Tuesday, December 31, 2013

christmas eve

earlier that day, we made pb balls and chocolate covered bacon.  YUM!

One of Ruby's favorite gifts: a music box!  She cherishes it!

Ah!  Christmas Eve!!  One of my most favorite days of the year!!  Growing up, Katie, Nick, and I anxiously awaited going to my grandparent's house.  I only had 5 Christmases with my Grandpa which is just way too bad since I know he was an absolute HOOT.  But Grandma did Christmas really well, even without Grandpa.  She was the biggest shopper I have ever known (although my mom is quickly filling those shoes) which was great, because we all got great gifts!!  I'm pretty sure I got a new doll probably 10 years in a row... Grandma had a weakness for dolls.  The final year that Katie received a doll, she re-gifted it to my grandma the next year.  And that doll went back and forth for quite a few years which we all thought was hilarious!  Grandma always got a bunch of pizza and had goodies-galore.  The last few Christmases we had with her, Grandma and I got together to make her sacred chocolate covered cherries.  And I can't help but think of her every. single. time. I have a chocolate covered cherry.  They'll never taste as perfect as hers.  And then there was this very yummy drink that Grandma made for just the adults.  But of course, we could always pressure my dad into letting us drink some.  I guess you could say that I can trace my first alcohol-buzz back to Grandma.  Aw, special!  And after the drinks, Grandma pulled out some wacky game to play. For many years, we'd play dirty BINGO.  And yes, we played dirty.  We would unwrap a present of our choice once we got a bingo but then that gift was up for grabs.  Our family would spy the couple of things that my uncle had his eye on and we'd make sure that we always stole those most-wanted gifts!  Anyways, I guess BINGO got a little too dirty... Grandma switched it up.  But things got complicated because when you change to new games, you have to give directions.  And in our family, Grandma had to repeat the directions over and over again because said uncle would throw all of these game scenarios at her just to make sure that everyone understood every rule of this new game!  Even though they were simple games!!  One year it was musical chairs; another year, chubby bunny; and I think the last game we played at our Christmas Eve party before Grandma passed away was the 'put-a-quarter-between-your-butt cheeks and drop-it-in-a-can game'.  Grandma would just laugh and laugh.  She knew how to entertain.  She knew how to have a great time.  At the end of the night, our guts were full, our trunk was full, and my heart is still full.

And now, my mom carries on the Christmas Eve tradition that her mom had mastered.  And, again, she's filling those shoes quite well!  We even had a 'mystery Santa' this year which my kids loved and Katie's kids pestered with questions that only Santa would know!  Pretty hilarious!  And our vehicle was full of gifts when we left really late!  I'm sure my kids will remember these times as fondly as I remember the good ole Christmas Eves with my Grandma.

christmas day

First thing you've gotta do on Christmas morning is open stockings!  Natalie had left a note for Santa asking for a horse to which Jordan replied that 'a horse won't fit in my sleigh'.  I thought that was clever since I was just prepared to write, 'sorry' or something lame.  After stockings, we were off to the Jones' family Christmas for breakfast.  We spent most of the day there, lounging, eating, playing games.  Emmy got ample time with all of her grandparents.

Following that party, we had our own little family's party.  Poor Emmy only got 2 gifts!  But she was just happy to climb over everyone else's gifts.  Charlie had fallen asleep on the way home from our Christmas Day gathering and we couldn't hardly wake him up.  All of the kids were pretty exhausted and we got a little meltdown over a gift from Ruby of all people (she is usually honored with anything we give her.)  Honestly, my first thought was that we are raising ungrateful children and we are spoiling them.  It was a little bit of a letdown because we did a lot more on gifts for our kids this year.  But it was just a reminder of how childish I am, too, when I don't get what I was expecting.  And I'm an adult!!  Ruby quickly got over it and so did I!  And we had another spectacular night together!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

it snowed

We're going to have a white Christmas!  It has been snowing a lot.  The kids' last day of school for the year was cancelled because of icy conditions.  They have been playing outside everyday and having a blast!  And it is so incredibly beautiful around here!

everybody's baby

I had been told that I wouldn't keep the baby books up-to-date when it comes to the last baby.  I thought I'd prove that theory wrong.  But I have failed to.  I haven't touched her baby book in half a year and my last post about Emmy was months ago and so much has changed since!  For one, she isn't such a baby anymore.  Ouch, that hurts!

She's walking all over the place and she will hold my hand to go places, which feels weird because she's a little short for her age.  Guess that's what these monkey arms of mine were made for!  Emmy is talking more too.  She'll repeat things in her own little way. She's got 'no' down better than anything else which the kids think is hilarious (because it is!)  She can also say 'go', 'ba-ba' for bottle, 'up', 'bye', 'poop', 'momma', 'dada', 'gamma', 'nay-nay' for Natalie.  She can sign 'more' and 'milk'.  Everything she does is just too cute!  She has this darling little mouth that makes this little 'o' shape a lot.  She looks like the Gerber Baby.  She sings and dances a lot probably because she is happy most of the time!  Her and her sibling's giggles are the most precious sounds in the world!!  And we are blessed to hear a lot of laughter in this house.  But we also have just started to hear this pig-screeching noise coming from Emmy when she is mad.  She does have her moments of anger now where she doesn't want me because she is mad at me.  I've had to pat her hand for when, in her defiance, she throws her unwanted food on the floor.  For a short while, if we gently said 'no' she would start to cry from being heartbroken.  She was so sensitive!  And that's how it still is occasionally when we tell her 'no'.  But more often, she will stare us in the eye and deliberately disobey!  She seems too young to have this little attitude!  It's still cute, though!  She gets over it fast!

Emmy is such a joy to us!  We can't get enough of her chubby legs, kissable cheeks, her adorable personality, her sweet voice- whether she's singing soprano or screeching like swine.  She's everybody's baby.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

baby steps

Emmy started taking steps about 2 months ago now but only in the last 2 weeks has she been walking.  I don't think there's anything sweeter than when she would take a couple of staggered, unsure steps.  I knew she could do it, she had the balance down, she knew how to tumble should she stumble, but she would reach out for me and as soon as she was close enough, she'd fall into me, knowing that I would catch her.

What a metaphor for life, isn't it?  Baby steps... it's an analogy used all of the time.  I've seen a hundred people do it before me and do it well, I know what it requires, but I am not sure if I've got what it takes.  I stagger, arms reaching, legs shaking, body moving uncomfortably.  I don't make it far because my mind gives up on me.  The strength of the body is there yet my spirit is weak.  But I have confidence in my Father.  I lean into Him and he's always there.  And while I give up, doubting myself, He's waiting for me to take it even further next time.  He has confidence in me!!  Isn't it sweet to think of our Heavenly Father holding His strong arms out to us while we waddle ungracefully toward Him.  I know He looks on us lovingly, encouraging us, and so excited when we get close to Him.  And even when we learn to walk in maturity like we're supposed to do, He wants us to come to Him like a child again.

Now Emmy is constantly on the move.  She's got this.  She doesn't need the security of my arms stretched toward her.  If anything, she doesn't want me to help her get along.  But nothing brings me more joy than when in all her independence, she decides to walk toward me and collapse into my arms!!

Matthew 14: 22-33 is the story of Jesus walking on water.  But Jesus wasn't the only person to ever walk on water.  When he told his disciples to 'come' walk on the water with him, only Peter obeyed and when he got out of the boat, he was also able to walk on the water.  Jesus knew he could do it but as soon as Peter began to doubt that he could do it, he began to sink.  Jesus had faith in Peter.  It was Peter who lost the faith to do the impossible with the help of Jesus.  Seriously, a human being other than Christ was able to walk. on. WATER!!

That's just a good reminder to me that nothing is impossible with God!  Oh, that my faith would continue to grow...!  That I wouldn't stumble, that I wouldn't shake, that I would believe that I have what it takes when I'm holding my Father's hand.

Baby steps....

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

How can it be that the month of December is almost over?  How can it be that this YEAR is almost through?!  We have been so busy around here.  I've had my hands full of kids (always!) and work, and Jordan is busier than ever with work.  All good things but a bit much for around the holidays.

But we are enjoying ourselves too!  It's not too often that we aren't blaring the Christmas music, dancing and singing along.  We've outdone ourselves with the gifts this year but I'm addicted to wrapping things up with pretty paper.  And I seem to constantly be re-decking the halls with the Christmas decor (nothing ever stays the same for long around here!)  And I've got a big list started in my head of what we will do with the kids' Christmas break (baking, crafts, caroling around the piano).

Little Emmy Ellamae just discovered our gifts and the ornaments but she actually kind of listens when I say 'no'.  Hopefully she can restrain herself from opening gifts for just a few days more!  Charlie is becoming addicted to sweets since we have more of those in the house than usual (ever since the snow has come).  Natalie and Ruby are enjoying the Christmas festivities at school.  There has been a lot of snow this month which the kids love.  We got them each a new sled and they use them everyday.  That's right, it's been a snowy December and it looks like it's going to be a white Christmas!