Tuesday, December 29, 2009

December- The Recap & Pictures

December was like a whirlwind around our house. We spent only one weekend in town and spent the other 3 out of state! (Just Georgia, but still....)

We've logged some miles, packed, re-packed, and on the weekdays while we were home, we've stayed busy with other Christmas festivities...

Before the month started, we got our Christmas decorations out and up. Saturday after Thanksgiving, we got up early, went to breakfast and then to pick out our tree!
Annabelle enjoyed having the Christmas tree set-up in the living room, and was actually really good about not bothering it. After several "no-no's" she finally learned (about mid-month) that she couldn't pull the ornaments off the tree! She loved pulling the red chair up to it and sitting close to it though...of course she'd sneak a little feel of the ornaments while sitting close enough to admire it... She always looked so cute in that tiny chair, so of course, we took lots of pictures in front of the tree that look like this:

Check out those antlers! Are they the sweetest?? They are tiny and just her size, too! So cute! AB's great-aunt saw these and got them for her. She looked so cute in them that I was so tempted to let her wear them for our Christmas card picture!

There's so much we did in December... (lots of which I don't even have pics for... so we'll just cover what I've got!)....

I guess I'll start from the beginning...

Dec. 2
The Children's Christmas pageant was early at our church this year. Here's AB after the program at home...She looked so cute, but wasn't really up for having her picture taken! She wasn't in the program this year, but maybe next year... we'll see...
Dec. 5
To help get into the Christmas mood, we went to my little cousin's Christmas program at school. Here's Annabelle, Grammy & Great-Granny.

Dec. 10
Carrie and I hosted our first annual cookie swap.
We called it our first annual because we definitely are going to host it again! We felt like this year was so last minute (and I was not much help at all since AB's first birthday party was that weekend), but next year we're ready!!!

Dec. 12
Our big family Christmas party (DW's side- my father-in-law and his three sisters & their families). Every year the party is hosted by a different family (it rotates between DW's Daddy & his 3 sisters). This year the party hosted by one of DW's aunt's family and held at their "Cracker House." Instead of a gift exchange for the adults this year, Devin's aunt worked with a social worker to "adopt" a family for Christmas. She got with the mother of the family who told her some of their family's needs and some wants on her children's wish-lists. Then, each of us were given a list of things to get for the family. The children of our family were also included in this and they all had things to bring for the children of our adopted family. We meet for lunch every year and we always look forward to eating at any Whitehurst function. The food is always so good, and this year was no exception. I could have hurt myself eating so much.
Annabelle & Granny at the party

After lunch, we all gathered in the house and the children exchanged their gifts (we draw names) and then Lauren read a story about a needy family and how someone made Christmas special for them. After that, we looked at all the things we'd each brought for the family we'd adopted.

When we'd all ooohed and ahhhhed over every thing, the men and kids went outside to play and all the women stayed inside and wrapped all the gifts. It's always a good time to get together with DW's aunts, uncles, and cousins....even though we all live close, we don't get together often and we always enjoy it when we do. We left that party to head home to get little miss a nap, because that night was her birthday party!!!
Dec. 13
Sunday afternoon, we took Annabelle to the mall to see Santa. She did so good with him! She loves anybody who talks to her---and she doesn't discriminate against even those guys who might be a little scary to a kid with their big white beards wearing red velvet suits. Maybe she thought the man with the beard was just wearing his comfy booty-suit. Ha... She also loves anything soft, so I am surprised that she didn't lay her head on ole Santa and start rubbing her face on the soft trim of his suit. I'm glad she didn't, though.

After Santa, we met up with Uncle Adam & Aunt Lauren for dinner.
Dec. 15
Oh No! I've been birthday partying it and haven't made time to have our picture taken for our Christmas cards! I got AB and I dressed and ready, and we had Stephanie take our picture on our front porch on DW's lunch break.

Got the cards printed that day, at Wal-Mart's 1 hour photo (fast and cheap), and mailed them the next day! Not exactly what I'd had in mind to do this year, but next year I'll start earlier...

I think they did turn out good, for being so last minute.

Dec. 19-20
We went up to South Georgia to do our Christmas with DW's Mom and stepdad. They had decorated their house so cute and had put up tons of lights and decorations in the yard for the kids. We even had a visit from one of "Santa's-helper-Clauses." Mr. M (George's Dad) dressed up and gave the kids hats & jingle bell balls.
AB & "Santa"

In DW's uncle's new tractor's tire...awwwww....

Dec. 21
Christmas baking! Every year since DW and I got married, I've always tried to bake cookies for all his "uncles" at the company. Last year, this little miss was 2 weeks old and she helped Grammy & me bake all day!
Belle Christmas baking Dec. 2008

Look at what a difference a year makes...
Carrie & I found these adorable baking sets at a little shop in Micanopy (of all places) and snatched up the last two they had for our girls, despite the fact that they say Size 4T on the tags!

Our Christmas goodies, all boxed up and ready to go!
That, night after all that hard work, Annabelle had a "date" with her Daddy.

I hate that the flash didn't go off in this pic...because it just melts my heart the way she looks at her Daddy...double awwww....

He'd told her that she needed to pick a day (the week before) that he could take her shopping to get me something. (So sweet)... Since she was sick the week before, he had to take her that night. It really worked out well, because I had plans that night to meet the girls I graduated St. Leo with for our annual Christmas dinner.

Dec. 22
After DW got home from work, we all met at my in-laws' house to go look at Christmas lights. We went to Cracker Barrel for dinner first though... Annabelle was loving life having so many of her favorite people together for the night, but mid-way through the looking at lights, she'd had enough & finally gave it up and fell asleep.
All of my pictures look like this:
Because despite having a big camera, I have no clue what I'm doing! Ha...
Adam took this one for me and it's blurry, too. Good thing he and Lauren got a big camera for Christmas, so maybe they'll learn something and teach me!

Dec. 24
Got the call that my mom was being admitted to the hospital. I didn't go. Such a hard thing not to. When your Momma is laid up in the hospital you want to be there...if you can, of course. But there really was nothing I could do, and thank the Lord my Dad was home from Africa to be with her. If he wasn't then I for sure would have been! But when Dad and I talked, we thought it would be best for me not to go up and possibly risk bringing germs home to Annabelle from the hospital.
Devin and I went on to the 6:00 Christmas Eve service at our church. Most of the day and the majority of the time we were at church, I just prayed. Prayed for my mom's pain to be relieved and prayed for good news. I thought about what Beth Moore had just written on her blog about her own health scare and recent surgery. Basically, she said that God was merciful, loving, and good---Beth's surgery went fine and the health scare was just that---a scare. But she was sure to point out that if the results had been different, if the prognosis had not been a good one, that God would still be merciful, loving and good. He is still God no matter what and He is still good no matter what our circumstances are. I believe that with my whole heart. But I still have to remind myself of that sometimes. No matter what, He is still God. No matter what comes our way, He will see us through it. God gave me such a peace about everything and even though I missed almost the entire service because I had to take AB out and walk her around, I was still so blessed in the time that we were at the service. And as AB and I walked up and down the ramp at church, back and forth around the brick-walk, my thoughts were on the Savior who was born all those years ago...The Greatest Gift ever given...and I was thankful that I'd been given the opportunity and made the choice to stop and focus on that.

After church we grilled steaks. This has turned into a tradition of some sort on Christmas Eve. We used Devin's Grandparent's set of dishes that we have. I call them the "Thanksgiving dishes." Something about them looks like Thanksgiving to me, but they also kind of look like they have a "Partridge in a Pear tree" on them, too. So they kind of look Christmasey, too.

The actual pattern name is "Homecoming." Is that precious or what? Homecoming...LOVE it.

Dec. 25th & 26th - Christmas

Dec. 27th-30th
Everyone would probably call us crazy, but we all (Devin, Me, AB, Mom & Dad) packed up and headed to Georgia, despite Momma's recent hospital stay. Our plan had been to leave the day after Christmas to go up to Beau & Kristy's (my brother & SIL). My nephew, Jackson wasn't able to come to our family reunion in October, and it had been several months since we had seen him. We'd gotten to see the rest of the crew in Oct, and as much as we were wanting to see all of them again, too---we really needed to see our boy, Jax. He was also counting on his Grammy & Pop being there to celebrate Christmas that weekend, and Mom knowing that, just said, "if there's any way I can do it, I've got to!" She was feeling better (not 100% by any means, but she did have some strong meds to help her manage the pain) and we took the Suburban so that she could have a seat to herself and stretch out or whatever she needed to be as comfortable as she could. We did Christmas with them as soon as we got there.
That night, we all met at my Aunt Kay's for dinner so that we could see the rest of the family. I didn't take one picture. Not one. I wish I had, but then again, times like those are burned into our memories and even pictures can't do them justice. It still blows my mind that my cousins and I are now the parents and our parents are now the "Granny & Papas" (well, the Grammys, Meme, Papas & Pop)! It's so sweet and complete chaos when we're all together. Complete chaos. The kind of chaos that's simply wonderful....the kind that comes from the sound of little girls playing Barbies, little boys chasing each other, babies teething and everyone trying to talk over each other and some of the best laughter you'll ever hear. Good times for certain. Nights like those never last long enough. It seems like you blink your eyes and its time to hug goodbye.

I did get to see these girls for one more quick minute before leaving GA, and we did take a pic this time... someone's missing though...
We spent the next two days with Beau, Kristy and the kids at their house. We played outside when the weather warmed up, and we played inside when it was too cool to go out. We all tried to do everything so Mom wouldn't have to, and we made her take it easy. DW and I did sneek off to take Annabelle (& Caroline) on a little fun outing...but that's a seperate post. Wednesday afternoon, we loaded back up and headed back to the F-L-A before the icey rain settled in up in the North Georgia mountains. It was a short, quick trip, but a great one!
December was a great month, a busy month, but a great one!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Santa came to town...

It's hard to believe that Christmas has already come and gone. I feel like December snuck up on me faster than ever before. December has been such a busy month and our weeks have been filled with lots of festivities that I intend to post in a December recap...someday...maybe before the middle of 2010... ha... But in the here and now, I have to share about our Christmas Day! Christmas was different than ever before, because for the first time in my entire life, I didn't see my Momma & Daddy on Christmas Day. That's a long story....right now, we are just thanking God that we did get to spend TODAY with them and that my mom is doing better.

On Christmas Eve night, after we put Annabelle to bed, we wrapped her presents and stuffed her stocking, and got all the cameras ready for the next morning.... Santa's presents go in our Santa bag that we got Cooper's first Christmas in 2005. We also use it sometimes to take gifts to our parents' houses on Christmas... fun...
We were so excited that we didn't have to wake Annabelle up on Christmas morning! She's a late sleeper, so we thought we may have to! She woke up early, around 7:30. She was excited to see Momma and Daddy in her room with both the video and picture camera and was all smiles...

As soon as she saw the stroller under the tree, she wanted down! She went straight for it and pulled up and started pushing it around the living room! So sweet....It's kind of wobbly with her though, since she's not a stable walker yet.

She started digging into the presents... She started trying to use her hands, then opted for biting into her packages! She loved all that paper and having an unending supply of something to put in her mouth. We both "ooohed and ahhhhed" over all the sweet things Santa left her. She was so excited.

Yall might remember Abby...Santa brought Belle mini-Abby last year and on a recent trip to PBK, Annabelle spotted big Abby and had a fit. She wanted to take her home that day and I think she thought I had lost my mind when I took the box away from her and put it back on the shelf! Thankfully, she forgot about how "mean" her momma was that day, but didn't forget about how much she wanted a big Abby, because look at that face when she opened up her doll! So sweet!!!
Another of her favorites was the pink dump truck she got. She loves playing in her brother's room, so she's had lots of experience with dumptrucks! None of us knew that they made a pink one for girls though! She loves it.

Along with Abby, she got Abby's diaper bag. She practiced giving Abby her bottle. Which was so cute, until she started realizing that she herself might like the taste of Abby's bottle... now it's turned into a teether toy for Annabelle! Ha.... Belle's BFF, Allie Claire gave her Abby's wardrobe for Christmas and man is it cute... we've (more like I've) had so much fun changing Abby's clothes and oohing and ahhhing over how cute she looks!
These pictures just about do me in. Absolute preciousness....

In the last picture, she looks like a grown up. That face is too much. It reminds me of someone, and I am not sure, but I think it's my Mom...

Last thing to open was our stockings... it was fun this year trying to find little things for AB's stocking... here's what we ended up with...

After we do presents at our house on Christmas morning, we go over to my in-laws' house. Our Christmas morning tradition is to wear our jammies and we have breakfast over there... I didn't take many pictures, since we were all in our PJ's.... here's the tree in the sunroom where we all spread out after breakfast... our niece and nephew were putting everyone's presents in piles...and yep, that's DW...in his jammies and flip flops...and gator T-Shirt... his Christmas colored jammies were dirty... what a wife. So he was in blue. Blue on Christmas. That's okay, cause I was in pink. At least brought our festive dressed baby... ha...
Daddy & AB opening presents...
Annabelle & her cousin Warren playing
It was such a fun morning, sharing in all the kids' excitement and just being together. After that, we went back to our house and spent the rest of the day playing with our new toys
and putting everything away.

Thankfully, late last night, my Mom got to come home and we were able to go to my parents' house this morning for breakfast and "Christmas morning." When we first got there, look what was sitting out with a red bow tied on it....It didn't take little miss very long to decide that it was for her! She went straight for it and stayed in it the majority of the time we were there. She had no interest in opening anything else....She loves it! She did take a tiny break from the car to play with the box it came in. Grammy knew she'd love that big box, so of course she saved it, and it was waiting in the living room for AB!
We spent the morning just hanging out with mom and dad and taking turns pushing Annabelle around the house in her car... it was nice to just relax and not have anywhere else to be. We just got to enjoy being together. We had lunch, visited Great Granny and then headed back to our house for AB's afternoon nap. Since she's been up, we've been pushing the car around our house and DW says we've almost melted the wheels! Ha...
Yes, it's hard to believe another Christmas has come and gone. It's been a good one...a different one, but a good one.