Friday, December 30, 2011

the 12 days of christmas...

we usually have christmas morning brunch at mom and dad's... but since christmas was on a sunday, and noone had to work on christmas eve, we started the festivites early! like always, we had a ton of fun! we ate too much, opened awesome presents, laughed a lot, cried a little, and took a lot of pictures. it was another blessed christmas celebration for sure!
to sum it all up... here's my version of the 12 days of christmas! sing along, it sounds better that way. let's start at the end of the song so this blog doesn't bore you all to death! :)

on the twenty fourth day of december, we had at bitsy and poppi's...

12 breakfast choices,
11 funky stockings,
10 kung fu zhu zhu pets, 
9 princess barbies,
8 monster trucks,
7 beaded bracelets,
6 handmade scarves,
4 tired parents,
3 cups of coffee,
2 awesome grandparents,
and some xanex to keep us all sane! ;o)

*you think i'm kidding about that last part?!? not so much! ha.

we really did have a great time... there were some sweet homemade gifts this year...

chex mix, scarves, quilts, drawings, calendars, photo blocks and more!

when we were through opening all the gifts under the tree, bitsy and poppi told us there was one last surprise- outside!! we went to poppi's garage and saw THESE fun toys!! 2 scooters , 2 fun riding toys, and a skateboard!! 

the kids had fun trying them out... and nae nae and josh got in on the fun too! :)
 luckily, noone was injured!

we love you bitsy, poppi, and nana! we are so blessed to have such a loving family. i can not imagine not having family close by to celebrate the holidays with. thank you for all the delicious food, fun gifts, and most of all, sweet memories! <3

Thursday, December 29, 2011

best nite ever!

so i will cut to the chase and tell you why wed nite, dec 7, 2011 was the best nite ever... my sweet trace carter prayed to receive christ! PRAISE THE LORD!!!!! we were on the way home from church... and i always try and ask the kiddos what they learn at awana's. i usually don't get much of an answer from lucas, but trace is good to tell me all about what they did and learned! so this is what i gathered from trace... their lessons was a christmas illustration where several things were wrapped in boxes. ( mary/joseph, baby jesus, wisemen... ) and trace got to open the "special" box. it had a mirror in it... and when you look into the mirror, you see that jesus wants to be your gift.. he wants to come live in your heart. so keep in mind, it's dark, i'm driving, and trace was telling me all this. so when he told me that jesus wants to live in your heart,  i did what most mamas would do at this time, and asked him if he had ever prayed and asked jesus into his heart.. well he said no. so i asked did he want to... and he said YES. remember, i'm driving down the road. never expected my "what did you learn at church tonite question" to turn into this discussion!! so we were about 2 miles from home, and i was trying to stall so i could really have a deep conversation with him. but without my prompting, trace said- jesus, come into my heart!! then he said it again- jesus, come into my heart! he waited a few seconds, looked around, and said- he's not coming, mom. then, i hear him say, JESUS, come into my heart, or i'm gonna KICK YOU IN THE FACE! oh my word... did my child just say that?! is it even possible to ask jesus in your heart in one sentence then tell him you are gonna kick him in the face the next? so for the next 2 minutes, we talked about how you never tell anyone you are gonna kick them, ESP jesus!! anyways. we get home... (sidenote: nate had just gotten in from being out of town for a 3 day business trip. we were so excited to see daddy's truck in the driveway!) we walk in and bless him, nate was doing the dishes! :) i asked trace to tell daddy what he told me in the car. trace told nate about the boxes, the mirror, etc... and nate also asked if he had ever prayed that prayer... again, trace said no.. so nate asked him the same thing i asked- did he want to pray and ask jesus in his heart. and again, he said YES... but this time, there was no talk of kicking anyone in the face. ;o) we all went to the boys room. lucas sat in my lap, and trace sat in nate's. nate talked to trace, asked him some questions, and we knew he was very serious about his decision. he prayed to receive christ and it was the sweetest thing. i was crying my eyes out by time it was over. (another sidenote: since nate had been gone, it had been the worst week. the kids were awful, work was very stressful, my parents were sick so i had to find another sitter... just so much and i was close to not even going to church wed nite. it's so funny how god's timing is perfect.) anyways, trace praying to receive christ that nite was the best news ever, ESP after such a crappy few days. :-) so after we cried and hugged and prayed and cried some more, trace called bitsy and poppi to tell them the good news. it was so sweet. trace told them what had happened, and i could just hear mom and dad crying on the other end of the phone! the same for meme when he called her. it was so sweet. then he called aunt nae nae and uncle josh. i will never ever forget that moment of being so proud and happy for my baby! it was close to 9pm after trace made his special phone calls to tell family the awesome news, and i told trace that the angels in heaven were having a party for him! so of course, if the angels are partying, we need to party too!! we broke out the chocolate milk, christmas tree snack cakes and rice crispy treats, and had our own little celebration! :)  i am so thankful for our church and all the people that make awanas possible. it truly means so much to me, knowing that trace has learned so much about jesus in sunday school, children's church, cbs, and awanas. it's such a blessing to see how god is moving!! i love love love that my baby boy (he is 4, will be 5 in march) made the best and most important decision of his lifetime at such an early age. we pray for him daily, and ask god to continue to speak to his little heart and draw him close. trace is so tender-hearted and has such a sweet sweet spirit. i look forward to helping him learn more about christ, and i also now look forward to the day when lucas will ask jesus to come in his heart! with christmas being just a few weeks away, this truly was an AMAZING gift!!

thank you god, for saving my sweet baby boy, and for the promise that you will never leave him. that you will always be there to guide him, and one day he will spend eternity with you in heaven!!! thank you for trusting me and nate to be his parents. forgive us when we fail you, and when we fail trace. help us always seek you as we raise him! in jesus' name, AMEN!

best friends...

nate and rob are best friends...
just makes perfect sense that trace, lucas, and jack are bff's too! :)

fun with footballs, swords, guns and more.

yep... they are def ALL BOY!!

i'm sure you have noticed that jack is rob's mini me... and trace and lucas are nate's... what's fair about this?? amy and i did all the work... carried these boys for 9 months, went thru labor and everything... just for them to come out and look exactly like their dads. hmmmm.
least their daddies are pretty cute! ;o)

thankful for good friends! we don't get together as often as we like... but when we do, it's always fun! lots of loud laughter heard through out the house, from the kiddos and the adults! life is def best with good friends by your side! :)

most favorite...

i love christmas!

everything about it... from trees to nativites...

to cute little boys in matching pjs...

endless photo shoots in front of the tree...

wreaths and stockings...

dressing my boys in handsome "little man" clothes...

 super sweet smiles...

now you see why...
christmas is definitely my most favorite time of the year!! :))

Thanksgiving CRUISE!

this is inside our cabin... having never been on a cruise before, i guess in my mind i thought the room was gonna be tiny. so i was surprised and happy with the space and set up. still small, but bigger than i expected! :) the kids loved their bunkbeds that hid in the walls! and i did too, until poor luc fell off in the middle of the night! :/ we even had him sleep above our bed, in case anything were to happen. wouldn't you know... when he rolled off, he went right down the ladder! scared me to death, but he was in such a dead sleep he didn't really know what happened! he snuggled b/w me and nate in our bed the rest of that nite.. then we made sure to use plenty of pillows around him the following nites! :) do you see all of those pillows? oh my, that was the most comfiest bed ever!!!!!!!

loved the towel art! one morning the daddies even tok the kids to a class on how to make these cool creations! they made a turkey on thanksgiving that was so cool... and on saturday nite, after BAMA won the iron bowl... we had the cutest elephant on our bed! i added the bama tatoo ;) one nite bitsy and poppi had a swinging monkey in their room! our guys name was rodolpho, and he was so sweet. he took good care of us, and loved playing with the boys. he was the nicest little guy!

fun exploring the ship!

the kids loved running around everywhere... not sure the other cruise goers loved them... but oh well :) from the crazy ninja to the beauty on the stairs, they had a blast wherever they went, whatever they were doing!

sleeping on the bench, and fishing!! boys will be boys!

MeXiCo! :) nate and i explored the city first and purchased lots of souveniers. the weather was PERFECT this day! we went to mexico on our honeymoon, the rivera, about 30 miles from cancun. but we never saw this type set up. actually, i was told that this little port city in cozumel was just set up for tourists from the cruise... but we stil had fun looking at everything, and buying lots of goodies for the kiddos and friends back home!

the market

sweet t was not only the cutest thing on the ship, but off the ship as well! hola bebe :)

the boys had been so excited about mexico.. when we go eat at a mexican restaurant back home, they say we are going to mexico. so they loved that this time, we really WERE in mexico for real! :)

the elation and all it's beauty. the kids went to camp carnival during the day... and there, they learned about a fun guy named freddy who lives in the red tail of the ship. they kept begging to go to freddy's house!!

possibly my fav thing about the ship was icecream bars 24/7! the kids also loved it.. i bet we ate a hundred ice creams b/w the 11 of us :)) and we enjoyed every last bite! we also discovered that ice cream cones are a great snack for teething timothy! :)

more fun!

before dinner one night! love these pics of my 3 handsome boyssss!

remember freddy? yeah... this is him, the red guy on the boys shirts! and they made freddy hats too... love it! such silly and happy little boys!

as you can probably tell... we had a lot of fun at dinner every nite! i was super nervous on the nites we had the kids with us.. i wasn't expecting fine china! but we didn't break anything and only had minimal spills. 2 nites camp carnival had dinner planned for the kids, so we got to relax and enjoy a little quiet-er dinner w/out them!

this sweet boy was the center of attention wherever we were! people would stop us walking down the hall and ask if that was the always smiling baby! :) he is a charmer for sure!!! he was always hamming it up for the photographers that came around to the table each nite at dinner!! everyone LOVED this boy!!! i can see why... i mean, look at hi aunt jj. clearly he takes after me! ;o))

joseph was our server.. he was so nice. great with the kiddos... removing their 14 pieces of silverware as soon as they sat down each nite, and placing their napkins in their laps! :) he caught on to how picky i was and could guess each nite what i wanted to order... steak and baked potato! and there was an incredible mac and cheese dish that he special ordered for me 2 nights! :) yummy!  the bottom left pic is some alaskan dessert that i always thought was a fish. ha! and oh my word... the right is the chocolate melting cake.. it was DELISH!!! i had it every nite for dessert! shocker ;) i so wish i had some right now!!

we had a great great great greeeaatt time on our first cruise! from putt putt to hot tubs, 24 hr pizza and icecream to room service, the most comfy pillows and bedding ever, karioke shows and bingo, souveniers and mexico... we had a blast!! we will for sure go back again... but i'm thinking next time, we will go without kids! :) they really did have fun, and thanks to camp carnival, we adults were able to have more fun too! the kiddos really did love all the activities to do during the day... build a bear, coloring t-shirts, jewlry making, movie time and snacks... it was def a lifesaver for us! :) it might have been my fav part :) i would say the thing i disliked the most was the rocking of the boat!! again, my first cruise.. and most everyone had told me- you will never even know you are on a boat. uhhhh... so NOT true in our case. it never really stormed that bad, so i'm not sure why the waves were so rough, but man! i constantly took dramamine... the first morning when i woke up i felt so dizzy. nate took the kids and they explored the ship while i rested. from then on, i was better with the meds, but it was so annoying! i didn't have a sip of alcohol on the cruise, but i swear i looked drunk as i was stumbling down the halls! one nite they even had to cancel one of the shows, b/c they said it was unsafe for the performers b/c of the rocking!! but, we still had an awesome time!
 thank you thank you thank you bitsy and poppi for such a fun experience! we will remember it forever, and cherish the fun times!!

 hope all of you had a happy thanksgiving as well :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

ONE more sleep!!

first of all... let me just go ahead and say, i've been a slacker. there... now that we've acknowledged the fact that this is only my 2nd post of december, let's get to it! and the fact that christmas is 5 days away (YIKES!) and i'm just now posting about thanksgiving. but... it's better late than never, right? well it's actually better never late, but ya know... ;o)

some of you may know that my parents blessed us by taking us on a cruise over thanksgiving!! us being- me, nate, and our 2, josh and shannon and their 3, and of course bitsy and poppi! so 6 adults and 5 kids, basically ages 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5! (lala had just turned 4 actually.) so yeah, nate and i have never been on a cruise... so we were pretty excited! didn't really know what to pack, expect, etc, but we were ready to experience it all for the first time!

we drove to new orleans the day before thanksgiving. the kids all did pretty good on the ride down... and thankfully, we all made it safely. we did have a scare, and it could have been a really bad accident but we are so blessed that it was just a minor accident. the only casualty was my wheel well, and it's probably buried a little outside of tuscaloosa! we were in the far left lane and nate was following josh... he changed lanes so we followed suit. only thing is, there was a huge 18 wheeler tire in b/w lanes and we hit it head on. it smacked our van and made such a loud noise... it scared me to death! we are so thankful for god's protection though!

anyways. we finally arrived safely in new orleans, and got settled in our hotel. the kids were wired! finally, it was only ONE MORE SLEEP until we were on that cruise ship!! when we woke up on thanksgiving, we decided to do a quick tour of part of the city. the weather was PERFECT! we wanted to be at the port early though, so we could be towards the front of the line when it came time to board, so we didn't have a lot of time to explore new orleans. we did get to drive past bourbon street... and we walked through a few nice parks. since it was early in the day, and thanksgiving at that, there wasn't the typical hustle and bustle, entertainers, painters, dancers, etc out. we did see one muscial group doin their thing, and 2 guys that were trying to sell some paintings. then, before we knew it, it was time to get on the boat!! here are some pictures from the first part of our trip! hope you enjoy them!!

on the way to new orleans...
the kids had their headsets on watching movies...
so they were actually pretty good!

exploring new orleans on thanksgiving day!

so much to see!

a few performers... the kids didn't know what to think!

we finally made it to the port! the kids were so you can see by lala and trace's faces! LOVE them! we had all sorts of snacks, cars, toys, etc, to keep the kiddos occupied til the doors opened! and for the most part, they all stayed really happy.

we lucked up and really didn't have to stand in line too long... so our plan worked to get there early and beat the crowd!! so the pictures below are some of our first glance of the ship! the kids did a little dance down the aisle with the beads and umbrellas... all loved it, except for lucas. go figure! ;o)

stay tuned for part 2...
i PROMISE (meme) it will be in the next day or so! :-)