Family Christmas Gatherings

Instead of posting our photos all over Facebook and Instagram, I decided to do a “Photo Dump” post of our Family Christmas Gatherings.

Christmas Eve with Papa, Auncy, Aunt Lyssa, & Uncle Ry Ry at our house… 





christmas21 christmas20





Christmas with Papaw, Nana, Uncle Cliff, Aunt Lindsey, and Cooper Lane… christmas33 christmas34 christmas29

christmas37 christmas35 christmas32




Special Christmas Activities


Felt Christmas Tree


Lawson & Mommy before going to our town’s “Bethlehem” production where we can walk through the town and see real animals


One of our Christmas Project Displays

When I pulled out our Christmas stories to enjoy for the holiday season, I loved one that told the Christmas Story with each of the animals that might have been there. It counts the animals throughout the book as well so we decided to create our own version of the story. I typed the words of the story and found coloring pages to go along with the animals. As we found time, Lawson could color the animals and we’d make another page for our book.

Lawson helped me make Christmas Cookies for our home daycare Christmas Party. Of course we had to sample our work too!

Lawson helped me make Christmas Cookies for our home daycare Christmas Party. Of course we had to sample our work too!


Lawson painted with paints he got for Christmas in his stocking. This was his first time to paint with a brush instead of finger-painting.


I love how he points and admires his art!


We played with Play-doh he got for Christmas. I pulled out some green gems to use.


He still likes to taste the Play-doh, even though he hates the taste!


I decided to pull out the tiny ornaments and Christmas erasers we have to use with the Play-doh too. We’ve used these for lots of sensory play this holiday season.


We created a Christmas scene!

How We Do Christmas

Last Christmas was our first with a little one in the house. Although he was just a baby, we decided then that we would not introduce “Santa” in our home. We still have fun with Christmas, and our little ones won’t be missing out in any way. Christmas is what you make it to be, just like anything else is. I understand this can be a very controversial topic, and I do not wish to get into any arguments with this post. This is my blog about our family, and I’m simply sharing my opinions and views on the subject.

We set a Christmas budget and stick to it. We will not go in debt buying gifts for our kids or for others, although giving really is fun. We don’t believe God wants us to spend beyond our means to buy “things” just for one day of the year. God provides for our family all year long, and we really had no “needs” this Christmas. We could have gifted something you need, something you want, something to read, etc., but we just set a general budget for our little one and stuck to it. Justin and I did not buy gifts for each other this year or last year. We decided to count things we’d purchased during the year as our Christmas gifts, and if you think about it like that – we had a GREAT Christmas! (This year we were able to buy a new-to-us SUV, new tires for the it, new cookware, maternity clothes, tennis shoes, workout clothes, and a sewing & embroidery machine to name a few…. all without any financing or debts so we consider ourselves very blessed.)

We set a budget of $100 for Lawson’s Christmas gifts, plus stocking stuffers. (In case you’re wondering, last year he got a Sophie-the-giraffe teether, a set of OXO sippy cups, and a wooden baby toy from Pottery Barn as his budgeted Christmas gifts.)

Stocking stuffers have always been a big deal in my family so I intend to carry on that tradition, even if it means cutting out big gifts out all together later on. I don’t know why those tiny stocking stuffers are so much fun, but they really are. I shop for the stocking stuffers throughout the year so it really doesn’t affect our budget. Whenever we have a little wiggle room in the budget and I make a trip to Dirt Cheap, the Dollar Tree, or just see something at Wal-Mart, I’ll add it to our gift box that I keep hidden throughout the year.




Pictured above are all of Lawson’s stocking stuffers plus “over-flow” (a.k.a. the things that didn’t fit in the stocking that were supposed to – the downside of picking things up all year for stockings)….
Art Journals – one regular size (his current one is almost full) and one small one to keep in his bag to color when we’re out
Wooden Beads & String – from Target Dollar Section
Craft Poms – $0.25 at Dirt Cheap
Bingo Dot Markers – from the Dollar Tree
Etch-a-Sketch – Dirt Cheap find
Mr. Bubbles Soap – Target Dollar Section
Tempera Paint – Splurge from Michael’s, but we needed it for tot school
Pocket Chart – $0.25 from Dirt Cheap
Training Cup from Wal-Mart
Diaper Sacks
Pac-man Bandaids from Target Dollar Section
Dry-erase markers

When thinking about what to get Lawson for Christmas, I wanted to get mostly things that would benefit our Tot School. I’m sure you could tell by some of the stocking stuffers. 😉 We also got him a truck because he LOVES trucks!




I love how excited he is here waiting for Daddy to open his truck for him!

cd12 cd11 cd10 cd9 cd8


I think the “teacher” in me can find a new use for just about anything. I began to stack these tubs of Play-doh, and he loved it!


Pictured above are the Christmas gifts we budgeted for and purchased for Lawson this Christmas. I think he had a great Christmas, and we might simplify even more next year!
Lincoln Logs
Letter Construction from Learning Resources (We’re about to introduce letters in our Tot School.)
Play-doh 24 pack from TJ-Maxx
Melissa & Doug Garbage Truck
Lacing Cards & String from Target Dollar Section
Stamp Pad

Hope you’ve had a wonderful Christmas with your family! We have no regrets & hope you don’t either. We may change our plan in the future, but this is what we’re doing for now. Be blessed!


Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Baby Barrett #2 (19 weeks in the making)

(Read with caution. Pregnancy Posts may have T.M.I.)

How far along? 19 weeks, due May 6th (Baby is now the size of a mango.)

Total weight gain: 3 pounds

Maternity clothes? Yes.

Stretch marks? Not from this pregnancy, but some faint remains from the last one

Sleep: I’m sleeping great. I added two pillows to my set-up this past week.

Miss Anything? No. 

Movement: I felt the first little kicks from the outside yesterday 😉

Food cravings: Brussel Sprouts recipe we had at Thanksgiving and Chocolate – Covered Strawberries

Gender: It’s a boy! We actually found out at 15 weeks because it was OBVIOUS! If they told me girl at 15 weeks, I wouldn’t have believed them,  but with a boy, it’s pretty hard to deny. We announced it to our family on Thanksgiving.

Name: Linkin Jude

Labor Signs: too early for all that

Belly Button: innie – but it’s on the verge of becoming an outie already (It still really weirds me out.)

Wedding Rings: On

Happy or Moody most of the time: The moods seem to be leveling out.

Looking Forward to: Fixing up the nursery!

Next Appointment: December 17th