{Happy Birthday to my Love}

Happy birthday to my sweet sweet Hubby! 

I am so blessed to share another birthday with the man of my dreams!!!

{PS - I've taken a little bit of an unexpected blogging hiatus. I've been on vacation since the 21st and have just been enjoying the time with my family. I'll be back soon!!}

{Wordless Wednesday - Christmases Past}

Christmases Past...

 A few things - 

It's crazy how much things in 1 short year. Seriously! 

I definitely took more pictures in 2010 than 2011 - I blame this on the fact that Mason was much more mobile in 2011 and hard to get pictures of.

I can't wait to compare this year's pictures!!

{The Halls have been Elfed}

Merry Christmas from the Halls.

{Christmas Cookies}

Sunday before we left for The North Pole Express {post here} Mason and I baked some cookies. I let him help with everything and it was a blast. I admit though, I had to put my OCD tendencies aside and just let him have at it...
- It's okay if he leaves half the batter on the rolling pin
- It's okay if the shapes aren't cut out perfectly
- It's okay if he wants to keep rolling over and over the dough
- It's okay if he wants to play with the shapes after they are cut
It's all about the memories we are making!! 

And? That we did. 
He's already asked a few times to make more cookies. 
And we will.

How cute is he?!

Merry Christmas Eve!

{A few Christmas Crafts}

All Pinterest inspired, of course {follow me here}

From this pin - we printed this. Mason gets to add a cotton ball every day! It's on our fridge and a fun daily task!

Then he decided it needed magnets too!
From this pin - we made these festive little snowmen. I'm on the lookout for different hats. I'd like some small Christmas hats, but having trouble finding small ones.

From this pin - I created this wreath. Mason thought it was better as a hat, though!

From this pin - I whipped up these little Rudolphs. Probably my favorite so far!

I made these for Mason's class..

{Oh Christmas Tree!}

For the last 3 or 4 years we have used a fake tree. I think our main reason was because of our sweet little pup...didn't need an indoor potty for him! Don't get me wrong, it was nice and all...but I am happy to say that we are back to having a real tree.

And? I love it!
the smell
the look
the way each real tree has a different shape
the fact that I didn't have to "assemble" it or dis-assemble it and put it back in the attic {okay, so maybe hubby does that part but still}
that it's almost 7 ft tall
 Just everything about it! 
The only thing I regret about it is buying it from Home Depot instead of taking Mason to a Christmas tree farm. Next year, eh?

 PlusAlso -I absolutely love decorating the tree and going through the memories each ornament brings. And it's a nice surprise to find all the ornaments you bought on clearance the Christmas before!!! 

{Bringing back that Christmas feeling}

Before we had Mason things were different this time of year. Christmas just didn't exactly "feel" like Christmas. I guess it was just another sign of us getting older. Not that we didn't celebrate the true meaning of Christmas...that was never lost. Just the whole "magical" feeling of Christmas went wayward over the years. 
I missed that feeling. Longed for it.

Then we had Mason.

And the enchanting feeling of Christmas came back and in a whole new way. It's so amazing to see "Christmas" through his eyes and each year just gets better and better.

He is 2.5 now and he's starting to get the whole Christmas thing. It's so much fun. Anything that has lights he adds "Christmas" before it. Like driving home from school we saw a truck with running lights on the top - Mason says, "Look Mommy, it's a Christmas truck." 
I know. Cute, right?

He makes me so so so excited for the holidays. 

{Mason's First Christmas Program}

Last night {12/18/12} Mason had his first ever Christmas Program. Going into it I honestly wasn't sure if he would get on stage and sing or not. I could only envision him running back to me once on stage. And on our way to the program Nate and I talked about it and agreed that if he participated GREAT, but if he didn't? Fine. We weren't going to push or persuade him one way or the other. This was his program, his night and his decision.
That morning on the way to school I asked Mason about the program and if he was going to sing. This was our conversation:
Me - Mason, are you going to sing on stage tonight with your class?
Mason - No, I don't need my class. I can do it by myself. I just need my clothes and a Christmas hat.

The program was the church {FBA} that our school is a part of. The sanctuary is pretty large and our tiny little school just about filled it up! That was awesome in itself. My family came, Nate's family came; it was just lovely! We were so grateful to have them as a part of Mason's special night. We walked into the sanctuary and Mason points to the Piano {he calls it a Patano} and says, "I need that." This boy has a thing for music!

The teachers and students all sat in the same area - the first 3-4 pews to the right of us. Mason saw his teachers and told us, "I need to go sit with my class." And he did. Here we are in a church full of strangers and Mason leaves his comfort zone and goes with his class. A few of the kids were crying and wanting their mommies. Mason studied them a bit and you could tell he didn't know what to think. But, he didn't let it stop him. He bounced from lap to lap of all his teachers and talked and visited with his friends. We were so proud of him!

The program started and the Director of our school opened with a great message!!! For us to all remember the Reason for the Season. Our Savior, Jesus Christ. It was amazing. Then up was Mason's class. The 2's are the youngest group that participates in the program. It took them just about forever to get on stage. Their tiny little legs were almost too small to climb the steps and most of them bear crawled. Adorable. Once they took their places you could tell that Mason was trying to find us. He was looking and looking and then tells his teacher, "I want my Mama." It was the cutest thing! Then his other teacher told him they were about to sing and then he was all good! You can see that in the video below. Love!

The first song they sang was the B-I-B-L-E. It was as precious as could be. Mason was having a grand ol' time!!! Nathan and I were in tears with pride.

Cute right? Next up they sang The Lord's Army. Mason got into this one with full-on motions. Mason's friend next to him thought he was trying to hit him {and I think he may have bumped his shoulder}, and he slaps Mason in the face. Sigh! I'm just thankful that Mason didn't deck him or push him off stage!! And the screenshot of the video below looks like he's totally about to whack his friend!

It was so hard not to ugly cry! I was that proud and happy that my baby was on stage, performing his sweet little heart out. Next up they did Jingle Bells. At one point in the video Mason notices that his teacher is holding some bells and gets so excited. I love his expression!!

Awww! Oh, this Mommy's heart was was so full!!

The three's were next, then the fours, then the schoolers. Throughout the rest of the play Mason sat with all his teachers. It made me feel so blessed to be part of such an amazing group of people. My baby loves his teachers. The after-schoolers closed it with the most moving act. They started with Joseph, Mary &; Baby Jesus on the stage and the rest came in one by one down the aisle of the church. They dimmed the lights and it was just amazing. Touching. Loved every second of it. 
Then they called all of the kids back on stage to close with Silent Night. Just beautiful! And then the Pastor came up to say a few words. He spoke about the CT shootings and how we are all blessed to have our sweet babies on stage. I had been thinking that all night long. And we truly are. It was so raw and so real coming from a Pastor that knows first hand the pain of losing a child. He lost a baby girl to cancer back in 2006, I believe. 
The CT shootings have been so hard on my heart. Since Friday there hasn't been a moment that I haven't thought about all of those sweet babies and those brave adults that went home that day. It has rocked me to my very core. Every time I squeeze Mason close I feel a bit of guilt and my heart goes out to those Mama's that will never hold their babies again here on Earth. I've tried to stay away from the news and the Internet because it really is too much. I just want to believe it never happened. It's something I'll never understand, but I put my faith in Jesus Christ. And knowing that Jesus welcomed those sweet babies with the biggest hug gives my heart some peace. My thoughts and prayers go out to each and every one of those families. 

I love how Mason is holding the hand of one of his sweet friends in this video. 

After the program I saw Mason and one of his teachers walking to the piano. He had talked her into taking him over there. Well, it just so happened that we knew the pianist!! She was so sweet to take Mason up and let him play. He was over the moon excited!! 

Such a great night. My soul needed this. 

///pictures from the night\\\

After the program Mason serenaded us with more singing on the ride home! He was so tired and having trouble not falling asleep in the car. We told him a million times how proud we were of him and how great he did. He said he had a blast and that he loves his school.
And to hear my husband tell his son over and over how proud he was of him with so much emotion behind it just about pushed my heart over! I'm so blessed to have such a loving husband and daddy to our son.