Christmas Morning

After a very fun Christmas Eve (that included us really hyping up how fun Christmas morning would be) we were very surprised that Emma didn’t wake up super early!  She got to sleep in Nana’s room and luckily she slept really well.  She finally woke up around 8:30 and came out to the living room where we had our camera ready to go.  She immediately ran to the plate of cookies that she left for Santa and made sure that the cookies were gone.  We then read her the note that Santa left. 

IMG_5036

In case you can’t read the letter from Santa… it reads, “ Emma- Thanks for the milk and cookies.  They were fantastic!  Thanks for being a good girl this year. Remember to always obey your Mommy and Daddy and keep learning about Jesus and the gift He gave.  I must go now.  Aubrey’s house is next!!        Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!!   -Santa

Here are the toys that Santa left for Emma: TWO stockings full of goodies, a soccer goal and soccer ball, a pink laptop computer, and a McDonald’s cash register with play food.  IMG_5037

Peeking in her stocking: (she got some watercolor paints and Dora paint book, a PEZ dispenser, some Hello Kitty socks, some headbands, some stamps, and more!)IMG_5110

Oh boy…an battery powered Hello Kitty toothbrush!IMG_5053

Waiting patiently to open gifts:IMG_5142

Emma is so blessed to have so many people that love to shower her with gifts.  This was the first year that she really got into opening presents and GIVING presents.  We are really trying to instill in her that it is ‘better to give than to receive’… that’s a very hard concept for a 3 year old though, I know! :) Emma got SO many wonderful gifts and they are not all pictured here. These are just a few of her favorite things:

An Aqua doodle from Aunt Judy, Uncle Ron, and Christi:  (Emma loves her Aqua doodle and I do too… she can draw as often as she likes and it’s not messy at all!)IMG_5168

This was the cutest gift (also from Aunt Judy)- an apron made to hold her crayons!  Art talent runs in our family you know. :)IMG_5184

A very cute monkey that teaches Emma to get dressed, complete with snaps, Velcro, buttons, and shoelaces.  It is so cute!    This was also from Aunt Judy, Uncle Ron, and Christi:IMG_5155

A pink umbrella from Nana- you can clearly see by the look in her eyes that she loved this gift:IMG_5197

IMG_5207

Another adorable gift from Aunt Judy (yes, she spoils Emma!)  This was a very cute dress-up set complete with a tutu, floral headpiece with flowing ribbons, butterfly wings, and boa.  IMG_5239

IMG_5247    

Gifts not pictured include: a Baby Achoo doll (a baby that sneezes!), several great puzzles, a purse, a collection of CD’s, a leap frog handheld reading toy, 2 sets of pajamas, and few other things that I can’t currently recall! 

We were so thankful that Cousin Haley and her mom made it to our gathering later in the day.  Here, Haley is opening a gift from Emma- a bracelet with “Haley” engraved on it:IMG_5316

You may be wondering what Foster was doing all day long… he was having a good time too. :) Foster also received some great gifts not pictured here including: a mobile and Aquarium soother from Nana, a caterpillar counting musical crib toy from Judy, Ron and Christi,  some wonderful baby boutique items from Judy, and a polar bear t-shirt from Uncle Brandon.  Emma opened all of Foster’s gifts for him (as if she didn’t have enough of her own to open!!!)

 Here is Foster with his big sister:IMG_5181

Foster hangin’ with Uncle Brandon.  It looks like Brandon doesn’t know how to hold a baby.  He DOES know how to hold Foster, he was just being very laid back at the moment.  IMG_5130

Bright eyed:IMG_5163

Fast asleep:IMG_5287    

After gift opening, Mommy got to take a 2 hour nap too (this was one of my favorite gifts.)

These pictures were just from Christmas morning!!!…soon to come will be a post about our afternoon in the snow!





“I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas…”

image image

One of my favorite childhood Christmas memories was when we got snowed in at my Grandma’s house on Christmas Day when I was about 8 years old.  I just remember that my family got to spend a lot of quality time together.  We played games, we watched movies, we played in the snow, we ate, we talked… but most importantly we were TOGETHER.  There’s just something magical about being forced to stay home if you are with people you love.  This year, we were given that gift again! 

The weathermen began forecasting snow early Christmas week and I got very excited but I tried not to get my hopes up.  During the Thursday morning news they said that we were definitely getting snow and we needed to plan to stay where we were after about 3 or 4 in the afternoon on Christmas Eve.  Robin and I decided to pack up and plan to stay at my mom’s house in case the roads became bad.  Mom only lives 2 miles away from us but we didn’t want to risk not being able to come home or not being able to return on Christmas morning.  By the way- it’s amazing how much packing is required for 2 adults, a toddler, and a newborn for just ONE night!  It looked like we were moving in!

Well, we received some snow… 8 inches in the form of a blizzard to be exact!  We ended up staying at mom’s for 2 nights because the roads were so bad.  The snow was beautiful and the time spent with my family was even more beautiful.  

We got to Nana’s house just after lunch time on Christmas Eve.  My aunt Judy and brother Brandon got to spend the night too.  Nana had crafts for Emma, Brandon made us a very yummy gourmet meal, we read the Christmas story, played games, and just hung out.

image image Craft time: Nana had some special snowflakes for Emma to color with markersIMG_4725

 Nana reading “The Christmas Story” to Emma:IMG_4729

After reading “The Christmas Story,” Nana let Emma set up her Nativity Scene.  Emma LOVED the nativity pieces and carried several of them around the house with her:IMG_4816

Emma and the donkey:IMG_4810

Emma brought the little lamb to dinner with her… here it is next to daddy’s glass on the table!:IMG_4861

My brother, “Chef Brandon” fixing us an amazing meal: Filet Mignon topped with crab meat, garlic mashed potatoes, asparagus, and creme brulee for dessert!  It was mouth watering:IMG_4855

The meal, minus the garlic mashed potatoes:IMG_4857

I had to include this picture of my brother’s Christmas Eve attire:  IMG_4853

Nana reading Emma “Twas the Night Before Christmas”IMG_4895

Here is Foster during the reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas”IMG_4915

Foster and Daddy checking out the snow outside:IMG_4922

Foster’s 1st real smile caught on camera… he was excited about Christmas!IMG_4955

 Emma eating snow out of a cup!  She loved it. IMG_4933_1

 Sponge rollers in her hair for the night before Christmas… Emma also got to open these new Elmo p.j.’s from NanaIMG_4927

IMG_4925 

 Decorating cookies to leave for Santa (remember, I had a few cookies left over from Emma’s birthday party!)IMG_4971

IMG_4983

IMG_4994

 Writing a letter to Santa with Daddy…IMG_5002

Emma signing her name…IMG_5013 IMG_5018

  Ready for Santa…IMG_5032





“Aunt” Sarah

My best friend, Sarah, is home from Texas for the week of Christmas.   Emma knows her as “Aunt” Sarah even though she’s not actually her aunt.  Sarah and I have been friends since birth and we’ll be friends until we die, I’m sure of it.  She teaches in Texas now so we don’t get to see her a lot but she tries to visit every time she comes home.

Here is Sarah holding Foster

IMG_4698

IMG_4699

Emma became pretty jealous when Sarah fed Foster a bottle… at least we think that’s what happened because she crawled in her daddy’s lap while Sarah was feeding Foster and asked daddy to feed her the sippy cup.  I’m a little embarrassed to post this pictures but how can I not… it’s hilarious!

IMG_4692





Boo Boo Elephant

Who knew that getting a boo boo could be so fun?  The other night, Emma accidentally fell and bumped her head on a chair in the hallway.  She was very upset… until we introduced her to the “Boo Boo Elephant,” very similar to the “Boo Boo Bunny,” and many other boo boo animals which are basically ice packs in disguise. 

Emma had so much fun holding this ice pack on her head- she was very dramatic about it!  I wish I’d had one of these for each of my students when I was a school nurse… I never could figure out how to get the little kids to hold ice packs on head bumps.

Her bump was on the right side of her forehead but you’ll notice in the 1st picture that she sometimes held the ice pack on the left side.  Oh well!

Also, in the last pictures you’ll see that she added another animal to the mix just for good measure.

IMG_4643

IMG_4649

IMG_4653

IMG_4651





Emma’s 3rd Birthday

“Oh Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree… Emma C. is turning THREE!”

Christmas Trees

IMG_4537 

For Emma’s 3rd Birthday, I was really in turmoil over whether or not to have a party since we have a newborn at home.   I wanted her to have a special, memorable day, but I also wanted to stay sane. :)  To make matters worse, this is the first year that Emma has been REALLY excited about her Birthday and has asked daily about her Birthday party for several months!  Each year we have done a small family party and invited only 1 or 2 friends and we kept with that tradition again this year.  We had a small family party at our house.  We decided to eat pizza and decorate Christmas cookies.

When I voiced my idea to decorate Christmas cookies, my mom and Robin looked at me like ‘Are you crazy?’  I said, “I’m just going to make a few sugar cookies and I’ll make it really simple.”  I’m learning more about myself every day… Jill doesn’t DO simple.  Here are pictures of the cookies and the cookie decorating supplies.  I know, I know, I’m crazy.

Just a “few” sugar cookies… (8 dozen to be exact… there are more in a Tupperware container that aren’t pictured!)IMG_4431 

“Simple” decorationsIMG_4426

Emma spent most of her Birthday Day with Nana while I cooked cookies.  Emma and Nana went to the Library to read books and then they went to McDonald’s to have lunch and play on the playground.  The plan was to then go to Nana’s house to take a LONG nap so she would be rested for the party.   Well, despite Nana’s very best efforts, Emma would not nap- she was too excited to sleep!  SO, she was very tired at her party- you can really tell in the pictures how very tired she was! 

Opening gifts…IMG_4448

A very special gift from Pops and Gigi… it came in the mail on her Birthday and she was so excited to open it!  Pops drew special pictures on the box for Emma… he always draws pictures for her on her easel when he is here.  IMG_4471

Emma did not want ANY help opening gifts this year- she did it all by herself!IMG_4493

Some of the guests included: Her best friend from church, Aubrey (who turned 3 exactly 3 weeks before Emma):IMG_4495

Aunt Judy, Uncle Brandon, and Foster:IMG_4497

Blowing out the candle on the cake- she did great!IMG_4542

Cookie decorating time…

Here is Chloe decorating her gingerbread man:IMG_4549

Emma decorating her gingerbread man:IMG_4550

The whole clan decorating cookies… My friend Christy was a huge help- she knew just how to divvy up the supplies so that things weren’t mass chaos!  IMG_4559

IMG_4588

The kids attention spans only lasted through TWO cookies each…. so I have a few sugar cookies in my freezer if anyone needs any… just let me know!!!

After decorating cookies, the girls were dying to go play with some of Emma’s new toys in her room.  They had a dance party and played dress up:IMG_4610

Baby Foster spent the entire evening being held by his adoring relatives.  Here he is with Uncle Ron:IMG_4619

Unfortunately, Koby was NOT invited to the party.  We shipped him off to Nana’s house for the evening and he came home AFTER the party.  He has been known to steal food off the kitchen table and I wasn’t willing to risk it!  He is clearly upset in this picture- he knows that a party went on without him!  Poor, poor dog!IMG_4421 

Overall, it was a very successful party. Emma had a great time- she’s still talking about how much fun she had.  However, each year I need to remind myself that simple is good.  All that matters is that Emma knows that she is LOVED, that Emma has a good time, and we make memories as a family. 

I can’t believe my first baby is 3 years old!  Time flies.  I love you Emma!





Foster at 1 Month

IMG_4326 

I can’t believe Foster is already ONE MONTH OLD!!!  Where does the time go???  It seems like just yesterday I was running around the house preparing for his arrival. 

I must say that this little boy has me totally whipped.  He melts my heart. 

He is a really good baby.  I often feel guilty because I end up dragging him around to keep up with the pace of Emma’s busy life.  He seems very adaptable at this point thank goodness. 

I have a feeling he is going to be a BIG baby, bigger than Emma at least.  Emma has always been tall and skinny but he is gaining weight very quickly.  He was exactly 10 pounds on his 1 month Birthday. 

He’s still sleeping in our room but we plan to move him to his own ‘big boy’ room this week.  He’s only waking a couple of times each night which makes mommy very happy.

Foster loves to be held.  I bought a sling this week so that I can keep him close to me all the time- he loves to be in the sling. 

He seems to have pretty good head control.  This past week he has really been trying to hold his head up and look around.  Here is a picture of him on his tummy holding his head up.  He’s growing up WAY too fast.

IMG_4348

Here are a couple of pictures of Big Sister Emma with Foster.  She continues to be SO sweet to him and SUPER helpful.  I love the 2nd picture below where Foster is looking at Emma.  He gets a sparkle in his eye when he looks at his big sister.

IMG_4318

IMG_4321

Just for grins, I thought I’d include a couple of pictures of Emma and Koby on Foster’s 1 month birthday.  I don’t want to leave them out, right?

IMG_4394

IMG_4408





Emma’s “Friends”

Just a quick post to share with everyone Emma’s favorite people…..

IMG_4270

I know what you’re thinking, “These are not people Jill.”  Oh, but they ARE to Emma.  Emma talks to these friends as if they are very REAL.  She disciplines them, praises them, has fights with them, etc.  It is really quite hilarious to watch her interact with them.  We are discovering that Emma has an extremely vivid imagination- she often tells us elaborate stories about her friends that we know are quite impossible!  This past week she lined them all up in chairs for a “class picture.” She told them all to smile and she said, “Great job kids!” when the picture was over.  She really cracks us up.  At bedtime we must account for ALL of her friends in her bed.  We often have to search the house for the missing friend.

I love you Emma, you are just so precious.  Thanks for keeping us on our toes!

IMG_4273





Gingerbread House Party

Last Saturday the Preschool Department at our church hosted a Gingerbread House Party.  Robin, Foster, and I had a rehearsal for our Nativity Scene role at the same exact time and we thought that Emma might not be able to attend the party… BUT Aunt Judy came to the rescue.  Judy attended the party with Emma and I’m quite certain that Emma had 10 times more fun just because Judy was with her.  Here are a few pictures from the event:

IMG_4107

IMG_4111

IMG_4118

IMG_4128

IMG_4125

After the party, we all came back to our house and Judy held Foster for a few minutes…

IMG_4135

Then Emma asked Judy to play “Memory”  and “Candy Land” with her. 

IMG_4141

Thanks Aunt Judy for being such an awesome Great-Aunt… we love you!!!





Baby Jesus

This past Sunday Robin, Foster, and I had the honor of playing the Nativity Family during the choir special at church.  Our part came during a beautiful song by Michael W. Smith called “Son of God.”   I’ll have to say it was a very emotional moment for me and a memory that I will never forget.  Right before we went out on stage, I was so nervous.  Nervous that Foster would poop, nervous that Foster would cry, nervous that I would trip, nervous that my headpiece was going to fall off.  And then when we got out on stage the instruments were playing, the spotlight was on Foster, and I was just overcome with emotion.  All of my silly fears went away and I just gazed at my son.   Wow!  While I know that I am not actually Mary, and Foster is not actually Jesus, I couldn’t help but think that Mary and I probably shared very similar thoughts… “God, please help me raise him well.”  “God, thank you for this amazing gift.”  “God, thank you for making me his mommy.” 

I also looked up for a split-second and saw my family sitting on the front row and was just so grateful to have such supportive family members who are there for us and love us unconditionally.  It also made me very sad that my dad hasn’t been around to get to know my kids- he sure would have loved them. 

The humorous part came at the end when I went to pick Foster up from the manger and half of the hay came with him.  We were tangled in hay for several seconds and we really struggled to break free from the hay!  Oh well.  

We think it’s pretty funny that on Foster’s very 1st day to church, he got to play the role of Jesus.  It doesn’t get much better than that!!!

nativity 001 

nativity 002