The Tree

I absolutely adore this commercial. This is me-- every year-- and I'm 31.
Growing up we got to pick a new ornament every year that we added to the tree. The idea of a 'themed tree' was completely new to me until a few years ago. I thought everyone was like me and loved getting the decorations together, putting the lights up outside as soon as Thanksgiving ( and basketball practice on Friday) was over , pulling out their ornaments from the past, and sitting by the fireplace basking in the twinkles of the lights on the tree. And then I got married =) When you get married you realize that everyone doesn't share the same traditions. We did decide to keep the ornament tradition going, I'm still working on getting Luke excited about pulling down the totes of lights and trees.
My kids are getting old enough to understand Christmas traditions. Well, Landon is. Lucy doesn't really remember Christmas, but she can sing  Baby Jesus We Love You and ring a hand bell pretty good ;)   And Ella has no clue. Once we finally got it all down, decided which tree to put up, and rearranged the living room, we told the kids they could put their own ornaments on the tree.
They also got to help put the tree together this year. Lucy absolutely loved watching Elf, especially when Buddy eats the gum off the railing.
 As we handed them their ornaments 1 by 1 ,this caused Landon to 'remember' every one that he had gotten. Of course he has no recollection of the Elmo ornament that he got in Gatlinburg with Nana & Poppy right before he turned 2. He had the cutest little voice and would sing 'na na na na THAAAAATTTSSSS ELMO'S WOILD', and that is what I think of every time we pull it out.  But I'm sure after 12 more year of this, he will have memorized what they are all from.
I have some random ornaments for sure! One year we had waited really late, or we even went after Christmas, and my sister and dad and I  headed to K-mart. It was right behind our neighborhood, and this was before Wal-mart was the place to go. There was literally NOTHING left. They had Looney-Tunes ornaments though. And I have a bugs bunny sitting on a TV from that year. 1993--we had a magazine full of Christmas items to sell for a fundraiser at school. I used my saved up money and bought a big round tin tray and an ornament. Don't ask. I was odd. Most of mine had the years written on the box or on the actual ornament. I have several extras that my dad got me when I was in college--you know Barbie and Disney Princess ones. Now since we have the kids, Luke & I still get one every year and we also let them pick one. Some years theirs have been made as well. So we are getting a full tree! That just means when we get a bigger house, we will need a much bigger tree! =)
After the kids went to bed tonight,

Landon has had the same silver tree we had out at his 1st birthday 'snowman' party, and it was DONE! So I got him a new one today 50% off at Target! He loves it.

I was looking at our tree. We have so many memories on that thing!
We haven't put up our star yet. It might make it by Christmas ;)
Not only do I think about where I got all these ornaments from, but I remember the people who gave them to us as well.
My basketball coach from college gave Luke & I the prettiest set of ornaments for our wedding. There are a few different ones, but they all glitter and sparkle. By the way, that is an amazing gift. Most newly marrieds don't have a ton of ornaments, unless of course they do a theme tree.
One of those Disney Princess ones. They all have to stay near the top. Thankfully, none of our kids have every tried to wreck the tree. Ella stays away this year too. She randomly will run over, hit a branch, and run away. But no one has bothered ornaments. And we have only had to changed it up once by skipping the bottom few branches last year.
My friend Jennifer brought this to me in the hospital when I had Landon. I  LOVE LOVE LOVE this. I probably cried. I love Christmas, and I love snowmen. She was miserable, due with her baby before me, had been in the hospital and sent home and her baby was still cooking . Almost all of the ornaments Luke & I have gotten together are snowmen;we even have a snowman sandcastle from San Diego.

My friend Cindy brought this to me in the hospital after I had Lucy. This was right after I moved rooms, saw Lucy for the 1st time, and had a slight anxiety attack in my new room. She also brought boxes of Christmas Tree Cakes! She wasn't sure at the time what to put on the ornament, in case Lucy didn't make it, and didn't know how I'd feel about it. But I love it, and Lucy says it is her favorite too!
And this is Ella Ruth's from this year. Most of the kids' first few years, I got to match their birthday party/cake theme. She loves 'mamie', so we had to snag this as soon as we saw it in the fall.
Now I feel like I want to take a picture of all my favorite ones, and add the story to go along with them. Do you have an  all-time favorite ornament? There are some sentimental ones left on my tree, and some great people to be remembered too. I might get back to that after this weekend. We have been jam packed the past 2 weeks, but all birthdays are finally over, school is over after tomorrow, and we should be able to relax just a little! 
And just in case you haven't seen these adorable kids yet:
We got some family photos taken over Thanksgiving break by Timothy Miller Photography in Louisville.  I'll add more later & fill everyone in on all the fun we have had in the past month!



My baby is 2!

Ella turned 2 on the 25th of November. She is such an adorable , cute little girl! Everyday I say how cute something she did was. She's truly sweet ,& the new words she says are absolutely adorable. She also has the worst temper of my 3 and gets so angry ! She's been a great surprise,& I love watching her change and grow!

We had family over for some pizza and cake ,because I am not doing big parties for a long time .....or ever :)
I'm not sure how she got this old!

Cousins at the house.

She had been practicing blowing out her candle with Daddy all day!

I loved making her cake & she loved eating it ! 

This picture is her on the day she was born & then the night before she turned 2. Oh they have changed a lot! My kids are almost 2 years exactly apart , so it's fun to tell them this is how old you were when I had ________. I get sentimental about Thanksgiving & their births & Christmas because it all happened at the same time. I fully remember their first pictures with Santa ( days old for 2 of them), I remember Black Friday as being hooked up to monitors checking on baby ( for 2 of them), I remember taking a 2 year old boy to meet his week old sister in the NICU after Christmas Eve service,& I remember babies staring into the tree with blinking lights. { I want to add pictures with all of these memories, but everyone has seen them before. AND I'm on my phone 😂 }Landon had turned 2 the week before I had Lucy, Lucy turned 2 a week after I had Ella,& Ella turned 2 with no babies on the way! Of course with my surgery it felt normal to be recovering during birthday #2 . I remember Landon being obsessed with Toy Story & taking Woody everywhere--even to the L&D room where I had to stay monitored for days after having Lucy. Ok, so we have a picture of that. Landon and Woody being loud in my room, moments before my seizure. I look amazing! 

Speaking of Lucy's birth & the NICU : for the past 3 years, we have visited her nurses on her birthday. We take snacks to the L&D desk, snacks & cards to the NICU nurse/doctors,& take gifts to the babies. Last year Lucy took 27 blankets.
This year we are taking blankets again. We iron on a little tag that says Lucy's Love ,& put it (freshly washed) into a ziplock bag with a card that shows a picture at birth, a current picture ,& a little encouragement. Being away from your baby or being with your baby and away from family on Christmas isn't fun. It was such a good feeling to see something had been delivered to us from someone who had been in our shoes. I'm hoping to take more than last year. If you'd like to help spread some of Lucy's Love, let me know! All you have to do is pick up a pack of receiving blankets & get them to us. Any color, any brand, any will work ! We will wash them & get them ready. If you want to help, you can email me at mrsemmahowell@gmail.com , call, text, or FB me! I'm a little late this year, but we have 2 weeks to get it done! I've got plenty of time ;) Thanks in advance !

Catching up

I've had absolutely no motivation to get on the computer the last month. So as I'm laying in bed over this holiday weekend, and my kids are still asleep at 8:40, I'm catching up! I just looked at our calendar for this week. There have been times when I've thought I've officially joined motherhood. At least this isn't the time when my 1 year old puked on me, down my shirt, down my pants ,& all over her in the rocking chair , but this week is BUSY. Welcome to the holiday season / basketball season/ birthday season/ school program/church program ! We have a field trip, a birthday , 2 basketball practices, 2 church practices,2 nights of church program, birthday dinner out, handbells performance during church,1 school program,& and I haven't wrapped our Christmas books we open every night during advent ( tomorrow starts advent). We also have a drop & shop at church (yay!), so we will have a few hours Saturday morning to finish up presents for nieces & nephews without dragging kids along!
Lucy got her first hair cut a few weeks ago! It looks so short to me :( But it's still long enough to curl,& she loves it.

My first real trip out of the house after surgery was to the Ryman. Luke had gotten us tickets to see Phillip Phillips back in the summer , and it just happened to fall 2 weeks after surgery. Walking up steps was painful & sitting in a church pew with no leg room hurt, but it was an amazing show! 

Also that night was the episode of Nashville that I was an extra on. We shot for 4 days,& figured most of us would just be a blur in the background. This was my dress :
I watched when we got home from the Ryman. Of course I took a picture of every shot I was in :)
Time to head back to TN & get started on getting ready for next week! But not before a football game today! GO CARDS!


Halloween week

We had a busy busy week the last week of October. I worked again this year at the pumpkin patch-- just 2 days a week during field trips. 
Landon also had a field trip this week. It was at a different farm than I work at, so of course I didn't have the best time ;) The kids had a blast! 
Next we had Trick or Treat So Others Can Eat at church Wednesday. The kids collect canned goods from the towers by church, then have a party. Lucy dressed as Snow White, Ella as Doc McStuffins,& Landon as Spider-Man.
On Thursday we decorated the suburban for Trunk or Treat at the Y. We all were Frozen characters . 
There was a serious line for Frozen tattoos .
On Friday Landon's school had a costume parade,& then his class went across the street to trick or treat at the nursing home. 
On Friday night Landon got to play in a small football game at his school, but first we attempted to trick or treat. We DROVE to 1 house. Too cold for me :)