Wednesday, January 28

more (random) christmas

I really loved my wrapping paper this year.  Something about cars with trees on top of them that makes me happy.  I used the same paper for all the kids this year and put the first letter of their name on each gift so they had to search a bit on Christmas morning.   

We headed to Scottsburg the day after Christmas.  We always have fun when we go there and the kids just adore their cousins so they were just happy to be together.  It was unfortunate that Avery and I were not feeling well but we still enjoyed the company and made sweet memories.  Looking back, I was sad I didn't take more pictures while we were there but that's what happens when you're sick.

Grandma Judd made her special traditional meal with all the fixin's which we always enjoy.  The kids have a blast playing together in the garage turned super fun playroom.  They had bought an air hockey table for the playroom that the kids were thrilled about and especially Tyson could not get enough of.  Jason and I even got a date that weekend.  My head was stuffed full of junk and I was super tired but we went anyway to see the movie Unbroken and enjoyed our alone time together.  The kids are never ready to leave when we go there because Grandma & PaPa always make it so special for all of us.

We finally made our Christmas cookies after Christmas.  Santa had to eat Oreos this year because we just had not found time at that point.  The kids had a great time and ate way too much icing along the way.

We headed to Columbus after the New Year.  My Mom had everything all festive and beautiful.  The kids didn't sleep great but that is normal when we travel.  We went out the first night right before bedtime to meet up with Beth, Tia, Tyler, & Alaina to see a movie.  It was fun and different since we don't live close to each other.  We spent hours opening up presents as we do every year.  I loved it.  We had a lot of fun.  A few highlights were when Tyson decided to use his magnifying glass to search for hairs on Uncle Dave's head.

And I loved Avery's face in this photo because you can see how happy and proud she was watching her big cousins open their special presents that she created for them.  She actually made them "reports" about their favorite animals and then attached a second page with a picture of them and their animal that she colored and added some fun extras too like flippers on Tia's feet.  They were awesome.

Aunt Debbie's felt ornaments are a highlight for me each year.  I can't wait to see what we get and they are always amazing.  I wish I had photographed them all on that day but I only captured 3 of the 6, Elsa, Tinkerbell, & Batman.  We also got one the shape of Indiana, a camera, and Rapunzel.  Aunt Debbie is crazy talented.

We gave my Grandma a family photo of us and some tea because she drinks it with every meal.  She immediately started crying when she looked at the picture.  I cried too and took a picture because I didn't want to forget that moment.  My Grandma's favorite gift to receive is pictures of those she loves.  In that way, I am exactly like her.

I loved watching Violet get her little nails painted by Aunt Beth.  She was so excited and thought she was so big.

My sister Stephanie had shown me a wooden sign on Pinterest awhile back and said how much she loved it.  We had leftover pallet wood in the garage so I asked Jason to make the tree and then I painted the star and letters.  It was pretty fun and I was so excited to give it to her.

And winner of the best reaction to a Christmas gift ever was my sister Stephanie.  Beth caught this photo as I revealed the sign to her.  She will kill me for putting this on the blog but it's a classic and displays Christmas excitement that typically you only see in kids.  It makes me happy.

I think I finally covered all the Christmas moments I want to remember so I think it is best if I move on especially considering it is the end of January already.

Tuesday, January 27

judd kid quotes

I often say I wish our kids were on constant video surveillance because they are so stinkin' funny.  I am happy to record their best quotes because they bring a smile to my face every time.


Tyson - "What was Adam & Eve's last name?"

Mia - "I'm so glad I'm your darling."

Mia - "I'm tired from all that doing."

Violet entering the room wearing a leotard and a full diaper - "Guys, I'm a princess and I went poo-poo."
Avery's response - "I'm pretty sure princesses don't announce when they go poo-poo."

Violet - "Baby Simon is so cute. I wish he was my age."

Violet talking about her beloved baby doll - "Baby's fine. She needs to go to sleep.  I will rock-a-bye her in the morning."

Violet - "Oh, I didn't realize that."

Violet - "Elmo will feel me better."

And my favorite is listening to their conversations with each other...

*Conversation between Avery & Tyson about how they will decorate their house someday:

Tyson - "Mommy, you and my wife can decorate while Daddy and me build stuff."

Avery - "Can I come cause I plan on being a good artist?"

Tyson - "Yes, as long as you don't do any animals.  Well, you can do police dogs.  I want police dogs on my cabinets."

Avery - "I want animals painted all over my house.  I want cheetahs on their hind legs painted on my doors."

*Conversation between Tyson & Mia about God:

Tyson - "God and Jesus are the same person."

Mia - "Yeah, they wear the same clothes."

Monday, January 26

the spelling bee

A few days after Christmas break had ended and the kids were back at school, I received an e-mail from Avery's reading teacher that she was the runner-up in her class spelling bee and would now move up to the school-wide spelling bee.  I almost cried.  We know our girl is good at spelling but this was super fun news.  I could not wait to squeeze her when she got home.  I wanted to wait until she told me but a few minutes passed and I had to ask "Did anything exciting happen today at school?" She smiled so big and told me the news.  Naturally, I screamed, picked up my baby who is close to my height, and ran around the kitchen kissing her and screaming some more.  

The school spelling bee was scheduled for that following Friday morning but a delay due to inclimate weather cancelled it.  It was rescheduled for the next Tuesday afternoon which gave us more chances to study words.  We were told the bees would mainly cover the 3rd-5th grade lists but looking back later, that was only for the classroom and no lists were off limits for the school bee which meant the words would come from the 3rd-8th grade lists.  If she had studied the 6th, 7th, & 8th grade lists, who knows what would have happened.  When Avery looks at a spelling word, reads it, and writes it just one time, she pretty much knows it forever.  

So I lost a little sleep leading up to the spelling bee because I was nervous.  I didn't care if she won, but I desperately wanted her to have a great experience.  I was a wreck that morning.  Seriously, it was ridiculous.  

My wonderfully thoughtful sister-in-law, Julie offered to come stay with the little ones while Jason and I went to the bee together.  That was such a gift.  It was during nap time and keeping Violet corralled and happy would have been a nightmare.  We were given the opportunity to focus on our big girl and only her.  It was a precious time for us as parents.  The gym was full of parents and students ready to cheer on their spellers.  It was so exciting.

We got there early so I was able to snag a photo of our sweet speller before it all began.  She was as cool, calm, and confident as a person could be.

We planted ourselves right in the front row to cheer on our girl.

There were 54 kids in the spelling bee, the top 2 spellers from each 3rd & 4th grade classroom.  She was a total rock star (especially with that rockin' zebra poncho she chose to wear).  She went up to the mic so cool each time and spelled the words with such confidence.  I would text my sisters, mom, and mother-in-law an update after each word so I could calm down and have something to keep me occupied.  Then it was down to 8 spellers and our girl was one of them!  My heart seriously felt like it would jump out of my throat, it was beating harder than ever.  She got up to spell in that sixth round and they gave her the word "dinero". She didn't even know what that word was.  It was from the 8th grade list and we never studied it.  She gave it her best shot and walked proudly off that stage.  8th place out of 54 is a serious accomplishment!  We were beyond proud and may have cried a little.  We hugged the stuffing out of her before she sat down with her class.

Later, I found this picture of her on the district's Facebook page.  I love it.  My girl in action.

It was a special day that definitely called for a celebration!  I made her favorite meal of meatloaf and roasted potatoes for dinner and then we headed to UDF for some ice cream dessert.

Seriously our girl is amazing.  We already knew that but watching her so confident on that stage really sealed the deal.

I was telling my mother-in-law all about it later and was brought to tears as I told her I was going to miss the studying now that it was all over.  I hadn't realized it fully yet but that time I spent as her spelling "coach" during that week leading up to bee was incredibly precious.  It gave her and I an excuse to spend extra alone time together.  Her attitude was awesome and we laughed as we came up with fun ways to remember the words and just simply enjoyed each other's company.  Precious moments that I did not want to end.  But there's always next year...

Thursday, January 22

the 2nd annual judds new years rockin' eve

New Years Eve was a blast again this year.  Jason and I get so excited planning for it and it's hard to say who has more fun, the kids or us.

Last year we dressed for dinner at Rib City.  This time, we had decided to go to everyone's favorite pizza place and wanted to dress up again.  We let them dress up "fancy" in whatever they wanted.  Nothing was off limits and Mommy was not allowed to veto a single thing.  Here is what they all came up with.  Tyson took the more laid back approach to "dressing up".  And the girls wore their new Elsa & Anna dresses and Violet chose a sweet dress made by Grandma with a random pair of leggings.  The best part might have been the neon green zebra striped play sports bra thing that Mia wore under her dress.  Wow.

We had headbands for all the kids but only Mia wanted to actually keep hers on so I snagged another and we wore them to dinner together.

When your girls are so happy that they can't help but dance and sing together around a restaurant, it is just awesome and you can't help but smile.

I have this thing now where I am trying to get more pictures of Jason and I so we have Avery or Mia take them and I am always happy we did.

We went home, put our pajamas and dance music on right away.  We danced a lot around the living room together and side by side while singing and smiling.  

We played games, tossed around balloons and popped them every 15 minutes as we counted down to their "midnight" which was actually 9:00.  Our babies just can't make it much past that point without melting down and we didn't want that.  Violet was put down around 8:00 and then we had make-your-own ice cream sundaes just like last year while Tyson enjoyed a frozen fruit slushie. 

New Years Eve has almost felt magical the past two years for us and I don't exactly know why but you how can you go wrong with everyone together, dressing up, yummy dinner, balloons everywhere, music, dancing, and ice cream?  So much fun.

Monday, January 19

giving sweet gifts

One of my favorite moments of Christmas that I do not want to forget occurred on Christmas Eve morning.  The kids were just beyond excited and Avery & Tyson could not wait to give everyone the gifts they picked out at their school's holiday shop.  They asked to go ahead and give their gifts so we let them go for it.  

Jason got a wooden car he could build himself from Avery because "he loves to build stuff" and Tyson got him a little tape measure for the same reason.  So cute.  

Violet was thrilled with her gift from Avery.  This did not come from the school holiday shop but was made with Avery's two hands.  She wanted to make something special for Violet that involved Elmo so we came up with the idea for a pillow.  She did the work herself with very little assistance from me.  She can totally work the sewing machine now which impresses me.  The pillow turned out adorable and Violet was so happy about it.

Avery gave Mia a Frozen necklace which was of course a huge hit and so she helped her put it on right away.

Tyson got Mia a little Sophia the First coloring kit that she loved and he was rewarded for a job well done with a huge hug.

Tyson got Violet a purple wand.  So with her wand in one hand and Elmo pillow in the other, she was happy as can be.

I got a bracelet from Avery and a jingle bell doorknob hanger from Tyson.  I just couldn't get over how well thought out each gift was.  We were so proud of them because they were thoughtful and careful to pick out something they just knew each of us would love.  And the best part is that even used their own money.  We believed it would make giving the gifts even better because it was all on their own.

Neither one of them hesitated to use every last one of their dollars (all 5 or 6 of them).  

Thursday, January 15

christmas day

Christmas this year was wonderful in different ways than usual.  Avery got sick and so did I.  That was not wonderful.  We were up when we felt good and down when we felt bad again so we were a bit out of sorts.  This did mean that a whole lot of relaxing was done on Christmas day which is a welcomed thing around here especially for Mommy.

There is the obligatory coming down the stairs pic that we take every year and it never fails to be blurry but I always love it anyway.  I cracked up when I saw this because Avery looks like a teenager holding a coffee but it's actually just a cup of water since she was not feeling well.

Needless to say, Violet was stinkin' adorable every minute of Christmas.  Also love that Tyson was caught on camera helping his baby sister because he is so good to her and loves being her big brother.

Mia loves pandas and a panda wearing a bow is even better.

I wish I could say that we made it another Christmas without having to give away the Santa surprise but we were not successful in that.  She just kept asking so many questions and it felt like the right time to let her know that Mommy & Daddy are actually Santa.  She took it well but let us know later that it would have been better if we had not told her on that actual Christmas day.  She had a good point and I wanted to cry myself to sleep at that minute but we made note of it and will not repeat that mistake in the future.  Our poor little guinea pig.  Love her precious soul.

Stockings are awesome and it is always so much fun to see how excited they get about new toothbrushes.

Tyson was so excited about his remote control helicopter but shortly after it was out of the box, we all wondered whether Jason was maybe even a little more excited.

Mia squeals when she opens gifts and usually hugs them.  Tyson just makes the best expressions that let you know exactly how he feels about his gifts.  Legos never disappoint.

Our big girl is not going to ask for dress up clothes or dolls for much longer so we went with it.  Elsa doll and dress for Avery and Anna doll and dress for Mia.  I love it.

You can tell that Avery needs to be lying down in this pic.  Poor thing was over pictures and just not feeling well at all.

This is what she did so much of the morning and it made me so sad.

There was a lot of Lego building that Christmas day.  I love watching them build Legos.  Tyson built Mia's new little set for her while she played with his new slinky.

We celebrated Jesus' birthday with our traditional cinnamon rolls.  

Mia played like a champ all day long with her new toys wearing her new Anna dress.

Violet wanted the new books read to her immediately.

Finally the medicine kicked in and Avery perked up for a bit to join in the Lego building.  They spent a long time at the table putting together their sets.

Avery and I spent a lot of time cuddling on the couch and we would be joined by some other Judds every once in awhile.  

Tyson ran to Jason with his arms open ready for a big hug after he found out it was Daddy's idea to get him a remote control helicopter and that was one of my favorite moments of the day.

Oh, how I love Christmas every single year.  No matter what the day brings, there is always so much to smile about.

Tuesday, December 30

christmas eve

On Christmas Eve, we went to the afternoon service at church to avoid grumpy kids around dinner time and it worked out so well.  I had my camera with me so I made them stand on a wall when we got to church and pose for me.  You can see that Tyson was thrilled.  The picture turned out unclear and crazy but that is our life so it's perfect.  

I love the challenge of finding them coordinating Christmas outfits on the cheap.  The girls clothes all came from Once Upon a Child and I made Tyson's tie.  So much fun and they looked adorable.  It was cloudy and raining so the natural light failed me but I still love how their little personalities came out in these few pics we got at home after church.

After church, a few pics, and a change of clothes we had our special Christmas Eve candlelight dinner.  We had popcorn shrimp and a couple veggies to go with it.  So simple and so fun.

Tyson and Jason had to get a little wrestling in after dinner of course.

And Violet wanted in on the action too.

We finished the night with our last wrapped countdown book, the classic 'Twas the Night Before Christmas".

Jason and I finished wrapping up some presents and relaxed while watching "Christmas With the Kranks" which I love and I'm pretty sure he secretly does too.