I'm not sure why, but we're planting a garden. We don't eat many vegetables. Definitely more of a meat and potatoes type family. But the house we moved into a couple months ago has a 13×15 foot raised bed that is screaming to have some vegetables planted in it.
I've spent some time researching and talking to Julie's boyfriend, Reed. I think I've got a plan. It's going to be done in a style similar to square foot gardening. The premise is that you divide your area into square foot regions and plant x number of plants per square foot. Some plants grow wider and require multiple square feet (i.e., cantaloupe require 2 feet). Some plants don't take up much space at all and you can plant multiples in each square foot (i.e., 16 carrots to the square foot).I already know there's going to be a decent amount of work required to get the bed in good shape. I've dug down 18 inches or so and the dirt “seems” good. Well, as good as dirt can seem I guess. But I'll definitely have to do some tilling and will need to bring in some more soil as well.
Of course, in typical Simons style, we're going a little over the top with the number of different veggies/herbs we're planting in our FIRST garden. But you know what? Go big or go home.
Again, in typical Simons style, Trey wants it here NOW. We've bought the seeds and some little seedling starter planters. I've laid the grid out in Excel and have started putting together a document outlining when to plant each seed, when to transplant started seeds to the garden, etc. Maybe if we're lucky, we'll at least get one meal's worth of food out of this garden. Even if we don't, it is sure to be an adventure that the kids won't soon forget.
And for your browsing pleasure, I've included a draft layout of the garden below.
Well, it is that time of year again. Time to reflect back on the past 12 months, but more importantly, ahead to the 12 that are coming up.
What a great year we've had around the Simons' house. As usual, it is easy to forget just how much has gone on. I like to take this time each year to do a 'review' of what's occurred.
- Each of us had another birthday
- Laura killed her first deer (and went deer hunting with me for the first time!)
- Avery started 1 day a week Mother's Day out
- Trey went to 3 day a week pre-k
- Haley started Kindergarten. And rides the bus!
- We sold our house in Windward slopes. Twice (first contract fell through)
- We moved 3 streets over and now live on the lake!
- We turned the 30 year old pontoon boat that came with the house into a pirate ship
- I got a tractor
- Our company was bought out
- Laura started teaching high school girls again at church
- I taught young adults again at church
- My grandfather passed away
- Laura's grandmother passed away
- Read the 1 year chronological bible through for the 2nd time this year.
Goals for next year:
- Live a life that will guide my children to walk in the Truth (3 John 4)
- Love my wife more
- Be present with my kids more
- Continue to take time alone (normally when hunting) to relax, reflect, refocus and talk to God.
- Read the Bible through again
- Disciple a group of men to be leaders in their family, church, community and the world. But start with having the right leader in their own life.
- Focus on being anxious for nothing. I struggle with anxiety more than any other thing.
And the list wouldn't be fun to look at next year without documenting a couple things about everyone in our family:
- Loves learning
- Loves drawing and artwork and crafts of any sort
- Loves her teacher, Ms. Wooley
- Loves church. Loves children's choir.
- Has nearly learned the Lord's Prayer
- Loves living next door to Ashton/Sarah and down the street from Carrington
- Thinks that she's one of the smartest kids in her grade. And she's right.
- Is one of the most creative people I've ever met
- Is really beginning to enjoy sharing a room with Avery
- Is 100% boy
- Listens sometimes
- Would take a bullet for either one of his sisters. Especially Avery.
- Is very protective of his sisters
- Easily gets his “heart broken” (his words)
- Loves Jesus
- Loves his daddy
- Loves spending time with his family
- Likes to snuggle
- Is a lot smarter than he lets on. He “pretends” most of the time not to know the answers, but when you catch him off guard, he knows most of his letters and numbers.
- Loves to be held and played with
- Is extremely determined
- Is very self sufficient. She usually lets you know she doesn't need help. But when she does, she quickly lets you know that as well. Usually in the form of screaming.
- Has got the biggest, prettiest eyes
- Is starting to get longer hair
- Laughs like crazy
- Can take a beating, but keeps on going. She rarely cries because she's hurt.
- Can't sit still for 5 minutes
- Can't leave ANYTHING alone. No doubt where she's been. She leaves a trail behind her.
- Usually listens and is obedient. Sometimes listens, but pushes the envelope…testing us.
- Is fanatical about keeping the floor clean. Which is a really tough job in our house. She walks around the kitchen with a piece of toilet paper wiping the floor.
- Infatuated with toilet paper. About twice a week, we find a whole roll undone and laying on the floor in the bathroom. We count it as a blessing if she hasn't “cleaned up” by putting all the toilet paper in the potty.
- Grown spiritually by leaps and bounds again this year
- Does a fantastic job teaching her girls. She genuinely cares for them and is very passionate about them.
- Has been my support. My rock. There is no way I could make it without her emotional support as well as her support around the house. Cooking, cleaning, raising our children.
- Looks better than the day I met her
- Loves to put individual dove chocolates in the freezer and pluck them out a couple times a day
- Has embroidered very little
- Has turned our house into a home. Decorating, painting and mostly, making it a loving and relaxing environment.
Just a couple of quick pics of some future duck hunters. Every chance Avery and Trey get, they go upstairs to Hayden’s office, grab a duck call and start blowing it. The other day, he came in from hunting and they each got a chance to practice their technique with dad. Trey got a duck call for Christmas from Hayden. Expecting it to be super quiet around here for the foreseeable future.
About two years ago, Mom and Dad purchased about 100 acres in Millington, TN. It’s about 30 minutes door to door from our house. The land backs up to the Mirimichi Golf Course that is owned by Justin Timberlake. About 45 acres is farmland that is leased out to a farmer for soybeans. The other is timber – mostly cottonwoods. Big creek runs through the land as well. And I can tell you, Big Creek is a REALLY big creek. There’s really no way to get across it.
There was a small house on the land that is probably about 90 years old. It was in a terrible state of disrepair. No one had lived in it for about 9 years. Our original intent was to tear it down. But upon further thought, my parents decided to put some money into it and bring it back to life. Our family now spends the night out there at least once every other month. The kids LOVE being out there. It takes us back to a simpler time. Sitting around together – all on the same couch. Watching TV. Eating popcorn. Playing board games. Picking up sticks outside.
One thing that I did growing up was spend a lot of time hunting with dad. I got to understand wildlife, gun safety, how to plant food plots. You know – man stuff. Quite frankly, I want my kids to understand the outdoors too.
The amount of wildlife on our place at Millington is less than desirable. Most of this is due to the lack of habitat for the animals. Contrary to what most would think, a really mature forest is NOT good a good habitat for wildlife at all. With a little thought, it all makes sense. Sure, the trees are tall, and there are no briars or weeds growing up on the ground. But when you think about it, what kind of protection does this provide for wildlife like deer and turkeys? What kind of food is available? The short answer is – none.
We’ve worked hard to improve the land. One of the first things we did was to have the Ducks Unlimited guys come out and help us figure out how to get more ducks in. We had a levee pushed up around part of the open field that is cropland and installed a spillway that can be opened and closed. Now, after the soybeans are harvested, we dam up the spillway and allow about 5 acres to flood. Last year was a dismal season for duck hunting due to the weather, but this year we’re hopeful that colder weather will move in up north and the ducks will be migrating…while the season is open. The land is about 5 miles from the Mississippi River, so it seems promising. We’ve already built two duck blinds and I’ve been able to take Haley, Trey and Laura duck hunting already this year. We’ve only bagged a couple of ducks so far, but I can assure you, taking them hunting isn’t just about killing animals. Our primary focus is spending time together and enjoying God’s creation.
So, next up on the agenda is to cut a large portion of the timber and allow some undergrowth to come in. We’ll also be planting a couple of varieties of oak trees, which unlike cottonwoods, will continue to provide a food source for the wildlife on the ground even after the trees have matured.
One thing I’ve really enjoyed over the past year or so is that Laura has also taken up hunting. I know that she enjoys it to some degree, but I also know the main reason she does it is because she knows I enjoy it so much. Aside from allowing us to spend time together, the thing she enjoys most is learning about the animals. Learning the times when deer are most likely to move, what deer eat, what the rut is and how it makes taking a mature buck more likely. She likes to learn about how ducks make the 2,000 mile journey every year…and what drives them to do it. Learning about decoys and calls and tactics. How deer don’t see in color, but ducks do. How a turkey’s most valuable defense is it’s eyesight, but a deer’s is it’s sense of smell.
I took Haley duck hunting yesterday evening. She spent most of the time in the duck blind sitting on the floor and playing on my IPad. Did the noise coming from the IPad help my chances hunting? No. Did a group of 8 wood ducks come over and flare off at the last minute due to the bright light of the IPad? Yes. But I did get a chance to shoot two ducks. And Haley got really excited about it. And the truth is, her excitement had little to do with the ducks. It was more about my excitement. The fact that I picked HER to go hunting with me. To share in that experience. I chose her to share yesterday evening with in a duck blind. It’s this these types of memories that sticks with me from the hunts with my dad. And it is these types of memories I look forward to making more of.
Below are a couple pictures from hunts this year…followed by the morning of my first duck hunt and the first duck I killed with my dad.
Well, after a little bit of closing date drama, we are finally in our new house and settled! Hayden and I are constantly working to make this our home and have already accomplished so much. Our bed time is much later these days and our down time in the evenings is now focused on hammering out our “to do” list. We can’t wait to post “before” and “after” pictures..and we are making tons of friends at Home Depot in the mean time! Once we got in here, the list of urgent changes that needed to be made quickly receded. 1) We were so tired after moving in and unpacking all the boxes we thought we could live with a few outdated elements this house has. 2) The things we wanted to change don’t stand out quite so much now that we are able to live here and look out the window at our incredible view!
As I stated in a previous post, Hayden and I had been keeping our eye out for a lake front property for almost a year, so we knew that when we found this house that we would really like living on the lake. Well, three weeks after moving in, we LOVE it even more than we imagined. It is truly a dream come true. The lake is beautiful and we feel like we are on vacation every day getting to have it in our backyard…literally. We have an amazing deck that we just got two new chairs for (still looking for a table and chair set). Hayden and I put the chairs on the deck outside our bedroom so we can use them in the mornings or evenings to hang out. Hayden sits out there every morning watching the sun rise and reading his Bible. It is definitely a routine that the kids have picked up on because this morning Trey ran right outside looking for his Dad, without evening saying good morning to me as he ran by.
Before moving in, Hayden and I had the opportunity to come have a picnic dinner on the floor of our new living room (Chinese and sushi) and move some unboxed items over on the trailer…hahaha, we were wondering what the neighbors would think of us rolling up with a trailer full of household items…the Clampets have arrived!! That night we walked through the empty house and did a prayer walk. Prayer has been a huge part of this move and to cap off the move, I took an hour or two to go clean our old house for the new people. As I moved room to room, I took the opportunity and few minutes of quiet to praise God for all the amazing memories, growth, and experiences we’d had at our house on Sailboat Lane…many of you were a part of those praises.
So, all the boxes are unpacked, most everything is organized, and we are fully enjoying all the amenities the house has to offer- much larger laundry room, bigger play room, getting to use our sectional in the family room- where we can all fit to snuggle as we watch a movie and eat popcorn, incredibly open kitchen with amazing windows, stairs that are less tempting for Avery to climb, and everyone’s favorite- the oversized bath in the Master bathroom. The kids LOVE taking bubble baths in it and ask to get in there every day.
We have decided on paint colors and will start that process this week. I can’t wait!
Other projects we’ve already done- taken the fireplace screens off, hung pictures, organized the garage- I can park in there!! Hung the tv over the mantle, painted some tiles in the backsplash…a group of them were red…stained and added safer rails on the banisters, added rollers to the dock, moved the disposal to a more useful side of the sink, bought a new refrigerator- ours didn’t fit under the cabinets, started getting the garden ready for planting, and a few other fixes. I have never been more glad that I married such a handy guy. Hayden has been amazing getting all the lighting, plumbing, hanging, fixing and updating done. Not to mention all the unpacking! He took the first week off so he could be home to help and I know it would have been near impossible to get it all done without his help. Plus, Hayden’s parents took the kids to Jackson for a few days and we got to get work done and go on a few dates! We’ve been having a blast making this house a home.
The girls are having fun sharing a room and Avery especially loves being even more in the center of it all. We don’t have Internet yet, so I’ve been less than distracted with the computer and have had a ton of fun playing with the kids. Our playroom is bigger so some of the toys that have been in the attic for a while are now out again. The kids have been playing in their kitchen and making us delicious meals and Haley found a new love for her doll house. The former owners of the house left a pool table- which we just sold- but, the kids loved having for the few days we let them play with it. We realized they are not quite old enough to enjoy it, and just old enough to destroy it. It’s a really nice table, so we are selling it to make more room to play. Instead of pool balls in the pockets we were finding plastic food from the play kitchen.
I’m laughing because as I sat here writing this I keep having to yell, “in the potato!” The kids are playing with the potato head on the floor and are putting all the pieces on Avery or in her mouth, instead of in the potato. My poor little baby…she is so tolerant and just rolls with the punches…she is even laughing at most of it. Oh goodness, aren’t siblings fun?
This has been such an amazing week of celebrating Princess Haley’s birthday. Haley turns 5 on Tuesday, March 6. She has been counting the days and minutes for weeks! (Which has been great for working on the concept of time and months.) I told her a while ago what I had planned for her birthday and she has been talking about it A LOT! I started getting nervous it wouldn’t meet her anticipated expectations. Luckily, it was a perfect day and we all agreed we wouldn’t have changed a thing. The celebration started out on Friday evening. Hayden’s parents and Grandmother (Nana) was in town and we went out to Haley’s favorite restaurant- Cracker Barrel! Of course, she wanted to dress up and couldn’t decide which princess dress to wear, so she wore two. Ariel’s gown, with the Rapunzel gown over it…and the plastic dress-up high heels. When we got home she couldn’t WAIT to dive into the presents. Nana got her a new (and fancier) Rapunzel dress with matching shoes. Mammaw and Pappaw got her several princess shirts, a beautiful sparkly silver dress, and some other nice goodies. When we tried on the Rapunzel dress, it was a little too big so we rushed out to the Disney Store to get a different size. I knew she’d want to wear it to her party downtown. Mammaw, Haley, and I went- just the girls! Haley also had some Birthday Money and we let her pick something out. She grabbed the new Rapunzel Barbie immediately and could not be swayed to get any other item- even though she’s talked about getting a Flynn Ryder doll and Pasquale for a while. She was hopping all around that store feeling like the Queen of the World. They gave her a birthday crown and a button, too. Before leaving the mall, we all took a ride on the Carousel. It almost made me tear up because Hayden and I took Haley on the same Carousel four years ago on her first birthday…oh, how time flies.
Saturday could not have been more exciting. Haley’s friend Ainsley came over early and the girls had a chance to play and get ready together. Talk about a “flash forward” kind of moment…I could just see the girls giggling and doing hair together in 10 or 15 years. Oh, I am not wishing for those days to hurry. At 10am, Peyton arrived and the Princesses were excited to get their gift bags with bracelets, a necklace, a purse, princess gloves, and a crown inside. After adorning themselves with all their goodies, we were off! Prince Trey could not have looked more cute in his tuxedo…and neither could his daddy, also wearing a tux. Once arriving downtown at the Peabody Hotel, the girls were getting a lot of “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” from the guests in the lobby. A staff member escorted the girls to a prime spot on the red carpet to watch the ducks come off the elevator and into the fountain. After watching the ducks for a bit, it was time to head outside, for our carriage awaited our arrival. We hopped into the gold (Haley’s favorite color) horse-drawn carriage and were off on a tour of downtown. The girls had a ball waving and calling out to all the pedestrians. Some had seen the girls in the Peabody and were yelling back, “Happy Birthday, Princess!”
Hayden took the kids upstairs on the mezzanine level of the Peabody while I set up lunch. Pink table cloth, candles, chocolate covered pretzels, heart shaped sandwiches, and of course, birthday cupcakes. The girls drank Shirley Temples, with twisty straws, and had a great lunch together. Again, they were quite the talk of the hotel- many patrons were taking their pictures. Luckily, we took a full batch of cupcakes with us and were able to share with other “friends” in the lobby. Everyone clapped after we sang and it was a special day. We all needed a nap once we got home! I couldn’t have been more proud to parade our little party through downtown.
It all started on when we went to Jackson for Thanksgiving. I’ve been hunting a lot more over the past few years, but Laura’s desire to go hunting has been pretty "limited" to say the least. However, when we were in Jackson for Thanksgiving, Laura mentioned to me that she thought she could kill a deer. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. So I asked her what she meant. She repeated her statement. This immediately forced me to challenger her a bit. I responded that I didn’t think she could. That maybe she had the skill to do it, but I didn’t think she could pull the trigger. She didn’t let up, though.
Fast-forward to January 26th when we headed down to Jackson again for a surprise birthday party for my dad. Mississippi’s hunting season runs a little longer than Tennessee’s so she’d get her shot (pun intended).
We ran through the basics of what she’d need to do in order to fire the .444. In MS, certain single shot cartridge guns (.444 included) are legal during muzzleloader season. I knew if she could get the crosshairs on a deer, she wouldn’t feel the kick. But I was hesitant to let her shoot it beforehand. If you’ve never seen a .444 cartridge, it closely resembles something you’d shoot an elephant with.
On Friday afternoon we headed out to some land my dad owns in Kosciusko. This place is a deer haven. I was extremely confident she’d get a chance to see some deer. On the way there, we stopped at another piece of land he has in Thomastown and set up a paper plate for her to shoot a .22 rifle at. At 30 yards, she squeezed off 8 rounds that would fit inside a half dollar. She was ready.
We hit Kosciusko and climbed into the shooting house. The weather was perfect. We’d just gotten a cool snap and the wind dropped down to near non-existent. We’d had a lot of rain over the previous few days so the deer were sure to move. We kept our eyes peeled. We saw nothing. Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. We did hear a couple of turkeys gobbling, but didn’t see any deer.
On the way home, we passed back by Thomastown. Dad made the comment that we should consider trying it again the next morning. That he’d stay home with Mom and help take care of the kids. We talked it over that night and decided we’d give it another shot.
Saturday morning we were up EARLY. It’s about an hour drive to Thomastown and I wanted to be in the shooting house when it was still dark. As we got settled into the stand, I had to chuckle. A few months ago, I could almost imagine Laura going hunting with me just to spend time together. But I never imagined she’d be trying to bag one herself. And I DEFINITELY couldn’t imagine her getting up at 4:15 in the morning to do it!
We planned to leave by 8:00 at the latest so we could get home to help with preparations for the surprise party. As the sun broke, we looked around just admiring the beauty of the world waking up. Seeing that sunrise and sunset…watching God’s creation wake up and go to bed…that’s what keeps me hunting. For me, it isn’t really about the killing. That’s an added benefit. I was excited to share that with Laura.
The day was nice again. Clear and cold morning. There was no sound other than our breathing until the faint light of day started to appear. Like a well trained symphony, all at once the noises began. Squirrels chirping and rattling in the leaves below us. Birds chirping. Odds seemed to be in our favor. About 7:20 Laura looked at me with eyes like saucers. "There’s a deer", she said. A doe was bee-lining it through the food plot and stood directly behind the one pile of brush that was around. It stayed there for about 10 minutes. Laura could see the outline through the scope, but it was probably a 50/50 shot that the bullet would hit one of the larger limbs. Not good enough odds. I kept telling her to be patient. That the likelihood of it bolting off was slim and that it should come back and feed in the food plot. It kept watching the woods closely…which made me think ole big boy might step out.
Not sure what exactly it was in the woods, but it spooked her. All of a sudden she bolted. Never to return. There went our chance. Laura put back on her gloves and tried to warm up. She was sad she didn’t get a shot, but excited to have seen one.
Around 7:45 I saw one step out about 250 yards away. It was coming our way. From Laura’s spot in the stand, she couldn’t quite see it yet. Then 2 more came out with it. They were headed towards the food plot. At around 150 yards away, Laura put it in her sights. The all three continued towards us quickly until they stopped about 75 yards out. Right behind the brush pile again.
This time, I wanted to give Laura a chance at it at least. She got the deer in her sights. I told her to give it a shot if she wanted to. There was a chance she’d hit the brush, but it was one we were going to take. I watched her gently squeeze, squeeze, squeeze that trigger just like we’d practiced on the .22. It went off like a cannon. And all three deer briefly scattered. She’d missed.
They weren’t running so I quickly got the gun from her and reloaded. She got it back through the window and cocked the hammer. This time one was in the food plot. This time she wouldn’t hit the brush. She gently squeezed again. She nailed it! We saw it running, and saw where she was hit. She wouldn’t run far. 40 yards or so and she went down.
I gave Laura a high five. She was grinning ear to ear. As I looked back out, the two other does that were with the one she shot came back out. I quickly grabbed the bun, reloaded and dropped one of them at about 100 yards.
It was an absolutely amazing experience. I couldn’t have scripted it better. I am not sure how much more Laura will hunt. I know she won’t go nearly as much as I do. But she will be back. And I can’t wait to go with her.
Hayden and I (especially me) LOVE the show Cupcake Wars on the Food Network. Although it makes me crave yummy cupcakes- it also inspires me to want to make fun deserts. One day we decided that over Christmas break, Hayden and I would have our own Cupcake War. We challenged each other to make two cupcakes, each having our own baking assistant, and to be judged by our neighbors. We borrowed another mixer and set to work. Two hours and a GIANT mess later, we were ready!
Hayden and Trey presented two delicious cupcakes:
1.A s’mores milk chocolate cupcake with a whipped vanilla icing, topped with graham cracker crumbles and two homemade marshmallow meringue cookies.
2.A dark chocolate toffee cupcake with a toffee buttercream icing, topped with a caramel toffee drizzle and toffee chips.
Haley and I presented two cupcakes:
1. A lemon cupcake with a lemon zest butter cream icing, topped with a white chocolate snowflake.
2.A dark chocolate cupcake with a chocolate raspberry ganache filling, topped with chocolate raspberry ganache, vanilla icing and dollop of raspberry jam.
The boys won and we had a great time. Our neighbor asked what we had wagered…nothing at that point except bragging rights. She suggested the loser have to clean the kitchen. We both looked at each other and agreed that was WAY too high of stakes. Next year we decided we are going to challenge the neighbors and expand the event! In the mean time, I’ll be heading to Muddy’s or GiGi’s for my extravagant cupcake cravings!
Happy New Year! So I’ve been slacking on blogging (so has Laura), but we’re working on getting back on track. I’m not sure why, but it seems like time is slipping away from us more than I’d expect. I know we’ve had Christmas. I know we’ve got a new kid. But it still seems like it gets away from me more than it should.
I read through my prior resolutions this past weekend. Interesting to see what has and has NOT been accomplished. So, in true form, here’s my NYE list for 2012. Starting with our major milestones:
- Avery was born
- Now 3 years in the same house
- I got promoted to Director at work
- We got some land in Millington (well, my parents did)
- The hunting bug definitely bit me again
- I read the chronological Bible through
- Went to Honduras again for a mission trip – I led it this time
- Trey’s talking and starting to speak in sentences
- Avery’s near crawling
- Haley’s incredibly intelligent
- The discipleship group I was leading fizzled out
- The discipleship group I was in disbanded
- I felt like my work-life balance has never been better
Some things I hope to accomplish in 2012:
- Reading back through the Bible again
- Purposefully modeling Christ for our children
- Recognizing blessings as coming from God rather than my own doing
- Finding a family that needs assistance and helping them – not through monetary contributions only, but by making them a part of OUR family
- Taking time to build relationships…and not SELF SERVING relationships
- Letting others know what they mean to me. Starting at home.
- Doing a triathlon – I’ve been slacking in this department
Merry Christmas, Everyone! I apologize for not sending out Christmas cards this year, but hopefully our faithful readers already know what we’ve been up to all year! We have had a wonderful Christmas holiday
and LOVED having Hayden take off work and spend some time at home. One word to describe our Christmas would be “relaxed”. How often can people say that about Christmas? A few years ago we decided not to travel anywhere for Christmas day and that Santa would be able to come down our chimney each year. Our decision to stay home is affirmed each year when we get to spend the entire Christmas day playing with all the new toys, staying in pajamas, and enjoying some family time. We have established a Christmas Eve tradition as well, Chuck E. Cheese. This year was more crowded than normal but the kids had a ball. (I laugh because every time we go to Chuck E. Cheese Hayden goes crazy wanting to play all the games himself too! Definitely a kid at heart.) After playing at Chuck E. Cheese we went home for dinner and cookie baking. Hayden helped the kids bake cookies that Santa would love- Gingerbread with TONS of icing and sprinkles.
Christmas morning was magical. I’m not sure if Hayden and I were more excited knowing what the kids were getting or if the kids were more excited anxiously awaiting Santa’s visit. I’m pretty sure it was us that were more excited. Trey came down at 3am. He came in our room and since it was WAY too early so I got him a blanket and pillow to lay down next to our bed and go back to sleep. Before going to sleep I followed him out to the Christmas tree and he just stood there staring in amazement. It was so sweet to see him just taking it all in. Two hours later, Haley came down at 5am. This time there was no going back to sleep- she was TOO excited. “Mom, HE CAME! And he brought me EXACTLY what I wanted!” Haley got a Barbie princess castle. I kicked Hayden and got him moving, Haley woke up Trey and practically dragged him to his feet so we could start opening presents. It’s amazing that we even got the other presents open after Haley started playing with the Castle. Once she started, she didn’t stop for DAYS! She really loves it and I couldn’t be happier that I was able to find it for her- thank you again, Craigslist! After opening the presents Hayden read the note Santa left commending the kids on being so great this year, especially in welcoming the Avery into the family. The note also directed Trey to go outside into the garage for his big gift- A FOUR WHEELER! This is the perfect gift for Trey because we can’t go into Bass Pro Shop without sitting on EVERY 4-wheeler in the store. He was a little nervous about it at first but after Haley showed him how to drive it, it was on! (Little did Haley know, we also bought her one- both used- but since we bought it in Jackson, MS, we couldn’t give it to her on Christmas morning. Hayden’s parents brought it up the next week.)
Avery missed the opening of gifts but the kids helped her open hers later on in the day. The kids shopped in their own toy baskets for gifts and wrapped them for her. They were so excited to give her the toys they picked out. Definitely learned the spirit of giving without having to buy anything!
I entered the age of technology with my new phone- I can take videos, send/check email, surf the web, and play Words With Friends now!! I’m so excited and have had fun playing with all the new features. Hayden did a great job picking the perfect gift for me. He took a professional step up with his gift too. He got a great leather brief case and has been looking very stylish carrying it back and forth every day.
Our prayer Christmas Eve night was one of thanksgiving- 1) for a God that loved us so much he allowed His son to humble himself to come to Earth- coming as a baby, to become the man that would bridge the gap so we could have eternal life. He is faithful to His word and promises and Jesus’ birth is just one more reminder of that. 2) for being able to buy gifts that our kids only dream about. We are not in this position because of anything we do, but because of the blessings we’ve received.