Monday, December 24, 2012

December Bliss!

Holy Smokes! This month has flown by. I can't believe Christmas Eve is here. This has definitely been the most fun and busy Christmas season of my life. I just wanted to get a head start at documenting some of it before tomorrow. So here goes.

I really really wanted to make this month special for Hudson because he is at such a fun age. I figured with me back at work that I would have to be pretty organized or I would not be able to get everything done that we wanted to. So what I did back in November was make a list of all that activities that I wanted to do, and try to pick something for each day.

Now that the month is coming to an end, I can say that it was a big help. We were able to do so many things and keep and start some really fun traditions. It has been so much fun having Hudson understand so much and get into the Christmas Spirit. One  thing that we did at the beginning of the month was buy a Nativity set for the boys to play with. I feel really compelled to make sure my boys know the true meaning of Christmas. Having the Nativity Set around all month has been a great daily reminder for my boys, and has been a fun teaching tool so that they can learn about what happened on the first Christmas night.

This s the nativity set we bought the boys! They have loved playing with it!



 Sherwood Park Nativity Pageant.Each year one way that we have been able to incorporate the Nativity into our Christmas, and start the Christmas season off right is to go to the Sherwood Park Nativity Pageant. This year we were ably to time everything perfectly and hear our cousin Jaime sing with her choir. It is an incredible display and collection of beautiful nativities from all over the world. I hope it is something that continues for years.  

Christmas Cards.I love Christmas Cards. It is so fun to go out to the mailbox and get mail from people that you only hear from a few times a year. Last year I purchased Photoshop Elements. I have tried to figure out a few things with it, with not a lot of success. I have watched several tutorials online, but when it came to making a Christmas Card, I had a friend came over (who is a PS guru), and she gave me more insight in 30 minutes that I had figured out on my own in 10 months-ha! I had a lot of fun putting our card together, and learned as lot. I am excited because I found a class that starts in the New Year on PSE, so hopefully I will really start to figure it out. My sister Leanne asked me to make her Card too, and I used some free templates I found at beckyhiggins.com and just personalized it. It turned out so cute(way cuter than mine) and then I made some wrap around labels. Love it! It is always a lot of work getting the cards out, but I hope to keep doing them each year.  




A card for Hudson's nursery teachers.
My sister's cute family.
Decorating the Tree. So, when it comes to decorating the tree I am a self proclaimed Tree Nazi. I know, I know, it should be about the kids. This year my solution to keeping my tree pretty was to let the boys go crazy and decorate the upstairs tree on their own. Shane and I busted out the Boney M's Christmas and really sat back and watched the little guys go crazy. I have to say watching the boys decorate might have been the greatest moment of the whole Christmas season for me. It really was magical. I really did not anticipate that Cooper would be so in to it, but he totally was. He was NOT being left out at all. When the boys were done they just sat back and looked at the tree with the lights off in the room. It was so adorable.





Letter to Santa. After last year, when we received such a personal letter from Santa, I decided to do the same and send another letter off to the north pole. Hudson was funny writing it. He was kind of silly, but it was still really cute. We made a special trip out to the mailbox sent it on it's way. As Hudson has seen Christmas commercials he has written addendum letters to include toys and treats the he forgot to ask for. This whole letter business has actually really stressed Hudson out when he has wanted new toys. One night after we went out shopping Hudson was bawling and his faith in Santa's abilities was very diminished He did not think.that Santa would be able to make the toy he asked for in time, and with the same details as he saw in the store.(Thank goodness it was something I had already purchased-too bad it is a gift for Cooper-ha!)I am just so excited to see how Hudson reacts to Christmas morning!

Hudson with his letter for Santa


 Santa Photo. One tradition we were able to continue was to head out to the mall to meet Santa. We were so lucky to have such a cute and kind Santa. Shane loved visiting Santa and hearing about how it had taken him 18 months to grow his real beard. Hudson was so cute with Santa. He was star struck! After the shock wore off his main concern was obtaining a candy cane! The night that we went I guess they were giving the first 50 customers a free photo, but I did not know. When I went to pay for the picture, the kid said I didn't have to pay. When I asked him why, to which he responded" it was because I was awesome". I couldn't believe it. I was sooooo excited. I kept bragging to Shane about how I got us a free picture because I was awesome. On the way out of the mall I saw the sign stating the promotion and didn't feel too awesome-haha. It was pretty funny. This years picture was definitely better than last years!



 Elf on the Shelf! Holy, so much fun. Charlie was gifted to us by Gram and Papa, on December 6th. Since that night, Shane and I have had a total blast hiding Charlie and watching Hudson laugh and cackle about where he has shown up each morning. Every morning the first thing Hudson does is run down and find his elf. I have to say I have loved having Charlie help me manipulate Hudson's behavior. One day Hudson even tricked me into breaking the rules and touching Charlie. I would recommend Elf on the Shelf to anyone! What a fun gift/tradition I can't wait to do each year!



Gingerbread House/Mess. Love every minute of it, but sheesh is it ever messy. Hudson and I always decorate a gingerbread house togetehr. More candy always ends up in our bellies and on the floor, but it is honestly one of my favorite things to do with Hudson. Maybe it is because both of us LOVE candy so much-wink!! This year Hudson was especially helpful, and then has proceeded to beg me for candy each day since we assembled it.
Man, I love this kid!!

Trying to keep his paws off!


Stunning:)
 Well these are some of the things that we have been able to do this year. There is so much more to write about, but I will have to post some more after Christmas. I have presents to go prepare for my littles right now. At this special time, I am just so grateful for my family and for the memories we are able to make with one another. It is a privelege to be able to teach my sweet kids about the birth of our Savior! I hope that they will gain a wonderful relationship with Christ and that they will truly always feel the special spirit of Christmas!


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Brotherly Love!

Holy, I have so many things that I have wanted to blog about, but when it comes down to it, it usually is not at the top of my priority list. Yesterday I had a sweet experience,(that I hope to never forget)so I figured I had better document it quickly. Hopefully I will get caught up on some of our day to day happenings and holiday plans soon. Back to yesterday. Poor Cooper(for sure a "second child") was booked for his 6 month immunizations-yes I said 6 months-Mother of the year here! Since Hudson's finger debacle this fall, he is acutely aware of his distaste for needles, so I warned him that Coops may be a bit ornery after getting his shots. I gave Hudson the assignment of "making Cooper laugh" after getting his needles and told him that he really needed to be a great big brother and help me take care of Cooper.
Hudson and I talked a lot about Cooper getting his needles,and Hudson even informed Santa (in his letter)that Cooper was getting his immunizations. When the time came for Cooper to have his shots, Hudson lost it. He was bawling and screaming and was really affected. He kept saying, "awe, poor Coops, he is NEVER going to get over this". He continued with hilarious concerned phrases, and then belted out, "Cooper I love you"!!!! Being that I was a tad on the late side for Coopers shots, the poor kid got a 2 for 1 and got both his 6 month,and 12 month shots-meaning that there was 6 needles in total. When all of the needles were administered, Hudson declared that he was just not brave enough to help his brother, and was fairly disgusted in himself. He took very good care of his little brother for the rest of the day and today also. I think it is safe to say that Hudson is not a fan of needles, but is a huge fan of his baby brother. Since Cooper has started walking his confidence and place in our family has grown. Cooper asserts himself more(still in his gentle way) but I think Hudson likes it, and it definitely makes Hudson more aware of Cooper. I have to say that watching the two of them interact with their distinctively different personalities has to be one of my favorite parts of parenthood thus far. I love watching them play and love one another. It truly brings so much joy to our home to listen to Cooper howl and have laugh attacks at his big brother. Still no one can make Cooper laugh like Hudson can. Hudson has special "Cooper Dances" and has tricks up his sleeves all of the time to entertain his little buddy.
Watching Hudson be so concerned for his brother yesterday was amazing. I am so thankful for my two boys, and the great blessing they are to me each and everyday. I was a bit worried about my kids being 3 years apart, as my older sister was 3 years older than I and I am 3 years older than my little brother and we were not particularly close growing up. I hope these two stay close and become a force to be re conned with against anyone or anything that challenges their integrity and values.

 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween 2012

Our cute Dragon and Burger

Last year Halloween was one of the most fun "parenting" nights of my life. Cooper was only a week old, and the weather was great. Hudson's addiction to candy and excitement for life made it such a great and memorable night.

This year, now that they boys are a year older I knew we were in for another fun evening.  The only problem we had, was something completely out of our control-Mother Nature. It was a typical Canadian Halloween-making it stinkin cold! It was -10 to-15 and a bit windy, keeping out trick or treating short.
"Mom, it is freezing out here"

So excited getting his Candy
Look at his eyes! Bring on the stomach ache!
Today I really wanted to spend the whole day doing Halloweeny things with Hudson. I am guilty of allowing Hudson to watch way to much TV, which, I do feel teaches him a lot, but I know that I need to be better at DOING more things with him. He loves to be a helper, and do crafts. That being said, this morning we made Halloween "Masterpieces" and then made necklaces and finished carving Cooper's pumpkin. After craft time, we had a quick nap, and got ready for Trick or Treating, and handing out candy. Hudson was so happy and so excited. He has made a few friends around our neighborhood, so it was really cute seeing him be social with his pals. I also was amazed at what a super festive street I live on. I only went to a couple of the doors, but so many of the adults who handed out candy were dressed up, and so many people went ALL out decorating their homes.


Some of our Halloween Crafts and Activities


One of our awesome neighbors!

Here is a super creepy picture of Shane as the Big Bad Wolf.(3 of his co-workers dressed up as the 3 little pigs)
Halloween came and went quickly. I sure hope that my boys had as much fun as I did! These special nights really are rewards for some of the more difficult times.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cooper is ONE!!

This has to be the fastest year of my life.

Cooper turned one this week. My baby is now a toddler. I can't believe it. He truly is perfection packaged as a child. He has been a blessing since the moment he was born.

A minute old. No crying, just looking around checking things out

Our family. What a happy day!


Sleepy
 So much is changing in his little world. In fact, today he started walking. He was been "working on it" for some time, but now can pretty much walk the length of our home. All of us clap and cheer as he takes off, and you can see his confidence grow. It is so cute to see Hudson get so excited for his brother.



 
Here is a little video of our proud little walking boy.

video

Until this point in Cooper's life he has not shown ANY aggression or assertion. He was happy playing second fiddle. Things are beginning to change. Cooper now likes a little bit of attention, and understands that in order to receive any he is going to have to fight for it. He is making his presence known. He will bum scooch his way around until he is in the action.  He has even figured out how to climb up onto the kitchen table chairs, and then onto the table.

Cooper's personality has really started to shine. It started when my Sister's Leanne and Rudi came to visit. He would pretend to be shy, and hide on them. He also flirted with them and was just being so funny. He would bury his head in the carpet, then look up smiling, then bury his head again. He has also really taken to my Mom. I find it so interesting how much he likes her, being that she lives so far away. He will crawl follow Gram around and even walk over to her.


 Cooper has been getting his 2 upper molars this week, and has been a bit sad/sick. I love that he is so sensitive when he is not feeling 100%. He will just come and lay his head on my shoulder, and snuggle. Both Shane and I have been rocking him in his rocking chair before bed each night to help him feel our immense love for him.

Aside from ANY attention from his brother, Cooper's FAVORITE thing is an Iphone or Ipad. He can't get enough of the touch screens. If there is a phone anywhere in sight, he will do almost anything to get it. Nothing can distract him. So many little things are making him seem so grown up. He loves his sippy cups, and whenever he is thirsty he will find his little cup and take a drink.

We have to be pretty careful with Cooper around because he loves himself a nasty toilet/toilet paper/and plant dirt.  Hudson has been trained well to make sure to keep the bathroom doors shut, and we currently have a chair guarding our larger floor plants. If we let our guards down at all, he fully takes advantage. He has a radar that allows him to determine whether the bathroom door is open or not I am sure.


 My sweet Cooper really has been the perfect baby. He is so smiley, cuddly, sweet and he has such an amazing personality. He is extremely easy going and he just fits in our family so well. We are all so taken by him. When I ask Hudson who his best friend is, he always responds, Mamma, Dad and Coops. Cooper is so patient with his rowdy brother. I can hardly describe the pure joy that is illuminated from Cooper when Hudson dances for him, hugs him, carries him, talks to him or gives him kisses. My favorite thing in the world is watching my two sweet boys play together, and love each other. I can not even imagine my life without my kids. It really feels like Cooper has always been with us. He is an absolute joy and the greatest goal in my life is to help my boys have the best lives they can, and to teach them properly.

Playing with some fun toys together.

"Look Mom, I am carrying Coops"
I love you so much Cooper! You are adored by  all who have ever laid eyes on you. Your cousins, Aunts and Uncles, Grandparents and of course me, your Dad and Hudson, are so proud of you and are so thankful you are part of our family.
Love you sweetie,
XOXOXO
Momma


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Halloween Decorations

Okay, last post today, I promise. I usually have my posts already written, but getting the pictures placed takes me forever, so when I get around to it, I usually have multiple posts:)

Last week my assistant(Hudson) and I decorated for Halloween. Hudson loved telling me where to put things(even though his type A Mama rarely listened). I think the best part of the decorations was when Shane came home and Hudson screamed with excitement and spun around on the floor telling his Dad about the transformation.

I love decorating for holidays, So much so that I have even asked Shane "if I die, will you still make sure to decorate for the holidays?"

I am cheap, and like to switch things up often, so I never spend a lot of money. I usually DIY or else buy decorations from Dollarama. This year I printed off a cute banner I found on Pinterest, costing me nothing.

So here is our spooky house!







Now one quick one of my Halloween cutie.


Birthday Party/Temple Open House

I should have had a much better post title, but right now I am truly recovering from a fun but BUSY weekend, so that was the best that I could do. That being stated, I can't promise that this post will make a lot of sense. Here goes....

This weekend we had the pleasure of having all of our cousins come over, and then we drove down to the new Calgary Mormon Temple Open House.



Friday night I figured since all of Cooper's Leishman cousins were in town that we could have a little birthday party for him. It was wild and loud, but mostly a lot of fun. I love my sisters, and they have great kids. I am so glad we could spend some time together.

For Coop's party I was planning on doing a cute monkey theme. I had a little shirt picked out from etsy with a 1 on it, and bought some decorations from Target this summer when we were in the states. Then as per my norm things got crazy and I had to settle with just doing what I could, and there was not too much of a theme-ha! Sorry Coops!
My adorable Birthday Boy!

I used the decorations I bought this summer, and made some cupcakes, but never managed to order the #1 shirt, and I couldn't even find my streamers or balloons.  I am not a baker or a cake decorator, but I found THE easiest little monkey cupcakes, that literally my 10 year old niece could do on her own. They were cute, and most importantly they tasted good. Here is a link to the picture. All that is needed is vanilla wafer cookies, some sprinkles and icing(I used store bought-ha).




Cooper was in an awesome mood,(as usual) and he was happy to get loves and attention from his many older cousins. We visited and ate pizza and Cooper(with a great deal of help from his brother) loved opening a few presents, and blowing out his birthday candle.

Blowing out his birthday candle.

Enjoying his birthday cupcake.

Playing on a fun toy from his cousins

One of my favorite birthday party memories came when each of his cousins made him a homemade card. They were so sweet. Cooper's cousin Porter lost a tooth on Thursday night and got a toonie from the tooth fairy. Porter included his toonie in Cooper's card, as a gift. I thought that was pretty special from a seven year old.

Porter hard at work on Cooper's card

After the party we all went swimming and since it had been a while(due to Hudson's finger) Cooper and Hudson had a total blast. I loved watching Hudson, Seth and Porter just be total boys and roughhouse and cackle. Cooper discovered his splashing arms and giggled with glee the whole time.

Saturday morning Shane had to work, so my Mom, Leanne, Jodie, (all of their kids) and Seth, and me and my kids drove down to Calgary. We had to play musical cars a little bit, but we were blessed with safe driving conditions despite Mother Natures best efforts. I started off driving with Leanne, and one of the funniest moments was when I put Griffin's Halloween mask (a chicken head) on and started waving to cars driving past us. One guy had a particularly hilarious reaction and we howled for minutes. It was great.
Griffin sporting his Chicken head mask
 When we arrived in Calgary, the snow and wind were both strong. It was so so cold. We watched a short film regarding the history of the Mormon church in Alberta and then we were able to take the tour of the temple. The Temple was magnificant. Inside and Out. I am always blown away with the detail in the temples. No expense is ever spared, and the quality of workmanship is outstanding(as it should be). There were hundreds and hundreds of people there, so I do admit I felt a bit rushed, and having Hudson there inhibited me from having a super spiritual experience, but I am so glad I was able to go and take my boys. I hope they will always know how important and special temples are.At one point all of my family was in the Celestial Room of the temple, and I did have such a hopeful and nice feeling. It is a remarkable place and so many people will be blessed by having the temple so close to them.
Grandma and all 9 of her grandkids, plus Leanne, and Jodie. It was soooo cold!

The picturesque temple!

We stopped at a mall for dinner and a little bit of shopping, then headed home. I am so glad that Shane was able to go see the temple when he was in Calgary a few weeks ago, and that I was able to go with all of my family. It was a great weekend.