Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Willow Grace Wednesday

Too many cute pics of her from the last week!

I love her little Pebbles pony tail!

Such a happy girl!

Doesn't she look like Little Red Riding Hood?

She was so good at Christmas breakfast. She tried to use her spoon and actually left the plate and place mat on her tray the whole time. Really, it was an accomplishment!

Waiting patiently to open gifts with Pop.

Watching Praise Baby with Papa.

She's holding my childhood bear, F.O., whom she absolutely loves! The penguin is Guinny, also mine, which Chris gave me on our first anniversary.

Friday, December 26, 2008

My Husband Rocks! Friday

Very simply.... He helped to make this a great Christmas. He loves me and Willow Grace so well. He's funny and fun and silly and even serious when he needs to be. I love my Chris!
To learn more about my husband rocks! Friday and/or to join us in bragging on our husbands, check out Katy Lin's blog the great adventure.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Willow Grace Wednesday

I can't tell you how thrilled I am to be able to take pictures again. As I mentioned yesterday, we had to go ahead and buy a battery charger for the camera since we lost ours. It's worth it though to be able to snap pics of my little sweetheart.

She was so thrilled when she found Chris's hat. It's one of the 50 or so words she knows.Here she is in her new Christmas coat. We were headed out the door yesterday to attend a little Christmas party. She was really ready to go and kept saying "side" (outside).On Sunday, on our way back from Crossville, she conked out in the car. She really does travel well. Even when she's awake, she's a happy girl. That stuffed animal she's holding is one of my old ones, a bear named Curtis disguised as a reindeer. (Remember him, Eva Joy?)

Merry Christmas Eve!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bad, bad blogger!

I have just been lazy on the blogging front. I even missed bragging on my husband this last Friday for My Husband Rocks! Friday. I've been busy getting ready for Christmas, spending tiem with my sweet Willow Grace, and trying desperately to bring some order to my house. Ialso just joined FaceBook this last week, and that's been eating up all my computer time. I promise to do better. Tomorrow I'll post some cute pics of Willow Grace. We never found the battery charger for our camera and had to buy another one! Erg! That's just not something you want to spend money on at Christmas, but I guess it just had to be done. Oh, well.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Willow Grace Wednesday

Sadly, we still cannot find our charger for our camera. Chris said that if we can't find it by Friday we're just going to have to buy a new one. I can't miss documenting this Christmas! I'm praying that we happen upon it tonight!

Thankfully one of my co-workers took a couple of pics of her in her little smocked Christmas dress this morning. I am so grateful that she had her camera handy.(Can you see her little sprig of a pony tail? It's just like Pebbles!)

(While her cheeks are almost always rosey, you can plainly tell by her eyes that was so tired this morning. She's also cutting a molar on her left side)

She's had a couple of spills in the last 24 hours. Last night, in her enthusiam to get to me, she ran right off the curb and marked up her little forehead a bit. And then, this morning, it happened. I think I had been sort of anticipating it. She tried climbing out of her crib and fell out! Chris and I were in bed when we heard a loud boom and then her crying. I bolted to her room and found her standing beside her bed! I don't think it really hurt her, just scared her a bit, but it's time to make a few adjustments.

Friday, December 12, 2008

My Husband Rocks! Friday

To join us in encouraging our spouses, check out Katy Lin's blog the great adventure. She's the mastermind behind this cool meme!

We had my parents over for dinner on Tuesday night. I made a big pot hearty vegetable beef soup, toasted a couple of baguettes in the oven, and served warm brownies with ice cream for dessert. Here’s the part where my husband rocks. While I got dinner on the table, Chris fed Willow Grace, played with her while I tidied up after, dressed her for bed, read her books, sang to her, and rocked her to sleep. When he came back downstairs, he finished cleaning up the kitchen for me while I visited with my parents, and then after they left he took my car to the gas station to fill it up for me. Doesn’t it all seem too good to be true? He really is that wonderful! His response would be,” I’m just me.” Well, he just rocks!

I wish that you could have seen Chris with Willow Grace. They were playing on the floor in front of the Christmas tree, and he was making her laugh hysterically. (Who doesn’t love hearing a baby cackle?) Once she let out a particularly delightful peal of giggles and said, “Oh, Daddy!” Precious! In between each bout of laughter, she would notice her Nana, Papa, and me watching from the dining room and pause to wave at us. So sweet!

This morning I got an extra couple of hours with my sweet husband and baby girl since the school where I work got a late opening due to snow. I hope your morning was as good as mine.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Questionaire

Here's another fun thing I found at Katy Lin's blog. If you decide to participate, let me know; I'd love to see your responses.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I use it all. I like a good mix of gft bags, wrapping paper, decorative tins and boxes, and any other creative means of giving.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Sadly, I’m allergic to trees, so it’s a fake tree for us.

3. When do you put up the tree? We always put it up the weekend after Thanksgiving. If it were up to me, it would be up earlier. (:

4. When do you take the tree down? Most people don’t know that the 12 days of Christmas actually starts on Christmas day, so Christmas doesn’t end until January 5. I never take down the tree before Christmas is over!

5. Do you like Egg Nog? It depends on the brand/who makes it.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? I received a Barbie Dream House when I was 8 or 9, and it was just the best thing I could have imagined. I was absolutely shocked.

7. Hardest person to buy for? In general, I think men are hard to shop for.

8. Easiest person to buy for? Willow Grace. The hard part is not going overboard with her!

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes! My mother-in-law bought me one that sits on my mantle.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Snail mail is the way to go. We decorate the inside of our front door with all the Christmas cards we get each year.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? When I taught I got tons of Christmas goodies, and some of them were not so good.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? That’s hard because I love holiday movies. I love Christmas in Connecticut, the old one with Barbara Stanwick. I also can’t get enough of White Christmas and The Muppet’s Christmas Carol.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Sometimes I start in the summer!

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yep, I have. There’s no sense in things I can’t use gathering dust when I know that someone else would love it. Mostly this has happened with gift cards or gifts I've received from students.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas and favorite Christmas dessert? There’s too many yummy things to choose from.

16. Lights on the tree? We wrap the center of the tree in white to give it a inner glow, and then we put on tons of colored lights.

17. Favorite Christmas song? I love Christmas music, so I can't pick just one. I can tell you, guiltily, that my favorite Christmas album is *NSYNC’s. I just can’t help it. We listen to it year round!

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Both of our families live close, so we don’t have to go far to visit everyone.

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer’s? I can name them, sing them-whatever you want. I use to always use that as a bonus question on my final exam before Christmas break. I think the kids worked harder on that question than any other!

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? We actually have a snowman. I love snowpeople!

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? We open one on Christmas Eve and the rest on Christmas morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? I love it all. I love the decorations, the music, the festive attire, shopping for others—just everything. I guess if there were something that annoyed me it would be people who just refuse to try to be cheerful and insist on complaining.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? I love snowpeople and snowflakes.

24. Handmade ornaments or store bought? We have an eclectic mix.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? I really don’t want much and can’t think of anything big. I want Sleeping Beauty, some cool barrettes and jewelry, and a few other odds and ends. Really, I just want enough money to buy stuff for everyone else.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Willow Grace Wednesday

Just two shots this week. The battery on the camera fizzled, and we can't find the charger! Erg! I'm sure it will turn up when we least expect it.

Willow Grace loves her Winnie the Pooh armchair. We moved it down to the living room from her room so she could get more use out of it. Look at that orange nose! It looks like it's time to lay off the carrots!

And so ends another busy day! It's so cute when she falls asleep in her high chair. After her veggies, she held out long enough to eat two chocolate Teddy Grahams!

Here's hoping your Wednesday is happy!

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Roaring 20's

Friday was 20's day for the 8th grade at CPA. Since my desk is in the lobby, I was the concierge/coat check girl. I love any opportunity to put on a costume. The lobby and gym were decked out like a swanky hotel. They even had a huge swan ice sculpture. It was the bee's knees!

(me & Dad just after I dropped off Willow Grace)

(Look at my fancy hair! Isn't it just the berries?!?!)

(me and Lydia, my friend's daughter)

(Here I am playing my part.)

Friday, December 05, 2008

My Husband Rocks! Friday

Katy Lin at the great adventure gave us a prompt this week for My Husband Rocks! Friday. We can choose whether or not we want to use it – no pressure. I thought that it sounded like a good idea.

Here’s the prompt:
“How did you meet your spouse? What initially attracted you to your spouse? How does that personality trait or physical characteristic affect you today? What is the same? What has changed?”

In 2001, Chris and I became neighbors. He moved in downstairs from me in our apartment building. For a while it was just a simple greeting when we happened to see each other in the parking lot or stairway. However, one bright summer morning, my sister Eva and I were hanging out on my balcony when he came home from the night shift. I asked, “Hey, do you want a candy cane?” He eyed me suspiciously and said, “But it’s July….” “I know,” I replied. “I always have candy canes!” He agreed to take one, and we ended up talking for quite a while – him standing on the sidewalk and me leaning over the railing of the balcony. For the next couple years we developed a friendship – playing cards and board games, hanging out in each other’s apartments with our roommates, having dinner together, going for long drives down the Natchez Trace and all around Nashville, hiking in the park, and blasting through snow drifts in the mall parking lot the winter we had a freak snowstorm.

It’s still a bit of a mystery to me how it all happened. I wasn’t interested in him at all romantically, so I can’t really point to a quality that attracted me to him. However, one night, we were driving around talking about things we had gone through in our lives, and he reached over to hold my hand. It wasn’t something he even planned; it just happened. I thought, “ Well, this is new. It’s strange but OK.” Really, I thought it was more of a comfort thing than a romantic thing. Nothing was said about it, and it didn’t happen again for a bit. Slowly, we started getting closer, and one night I was getting ready to go down to his apartment to see him and realized that I was actually giddy! I couldn’t wait to see him. I told myself that I was just happy to be hanging out with my friend.

Our first official date was January 4, 2004. I had received a gift card to PF Changs for Christmas from one of my students, and so Chris and I went out to dinner. I don’t think it really started out as a date, but the way we held hands that night coupled with the way he looked at me changed everything. Three months later, on March 13, on yet another one of our drives on the Natchez Trace, Chris whipped into one of the small parking lots and told me he loved me. I laughed. He was confused. But I was just so happy; I couldn’t help it. And yes, I did finally stop laughing and tell him that I loved him too. (the summer after we started dating)

Just over a year later, on a gorgeous spring day in April, on a beautiful overlook, Chris surprised me by dropping to one knee and asking me to be his wife. (the only pic we have from the day we got engaged taken with the webcam)

We married on August 5, 2005, five months earlier than my original plan; we just couldn’t’ wait to begin our married life together.
Honestly, I am constantly in awe of the joy that being married to Chris has brought me. Just yesterday morning I told him that I am still mystified by the fact that we are married and that we have such a beautiful baby girl. I never imagined that I could be loved the way he loves me – so completely and unconditionally. I am still giddily in love with him and get excited about seeing him at the end of every day.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Willow Grace Wednesday

Our sweet, fun-loving, cheerful, bouncy girl is back! We are so thrilled that she's not sick anymore; it was just too sad watching her lounge around and not being able to smile. Chris certainly has enjoyed playtime with her. These pictures were taken on Sunday while I busied myself with Christmas decorations. Chris was busy himself - with entertaining the baby. There's nothing like Daddy-daughter time!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Be cheerful!

I love Tuesdays. On most Tuesdays, Dad stops by my work. Sure, he gets to see me, but he would come by regardless. You see, as part of his ministry, he visits several businesses around town and takes prayer requests on long, wide strips of green paper. All week long he constantly prays for those people; in fact, he never stops praying for these people. There are two phrases that you can count on hearing him say, the first is "Don't forget to pray." He reminds me of this on a daily basis. The second is "Be cheerful!" For this, he is nearly famous. I cannot tell you how many people I've witnessed try to beat him to saying it.

Every few months he brings around a stack of Our Daily Bread booklets, a small, three month, daily devotional. Even on days when time is tight, anyone can afford to take a moment to read these; it's even posted online. In thinking about the Christmas season, it's hard sometimes to reconcile in my own mind the balance between being content to indulge in the celebration and also to vigilantly seek to help others who suffer; Sunday's entry helps a bit with this. You can find it here. It's based on Romans 12:15 "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep."

So many people are suffering right now having recently lost a loved one. Others of us are trying to hold on to those last few precious moments we have with our loved ones before they are released from their mortal bodies and welcomed home to Jesus. Then of course there are others who are poor, hungry, homeless, and suffer at the hands of evil people. There certainly is a way for us to live out Romans 12:15 and to remain cheerful throughout. That cheerfulness is not based on human conditions but on true hope, on our faith in Christ. Without that cheer, that true joy, why would anyone see any difference in us. Who would want to leave their own downtrodden conditions to follow after a somber-faced Christian? The light of the joy of the Lord, His cheer, should shine through our eyes even in trying times.

So, I can decorate, celebrate, revel in the festivities, praise the Lord, comfort those who are mourning, weep over the losses in my own life, fight against evil, and thank God for all the gifts He's given us all this Christmas. I can certainly BE CHEERFUL!