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Monday, December 27, 2010

Let it snow, let it snow, let is snow...

It snowed here on December 26th! So much for a white christmas, but it was close enough that it was VERY exciting!! We took Legree out in it for a few minutes. He is just getting over being sick so this mama wasn't taking any chances. I bundled him up tight in lots of layers and we were only out for a few minutes. But it was so cute to hear his "OHH WOW" "WHOOOWEE" over the snow. Here some of our pictures from our play time outside...

Baby mittens wiping off snow from baby boots, how precious is that?

That smile just melts my heart every time!

He decided he wanted to take a walk down the street...

But daddy didn't let him get too far....

Snow day is fun day!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Traditions...

I remember when I was a little girl (maybe around 10-12 range) reading in a magazine somewhere that Christmas traditions were what your kids remember about Christmas and are important. And then the magazine went on to suggest some traditions to start with your family. So, I thought to myself when I have my own family I will have LOTS of Christmas traditions. Well, we don't have LOTS of traditions, but we do have a few very important and heartfelt ones that I LOVE!

1) Christmas shirt - When I was 5 years old my Grandma Lola gave me a Christmas shirt that says "Dear Santa, I want it all!". She gave one to all of her grandchildren that Christmas. She gave them all to us in the same size: a man's extra large! A little big on a 5 year old :) But I thought it was so funny and proudly told Grandma I would wear it EVERY Christmas. And by golly, I have! It's 22 years old now and still in good shape and actually fits me instead of being like a tent on me. I only wear it Christmas eve night to bed and while we're opening presents. Then I wash it and put it away till next year. I don't want it to get to worn out. But it's so special to me because it's been with me through EVERY Christmas for 22 years. And even though my Grandma Lola can't be with us in person, I feel like I have a part of her with me every Christmas morning, and that is more special then I could ever put into words!

2) Chinese food - About 4 years ago it was just me and my parents for Christmas. My brothers were married and with their wife's family. I met Ben a month later, so I was still single at the time. So, mom didn't see much point in making some big Christmas dinner. Well, after our Christmas eve service at church we were STARVING and the only place we could find open was Chinese food. Which we all love anyways and we were right tired of turkey, ham, mac and cheese etc so we said what the heck, let's do it! So, we ate Chinese food that night and loved it. And we promised to make it a yearly tradition to eat Chinese food on Christmas eve. And that's what we do! It was so much fun this year to have Legree with us and for him to be old enough to enjoy the food too!

3) Christmas service - Every Christmas eve we, of course, go to our church service. It is always a candel lit service and we sings LOTS of Christmas hymns and have several sermonettes on the birth of our Savior. This is such a special service. This year as really hit home to me about what a sacrifice God made in sending us his only Son, for our sins. He sent us the perfect for the imperfect. The best gift of all!

4) Parents over for breakfast - Every Christmas morning we have Ben's parents and my parents over for breakfast. We eat, catch up and then they watch Legree open up his Santa presents. And then we play with him and all his toys together. It's so much fun and means so much to Legree, Ben and I to have them all here with us. As soon as they all got into the house today Legree was just squeeling, giggling and dancing with delight that all his grandparents are together. He has such a close relationship with all of them, it's so wonderful!

Some "new" Christmas traditions that we are starting as of next year....

3 presents... I've been thinking a lot about how to "explain" Santa to Legree and what's going on with Christmas. I mean it's kind of a lot to take in and next year he'll be able to understand presents etc more. So, Ben and I decided we are going to tell Legree from now on that Christmas is Jesus Birthday and that's why everyone celebrates it so much. And that Jesus loves us so much that he not only died on the cross for all of our sins, but he also sends us His Birthday presents at Christmas! He sends Santa to deliver them on Christmas eve night. And from now on, Legree will only get three presents Christmas morning. Because Jesus got three presents from the wisemen, and it doesn't make much since for Legree to get more presents on Jesus' birthday then Jesus did. We hope and pray to keep the focus on this being Jesus birthday and let Santa just be a courior for the presents. And to let Legree know he should be thanking Jesus for His birthday gifts and for the greatest gift of all, Jesus coming as man to save us from our sins.

Another tradition that I started two years ago and never really noticed till this year... Christmas ornaments that aren't really ornaments. UGH? Yeah sounds weird... but I wrote about in a previous post but for the past two years I've collected a tree topper and an "ornament" that weren't meant to be ornaments, but I put them on our tree like they are. So, I'm going to find something significant from that year and turn it into an ornament. I'm sure I'll find some interesting things to hang every year!! And in the future our child(ren) can help me find a "nonornament" and turn it into an ornament! This year I made Legree a pair of Christmas Jons jons. I just started sewing and really love it! So, since they are green and red he can't really wear them past today so I'm going to take the buttons off of them, put it on a pretty ribbon and that will be our "nonornament" for this year!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!! See ya next year Christmas traditions!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

You better watch out, you better not pout...

Legree reacted EXACTLY how I figured he would this year...

Which is a FAR cry from how he was last year...


A perfectly imperfect Christmas

Well, the week leading up to Christmas has not exactly been what I planned. I had celebration, gatherings and dinner plans for almost every night this week with friends and family set up. All of them had to be canceled. I had plans of getting some last minute Christmas crafting done, that was canceled too. I wanted to bake some cookies, go see Santa with Legree, the list goes on and on my friends. The house is a wreck, the dishes are piled up and my floor hasn't seen a vacuum cleaner in two weeks now (not good with a toddler roaming around). So, it hasn't exactly been a picture perfect Christmas celebration week.

Legree has been sick with a double ear infection, I've got a sore throat and a terrible cough and Ben has had a Chron's flare up. But I'm actually kind of thankful for it. It's made me slow up and see what's important this holiday season. Going everywhere, seeing everyone and doing everything isn't 100% necessary. What is necessary is remembering that this holiday is a celebration of our Christ's birth. So, I've had PLENTY of time to think, ponder and pray about God's gift to us and Jesus sacrifice. I've spent A LOT of this past week praying for my family's health and to give me patience and endurance to take care of them all the while feeling like a train has hit me. I found strength I didn't know I had, found peace in imperfection and the love of my family has deepen.

So, thank you Jesus for MAKING us slow up this holiday season and refocus on you. Now, can we get better??
Here is a picture of Legree sleeping on the couch during his sickness. Legree is a GREAT sleeper if he has his bed and if he's alone. He doesn't like sleeping with us and he doesn't just fall asleep anywhere. So, this was a rare moment I caught on camera of him sleeping on the couch, so cute!
He slept on my chest before this for about an hour and a half, and then slept another hour a half on the couch by himself.

Monday, December 20, 2010

I wish...learning how to be parent

Legree is sick, which is never fun. Last night he woke up around midnight with a high fever and just miserable. We found out today at the dr. that he has a pretty nasty double ear infection. A first for our little guy! He's 18 months old and has never been on antibiotics! Thank you very much breast milk for helping us keep this away so long!!

Anyways, last night after I gave Legree some medicine I was rocking him and holding him and whispering in his ear how much I loved him and that God was there with us taking care of both of us. It's such a blessing that I know my child so well now I know exactly what he needs and wants. Last night made me think back to the very first time he was sick. It was a virus and he was about 9 months old. I had no clue what to do and I was scared to death! His temp was so high (I didn't know it was normal for babies to spike high temps) and I just felt so bad for him. I thought last night I wish I had known him as well as I do now and exactly what to do. But then I realized I never would have gotten to know him this well or know what he needed when he's sick without that first illness (or any of the other viruses that followed).

I have grown so much as a parent and in my relationship with Legree it's amazing. When he was first born I loved him, of course, but I didn't KNOW him like I do now. And I realized last night how confident I was in my parenting skills and abilities now. Something I would have never said while I was pregnant. So, bring on the teenage years! HA! Just kidding... not ready for that at all! But I know I'll continue to grow as a mother, care-giver, disciplinarian (spelling?), role model, etc for Legree and any of Ben and I's future children. This is my proudest and most important role in my life and I pray that the Lord will continue to bless mine and Legree's relationship, help me to mold him into a good Christian man and be with us throughout our years together!

Love you little guy! Hope you get better soon! Santa is on his way :)!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

When I'm sick...

My mommy let's me get away with anything!

I can't believe it, she let me sit on the couch and watch a marathon of Yo Gabba Gabba! I usually am lucky to get 2 Yo Gabba Gabbas a day and I watched all of them we had. If I so much as whimpered, she brought me more milk, a warm blanket, a soft kiss and a cuddle.
She even let me eat my snack on the couch, which is never allowed! I don't like this cold one bit, but I could get used to this royalty treatment from my mommy!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I wonder what Jesus was like at 17 months...

Since it's Christmas and we have all these nativities up and pictures of baby Jesus, it kind of makes me wonder what he was like as a toddler. Especially seeing Legree and how he is. Not that I'm comparing my child to Jesus, I'm not... but as a parent it makes you look at things in a whole other light.

I've never really thought of Jesus of anything other then a newborn (during the Christmas season), as our Savior dying on the cross (at Easter time) and as our Godly Lord in Heaven. I've never really thought, hmm I wonder how old Jesus was when he started walking, talking, preaching the word of God. But with all the milestones, achievements, tantrums, attitudes etc that I see in Legree it makes me wonder what Jesus was like as a toddler. I know Jesus was perfect and without sin.. so can you imagine an unselfish, undemanding toddler? I just can't imagine it, but I would love to know. Hopefully one day in Heaven I can have a little talk with Jesus and get all the details!

One of my friends posted a video on her facebook page with pictures of Mary breastfeeding Jesus. I loved it to see Jesus even as a toddler in these pictures nursing from his mother. It gives me (and should give every mother out there) new incentive to breastfeed. And makes me mad at my pediatrician to demand I stop breastfeeding Legree at 1 because it's bad for his teeth. I won't be listening to him on the next one and just keep on till the baby/toddler decides he/she wants to stop! So, it makes me wonder about Mary, Jesus and their breastfeeding "relationship" if you will. Did she have troubles breastfeeding? Were her breast engorged ever? Or was Jesus the perfect little suckler? Did he ever bit her? How long did he breasfeed for? I've got so many questions for you Jesus... you just wait!

Being a parent has also made me see God in a whole new light as well. I can't imagine giving up my son for other's sins. So, I make sure now to thank God for giving us this precious gift. I always thanked Jesus for his gift of Himself, but can you imagine how hard it was for God to give up his only son?? To watch his Son up on the cross, in pain, being tortured to death, and then to have to turn his back on Him. I know He is a God to have strength to do that. As a parent, I can only imagine what it would be like to have your perfect Son (literally in this case) die for other people's sins.

So this Holiday season... I'm thankful and happy to think of Jesus in a whole new way . I'm thankful God has given me Legree for so many reasons... but right now I'm truly thankful for having Legree help me see my Lord in a whole new light. Maybe next year I'll wonder how on earth they potty trained Jesus!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Looks like a Lewis, quacks like a Ballentine...

Legree looks like the spitting image of Ben. There is no way around he got ZERO of his looks from me or my family. And I'm okay with that, I really wanted him to look like Ben. But he sure has Ballentine in his bones because he ACTS like a Ballentine. He eats in a hurry and eats a lot (deffinately a Ballentine trait). He likes to be the center of attention and talk a lot, deffinately a Ballentine trait. I could go on and on...

This morning I caught another Ballentine trait coming out in him. Now before I write it and you are reading this and don't want to hear about poop... well, then A) We probably shouldn't be friends B) Don't go any further...

So Legree was CRABBY this morning. He was clingy and fussy and didn't want to play. Totally not like him. Finally he ran off to his pooping corner (the same place he goes every day to poop). Once he was done I changed him and what do you know the crabbiness went away and he was dancing. clapping and singing like a whole new boy. Now if that ain't a Ballentine... I don't know what is!! LOL!

Monday, December 13, 2010


I had to share Legree's latest funny moment before I forget in the holiday hype. Sorry there are no pictures but my camera and computer don't want to talk to each other today to transfer any pics! UGH!

Legree is on a "gapes" (grapes) kick. That's all he wants, all the time. Forget cookies, cake or candy... he wants his gapes! Which is perfectly fine with this mama. He really eats healthier then anyone I know! The other day he was eating lunch and finished up and kept pointing and fussing for SOMETHING. I couldn't figure out what and tried everything. We were both completely frustrated because he knew what he wanted, and I couldn't figure it out! So finally he just yelled "GAPPESS!" He had never said gapes before and I think he was just desperate and said it. It was pretty cute. So I picked up the bag and said is this what you want and he just started jumping up and down, laughing and clapping his hands. I gave him more and he was so excited!

Ben has also taught him that to yell for "MAW" when he wants something or needs me to come to him. So, all I hear all day is "MAWWW". Like an ol' country bumpkin all over the house yelling for his "MAWWW". So cute!

Monday, December 6, 2010

A sense of humor...and of course, some tractors.

Yesterday Ben and I were looking at something on the computer while Legree ate supper. He was near the end and seemed quite content to finish his supper while we checked on some information. Anyways, we heard a crash a few minutes after we left... and sure enough he threw his bowl on the floor. Probably for attention because he never does that.

So, Ben promptly asks Legree "Legree, did you do that? Did you throw your bowl?"

And Legree's reply was to throw his hands up in the air and say "ME??? NOOOO!"
At least we know he has a sense of humor!

And this has nothing to do with that, but one of Legree's most favorite things to do when we go to Ben's parents house is to "read" the tractor magazines with Paw. No kidding, he runs to the magazines, picks them up, throws them in Ben's dad's lap and climbs on up. They flip through and look at pictures of tractors. Legree points and makes his motor sound. And if we ask him if he can drive the tractor he ALWAYS shakes his head up and down yes. And then we ask him if he could even drive the really big tractors and that little head goes up and down. He loves his tractors! Here's a picture of them reading their magazine...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Scrooge in the house

I'm a bit of a scrooge at Christmas.. go ahead and gasp in horror all you ladies out there. It's okay. I deserve it! I don't know what it is, but I just get so frustrated at Christmas.

Mainly because it seems this holiday has become SO focused on presents, decorations and going going going that EVERYONE has lost the true meaning of Christmas. That our good and gracious God sent his one and only Son down from Heaven to pay for OUR sins. Moms, can you imagine giving up one of your children to save everyone else? Since becoming a parent God has really made me realize what a sacrifice He made by giving us his Son.

My second issue with Christmas is all the decorations. Now, don't get me wrong I love Christmas decorations I just have never been very good at it. So, it makes me mad that my house doesn't look like a Christmas Southern Living magazine cover. Not even close to it! I've had every style of Chrsitmas decorations in this house you can think of. We've done blue and silver, country style and gold. I guess I thought if I settled into a theme I'd get more into it and be willing to spend money on decorations that are only up for three weeks, but no such luck. And none of the styles looked very good anyways.

Well, last year I finally decided I'd pick a theme, go with it and start adding to it SLOWLY every year so I don't get so worked up about it. And that way I can get nicer things without breaking the bank and eventually I might have my own magazine cover Christmas. I admit it was fun to pull out some of the Christmas ornaments I bought last year to go with my new theme. And it was so sweet and precious to pull out Legree's baby's first Christmas ornaments from last year and hang them up.

This year I finally comitted to a tree skirt as my addition to our decorations. It matches my theme perfectly. Now for the big revel on the theme.... Red, green elfish like theme. Make sense? Probably to no one else but me! But most of our ornaments are red and green and a lot of elf like touches. I didn't want anything formal or to out there, so I thought this was perfect, cute, whimsy and fun for the kiddos.

So, here's some pictures of my favorites:

All of our initials are on the tree... they are all B's and L's and one lone W (Ben's middle initial).

Legree's 1st Christmas ornament, baby booties!

The REAL reason for the season..

I found this guy last year when we went to AL to see my newest nephew for the first time. We stopped at a mall to give Legree some time out of the car seat on the way home. We went into Macy's because I had never been in one before and I found this little guy 60% off. He was my inspiration to pick and stick with the elf theme! He's so cute and fun! And you pull his string and his arms and legs jump up and down.

And as I was looking at our Christmas tree this year after I got all the decorations up I noticed a tradition that I'm going to stick to every year... we have one thing from every Christmas that was not supposed to be an ornament that I have made into an ornament. Last year Ben's mom attempted to crochet Legree a hat for Christmas at my request. It didn't quite turn out as expected. But it made the perfect little topper for our elf like Christmas tree. And it has a good story behind it at least! From the year before I had gotten Kilo a little elf hat thinking it'd be funny on her. Well, she wouldn't wear it, but it fits perfectly with our Christmas tree now.

Here's a picture of Kilo's hat that is now an ornament. And our finished Christmas tree with the crocheted hat. (Oh and the empty bottom potion of our tree is to keep Legree from pulling all the ornaments off)

And it did make matters a lot more fun and easy for me with the cutest little helper around....

So, this year I am going to try and embrace the fun of Christmas and not be such a bah-hum-bug about it!