Friday, December 28, 2007

The Big Day

So our Christmas morning thankfully did not start until 9:30. Owen was the first one up, and even though it was very late for him to be sleeping, he was still exhausted from his tummy aches over the weekend. Matt brought me coffee in bed, which he does every morning that he is off (spoiled? yes, but he knows it makes me so happy!) Then we played with Owen until sleepy head decided to get up. Since Micah now has his last set of molars coming in, he woke a little on the grumpy side. We decided to keep the boys upstairs while the Advil kicked in. We enjoyed some "sweet bread" as Micah calls it (cream cheese wrapped inside biscuits and dipped in butter and cinnamon sugar-YUM!) and listened to Dada read the Christmas story from Luke. Finally, it was time to go downstairs. Micah's face lit up when he saw the tool bench. I don't think Owen had a clue what was going on, but he loved the paper, ribbon, and all the new toys. Owen opened a couple of gifts and a stocking full of pacifiers and diaper cream and then he was off for a nap. Matt and I helped Micah unwrap all of his gifts. He was somewhat agitated that we wanted him to keep opening more presents. He really just wanted to play with the toys he had already received. Maybe next year we should start a few days before?! Matt was excited to open his new set of speakers for downstairs (we can now listen to music on something besides Micah's portable CD player,) and his new tennis shoes. I loved my new watch, shirt, and candles. We also got a new camera from my mom, which we are still in the process of figuring out. We had both cameras going that morning because we didn't want to miss anything. Hope you enjoy the following pictures.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Morning



























Christmas Eve









We arrived home around 1:30 Christmas Eve, and after eating lunch, unpacking, and napping, the preparation began. We let the boys open a gift that evening from each other. Owen knew that Micah would love some real instruments (a wooden guitar clacker, a couple of drums and a "harmonimicah") and he did have fun banging away until bed time. Micah gave Owen his own set of nesting/stacking cups since he hogs the set they already have in the bathtub. I think Owen was amazed that he actually had a toy to play with in the bath that was all his own! Micah is learning the concept of "some things are mine, some things are Owen's and some things are to share."

After we put the boys to bed, I set to work cooking and Matt busily put together Micah's new tool bench. Matt's parent's kitchen is still under construction, so we volunteered for everyone to come to our house Christmas night for dinner and opening gifts. I love to cook, and am always looking for an excuse to try some new recipes. We had Alabama pulled pork sandwiches with white barbecue sauce and onion marmalade, green beans with shallots and bacon, twice baked potato casserole, and chess pie for dessert. There was also apple cider, coffee, relishes, cheeses, veggies, spinach dip, etc. for appetizers and drinks. We had a lot of work to do, and Matt and I didn't hit the sack until after 2 am. I guess that is what parents do the night before Christmas- stay up and get everything ready for an exciting morning. We had fun doing it, sipping our cocktails and listening to Christmas music while we worked.

Memphis

When you marry, you have to make some big decisions: one of those being "where will we spend the holidays?" Thankfully, my family is pretty flexible and will gladly shuffle dates around to accommodate us as much as possible. We decided this year to celebrate the Saturday before. The boys had a good time visiting Nana, Mimi, Pa, Bill, Uncle Andy, and Aunt Jessica. My Mom's extended family came over earlier in the day. It was good to get everyone together because my Grandmother used to do that. This year was our first Christmas without her, and I know she would have been happy that we all still gathered to celebrate. Micah and Owen got several new toys although Micah was only really interested in building his tall towers. He has this funny part to his personality where he gets interested in one thing and that is it. He really doesn't care much about anything else. He will play with a new toy for a minute, but then go back to whatever the toy of the month is.

Traveling with babies is always hard, especially when you have children who love their own room and schedules. Micah has learned to adapt mainly because he is old enough to understand what is happening. So, the fact that he was camping out in a pack n play in Nana's room didn't hinder him from sleeping the day away! Owen was a different story. He knew something was fishy when we put him up in the room with us; combine that with a pretty bad tummy ache, and let's just say Matt and I didn't get much sleep. We are still working through some stomach issues with Owen and are trying to help him naturally (with food and not medicine), but are wondering if we might have to try something else. Although we were exhausted, the trip was fun and definitely worth the lack of sleep.

Christmas in Memphis














On the way home, Micah needed his Starbucks almost as bad as we did, since we had to wake him up at the oh so early hour of 10:30 am. No, I am not joking, he really sleeps that late these days. Notice Ellie in the back. She had very little room in the back, but she doesn't seem to mind!



























































































Owen with Uncle Andy. I think there is a little resemblance in these two.


















Micah had fun with his second cousins.



















Spending time with "Bill," who is my grandfather. He has been sick and in the hospital since October, so we were so happy that he was able to come home for Christmas.











This one takes some explaining: My family passes a joke gift around, and each Christmas someone gets it. The person who gives it must dress it up in some fashion so as to be a joke to the receiver. This year it adorned a white coat, cool spectacles, and various other optometry tools, and it went to Matt. Actually it is a weasel, which makes it even funnier that Matt got it because his college nickname was actually weasel. My mom hand crafted this thing in some art class, and after getting made fun of relentlessly by my uncle, she wrapped it up and gave it to him as a Christmas gift. My uncle couldn't resist giving it eyes, nose, and mouth, and regifting it to my mom the following year, and there the tradition was born


















.

FINALLY


I have been wanting to do this ever since we got home on Monday afternoon, but as things have been so busy, and I didn't want to miss a minute of it with the boys, so I have waited until nap time today. Our festivities began last Friday the 21st. It was a special day because Matt and I celebrated our 5th anniversary. I know it doesn't seem so romantic to travel with two babies and a dog, but that is how the dates fell this year. We did go to the Radio City Music Spectacular earlier in the week because we knew Friday we were going to go visit my family in Memphis. Nana, Mimi, and Pa did babysit when we arrived so that Matt and I could sneak a baby-free meal in at our favorite Thai restaurant. It is hard for us to believe that five years have passed. We feel so blessed as we look back on what the Lord has given us. We have true love, one that we know is not just a feeling, but a daily sacrifice, one that the Lord continues to grace us with. We have amazing children. They are so unique and bring such joy to our lives. Matt has accomplished the hard task of school while still leading a growing family. We have a beautiful new home, Matt likes his part time job, and he is working hard to open a practice of his own. I marvel at the blessings we have received, and yet still wonder why on earth the Lord would bless us this way.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Infinite, and an infant. Eternal, and yet born of a woman. Almighty, and yet hanging on a woman's breast. Supporting a universe, and yet needing to be carried in a mother's arms. King of angels, and yet the reputed son of Joseph. Heir of all things, and yet the carpenter's despised son. Oh, the wonder of Christmas.

-Charles Haddon Spurgeon -

Oh sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things!
His right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
The Lord has made known his salvation;
he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.

Make a joyful noise to the LORD,
all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing
praises!
Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre,
with the lyre and the sound of melody!
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD!
Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
the world and those who dwell in it!
Let the rivers clap their hands;
let the hills sing for joy together
before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with equity.
Psalm 98

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

One More Tradition

The other night as we were strolling the boys through the Opryland Hotel, it occurred to me: We do this every year. For the past six years Matt and I have gone to the Opryland Hotel at Christmas time. It is really unbelievable the way they decorate the place. It is gorgeous year around with all the indoor gardens and waterfalls, a lazy river with a gondola ride, and amazing restaurants, but at Christmas they go all out with a lighted fountain that performs to music, amazing Christmas trees, and lights everywhere. This year we also headed over to the Opry Mills mall to check out the Sting Ray Reef and carousel (it had a green frog, which is Micah's favorite!). We just knew Micah was going to have so much fun feeding the sting rays and were so excited to take him. Alas, with the first jump, he ran from the tank crying. He was petrified. Micah has always been very cautious and wary of anything new; we just thought since he loves animal so much, he would think if was fun. After we calmed him down with a few rides on the carousel, we went back to the tank. He was content to watch from afar as Matt and I fed the rays their shrimp. Owen had an absolute ball. He gets such a thrill out of the smallest of things. His face lit up as the carousel started turning, and his squeals entertained us the whole ride. Micah loved his green frog, but was pretty serious about holding on really tight! I think his favorite part was at the hotel visiting a horse with a guitar.













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