Thursday, December 31, 2009

Letter to a Friend!

I wrote this letter in response to the Temples letter to us. The Temples were the couple that counseled Brad and I in our premarital church classes. They were such an amazing couple and we hadn't heard from each other for about a year. I thought the letter would be a good summary of our 2010 for your blog kids :)

**It was such a pleasure receiving your Christmas card and letter! We can not believe Trey is already a teenager. Your family looks so beautiful. I can only imagine how busy you must be with four kiddos. You definitely got us laughing when you spoke of Tori in your letter. I was reading your letter out load to Brad and we both started chuckling. Ellaina is three as well and she pretty much always has us on our toes too. We try our hardest to stay a couple steps ahead of her, but from time to time we are not so successful :)

She is our high spirited child, with a fun personality. My mom tends to remind me that I was very much that way too. She goes to preschool twice a week at Cottonwood Church and enjoys it. She loves to go swimming, princesses (especially Cinderella), books, and is all about playing with her friends. Every morning she asks me if we are going to play with "my friends" today. We try to have at least one play date a week. Brad's sister Kim and I usually get the kids together once or twice a week as well. My nephew is two, so all three kids have a blast together.

Braden is 19 months and is just like his daddy with his sweet and shy nature. Actually he is only shy at first and then becomes our little chatter box once he warms up to people. I was worried he wouldn't get a word in, with how much Ellaina and I talk, but that is not the case at all. It is quite the opposite, which makes it more fun for Ellaina and him to play together. We made the mistake this year of not getting them similar toys for Christmas. This has caused a little bickering...mostly over the scooter. I clear out my photography studio after each session, so the kids can bike and play around in it. We feel so incredibly blessed with our little ones. They both have such fun personalities and big hearts. It has brought us such joy watching them grow thus far.

Brad is still working for TXI. About a year ago they promoted him to Plant Operator of the McKinney plant. He now works about five minutes from home, which we all enjoy. There company has been supplying the concrete for the big State 121/Hwy 75 construction, so he is still putting in around 60 hours a week. Thankfully he really enjoys his work and all the challenges. He doesn't like being bored, and the promotion has kept him from being that. He also gets to remain outside about half the day, so that is a bonus to him. As strange as it sounds, his long work hours has only made our relationship stronger. We all get so excited when daddy arrives home and really cherish the time we get to share as a family. It doesn't leave us time to sweat the small stuff, so usually we don't. Our house might not always be as clean as we would like it, but our family is stronger then we could dream instead :)

As for me, I get to stay at home with our kids. Brad works so hard to make that possible and it has been such a blessing. I always wanted the option to be able to stay home with our kids, which was part of the reason we moved to Texas. Now that we have made it happen, I can truly cherish every moment of it. I keep a blog and make a book of it every year, so someday my kids can read all about their childhood. It also helps my family in Minnesota feel closer. I do get the best of both worlds since I still have my photography business. We moved into a house that allowed me to have a portrait studio in it. It works out perfectly and allows me to do the other thing I LOVE! I am also the Hospitality Coordinator of a church MOPS group. It allows me the opportunity to welcome and meet some amazing women.

It is crazy to think this is what our lives have become in five short years since our marriage began. I could have never dreamed it better...unless of course we were still in Minnesota at times :) When I got your card I started thinking back to all your helpful advice. We were truly blessed to have you both for our preparation couple. We are definitely a stronger couple because of it. Thank you for all you have done for us! We will continue to keep Trey and you all in our prayers. Hope have a wonderful Christmas and a magical New Year!

With Love,
Brad & Kym Jackson

**Well, that was a summary of what's happening in the Jackson household 2009. Of course all the good stuff is right here in our blog. It will be fun to read it 30 years from now when our kids may have kids of their own :)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Home Bodies!?!

I have recently come to realize why I like having people over here for play dates. My kids behave WAY better at their own home :) They are familiar with the toys, so they don't fight over them. They know their boundaries and limits and know where their timeout step is (which deters them some from misbehaving). It is just much easier for us all. For the most part the main level of our house is child proof. They get to play freely, ride bikes in the studio, and all that fun stuff. They play like friends at our house, and I LOVE it. They like playing doctor together, run around chasing each other, hold hands playing pretend and reading books. Even going potty is fun at home. It always turns into a family project with all three of us winding up in the bathroom having fun. In other words I like my kids and their behavior so much better at home. Is that just my kids, or is it pretty much universal? Either way, I see a lot more play dates at the Jackson's for the year 2010 :)

Reading books together!Dr. Ellaina and patient Braden!

Football & Friends!

This has got to be both Brad and my favorite time of year. Mine for the Christmas everything, and Brad's because of all the football. With football, comes good times with our friends! We had Phillip and Annie over recently, and last week Brandon was up from Fort Hood! I always love having friends over and especially enjoy Brandon! He always has us laughing and is just fun to be around. It was nice getting to spend an evening watching Brad beat Brandon at Risk, and just hanging out. Next weekend is the BCS Championship game. With Texas and Alabama, we are sure to have a full house...Longhorn fans only :)
One of Daddy's football buddies!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Time, Oh Christmas Time!

This year was probably my favorite Christmas since moving to Texas. As the kids get older, everything just gets better. My mom used to laugh about how I would say "this is my favorite age", because I would say that about every month. Well as Christmas' go, this is my favorite far!

Our Christmas morning started off with the kids watching a cartoon in bed. Then we headed downstairs to find ALL the presents under the tree. We set them by the kids and they slowly opened them. Braden took a little longer to open his :) He wanted to play with every new thing he got. Ellaina was faster at opening them, but too wanted to play with each gift as she opened it. It was so cute seeing her try to roller skate with daddy. That might take a little practice. Once Ellaina opened all her gift, she started "helping" Braden open his. Luckily he seemed to really enjoy the help.

After all the gift opening, we headed to church for one of the most unsuccessful church outings we ever had. We have been trying new Churches (with childcare), so the kids have grown accustom to not sitting in church (aka not behaving). Neither of them knew how to whisper (or just not talk at all) and both weren't happy about sitting still. All in all it was kids being kids, which doesn't work at church. Needless to say, we didn't make it through the entire service. The Christmas spirit and message was getting lost in all the ciaos church was becoming, so we headed home.

At home, we started going through their stocking to see what Santa had left them. That was so much fun for us all. They also enjoyed wearing their stockings on their feet. It was a case of monkey see monkey do. Once Braden realized it was funny, he wanted to join in.

We ended the day with the second annual Christmas Day Pizza Extravaganza. For two years now, we have had the family celebration on Christmas eve instead of Christmas day. Last year we all gathered Christmas night too for pizzas and leftovers. It was so nice and relaxing that we decided to do it again this year. After pizza, we put some candles in Jesus' birthday cake and sang happy birthday to Jesus...six times. That way each kid could blow out the candle. It was fun for all!

I would say this Christmas has been quite magical! We got to have breakfast with Daddy four mornings in a row :) We got to have family naps, movie mornings, play dough play dates as a family, and much more. I can't remember the last time we had four days of family fun. Sometimes two days can be rare with Brad's work schedule . We made the most of it and LOVED every moment. Like I said at the beginning, a Christmas for the record books...or at least blog book :)
*Oh, did I mention we had a white Christmas & Christmas Eve...crazy!?!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cookies for SANTA!

For the first time this year, we made cookies for Santa! I say "made" loosely because we bought the dough cookies. Requiring us to just pull them apart and place them on the cookie sheet. After all my cookie baking I learned that Ellaina isn't quite at the helpful baking age yet. As you can see in the pictures, it was hard to keep them from eating the dough :) Don't worry Santa Ellaina's ear infection isn't contagious :)

Christmas Eve at The Daugherty's!

This year we headed to the Daugherty's house for our family Christmas eve celebration. We all had such a nice time. Ellaina gets so excited when she gets to play with her cousins, especially Gavin. Braden doesn't quite understand where we are going yet, so his enthusiasm begins when we arrive. Ellaina on the other hand brings it up about every ten minutes until we leave.

The company and the food were all great! The kids exchanged presents and did a lot of playing. It was such an enjoyable and relaxing night...for the most part. Ellaina likes to test us when we are at other houses, so it can get a little exhausting keeping on her at times.