You had a rough start into this New Year - 2016. Was it the fireworks? Stomach bug? Something you ate? Sinus drip? I don't know what.... but at 12:30am, you woke up throwing up... over everything. After we cleaned you up with a bath, removed sheets and put on clean cloths, Mommy brought you to the sofa and surrounded us with towels. That's the best way to keep you up right, at the sofa. You were like clock work - you'd go back to sleep and wake up sick every 30-45 minutes, until 4:30am. Poor sweet boy... you were so tired, Mommy had to quickly change out the towels because you would have put your head right back into the yucky stuff, just because you were desperate to sleep.
Daddy woke us up at 7am. We asked if you wanted to stay awake or get some water. You jumped off the sofa, drank water and ran around all morning as if you had never been sick the night before. It's amazing how you do this!
Rough start, but still a good save for the day. Before Mommy goes into our New Years Day, let's back track a little bit. Plenty has happened since the last letter to you - such as CHRISTMAS!
We took you to see the lights at Lafreinere Park. We are fortunate to live so close to such a lovely park and as Daddy said, "Each year the lights get better and better."
We didn't have to ask you to pose by the minion. You ran to it!
Daddy took a picture for a nice couple at the park and then they offered to take a picture for us too.
You loved the dragon lights in the lake.
Your favorite part of the lights is the large round pavilion. Christmas music played, kids ran in circles, chasing each other and you joined in like nobody's business. We tried three times to leave, but you insisted, "Do again, do again." Eventually we had to force you to leave, tears and all, because you were what Mommy calls, "wired and tired" - the point where you will fall down because you are so exhausted but determined to continue on.
One afternoon, you wanted to play with the play dough. Mommy made a Christmas tree. You said, "Needs lights, Mommy." You made little balls of red and purple and decorated the green trees.
It's been warm lately. But there was one cold day and Mommy took out your cute little bow tie and vest Christmas long sleeve shirt. You like bow ties!
Reading your rhyming Bible.
We went to St. Augustine's Episcopal Church for the rehearsal of The Christmas Pageant. Mommy wasn't sure about you participating in this. Earlier in the week, Mommy spoke with Father A.J. who reassured us that you could definitely participate in the performance and Father A.J. felt that you would do a good job. For the rehearsal, you did great! You had a sheep and Cheerios and followed instructions. Your role was to be a shepherd.
Rose helping you find the right size outfit.
When we left the church, you quickly climbed over into the front seat and said, "I drive Daddy's car."
When we went to eat, you were given crayons as the orders were being prepared. Mommy asked you, "Which hand do you prefer to color with, the right or the left?" You didn't hesitate, "The left." But I'm not sure if you know which hand is your left. You will crayon with the right, but it's lighter. When you crayon with your left, the marks are much heavier and darker.
That night, Oma and Opa took you to a performance of The Nutcracker. You enjoyed the show and clapped with great enthusiasm at the right times. You love it when people clap and totally get into it. During the intermission, you had a visit with The Grinch - oh boy, you didn't want to go near that character and hid behind Oma, but eventual you warmed up The Grinch. Of course, you did great with Santa.
We have a Grinch ornament at home. Before the performance, you often would point to the ornament and say, "OH No! Bad guy!" You knew that the grinch stole presents.
Towards the end of the show, you fell asleep. When you woke up, you asked, "Where's Bad Guy?" (The rat). You have a tendency for being partial to the bad guys. I don't understand this yet and hope you can explain it to me one day.
Laurel and her son, C, visited one evening. You didn't even stop to see what they brought over for you (two big bags of C's toy trains that he doesn't play with any more - later you emptied out the bags in joy)... the minute you saw C, the two of you went chasing around and playing. If C did something, you did what he did.
Not long before Christmas, you (and Mommy) got a sinus infection. Not fun at all. Mommy wanted you to get over this quickly, especially with Christmas right around the corner. So, we went to Mommy's ENT.
When the doctor looked in your ears, we had to hold your head to the side. You were squirming and fussing, but we managed. When it was Mommy's turn in the chair, Mommy told you, "Gregory, watch as the doctor looks in Mommy's ears." You stood up, curious as could be, watched the doctor and said, "Hold Mommy's Head!" The doctor replied, "Mommy is a big girl and she keeps her head still so I don't have to hold her head." You made me laugh. But I realized something... someone putting something in your ear does tickle. I get your reaction now.
When Mommy was in the chair and the doctor took out the stethoscope, you told Mommy, "Breath, Mommy, Breath" then you proceeded to give an example by breathing really fast and quick. Again, you made me laugh. Which is good, because then Mommy coughed and as the doctor listened, he was able to say, "Not bronchitis." Whew!
Once both of our visits was over, you walked over to the doctor's station, put your pointer finger to your chin, went, "Hmmmm... Lollipop?" You surprised me, because you remembered being here a while ago and knew the doctor kept lollipops in one of the drawers.
In the below picture, you are holding up a board that has holes on the top and bottom. You laced it all by yourself with the attached shoe string! Mommy was so proud, because it's a great skill to learn. Oma and Opa found this board and another one - they have awesome, educational toys for you.
Sally and Bruce came by to visit. They were sharing how some kids are afraid if you even make a finger/hand like a gun. It's just a finger and for fun. Bruce did this with you and went, "Bang!" You dropped to the floor theatrically and then popped right back up, "Again, again." Daddy and Bruce go to competitive shooting together. We don't keep the guns out and around the house, but eventually we will teach you the safety, the seriousness and the respect that is needed. We don't want you to be curious about such things, but to know how to respect them. First though, Mommy needs to go to the gun range.
Opening up gifts, Mommy was tickled with the PJ Masks ornaments that Sue hand made. Daddy said, "She did a great job with them" and you totally approved.
You take gift opening so seriously.
You, Daddy and Bruce visited Aunt Melody at the store she manages. Melody posted the following picture on Facebook and said how she gets the best customers this time of year. Aww.
You had lots of toys to open before Christmas and Mommy gave herself a gift early this year too - piano tuning. Having the piano tuned was inspired after Mommy played on the piano and you tried to sing along... it could have been Mommy's playing, your off key singing or the piano needing years worth of work... Mommy figured it was time. The same person who tuned the piano last time, tuned it again.. how do we know? Because he left a card inside the piano with the date of his last visit... 9 years ago!
When Mr. McWilliams tuned the piano, you wanted to play on it. But of course, that couldn't be the case. Next option? You hunted through your toys and pulled out your harmonica. You actually did pretty good with the harmonica, but it, again, was not a good thing to be doing while someone was listening to the keys for tuning. Have I mentioned that you are a determined boy? You wanted to play music and found another means. You fussed when we took the harmonica away. In the picture below you can see the piano tuner to the left of the tree, you are playing with toys and Tigger is on guard. Lol.
Andrea sent an email to a group of friends, inviting us to join her for a "Sip and Paint" night. Daddy watched you while Mommy went to paint. I couldn't resist the Mr. Bingle!
Oma posted on Facebook the story of Mr. Bingle and Mommy read it to you when she showed you the painting.
When Santa left his shop one day, he found a snowman near his sleigh.
"You'll be my helper now," he said, and tapped the little fellow's head.
The snowman found that he could talk - "Look, Santa, I can even walk!"
And then he gave a little sigh... Oh, how I wish that I could fly!"
So Santa gave him holly wings, then, looking through his Christmas things,
Found ornaments the very size to make a pair of shining eyes.
Then Santa said, "You need a hat; An ice cream cone is just right for that.
And keep this candy cane with you, you'll see what magic it can do!"
The snowman laughed and sang a jingle, so Santa named him "Mr. Bingle."
That's how they came to be each year... at Maison Blanche with Christmas Cheer.
Mommy was still recovering from the sinus cold, so she was a little surprised.... hmm... with a slight bit of annoyance that Daddy wanted to take candle light pictures. Daddy set up the area in front of the Christmas tree. Mommy felt yucky, but Daddy insisted. He said it would make Mommy feel better and he said, "You are both beautiful." He made Mommy feel that way, even when grumpy and sick... that's love.
Christmas Eve Day, a lot went on and you managed to keep up with the best. I'm very impressed with how you handled so much activity and change in your schedule. It's a lot to ask of a young child. The morning started off with a visit to Oma and Opa's. Yes, in shorts, this is Louisiana weather - shorts one week, jackets the next. Mother Nature missed the cold weather on Christmas.
After seeing The Nutcracker, you now love to play with the nutcracker at Oma's and Opa's home.
Christmas Eve night was the The Pageant at church. We arrived early for rehearsal.
You did fine for this. No problems. You even had people laughing when you went to the front of the church and laid down.
Waving to Mommy
But then when the group went to the room to get dressed, you refused to do so. In your mind, you already did the play. You didn't understand the concept of "rehearsal"... you just did this and you couldn't understand why you had to do this again.
You pitched such a fit; I think everyone was giving up on you being a shepherd. Mommy called Daddy (who was waiting in the church) and then Mommy took you out of the dress room, outside to talk. Mommy calmly explained how everyone was looking forward to seeing you as a shepherd, even Oma and Opa were coming. You still refused. Daddy arrived, swooped you up in his arms and took you back into the room... but he couldn't convince you either... until.... one of the church ladies said, "Look at Daddy being a shepherd." Ahh, when you saw Daddy dressed up as a shepherd, you wanted to be just like Daddy and no problems getting you dressed.
Daddy received so many praises for being such a great example for his son from the church members. I have to be honest, Mommy's love for Daddy - well, the cup overflowed... so proud of your Daddy for being willing to do this with you, for loving the moment, for being in the moment and in the memories. It was beautiful.
You can't see your or Daddy's face in the following picture, but Mommy loves it. This is when the angels surrounded you and Daddy. It was so sweet. And now looking at the picture, the choir at the top look like angels looking down too.
What an incredibly sweet memory. You did very well, because Daddy was there by your side. When the two of you came back to the pew, you were tired and wired. You were moving all around, but everyone was in a forgiving Christmas spirit and laughed along with you.
At the end of the service, everyone had a candle and it was lit as we sang, "Silent Night." You didn't hold a candle, but you wanted to blow out the candle. As the song ended, you were happy to blow out our candles and the people around us. It felt like a birthday for you - celebration of Jesus' birth. Perfect.
From the service to home... in a dash we took out the food, put the gifts under the tree, turned on the Christmas lights, got the television ready for the kids to play games - all within the nick of time for the arrival of family - my parents, Kevin and his kids. We had a great time! It was late, but fun!
Love this next picture - Kevin reading, "The Night Before Christmas"
Biscuit, "What, no gift for me?"
Biscuit, "Wait - the cat, it's my gift!" Woof Woof! Tigger, SO not amused.
You painted one ornament for Mommy and one for Daddy at Oma and Opa's house and gave them to us for Christmas. Here you are putting the ornaments on the tree.
I'm hoping this Christmas Eve tradition of family over is kept every year. It's a blessing.
So was Christmas morning. Mommy and Daddy were so excited to wake you up, but you wanted to sleep! Who can sleep when Santa has come by! You! But eventually you did wake up.
In the meantime, Mommy received a loving email from Daddy:
"I love you so much. I loved the look in your eyes when we were in church and the way you held my arm.
I loved the look you had when you saw your Mom and Dad kneeling at the altar,
It was hectic.. but also an incredible Christmas Eve,
You are a wonderful woman.. and I cant imagine life without you.
I love you...
Merry Christmas... and I hope we have dozens more like this one.
You wanted to open each and ever gift and did so with determination.
You like the lego table, because in the center of the table there is a mesh bag to hold the legos. You started hiding all kinds of toys there. You love hiding places!
Too cute - playing doctor, looking in Daddy's ear.
Love this next picture. Mommy likes to collect Willow Tree figurines. Mommy had to go online to find a Daddy/Son figurine; it's just not easy to find. Daddy was touched when he opened this gift. He had commented about wanting a Daddy/Son Willow Tree - yeah!
Bean bag gift that you melted into.
Daddy set up the iPad to run a video. This is a snap shot - the video shows you going back and forth to open the gifts. Too cute.
Merry Christmas picture we posted on Facebook for Christmas Day.
Daddy wrote the following on Facebook. We both agreed that this was the best Christmas present ever! "The BEST Christmas gift EVER! After opening gifts and letting everything settle down.. I started my To-Do list... assemble this.. throw out that, clean this. Aleta was working on her photos she took... then Gregory comes down the hallway with no diaper on saying "I pee pee BIG!" He undressed himself and went to the potty on his own!!! I am SO happy!! Life is incredible!"
After such an eventful and exciting morning, it's no surprise that you fell asleep on the way to Granny and Grandfather's house. Mommy managed to take you out of the car and settle you into Granny's bed without waking you up. You slept through dinner, the gift exchange and singing happy birthday to Cami and Les. When you woke up, it was to eat cake and open gifts. Your timing was perfect!
Happy Birthday, Cami and Les!
Uncle Jerry reading a book to you
You're telling your cousin, Cami, "Ball stuck"
Tree just your size!
Love this picture of you and your cousins
Granny stealing some sugar. You scream and then say, "Do again!"
Your new saying is, "What's that?" Mommy bought you some Alphabet Flash Cards For Boys.
You LOVE them. You ask me to take a card and then say, "What's that?" You want us to describe what's going on and most of the time, it's pretty gross. There's the "B for Bear with the Bugger" or "D for Dinosaur Doo Doo".... the cards are funny in a gross way... and you love this type of humor.
The cards remind me of something you love to do now... it's gross... so Daddy and so you. You were playing with Play Doh. Daddy took some and said, "Gregory, watch this!" Daddy put the play doh behind him, grunted and then let the play doh dropped behind him and said, 'I pooh'd play doh!" You LOVED it and laughed so hard. And now... You do the same thing, only not just with play doh, you'll take trucks and cars and say you pooh them. If I go to your school and your teacher tells me that you did this, I'm going to turn bright red and bust out laughing and totally blame your daddy! hehe. It's gross, but I laugh too.
Below is a picture of you saying, "Nut cracker is in time out, because the nutcracker ate your car."
You took out the doctor set from Oma and Opa's house and did a check up on the Nutcracker in case he has a tummy ache from eating your toy car.
We have a couple of Christmas trees in the house. Soon after Christmas, Mommy took down the big tree. It was so hot during Christmas and the weekend after that we decided to take down the majority of the Christmas stuff early. You saw me taking down the tree and said, "Bad Mommy!"
Before New Year's, Oma and Opa took you to get your hair cut. You still cry about it, even when it's over and you get a candy cane. Too cute.
New Year's early morning hours might have been rough with you being sick, but you made up for it by being in a fantastic, high-energy mood for the day. You ran around and played with toys at Granny and Grandfather's house. We indulged in health, wealth and happiness (cabbage, ham and black eye peas) and it's become a tradition for both sets of your grandparents to visit on this day, which I totally love. Here's a picture of you with your grandparents - blessings, sweet boy, for them to be in your life.
Playing Ring A Around The Rosie with Granny and Grandfather. I have a cute video of this too and with Oma joining in.
You have a favorite hiding place at Granny and Grandfather's home - it took them a while to find you! You also gave Oma and Opa a scare just recently - You left the room where Oma was and she went to find you. The front door was open, but the screen door was closed. Oma and Opa couldn't find you anywhere in the house. Ohhh, boy, you are getting GOOD at hiding and being quiet now! (Though at our home, you love to close the doors to the room where you hide, so Daddy finds you quickly.) But at Oma's and Opa's? You gave them a fright! They went running outside to see if you had left the house. Opa closed the front door and there you are, laughing and screaming with delight - you like to hide behind the doors... they will make sure to check there in the future for sure.
We have many blessings to count from 2015. It was a good year with happy memories made. I can't wait to see what more you learn (I'm waiting for the knock-knock jokes to start), your laughter, your tickles, your hugs. You complete our family and make us a family. Mommy and Daddy love each other so much and you are a product of that love. Your smiles are a reflection of our time together.
Wishing you a wonderful 2016 and all the years to come. Happy New Year, Son.