Sunday, December 30, 2007

christmas gift!

For all the Kirk-side of the family out there, is it too late to say this?! Probably so, but I'm attempting anyway. This is a phrase, along with "Christmas Eve gift" that are signature ways we ring in the holiday. The point is to be the first to say it to everyone in your family. It was so much fun when we were kids, especially when driving to join family in Tulsa for the holidays.

Our holiday this year has been good, though fraught with sickness (my mom, dad, me). I think we are all on the mend, however, for which we are grateful. Our time together has been spent lounging, driving, talking and watching movies, eating, and doing some exploring. Tomorrow morning we all drive north to OKC for a one-day Christmas event with mom's side of the family. We were supposed to go last Thursday, but mom was so sick and it didn't work out.

Here are a few snapshots that capture our time together:

Visiting with my oldest friend, Suzanne, and her hubby, Adam, and Suzanne's mom, Rita, at Starbucks on Christmas Eve
We went to see another set of old family friends, the Heritages/Leavers, yesterday for brunch. Here's a family shot of us by their tree.
Dawn and Drew's son, Ethan, is 2 months younger than Maggie. He is a total sweetheart and it was awesome to watch them play together. Maggie especially loved the refrigerator magnets.
Shannon took this shot and he wasn't even posing. Too cute!
Dawn was actually our favorite babysitter growing up, if you can believe that. She is only about 3 years older than I am now, but back then, that makes a big difference. It was fun to reconnect with her several years ago when we first moved to Dallas; we stayed with her and Drew at Dallas Theological Seminary, when we were scouting it out and I can remember both Dawn and I tripping out with how old we were.
The sweet Stutlers, in glowing pregnancy mode!
Getting ready for a walk with Grandpa on a COLD day
Reading before bed with Marmee
Opening presents; we officially did our Christmas on the 27th, due to everyone's sickness. Maggie seemed to enjoy the new things she got, but like most 1-year-olds, didn't really get all into it.

A favorite gift from Mema and Pops: a musical guitar! Aron was grinning from ear to ear when he opened it and Maggie was pretty stoked. here, dada is showing her the important chords.

Mags and mama

Ah, the joy of cheap gifts: I bought these plastic ice-cream sandwiches from the dollar bin at Target and Maggie played with them for a long time.
Maggie has thoroughly enjoyed our Fontanini nativity set. It's the same brand I had growing up and my mom bought this one because children can play with it without breaking anything. Maggie loves to put the heads of all the characters in her mouth and walk around. She loved doing that best with the baby Jesus and alas, he is no longer to be found. Hopefully, when we clean up from Christmas, we will find him somewhere nearby! :)
Listening and clapping while uncle Steve played the guitar.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

happy 30th, Aron!

Lest you think I am creating a duplicate post, I assure you I am not. For the last 8 weeks, I have been secretly planning an overnight getaway for Aron's special birthday and amazingly, it's been kept under wraps the entire time...well, almost. Let me back up. In early October, when we first settled into temporary housing, I began to think about Aron's momentous birthday and what I might do to make it memorable. After all, 30 is a milestone, right?! Knowing that my parents would be in town before Christmas, I decided to take advantage of their good graces and booked us a night in a Concept Suite at the uber-swanky Hotel Zaza (thanks to the recs of Patti and Rachel). I confirmed with Aron's boss that he could indeed have off Friday, December 21, without his knowledge. All was going according to plan, until I found out Thanksgiving week that his new boss, was about to become his old boss, and a new boss was stepping into the picture. I emailed old boss to make sure everything was still kosher with the event and he said yes, he would tell new boss. I continued making plans for our retreat, when on Monday of last week, Aron tells me that new boss will be in town on Thursday AND Friday of that week. I immediately panic in my mind, wondering if I should tell Aron, contact old boss, or new boss, etc. After some wise advice from my girlfriend Kathryn, I told Aron that night that we had plans for Thursday night and Friday and he could not go to work. He was absolutely *stunned*!! I was thrilled, like I said earlier, that I had been able to pull off this surprise (almost) without his knowledge. I only told him we were going out Thursday night and would be busy all day Friday. Thankfully, new boss knew about it all along and was only trying to throw Aron off the trail by saying he would be in town both days, when in reality, would only be in town Thursday.

Let the fun begin! I had written various cards for Aron to open throughout the time together, so we started with a card on the drive downtown Thursday night. Arriving at Sambuca, a remarkable jazz lounge (at the rec of Patti) in Uptown, we dined on delicious food and wine, listened to a talented singer and band play, while engaged in thoughtful conversation with our friend Brad (whose wife, Tammy, was also supposed to join us, but was too sick to make it). We slept soundly in our king bed at the hotel (we had to sell ours when we moved to Chicago and this experience made us realize How.Much.Better we sleep on a king), slept in, woke up, lounged around the room, ordered breakfast, room-service style, and watched "The Kingdom." After we checked out, we grabbed coffee at Starbucks, hung out there for a bit, headed over to the driving range so Aron could hit a bucket of balls with his new clubs, then headed to a local massage school for 1-hour massages, that turned out pretty nicely. We ate BJ's pizza for dinner, then headed back downtown to anticipate our last event of the night, seats at the Mavericks vs. Clippers basketball game. Aron was super stoked, but unfortunately, had been feeling worse and worse as the night wore on, so we had to forgo the game. We came home, chatted with my folks for a bit, then went to bed.

Thank you, mom and dad, for taking care of Maggie and giving us much-needed time away! We are grateful for your love and service towards us.

And, once more, happy 30th, my love.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Maggie's stats

Maggie had her 12 month appointment yesterday and all went well. I really liked the new doctor; I found her by going onto our insurance website and picking the one that was closest to our house. I also liked her name. Is that silly? Anyway, I was most pleased!

Weight: 23 lbs., 11 oz.=80th percentile
Height: 30 in.=75th percentile
Head: 19 in.=<95th percentile :)

Just today Maggie learned to point to her nose when we say it. Auntie Tammy will be so proud! Tam said "nose" over and over when they came to visit in July. It's super cute because when I say, "Maggie, where is your nose?" she either taps her nose several times or sticks her finger up her nostril. hehe

wordless wednesday

Thanks, Great-Aunt Dinah, for the birthday gifts! Maybe I will be a singer, like dada, when I grow up. :)

wordless wednesday

Sunday, December 16, 2007


You will also see the links on the side of my blog have been updated, specifically "Our Eyes," "Our Minds," and "Our Fingers." I hope to do this on a more regular basis, whether it's spiritually related links, or just for fun links. Tell me what you think!

10 dollar t-shirts

Come on, really? Only $10? And free shippping, you say? And, only 1 design per day, so not everyone I see has my exact same shirt?!

Check it, straight out of Carrollton, Texas, about 10 miles west of us:

Has anyone heard of this site before? I just learned about it 2 months ago and only checked it recently, but find myself checking often to see if there is one I want to snatch up (Steve, this seems like a very *you* site). Very cool and fun, especially for that hard-to-buy for friend or family member.


Last Monday, I joined up with a few other mom's for cookie decorating, a book exchange, and of course, lots of playing. Here are some cute shots.

Maggie cutting out a cookie with a little help
Not sure what Bella was crying about...she was having so much fun, getting flour all over her face!

This is the group of kiddos...everyone, but M, showed up wearing red! So, in the end, I threw my red scarf around her to make her look more festive.

bits of random in tandem

*We bought Maggie's big girl carseat this weekend and she loves it. She probably should have been in it a solid 8 weeks ago, but I just wanted to stick to the law on this one, not entirely sure why. Both TX and IL law is 1 year and 20 pounds. She is enjoying facing forward like the rest of us!

*She started whole milk on Friday...big girl! She also says "Uh-oh" all the time. Too funny.

*We found a neighborhood that has a fantastic light display here in Plano. If you live nearby, it's a MUST to drive through. They even offer free horse carriage rides that take you to the best houses. I can't wait to go back with my folks when they get here:

*Speaking of, mom and dad fly in Wednesday and stay until New Year's Day and S&S arrive Christmas Day and leave the same day as M&D. I love family visits!! I'm already planning activities and meals to cook.

* The best deal of all this weekend was my aunt telling me she took our Christmas card pic to church today and all our old friends said, "Maggie looks JUST.LIKE.HER.MOM when she was younger." I JUST KNEW Maggie had some of me in her.

Friday, December 14, 2007


Our daughter is a genius. She did the sign for "more" for the first time on Tuesday night at our Life Group Christmas party! I almost fell out of my chair. We have been practicing with her since she started sitting in the high chair, albeit not terribly consistently until the last couple of months. She also did "all done" earlier this week! I know alot of other babies sign, but when your child does it for the first time and really understands what they are doing, it's pretty awesome!

Aron saw it for the first time last night and was all smiles. I told him we have to film it and put it on the blog.

Addendum: After reading this post, Aron told me I was a dork for writing that she is so smart because all parents think that about their kids. My response: Apparently, all parents have not met Maggie. lol

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Unfortunatley Maggie has celebrated her first few days of 1 year'dom in solitary confinment. Reliable sources close to the family forwarded below video of Maggie celebrating the 'big day' well after her bedtime. FOR SHAME MAGGIE!!!

Please join us in prayer for our daughter's deviant dancing ways.

Thanks for making us laugh, Ryan.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

year one, in pictures

Today, Maggie Grace celebrates her first birthday! I love my sweet, baby girl and am enternally grateful for this journey I am on. Mags, you amaze dada and I each day; we love to hear you laugh and watch you play and grow. In you, we see Him.







Monday, December 10, 2007

happy 30th, my love

Today, Aron celebrates a big milestone that I did not want to go unnoticed amidst Maggie's 1st birthday. I've put together a list of 30 things I love about him, in no particular order.

1. He is amazingly patient and loving with Maggie
2. He is amazingly patient and loving with me
3. He encourages me in spiritual pursuits and his love for Christ is evident in his daily life.
4. He listens to me. I can think I don’t have a lot to talk about, then look up and see that an hour or more has passed!
5. His dream job would be playing music for life; he is a very gifted musician
6. He is a gifted speaker and communicator; often, he’s able to word things in such a way that often help me better understand
7. He loves to travel
8. He allows me to have downtime from Maggie whenever I need it
9. He is totally involved in Maggie’s life, and especially enjoys doing her nighttime routine when he gets home from work.
10. He helps clean up the kitchen
11. He can cook well
12. He is on time
13. He makes me laugh every single day
14. He will run errands and shop with me without complaint
15. He helps with household chores (especially my least favorite, mopping the floors!)
16. He is working in a job that is currently not his passion and yet does so, without complaint
17. He enjoys going on walks with us and being outdoors as a family
18. He loves to read
19. He daily encourages me to pursue my passions (writing, other creative outlets)
20. He keeps in touch with his family
21. He loves to give
22. He makes all sorts of fun animal sounds and silly noises for Maggie (why can’t girls make boy noises, like good car sounds or crashing sounds?! Maybe this is just me…)
23. He is flexible, moving to a few different places in the last several years; he’s often told me that he could live in a closet, he doesn’t need much.
24. He loves to delve into intellectually stimulating conversations
25. He cannot dress Maggie in matching outfits to save his life (he might resent this one :)
26. He is a life-long learner, hoping to further his education and obtain his Ph.D one day
27. He listens to me read fiction novels to him and LOVES it (this is the only way he will read fiction; he prefers theological/philosophical books when he reads alone)
28. He is genuinely interested in the details of my day
29. He doesn’t mind if I eat off of his plate
30. Maggie must think he is something special because her first official word was “dada.”

Sunday, December 9, 2007

party time

Today, we hosted our first party at our pad--Maggie's 1st birthday party! With 18 friends, 4 babies, and 3 toddlers, the house was jam packed. We feasted on Aron's grilled-to-perfection carne asada with the fixins and homemade guacamole. Somewhere in all our party prep this weekend, we completely forgot to get rice and beans! I've been thinking about this party for over six weeks now and I don't think either of those sides really crossed my mind! Nevertheless, the company seemed pleased. For dessert, I made chocolate espresso cupcakes and sugar cookies with a frosted "M" on top. Maggie tentatively tasted her cupcake at first, then daddy broke it into pieces and she dove in, full of smiles and laughs. Everyone enjoyed watching her and singing "Happy Birthday." She was actually quite the ham. Since we are back in Cowboy territory, we watched the Cowboy v. Lions game while we ate (Cowboys 28, Lions 27). Later, we played a game (what's a party without a game?!), a 10 question "All About Maggie's First Year" put on a PowerPoint slideshow with pictures. It was great fun to see how well our friends know Maggie and in the end we had a 3-way tie (which I was not prepared for; I only had one prize). So, we asked a tie breaker question and Patti won. Good job!

Thank you to our wonderful friends for celebrating with us (the Alexanders, Avants, Blackwell, Duckworths, Furmans, Greys [coming all the way from Heath!], Maples, Ortons, and Smiths)! The Furmans, who are currently residing in Arkansas, were in town for a wedding and were able to make it to the shin dig; I can't believe I didn't get a good family shot of you guys. We missed all those who couldn't be with us, so enjoy these pictures and know that we thought of you!
The grilling master
The table is set

I set out some of my favorite of Maggie's first things: an outfit, a beanie, some shoes, her baby cup, some photos. Thanks, La, for the inspiration!

The cupcakes, which I thought turned out quite nicely

The "M" cookies

Engrossed in the Cowboys game

Playing the "10 questions" game

Lots of babies!

Grayson, Hudson, and Maggie

The Maples (no, Dealey, did not get any of his daddy's drink, don't worry) :)

Renee and Pierce

Erin and Hudson

The Alexanders

The Smiths with sweet 5-week old Eliana Grace

The Ducks, eagerly awaiting Charlotte's arrival--January 8th! We can't wait to meet her, too!

The Avants' with M, who was feeling quite tired at this point!
"What the heck is this thing?!"

"It seems tasty..."

"Do I lick my hands?"

"That was SO good! Can I have another!"