There has been alot going on these last couple of weeks... Let me fill ya in...
Last time I posted, it was Braxton's birthday. Well, that same day my mother inlaw came in for Christmas break and I also had a vendor fair that night! Busy Busy day!
**This is my table at the vendor fair**
Three days later, December 23rd, we went to pick up our "special" present for Christmas. For some of you who don't know, and I know most of you do, but I want this for my "journal", here is the back story...
Bryan, my brother, is a missionary in Ecuador. He left in May 2011 and he is there indefinitely. Well, he came home in October for his friend's, Amy, wedding and was not able to afford to come home for Christmas. He was okay with that, he would have his Ecuadorian family. That all that changed as time got closer to closer. Also, my mom and dad.. wow.. My mom was in a DEEP DEPRESSION state. Every time we would talk about Christmas she would break down and start crying. I COULD NOT just sit by and watch my mom and dad be miserable for Christmas or have my brother 1000+ miles away. I went to Greg with the idea of bringing him home, but we both knew there was no way that we could afford the ticket ($1400). There had to be a way to be able to get him home. I got on the computer and emailed around 10 radio stations and about 20 other companies requesting help getting him home, Nothing (although I heard back from Kidd Kradick). I sent out some other emails to friends and family that traveled alot asking them for air miles. A friend of mine's, Jessica Smith, dad called me that night and said that he had enough miles to get him home for Christmas. I bawled, gave him the info, and realized that he had enough to get him home, but not back to Ecuador. I was kinda crushed at first, but then I had an idea. I got on Facebook, made a private group (that Mama and Daddy couldn't see), and invited all my Facebook friends (minus the 'rents). I posted that if everyone donated at least $1, we could buy a one way ticket for Bryan to get back to Ecuador. Within 5 hours, we had enough money to get him back. Within 1 day we had him 2 one way tickets purchased and he was COMING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS!!!
Bryan and I talked, and we decided that we were not going to tell Mama and Daddy about him coming home. We had it all planned out how we were going to surprise them. I was going to go and pick him up from the airport, head to Mama and Daddy's house, I would go in, he would stay outside and call them on Skype, and then they would realize that he was infront of their house. TA-DA!
Well, it didn't wind up that way. The Thursday after we had bought the ticket on Monday, Mama called me bawling asking if we would come and help them put up the Christmas tree (which they weren't originally going to even put up). I agreed, got off the phone with her, and called Bryan to tell him we had to tell her. I 3-way called her with Bryan being silent and told he I had an early Christmas present for her and Bryan started singing, "I'll be home for Christmas".. She bawled some more and then finally got out, "Are you really!?!" It was great! We conferenced my dad in and he did the same thing. 100% best gift EVER!
***BACK TO PRESENT***
Friday, December, 23 @ 2:30 pm, Bryan landed. So that it could be a surprise to SOMEONE, we didn't tell the girls he was coming. Here is a video of when he was coming down the escalator!
That Friday, Greg and I finished up all of our Christmas shopping too. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, I know!!
Christmas Eve was BUSY!! We woke up that morning and finished up some last minute wrapping and started on making lunch. My mom, dad, brother, mother inlaw, husband, kids, and I ate a "snack type" lunch/dinner and then unwrapped gifts from each other. I am a bad mommy and forgot to take pics, but Bryan took some and I'll have to get some from him.
I got a bunch of cake decorating things, Bath and Body Works, and money for clothes from my parents and a homemade candle holder and socks from my mother inlaw. Man, I'm loved!!!
After Christmas Eve with my side of the family, we went to the Christmas Eve service at our church and then came home to do it with Greg's side of the family. My mother inlaw, sister inlaw, Amber, brother inlaw, Mike, Nephews, Seth and Luke, and niece, Zoe, all came over for brownie sundaes and presents.
I got a homemade scarf and stationary from Mike and Amber. LOVE both of them.
**I've only worn it 100 times since I got it!!**
Greg's shirt from Mike and Amber cracks me up!!
Christmas Eve was a LONG night. The inlaws (minus Brenda, mother inlaw) left late and Santa still had to come.. WooooHoooo.. Emma and Courtlynn put out the Grinch Cookies that we made that morning and milk, and Emma went to put the "pickle" ornament (see previous story about pickle) by Santa's milk. Poor thing dropped the pickle on the tile floor on her way to the table and broke it. She was so upset she almost cried! She wanted to write Santa a letter and tell him that she was sorry for breaking the pickle. **I thought that was so sweet**
**Emma's letter to Santa: "Dear Santa, Sorry Emma broke the pickle. Please leave gifts under the tree"
--Santa back to Emma "It's okay Emma. We can find it next year. Make sure you are good for mommy and daddy. Enjoy. Love, Santa"
**Before kids woke up**
**"Mommy, Santa Came!!"**
Sunday, December 25, we woke up early because SANTA CAME and then got ready for church. After Church service, we came back and started preparations for Christmas lunch. We had a BIG group at our house this year for Christmas. We had our family (5), my mother inlaw, my parents and brother (3), my Aunt Tammy, Uncle Allen, cousin, Ross, cousin, Crimson, and her kiddos (4), cousin, Melynee, and her family (4), my grandmother, Maw, and cousin, Mike, and his daughter. **If you need help with math, that's 23 people!!! AHHHHHH!! It was fun though. We decided that we wouldn't have the traditional Christmas brunch. All the families brought an entree, side, and dessert. I called it the "Golden Coral Christmas!" It was very nice. We ate, did white elephant, and everyone left (except my parents, brother, his mom, and us) and we had a quiet evening.
**I know you aren't supposed to take down the Christmas tree till after the New Year, but have you ever tried keeping a 1 year old out of the tree!?!?!?! It's DOWN!!**
Braxton's Birthday Party
We decided to a family only (minus his BFF, Colin) Birthday Party for Braxton. I got to use my cake decoration stuff I got for Christmas for the party. Monster cupcakes!!! WooHoo!
**Emma didn't eat her lunch, so she didn't get a cupcake, therefore, I didn't get a pic (bad Mommy)**
I made a spaghetti lunch, we opened presents, and then had some cupcakes. BADA-BING BADA-BOOM! Braxton's first birthday!
**Some of Braxton's presents**
New Year's Eve
We have been in bed by 10:00 pm for the past 2-3 years for New Years, so this year we stayed up (it was some work)! Bryan had a get together at Mama and Daddy's house. We got over there and had some food (what good Baptists don't have lots of food) and played some games. **I'm NO GOOD at Mafia** Then we were part of the BEST New Year's celebration EVER! Around 11:15 pm we stopped playing games, prayed and then started singing in the New Year with praise and worship music. What better way to start 2012 then with singing God's praises. LOVE!!!
So, Happy New Year, let's do 2012. Remember to thank God for everything that he has given you and lean on him through the hard times.
I'll finish off with some random pics for the past 2 weeks that I love!
**New clothes + cleaning out closet = LOTS OF HANGERS**