Monday, December 29, 2008

I'm dreaming of an Oklahoma Christmas...

We arrived home safely from a wonderful time visiting family in Oklahoma for the holidays. We began our trip with a lesiurely drive to the Tulsa-area on Monday morning. We stopped for lunch in McCalister (one of the larger towns in OK), and arrived at my aunt Judy and uncle Tom's house in Owasso around 4pm. My cousin Laura (their daughter) met us and we drove to my aunt Jackie's house around the corner, spent several hours with her, and headed back to Tom and Judy's for dinner. The next day, we lounged around the house, enjoyed the cold weather, went out to lunch, and later Aunt Judy offered to watch Maggie for a little while, so Aron and I did some shopping and enjoyed getting out sans-Maggie. It was wonderful! That night, my other cousin, Alycia, (Tom and Judy's other daughter) and her husband and kiddos came over and we ate dinner and enjoyed more family time. Cameron, 11, especially enjoyed playing with Maggie. After Maggie went to bed, we played cards with the boys until about 9pm, then the two of us went to a movie. We vacilated on what to see, but ended up in "The Tale of Despereaux" which was a well-made cartoon, with a unique story (though not one I think needs to be seen in theaters). On Christmas Eve morning we ate breakfast at a local restaurant with more of the Tulsa family. Afterwards, we headed out and made the 2 hour drive into Oklahoma City to stay with Aunt Peggy and Uncle Bill. We went to a Christmas Eve service and Maggie sat through the entire hour like a pro! We were so proud of her. On Christmas morning, we lounged around the house, and later, I made Christmas lunch for everyone. The food was good, the company even better. We opened gifts afterwards and it was great fun to watch Maggie tear into her goodies. My aunt and I did some after-Christmas shopping the next day, then a good friend of hers babysat Maggie while the 4 of us went to see "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" which was outstanding--well-acted, filmed beautiful, and encompassing all the themes of a great film (love, loss, redemption). After a yummy breakfast at a local restaurant on Saturday morning, Aron, Maggie, and I headed back to Dallas. We throughly enjoyed our last trip as a family of 3. :) Maggie traveled fantastically and was such a blessing to all we saw; it brought us much joy to see her interact with family. Thanks for hosting us and loving on us!

Maggie with her new Radio Flyer tricycle from Pops and Mema (Aron's folks)
Grandma opening gifts
Uncle Bill contemplating if he will make breakfast the next morning
Aunt Peggy genuinely surprised at the uniquness of a gift from Uncle Bill--a box full of money! :)
My Grandpa and I
Plastic food from GAP (Maggie's name for my aunt--Great-Aunt Peggy)
Hanging out with cousin Cameron

My cousins (all siblings) from L to R: Heather, Bethany, and Samuel. I haven't seen them all together since I was really young and still living in OK. Fun to have a mini-family reunion over breakfast!

Uncle Tom, Aunt Judy, and Aunt Jackie (my dad's 2 sisters)

Scott and Alycia and their 2 boys, Chapman (who Maggie affectionately called "Chapstick" once! hehe) and Cameron

Cousin Laura and I

Bethany and her boyfriend, K, and Heather and her husband, Brian

Beverly and Don (my dad's 1st cousin)

The boys posing for the camera

a Maggie first

She went pee-pee in the potty when we arrived home from our trip to Oklahoma. Hooray!

pregnancy update #2

Confirmed at my OB appointment today, I have officially dropped and I'm at 2 cm, but still 50% effaced. This is all *very* exciting, as it's much more progress than I ever made with Maggie. The OB plans to do a gentle stripping of my membranes next Wednesday and we'll see what happens. My Group B Strep test (GBS) came back positive, which means I will have to be on antibiotics whenever I do labor, and this may cut into some of my time I hope to labor and have a successful VBAC, but still, I'm willing to push through!
Stay tuned. Belly shot for La. :)

Monday, December 22, 2008

pregnancy update

I can't believe our little boy will be here so soon! I changed my blog ticker so each time I view it, it says how many days are left--24 as of today! I'm still reading through a couple of books and mentally gearing up for another birth. I'm feeling good, we are right on schedule with weekly check-ups now and checks (ahem). As of last visit, I'm already at the dilation and effacement I was with Maggie at 41 weeks, so this is GOOD news for someone who is going for a VBAC. Keep praying that we'll be able to have him in this manner. Our little man is still quite the mover and stretcher (Maggie was a kicker--would move sporadically and with quick kicks--while he is always stretching, stretching, stretching). It's been neat to tell a difference, though there is no difference in how I have carried both of them--low and out. It's funny how some people stop me and say, "Wow, you are big! When are you due? You must be having a boy because you are carrying so low." And I just have to smile and say that I carried my daughter the same way; thus, not all wives tales are true. :)

I'm sure you are all chomping at the bit to know his patient! He's coming and at this point, I'll take him any time he chooses to show up.

current winter & christmas-time favorites

*Maggie often saying, "I love Christmas music," whenever we listen to it
*Scarves and sweaters
*Maggie singing most of "Jingle Bells" and shaking a bell to go along with it
*Acoustic Christmas music
*The Christmas music station
*The fact that See's Candy opens several stores in the area to sell goodies before the holidays
*Land of Lakes Hot Chocolates (especially in Graham Cracker, Mint, and Supreme)--this is the next-best thing to homemade
*Hershey's Mint Truffle Kisses
*Whenever we tuck Maggie in at night, she often says, "Just like baby Jesus," because at church a few weeks ago, they did a craft where they glued a felt blanket on a picture of Jesus in the manager
*And lastly, the fact that overall, it's been a relaxing and stress-free holiday season this year, and thus, I've been able to think on Christ and enjoy my family more than I can remember in years past

holiday update

I've been on a bit of blogging hiatus, as the last couple of weeks have been relatively quiet with not too much to report. As of Friday, Aron has 2 weeks off from work and is done with fall semester classes, so we are soaking up all the time with him home that we can. It's been AMAZING so far! We've gone out several nights in a row and looked at lights with Maggie and given her a very small cup of hot chocolate each time; such a "special treat" as she calls it! :) The weather has cooled off considerably (though it did shoot back up into the 70s on Thursday), which always adds to the festive feel of this season. All my Christmas shopping is done and all gifts are mailed (I was actually done by the 12th, I can't believe it!).

Today, we are leaving for a week's visit in Oklahoma to see my extended family. I'm so excited about our road trip! Our first stop will be in the Tulsa-area to visit with my dad's side of the family for a few days. They do a big Christmas Eve breakfast that I haven't been to since I was little, so I'm looking forward it, as well as just spending time with aunts & uncles & cousins who I don't see regularly. Sometime later on Christmas Eve, we'll drive the 2 hours west into Oklahoma City and stay with my aunt & uncle (mom's sister--this is who I stay with whenever I visit OKC) and go to church at the church where I grew up. Should be wonderful! Christmas Day we plan to do lunch at their house with my grandparents and just relax. We may go see a movie that night or Friday night (as there are SO many good ones out now). My aunt and I will undoubtedly do a bit of after-Christmas shopping on Friday morning and then, Aron and I plan to return home sometime on Saturday, probably in the late afternoon. Maggie is excited about going on vacation!

christmas traditions

Several weeks ago, I blogged about my desire to share ideas for Christmas tradtions. Many of you commented/wrote me, and I have quite a few of my own, so I thought I'd better share before it was too late (or maybe to give you a jump start for next year). I was able to speak on this topic to my MOPS group earlier this month and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. This may be long, but I'll try to break it into sections. Hopefully, you can walk away with a some inspiration.

Advent Ideas (Advent is our preparation for the coming of Christ)
*Advent Candle Wreath—a wreath with 3 purple candles, 1 red candle and 1 white candle. It is done the 4 Sundays before Christmas and on Christmas day. You can find advent “family night” programs online or follow one that your church may be doing.
*Advent Calendars—Open a new window each day to count down to Christmas Eve. Can also make your own using red and green paper links, wrap 24 small gifts, etc.
*Advent Nativity Calendar—Put out a new piece of the Nativity each day
*Advent Tree—Put a candle on the tree each day to represent a prayer made that day.
*Make Ornamenents for a Jesse Tree--See link here.

Games & Fun
*Do Christmas Coloring Books or Jigsaw Puzzles
*Christmas Storybooks—Read special Christmas stories. Buy a new one each year or check out special stories from the library. My mom started the tradition of buying us a new one yearly and I continue it to this day! It's one of my favorite traditions (these books are only brought out at Christmas).
*Christmas Music—After Thanksgiving start playing your favorite Christmas CDs. Buy a new one each year (my friend Laurie and her husband do this yearly and I love it).
*Christmas Ornament—Buy one special ornament for each family member each year. Especially fun for kids and when they grow up, they can take them with them. Again, another that my family did and now, I'm doing with my own family.
*Draw Names for Stockings—when the children are old enough, have all family members draw names for stockings and fill accordingly.
*Research Favorite Christmas Traditions—Find out why we put up trees, hang stockings, sing carols, etc, and teach your children.
*Make your own Christmas crafts
*Find activities around town and go!

Thinking of Others
*Christmas Card Prayers—As you get Christmas cards in the mail, hang them up or put them in a basket. Each night at dinner, pick one of the cards and pray for the family that sent it to you.
*Participate in Christmas Giving—do Samaritan’s Purse, Salvation Army, Toys for Tots, gifts/cards for soldiers, caroling at a nursing home, write thank-you cards to people who help you all year, etc.
*Christmas Jar—put out a jar to collect spare change throughout the month of December and after Christmas, count the money and decide how you want to use it as a family to help someone in need. After I shared this at MOPS, one mom said that it might be a good idea to keep this jar out all year long to collect spare change in, and I think this is even better!

Decorating Traditions
*Getting a Tree/Putting up the Tree—Set aside time as a family to go find or set up your Christmas tree. Play Christmas music, have a special meal (could be dinner at Chick-fil-a) or have a special snack when done (hot apple cidar and cookies). Talk about past Christmases and share favorite ornaments
*Setting up Nativities—Have at least one special Nativity scene. Talk about the first Christmas. It may be fun to watch the Nativity Story ahead of time. Put yourself in the story and tell what you’d be thinking. You may want to keep Jesus out of the scene until Christmas Day. I will throw in that I'm quite passionate about having a nativity set that is not breakable so your kids can play with it (at least have one your kids can play with). Growing up, my parents had a set by Fontanini and now, I do, as well. Plus, I LOVE the authentic feel is has; very rustic and true-to-life (i.e. not a caucausian Jesus). :) Click here to see the set.
*Decorate a Gingerbread House Together

Christmas Cooking
*Baking Day—Set aside a special day to do your Christmas baking. You may want to pick some family favorites or try a couple new ones. Do with your family or perhaps with girlfriends only.
*Cookie Exchange—Gather friends and each bake several dozen cookies of different kinds. Swap the cookies so that you each go home with many different kinds of cookies.
*Traditional Meals—Every year have the same meal on Christmas morning (or whenever works for your family.
*Have an Annual Wassail Party--Invite friends and family over for hot wassail, Christmas goodies, and good times.

Christmas Eve Traditions
*New PJs—Each year let everyone open one present right before bed—new Christmas PJs. Cute for Christmas morning pictures! Or, open another gift or do stockings the night before.
*Let your kiddos sleep in the same room together and get up together the next day.
*Church Candlelight Service—Find a church in your area that has a service.
*Drive around town to look at lights

Christmas Day Traditions
*Read the Christmas Story--Before any other events take place, read the story together and pray to thank God for the most precious gift we can receive!
*Open Baby Jesus as your First Gift –wrap baby Jesus from any and all Nativity scenes that you have and open that as your first Christmas present.
*Open Presents One at a Time—to remind us that we are giving and receiving, and to enjoy the excitement of one another. I am quite passionate about this one. After all, shouldn't the kiddos have the opportunity to thank the person who gave them each gift? And enjoy it momentarily before ripping into the next one? And, isn't this a good opportunity to teach them patience and to share in the joy of others' getting gifts, as well?
*Have a Birthday Party for Jesus—have a cake, sing happy birthday to Jesus (idea for the cake—make it pure white with pure white frosting for the purity of Christ, use purple candles for His royalty and decorate with a small nativity scene

Monday, December 15, 2008


Apparently, Maggie is learning the art of personifcation because as often as she likes to change her babies' diapers and wipe them clean, she has yet to do this to another object. But, today, aparently, her Lego had poop and she had to wipe it down.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

3 words: big girl bed

I can't believe we bought Maggie's big girl bed!

Well, the bed is officially ready to go, set up in her room; she just isn't in it yet. I'm hoping to start tomorrow night. She absolutely loved being snuggled in her blanket this afternoon after Aron put it together. Here's to a smooth transition. :)

birthday party

Today we hosted a come-and-go dessert for Maggie's birthday party. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with good friends. Maggie received some wonderful gifts and enjoyed playing with her friends. Even though not all are pictured, we just wanted to express our thanks to Greg, Patti, & Grayson, Erin, Christian, & Hudson, Renee, Sheldon, & Pierce, Nicole & Madeline, Tammy, Rick, Michelle, & Jonah, Allison, Jason, & Charlotte, Bethany, Cademon, & Asher for coming and celebrating with us!

Eating her cupcake

Hugging Charlotte

Opening gifts

Madeline helping Maggie unwrap her gifts

Thursday, December 11, 2008

happy 2nd birthday, Maggie!

Today Maggie turns 2 years old! What a wonderful, spunky, thoughtful child she is. It's been an incredible journey to be her parents these last two years and see all the ways that she has grown and changed. We love you, girl, and are so thankful you are in our family.

Enjoy a few snapshots of Mags opening presents. Thank you to all family and friends for sharing in her birthday with calls, gifts, and cards.
Attempting to hold up "2" fingers
Opening Legos from Mema and Pops

Maggie's cheese face :)

Enjoying her new hat from uncle Steve, aunt Shannon, and cousin Jacob

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

happy birthday, Love!

Today is my wonderful husband's birthday! We went out to dinner and we had some good life conversations. It was an enjoyable and much-needed relaxing evening. Aron, I'm so thankful for you, for your unselfish giving of your time and energy on a daily basis to both Maggie and me, for your encouragement in my walk to know Christ more, for your like-minded support in raising our children, for your continued perserverance in a job that is not your passion, for your always-listening ear and always-servant's heart.

Happy birthday, Love. Here is to another year of life together...who knows what it will hold!? :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

34+ week belly pic

I can't believe it's been 10 weeks since I last posted a belly pic (September). Here's the latest. I'll probably post another one before he arrives. It's getting so close! :)


Today, we visited Northpark Mall with our friends Avery and her mama, Molly, and saw the wonderful train display! Maggie was totally enthralled with all the displays and trains. There were tiny villages set up, a circus, Mount Rushmore, NYC, and more. I'm excited to go every year now; what a wonderful holiday tradition to start!

Maggie and mama (this is her ongoing attempt to "smile" for the camera) :)

Maggie and Avery with their conductor hats

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

wordless wednesday

Lately, these haven't exactly been wordless, but sometimes pictures need to be explained. Last week Maggie was playing with our nativity set (it's totally child-friendly, I'm a huge fan of such a set) and she wanted to "cover baby Jesus" so he could go "night-night." She put him on the ottoman and covered him with one of her blankets, then took her other blanket and laid down on the floor next to him and pretended to go "night-night," too. It was very sweet!

Friday, November 28, 2008


We spent the morning at home, as a family, and I did some food prep for our meal that evening. We joined our friends, Sheldon, Renee, and Pierce, at the their home for dinner and it was much fun with good food (Renee even pulled out her fine China!). We dined on turkey, ham, salad, green beans, angel biscuits, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. And of course, the boys enjoyed the Cowboys game. Thanks, friends, for a wonderful time!

We have so much to be thankful for; in no particular order, here are some of my thoughts:

1. God's provision for our family in selling our home so quickly this summer
2. Getting pregnant this year and awaiting the arrival of our first boy in less than 7 weeks
3. Time spent with family throughout the year on various trips
4. Watching Maggie grow and learn and especially begin to retain some of the heart training we are doing with her
5. Time spent throughout the year with good friends
6. Seeing God's provision in us moving on-campus at seminary and the continued pursuit of Aron's Master's degree
7. The arrival of so many babies this year, espeically my sister and her hubby's first baby, Jacob Steven, born in May
8. The hard, trying times for us and those around us throughout the year (this has not been a stress-free year by any means) and yet, trusting God to prove Himself good.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

the sweetest thing

Tonight, as Aron and I ate dinner, Maggie walked up to me (she was already finished) and said, "Mama, kiss me!" I totally started laughing and tearing up at the same time, and moments later she said, "Mama, I want a kiss!" So, I kissed her, and then she turned and said the same things to Aron.

Melts your heart.

wordless wednesday

Monday, November 24, 2008


It's been a quiet few days for us, with Maggie not feeling well and healing from strep throat. We spent much of the weekend indoors, which was nice, yet also lent itself to some aspects of stir-craziness. I'm sure you can relate. We watched "Meet the Robinsons" one time too many. :)

Aron and I had a date night on Saturday night and I was surprised that he didn't mind seeing "Twilight," so off we went to the theater. I had pretty low expectations for the movie, as typically, a movie that follows a much-loved book pales in comparison. But, I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed the movie! It was done well; it was entertaining. I wouldn't say it was the best movie of all time, or in my top 10 by any means, but it was worth the money and time spent. It paralled the book and had quite a bit of subtle humor that only one who had read the book would understand. Our theater was comprised of 80% females, so you can imagine all the responses whenever "Edward Cullen" (the lead male character) appeared, talked, or smiled. There was a bunch of loud cheering, laughing, and generally guffawing on our audiences' part. Maybe this made the experience enjoyable, too--seeing it with other fans of the book series.

After we got home Saturday night from the movie, we decided to set up our Christmas decorations. It was wonderful to stay up until 1:30am, decorating, listening to Christmas music, and drinking coffee with my husband. The house was officially cleaned and finished by Sunday morning! And I'm LOVING the holiday feel our place now possess.

Thanksgiving will be spent with our friends Renee and Sheldon and I'm looking foward to our time at their house on Thursday!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

cooking club surprise

I hadn't showered.

It was Friday morning.

Maggie and I hung around the house and did laundry and played and I made a pumpkin gingerbread loaf.

The day was going well, until I decided to call the doctor about her once-again persistent cough

the showered one

I hadn't showered.

It was Friday morning.

Maggie and I hung around the house and did laundry and played and I made a pumpkin gingerbread loaf.

I was looking forward to our last cooking club of the year that night.

The day was going well, until Aron called to say that some things at work weren't going so well. A big project had fallen through the cracks. Uh oh.

The day was going well, until Maggie didn't nap at all (she hadn't napped on Thursday either).
**But, I should add, that despite no nap, she was in rather good spirits all day...must be a touch of God's grace...seriously.

Maggie had another round of a persistent, hacking, cough, that had me worried because we had just gotten over the exact same thing 2 weeks ago. I went back and forth all day, but finally decided to call.

The pediatrician wanted me to bring in Maggie (naturally).

I drove up to her office, near our old house in Plano, about 25-30 minutes away, but it took me 45 with traffic because my last-minute appointment was at 4:10pm.

Did I mention that I hadn't showered yet? Because I hadn't.

The verdict of the appointment: strep throat. Back in the car to head home to fill the perscription, then shower, then leave for cooking club.

Aron called to say he'd be late getting home. How late, he wasn't sure.

But, the traffic was bad and it took me another 45 minutes (maybe more) to get to the pharmacy and drop off the perscription.

We arrived home and I fed Maggie dinner, which she didn't touch. Sigh.

Aron called again to say he wasn't sure what time he'd make it home and cooking club started at 7pm and it was 6pm.

Back in the car to pick up the perscription.

Aron called again to say he was finally on his way, but stuck in horrible traffic.

Back home to put Maggie in her pjs and some reading and snuggling time before bed. I decided to scrap the shower all together. Maybe I would just wear MY pjs to cooking club (if I ever made it).

Aron made it home at 7:30 and I raced to my car and drove to Rachel's house.

When I arrived, near 8pm, the door was locked. Unusal.

I walked in, and noticed Rachel's extremely cheerful disposition and thought how nice of a night this was going to be after all.

I entered their Great Room and was greeted by a chorus of "Surprise! Surprise!"

I looked around and all my friends were grinning at me, standing around the bar, which is filled with presents, and I noticed the food in the background and realize I'd been duped.

I was so overwhelmed with the love, I started to cry!

Did I mention I hadn't showered?

I hadn't even put a drop of makeup on either.

But, these were my friends and they would love me regardless.

We enjoyed an amazing tapas dinner, filled with laughter and stories, I opened some wonderful presents for our baby boy, and we indulged in the yummiest desserts possible: chocolate covered strawberries and Sprinkles dark chocolate and red velvet cupcakes.

It was an amazing, amazing night.

And it didn't even matter that I hadn't showered for 3 days (well, I hadn't).

The friends
The food

Because Sprinkles cupcakes deserve a close-up shot

The dessert

The showered one (in one sense)

The gifts

The all-things-breastfeeding gift basket from Allison (because she knows how much I want to make it work this time around!)

The friends again, from R-L: Renee, Erin, Allison, Patti, Thea, me, Nicole, and Rachel
THANK YOU, girls, for everything! It meant the world to me.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

what a difference a year makes

November 2007 at the Arboretum...

And November 2008...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008