Saturday, January 18, 2014

Christmas Round Three

 On Christmas Eve and Christmas morning we had some time just as a family of five.
  We went to our church's Christmas Eve candlelight service which is something I remember doing as a child and always looked forward to.
 We told the girls they would be able to open one gift that night and they couldn't wait!
 They went to bed so well and let us sleep in until 7:30.  They even played upstairs for awhile before I went to get them to come down to open presents!  We read this note before they opened the rest of the presents under the tree.
  This picture is blurry, but I think captures the mood of the morning perfectly.
 It is Brad's tradition to buy goodies for their stockings and he always like to include oranges.
 This year instead of making a cake or baked good for Jesus' birthday, we went with Trader Joe's gluten free frozen pancakes (one of my favorite items from there!) with a candle.
 After naps, Karri's family and Gigi came over and the fun for the cousins really began.
 The men frying up the turkey for us.
 While we finished making dinner, the cousins all watched Small One together like they do every year.  When they are 18, I'm still going to make them all sit on the couch together to watch it!
 I love this pic of my sis because she can be really silly with the kids sometimes.  The older cousins like to pretend that little Haven is a monster because she will follow them around and they act like she is chasing them.  We always have talks with them about not playing that.  This time when they started it, Karri put Haven on her back, said she was the big monster and started chasing them all over.
 After dinner, we all acted out the nativity story and everyone really got into their roles.  It was so precious to watch and I got teary eyed. 
 Caleb had a huge smile the whole time he was in the "manger" and just loved all the attention. 
 Everyone coming around the baby Jesus to bow down and worship him.
And isn't that what Christmas is really all about?
 Oh, come let us adore him
Oh, come let us adore him
Oh, come let us adore him
Christ the Lord
For He alone is worthy
For He alone is worthy
For He alone is worthy
Christ the Lord
We'll give you all the glory
We'll give you all the glory
We'll give you all the glory
Christ the Lord
(O Come Let Us Adore Him by Shane & Shane)

Christmas Round Two

 A couple days before Christmas, we went over to Grandy and Happy's house to celebrate with them.  The girls loved playing with these treasure boxes pretending to bring gifts to the baby Jesus.  Grandy and Happy always read a story or put together a little lesson for the children on holidays and the kids really enjoy it.
 They donated a chicken to a family in our family's name.  It was neat to be able to explain to the girls the significance of such a gift.  They may be young, but they are starting to understand how blessed we are and that it is our calling and responsibility to help the least of these. 
 By the end of the night, we had worn this cute little Santa out!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Christmas Round One

  We made a quick trip down to Austin the weekend before Christmas with my sister's family to celebrate with my dad and brother.  Grandpa Gene met us there and got to meet Caleb for the first time.
 What a precious lapful of grandbabies.
 We all met up with Michael, Helen, Jenna and Jeri and went to Phil's for dinner then said goodbye to Grandpa Gene.  The rest of us went to the Trail of Lights.  This was a Christmas tradition for Brad and I when we lived in Austin and I was so excited for the girls to get to experience it.
 Of course, we went straight to the tree to spin under the lights.  Anna was attached to Jenna the whole night.  Jenna was so sweet with her and either held her hand or carried her at all times.
  Anna and Jeri spinning together.
I loved being able to take my girls to a place with such special memories for me and had so much fun initiating them into the traditions there.
After walking the entire trail, these girls were completely worn out!  Haven was trying to lay on Brad's head to sleep.

Again, Anna with Jenna.
Although we only got to see everyone for just a few hours, it was so good to be with my family that doesn't live in the metroplex.  It just doesn't happen often enough!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

4 Months

  This little guy is so quick to smile and his smiles are contagious!  Somedays meeting all the needs of three kids that are four and under is just hard.  Walking into his room to get him our of his crib and being greeted by a huge smile can completely change my mood and remind me of how lucky I am to be called mommy by my three.

His stats:
Weight 16 lbs. ~ 60%
Height 26 in. ~ 81%
Head 43 cm ~ 85%

 He has turned into such a content little guy.  He will lay on the bed or in the bouncer and play for awhile.  When he gets tired, he justs finds his thumb and hangs out a little longer.  This has made things like making dinner so much easier.  I'll just enjoy this non-mobile stage while it lasts.
 He consistently takes a bottle if I leave him for more than a couple hours (which isn't very often :).  I know this isn't a big deal for most babies, but it is for one of mine!
  He only gets a full bath about once a week, so it is a treat to have such a sweet smelling, clean baby!
 Another first this month was getting sick with RSV!  Thankfully I caught it quickly because I remembered when my nephew had it and we were able to treat it at home with a nebulizer.
 Overall, he did really well with the treatments which were every 4 hours for the first week and even smiled through some of them.
  I really love watching these two together, even if it is just taking a nap next to each other.
Like father, like son...

Holiday Happenings

With Thanksgiving being so late this year and an ice storm in the middle of it, this December seemed to go by faster than others.  It was full of things I loved doing as a family and some of our traditions are really starting to become real traditions.  Now that I have been a mom for 4 Christmas seasons, I have come to realize that we don't need to do every Christmas tradition and advent idea out there to make the season magical and meaningful.  We may not even be able to get to all our chosen traditions each year (we skipped outdoor lights and treats for the neighbors to name just a couple).  This year, I just did what I thought we had the capacity for and it was really enjoyable for everyone. 

After starting our decorating by putting up the nativity scene first, the girls helped me decorate the tree. We had so much fun talking about some of the special ornaments, like their "Baby's First Christmas" ones.
They kept running over to get the next one to hang up and we surprisingly only broke one in the process.  We skipped putting the glass ornament balls on this year and the tree looked just as beautiful.
Haven hosted a little Christmas PJ party for a few friends while all their big siblings were at school.  It was nice for these 4 girls to get to play together without the big kids coming up with all the ideas.  Here she is excitedly waiting for everyone to come over.  On a sidenote, in December Haven started doing this funny crooked smile, so she is like that in all the Christmas pictures.  Not sure where she got it from, but it cracks me up!
In her matching PJs with sisters, Emi and Averly.
Amelia and Lily who were too busy playing to pose for me.
We let a couple boys in because they are such cute little brothers - Caleb and Will.
One day, the girls made some easy DIY glitter ornaments which turned out pretty cute.

  During the first week of December, an icestorm hit and DFW was basically shut down for a few days.  The first day was fun and we dug out our winter gear and ran outside to play.  By the third day we were getting burned out on drinking hot chocolate and having fires and we were over it!  We are true Texans, especially my Anna! 
 I helped to coordinate the Prison Fellowship Angel Tree at my church again this year.  I'm so proud of the generosity of our smallish church.  We were able to sponsor over 90 angels from the neighborhoods around our church.  We tried to involve the girls as much as possible by telling them why I was calling people, having them help shop for and wrap gifts, praying for the children and even delivering gifts to a couple families.   

I just want to share one particular testimony that came out of our Angel Tree program this year because it is good to share what God is doing!  When a team delivered gifts to a family with two boys, the boys expressed interest in attending our church. A couple from church has been picking them up and bringing them to our church for almost a month now.  Their father is getting out of prison in mid-February and the boys said they want to be "ready for him".  He has been sending them letters telling them about how he found Christ and his life has changed.  The oldest boy is in high school and has recently quit doing drugs because of the letters from his dad and from going to church.  The President of Prison Fellowship found out about this story and read it to a group of wardens from around the country - when they heard it they cheered out loud!  Seventy percent of children with parents in prison will end up there themselves.  I believe that because of the power of Christ in this family's life, these boys will not have that fate.  That is a reason to cheer!       
 Making cookies!
This is how I found Caleb one morning after he was alone with his sisters for a couple minutes.  He is a good sport and I'm sure will have to endure being dressed up by them a lot more in the future!  And he makes a really cute reindeer.
We went to a singing Christmas tree program and the girls loved it.  Even busy little Haven sat still enough to watch the whole thing.

No tears when we went to see Santa this year!  (please notice Haven's crooked smile and chopped of bangs thanks to Anna :)
After all the busyness of Christmas, Brad and I needed to get away for a day to do something fun!  After brunch at one of our Fort Worth favorites, Brewed, we went iceskating at a temporary outdoor rink.  We made a bet on who would fall first since we hadn't been in years, but neither of us did! 
I was going to take Anna to see the Nutcracker for the first time, but it was cancelled due to the ice storm.  They ended up rescheduling it for after Christmas, but it was still just as magical for her.  Bless her little excited heart, she could not stop telling me things during the whole performance.  It didn't bother me at all because I could tell she was just expressing her enthusiasm for what she was watching.  Here are just a few things I jotted down:
- Right when the music began, she started moving around and told me "it's making me dance!".
- When it started snowing during the dance of the sugar plum fairy she whispered "that's not real snow, just salt"
-During the dance of the angels, again she whispered "those aren't real angels, just people in angel suits. They are beautiful".
- When the Arabian dancers came out, she said "don't you think he should put a shirt on".
I can't wait to go again next year and bring Haven with us!