Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas 2009

We had a wonderful Christmas celebration this year to wrap up 2009! The older our kids get, the more fun it becomes. This year we changed things up a bit in order to work in time with all of our family and friends. The Wednesday before Christmas we went to Grammy's for a Christmas ham dinner with all of the fixings. We enjoyed playing The Grinch Bingo Game and watching Eloise at Christmas.

On Christmas Eve, Grammy and Da came over in the afternoon to help Emma and Kate decorate cookies for Santa. We made iced sugar cookies and gingerbread teddy bears. So yummy and cute! That night we went to the Christmas Eve service at our church, and then we went across the street and joined our friends for a Christmas celebration there. Once home, the girls opened their traditional Christmas jammies (matching, of course!), left cookies (and drawings!) out for Santa, and then stayed up way too late watching Santa Claus the movie and giggling in mom and dad's bed. Finally they crashed around midnight, though Kate was scared that Santa would not tip toe and that he would come in to her room!

On Christmas morning, Grammy and Da came over bright and early and the girls were so excited to see that Santa had brought them a Princess Jeep, just like they had asked for! Some other favorite gifts included a make-up kit (for dress-up), lovies from Grammy, a Leapster game system for Emma and a toy vaccuum for Kate (go figure). After opening gifts, we enjoyed a Christmas brunch before getting dressed and heading to Papaw and Grandma's.

At Grandmas, we opened gifts with Boss' side of the family. Both girls were so excited to receive a child's digital camera! We enjoyed visiting and playing with cousin's, before heading to Boss' aunt's home to celebrate with the whole Conaway clan. Have I mentioned that I LOVE big families? So neat when we can all come together. We love the holidays and were so blessed to spend it with so many of our family and friends!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Baby Update

Somewhere in the midst of this busy holiday season I reached 28 weeks of pregnancy, also known as the third trimester! Hooray! Things are still going well. I can still find my ankles (on most days), have gained eight pounds, and am still feeling pretty well each day. No major complaints! My blood pressure has been fluctuating at my appointments, but unless it rises and remains high I will not be put on any restrictions. I am still loving being pregnant and am thankful for the little (getting bigger!) kicks I feel each day.

Along with my growing belly, Jack Ryan's personal belongings are growing as well! Thanks to friends, family, and Christmas giftcards, he now has a crib and dresser, a stroller/car seat combo, bedding, a fancy monogrammed diaper bag, and a growing wardrobe! After the first of the year we will get busy installing a door to separate his side of the room from the girls and painting the walls. Pretty sure baby boy would not like sleeping in a pink striped room!

Sometimes I feel as though this pregnancy has flown by, and other times I wonder how my stomach can stretch much more over the next 12 weeks. Next week I go for my glucose screening and Rhogam  shot, and after that we begin doctors visits every two weeks. Keep growing Baby Jack!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Happy Holidays

Tomorrow my awesome sister-in-law will be sending this years blog to the printer, so tonight I must wrap up our family blog of 2009. Thank you for joining in our journey this year. What a year it has been!

This past weekend we were able to take the girls on a little Christmas get-a-way, and I couldn't help but marvel at the wonderful blessings in our lives. When I think of all I have to be thankful for, my eyes often well with tears (or maybe that is just the hormones talking). I feel so blessed to lead the life that I do.

Our family is looking forward to these next several days of holiday fun, and also the blessing of a brand new year. We will be back in January! Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Past

It is hard to believe that it is already that time of year again. The time of year where we put out the twinkling little lights, decorate the trees, set out the Santa collection, and begin thinking about holiday shopping. As a child, it seemed that it took forever for December to roll around each year, but as an adult, it seems that another Christmas holiday comes upon us all too quickly. Where does the time go?

As a mama , I always seem to long to have done Christmas better at the end of every holiday season. I long to have made decorating more fun, to have put more thought in to my gift giving, to have watched more Christmas movies with my children, and to have drank more cocoa while snuggling on the couch. I long to have been a little nicer and made more Christmas memories that my children will cherish as they grow.

In thinking on this yesterday, I realized that even at the young age of 27, I cannot remember all that much about my childhood Christmas' growing up. Sadly, I cannot remember Christmas with my dad's side of the family at all. I remember bits and pieces from photographs I have seen, such as what Granny's tree looked like and who was there, but that seems to be about it. Other things I remember about Christmas as a child are two particular Santa gifts (a baby doll wearing pink overalls with teddy bears on the front and a chalk board), going to pick out the family Christmas tree (we always got a live one), decorating the tree while listening to Alabama's Christmas CD, opening our stockings on Christmas morning from youngest to oldest before we ate breakfast, going to my Grandma's and opening gifts one at a time, so we could all see what the other received, instead of flying through it in a mad frenzy, taking family photos by the tree, and eating a Christmas lunch. I remember Aunt Bill's Brown Candy and sausage stuffing. Most Christmas afternoons, we went to see a movie.  I can remember is lying awake one Christmas Eve and being too excited to sleep, because the next day Santa would be bringing me the baby doll that I had desperately wanted for the entire year. As a child, it does not get any better than that! I want that same excitement for my own children as we go through each holiday season, year after year.Those are all of the details that I remember. Good memories, but not nearly enough.

Thinking about Christmas past, makes me want to bottle up all of the joy and magic of each holiday season, so that I can give it to my children when they are grown. I want our family traditions and memories ingrained in their minds, so that all they have to do is close their eyes and it comes back to them. I know it is not that simple, as fighting forgetting is a natural part of aging. I have decided to record here, a few of the traditions we have started since becoming a family, so that when our children are grown, they can look back and have an easier time remembering than I do.

* We put up our outside Christmas lights some time in November, when the weather is still a bit warmer. I LOVE outside lights. Decorating outside was not something my family did growing up, and if we did, it was either me doing it by myself, or me begging my mom to help me reach the high places. I LOVE pulling into a twinkling yard, so this is always something we make a big deal out of for the children (or maybe for me!).

* We always decorate the inside of our home the weekend after Christmas, and I am a huge fan of putting up as many trees as possible. We have one in the family room with family and homemade decorations, a tree decorated with red and gold in the dining room, and the girls have a little pink tree in their bedroom.

* Each year, my mom gives the children a personalized ornament, so that when they are grown and move out, they have a collection of their very own ornaments to take with them. She has also started the tradition of getting them a dancing and singing Christmas collectible, and those are a favorite to play with each year when we get them out.

* Some of our favorite decorations include the nativity scene, my Santa collection (I have one for each year of marriage), and our Christmas village. I also set a basket by the couch to hold our holiday story books, so that they will be fresh and fun to look at each year.

*We started the tradition of The Elf on the Shelf, and the girls LOVE it! The story is precious, and every morning the girls are so excited to see where the elf is hiding that day. We named our elf SAM (Secret Agent Man), because it is his job to tell Santa how the girls behave each day.

* We go see Santa every year, and this year started the tradition of writing him a letter and mailing it to him at Macy's Department store.

* On Christmas Adam, the night before Christmas Eve, we eat a Fettuccine Alfredo dinner, we decorate sugar cookies to leave for Santa, and we read The Night Before Christmas.

* So far, Christmas days always seem to be a bit different! We are in the process of trying to decide how to balance celebrating with each of our families, as well as creating traditions for our own small family of four (soon to be five!).

* If we can, on Christmas night, we go to one of Boss' mom's sisters' house, where his large extended family gathers for a nice meal and a gift exchange. I LOVE big families!!

This year I tried to do more things ahead of time, before December actually arrived. I started shopping a few months ago, I sent out fall holiday cards instead of Christmas ones, and I made lists, lists, lists, instead of just winging it. I adore this time of year. I adore the excitement and magic that live in my children's eyes for the entire 25 days, and I pray that we are creating memories that will last us all for a lifetime.