Christmas Eve, 2011

We had a really fun, but very busy Christmas this year!  Christmas Eve morning we headed over to Justin's parents' house.  

I made these little santa hat brownies.  I didn't think these up, the idea came from here, and hers were much, much cuter.  But I was in a hurry and had to let the type-a-ness go and just go with it.  Brownies cut in a little circle (which isn't so easy using a shot glass as a cookie cutter since I didn't have a little circle cutter), top it with some cream cheese icing and stick a strawberry on top.  They may not look pretty but boy did they taste good! 

Once we got to Mamaw and Papaw's, Jenny Kate dove right in.  She was pretty excited about her first Christmas!  There was no keeping this girl away from the tree.

We had fun playing with this crazy hat.  It weighed about ten pounds and wouldn't sit on D's head straight.  Ha!  Don't let his sad little face fool you; he had fun with it!  He's just so silly in front of the camera these days.

It was nice out so we were able to hang out outside while Papaw grilled steaks for lunch.  JK enjoyed her lovin' from Aunt Danielle. 

The boys played and played.

And they had fun on their make-shift slide!

Silly Carter!  He and Derrick play so well together!  

Derrick really had fun this year with Christmas!  He "gets it" now.   We made sure he understood WHY we celebrate Christmas.  We talked over and over about Jesus' birth and why Christmas is special because we definitely want him to know the REAL reason for Christmas.  I asked him on Christmas Eve who's birthday was tomorrow and he said, "Jesus!"  Then he cocked his little head to the side, wrinkled his eyebrows and said, "Mommy,  is it Santa's birthday tomorrow too?"  Ha!   I have to admit, having that *magic* and excitement back at Christmas time sure is a lot of fun! 

He got a real "picture" from Mamaw and Papaw.  He loves taking pictures with my phone (which is pointless because I still have an old-timey phone.  You can barely see the picture and I can't even get it off the phone if I wanted to!).  We thought he would enjoy having a camera that takes real pictures.  And we can upload them to keep forever.  It'll be fun to see the world through Derrick's eyes.

He also got this cute belt that Danielle made for him.  Complete with all of his "best friends".

He loved the matching Mickey and Minnie chairs.  We'll see if he lets Jenny Kate have her Minnie chair of if he tries to keep her for himself!

Jenny Kate enjoyed tasting her presents.

But she did get into her book.

We all gave Mamaw and Papaw a big photo of all of the grandchildren together.  They loved it!  It was hanging in the living room by Christmas Eve night.

It was a little sentimental this year with Nana gone, and Justin and Danielle were each surprised with something special of hers.  Danielle got one of her wedding rings, and Justin was given the birthstone ring she always wore.  This one was a total surprise!  

On the last trip we made to Tennessee before Nana had her stroke, she had some cleaning she wanted us to help with.  She wanted us to dust under her bed and to go through the covers and all through the bed because she was looking for her birthstone ring.  We cleaned and searched, but there was no ring.  Debby and Aunt Shirley looked everywhere for that ring after she passed away, but they never found it.  Fast forward to a few weeks ago.  Aunt Shirley had been praying about the ring.  She knew how much it meant to Nana and she really wanted to find it.  They were vacuuming out their van and she had this intense feeling to look under the seat of the van. 

When she did, there was Nana's ring. 
 None of us knew she had found it until Justin opened it up on Christmas Eve.  Needless to say it was a pretty sentimental, special moment.  God has perfect timing, doesn't he?! 

After the presents were finished we had a little more fun it was time to head to Gong Gong's house.

It was well after nap time when we arrived at Gong Gong's, so needless to say we had two exhausted little ones.  Jenny Kate played with her cousins for a few minutes, but she was pooped!  Poppie took her and maybe two minutes later, we saw this.  Worn out!

I got caught up in the busyness and didn't take another picture!  I hate that!  But we had a great time eating and playing with all of our cousins.

Once we got home, we opened one gift...our new pajamas! 
Derrick was a little bummed that it was pajamas, so he had to open Jenny Kate's too.  She was fine with that as long as she got her paper to chew on!

We got ready for bed, decked out in new pjs, and prepped the things Derrick had promised Santa.

Jenny Kate wasn't interested, so she did what she does best....stayed BUSY!

D finished Santa's snack just like he promised.  Cookies, "spicy", and a little something for the reindeer (white chocolate covered chex mix with a side of dog treats.  Yummy, right?!).
We wrote a little note to Santa, which read: 

"Dear Santa, I hope you like the cookies.  I'm sorry, but I'm going to taste a cookie.  I have tried to be a good boy.  We are leaving stuff for dog food for Rudolph.  Santa, don't forget 'Yo ho ho' is the pirate password."  

All of this, per Derrick.  He was telling me what to write as he was eating the chocolate kiss off of one of the cookies he left for Santa.  Such a mess!



Christmas Card, 2011

Merry Christmas, friends!!

May your days be filled with joy, and may you remember the REAL reason for the season!

{Or, as Derrick said in his prayers tonight, "Thank you for Jesus' burp."  :)  We're trying!}

I don't have a digital copy of our Christmas card and our scanner has a mind of it's own, so here's a picture of our card.  Please excuse the terribleness of a picture of a picture!

Merry Christmas!!!



A pretty awesome day...

26 blankets, one for each heart kid's bed.

The Ronald McDonald House, where families are cared for and fed.

Delicious dinner from Texas Roadhouse with all of the sides.

 Great support for Hope for BraveHEARTS spreads HOPE for babies' lives.

It was an honor.  It was a blessing.  It was a reminder of the battles we've fought and the ones waiting just over the horizon.  It was a glimmer of HOPE.

Thank you. 



Dear Santa,

"Dear Santa,

My name is Derrick and I am not three.  I have been a good boy this year.  I would like some cars, chips, and tools up in the sky.

My baby sister, Jenny Kate, would like cars too.  She would also like some puffs, a hair bow, and a baby sister.

I would also like some purple candy.  Can you bring some food for the dogs?  They don't want cars.

We will make you some cookies and leave you some spicy to drink.  We will leave the reindeer some dog food.

I love you!

Derrick Palmer Carter"

1.  These are all Derrick's words.  I asked minimal questions to help him get going (i.e. "what is your name, how old are you, have you been good, what do you want for Christmas, what does JK want, what about the reindeer?"

2.  "Spicy" is any carbonated beverage, mainly Mt. Dew. 

3.  Jenny Kate asking for a baby sister was quite a surprise when it came out of his mouth.  Neither of us were aware that JK was asking for a baby sister, however D has mentioned it several times since writing this letter.  We hope that Santa doesn't give our kids everything they're asking for.  At least not this Christmas!

4.  Neither of us have any idea what "tools up in the sky" means. 


Our Advent Calendar & Other Randomness

We finally have our Advent Calendar up and running this year.  It only took three Christmases to get to this point, but we're here, nonetheless.  Derrick's first Christmas I saw one online (that was pre-Pinterest, so I have no idea where I saw the idea) and decided that we had to have one.  Of course since he was only seven months old, there was no need in trying to do one right away.  Last Christmas I bought the little boxes and scrapbook paper and had most of the boxes covered by about eerrr, New Year's Day.  Between being preggo and moving into our house, I'm ashamed to admit that all of this sat on our dining room table for oh, two months or so.  I was happy this year when we pulled out the Christmas decorations that these little boxes were finished...but they weren't attached to anything.  I went to our office (which will be under major construction after the new year *I hope*), pulled out this baby, and hot glued the boxes right to the glass.  Done!  And we've only had one casualty.  :) 

So, better late than never...our Advent Calendar:

Derrick has thoroughly enjoyed opening the "boxes" every morning to see what's inside for the day.  We have an activity or outing every day, but I think his favorite part is simply opening the box.  It's a good thing, because sometimes we struggle to actually get the activity done.  I guess this year is our practice run because I know next year he won't let us forget a thing!

Flint has been busy keeping an eye on D and Jenny Kate.  We find him in interesting situations often, and Derrick loves looking for him every morning and after nap time.  He enjoys him being around, however he does not enjoy being reminded that Flint is watching him and reporting back to Santa daily.

In other news, this girl has surely been keeping us busy!  She is now MOBILE!!  She hasn't perfected her crawl quite yet, but it's only a matter of days.  It's funny to watch her crawl.  She's so focused and deliberate in her moves.  Until she hits the floor, then she's just a mad woman!  There's no turning your back on her now. 

She wants EVERYTHING Derrick has.  Everything.  And when he's not looking,

she goes in for the steal.  She never wants the 'bathtub' car that we give her that's all rubber and has no parts that come off.  She usually goes for the Cars cars.  Derrick's favorite, or course.

He's getting a little taste of what it's really like having a younger sibling.  Ha!  He has no idea what's coming!

Being the little rascal he is, he's also decided that he doesn't want his picture taken anymore.  At all.  Here he's saying, "No, mommy!  Don't take my picture!"  I don't know where that's coming from because he's had a camera in his face since the day he was born.  That's one battle he's not going to win! :)  Although that means we're probably stuck with a lot of strange-faced-memories while the battle continues.

Advent activities we've completed coming soon! :)


He's Baaa-aack!!

Oh, yes!  Flint is back!  I'm so glad he decided to show up because we sure have had some  ummm...difficult behavior lately!

He came with a note explaining everything to Derrick since he probably didn't remember him from last year.

Derrick has been somewhat excited, but sometimes he really doesn't care whether Flint is watching or not.  The other day during a particularly rough bout of not listening, I reminded Derrick that Flint was watching him and that he'd be reporting back to Santa about his behavior.  He looked at me and said, "I think he's not!"  Hmmmm....

Flint is a silly guy and has been in a few interesting spots to keep his watchful eye.  Even if Derrick doesn't think so, Justin and I have a fun time looking for Flint every morning. ;)

And just because I thought they were hilarious, a few outtakes from our Christmas card attempts.  (Please excuse them, I didn't bother with the editing!)