Thursday, December 22, 2011

Family Fotos

Can I tell you how much I D.R.E.A.D. taking family pictures? It's a necessary evil really. I looooovvveee having the pictures but I dread the blood, sweat, and tears, it takes to get them. And I fear it will only get harder as our little family keeps getting bigger. However, this time it wasn't near as painful as it usually is. Thanks to our awesome photographer, Joy, we were able to walk away with some great pictures and very little pain. The "little pain" was because it was a fairly cold day but since she isn't Mother Nature, I forgive her ;-). Addison and Jonas both let us know when it was time to give-in and call it a day. Thankfully we still managed to find some cute ones before they quit. Here are a few of my favorites...

I think I'll start researching the "perfect family photo" day and book our next session on that day. Of course with two kids aged two and younger, they eventually hit meltdown mode no matter what the weather is like.

See what I mean?

Bell Family Bash 2011

We were lucky enough to enjoy a "Pre-Christmas" celebration of sorts with my side of the family this past weekend. It seems to be a tradition that we all get together the week before Christmas and celebrate the holidays together with my Mom. It's always so fun to see all the Aunts/Uncles, cousins, and Grandma, and have a whole weekend to do nothing but play, sleep, and eat. Sounds like a great combo to me! :D

Thanks to my younger sister Cass, we actually have pictures to document the momentous event. Yes, due to her being the youngest, she's an obedient little errand girl and takes care of all the extras while us older siblings sit back and order her around. You can thank us later Cass! ;-)

The weekend kicked off with a trip to Silver Dollar City. Addison, Garrett, and Aunt Michelle rode the froggy ride together - it's one of Addison's personal favorites. It tends to make me woozy (enter Aunt Michelle) but Addison LOVES when it starts bouncing and giggles the whole time. Those little kid rides are more dangerous than the adult rides! I think Addison will be our little thrill seeker. She was wanting to ride everything in sight. And now that she is just barely at the minimum height mark - it can actually happen! Not shown, is the swinging Pirate Ship we rode together. She laughed all the way through it as well. Can't wait to go back and try out all the others.

Here are a few pics of most of the cousins...waiting for the word "Go" so they can open their cousin-exchange gifts and their Grandma gift. So exciting!

And alas, it's Jonas' turn to open his gifts. Thanks to Mommy and Addison for helping the little guy out!

Here are two best buddies....Alexa and Addison. Only six months separate them. We have Alexa to thank for all the cute hand-me-down clothes! :D

It was a great time to get together with everyone. Since all of our families are getting so big it seems harder to rally the crowd all together at once. Thankfully they all live in Missouri still. I'm the only sibling who actually left the state....and I only managed to do that by about 10 miles. ;-) We are soooo blessed to have most of our family so close - on both sides. We'll enjoy it while it lasts!

Eli The Elf

Last night for F.H.E. we adopted a new family member - straight from the big man himself.

Meet Eli:

He was sitting on our front porch step with his cute little book that told all about him. Now we get to join millions of others in the "Elf On The Shelf" tradition. So glad we finally have one of our very own. I think Addison is too. Jonas? Eh...I don't think he particularly cares but maybe he will next year! So far, Eli has been a very courteous and polite addition.

For those who don't know, Eli (along with all his other friend elves) are all helpers to Santa Claus. He comes to live with us every year at Christmas time and watches for little good boys or girls (or naughty ones, whichever the case may be) and then each night he reports back to Santa Claus. Ya know, cuz Santa is sooo busy this time of year.

Anyway, of course he can't be touched since he is magical and flies and stuff. But, each day it sure is exciting to see where he will hide next. This picture is of his first hiding place from this morning. So far I think he has great things to report back to Santa Claus about little Miss Addison. She came out of her bedroom and found him right away. She also keeps an eye on HIM as she walks around the house.

We are soooo glad Eli is helping us having good little boys and girls this time of year. Welcome to the family Eli! (And yes, Addison helped pick the name out of a few choices we gave her. We even filled out his adoption papers and everything - it's official folks - he's ours for keeps!)

3 Months Old

Back on December 1st, Jonas turned three months old! Yes, we are a bit delayed in the post but that is due to a myriad of events. First; a rescheduled photo session, second; a week-long stomach bug (which Jonas was the only lucky one to escape), and last; waiting for our wonderful photographer to edit our b.e.a.utiful pics! (Thanks Joy!)

So, alas, here are the pics of Jonas. (You'll have to check out the next post for pics of the whole fam.)

What has Jonas mastered in his first 3 months of life you ask? Well first of all, he is definitely an easy baby. We got lucky two times in a row! He has gotten sooo smiley lately and this Momma definitely LOVES to see his smiles. He has a cute little scrunchy nose look he does w/a sideways smile. I'm learning there is definitely a different feeling between a Momma and her boy. Not any better or worse than with Addison but definitely different.

He seems to love everyone he encounters...especially his sister. All she has to do is look his way and he's grinning from ear to ear. And she is very protective of him. If other kids come to talk/play with him she'll say "Noooo, dats Jonas Kay...he's myyyy buddy!" It's adorable really.

He has learned to be more content in his car seat - which is good since we don't like staying home very much. He's almost mastered holding up that big noggin (Thanks Hufford genetic code!). He's not a fan of tummy time but will do MUCH better at holding his head when he's sitting on your lap or laying on your tummy.

He's also learning to put himself to sleep better which is always a nice milestone for both of us. Now all I have to do is swaddle him, lay him down, put a blankie next to his face to snuggle with (yep just like sister when she was his age), and he's out within a few minutes. He currently wakes up one time at night and wants his food.

He loves baths after the initial adjustment when putting him in the water. He loves to look around at everything. Oh and he's very patient and good about hanging out and waiting when Mommy has to tend to his sister. I am learning that he has Daddy's temperament ;-). When he is upset about something he likes to finish 'being upset' before we proceed with whatever it is he actually wants. I guess he wants to speak his mind before we try to shush him. And he's getting quite a bit more talkative. It's always fun to hear him babble away in his own little world. Just this week, he has started belly laughing when we tickle or jump in front of him and scare him.

We are very lucky to have him in our family. I wonder everyday how in the world I birthed such a CUTE little boy!? It's amazing really. I can't imagine life without him even though it was just a little over 3 months ago.

This is a frequent pose lately. I think he's trying to show off his muscles. And check out those eyes! I think they are going to stay blue just like Addison's. Two blue-eyed kiddos from two brown-eyed parents!

Momma's little handsome guy.

These two love each other a LOT....even though you can't tell by Addison's face. ;-) She was pretty much done with the picture taking in the cold weather.

And here are the two twinners!

And alas, here he is showing off his "Blue Steel" pose. I think he has it mastered!

Since we didn't have a doctor's well visit check-up at 3 months old I don't have any exciting stats to share. Just know that this little guy is LONG and skinny! And his head is ginormous but I haven't met a Hufford yet who's isn't. I'm guessing his weight is around 12 lbs by now which seems big but when you come out of the womb at 9 lbs 6.5 isn't too shabby.

Happy 3 months old little J. McKay!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fake Laughter

Addison had the fake laughter thing mastered by the time she was 1 year old. Maybe even before that - I forget. I would always worry that people would get offended by it. Anytime someone laughed, she'd look at them, make a funny face, and fake laugh. It could have easily been perceived as an insult but frankly I thought it was hilarious. Fast forward to tonight....she's been on a fake laughing kick lately. Lets face it, her fake laughter gets me to real laughter pretty quickly.

Looks painful doesn't it? ;-)

And Jonas' expression is priceless. He doesn't know what to think of his crazy sister!

A Romantical Evening

Today, John and I achieved our 'Bachelors of Marriage' degree. We hit the big "4 year" anniversary mark. We had grand plans of whisking away to a fancy dinner and then on to a nice play afterwards. It was going to be quite the romantical evening. Yes, I made up the word "romantical" early on in our marriage (that and electronical ;-). John teases me plenty about it but I think I'm going to get a trademark on them. It's not my fault! They sound like legitimate words...who knew!!

Anyway, you can definitely tell we've been married for four years. Since John's leg was in so much pain, we just opted for the fancy dinner out. And spent the remainder of the evening with him dropping me off at different stores so I could run some errands and return a few things. Gotta take advantage of not having to lug two kids around ya know! It actually made for a pretty good evening. Plus, it helps knowing we'll get to see our play next Friday, on the front row no less. It's a win-win! (And now we spend the evening with me blogging and him playing Xbox..yup four years folks!)

So, dinner. Ruth's Chris. One word...YUM! It's my absolute favorite-est place to eat. It also costs a small fortune to eat there so we really only go once a year if I'm lucky. But one bite of that delicious steak will have you willing to pay ANY price. I'm not well versed in my steaks by any means but it easily takes the cake as the best I've ever had. delicious! And of course, the chopped salad, I'm in love with it even more. Each time I go I swear I'm going to start placing to-go orders for that salad alone. One day I actually will. I stopped short of picking up the plate to lick off every last morsel that the fork couldn't pick up. It is fine dining after all ya know. ;-)

So, here's to the best four years of my life! Four years and two kids later - life is pretty great. I'm married to my best friend and we have cute kids. What more could a girl ask for? Oh yeah, that's right....50 more years!

P.S. And I'll have you know, I actually treated John to dinner! We ate everything only to then realize he left his wallet at home. Awfully convenient eh? Thankfully I had mine stashed in the van. We laughed wondering what we would have done had we not been able to pay. With the price of that steak, we would have been doing dishes until next Thursday at least!

Laid Up

Meet my husband, the gimp. Technically he wasn't "gimpy" at the time of this "before" photo....I was just too kind to take the "after" shot. Coming out of anesthesia is never a pretty sight.

This past Tuesday, we went in to retrieve some hardware. And when I say "we" I mean the doctor. For the past 6 years John has been toting around a few screws in his ankle. Well he recently decided he'd like to bid adieu to them and scheduled the surgery. Tuesday was D-day....but as it turns out, it wasn't.

Instead we paid pretty good money (well us and the insurance company) just to have the doctor take a good "look see" at the ankle. The screws were pretty snug so none of them got removed. When I got the news I laughed thinking it was a joke. Nope, no joke. If he would have removed the screws, he would have either broken the bone or stripped out the screws, so he didn't. Yay us. :(

So instead, John got the recovery without the results. And what a recovery it was. Apparently Huffords and anesthesia don't play nice together. Neither do Huffords and pain pills. I learned this on day one of recovery.

The good news is things are getting better each day. In the meantime, I get to be the sole care-taker of 3 instead of 2. I'm not sure who has the easier job, John healing, or me as I run in circles fulfilling everyone's requests. Surprisingly, John is the easiest of the patients. Addison and Jonas are tied for 2nd place. It wouldn't be so difficult if Addison could control her bladder to NOT go every time I put a bottle in Jonas' mouth. And if Jonas could resume his great sleeping habits, that would be nice too. But in the meantime, we'll keep trucking along.

The silver lining in all of this is at least the doctor was able to take a few extra snips here and there to increase his range of motion (hopefully). And he was able to confirm that the screws are definitely NOT in the way of anything. Now we can progress on to some good old fashioned stretching. I'm hoping one day his ankle can ALMOST return to normal.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Deck Oh Way Shuns!

Say it super fast and you'll get to see just how cute it really sounds. Now imagine that coming out of a cute two-year old's mouth ANY time she sees lights or decorations.

One of our favorite things to do is drive around and look at the lights in nearby neighborhoods. So far we've been able to do it a few times already this season. Addison LOVES every minute of it. And I love to hear her get excited over it. Even driving to other destinations has her shouting at the top of her lungs every time she sees Christmas lights on houses. And it doesn't stop there. She thinks any/all lights (even the street lights) are decorations. Even tonight as we drove past the local jail, she shouted "Mommy! Deck o wayyy shuns!!" while pointing at their standard yard lights. So nice of the prisoners to deck out the jail for the holiday season eh? ;-)

This Christmas season has gotten sooo much more fun with Addison around. She's starting to really "get it" and LOVES any/everything Christmas related. We've also really been trying hard to remind her of what the season is actually about as well. She is very good at telling us about Jesus and Mary and Joseph and even pointing them out in pictures. She even got to go on a date w/Mommy last night to hear people sing songs about Jesus. If I'm enjoying her excitement this much, I surely won't be able to contain myself when I watch her on Christmas morning!

Christmas time has always been my favorite time of year but I didn't realize just how much better it gets when you get to see it through a two-year old's eyes. :D

Bring on the DECK OH WAY SHUNS!

Here Comes Santa Claus

We came, we saw, we conquered. But just barely.

Tonight we carried on in our annual tradition and went and saw the big fat man in red. It was a great time - but it was quite the ordeal for Addison. Mommy and Lowe's are to blame. I vividly remember having my picture snapped w/Santa Claus every year growing up. And I also remember me crying in But I also hold Lowe's accountable as well. (See side note for details)

SIDENOTE: There is a mechanical life-size Santa Claus that sits just within the Christmas section at our local Lowe's. He is motion detected and can really bust a move and start singing when you walk within a few feet of him. Apparently, we got too close once and Addison wigged out on me. Not just a whimper cry. It was the hysterical "there is a monster coming to eat me NOW" cry. I'll admit the dancing Claus was a bit creepy but was quite surprised just how terrified she was of it. It took me quite awhile to console her. And ever since then she's been afraid of the big guy. She LOVES him from a distance but always repeats the following phrase when we see any replica of Santa Claus: "Santa not scawey, he's nice Mommy, He sit on my lap, He bring me peasants (presents), he bring me a baby dawl" Thank you Lowe's for creating a life-long fear of Santa Claus!

So, needless to say I decided to warm her up to the "sitting on Santa's lap" idea a week early. The kiddos and I were bustling around the mall doing some holiday shopping. I figured we'd take advantage of the fact there was no line to see Santa and hang out with him a bit. I purposely sat us within range of him while we dined on our lunch. Addison and I chatted it up about how nice he really was and what she was going to ask him for for Christmas. He even looked over and waved at us a few times. Score!

Welp, it didn't help so much. She was still scared when it was time to go see him. I finally decided to leave her behind while Jonas and I went and chatted it up with the big guy. Sure enough she slowly made her way over and joined us quite hesitantly....eyeing him the whole time in case he decided to make a move. Finally she was able to give him a high-five and he even shared some candy with her. However, she started in on her "scared cry" the minute he tried to share his reindeer rocking horse with her. Poor guy - I'm guessing he deals with this a lot since he immediately started backing down and asking his assistant to help instead.

So, we told Santa we would come back w/Daddy and see him again. I was convinced she was prepared sufficiently. Fast forward to tonight. All the way there John and I built up the evening festivities. Every step we took closer to Santa had Addison saying "No Mommy he's scawey! He's not nice!" No matter what I said she would cut me off and say it all over again. So, I took Jonas over and sat him on Santa's lap...hoping brother could show her just how safe it was. Nope. She wasn't having it. No amount of bribery or explaining made it better. So, we went to our last resort. We all wandered over to hang out with him (like last time) and let her stay behind and sit on the chair. Sure enough she hesitantly sidled her way up to us and joined in. I was finally able to sit next to Santa, with Jonas, and she came and stared at him and finally sat on my leg furthest away from him. Yay!! Success!! She actually even asked if she could give him another high-five! Whoa talk about milestones folks! We got a few pictures in super quick and gave him a hug to boot. After collecting her loot (stickers, a coloring book AND a sucker!) we made our way back home. All the way back we went on and on about how big she was and how nice Santa ended up being. She conquered her fears! Go Addison! For as shy and hesitant as she can be about some things, she is a super loving and sensitive little girly and LOVES to give hugs and cuddles and kisses so we wouldn't trade it for anything. We'll just start preparing her for next year!

Ain't no thing but a chicken wing right Jonas? He was quite fascinated with the big guy.

Yay! Success for Addison! This is as close as she got to him...not counting the bear hug she gave him afterwards.

And alas, he was still nice enough to share his reindeer rocking horse with her. She was in heaven. See! Santa Claus IS a nice's proof!

And the answer is no - John and I are not above bribery. In order to get her to sit on Santa's lap we promised a truck ride and an ice cream. We delivered since she did!

All in all it was a successful day! Thanks Santa Claus for not being "scawey" after all! ;-)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tis The Season

I guess it's good that Christmas is truly such a magical and fun time of year. Because the sickies/bugs that come out this time of year truly are not.

I spend so much time throughout the year getting so excited for Christmas and the season only to be reminded just how "giving" it truly is. As in everyone "giving" their sickies to each other. Yay us! And I'm also learning that when you have two kids, everything will be shared, whether you like it or not.

Is it a good thing Addison loves to spend her time 2 cm from Jonas' face every day? Does it really help when I constantly remind her to not cough directly into his face? Is it anymore effective when she remembers to cover her mouth only 50% of the time she has a coughing fit? The poor girl, she tried her hardest, as did I, to not have her share her coughs/yuckies with brother but I was not surprised when he came down with the same thing. I quickly decided to take him in, since he's still so young, and see if we could "nip this in the bud".

Welp, I don't think listening to a 3 month old hack and rattle and cough for 3 weeks is my idea of "nipping this in the bud". I've lost count how long both of them have been hacking away but lets just say I'm having a hard time remembering life before the endless snot and coughing made their way into our home. After spending 10 days+ with a steroid and antibiotic for Jonas that did absolutely squat - well except make his little tummy hurt, we decided to line both of them up at the doc today and knock it out once and for all. Here's what we brought home in our little goody bag from the Pharmacy. Needless to say, I'm feeling lucky with this batch. Seems like a lot for 2 kids's to hopin'!

Oh and I won't bother to share all the delicious details of 3 out of 4 of us getting nasty stomach flu last week. Luckily we got to take turns with it which helped since it was impossible to stand for more than a few minutes - and well, with two kids under two - you have to stand quite a do lots more. And here I thought Mom's were immune to sicknesses. Be grateful for your health folks, I know I am now. I see health in our future!

Turkey Day

Despite my delay in postings - we did in fact celebrate Thanksgiving this year. Due to a last minute London work trip for John - that was....then wasn't....our actual Turkey day plans had changed a handful of times before the day actually arrived. The final plan had us staying at home and hosting our close friends, The McKassons. And of course Grandma Bell also made an appearance - which Addison was thrilled with (as was I).

I think this was technically the first year I ever single-handedly cooked/prepared Thanksgiving. Well, I guess technically I can't say "single-handedly" since pregnant Dana and her clan were bringing over at least half of all the fixin's. Either way it was a LOT of work! Remind me to just pay someone to cook for us next year. For a dinner that can take almost two full days to prepare - and then eaten within 20 minutes - is it really worth it? Don't get me wrong, I'm a big supporter of celebrating the holiday - just under someone else's efforts - i.e. Cracker Barrel perhaps? Maybe I'm just bitter because the Turkey I spent sleepless nights thinking about, ended up dry anyway. At least my nightmares of giving everyone salmonella didn't come true.

I guess the majority of the fun around Thanksgiving comes from just hanging out with family and friends and vegging...before, during, and after the meal. We had a lot of fun and as busy as it has seemed lately, it was nice just to slow down over the holidays.

So I had the best of intentions to get a "before" and "after" shot of our turkey spread. Here is the before shot. Apparently we were too intoxicated with triptophan to think of taking the "after" shot. Just picture a TON of leftovers because we definitely planned to feed an army - not just the 6 adults and 3 kids that we actually had.

It didn't take Addison long to go from "shy" to "twitterpated" with Scottie. She's definitely a guy's girl. She adores her Dad, and even has a fondness for "Bad" (Brad), now we can add an "Uncle Scottie" to the mix I guess.

Grandma Bell helped Addison venture on her first bike-riding experience. We somewhat mastered the art of pedaling but still have a ways to go. Luckily Mommy got to burn some calories by pushing her up and down the sidewalk a few times. Does she not just look soooo adorable in that little helmet?

Aside from enjoying the tasty meal we also got to indulge in pie at Grandma & Grandpa Fields house, go to the movies (thanks Grandma the babysitter), hit up a few sales at midnight before Black Friday, and set up the Christmas tree and decorations! It was a great relaxing weekend and holiday and definitely a great start to the holiday season - my favorite time of year!

I personally, have a LOT to be thankful for. Namely, my healthy little family. We've had our fair share of the bugs that go around, but nothing that is life-threatening and I'll take it. We have two adorable little kids that are really good kids for the most part. We have a roof over our head. We are warm and toasty in our home. We have coats. We have food. We have employment. I get to spend my time raising our kiddos. We have a car...two of them actually! The list could go on and on. I want to focus on being grateful all year long next year. I could easily think of a blessing a day for the next several years. I'm one lucky woman!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Cute Kids

Yep, this is yet another post about the cute kiddos that reside in this house. I'm guessing this makes 1,394 posts total wherein I talk about nothing but the kiddos. Hey can you blame me? Have you SEEN these kids? That's what I thought. Anyway, here is a random post of the random things we've been doing. Just to let blog-land know we are still alive and havin' fun...

Future engagement photo perhaps? ;-) Actually, the fact Addison is smiling at all in this picture, while in such close proximity to Coops, is a feat in and of itself. She's spent the first 1 1/2 years of her life terrified of him. Not sure why since he is such a loveable guy. Now she seems to be making up for lost time. We had a fun time hanging out with him while his Mommy went on an errand. I think we are going to have to keep an eye on these two!

Earlier this month we were lucky enough to find out about the Bentonville Square lighting ceremony. It was a really fun night and we had a blast. Addison has been practicing her "pretty smile" wherein she doesn't gape her mouth open wide like usual. Apparently Daddy didn't get the memo that we were showcasing the "pretty smile" in this photo op. And yes, Jonas is somewhere amongst the pile of blankets. He had a grand time just catching up on his zzz's while enjoying the night air. The lights were beautiful and Addison LOVED seeing them all come on after we counted down with the crowd. And what a big crowd it was - we were lucky enough to actually have a bench most of the night.

Yes, the pic is a bit blurry but it was the only one that I could catch a smile of Jonas in. Here is Addison reading to "brudder" yet again. She's always so good to entertain him and talk to him. I'm still amazed at how much they love each other already.

A random shot of Addison taking a very important phone call. It was so adorable I couldn't pass it up. She's big into carrying on phone conversations lately. I think this time she was talking to Minnie. She also likes to hand the phone off to us to talk to them as well. So kind of her. This girl DEFINITELY has the gift of gab.

Look Santa, she loves him already! We found Brobee in a bin at Walmart the other day and she took right to him immediately while he rode around in our cart. It was adorable to see how much she loved this inanimate object. She'd just hug him and stare at him and smile for forever. Then she decided he was a bit parched apparently. Lets hope Santa gets the message and finds that same Brobee in that same Walmart bin. ;-)

And apparently another item on her Christmas wish list. 101 ways to entertain a toddler with a box. This is definitely the more cost effective present for Santa that's for sure.

And alas, I couldn't pass up another photo op with our nightly ritual of story time. 99.9% of the time Daddy is the one Addison wishes to help her get ready for bed. The few times Mom and Jonas time it right, we sneak in to enjoy the story time right along with her. We all love a good book...and some cute kiddos to boot!