Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Papa, dance wif me?"

Is there anything more heart melting than watching your Papa, that is what I have called my Dad my whole life, and the name stuck when he became a grandpa, give in to the pleas of your 2 year old asking him to dance? Nevermind the firelight and soft Christmas music in the background. Beautiful.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas at our house...

I, like most people really love Christmas. My mother did a great job intentionally instilling in us Christmas memories. I remember the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the season. Our house was always dimly lit with tree lights and candles. It smelled like seasonal candles or pot roast, soup or cookies. The walls, mantel and windows were trimmed with lots of care. We recently helped my mom go through her many, many decorations and purged, a lot. She has been blaming every missing thing on that purging day, although I am pretty sure it has more to do with the fact that those items got lots somewhere in the last two moves. I have tried to instill these same type of memories in my family. I really wanted to focus every part of the season on Jesus's birth, so our decor reflected that, as well.
Our tree this year was beautiful. We decided to patronize a local tree farmer, staying away from the Big Named places we have been to in the past. We paid only a few dollars more and got a fresh-cut, beautiful 7 foot tree. Did you know the tress you get elsewhere are often cut in September from Canada and frozen for the months prior to there arrival at your local store!? I had previously re-arranged the living room so we could put the tree right in front of the french doors. (A very hard thing for me to do. Once I get a room perfect it is nearly impossible for me to imagine it another way.) But, I was so excited for the sparkly reflections, it was worth it! After we brought it home, it was better than I expected. I made ornaments with the names of Jesus on them (an idea I got from my friend Sherri last year) and added a few jewels I picked up at the store. We put a couple of ornaments that had something to do with the Christmas story, but that was it. It was perfectly simple, perfectly positioned, and perfectly sparkly! Oh, and we finally acquired a tree topper. The perfect star!
I so enjoyed this holiday season. Maybe it was the first snow, or the beautiful home we have been blessed with, or all the parties we got to host. It could have been the amazing Christmas Eve service we had at church where hundreds of people accepted the Lord, or possibly the fact that this is the first year in many Shane and I we able to buy each other gifts. It might be the small joys each day brings as the girls drink hot chocolate, or collect chicken eggs in the snow. But, I am pretty sure it is because the Lord Jesus came to the earth many years ago and because of His sacrifice, leaving heaven to come down on earth, walk among us and be put to death on the cross for my sins, I now have eternal life and a present life full of peace, joy and purpose. He has blessed me so much in ways I couldn't even begin to list, but know this. My life is fabulous, through and through, and it would not be that way if it were not for the reason for this season!

Winter Wonderland

We woke up to this beautiful sight. It snowed for 30+ hours. That doesn't happen often around here so we settled in and enjoyed it. My friend Rachel and her kiddos came over to hang out for the weekend and it was perfect, cause they would have been snowed in anyway! Sorry, I uploaded the pictures backwards and my VERY SLOW INTERNET won't allow me to reload them right now, so here is the day in pictures, backwards:)
Hot chocolate and a movie. They slept well.
Coming in wet and cold, and worm out.
Annalee in her igloo, trying to take a nap. NO! I did not let her stay there. Rachel writing Christmas Cards by the fire.
Coffee on the front porch.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Thanksgiving Part III

Prayer of Thanksgiving.
Liz and Tommy, so thankful.
Reece, the Pilgrim.
The Spread.
Asparagus, tasty!
Me, my sister and mom cooking the day away.
The Dolls.

Thanksgiving, Part II

One little...Two little...Three little Indians...
Annalee was determined to get in the ocean. It was not warm.
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Thanksgiving, Part I

The girls playing on the pier.
Annalee, wearing Shelby coat, looking out at the ocean.
Lots of computer time.
Shane holding Shelby.
Tommy loving on Liz
Annalee and my mom sharing a moment.
Avery and Shane hanging out. Side note: Avery loves animals, because she loves to boss them around. She had a puppy on the end of this leash, the whole time.
4 Days at Oak Island, NC. I have to admit, I was not that excited about spending 4 days at a beach house with my husband, our many small children, my sister, her husband, my mom and dad and two puppies. Not that I don't love each and everyone of those components, except the puppies, but 4 days, in a small beach rental, with a lot of rain in the forecast, was not my idea of relaxation. I have a problem with clutter and disorganization, and I just saw visions of messiness everywhere. My skin gets crawly just thinking about it.
But, I was wrong. The rain stayed away, the air was crisp, the house stayed relativly clean, the kids weren't bored, Shane was a HUGE help, as always, and we loved it. It was relaxing, fun, a little sureal and definatley something I want to do again. My generous brother-in-law allowed us to come in and take over the beach house and was ever-so-graciously patient with us.
Shane's Mom had sown Pilgrim outfits for the girls and Reece, and matching ones for their American Girl dolls. One year for Shelby's birthday she had sown Indian outfits to go with a Perter Pan costume set she sent for a present. So we packed up the Pilgrim and Indian outfits and the girls played dress up all weekend. They were a hit at the beach and on the pier! So much fun, so many memories.

Birthday #4

Shelby blowing out her candles at her Birthday Tea Party.
Annalee thanking God for her little sister.
The big 4 year old.
The goods.
Shelby Lynn Miller is a silly, spunky, slightly strong-willed little girl. She has a dangerous smile and eyes that will make you melt. She knows exactally how to get to her Daddy's heart, just a little look, just a little, "Daddy, will you hold me?" She's a smart one. She enjoys her sisters, loves to be held (as much as possible), would rather sit than run, would rather let someone else do it and can make you laugh on cue. She plays an important role in this family. She knows we enjoy her antics and pulls them out when most needed. She does whatever she wants, whenever she wants, but just not in a defiant way. In fact, if you aren't looking, you may not even notice that she disobeyed. We keep our eyes out and are training her often. I love this little girl. I love her smile, her heart and her place in our lives.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Meet Faith

Faith is Owen's, little sister. Owen is my friend Tammy's little boy, which also makes Faith her daughter. Yeap, you already figured that one out, right? Right. Moving on... Reece and Faith are a few months apart, therefore, when we all get together they end up starring at each other on the floor. That is what babies who can't crawl do, they stare at really random things, like each other's drool. Reece likes to get in Faith's face and she can't really do anything about it. He can army crawl, she can't. It's a boy thing. She makes mad faces at him and he thinks it is funny. It is.

The Boys

My dear friends Tammy and Mia have one boy each, Tammy has a baby girl, Faith, whom Reece loves:) and Mia will be having a little girl before next Tuesday! My kids have so much fun with this crew and I can't wait for the babies to grow up a little so they can all play together. What a blessing!