Monday, December 6, 2010

I love December

I love this time of year so much.  I love the weather getting colder and wearing coats and tights and hats.  I love hot chocolate and soup and peppermint and eggnog.  I love excuses to spend time together cooking and decorating and going to parties and events.  I love thinking about presents to buy people I love and trying to make some presents too.  I love love love Christmas music playing and cinnamon candles and smells in my house.  I love the sound of the heater going and the Christmas lights on at night while I snuggle under a blanket with my hubby.  It's all so warm and sparkly and happy.   

I think December is especially sweet this year because it's given us opportunities to spend time together as a family even though James is so busy with school and work.  Thankfully, he's almost done with the semester and he'll be done with classes for-e-ver!  Yay for our hard-working husband/dad!  He did manage to take some time out to put up our Christmas tree the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  He bought the tree on sale while we were still dating and it's beautiful!  So glad we can share it as a family now :)  Ethan had a blast decorating it, which is why the fun ornaments are at the bottom.


This is what Lilah did while we decorated...  She LOVES looking at the pretty lights on the tree!

And this is what Lilah and Daddy did after the tree was up...  Love it!
This last weekend we went to the Festival of the Nativities, which was beautiful!  Every year people bring their nativities to this church where they display them with Christmas lights and pretty tables.  There are probably 100 different nativities set up and it's amazing to see.  There's also live music in the chapel that you can hear while looking.  This year I accompanied four women with stunning voices to sing Christmas songs.  Mom and Scotty came with us and it was really sweet to be there with family. 

Ethan was in charge of photography to try to keep him busy.  I let him set up our nativities at home and it was a good chance to talk about Jesus' birth.  The other day I came out and he had put all the figures in the nativity set in a circle around baby Jesus "so they could all see him."  He loves to talk about Jesus and I think he gets that Christmas is about when Jesus was born.  He's excited about presents too, for sure, but we don't really talk about Santa.  Anyway, here are some of the nativity sets... 

That bionicles one is just crazy.  And the last one had live goldfish.  But mostly it was a very nice reminder of what we are celebrating all month.  I also love this time of year because it gives us opportunities to think about the Savior and to celebrate our relationship with Him.  I've talked to Ethie more about Jesus this month than I usually do and his tender little spirit eats it up.  James sings him a U2 song called "40" at night and I was playing it on the laptop (I added it to my playlist so you can hear it if you want).  Ethan came in and started singing... "I waited patiently for the Lord; He... heard my cry.  I will sing, sing a new song.  How long to sing this song?  How long?"  I love the spirit of Christmas in our home.             

Monday, November 29, 2010

Nothing short of thankful

I love Thanksgiving!  I really love the food (mmm, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie...) but mostly I love an excuse to be together and to think about being thankful.  Sometimes I forget to be thankful, so I'm thankful for this reminder.  Also this year, I am thankful for:
  • my perfect (for me) husband.  I couldn't ask for a more thoughtful, kind, patient, gentle, funny, hard-working, smart, generous, tall husband and I appreciate him every day for being in my life.  
  • my sweet kiddos.  I know I've blogged plenty about all of their wonderfulness, but sometimes I just look at Ethan and Lilah and tear up because I am their mother!  They make me so happy and help me try a lot harder to be who I want to be.  
  • our cozy apartment and cars that work.  I think having been on my own, moving around, living in my parent's basement (thank you!), wrecking my car, etc. has made me especially thankful for our own little place that feels like home.  And the old truck and smashed-up Civic that get us where we need to be. 
  • extended family.  We were able to see all of James' family last Christmas and some of them this year and I love getting to know them and be part of such a big, amazing family.  I love that my family is close enough that we get to visit for weekends and holidays and any other time we feel the urge.  Can't wait to see Mar and Dave at Christmas!  (miss you, Nate!)
  • James' job and school.  I don't know if he's very thankful for it right now (he's so busy!), but I am completely thankful that he works so hard and is in such a good program and that we know he's working for a great degree and good job in the future.  And I am so thankful to be able to stay home with my sweet kids.  I know this is a blessing and the sacrifices are definitely worth it.
Okay, there are plenty more, but those are the basics.  Mostly, I'm just feeling happy and blessed and I love my family!!!

We had a happy Thanksgiving at my mom's house this year.  She always makes the yummiest food and it's nice to just go relax and be spoiled.  We spent the night so James and Scotty and Ethie could go to the Turkey Bowl in the morning.  James has been teaching Ethie how to play football and he was so excited!  He got right out there and played with the big boys! (he's in the brown shirt and James is in the black)

Mom, Lilah, and I had fun watching because the weather was beautiful!  Crazy warm GA in Novemember.

Mom invited some of her friends and the missionaries over for Thanksgiving dinner.  James did the mashed potatoes because he is really good at it and I made an apple pie.  Mom made everything else and it was yumm-o.
The best part of the day was just being together afterwards and enjoying Scotty's entertainment.  He is so funny and apparently really likes whipped cream.

Lilah had a happy day.  I put her on the table in the bouncer while we cooked and cleaned up and she loved watching Harold the bird!  She stared at him and talked to him and it was very cute.  She is such a happy little thing! 
The only time she wasn't happy was when we went outside after dinner to take some pictures.  Mom's backyard is so pretty with all the leaves and I thought it'd be a good place to get some pics of our family.  But Lilah didn't!  I don't know why she was so sad, but we managed to get some fun pictures anyway.  Ethie had a great time!

Once again, I love my family and I am super THANKFUL for them!  ALL of you!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

3 months of Lilah magic

So can I just say I love this little girl so much?!!!
When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I see is a sweet little Lilah face snuggled up against mine.  She is such a cuddler and loves it when we wrap our arms around her tight while she sleeps.  It makes me so happy to just lie there and watch her beautiful face while she sleeps.  I think about what a miracle it is that she is with us and that we are her parents.  I love that she is a perfect combination of me and James and that I always have this incredible piece of him with me.  I remember just dreaming about her when I was pregnant and imagining who she would be.  And now she's here and she is the sweetest, loveliest, most perfect little person and I love imagining the woman she will become.    

So right now she sleeps in til about 8 or 9 every day, and  that is pretty wonderful :)  And then she wakes up and smiles at me!  She is so happy in the morning and as soon as she opens her eyes and sees me, she breaks into a huge happy grin.  It is magical!  That little smile makes my world such a happy place. 

So then we lie there for a while and just talk to each other.  She's starting making the cutest little sounds.  Mostly breathy vowel sounds, but she looks right into our eyes and is so enthusiastic about it, so I know she's saying something.  When we talk to her, she watches so intently and then responds with her little sounds.  She also kicks and waves her arms, just to make her happiness a little clearer :)

I know I have the best job in the world, getting to talk to this little sweetheart all day.  Sometimes I get a little craving for some adult conversation, so I'm always so happy to see James at night.  But during the day, conversing with my precious little 3-month old is my favorite thing to do. 

The time is flying and it makes me a little sad when she outgrows clothes and I know she's not a tiny baby anymore.  But it's been the happiest 3 months and I can only imagine how much joy she will bring us as she keeps getting more personality and skills.  Being a mother is one of the greatest blessings of my life and I am so thankful to be responsible for this precious little person.  I love you my sweet Lilah!  Happy 3 months old!

Here are some more 3-month shots just for fun.  Ethie helped :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Just loving the kiddos

Some random fun facts about our cute kids...

  • is really into letters, numbers, reading, spelling, rhyming... he is such a kindergartner!  They are expected to know so much it seems (giving the correct change to buy something?!) and he has his struggles (mostly with listening instead of socializing in class) but he does love to learn and try to figure things out.  He's always asking me about words and letters and trying to spell and read things.  He knows about 40 sight words and can count and write numbers to 100.  I'm so proud of him when he figures something out and he gets so excited too! 

  • is so funny!  He makes me laugh every day with things he says.  I wish I could remember them all, but here is a sample...  His favorite game to play whenever we're in the car is "I Spy."  And at school he gets a color depending on his behavior for the day.  The best color is green, then yellow, then red.  He'd been getting a few reds lately (not listening, etc.) so when he got in the car the other day when I picked him up and asked if we could play "I Spy", I thought he was avoiding telling me he got a red at school.  But I said sure and he said, "I spy... something green... and it's me... I got a green!"  He was so happy!  And the other day he was telling me about superheroes he likes like hulk smash, spiderman, and captain Moroni (I think he meant captain America).  He's so cute and funny.  One more... I've been trying to help him not throw temper tantrums and work on his self-control when he's angry.  I watched a video online about some kids who asked if they could "disagree appropriately" when they didn't want to do something and they were able to talk it out with their mom.  I tried it with Ethie and he caught on pretty quickly and he was able to discuss the problem instead of screaming and crying.  Yay!  So the first night I was reading him a book in bed and trying to get him to read some of the words.  I think he was tired and didn't want to read so he started yelling at me, but then stopped himself and asked me, "Wait, what am I supposed to say so I don't cry and scream at you?"  It was great :) 
  • loves his sister!  Sometimes he has a hard time being nice to other kids, but I think she brings out his sweetness.  He still loves to hold her and talk to her and try to get her to smile and talk to him.  Sometimes she's a little cautious about him because he can be a little intense, but she will usually smile at him and I think she knows he loves her!  Love you Ethie-man!
  • is such a blessing!  She brings so much love and happiness into our home and we are so thankful for her!  She is the happiest, sweetest, calmest, most peaceful little baby and we just can't get enough of her.  Everyone comments about how alert and happy she is and she's like that most of the time!  She loves to just sit and look all around and watch everyone and everything.  When she was a month old, the doctor commented that she has an "old soul" because her eyes are so deep and she just seems to take everything in.  She has a tiny cry that she uses to let us know she's tired or hungry, but as soon as we figure it out, she's happy again!  James noticed that as soon as you realize she has a dirty diaper, she stops crying and waits for you to change it :)
  • is a cuddler!  Usually every night, when I can tell she's getting sleepy, I will just wrap a blanket around us and cuddle her on the couch while she falls asleep.  Then I lie her down in her bed and she stays asleep.  I love it!  That is some of my favorite time, with James beside me on the couch and my sweet baby sleeping in my arms.  Usually I fall asleep too, so I don't mind that either :)     
  • has THE cutest smile!  It is the most incredible thing to look at her and say, "Hi, Lilah!" and she always breaks out into a huge grin!  It's so sweet and rewarding and just makes me so happy all the time.  And yesterday she laughed for the first time!  We were sitting on the bed just talking to her and she was smiling and talking back.  She actually says "goo" which is funny.  So I was imitating her and making a funny noise and all of a sudden she laughed!  I said it again and she laughed again!  It was so deep and spontaneous and just came out of her.  We couldn't get her to do it for the camera, so hopefully she'll think we're funny again sometime soon!  Love you Lilah!