Worry Less, Live More

Worry Less, Live More

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Little Trick and a Great Big Treat on Christmas Day!

 I have been wanting an upgrade on my camera for a loooong time. And when I say "upgrade" I'm talking UPGRADE! Since the kind of camera I wanted was super expensive, I pretty much assumed I wouldn't be getting one anytime soon. 
I am also in dire need of new pots and pans. We are still using the ones Michael and I got from our wedding! The lining is flaking off and we are probably eating cancerous materials with every bite! So Michael strongly hinted that new pots and pans would be my Christmas gift this year. All month long I thought I was getting new cook ware. Christmas Eve Michael came home with a huge heavy box and put it under the tree. Oh yeah, that box definitely contained my pots and pans. Christmas morning, after we let the boys open all their gifts Michael told me it was my turn. I was happy to get pots and pans, but I can't say I was overly excited about it. (I loathe cooking) We are always getting each other practical gifts for birthday's and Christmas because there is always something big that has broken or needs to be replaced around those times. So there was no reason for me to think any different with this gift and I don't think I was quite prepared for my surprise.
Collin's gift from G-ma and G-pa Peeler. They got him Planes movie and a costume to wear while he watches it.
 I opened the huge box to find a smaller box surrounded by weights. I thought this was very odd and began to realize these were not pots and pans. I opened the smaller box to find an even smaller box, and when I flipped it around I saw that it was a camera!!!!!!! 
I definitely remember screaming right before I started crying. I know, I know, lame. It was just a camera and I had just been dreaming of owning one for years!!!!! I couldn't believe it! I spent the rest of the day annoying my family by taking pictures like these...

 I'm pretty sure they felt like the paparazzi were after them with all the clicking and flashing going on. It got so bad that whenever Collin saw me pull out my camera he would immediately say, "cheese" even if I wasn't taking pictures.At least he's a willing subject :)

The stages of dressing Tate:

 It takes a while since he thinks it's a game.

 I still have so much to learn, but I am loving all the tricks this thing can do!
 And almost every single picture comes out great!

Michael will probably kill me for adding this one:)

Yes, I even took pictures of shoes. I'm telling you, I went crazy!
Case in point right here

 I probably took over to 300 pictures that day. The ironic thing is, I spent so much time playing around with the different settings that I ran out of battery and didn't get much of our actual Christmas dinners with family.
These are all I got from our Dinner with Michael's Grandma Ponder.

Great Grandma Ponder
Grandma with two of her 4 children, Anne and Linda.
 The pictures I did take are pretty cool though :)
I didn't even get any with my family :( Guess I'm gonna need to buy a second battery...

Driving home from all our family get togethers last night, my heart was over flowing with happiness and so much gratitude. I know I'm extremely spoiled. Not just with physical things, but I have all my family close by and I get to see them regularly. I am so blessed and so thankful for all that I have. My family is healthy and we have everything we need. This was a wonderful Christmas and a wonderful time for me to contemplate the many blessings I have.   
 This was the best Christmas I've had in a long time, and not just because I got my camera :) 
But because we actually took the time to focus on family and our Savior's birth and didn't let the whole "Christmas rush" take control. 

"So who needs Christmas? We do! All of us! Because Christmas can bring us closer to the Savior, and he is the only source of lasting joy....

"We need Christmas because it helps us to be better people, not only in December but in January, June, and November.

"Because we need Christmas we had better understand what it is and what it isn't. Gifts, holly, mistletoe, and red-nosed reindeer are fun as traditions, but they are not what Christmas is really all about. Christmas pertains to that glorious moment when the Son of our Father joined his divinity to our imperfect humanity" ("Hugh W. Pinnock, Who Needs Christmas?," New Era, Dec 1987, 4).

Christmas Eve Shananigans

 It is extremely sad about the lack of pictures I took during Christmas Eve. I am usually so much better. :( I guess I just got caught up in the moment and forgot to use the camera. Not a bad thing I guess :)
 Tate is graduating from his infant car seat to a toddler seat!!! No more carrying that heavy load in and out of the car! Thanks Grandma and Grandpa Boyd! I think it's safe to say, he likes it.
 Grandma Boyd got a HUGE surprise. She opened her present from Grandpa to find it was a Tablet! 
(can't remember what kind so we'll just go with tablet)
She had been wanting one for a long time and the fact that Bill picked it out and bought it was the biggest surprise of all! Her reaction was the best! I tried to catch it, but my camera is soooooo slow taking pictures. :(
Collin got a tablet too! A Leap Pad 2 which he is in love with. It has a camera on it so he was going around to everyone saying, "say cheese!" When we went back and looked at all the pictures he had taken we just laughed. They were the best pictures of our feet and chests that I have ever seen :)
All my men trying to get in on the action.

A Spontaneous Adventure

I'm not sure who initiated the idea, but the Monday before Christmas we decided to spend Family Home Evening at Downtown Disney. We have been wanting to take Collin there for a while now because he loves all things Disney. (Definitely got that from his father.) 
It was a very spontaneous decision and one that didn't really sink in until we hit Disney traffic just to find parking. Michael looked over at me and said, "before the night is over we might really regret coming here tonight." 

It was definitely crowded and became too overwhelming towards the end of the night, but I don't regret going at all. Collin LOVED it which was the important thing. He cried when we made him leave and for the next two days, whenever we would get in the car he would ask, "Can we go to Downtown Disney first? Pleeeease?" I see another adventure to Downtown Disney in our near future :)
 The Sunday before Christmas, we continued our tradition of opening a Christmas story and reading it, except we added a few things.
We went over to Grandma and Grandpa Boyd's house and watched Frosty the Snowman while we drank hot chocolate with marshmallows. It might have only been in the low 70's that night, but THIS Florida girl was cold! 
(please leave all nasty comments about me being a wimp to yourself. I'm already well aware. That's why I live here and not up North)

After our movie we moved by grandma and grandpa's tree and read our Christmas story.
I should have taken a picture of their tree. It is full of cool ornaments. Since Collin has been born it has gained a train, a helicopter and a firetruck. Collin loves finding them in the branches every year. He is so spoiled.

He even talked grandma into reading an extra story :)
I'm so glad we have family close by. Now to get my family to move back......;)

A Grand Entrance

 Every year Santa rides through the neighborhoods of Winter Garden on his big red sleigh (A red Firetruck) 
He even gets a police escort. It's a pretty big deal. You are alerted to his arrival by flashing lights, sirens, and Christmas music. He usually visits each neighborhood on the same night every year so that you know when he's coming.
 This year, I made the mistake of telling Collin that Santa would be making his grand entrance that night. Every time he heard a siren ( a legitimate siren that is,) he would yell, "That's Santa! He's coming!" 
I had no idea there were that many police cars and ambulances that got called out around here.
Anyway, we ended up waiting outside for 20 min before his actual arrival because a certain little boy was just too worried he was going to miss him ;) 

Santa finally came and I had two very excited little boys! Especially when they saw they were throwing candy.

I love my little town of Winter Garden! They are always doing so many fun things and this is one of my favorite Christmas traditions. 
I also love the Christmas excitement overflowing from my boys. It's very contagious. I'm going to miss this once they start growing up and start loosing that Christmas magic. I guess we'll have to just keep having kids so that we never loose the magic ;)
(Just a joke Michael, just a joke)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

My Kind of Christmas

 Last year was such a depressing Christmas to me. Not because anything traumatic happened to our family or anything, but because I let myself get so caught up in buying gifts and everyday life that Christmas came and went without holding any special meaning for me. This was the one time of year specifically dedicated to family, reflection, and most importantly, my Savior's birth. And I felt stressed and rushed the whole month! What good is a holiday if you forget the main reasons you're celebrating it for!? 
This year I vowed to make it a better Christmas. One where we could ALL look forward to the special day with anticipation and one where we would remember WHY we were celebrating Christmas in the first place. 
 I realized that in order for me to have a stress free Christmas and have time to create traditions and memories with my children, my first step would be getting all my Christmas shopping out of the way early! That way I didn't have it on my mind and didn't have to spend my precious time fighting crowds. My goal was to finish by Thanksgiving and for the most part, I did! I still had a few last minute gifts to buy, but what a huge difference it has made! I have had sooooo much time to do the fun stuff, and NO stress! 
(Well, there was a few days where I was having the worst time finding boy suits, but that's another story)

 Another thing I did was, I thought about what I really wanted my children to get out of Christmas. I wanted to create special traditions and memories that they would be able to look back on fondly. And above all, I wanted them to learn to serve others and not just to "get" at this time of year.

So that's what we did! We decided that one of our new Christmas traditions would be to do extra service this month. Since my children are still very young I tried to keep our service age appropriate :) One of the things we did was make Great Grandma Brown cookies and surprised her with a visit

 The boys love their Great Grandma Brown.

 We've also been watching as many Christmas movies as we can! We are so blessed to have family close by to do this with :)

Perhaps the hardest thing for me to do this year was to let Collin decorate the Christmas trees. He was soooo excited to do it all by himself! At first, it was the hardest thing for me not to go and fix it! But this is just as much his Christmas as it is mine, so I left it just the way he wanted it. After a few days I've come to realize there is nothing about our trees that need fixing. They may not be perfectly decorated and the ornaments certainly aren't evenly spaced, but they are the most beautiful trees to me and I can't look at them without smiling. 
 It's probably a good thing I didn't fix it the way I wanted it that first day anyway, because I don't know how many times my little perfectionist has decided to rearrange the ornaments. They have to be in just the right spot after all :)

 And while we're on the subject of trees! We went to downtown Winter Garden for the Christmas Tree lighting! I have wanted to do this ever since we moved here 4 years ago. Collin was very impressed with how large the tree was. He keeps saying he wants to go back.

 Of course he probably wants to go back so he can play in the snow and ride the train again.

 The First Monday in December we had a special Christmas Family Home Evening. Collin and Michael decorated this Santa countdown. (which Collin actually colored most of it by himself! We couldn't believe he stayed in the lines!)
Every day Collin adds one cotton ball to Santa's beard. Once the beard is all full, it's Christmas! This has really helped him understand time and has even helped me anticipate Christmas more!
 After they decorated the countdown we talked about how Santa will come and how it's nice to get presents, but that the real reason for Christmas is to celebrate Jesus' birth. We then took it in a more spiritual direction :)

Once we got to 12 days before Christmas, we started another countdown. I wrapped 12 Christmas stories (6 fun ones and 6 spiritual ones)
Every night Collin gets to open a book and we red it as a family under the tree. I saved the more spiritual stories to read these last few days leading up to Christmas. 
I also LOVE the picture above. It shows our kids personalities perfectly. Tate the inquisitive one one who has to be in the middle of everything and Collin, the more serious one who is mad because his brother keeps blocking the book with his big head. (his words, not mine) It takes some longer to get into the Christmas spirit than others ;)

 Michael and I hosted our first ugly Christmas sweater party! Do you know how hard it is to find a Christmas sweater in Florida!? Next time we might just have to do an Ugly Christmas ANYTHING!!!
 All the guys wore red!
 (Torturing Tate by putting a bow on his head and making him sit in a basket for pictures) Right after this the basket tipped backwards into the tree. He said that was the last straw!
 My aunt Patti took us to this one house in Winter Park that was COVERED in lights!
The boys LOVED it!

 We still have one more week until Christmas and we have tons of more fun things planned. So far, this Christmas has been great! It's just what I wanted. We've had fun as a family, created traditions, and celebrated the birth of our Savior. It's been perfect!

So, an early Merry Christmas from the naughty and nice ;)