Brody just had a couple of wrapped gifts since most of his was inside his playhouse.  Evan's big present was a basketball goal although he was more excited about some of his wrapped gifts.  Mattox got a giant remote control car track.  I had no idea it was 4.5 feet long.  I totally missed that on the box.  It will stay in the living room for now where he mostly plays.  I wanted him to have something like a Little People set that Evan and Brody used to have.  I had gotten rid of that little set, and I thought this Vtech set would be a nice replacement.  I just didn't know how big it was.  So far, Brody has really been enjoying it, but Mattox does like to watch the little car drive around the track and likes to eat the track too.   Mattox's other big gift was wrapped. 

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On Christmas morning, Brewster sat waiting with the empty cookie plate and letter from Santa, and the boys were super excited to head into the living room.  Eddie videoed their reactions running into the living room as Evan yelled, "Charge!"

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While Brody and I checked out his playhouse and surprises inside, Evan ripped the paper off all of his presents in record time.  Sigh.  He was most excited about his large Battleship.  Brody opened some new Lego sets.  I wanted him to have some of the Lego Junior sets because I thought they would be easier for him.  Warning:  If you purchase these thinking they are different than regular Lego sets, you will be disappointed.  They were no different than the other sets Evan has.  Brody is actually fine with regular Lego sets, but he just doesn't quite understand how to use the instructions and prefers to build his own designs.  Mattox just enjoyed playing with all the wrapping paper.

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Mattox was so cute attempting to unwrap his big gift.  For Evan's first Christmas, we wrapped his big gift which was a new Lion walker/ride-on.  Similarly, Mattox was opening a big train walker/ride-on.  The old Lion walker had to be trashed after Brody because it was left outside on our old screened porch and was ruined.  When I saw this train, I knew I had to get it for Mattox in hopes he would love trains like Brody did.  He loves that this one lights up and has lots of buttons to play music and talk.  It is a very versatile toy with many functions for development.  It has letter blocks that you can put on the side of the train, and it tells you about the letters.  

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Mattox couldn't wait for Daddy to open it for him. 

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My little choo choo train rider.  When you unattach the seat, you can stand and push it like a walker.  The only disappointing thing is that it seems to be too narrow and top heavy and may fall over more easily when being pushed.  Hopefully as Mattox masters his cruising abilities, he will be able to push it without falling backwards.

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After we opened presents, we moved Chef Brody's Cafe upstairs and set it up with his kitchen inside.  It takes up a lot of room, but it is large enough to fit a lot of stuff inside.  I have all of the dress up clothes bins inside along with his kitchen set.  Eventually, the grill will be moved outside, but Brody loved grilling for me.  Evan was enjoying playing his new Wii-U game, Splatoon.  This is the first game he has actually connected online to play with others.  It is like a giant simulated paint ball gun battle.  

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Then, the boys opened their stockings. 

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No candy for Baby Mattox except a candy cane.  He hasn't eaten it though.  He got a new baby phone and car keys.  He is ready to roll. 

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Brody the minion got a minion toboggan, a movie, candy, and underwear.  It has been a tradition for Santa to bring them cool new underwear.  I couldn't wait to see him in those little striped ones.  Haha!  Evan got a Star Wars toboggan, a movie, candy, and underwear.  

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After the family arrived for lunch, the boys sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and blew out the candles on his cake. 

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While waiting for dinner, Papa, Great-Grandpa, Aunt Naomi and Sam talked and listened to Christmas music.  Cousin Grady always heads for the train table.  Thankfully, Santa brought him his very own train table.  Grandma enjoyed hanging out with the boys upstairs.  

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After lunch, Papa read us the Christmas story from the boys' Lego story book.  The boys listened and waited patiently to open their gifts. 

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Mommy helped Mattox open his gifts from Grandma and Aunt Naomi. 

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Cousin Grady loved his new CAT construction train.  His daddy used to work for CAT so I knew he would love this.  Brody got a big box of K'nex building sets.  He likes building with these little linky toys he collected from kids' meals, and I thought he would like these.  They are a little advanced, but he and daddy have already built a big hot air balloon. 

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Evan got another large Lego set from Grandma.  It is a space shuttle with a transport truck to haul it to the launch station.  Baby Mattox got a baby laptop.  Aunt Naomi loved her new Guess bag.  

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Mattox has some separation anxiety and stranger anxiety issues and usually cries or gets fussy if people he doesn't know well try to hold him right now.  However, he does not fuss at all for Great-Grandpa.  He seems to love him, and Great-Grandpa loves holding the babies too.  We were so glad Great-Grandpa joined us this Christmas.  
Our day after Christmas celebration with Eddie's and Grandma's family was fun as usual.  We enjoy a potluck style lunch with lighter party-style food and desserts and then enjoy a festive game of "Dirty Santa" where we all exchange miscellaneous gifts.  I took few pictures this year as I was too busy talking and catching up with everyone so it doesn't really need its own separate post to describe the highlights of the day.

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Great-Grandpa and Uncle Matthew are definitely look-a-likes as they sit watching the action.  Cousin Jacob enjoyed being the center of the show as he drew the numbers for the Dirty Santa game. 

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Cousin Hudson was the lucky one who got to pick the first present.  He is always out to snag any food gift cards.  Little cousin Clara enjoyed running around and loving on the little zebra stuffed animal Grandma gave Mattox.  

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Brody enjoyed playing with the slinky Grandma gave him as his little gift for the party.  The younger kids don't exchange gifts yet.  Cousin Grady loves his big cousin Brody. 

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And sweet little Elisabeth picked a pretty flower and gave it to her mommy.  She and her cousin Clara are best buddies. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Mattie's 3rd Christmas in Heaven

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Dear Mattie,

Today, you would be exactly two and a half years old.  It has become a bit of a tradition that I write you this Christmas letter on your half year birthday which falls just five days after Christmas.  Christmas is always one of our favorite times of year as a family, and I know that you would love it as much as your brothers do.  You would run out on Christmas morning to see what Santa had brought you.  I can't help but think about what you would ask for from Santa for Christmas or what cute outfits you would wear in our family pictures.  I can only imagine what an adorable little toddler/preschooler you would be and how much you would make us all laugh as you would terrorize your brothers and get into their toys.  I am sure you and Brody would have both loved his favorite Christmas present, a little playhouse/restaurant.  I know you would have loved playing with your new baby brother this Christmas as he has been crawling around.  I bet you would have helped him open his presents too because you are a wonderful big sister.  I would have loved seeing your little pile of girl presents around the tree on Christmas morning and seeing your face light up as you ran with your brothers towards the tree and the presents.  I am sure you would have some specific requests for presents this year, and I hate that I don't know what you would have liked.  Would you like Disney's Frozen characters and dress up clothes like most little girls these days?  I bet you would like Doc McStuffins and Princess Sofia like your big brother Brody.  Ha!  I know you would definitely be more into Christmas this year.  I do hope you enjoyed watching over all of us again this year as we celebrated with your new little brother.  I am sure you enjoyed quite a celebration in heaven too.  We did not forget you, our precious little angel, and we never will.  You will always be missed.  Here are some of the ways we remembered and honored you this Christmas:

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We took a Christmas wreath to decorate your special place.

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And our Christmas decorations wouldn't be complete without your little tree.

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The little handmade stocking Brody and I made last year on our little stair banister banner. 

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Brewster reminded us all to draw pictures or write letters to you to fill your stocking. 

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Brody did a beautiful job writing and drawing pictures for you. 

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Evan drew a beautiful picture of an angel for our favorite little angel. 

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Daddy wrote such a beautiful letter to you.  He loves you so!

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We decided to prepare our Operation Christmas Child gift in honor of you for another little girl about your age.  

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We all picked out some little gifts we thought you would like, including headbands and hairbows, socks, gloves, a little hair comb set, a toothbrush, some books, and a puzzle.  We also included one of your special bunnies that we hope another little girl will get to enjoy.  

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We wrote a note telling that little girl about you. 

Your Christmas Wardrobe:

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A little red dress would have been essential.  You would have looked so cute and stylish in a sweater dress and some leggings and ballet flats. 

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Or this one with a little tulle skirt. 

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I like this classic little black dress. 

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And this little silver, sparkly dress with a tulle skirt. 

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Maybe a little Santa dress for fun pictures with your brothers and to sit on Santa's lap. 

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A cute little shirt. 

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And some Christmas pajamas. 

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These would be cute with the little matching tutu. 

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And this little elf set would have matched your brothers' Santa, elf, and reindeer ones.  You and Brody would have been the perfect little elf duo. 

Some gifts for you:

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I am sure you would love dressing up like a princess, and you would probably like Princess Sofia. 

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You may like your very own Elsa and Anna dolls from Frozen.  All little girls these days seem to. 

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And a Princess Sofia tiara.

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Or maybe an Elsa dress. 

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You would likely watch Doc McStuffins with your brother Brody and may want your own doctor costume. 

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Your big brother Brody had a Scout puppy that talked to him, and I am sure you may like his girl pal, Violet. 

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Or a stuffed Princess Sofia doll. 

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Your brothers all love their Lego sets, and you would likely want your own. 

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Or a Doc McStuffins one. 
I hope you enjoyed your Christmas in heaven, and I hope you enjoyed watching our celebrations too.  We can't wait to celebrate together as a complete family one day.  Until then, we will go on remembering you and including you as best we can.  We love you, baby girl!  Merry Christmas!

Love,
Your Mommy

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