Saturday, December 29, 2007

Reflections on Christmas...

I am sitting here watching Anderson play with all of his new toys in our living room as I type this entry. As I look at all of the "stuff" of Christmas, I am most thankful for God's gift to us. Christmas toys are great and all, but knowing that Anderson will be raised in a Christian home where prayer and a close relationship with God are an everyday part of life makes me happy and filled with peace. During church services leading up to Christmas I cried at nearly every service during the praise and worship songs. I think there is something very emotionally charged about having a son and celebrating Christmas. I can't even pretend to understand what Mary felt like when she literally gave birth to the savior of the world, but I know how much I love the little boy playing at my feet right now and I can't imagine the outcome that Jesus had for our sweet son...death on a bloody cross. That thought is what has kept me in tears during the last several church services.

There is a song called "Mary Did you Know" that my husband has pretty much banned me from listening to again, but I want to share the lyrics with you. I think for any young mother and particularly those with sons its message is so powerful...

"Mary Did You Know"

[Originally written by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene]

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will calm the storm with His hand?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you kissed the face of God?

Mary did you know.. Ooo Ooo Ooo

The blind will see.
The deaf will hear.
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap.
The dumb will speak
The praises of The Lamb.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
The sleeping Child you're holding is the Great, I Am.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Here is just a quick post before we run off to visit with my mom!! Anderson had a BLAST this morning with all of his presents from Santa. It made me tear up to see him so excited and giddy! Enjoy the pictures and I promise to post again soon!!! Merry Christmas to you and those you love and most importantly...Happy Birthday Jesus!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Our budding little artist...

Anderson came home with two masterpieces from art class today!

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Very Good Thing...

Chalk this next story up to about the one millionth reason that I love my husband. Jeff's firm decided to forgo a big Christmas soiree this year in favor of donating the funds that would have taken (facility, bar, catering, etc..) to a party for some local Head Start children. Head Start basically helps prepare underprivileged pre-k children for school. The firm secured a local community center to have a big party for the kids and their families. The whole firm helped with the project from the partners all the way to the secretaries. They served dinner and had an ornament station for a craft for the night. They even had Santa Claus...guess who volunteered for that job?? You guessed it! My sweet Jeff! I can't count how many kids sat on his lap that night. He must have been exhausted and very HOT by the end of the evening, but he did it all with a smile. His heart for children...ALL children, never ceases to amaze me. I guess that's why he is such a good daddy to Anderson!!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Welcome Christmas Card Newbies!

Since we put our blog address on our Christmas Card this year, some of you are visiting our blog for the first time!!! This all started as an experiment that I was pretty sure wouldn't in the world do you have time to keep up with this and a VERY active 18 month old! Then I changed my mind. When I was about to scrap the whole thing I learned just how many people (family to be exact) were enjoying reading our blog! With Jeff's family and both of my sisters living out of state it was pretty much the best way to keep everyone updated on Anderson's latest activities, and a heck of a lot easier and cuter than sending out 5 or 6 emails. As an added bonus we figured out how to get it in a format for saving, so we can print it out like a journal that we can save and show Anderson when he gets older. For those two reasons I consider it worth keeping up with...and I think my sisters would probably kill me if I discontinued it and they couldn't get their "Anderson Fix"!

So how does it work....Pretty simple actually. I try to update the blog weekly (sometimes more often if we have lots of fun stuff we want to share). You can save it as a favorite and check it every once in a while. Then you can read the latest post and scroll down for any that you might have missed since your last visit. Along the right side you will also notice a list of other blogs from friends and other notable websites. Once you are on their page you can click on their friends and so on.... It gets to be a pretty small world!! Enjoy and Merry Christmas!!

The Cousin Christmas Party

Last weekend Jeff and I hosted our family's annual "Cousin" Christmas Party. When I was growing up our family was small enough to fit it all in on Christmas Eve. Our Cousins from Gordo would come to my grandparents house in Moundville for dinner and a good long visit. Then when they left my immediate family would stay there and open our gifts and they would all return to Gordo and open their gifts! I can't tell you how many schemes Torrey, Quinn and I hatched in order to speed up this little visit so we could get to our respective gift opening! We had tantrums, faked illness, you name it!

One year when I was only about 6 I was pitching a fit because I wanted to open presents right then and there! Of Course we hadn't even eaten yet and my grandmother told me I better straighten up because Santa was watching. I turned around (to leave the room in a huff) and guess who was standing in the doorway...Santa himself. My grandmother said I went pale with embarrassment. She loves to tell that story even though I am now in my thirties! HA!! is the family breakdown...My grandmother and Aunt Jean are sisters. My grandmother had two kids, my father and DeLane, they had 5 kids all together me, Jennifer, Marcie and then John and Walt. And of course I now have Anderson. That's 4 generations. Jean had one daughter, Emily. She and her husband Fred had two kids, Torrey and Quinn. Torrey has two kids, Tyler and Morgan. Quinn now has two kids, Avery and there you go! The Rogers/Bailey/Smith/Sullivan/Johnson/Williams family tree! Ha!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

We elfed ourselves...

I have seen this before, but this year I couldn't resist uploading our pictures to it. Jeff and I were almost in tears as we watched the result tonight....Enjoy!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas on the River and that nasty Santa guy again...

This weekend we headed over to The Ball's house to enjoy a very fun kid friendly party! They live on the Black Warrior River (near Cypress Inn for those of you that live in town) and had all the little kiddies over to watch the annual Christmas on the River Parade. Lots of boats get all glammed up with Christmas lights and float down the river blasting Christmas music as people watch from the banks. Since it was 75 degrees here on Saturday it was actually kind of nice to be outside. It was kind of like Christmas ...but in the April! HA!! However, it was a little sad for most of the kids that were forced into their cute little Christmas outfits that just so happened to include turtlenecks, corduroy and tights for the little girls. Hot, Hot, Hot!!

Peggy really thought of everything. She had a single string of lights forming a barricade so the kids know where to stop before ending up over a cliff and in the river! She also had tons of little hay bales with little red tablecloths over them for the kids to sit at and eat while they watched the parade! There were tables everywhere with sliced up peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and other kid cuisine! The kids had a blast playing outside in the yard while the mommies and daddies just tried to keep up with which kid was where! I can't tell you how many times that night a parent wandered around looking for a missing child! They can get away so fast!!!

Inside she had organized an ornament swap where the kids brought an ornament and stuck it under the tree and then they were allowed to take one home. While by the tree they got their picture taken with Santa. She even hired a photographer to take the pictures so that the mommies wouldn't stress over getting that perfect shot!! Of course Anderson's feelings about Santa haven't changed as you can see from the pictures. He was so pitiful!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Polar Express

Sunday night we traveled to Calera (just outside of Birmingham) to an event called the Polar Express. Jeff, Anderson and I along with 70 of our friends...yes, you read correctly 70...boarded a passenger train and headed to the "North Pole". As we settled in for our train ride the lights were dimmed and the book The Polar Express was read over the loudspeaker. About 20 minutes later we magically arrived at the North Pole that was all lit up with Christmas lights. You could even see Santa's workshop. At that point Santa, Mrs. Claus and several elves boarded the train. We sang Jingle Bells, Frosty the Snowman and several other Christmas songs as the elves gave each child a gift and a sleigh bell to use during the caroling. Santa came over to each family individually to talk to the children and take pictures. Then the elves served us chocolate milk and cookies for our ride back to the station.

Since we had so many people in our group we were actually given our own train car, which came in very handy since Anderson made really good use of the aisles! He ran up and back during most of the ride. I was really glad I knew all of the people in our car so that I could give Anderson a little freedom and not spend the whole ride trying to contain him in a seat!! He was a little hard to handle at a few points during the night, but there were also some really sweet moments that made me glad we went even if we were concerned that he might be a bit young for the event. Anderson loved the caroling. He clapped and screeched with delight as we sang Jingle Bells and the look on his face when he got a cookie from an elf was priceless (he never gets sweets). However, as I feared he was not a big fan of Santa. He seemed Ok until Santa actually tried to pick him up. He was even very sweetly singing to him, but Anderson just was NOT having any part of it! Oh well maybe next year!

Happy Birthday Giulianna!

Anderson's little friend, Giulianna had her first Birthday Party on Saturday. She looked adorable in her pink Tutu! She was so happy to see everyone and spent the whole party laughing, dancing and enjoying all of her guests! Anderson was sort of in a funk as it was his nap time, but he did manage to hang in there for a little while!

Friday, November 30, 2007

A Bonfire, Sledding and a Hayride...Oh My!

Theses are the pictures I have promised to put up from Thanksgiving weekend at my mom's house. We had such a blast staying with GiGi and Pop. Since my stepfather's nephew and his family were visiting from North Carolina, Mom knew she was going to have a houseful of kids. She decided to try to plan some outings that would be fun and get us all out of the house. All three of her little plans worked like a charm! The kids had a blast and the adults had a pretty darn good time as well!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I hear birds...

Anderson hears birds outside the window!

Anderson playing drums

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Baby I'm Amazed....

I promise to upload the rest of the Thanksgiving pictures soon, but I had to do a quick entry so that I wouldn't forget any of this. Please don't take this as bragging, because it isn't. I just want to share how quickly Anderson is developing. Trust me there are lots of not so positive things we still have to work on (car riding, and throwing random fits when I say no to something to name a couple!)

Ok, with that disclaimer out of the way...Anderson's vocabulary has been really exploding these last few weeks, but much to my surprise he said a sentence yesterday. You could have blown me over with a feather I was so shocked. I knew he could point things out and label them, a lot of things actually...but to actually get out a complete sentence that he clearly understood the meaning of...well let me just say it has been one of my proudest days as his mommy!

Yesterday we were playing in the backyard when the neighbor's dogs heard us and came to the fence line and started barking. You can't see them though the fence, but the barking was a little on the loud side. Anderson looked right over to the fence and said "I hear dogs bark, shhhh" and put his finger over his lips to make the "shhh" sound. I was astounded! Later that afternoon as he pointed out the car window to another car, he said "I see cars". Again...amazed! The books I have been reading say that 3 word sentences are usually made at 22 months and three words plus sentences after the age of 2. Anderson is only 17 months old!

When I took him to Mom's Morning Out, I asked his teacher if she knew he was doing this and she said that he had been doing it 2 weeks ago, but they weren't completely sure they heard him correctly. She also told me that his vocabulary is the largest of those his age in his class...if you know me this will not surprise you! I like to chat! Ha! This morning as Jeff left for work Anderson started waving Bye Bye and said "Bye Bye Father" We both just laughed (where in the world did he learn the word father??) ...And just this afternoon when he woke up from his nap we were looking at the Christmas tree in his room and he said "I see Santa Clause" and pointed right to a Santa ornament! Adorable!!

So here are a few words he says regularly and understands...
Mama, Dada, GiGi (learned that this weekend), grapes, nanna (for bananna), more, no more, gone gone, Dog, Kitty kat, out (when wanting to go outside), car, book, shoes, cup, juice, ball, (says choo choo when shown a train), bear (teddy bear), hands, fish, bird, water, Santa, Rabbit, shirt, Ho, Ho, Ho, hot, cold, hey, stairs, bath, eyes, ears, me (doesn't understand the concept of a pronoun, but will say "me" when shown pictures of himself), no, duck, quack, raffe (for giraffe), meow and probably several more that I can't remember right now!

I know some people may not find this a big deal; after all, toddlers are supposed to talk! But for Jeff and I to see this child, our child, our little tiny baby all grown up into a little boy and able to communicate with us is just incredible. Now, as my hubby just aptly pointed out....we have to really start watching what we say! Yikes!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

So much to be thankful for...

We had a great Thanksgiving holiday with my family. Anderson is not a very good car-rider at the moment, so anything over about an hour or so ends up being a nightmare. With this thought in mind we decided to forgo a trip to Tennessee to see Jeff's family since we are planning on making that trip for Christmas in a month. We missed them, but are looking forward to spending 3 or 4 days with them at Christmas.

My sister, Marcie, came home for Thanksgiving from Nashville a little early and was able to spend Thanksgiving morning at our house. We watched the parade and she spent most of the morning in awe of how much Anderson is doing and saying since she last saw him. Jeff fried his annual Turkey to take to dinner. I think he was in need of sitting outside and watching the turkey fry to feel manly, as Marcie and I were filling the entire house with estrogen while we watched the Rockettes and little vignettes of the latest Broadway plays as they were performed during the parade. She and mom are leaving Wednesday for NYC, so we had to watch everything sort of as a preview! Ha!!

About 4:30 we headed over to DeLane's house for our Thanksgiving dinner for dad's side of the family. DeLane is my dad's little sister, but they are 17 years apart in age...can you say "oooops"! HA! Anyway, she is only 6 years older than me, which is the same age difference between me and my sisters. All of this is very confusing for anyone who doesn't know my family! Delane and I have been like sisters all of our lives. My parents worked crazy shift work (as a nurse and a lineman for the Power Co) so I spent many a weekend with my grandparents and DeLane. Her boys, who are actually my cousins, call me Aunt because "cousins" makes it seem like a more distant relationship than it really is. To add to the dysfunction consider this...Jeff is older than DeLane...ha! I married a man older than my aunt! Also, my stepmother is only 6 months older than Jeff. There is a considerable age difference between Jeff and I...10 years, as well as between Dad and Martha 13 ish years...and my Mom and step-dad are actually 14 years apart. So, how's that for a family tree!

We may be a little weird, but we always have a good time when we are all together, which is pretty often for such a big family. It is getting harder now as Marcie and Jennifer both live out of state, but we usually get to see everyone at each holiday and those of us that live in Tuscaloosa and the surrounding area see each other more often than that. I am blessed to have family nearby! We did mss my sister Jennifer this year though. She was in Huntsville visiting with her husband's family. This is her first married Holiday season and they are trying to work in both families, which can be so hard!

John (DeLane's oldest son) at 10 years old...going on 25!

Mimi (Dad's wife) and Anderson...he became obsessed with this cooler that we brought the turkey over with. Trying to get him to stop climbing on it proved to be a fun game...for him!

Marcie, me and Delane

Anderson smooching on Aunt Laney

My grandfather showing Anderson his watch! I love this picture! Anderson is thinking so hard! ha!

Our little drummer boy!


I will write about our trip to Birmingham to visit with my Mom in my next entry. I have been waging a full fledge war on junk at our house and am in the process of cleaning out every it may be a while, but I promise to post them soon! It was a great long weekend that involved a bonfire, hayride and sledding without the snow! Enjoy the pictures!