Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas...Part Two

As I said, our Christmas was pretty relaxed and the kids played with their Santa toys before opening more gifts.
Apparently, Santa's gift to Colten was also meant for Austin:IMG_7527

We opened everything, ate a great breakfast of bicuits and gravey. Relaxed a little bit, then started in on lunch. I have NO pictures of lunch! Jimmy's girlfriend, Eryn, and Amanda's new boyfriend, Brian, joined us for lunch. Food was yummy and it was great to meet Brian!

After eating and cleaning up, Brian and I took the kids to see the Frede side of the family. They usually have Christmas at noon, so we knew we wouldn't be able to see everyone, but was glad to get there and see that a few people were still there! I am sad to admit that we haven't been to a Frede Christmas since we've been married. Hopefully, we'll be able to change that sometime. :-) It was fun to see some cousins and their kids along with some aunts and uncles.

The boys got quite a bit of gifts from their Grandpa Frede...definitely MORE than enough! :-) It looks like he had a blast picking out all the toys for them! Here's the only picture that was taken...yes, I am sometimes VERY bad at getting the camera out. I view it as "living in the moment" and not through the camera lens. :-)

{Oh, and this would be the ONLY picture of me throughout Christmas. Sad, huh! My boys are always going to wonder where Mommy was at all the major events. I guess I need to start handing the camera to someone else or start getting some self-portraits!}

Austin got a really cool scooter from Grandma Jean...and it was one of his favorite gifts. We are allowing it to be ridden in the house until Spring when it warms up a bit.


I know Amanda will love this picture. Colten was getting ready to go to bed and I was having him say goodnight to her. He reached for her and so I gave him to her to hold for a minute and this is what he did. He just layed on her shoulder for a couple of minutes. SO CUTE!

Colten playing with his Nana on our last day in Missouri. Our visit was WAY too short...but our doggies were being boarded and it can be quite expensive!


Nana and the boys...I'll be printing this one out for her new picture frame that says "Nana" at the top of it. I'm still happy that I got this picture of them all three smiling and looking at the camera on the FIRST shot!

We played Wii with Nana and hung out with her, then visited a bit with Papa before we left Missouri. The drive was pretty uneventful since we left in the evening and the kids slept pretty well.
We are visiting Little Rock now. When we got here, there was a TON more gifts under the tree. Seriously, where are we going to put this stuff at our house??? Our kids are MORE than blessed this year! I think we'll have to bless some other kids and make them happy with some great toys that we already have.


Colten had some help this time with his gifts...his cousins, Anna and Nathan were more than happy to help him!


One of the few pictures I have of Austin opening gifts. He was so quick! I only wish he would LOOK at the gift tags first...that would have helped with thanking people!!!


Nathan obviously loved part of his gift that we gave him. He immediately put the Razorback hats the same time.
Anna is ALL about Colten right now! Why is it that little girls just FLOCK to babies (for the most part anyway). She's constantly playing with him or redirecting him or helping us with him. She's going to be a great mom someday!
Brian opened one of his gifts from his parents to find that they had given him something he has been wanting to buy for a while now....a GPS! We KNOW it will come in handy as we make our way half-way across the country this summer!

A rare moment of stillness! Anna and Austin were watching a movie and Colten climbed up and started cuddling with them. Love it!
I did say we were travelling a lot this Christmas, right? Well, just wait...there's more!!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Christmas Full of Travel...Part One

I probably needed to show less photos, but I just couldn't! So, I have to do a few parts of our Christmas!
Last year, anyone who wanted to see us for Christmas had to travel to us. I was due to have Colten soon after Christmas (although, he decided that he would take his time after all was said and done) and we just didn't want to travel so close to my due date. It was SO nice to be able to stay put in one house. :-)
This year, we didn't have that excuse. We knew we probably needed to take advantage of the proximity of all families while we could and decided to just travel to everyone for the Holidays (Christmas and New Years).
Christmas Eve, we loaded up the car (sans dogs since they were boarded) and headed to Missouri. We were staying at Amanda's house, so we headed there, unloaded the car and got everyone's rooms ready. That night, we headed over to the Todisman's house for Christmas Even dinner.

After eating, we opened presents. I don't have any pictures of Austin actually opening gifts...he's obviously VERY good at this part and was done before I could get the pictures. :-)

Colten didn't quite have the hang of the unwrapping part at the beginning, but LOVED seeing what he got after it was revealed. He really liked this Spider Man toy that dances and sings. It came with an echo microphone and he will actually "sing" into it and dance with Spiderman. SO cute!

Family picture time before everyone you see why I HATE using my flash? The closer you are to the flash, the more vampirish you look. Let's just say the family is a tad too big for the living room! :-)
We headed back to Amanda's house to get the boys ready for bed. Stockings were hung by the chimney door with care {with hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there}. I tried getting a picture of the boys together in their CUTE COOL pajamas. This was the best I got...still pretty cute! :-)

Then, off to bed they went. We were hoping for late such luck. At 5am, Austin came into our room, waking Colten in the process, so we tried getting them to go back to sleep. Austin wasn't happy about it, but he ended up getting a little more snooze time in. Colten took a little longer, but soon he was out as well. We eventually got up at 7:30 or so and tried to contain the boys while we woke up and got things set up.
Here's what it looked like BEFORE the boys came in.

I totally messed up the pictures of them coming in. It's a little hard since Colten can walk now and just started coming in, prompting Austin to come in early as well. Their reactions were priceless though and I THINK we have it on tape. :-) They both knew what toy Santa brought them and went straight to it.

Austin had been asking for Devestator for months...and Santa came through for him! We found out just before he came in the room that he had peeked at the living room before coming to our room at 5am. However, he said he only saw Colten's car, not Devestator (who was all wrapped up...but really wasn't). He obviously tried to hide the fact that he already knew what he was getting before coming into the room. :-)

Colten walked right up to the car, then walked around it, opened the door and got right in. He is LOVING his Cozy Coupe.

We opened stockings which the boys got some pretty good stuff. Colten loves this baby toothbrush and paci keeper.

Austin was pretty happy with his loot as well. The kid loves his character socks and was so happy to have some Lightening McQueen socks to wear.

We tried to keep the morning relaxing so that not everything was happening all at once. I think we did a pretty good job with that. The kids played with their Santa toys and stocking stuffers for a while and we snacked on cocktail weiners and donuts for a bit before opening more gifts.
By this morning, Colten had started to get the hang of opening gifts. He's working really hard at pulling the tissue out of this bag.

You had to pull a bit of paper away from the package so he could grab it, but then he just started ripping.

Again, Austin is pretty proficient at unwrapping, so pictures of that were pretty non-existant at this point! The boys were REALLY happy with all their gifts and I know they got WAY too much...even at this point. We still had more to go! I don't know where we will put everything, but I'm sure it will go somewhere. I'm thinking some toys at the house will need to be donated...I'll have to get that done while Austin's at school though!
Part two will be coming soon!

Monday, December 28, 2009

11 Months

My baby won't be a baby much longer. I mean, we have less than a month until he's a year old. How in the world did that happen?

Colten is just growing up too quickly. I think he has been MONTHS early on almost all his physical milestones. Wish he would have decided to be born a little earlier as well, but I guess we'll let that one little thing slide! :-) He is definitely a kid on the go. He is constantly moving and doing things. He is only still when he sleeps (which isn't as much as I would like during the night) and when he gets to watch a Baby Einstein movie (when he's SUPER cranky and I need to get something like dinner done). Even when he eats, he is turned around looking at Austin or the dogs or WHATEVER is going on around him.

Colten LOVES to take an object, bring it to you and then take it back. He'll do this over and over again. He is pretty good at playing independently, but sometimes he just really wants his Mommy. Usually when I'm trying to do something that can't be done with a baby in my arms!
Walking? Been there, done that...pretty much running nowadays! :-)
Colten still has 6 teeth. Not sure when more will come in...I really thought he'd have his next bottom teeth in by now, but I guess they are just stubborn!
This kid LOVES to eat. Seriously. I think he can eat just about as much as his brother...and sometimes more! I'm trying to figure out how to get him his vegetables though...he doesn't like the texture of some of them that he liked as purees. He just really likes to feed himself though, so baby food is frustrating for him.

Colten had been going through a HORRIBLE sleep phase before we started traveling for Christmas. He was getting up 2-3 times (or more) a night AND waking up early. His naps have been horrible as well and seems like he's starting to transition to just one nap a day instead of two. However, he's been so tired while visiting family, that he has started sleeping through the night. Yay! Last night, he went to bed at 8 and slept until 7am. Let's hope he continues this habit!
Over the next month, I will be cutting back on some nursing sessions. We introduced some milk yesterday and he LOVES it. Today, I cut out his second nursing session and he did fine. I'm going to cut out one a week and see how it goes. I'm not totally against still having one or two sessions for a bit after one year, but it would be nice to have a little more time to myself. :-)

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Virtual Christmas Card

Christmas Card

Yes, I was supposed to get our Christmas Cards out earlier. Did I? No.
I'm sure you're asking why....
Well, I couldn't decide on what I wanted to do with them. Then, I had picture issues (horrible picture, wanted another, etc). Then, I couldn't get them to print out right. In the end, I decided I just didn't like the one I made, so I scrapped the whole thing.
Today, we took the kids to an AWESOME Santa. I got a MUCH better picture. Then, I came home and created a card that I actually like. However, it is too late to send them now. I am afraid they would be late and I just don't like late. :-) So, this is how I'm sending them.
At least it can't be late unless YOU decided to put off visiting our blog and seeing our cute kids! :-)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Santa and Dinner

When I picked Austin up from school today, he said he wanted to go wherever Skylee was going today. I guess they had talked about Santa being at AQ Chicken and Austin decided that he wanted to go as well. I told him that Daddy and I would have to talk about it.
Well, we ended up taking him to see Santa. It was a good night though, since Santa gave out free surprises to all the kids and all the kids' meals were free as well. :-) We like free.
We got there a little early so we could "beat the crowd." I'm glad we did because a line quickly formed for Santa and we were third in line! The photographer that was supposed to be there hadn't made it yet (you get a free photo from Bedford Camera as well), but I had my camera, so I didn't mind. I figured if the line wasn't very long after they ate, that maybe we would see Santa again.

Santa got there and sat down and started talking to all the kids. When it was Austin's turn, he hopped right up and talked to Santa. He gave him his letter and they discussed all the things Austin wanted.


We got a picture of Austin and Santa (which my flash completely washed out!)...
Then, Colten got to sit with the jolly fellow!
Colten obviously didn't think Santa was so nice. :-) We do have a picture of him smiling with another Santa, but you'll have to wait for that one.We went also met up with Austin's friend, Triston, and his family. They were a further back in line, so we just got a table for all 10 of us. The kids had a blast playing and eat with each other. The boys got motorcycles from Santa and Skylee got a Barbie doll.
Dinner was really good and we even have leftovers for lunch tomorrow! After we ate, I went with Colten to the front of the restaurant since he was getting restless. The line for Santa was really short and by the time Brian and Austin came up there, it was our turn again. Our pictures should be done after Thursday, so I'll post them when I can. I'm just glad Austin likes Santa's so much more fun when they can talk to him and tell him what they want.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree...

One of our traditions that I think I have already mentioned, is to put up our Christmas tree on the day after Thanksgiving (unless we are visiting family, then it goes up as soon as we get home!). We do NOT put it up any earlier (of course, this could change if Brian was ever to be deployed around this time of year).

In recent years, Austin has had a blast helping. This year, was no exception! He was a big help getting the different branches of our tree sorted, then put onto the right tier. I think his favorite job is putting the top piece on! While I would LOVE a real tree, our lifestyle just doesn't allow for one right now. We will be travelling a lot and with a baby, a real tree would be more of a mess than I want to deal with. Maybe in a few years I can finally have a real tree!

This year, he also was a PRO at putting ornaments on. He knew just where to put each one and I didn't even have to spread them out after he went to bed! He did an excellent job spacing them out and not clumping them together.

We normally start with hanging our brand new ornaments that Bill and Mary gave us. This year, since we hadn't gotten them yet, we picked out a couple of Disney ornaments since we had just gotten back from there. Austin hung a Pluto Ornament that he got 2 years ago and Colten hung a Pluto Ball that wouldn't break if he threw it before I could help him hang it on a branch. :-)


I hadn't really gotten done with the lights before Colten needed to go to bed, so we let them put on their first ornaments (for a picture), then put him to bed. I finished the lights and then let Austin go to town with the rest of the ornaments.

Last year, we had two trees. The second one was a decorative tree in the dining room with specific colors that all coordinated. However, we didn't know how Colten would be with the trees, so we decided to only do one in case it was a full-time job keeping him away from the ornaments. Our tree is a hodge-podge of ornaments given to us throughout the years and I love it that way! It's always so fun to remember what year we were given each ornament and what the significance was. Some were even ornaments from our childhoods, either made or bought for us.

I really like how I did the lights this year. I put two strands of our lights on a twinkle setting and the rest of them are on continuously. It's different than what we normally do and sort of seems magical with the twinkle. :-) Maybe another day, I'll get a picture of it with the flash turned off so the lights show better.
So far, Colten is doing really well with the tree. We only put ornaments that wouldn't break and could be hung on the tree without the metal hangers on the bottom. That way, if he did pull a few off, they wouldn't hurt him. He has pulled a few of the Disney balls off, but I haven't seen him bother anything in a few days.

First School Picture!

Our little boy isn't so little anymore! He looks WAY too old in this picture...and WAY too cool! I might be a little biased, but I think Austin is pretty photogenic! He just looks so easy going in this picture and so natural!
He has a Spring School Picture Day as well, so I'm sure we'll have to buy a small package then too. That is also when his class gets their picture taken together. I think school pictures have come a long way since the blue background with the shoulder-and-up-headshot!

10 Months

So, I'm a little late on this post! I DID take his comparison picture when he turned 10 months, but just never got it posted! It's definitely getting harder to get these pictures done! I have to get everything ready (while trying to keep the dogs out of the room), then enlist in Brian's help to place Colten on the blanket and get out of the way so I can get the picture before he rolls over and walks off.

Here's what I got this month.


Oh, I'll get his 10 month update posted soon. Maybe by the time he's 11 months? :-)

Note to self (ok, and I guess whoever else reads this blog!): I really need to figure out this lighting's really bothering me! I'm probably just being picky...but I think that my pictures are either too warm or too cool with horrible lighting and hot spots. Oh, to be able to take classes that don't cost an arm and a leg! Plus, I'll need the time to actually go to them! Maybe someday!

Family Pictures

We went to Picture People (a while ago!) since we are a member of their Portrait Club and our membership expires sometime this month. We had a few free sheets, $10 off an order and I also had a coupon for buy 2 sheets get 3 free AND another coupon for 30% off PLUS a free sheet . So, I booked two sessions since I knew Colten wouldn't last long enough for us to get the shots that I wanted (plus, I could only use both coupons if I did separate sessions). Did that make any sense? Let's just say we were still saving for Disney World and didn't want to shell out the money that better photographers charge. Maybe someday we'll be able to afford someone better, but for now, Picture People will have to do! :-)

Anyway, we hadn't had a family picture taken since Colten was still in my belly. The family pictures that we had hanging in our entry way needed updated and poor Colten only had ONE single photo of him printed out and in a frame. Let's just say I'm really bad at printing out pictures. I can never decide on what picture I want printed and just never make that decision.

I picked out clothes that we already had in our closets that coordinated and off we went to the first appointment. The goal for this was to get a family picture and pictures of each parent with the kids (together and separately). Here's what we got:

(These are scanned images, so bear with the coloring and the family picture being cut was bigger than my scanner!)

Daddy collage

This is exactly how it looks in the frames with each parent in the middle with both boys and then separately on each side.

Mommy Collage

All of the pictures that had Colten in them were done first. By that time, he'd had enough. So, I was REALLY glad we booked two sessions! Oh, I think we spent $68 on all of these with the 5x7s having two of each since they come in a sheet.

So, two days later, I took the boys by myself to get some more pictures taken. I basically wanted a picture of them together and then each separately. Here's what we got from that session!

Boy Collage

I was really happy with all of them, but was really glad she got one of Colten standing. He walked so early and I wanted professional proof of that! Plus, there is just something so cute about a baby who is just learning to walk and they have their arms out keeping their balance! Oh, and I paid all of 78 cents for these! :-) I think it definitely pays to be a member of their portrait club. I think all of these pictures would have cost us well over $200 if I hadn't had those coupons or the Club savings.

Do I think we could have gotten better pictures with an independant photographer? Of course! They would have been clearer with better coloring...but we would have gone broke getting all the pictures we wanted. So, I'm happy that we got our "photo wall" updated and didn't break the bank doing it! :-)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Last of the Disney Pictures

Our Disney Vacation definitely didn't go as planned, but we had a blast anyway! I am so glad that we were able to do this vacation! Here are the last few least until next time!
Like I said before, Austin got a few souveniers from the pirate gift shop, including this cool gun. The snake that Bobo got him is 6 ft long and he had it wrapped around him like it was squeezing him and he was shooting it in the head with the gun. It was pretty funny.

Colten also had a good time trying to climb the stroller at the resort.

He made us all nervous though since it was a tile floor and he almost fell off backwards!

Friday was supposed to be our last day. However, since we didn't go to the parks on Tuesday, we still had a day left on our tickets and Brian wasn't going to let that go to waste! So, since Austin didn't get to go into the "big golf ball" on Monday, we took a quick trip to Epcot on Saturday morning before we left to go back home. We were there for all of 2 hours, which is absolutely NO time when you are talking about a Disney Park!

He did get to go up into the "golf ball" by riding Spaceship Earth. It was his favorite I'm glad we took the time to go back. However, he was first terrified in the show, "Honey I Shrunk the Audience." He loved it the first time we were there in 2007, but this year not so much! It was a little too intense for him and he said he didn't want to EVER go back to that show. Eh, I'm sure that he'll want to go again when he's older. :-)

We had to get a family picture in front of Austin favorite part!
Our resort (Westgate Resorts) was awesome on this vacation! We knew it would be handy because we were trying to do this vacation on a budget, so a full kitchen would help with eating breakfast there and bringing lunches to the park. However, it was instrumental with a sick kid! I can not say how great it was to have this much room! The couch pulled out into a bed, we had 2 full bathrooms, a full kitchen, a balcony, a dining room area, and a king size bed (plus a crib) in the bedroom. There were nights when I was in the bedroom with Austin and Brian was out on the sofa couch, nights when Austin was on the sofa couch and nights when we were all 3 in the King-sized bed. It has completely sold us on a king-sized bed...but probably won't be getting one anytime soon!



Oh, and we had a washer and a dryer so we even came home with CLEAN clothes! It was so nice! The resort also had all kinds of activities we could have taken advantage of. We own a timeshare with this resort, but have never been able to use it since we were in Hawaii. We will definitely be using it more often!
Well, that's all...sorry it took me so long to post them. I hope to be better about posting pictures, but I'm not promising anything since I have yet to post Colten's 10 month comparison picture! Maybe tomorrow. :-)