Monday, December 28, 2009

We Wish You a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I never intended for it to take me until New Year's Eve to get a post up about our Christmas, but apparently that is what happened! In any event - Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Here's a recap of the family Christmas 2009.

We had a great Christmas with our families this year. Over the past week and a half we were able to spend time with everyone in our families who lives in Louisiana. The girls were blessed to enjoy their cousins and aunts, uncles, and grandparents. And of course they were showered with presents. Caroline's Christmas was filled with Barbie, Disney Princesses, dolls, trucks, and tools.

On Christmas Eve as she was going to bed, Caroline was very intent on leaving Santa three cookies and chocolate milk. Not regular old white milk. From all appearances, Santa loved the treats; when we woke up there were only crumbs and an empty glass on the counter. Jeff made french toast for Christmas breakfast for the girls and they paused just long enough to inhale a couple of pieces before getting back to the business of playing. Caroline and Jeff spent about an hour outside playing with her new tool set. We also spent time watching Enchanted and Aladdin and dressing up dolls and Barbies and breaking the Disney Princesses out of the dungeon.

Charlotte got her very own cell phone and key set so that she might stop dropping mine on our tile floors. She got a drum and musical instrument set that she and Caroline have gotten plenty of use out of! Add to the list baby dolls, a ball, stuffed animals, and I don't think that quite gets everything, but she was one blessed little girl this Christmas as well. Unfortunately, opening her presents is a two parent operation, so we don't have pictures of that, but here are a few of her enjoying the aftermath.

Unfortunately, Charlotte ended the day with an ear infection, but other than that one little blip, our holiday was a good one! The one thing I'm sorry about is that we didn't get to make it to church this year for Christmas Eve service. Christmas Eve service always brings me back to what Christmas is really all about and makes for a great way to remind kids too that though presents are a lot of fun, the thing that makes Christmas is the birth of Christ. I hope we did a decent job of focusing on that fact during the entire Christmas season, but it did seem like something was missing this year.

We are truly blessed to have wonderful friends and family, I wish we were able to spend more time with everyone. The short hours of time together always leave me wishing there were more holidays to bring us all to one place more often.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Songs According to Caroline

We've been listening to a Christmas CD in the car for a week or so and Caroline absolutely loves it. She sings along to all of the songs and asks me to "please turn it louder" every few minutes. I get a real laugh out of her take on the songs, so I thought I'd share:

On the instrumental version of "Sleigh Ride", she says, "Oh! This is the song with the cracking! I'm going clap with all the cracks." [think the sounds of the whip cracking.]

She loves to try to mimic Judy Garland's voice in "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", which is comical in itself, but according to Caroline, the song is entitled "Have Yourself a Little Bitty Christmas". Or less frequently, "Have Yourself a Very Little Christmas".

She calls "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire", "Chestnuts and an Open Up Fire". And her favorite part is when he sings "Jack Frosting sniffing on your nose".

Another of Caroline's favorite lines from a song is in "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year". She thinks it is very funny when he sings about "marshmallows for toasty", because of course you don't eat marshmallows with toast. duh.

I could go on, but I think you get a hint of the entertainment I'm treated to each morning and afternoon. It truly gives me something to look forward to on those drives to and from school and work.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Sunday, December 06, 2009

December 6, 2009

Today marks two years since we said hello and good-bye to Joshua. The title of the devotional in My Utmost for His Highest today is "Rainbow in the Cloud." That phrase I think sums up well the way I feel about losing him. Losing a baby is certainly a dark cloud to walk through, definitely the biggest one we've been under thus far. And while I'm still not at the place where I feel like I have many answers, I do see how God blessed us, continues to bless us, and how he's really walked with us over these two years. I see him in ways that I truly don't think would be possible if not for the loss of Joshua. For those revelations I'm truly thankful, and I see them as the rainbow in a dark place. It doesn't take away the dark place, but it brings light. And hope.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows." 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Saturday, December 05, 2009

The Christmas Story

Caroline's new favorite "toy" is our nativity set. She loves setting them up and playing out the night of Jesus' birth. Or pretending that baby Jesus is going off to school. Or to his grandmother's house. There are lots of variations on what Jesus and Mary and Joseph do with all of the animals, the shepherds, the wise-men, and the stable.

Yesterday I was cooking while she was playing in the other room. My ears perked up when she started raising her voice. The "conversation" was apparently between Mary and the Angel and it went like this:

"You will name him Jesus!"

"I KNOW Angel! Joseph and me already know this story!"

"But, I will tell you!"

"No, Angel! We are having a boy and his name is going to be Jesus and that is the way God made it."

We've talked about, read, and acted out the story of Jesus being born countless times with Caroline, but I guess the fact that the Angel and Mary and Joseph were all on the same team hasn't quite taken hold. For some reason when Caroline pretends with any of her figurines, from Disney princesses to Little People, to apparently Mary and an Angel, she always has one telling the other what to do. I try to encourage her to let her toys be friends and not boss each other around, but my supplications don't seem to be getting through.

It's really funny and humbling and even overwhelming at times to watch her as she grows and plays and uses her imagination in the way that God made her as an individual. I think we'll keep working on the Christmas story though.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Our Charlotte girl . . .

She entered the world at 6 lbs., 3 ozs, 18 inches long. It's been twelve months; she has gained twelve pounds and grown ten inches, but her weight in the world can't be measured in pounds and inches. She has brought countless smiles, laughs, and moments of joy since she entered our world. We couldn't be any more in love than we are with her (and her sister).

We love you Charlotte girl!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Nine years ago today

Nine years ago today we walked down an aisle and made some pretty incredible promises to one another and to God. We've moved away, learned to live together, traveled across the country, moved back, moved away again, moved, and moved again. We've been through difficult jobs and wonderful jobs; we've made life-long friends, grown in friendships, and said good-bye to friends. We've had two unbelievably wonderful children; we've lost a child and walked through the saddest time in our lives. We've laughed, smiled, cried, celebrated, and grieved together.

There aren't words to express how thankful I am that God led me to make those incredible, impossible even, promises as a 22 year old on November 25, 2000. I am unbelievably blessed that in all these things through the past nine years it's been "we" and not just "me".

"Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."
Ecclesiastes 4:12

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Oh my!

I've been awful, JUST AWFUL, about posting lately, so to all five of you reading this: I'm sorry!

Here's a little pictorial update of what we've been up to.

On Veterans Day, I had the day off of work, so we took the girls down to New Orleans for the day and went to the Audubon Zoo. It was Charlotte's first trip there, and she was an absolute angel. The weather was perfect, so she spent time soaking in the sun and breeze from the stroller.

It had been about a year since we last took Caroline there, so she was on a mission to find all of her favorite animals. And by "all of her favorite animals" I mean all the animals at the zoo. Except lizards, alligators, and bugs. Let me just say that as much as I like to see those animals from a distance, I had forgotten how up close and personal the white alligator is to you. There is only a piece of glass between you and this deadly creature! It freaked me out a little too, so Caroline and I rushed right on through that little exhibit.

Among other things, we saw Lions,

Tigers (A white one. Yes, he's napping),

And bears (but we have no pictures of bears, so here's Caroline with a turtle). Oh my!

And Charlotte was treated to her first ride on the carousel. It was hysterical. She loved it and Caroline loved having her sister right next to her on the ride.

Charlotte chose the panda. Mostly because of its proximity to the "white sparkly horse" that Caroline wanted to ride.

We had a great day with two great little girls. Two very tired on the way home in New Orleans afternoon traffic great little girls. Theses smiles make that whiny hour or so worth it. In retrospect :-).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pure Joy

I think this might be what joy looks like.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesday randomness

A few weeks back I had the privilege of meeting Anne Jackson and hearing her speak here in Baton Rouge. If you don't know who Anne is, take a few moments to get to know her on her blog. She is a really phenomenal thinker and writer, and after spending just a few minutes talking to her, I can say that she has a really incredible heart. Anne is the real deal.

She is working on a project right now called Permission to Speak Freely. It is a book that will include all of your, yes YOUR, confessions about things you feel you cannot say in church. Go on over to the book website and find out how you can send in your confession. I can't wait for the finished product. I truly believe that God is using Anne and this book; I saw the way her message is reaching people with my own eyes when she spoke.

In other news:
Compassion is sponsoring another Compassion Blogger trip. This time to El Salvador. Following the last blogger trip to India was huge for me. In fact, it led our family to sponsor a child through Compassion. Lizeth is our Compassion child and she lives in Ecuador, a little closer to El Salvador than India, so I'm looking forward to seeing how this trip goes. If you've never seen what Compassion does, follow some of the trip through the bloggers to get a peek into how your monthly gift of only about $30 per month can change the life of a child and his or her family.

And on a really important note:
Caroline does not like carbonated drinks. At all. So yesterday she came to the grocery store with me and I told her she could get a drink at the check out if she was good for the whole shopping trip. She picked out a red drink that said, "Fruit Punch", and it looked harmless enough. As I opened it and let her have a sip on the way out, however, her face looked as though I'd just given her a sip of vinegar. She said, "Oh, no Mama! That drink is not good! It's hot and spicy!"

And finally:
How cute is Asher? That smile kills me! He is precious; I'm not sure how Drew and Amelia are getting anything done with that sweet little boy around.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Tricks and treats

What? Halloween was more than a week ago? Seriously, I'm not sure what happens to the hours in our days lately. I'm finally getting a chance to share these pictures from our girls' night out trick or treating. We had a great night out in the neighborhood with friends. It was a perfect night and despite the LSU home game, there were lots of people giving out candy and plenty of kids out to get their share.

Caroline kept up her tradition of running like mad from house to house in complete awe that she can knock on strangers' doors to have them open it up and offer her candy. And we let her eat it! It is quite a phenomenon.

Charlotte loved every minute of it and discovered her love for the wagon. She could not have been more content riding along watching the big kids all around her.

Jeff joined in the fun and completed the girls' super hero theme by dressing up as Batman. Caroline was thrilled to have another person in our family with a cape!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

from two supergirls!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Bye bye!

Guess who is saying her first word?

And just to be sure she's not outdone by her younger sister, Caroline is showing off her speaking skills too.

In other Caroline-related news, I have a few Caroline-isms to share:

We were in the car on the way to school the other day and out of the blue Caroline said, "Hey Mama, know what? I'm not afraid of Armadillo's" Hmm. Okay.

There are a couple of words that Caroline uses that are really not the proper way to use them, but they are endearing because they are so "her." I know she'll grow out of them soon, and I probably should correct her speech, but I can't bring myself to just yet.

Instead of saying "so", Caroline says "for". Where the correct thing to say would be, "I need you to go get dressed so we can leave on time", Caroline would say, "I need you to go get dressed for we can leave on time."

And instead of saying "really", Caroline says "very." Where the correct thing to say would be, "I really want that Barbie", Caroline would say, "I very want that Barbie."

As we're walking down the road of kindergarten applications, I am sure it would be wise to help her make those words corrections, but there is something really endearing about the little four-year-old speak that makes me smile when she talks.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009