Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Our Christmas Together

Our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

Joe setting up the lights outside

Alathea putting her 1st ornament on the tree

Hello from Maryland! We hope you all had a fabulous Christmas!! We have really enjoyed creating lots of special family memories and new traditions this year with Alathea being almost two. We started with setting up our very special "charlie brown" christmas tree (its more like a four foot branch...but we love it!) the weekend after Thanksgiving. Alathea was REALLY into it! She helped put most of the ornaments on the tree and had a difficult time when we were finished. She became our "light police" and wanted the tree and mantel lights on at all times, even during the day. She would "ohhh" and "ahhh" every time we turned the lighta on and would sit and stare at the tree with such delight.
Another fun tradition was we took her to McAddenville. Since she got so excited over our little four foot tree at home, you can only imagine what miles and miles of lights on houses did for her!! She also loved sitting on Daddy's lap as we drove 5mph through the town. (I'd post picts of this, but they are all on my computer at home!).
My favorite new Christmas "tradition" (I put it in quotations because this is our 1st time doing it- which I don't think makes it a tradition yet), was a little Cookie Decorating Party with a few of Alathea's little buddies. I made a bunch of sugar cookies, and set the table with tons of different kind of sprinkles and the kiddos went at it. They seemed to enjoy it a lot, especially eating all the sprinkles and icing.
I was also thrilled to follow in my Mom's footsteps and made a gingerbread house with Alathea. Since she is so young, I didn't bake the gingerbread from scratch and build an elaborate house- we simply assembled a kit. Alathea licked every piece of candy before putting it on the house and actually took bites out of the roof of the house, but it was such a joy to see her enjoying it and it brought back so many memories from making them with Mom every year. Mom did an amazing job of making Christmas SO special and I really desire to do the same.
We've enjoyed a full week of celebrations. We celebrated Christmas with the Lechner family Friday night, did our own special family Christmas Saturday and headed up to MD Sunday morning to celebrate Christmas with my Dad's family that afternoon. We've been at my family's house since then and had a special Christmas day together(although it is always bitter sweet and never the same without Mom). We're loving this week together and will be heading home Friday or Saturday.
Sorry for the lack of pictures- they are all at home so I'll have to post them later!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Happy 18th Birthday, Julie!

Today is my beautiful, vibrant sister Julie's 18th Birthday!! Its very hard for me to believe that she is 18 already! When I was her age I was engaged...yikes! Anyways, next to my mother, there is no woman I know of who is more worthy of honor than my sister. I've told her time and again that she is one of my Heroes- and how often is that said of a younger sister? Julie is an amazing combination of joy, faith, compassion, friendliness and fun all rolled up into one person. Her love for the Lord, her love for life and her love for people is contagious. Her faith is amazing. Her Joy is constant as it is founded in the Lord alone. Julie has a depth to her relationship with the Lord that I have NEVER seen in anyone her age. Since she was 8 years old, her Mother has battled cancer. When she was 16 years old, her mother died. While Mom was her best friend, Julie has learned what it means to lean on the Lord and to make him her refuge and strength as she walks through life at such a young age without a mom. Julie has never once complained or charged the Lord...she know's that He is Soveriegn, trusts in him and is able to have Joy in the midst of her pain. Julie has seen first hand the brevity of life, which had created quite the little evangelist- she has shared the Gospel many, many, many times with those whom she works with or plays soccer with. Christians and non-Christians are drawn to her vibrant personality, which has given her many opportunities to share the good news. At only 18 years old, Julie can honestly say she is living her life to the fullest for the Lord. While you'll never meet a more "popular" girl- or a girl who has more friends than Julie does, she spends a good chunk of her free time reaching out to those who are younger than her, taking high school freshman girls out to lunch once a week, or eating lunch at school with those who have no one else to sit with. I LOVE this about Julie! Her eyes are never on herself... she is always looking to how she can bless and serve others.
All of this is said, without mentioning yet the fabulous sister and friend she is to me, and Aunt "Ju-Ju" to Alathea. There is nothing as special and wonderful as a sister!! And Alathea adores Ju-Ju....hardly a day goes by where Alathea doesn't ask to call her.
Jules- I love you, sis! And I respect you more than you'll ever know! Thanks for honoring the Lord and Mom's legacy by the way you are living whole-heartedly for the Lord! Thank you for the way you love His Word, prayer, God's people and the lost! I love you dearly and Happy Birthday! I'm sure Mom's celebrating big in Heaven for you today!!

Friday, December 14, 2007


I posted the above picture because Alathea looks so sweet and innocent (and her face is covered in an entire tube of lip gloss- she's smiling for the picture because she "looks pretty" :). Yesterday afternoon Alathea decided to call "Dada" on the phone- which she attempts to do every day. Once I catch her I usually ask her to hang up or help her call Dada myself. When I found her sitting on the floor dialing, I asked her to hang up the phone. Instead of cheerfully obeying, she started screaming, and in an attempt to be faithful to train her, I took her into the bathroom for instruction and discipline. All this happened while the phone was still not hung up.

To make a long story short, Joe got home about 5 minutes later. Then almost immediately a police officer was standing at the door. Honestly I was a little concerned something was wrong until he informed us that they had just received a 911 call from a screaming child from this address! I tried hard not to laugh, as I know its a serious thing to tie up police officers with fake 911 calls...but it was hard not to. He asked a number of questions until we convinced him that she was the only child in the house, and at barely 22 months old, she did not understand what 911 meant. Fortunately she greeted the officer at the door with her usual "Hi!" and smile.

Joe & I had a good laugh about it. Its hard to believe that she punched in those numbers! I only wonder how much they overheard once I got her off the phone! Anyways, I know this has happened to just about every one who has children, I just didn't think she'd get herself into that kind of trouble already! :)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Pretty in Red

It's amazing how much I love this beautiful girl!!!

Reba & I noticed that our girls were both wearing pretty red dresses- they were almost matching. We decided it would be a nice day for a little photo shoot. We hoped to get some good ones of the two of them...which was, of course, challenging. But, we did end up with some sweet ones. There are some great ones especially of Kathryn, but I'll let Reba share those once I get them to her. Here are two I love...especially the kissing one. Alathea just loves "Kat-Kat". If she loves her baby sister half as much, then we'll be good :)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

8 Months

(Me & My Girls)

According to the "What to Expect when your Expecting" book, I've just begun my eigth month! Yikes! Its so hard to belive. I finally got around to getting one of those baby tickers- which counts in days- even more amazing so few are left! I'm getting very excited to meet this little girl (who will hopefully have a name soon). As I read in the "What to Expect..." book, I am increasingly grateful for how few difficlties I have. i'm just a little tired- not even uncomfortable yet! What a blessing. I do have TONS of Braxton-Hicks contraction- which I never had with Alathea. Maybe this baby will come on her own :)

As you can see my belly keeps growing & growing!! Not the best pictures, but at least I got some to show!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Happy Birthday Mom

Today would have the most amazing mother in the worlds 52nd birthday! I miss her sooooo much and wish she was here so bad!!!