Friday, December 30, 2011

J is for Jedi!

The girls' Aunt Alaina (who lives with us and goes to a nearby college) came home with a delightful gift for them last night.  She works at Barnes and Noble and found it on their Star Wars table.  They were so excited this morning to get a post-Christmas present!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time!

We had so much fun this Christmas!  The girls lit up our hearts with their excitement about each part of the season.  We had fun having my niece Hannah stay with us for a few days.  My sister Ruthie, brother-in-law Phil, and their daughter Hannah are missionaries in Thailand, and they were home this year for the birth of my new great niece (their first granddaughter) Ruby Fiona!  My nephew Jeremy (Ruby's dad) lives in Savannah, so I was able to meet up with Ruthie and Phil on their way back home and brought Hannah to stay with us for a while.  The girls loved having Hannah around, and it was a real blessing to Patrick and me as well.  She is such a sweetie, and a joy to be around!  My family is headed back to Thailand tomorrow, and I miss them already!  We spent Christmas Eve Eve having breakfast at my favorite breakfast place in Greenville, Stax Omega, with my niece Taylor and her boyfriend Tim.  The girls ate their weight in scrambled eggs and pancakes!  From there, we headed to my Mom's for a soup and salad lunch with the rest of my family.  It was a really fun day, and I even got to get out and finish up some Christmas shopping while my sweet sisters took care of the girls!  We spent Christmas Eve with Patrick's family and had a fabulous breakfast together, opened presents, and then had a yummy prime rib dinner.  The girls had so much fun!  We headed back home on Christmas Eve night and enjoyed Christmas day home together, just the four of us.  The girls got to finish putting the stars on their advent calendar, listen to Daddy read the Christmas story from the Bible, and eat a delicious breakfast with us.  We got them twin baby dolls.  One has brown hair for Evelyn and one has blonde hair for Naomi!  They also got Leap Frog alphabet fridge magnets, which were a huge hit!  They got cute coin purses from Thailand, a V-Tech laptop from Grammy and Pep-Pep, jeans, lots of books, and some artwork from their aunts and uncles.  They loved unwrapping their gifts, but they loved all of the tickling, hugs and kisses, and excitement of being around our family so much more!  Here are some pictures and a short video from the past couple of weeks and from Christmas day.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Loss and A Lesson in Love

In 2008, two days after Christmas, we lost our first baby.  We always remember this little one, but we think of him or her more at Christmas time.  I was about ten weeks pregnant when we realized the baby was not going to make it.  We were home visiting with our families for the holidays.  I had actually started bleeding on Christmas morning, but had called the doctor, and was just waiting and hoping everything was okay.  On the day after Christmas, I was in a movie theater with a few of my nieces and nephews and Patrick was out with his brothers.  After the movie, I went to the bathroom, and knew immediately that there was something wrong.  I called Patrick and my nieces and nephews waited with me in a hotel parking lot for him to come.  I learned later that he had put his hazard lights on and literally ran red lights to get to me.  I called my doctor, and they told me to go ahead and go to the hospital.  We got to the emergency room, and after some blood work and an ultra sound, it was determined that our little one had no heart beat and had actually passed away at around 5 weeks gestation.  We left the hospital and went to Patrick's parents house.  Both of our families were waiting there for us, and Patrick's Mom had packed up all of our bags for us.  I had really just wanted to go home with Patrick as soon as we could.  Our family prayed with us and cried with us, and we were on our way.  We got home around midnight, and I actually miscarried the baby the following evening.  We will always love that little soul that God blessed us with that year.  We would have carried that child for 1 week or 10, we would have cared for him or her for their whole life.  We know that God knows best, and we learned through the experience of losing a child, to depend on God more, and to love each other more deeply.  As we watch our two little girls experiencing the Christmas season this year, our hearts are filled with thankfulness and awe, for we know that each moment we are given to hold them is a treasure and a wonderful gift from our Heavenly Father.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Playing and Cleaning, Cleaning and Playing

Last week I was under the weather, and had to figure out how to keep the little ladies entertained/contained while trying to take it easy.  One thing I did was to close the kitchen door and put a gate at the other entry way and let them play in the kitchen while I did dishes or just sat in a chair and tried to rest.  They loved the change of scenery, and the kitchen was actually pretty easy to baby-proof.  As long as they weren't wearing socks, they got along really well on the linoleum, and I think they enjoyed having a little more freedom to roam.  What this taught me was that now that the girls are more steady on their feet, I can actually just take them from room to room and get things done around the house.  I don't just have to use their nap times to try and clean like a mad woman anymore!!  Today, they hung out in our bedroom while I cleaned our bathroom (I semi-baby proofed the bedroom first -- and then had to do it for real when I found Naomi teething on a wire hanger -- whoops!).  This was such a relief for me, and I have noticed that they are really able to get their energy out and satisfy some of that wonderful 14 month old curiosity about the world around them when they are a little freer to roam.  I call it their "free range chicken time"!  I think with having two at once, Patrick and I are not always jumping the gun to see the girls into their next stages of development and independence.  It feels safer and more manageable sometimes to get into a routine and just stay there.  I am learning though, that it is really important for us to step out there with the girls and to take risks.  They catch on really quickly, and they need us to foster their growth even if it all seems to be happening too fast for our comfort!  I have found such joy in having my girls "follow" me around while I try and take care of our home. Here are a couple of pictures from our photo shoot during Thanksgiving weekend (courtesy of TimAlina Photography) - I will be posting more later this week!