Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Eve 09'

Here comes Santa Clause Here Comes Santa Clause....

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I could not have been more excited about all the Holiday traditions and just overall Christmas "stuff" that we got to do with Elem this year. We were super exited to have my mom drive in from Memphis to stay for a few days over the Christmas Break. She arrived on the 23rd, and we were SO lucky to run to the mall and actually find Elem a Christmas outfit-seriously 2 days before Christmas!!! I could not believe it. I am such a picky shopper when it comes to Elem and his clothes (and my clothes too for that matter) that I just couldn't find anything for him to wear before. Like I said though-thank goodness for GAP and their insanely cool clothes-that fit right in to the "style" I had planned for Elem. haha. Not that they are cheap, but I was able to piece a super fly outfit together for the little man so he could make his mark for Christmas 09 in style. Here is what he ended up in...yes he chose the hat himself, and even though it was ADORABLE, I hadnt planned on him actually wearing it to the Christmas Eve dinner at Aunt Nancy's. I dont mess with my 2 year old if I can get everything else I had planned on him -so we went with the hat. :)

My mom and Elem being silly and getting ready to head to Aunt Nancy's. Elem LOVES my mom and is just head over heels when his Memaw comes in town.

Me and my 2 and a 1/2 year old on such a special Christmas Eve. He looks so old here. Sniff sniff.

Here are the twinks. Still looking more and more like each other with every passing day.

As soon as we got to Aunt Nancy's there was lots of eating and chatting, and of course playing with the cousins. Here is little Miss Avery Claire loving the swing with Elem and Cecilia.

Lots of running crazy on the front porch. Uncle Dustin is always a good sport and can take some rough housing and giggling at any moment.

Leave it to me to take away from the fun and force a picture on the toddlers. But come on, who wouldn't? You can tell Elem knows the drill-the more you smile, the faster the pics are taken and the faster we can get up. Sis on the other hand, is giving me the stare down, and telling me to hurry up. She really does love me. hehe

After playing, Elem was SO ready to get in there and open some presents. I had been letting him open a present every few days, just to get him excited about the whole idea, and to encourage him some playing time with his new toys, so there wouldn't be so many that he was overwhelmed on Christmas morning. Once he saw the CRAZY amount of gifts in the living room, he was pretty much done "hanging out" with family. Of course it took a while for everyone to get into the living room, and Elem just couldn't seem to contain himself! I guess he was starting to be overwhelmed with the Christmas Spirit. Haha. We sat right in front, and Elem immediately started asking me if we could sing Christmas songs, which I of course responded with yes! He is soooo in love with Christmas songs that I could not even begin to explain it. And he knows all of the words to every single Christmas song that we sang this holiday season. He kept asking if he could sing Rudolph all by himself for everyone, but once we got started, everyone joined in. And he was not satisfied. My favorite part of the entire Christmas Eve at Aunt Nancy's was when we finished singing Rudolph and Elem asked if he could sing Jingle Bells. So sweet. Seth didn't catch the entire thing on video, but he got enough to show how adorable it was.

After we got home, we spent the rest of the night, getting ready for Santa to come! We made Gingerbread houses with Memaw, baked cookies, and left everything out for Santa when he came.

Elem was sooo excited for Santa to come and he wanted to make sure that he got to leave cookies for his 2 favorite reindeer too! He wanted Santa, Rudolph, and Prancer all to have a snack when they got to his house. It was too cute. After Elem went to bed, Seth and I staid up a couple of hours to get everything ready from Santa. Much easier than last year I have to admit-we planned ahead this year and had been working on putting things together throughout the week. Go us! It was a peaceful Christmas EVe-nothing to hectic, and I was sooo excited about Elem's reaction in the morning, I could almost not go to sleep myself. Next up-Santa!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Hello Santa-Meet your BIGGEST FAN!

We did several fun seasonal things this Christmas, and even though we didn't get to do some of the major big ones like I wanted (like go cut down a Christmas Tree) Elem still had fun all the same and seemed to get right in the Christmas Spirit almost more than Seth and I! This year was so much fun, because he totally understood the "Christmas Concept"-the tree (not really decorating it), the lights on the houses, idea of getting toys on Christmas morning, and giving presents to our friends at school, all the candy and good food, Rudolph and the Reindeer and the sleigh, the Christmas songs-Rudolph was soo his favorite and I believe he learned the entire song in just about 3 circle times at school :), being good for Santa to come, etc! But most importantly SANTA in general!!! I can not tell you how much fun it was to pump in all the awesome little details about the jolly ole' man and watch Elem's eyes light up every single time. He knew he wanted Santa Clause to come and see him on Christmas morning. His love for Santa seemed to grow over the course of the month, and turned into a serious, serious obsession type love. It was sooo sweet -my little man, really truly loved the jolly ole' fella! Each time we went to see Santa we encouraged Elem to tell Santa Clause what he wanted for Christmas, and each time, he told Santa the same 2 things and 2 things only-he wanted a jeep and a choo choo train! Thank you Elem Zane for not being greedy and for knowing exactly what you wanted for being a good boy this year! You couldn't be more precious if you wanted to! This was our first year to hit up Breakfast with Santa at the convention center downtown. And we really didn't know what to expect, but one thing was for sure-SANTA was going to be there! Seth had to be dropped off at the airport, so luckily we met Cecilia, Dustin, and Ali for all the festivities at the convention center. Dustin's company donated a tree, and Ali had decorated it for the CARTI event, so we were excited to see that as well.

Elem and Cecilia are BFF so we were more than thrilled to find them waiting in line! Cecilia was all dressed up in her Christmas get up, looking so festive. :)I on the other hand didnt realize that every single kid, but mine would be dressed up in their Christmas Outfit, so Elem sported a nice striped sweater simply for the warmth on such a cold December morning. ha! Thank you Suitors for being our table friends at Breakfast with Santa. Pancakes, syrup, juice, Santa, and cecilia= a great Saturday morning if you ask Elem Zane!

We headed off to get in line to visit Jolly Ole Saint Nick. This was our first OFFICIAL visit with Santa this Christmas Season, and I was dying to see how Elem would react to him. Last year we waited in line forever, only to find that Elem was semi thrilled when he sat on Santa's lap for about 2 seconds. This year was totally different, and Elem was so excited waiting in line. Cecilia was up first, and did pretty good on Santa's lap, not too excited, but still happy enough to pose for a pic. Next up was Elem, and while we were in line, I tried to prepare him, and ask him what he was going to ask Santa for? What he was going to talk to him about? If he was going to sit in his lap? etc. Initially, Elem just wanted to stand in front of Santa, but the minute the old man held out his white gloves, my little toddler was good to go. I believe there was some kind of instant connection. hehe. Santa held out his hands, and Elem was right in his lap. Starring at him as if he was some kind of magical figure who had ever so graciously stopped by to visit just him. His eyes were fixated on Santa's face, and I almost teared up just watching him look in awe at the red suit, fluffy white beard, and soft hat on his head. Of course I had to snap back into it to get a couple of pics, but I couldnt have been more happy for Elem. He talked to Santa like they were best friends. If you know Elem you know he can talk for hours on end without taking a breath. His little raspy voice is certainly not lacking in the vocabulary department. Santa asked him what he wanted for Christmas, and he responded with only, "I want a Choo Choo Train and Jeep". And before Santa could send him on his way and tell him to be a good little boy and Santa would bring him that, Elem was telling Santa that he "could have one too" and that Elem would get him a choo choo and a jeep too. It ws soooo sweet. And so just like Elem. Ahhh, I love Christmas and I love how much Elem LOVED santa. Here you can see his genuine love for this man!

Lucky for us the rest of the morning did not dissapoint. There was lots of food, music, and fun. The kids danced the morning away to Christmas music by the "Kinder Music" group! It was a great Breakfast with Santa and an awesome way to kick off the holiday season. Elem and Cecilia were serious rock stars with the Christmas Songs. Can you tell I have been singing them with Elem since uhm, oh about Halloween. Haha! He loves him some Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer!

Cant wait to hit up Breakfast with Santa again next year. Totally something I would love to go to each year with Elem while he is still young. This is just a snipet of Elem's obsession with Santa over the course of the month. Not only did we visit Santa once, or twice, but 5 times here and there. Thats right, I said 5 times. Uhm, but seriously he LOVED Santa. And I can not say the same for my little Nephew, Wyatt, who seemed to be scared out of his mind when he saw the jolly ole fella. So Ill take this year as a win win-lots of Santa Clause and overall Christmas Spriit lovin, and not too many toys requested by Elem. Couldnt have been better!

Friday, December 25, 2009

We wish you a Merry Christmas

From our family to yours-we are wishing you all a very Merry Christmas! We hope Santa was good to you and your little ones, but even more, we hope you joined in with SO many others in the spirit of giving this Holiday Season!

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!

*on a side note, I was -as always-in a bit of a time crunch this year, and I didn't order as many Christmas cards as we needed. :( So, if you did not receive one from The Shelbys this year, it is not because we don't love you or wish you a Merry Christmas! :) Take this as your personal card!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Rudolph Pose

Ever sang songs with toddlers every single day for the entire month of December ? Well, if you have, then you can understand Elem's pain, when trying to whip out the much antcipated "Rudolph Pose"! You know what I am talking about-when singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and trying to fit in all kinds of hand gestures so that the kids stay involved for the whole song-and of course look super cute while doing it. Well, in my daily line of work, it is a must to stay creative and keep the kids interested if you want to have any kind of hope for maintaining a Happy Christmas Spirit and keeping those classic songs fun for the little ones. Here is a little look at Elem and Cecilia on the dance floor at Breakfast with Santa. The group-Kindermusic, performed and totally won over Elem and Cecilia with the Christmas songs. Here is Elem somewhat frozen in the reindeer pose. You think I asked him to do it too much throughout the month? Hmmm....

Still, I must say that those itty bitty fingers are oh so cute-and REALLY do put me in the Christmas Spirit!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Deck the Halls

.......With boughs of Holly, fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la!
Tis the season to be jolly, Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la!

Christmas is always one of Seth and I's favorite times of year. Not so much the cold weather of course! Or insane amount of work that seems to always come along with the Christmas season. :) But more so the decorating, the music, time with family, the amazing "spirit" of Christmas, holiday events, and of course-the LIGHTS! This Christmas season, and really the entire month of December seamed to sneak right up on us quicker than ever before! And right smack dab in the middle of it, included a long week of out of town work for Seth. So, we had to make a hard hard hard decision, to not go to the Christmas Tree Farm-which I am still not at ease with, and settle for a beautiful Christmas Tree (a Frazier Fir I might add) from Lowes. There was just no other way for us to actually get a tree, get it decorated, and have any time to enjoy it, without going that route. So I am vowing, from this day forward, to never ever, have to do that again! Despite not being able to make our annual family trip to the Bradbury Christmas Tree Farm to pick out our tree, we did spend some time listening to Christmas music and decorating with just our little family. I am so thankful for holiday time with my 2 favorite men and couldn't imagine spending time getting ready for Christmas without them!


Friday, December 11, 2009

Thanksgiving Memphis Style

We were so lucky to get to spend Thanksgiving with both sides of our family this year-the first one being on Thanksgiving day, with Seth's side of the family, and then the 2nd being the next couple of days with my family in Memphis. We spend a lot of time with Seth's family here in Little Rock, so it is always a great and special event to pack up the car and head on up to Memphis to spend time with my mom and dad. And even more fun when my sister's family makes the trip to meet us there. But this Thanksgiving was even more special, because my brother and his new wife, Ximena, (yes she is actually from Argentina) (pronounced Hi-mane-ah :)with a short "i" and a short "a") flew all the way in from Colorado for the week! So we got to spend time with everybody all at once, which is a rare treat, just because of all of our work schedules, kids, and everyday craziness we all have going on. First, thing, as soon as we got to my mom and dad's, Elem was ready to PLAY! As he always is. Luckily, Anyd and Ximena were already there, and Becky, Vincent, and Wyatt pulled up shortly after we did. So we enjoyed some fun time outside with the boys, just playing some baseball and soccer in the yard. I tend to go a little overboard with pictures when I get to family events, but I just can not help that I am a camera happy person. I dont want to miss one single second of anything! Much less not have a photo of it to document the event. Oh well, I know I have a problem, but at least I have a lot of memories. hehe.

Vincent, Elem, Wyatt, Andy, Ximena

Wyatt and Elem both with their own agendas and heading for their own ball-Elem to hit the ball and Wyatt to kick it!

Uhm-no time for play here-It takes serious dedication and focus when you want to be the best, even if it means practicing at Memaw and Papaws on a holiday weekend. :)

Elem in deep thought, planning out his next scooter move, in hopes of impressing his younger cousin. Wyatt on the other hand, is on a mission to get that scooter, if he could just ever get to one single toy before Elem. Geez!

Inside-lots of cooking, chatting, and playing going on. With 2 toddlers, 2 grandparents, and plenty of young married couples, we had plenty to talk about. Needless to say, the day flew by super quick! Here is my sis and Wyatt in the living room, playing with some of Memaws toys. Toys at the grandparents are always the best.

Elem enjoying some quality time with Papaw

And of course with Memaw. Being never the less-goofy as possible.

At this point in the trip is when I got a little camera happy :) I LOVE LOVE LOVE my nephew Wyatt, but he is never really TOO excited to see his Aunt Mindy. Bless his heart, I dont know if I would be too happy either if every single time I got around somebody, they were always bringing this louder, bigger, faster, and rougher boy around to take over with all of the toys too. So I can understand his pain. This is the best I could get. But I can sense in his face, he loves me.

Somebody was not quite so thrilled that I was taking up close pics of another little boy. Elem needed a picture with me at that very moment. :) I loves him.

We spent lots of time outside playing, and luckily the weather was really nice. Just a few rain drops, but other than that, plenty of time to build a much needed ramp for Elem's scooter out back -out of Papaws extra bricks

Seth and I, about to enjoy some Thankgiving goodness-yes I ate the typical-bread, meat, and mashed potatoes-Seth on the other hand, chowed down!

Becky, Me, and my new sis in law-Ximena...we dont look our best, but there were like 4 people taking pictures for this one pose. We did the best we could

Andy and Ximena relaxing after some yummy Thanksgiving food!

And then I just thought this was funny! Every time we go to my parents, no matter the event or the occasion, I love to watch Elem playing in the rooms where I grew up, or running down the hall like my brother and sister used to do, sitting at the very table where we ate dinner as a family every single night. This time, he enjoyed a nice LONG bath in the very bath where we used to scrub clean too. Its funny to see him in my parents house, because I always feel like things are a little smaller than when I grew up in the house. But I guess thats just because I was a lot smaller when I was growing up there. I dont know-its a weird feeling. But Elem ducked out of some family time to chill in the bath tub and clean up at Memaws house despite the crowd in the next room. He obviously doesnt need any of us to have a good time.

We had such a great Thanksgiving with my family in Memphis and are so happy to have finally met my new sister -n-law. EVen more excited that she fit right in with us, and seemed just like she had known us all along. We are so happy to have been able to spend this much needed time with everybody and cant wait to do it again. Time with Memaw and Papaw is always fun, and Elem always receives just the right amount of being spoiled as we can handle for the time we are there ! haha! Cant wait to spend time with my side of the family over the upcoming holiday breaks! We are so thankful for our extended family-on both sides, and couldnt be more lucky to have so many people that love both of us, and even more so, our amazing little Elem.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Don't Get Mad, Get Glad

I can't but laugh out loud. This morning I was in my closet getting dressed, and Elem was sitting in Sage's dog bed going through her box of toys and picking out different ones to throw for her. When she didn't seem interested in any of the toys he chose, I heard him say...

"Sage....Don't get mad, get glaaaad."

I came out of the closet and was likes, uhm what did you say? And he clearly stated it again. Hahaha.

He responded with....

"Like those boys say."

I knew immediately which commercial he was thinking of. Because it comes on ALL the time! Thank you GLAD for all you do. Ha!

Here it is:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving Little Rock Style

Thanksgiving seemed to creep up on me just like everything else has this year! And it hit on a surprisingly warm day. We were lucky enough to hit up several different Thanksgiving stops this year, and we did our best to stay as long as we could at each one, so Seth and I, and Elem could spend some time with family. First stop was pretty standard, we headed over to Aunt Nancy's for the standard Shelby Family Holiday get together. This basically includes all of Seth's mom's side of the family and this family is pretty big! However, this year one of the sisters and her fam was not there, since they were visiting in Louisiana, so the crowd was pretty tame. We missed Uncle Chad, Aunt Leslie, and Baby Avery, but we will see them in just a few weeks for some Christmas loving. There was plenty of good food, lots to talk about, and most importantly, our introduction to the newest member of our extended family..Mr. Harrison Henry McCoy. I am saddened that I did not get a pic, but I will give him major face time at Christmas. I mean he was the center of attention so it was kind of hard for me to get in and get a good one with Elem running around like a mad man!

The good thing about Thanksgiving for me is that it is not one of those Holidays that I just LOVE like everyone else does. I am such a picky eater and I don't cook, so there really isn't too much for me to stress about, but what Elem and I are going to wear to all the events! ha! So I got us both dressed, and loaded up the car with the regular stuff (which seems to be more and more everywhere we go) and ate my usual, ham, mashed potatoes, and rolls, and went on with my day. Its never good to be a picky eater on these days though-seeing that my kid and I ate the same plate of food-and I mean with the EXACT same items on our plates, we tend to get a lot of, "Is that all you are going to eat?" and "Can you really not find anything else that you like?" So it does get a little old, but whatever. I'm picky, and there is nothing I can do about it, and I am TOTALLY reaping what I sowed by trying to feed my child daily, with a limited 6 things that he actually eats. So don't think I don't get it or think it is weird. Trust me I do, but again, just nothing I can do about it!!

Anyways, back to the good stuff! So we hit up Thanksgiving day at Aunt Nancy's and then headed to Memphis for the weekend. So I will post on that next! So you know I tried to rock Elem out in style for the big day...knowing that I did not have any luck finding a holiday outfit, I had to put something together based on what was in his closet. Thank goodness for his willingness to wear a cool hat. Ahhh. Sweet little man. Just a chillin-

However, I can not say that everyone was in the best of moods. It seems that all of these family get-togethers have to be RIGHT at nap time for us. I mean every single thing planned for family gatherings, is right around meal times, which just also happens to be nap time if you are living with a toddler. So, it was like pulling teeth to get a cute picture of these 2 together. But they were being pretty silly for the majority of the day. Here they are mimicking each other making mouth sounds. hehe.

Elem and Cecilia.

It was a pretty laid back visit with the family-good family, good food, good play time-and we actually cut the trip a little short, because we were heading over to Aunt Joni and Uncle David's house..or should I say Ranch. Uhm it was FABULOUS!
First stop-a little visit with Mr. Naughty Tony. This side of the family actually raises and breeds race horses! Which if you live in or near Little Rock, you know that we have a horse track here in Hot Springs, called Oaklawn, and Mr. Naughty Tony ran there and I believe won a couple of races. That would be the place where my husband likes to refer that he has won "tens of dollars" each and every year! haha. So here is Elem, Papa, and Naughty Tony. The horse was HUGE and sooo sweet. He wanted lots of love.

Cecilia taking a liking to Naughty Tony as well. He was definitely the crowd pleaser.

And then here is Elem and I celebrating our Thanksgiving day. He loves me.

Like I said, our kids were beyond in need of a nap so we played with the horses for a little while, nibbled on some food, chatted with family, and then headed back home. It was a great relaxing Thanksgiving day if I do say so myself. I love to enjoy the holidays and not be stressed during them, and this one was just that. Yes, we had a few places to be, but nothing to major or pressing, I believe actually rounding Elem up something to wear might have been the extend of my stress. Which is good for a full time working mother. :) So it was a very great day.

I am so thankful this year! So so thankful for all the many things God has blessed my family and friends with that there are almost too many to list out. Working at a shelter, I think helps me keep things in perspective and seeing the direct effects of difficult times in the day to day lives of the parents and people I work with is SO humbling. And nothing has ever helped to make my eyes so open to the little things that I am so thankful for, that people just over look every single day. I am so thankful for my job and for the opportunity to help strangers in a time of need, and more importantly to play a major role in the lives of their children. A role that I would hope someone would play in the life of my child if we were ever to be in a situation where we needed the same kind of assistance. I am thankful for my home. My wonderful wonderful home. The one that I complain about because we dont have a fence, :) but the one I rush home to each and every night, just to drop my things righty when I walk in, find Sage sitting on the back of the couch where she has permanently left her mark with a dented cushion, and the one where my hubby cooks me dinner every single night. Having a place to call home, although yes it takes a chunk out of our paychecks every single month, is so rewarding and comforting. And most importantly I am thankful for my family. Both my immediate family and my extended family. We only live close to a few members of our extended family, and I would love nothing more than to have more of the fam around to see more often, but since we dont, I love the time I DO get to see them. My sweet little family, that I love more than anything-Seth and Elem, could not be any more perfect. Okay wait, not perfect in the sense that there are no arguments, or time outs, or screaming, or hitting (uhm from Elem not Seth :) hehe), or sleepless nights, but in the sense that I have everything that I could ever want. A fabulous husband who loves me-even though it took me a year and a 1/2 to change my last name, one who cooks for me every single night, and who unloads the dishes because he knows I hate to do it, and a little boy who turns my face with his hands just to get my attention to tell me that he loves me and to give me 5 kisses in a row. Wow I could not ask for anything more. For them, I am truly thankful.

Happy Turkey Day!