Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Partying Like It's... 2010?!

UPDATED: HELP! Does anyone know how to get around the whole you can only have a limited number of readers thing when a blog goes private??!!

Welcome back!

Thanks for jumping through the extra hoop to keep in touch with our family! The incident we wrote of before makes us feel at peace about choosing this route for now. We tried our best to include in the invite list those who have specifically called/e-mailed, had us on their blog list, or who have shared with us what the blog means to them. If someone lets you know that they didn't receive an invite, please let us know and we'll go from there (it may be because we haven't quite finished going through our contacts!) Though you'll see a few new posts below, today is the first day we've sent out anything formal ... we promise.

Again, thank-you!

So, it's almost New Year's Eve... 2010 is just around the corner! While we're thanking people, thanks be to God for another year lived and another year stretching out before us. I've been nesting away by getting rid of junk, getting things together for the long winter days ahead, figuring out ways to use up all our leftovers, sticking stuff in containers from a to z, and decorating people's eyeballs.

Happy, happy New Year from all of us to all of you! Hope you have a lot of laughter, cheer, and true joy in this next year. We're going to put some squirmy wormies down for late naps with the hopes that our celebrating can last till midnight.

Or at least look good (you know I mean goofy) trying. :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Best Gift

Well, I was also wonderfully spoiled this year! People were supposed to get small stocking stuffers or to not worry about anything at all. Instead, I have words and images to inspire and motivate all the year through (I must admit that the iPOD is a family gift to replace our old timey boombox, or shall I say jambox, who finally bit the dust... or at least that's what the tag said- ha!)

That stack of thoughtful gifts only scrapes the surface, though.

Baby Martins started fluttering around on Christmas, flutters and genuine kicks (punches?)!!! I don't even care if it came from me making these cinnamon rolls! :)

With Hope I had all kinds of time to think about the miracle of what was happening. With Maddie it seemed that I had much less as I literally ran to keep up with her eighteen month old sister. These days with babies to hold and rock and guide and correct and wipe and bathe and sing to and carry and play with and figure out already, I sometimes kinda forget all together that I'm pregnant.

But I was reminded on Christmas day and have been every day since, especially in those rare moments of quiet stillness.

I couldn't love any gift more.

ps... As for Joe's favorite gift... let me give you a little hint. No need to share that I gave up all creative license, yet somehow he still has the most stylish pajama shirt in town.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Christmas has always been special, even the one after my Mamaw passed as our entire extended family gathered in the little farmhouse on a hill that Joe and I first rented. Each of us receiving a tiny purple ball ornament with a gold "V" on the front for Violet, her beautifully deserving name.

But there are some Christmases that just stick out, you know? Like the last one before I got married. We knew that this would be the final morning with both my brother and I home, waking from our beds in our rooms, and enjoying traditions as just the four of us. I don't remember all the particulars but I clearly recall lots of laughter and tears, most especially from my Dad. Then the following year as Joe and I celebrated our first Christmas as man and wife! What a ball we had gathered just the two of us around our fat, little tree. I remember crying when we started to remove its ornaments weeks later, so Joe put them all back up until it was a fire hazard for sure.

This Christmas was one of those. It's been a hard year for everyone in different ways, but God has been so faithful. So this is a picture heavy post in tribute of the heavy hearts we carried around as we stood at the window waving until the next time I-40 brings us back together again.

We fed the reindeer, gave the babies warm bubble baths, and dressed them in their second round of jammies from Auntie Marcie. You just have to check out Maddie's "Ooooh!" excited face! :)

Best of all, we had a smashing birthday party for our Savior thanks to Nana's creative touches!

We know Santa appreciated that homemade cream cheese icing because we woke up to pure craziness and joy. Spoiled wonderfully rotten! The year of Uncle Billy bringing Hope a tricycle and Maddie this fabulous turtle light that projects the night sky onto her ceiling.

Hugs and silliness ranking at the top of all our lists, I think.

We ate way too much good food, explored Nashville, read Hope's new collection of Berenstain Bears books (thanks Grandpa & Grandma!) about a zillion times, had an "Anne of Green Gables" marathon (how they all humor me, though the boys did sneak away to see Avatar in 3D!), gabbed and reminisced. Though the kids adore both of their grandparents, Hope can almost always be found hanging onto her Nana and Maddie calling for her PopPop. It's the sweetest thing!

Makes Hope lay her finger, ahem, a side of her nose...

Exclaiming that we hope it was a happy Christmas for all, for we all might need a night-night! :)


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Just a reminder that tomorrow we will be offline. If you're interested in joining us at some point in the New Year, we'll look forward to seeing you then.

Hope this a special holiday season for everyone, especially all of you digging your way out of that crazily falling white stuff!

And so we leave you with, what else, but a little HAM... :)

Me: Hope, did you know PopPop and Nana got a lot of snow?

H (scrunched up face, noticeably bummed): That's good. But Mommy, we didn't get any packages of snow!
While driving around looking at Christmas lights...

H: "... You better not pout, you better not cry... I'm telling you whyyyy!"

Joe: Did you know that pouting is the same thing as whining?

H: It is???

Joe: Uh-huh, and do you ever whine?

H (very thoughtful before answering): Well, sometimes I do whine.

Me: You want to sing the song about the angels?

H: I don't remember that one; sing it for me.

Joe and I: (A very sad rendition of "Angels We Have Heard on High")

H: Uh guys, why does that song sound like pouting?

Merry Christmas one and all!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Away in a Manger

He was born in a barn. Placed on hay. Covered in rags.

Shining in love.

As has become tradition for us, a package arrived from Auntie Marcie with cozy fleece jammies. The girls immediately requested to put the softness on. Hope pranced around saying, "Oh, these are cute. They have dots!" while Maddie gave her classic, "Oooh! Pitty!" A little "Frosty the Snowman" may have been sung. With mini candy canes to help, you know, our voices.

Looking at these girls, I remember...

My babies were born in the warmth of the indoors. Placed in soft bassinets. Covered with all manner of pink from adoring family and friends.

Sometimes as a mother I can hardly comprehend the way our Savior came to earth.

But I perfectly understand that I want our children and our family to shine in His love.

That concludes our week of "caroling," but it's been nice to slow the pace and to simply sing a little.

Make sure you take some time to do the same! :)


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Joy to the World

Oh, remember last year? These girls were so teenie! Maddie even had to be supported by the Bumbo to stay put on the bench.
That's not so much the case this year.They were also pretty sensitive about naptimes. I quickly learned that taking pictures before snoozing was in general some kind of a bad idea.
Even so, I also learned how much I adore sweet hand-me-downs and having girls to doll up in Christmas plaid. Filled me up with J-O-Y!

As you can see, things may have changed some this year. But the sweet hand-me-downs and dolling up parts? Why, joyfully and exactly the same!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Deck the Halls...

...with loads of candy! To that the girls heartily sing, "Fa-la-la-la-LA-LA-LA-(bounce off the walls)-LAAAAAA!"

I still haven't grown that extra arm I need, so I've learned that with activities such as these I need to a). wait on Daddy or b). do them in shifts. We did a little of both in building our gingerbread cottage, and it was loads of fun!

(Not to mention, except that I am, Baby M and I enjoyed some candies I haven't had in AGES... Runts and Nerds and Sweet Tarts, people! Mmm... I mean, Fa-la-la-la-LA-LA... you catch my drift!)

Go on and make one yourself... for the kids, of course!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Santa Claus is Coming to Townnnn!

Are you enjoying caroling along with us this week? :)

I've been feeling pretty icky and tired, and this has been a fun way to momentarily forget the nighttime nausea. Let's just say, Santa's simply not been seeing me while I'm sleeping all that much. I think I've just overdone it with all the big stuff going on, so I'm hoping to get caught up and feeling fine soon.

Soooooo, you better watch out.... 'cause now I'm moving on, for goodness sake!

Hope sang the entire time we waited in the library's line. When she finally made her way to him she was more interested in sharing just how she had been reading about him, singing about him, etc., and etc.

Finally he got this thoughtful request out of her, "I would like a black ball. I love balls. And Maddie needs a red one." Really? We know Hope loves her soccer ball, but can anyone out there give Santa a hint of where to get black balled? And red balled, for that matter?
Maddie, on the other hand, was happy to wave and say, "Hi Sannn-taaa!" from afar. From a-close, hmm, not so much. I scooped that sensitive babe right back up before she really got upset. It'll break your heart, I tell you.
Though doesn't everyone need a classic get-me-outta-here picture with the jolly old saint? And doesn't everyone recover very quickly with the first few licks of a free blue candy cane? We say... yes!

Hope, as it turned out, had to do the most recovering once we reached the car and she realized that she forgot to sing him the carol which titles this post. She had practiced and practiced, bless her heart.

Thankfully her sticky striped stick came to the rescue just before we had to miss our Christmas party and go back for round two.

Again we say YES and hallelujah. That Santa thinks of everything!


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I have really enjoyed doing an Advent Calendar with the girls this year. Whether we're cutting, stringing, gluing, praying, reading, or eating I just love that we're doing it together. Building tradition and memories, even if I have to stop and remind myself at times that they are one and two years old. Let go of the Currier and Ives already, Mama! :)

But, of what we've done so far, one of the moments I want to remember all through our lives is this:

I helped Hope read the sheet of paper asking her to donate two toys to the Goodwill. To help others. Maybe even to help some boys and girls who don't have much. It took her a minute, but then she caught on. Had I not stopped her, half the playroom would have been in the pile.

Her baby stroller. A baby doll (though, I admit, the first effort at that was Maddie's special one- lol!) One of her favorite Dora bath toys. That prized blue Barbie-mobile a neighbor gave us just before moving away.

Then Hope ran for her kitchen.
"I don't want the people who don't have much to be hungry, Mama."

A sincerity over plastic steak, noodles, and grapes that only comes from a childlike heart.

The kind I'm pretty sure the One we celebrate was talking about:
Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”
Mark 10:13-15

Thanks for reminding us of what wonderful truly is, precious girl!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Jingle Bell Rock

Maddie's bells swing...

And Maddie does sing...

She's gonna' rock the day a-waaaaay!

Speaking of that Maddie, she's had some trouble sleeping through the night lately because of teething. One of the things that makes her feel better is to be swaddled, yes swaddled, in a favorite pink blankie.

When I came into her room the other night to rock her for a while, she looked up at me with those sleepy girl eyes to say, "Hep (help) me. Hep me. Bane-yet (blanket). Bane-yet." Then when we settled in the glider she softly asked, "Jesush?"

Once I started singing "Jesus Loves Me" her thumb went in her mouth and within minutes she was back to sleep.

May I remember moments like these so that I am ever patient when called upon to do my own rocking the night away.

And may patience and joy be yours too, however you may need it!

Monday, December 7, 2009

O Christmas Tree!

To catch up on some of our favorite December memories so far, we're kicking off a week of caroling. Though I may not have much time for "lyrics," hopefully the pics will be music to your... eyes? At least the pics I can get the computer to upload since I've been deleting like mad off the hard drive! :)

(While on the subject of caroling, have you heard of Pandora or this? LOVE 'EM!)

Where to begin? At those faithful branches, of course, purchased to support our local Boy Scouts and to make me skip around the twinkling house.

(Yes, Maddie was teething on an ornament... I said our favorite memories, not the just the perfect ones!) By the way, Aunt Ellen, thanks for the sweet hat boxes; we've since used them to snugly secure the trees... they're perfect, just like all the lopsided decorations the girls like to rearrange.