Christmas Photos Part 1

James in his spankin' new high chair (courtesy of Santa!) and Gracie

Gracie showing off James' "My first Christmas" photo album

Gracie and James

Gracie with her Hello Kitty rain boots Tina got her

Tag books from Aunt Jessie


(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Some random pictures of the kids during the Christmas holidays...

This is James and his "not so happy" face.

Back: Katilyn and Zoe
Front: Addison, Emma, and Gracie

Addison and James


The reason for the season

Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
-- Matthew 1:23, KJV

I also wanted to share this beautiful song with you...enjoy.


Christmas Eve

If you are not a member of a church in your area or your church is not doing a Christmas Eve service, I'd like to invite you to Glynwood Baptist Church to attend our Candelight Service at 5:00pm. We went for the first time last year and Gracie really enjoyed the simple, low key (but beautiful) service.

Then we will be having dinner and spending time with my family. On Christmas Day, we will be celebrating with Bryan's family. We will also continue our Christmas tradition of seeing a movie on Christmas Day. It's up to Gracie to decide if she wants to see the Chipmunk Sequel or the Princess and the Frog.

So because we'll be spending time with family, I'd like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas.


The Christmas Pickle

I'm sure, if you're like me, you have a wide variety of Christmas ornaments on your tree. We have a "married couple" ornament, a baby's first Christmas ornament, some ornaments that Gracie has made at daycare/church over the years, a brand new ornament for James his teacher made at daycare, a "our new home" ornament...the list goes on.

But I bet we have an ornament you don't. We have the Christmas pickle. The small card on the pickle encouragements a kind of game among family members: be the first to find the pickle on Christmas day, and you are rewarded a small prize.

If you'd like to know more about the Christmas pickle, you can read about the tradition here.


Christmas is about a lot of things...

....I just wish someone would tell my family that.

I won't make nice about it or mince words: There is and has been for quite some time a lot of bad blood amongst my family. Mainly my extended family, branching out into aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents. I won't relive all the tales and stories and fueds because frankly, this isn't the time - or season - for it.

But I wish with all my heart and pray repeatedly that someday, somehow, my family could make peace among themselves. Sometimes I get so mad at God and want to know why he won't change my family. And then, as if reading my thoughts, God (or Max Lucado, actually) dropped this email in my mailbox: Dealing with Difficult Relatives

I don't want to post the entire email here, but some things that really caught my attention:
Does Jesus have anything to say about dealing with difficult relatives? Is there an example of Jesus bringing peace to a painful family? Yes, there is.
His own.
It may surprise you to know that Jesus had a difficult family. If your family doesn't appreciate you, take heart, neither did Jesus'.

Having your family's approval is desirable but not necessary for happiness and not always possible. Jesus did not let the difficult dynamic of his family overshadow his call from God. And because he didn't, this chapter has a happy ending.

What if Jesus had disowned them? Or worse still, what if he'd suffocated his family with his demand for change?
He didn't. He instead gave them space, time, and grace. And because he did, they changed. How much did they change? One brother became an apostle (Gal. 1:19) and others became missionaries (1 Cor. 9:5).
So don't lose heart. God still changes families.

I think I've shared this story before, but the signifigance of the chocolate covered cherry in the photo above is a reminder of what Christmas used to mean to me - not about this nasty tasting concoction that most people enjoy about the holiday season.

It reminds me of one person, my Granny Cole, who made Christmas special every single year, regardless of her own circumstances. Who went out of her way no matter what to make sure we all had something special from her. She is the one person my heart aches for on Christmas. Because no matter what, her love was always there. Whether it came in a box of chocolate covered cherries or a simple pair of socks.

So instead of pleading with God and praying him to change my family and the circumstances we are in, I'm going to pray for them instead. That God will warm their hearts to let go of the past. To forgive others as he has forgiven us. So that with each year that passes instead of growing further apart, we draw closer together and love one another.


Favorite Holiday Foods

Okay so technically this would go much better on Cheese Grits and Jesus, but I am posting it here anyway. I'll link to the other blog as well.

One of the girls I work with reminded me yesterday that she loves the holidays because I tend to bake alot - not just cookies and cakes, but also bread - and last year, we had Amish Friendship Bread starters passing through our church like the swine flu (ah, a joke!)

I'm sure anyone from church who encountered one or begged others to take a starter off their hands understands my pain! Even so, I thought I might share this recipe for those who've never heard of it before.

And now I'm tossing around the idea of making some myself.

But first, I'd like to have some volunteers who want a starter for themselves.


Favorite Christmas Song #2

Love, love, LOVE it!


Favorite Christmas Song #1

Quick note: I just realized that when I visited my blog, the wrong video is up for my favorite Christmas song! It's been fixed now! Enjoy!

I don't care who says what about boy bands. No really, I don't. I openly admit to being a fan of the Backstreet Boys. I even traveled all the way to California to meet up with some friends for some of their concerts. But that, my friends, is another blog and another post.

This is one of my all time, absolute favorite Christmas songs - and this particular version is awesome too.

Enjoy!If boy bands are not your cup of tea, skip it!


The Sing-Off on NBC

Okay so if you haven't seen this show, you've already missed all the fun. These are not JUST acapella groups - but groups from all over the place who make their own music. Literally! My favorite group on the show got voted off on Tuesday night.

If you missed Noteworthy's performances, you can check out my favorite right here:

I am shocked to learn that two girls can actually beatbox - AND they are good at it!!
I want to learn how to do that!!

But since they got voted off on Tuesday, my vote is for the guys who refer to themselves on the show as "The Bubs."
Check out my favorite performance from them here:

If you haven't seen the show, which aired Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, the season finale is Dec. 21st. The last three groups (Bubs included) will perform for a load of cash and a record contract.


RSV isn't fun enough.....

H1N1 has infected our home, just in time for Mawmaw's arrival.

Gracie is the infected child this time. Her baby brother, who is still fighting off his RSV, was given Tamiflu only in the event he develops symptoms. Cross your fingers and say a pray that this flu will pass him by....and that the rest of us don't come down with it.

And when can a Mom catch a break around here?


Wordless Wednesday

Some pictures of RSV baby during the week when he was a little happier!

He seems to function better elevated in his bouncy seat, where he can grab onto the toys dangling in front of him.


Small Things

It amazes me on a daily basis the people who touch the lives of my children in such small ways. Some of them do this in such small ones. One of the sweetest and kindest ladies handed Gracie a bag while we were in line for the church fellowship the other night. The bag contained nothing more than a simple children's book "Christ the Savior is Born", but it was SO much more to Gracie.

This very simple children's book uses biblical references to tell the story of our Savior's birth to children in a way that they can understand it. And when I read it to Gracie before bed last night, she wanted to take it to school today and share the story with her friends. I asked her if she knew she was being a missionary by doing that. "Missionaries tell others about Jesus!" was her answer.

On the way to school, she told me that we couldn't have Christmas if baby Jesus had not been born. She is right, but there is so much more than that. If it weren't for that sweet little baby in the manger who gave his life on the cross for our sins, we'd all still be lost souls.

I am so thankful for my church family who touch my life and the lives of my children just by being the wonderful people they are. And in a world of commercial Christmas and Santa Claus, I am glad my daughter understands the real reason for the season.



Okay so I am auto-posting this post so that by the time it actually posts (how many times can you say post in one post?)


Not that we're excited or anything. Her plane is landing at 4:56pm in Atlanta.

3:56pm for Alabama folks.

Homecoming pictures to be posted later...

The Best Christmas Present Ever!

Okay so Gracie's Christmas Musical at church was Dec. 6th, and she did an awesome job again this year!

A shot of the whole preschool choir.

Gracie and her good buddy Jackson

Another shot of Gracie and Jackson

They only did two songs, but they were absolutely adorable!


Baby Food Fun!

Okay, we cheated! We didn't wait until James was EXACTLY four months old before giving him baby food. He had his first bite of sweet potatoes on Dec. 4th, and sweet peas followed a week later. Which, if you are taking notes, James loves sweet potatoes. Sweet peas? Notsomuch.


Four Months Old...and RSV

So James turned 4 months old on the tenth (Thursday) and decided to end off a really bad week by being diagnosed with RSV! Can you feel the sarcasm in that comment?

The only difference for James is that number one he received no inhaler or liquid steroid as treatment, AND he waited a month past the same age his sister was when she had it! Gracie also seems more prone to have a small cough turn into a respiratory infection, so we usually treat coughs with Mucinex at our house.

RSV often times sounds more serious than it is, but it CAN be serious. It usually affects children under the age of two, and can sometimes be a need for hospitalization. It is HIGHLY, HIGHLY contagious but in older children it only presents itself as cold symptoms.

It's taken more seriously in children under two because their airways are much smaller and it makes them have more difficulty breathing. Thankfully, James' RSV was caught in the early stages (wheezing and high fever are the later stages) and he was only running a low grade fever with no wheezing. Happy four month birthday to James!

James is having an extra hard time because the antibiotic he is on causes a loss in appetite and vomiting, which he has already done twice. He's just not getting enough food, but he seems content with the 3-4 ounces he will take.

So here is just a snapshot of what my dresser now looks like....

My at-home medicine counter!
1.The packages to the left are Pulmicort Respules and Xopenex that I have to put in the nebulizer to give for his breathing treatment.
2. infant's tylenol
3. Bactrim (an antiobiotic)
4.a nasal aspirator and saline drops
5.C-Phen Drops
6. Puff the Penguin Nebulizer
You can see the neonate nebulizer attachment in the background. James has been grabbing at it and trying to play with it.

His four month photo
And ladies and gentlemen, we learned a NEW trick!

These are first photos of James actually grasping/grabbing something. Now if he could just figure out how to let go....

Pictures with Santa

So we took the kids last week to Bass Pro Shop to visit with Santa. I was a little nervous because it took Gracie a while to warm up to Santa last year. But she sat on his lap like a big girl!

Baby's First Picture with Santa

Gracie told Santa she didn't know what she wanted for Christmas...Bryan liked his expression in this picture!

Both the kiddos with Santa!


Thanksgiving 2009

So the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Gracie's preschool had a "Thanksgiving Feast" for the kids - to which they were permitted to bring two guests. Thankfully, Bryan was able to go into work at noon so we both got to go eat lunch with our daughter at her school. Which was a big deal for her.

Gracie and I showing off her Thanksgiving Placemat (which has found a new home on Nana's refrigerator in her new house!)

My sweet big girl

Showing off her placemat again

The day of Thanksgiving I had to work until 11am (oh, the joys of retail!) and then we went to my grandparents house for lunch. We got to visit with a lot of family members we don't see very often, and it was really nice to get to see everyone.

James with my Granny

James with my Pawpaw, who is one of his name sakes (my grandfather's name is James also)

Sleeping off the turkey - yeah, right!


(More) Birthday Party in Pictures

Singing "Happy Birthday"

I'd like to introduce you all to (this is Gracie's name for her) "Kayla who tried to take my lunchable." We have SO many Kaylas that we know, this is the easiest way to keep up with them. We have "My Kayla" which is Gracie's aunt Kayla (my sister). Then we also have "Miss Leigh's Kid, Kayla" and a few other, I'm sure. BTW, she's holding Baby James.

Nana Kay with Baby James


4th Birthday Party 11.07.09

Gracie's fourth birthday party was at the YMCA Play Place on Nov. 7th. We had a lot of her friends who were able to attend. Miss Amy A from church (no relation to Amy Wade) helped us pull of our princess theme by loaning us her punch bowl and some other glass dishes to give us that "elegant" feel to the party. You can see most of the table decorations below, which was pretty much the only decoration we had just to keep things fairly simple.

I was not certain about what to do about the birthday cake. The YMCA goes through a local bakery/catering service to do the cake. And for $20.00 extra, the cake lady offered to do a Cinderella cake (Gracie is Cinderella obsessed since her aunt Jess went to Disney and brought her a picture of the castle at night). Anyway, I feel like I honestly, truthfully, and totally got my money's worth on that cake. It was AWESOME!

Gracie and Noel

Miss Maddie Grace

The Birthday Princess


Whoa baby!

I just realized it's been a long time since my last post! I never even got around to posting Gracie's birthday party pictures! And I totally overlooked sharing a photo of James at 3 months (and he's now approaching his 4 month birthday) and we've got Thanksgiving coming up!

I promise all of this is coming very soon. Possibly this week.

And speaking of Thanksgiving, can I just tell you how nice it was that my 4-year-old daughter wanted to share with our church last night that she was thankful for her baby brother? Considering the fact that she cried about it when we broke the news to her (right before we shared it with all of you) I'd say we've come a long way.

And speaking of coming a long way.....MAW MAW is coming home in TWENTY ONE DAYS!!!

And we're not at all excited. Nope, not us.


Birthday Dinner

Gracie has two favorite restaurants: O'Charley's and Cracker Barrel. I don't know what it is about these two specific places, but whenever we mention eating out those are her two picks! Always! So on Monday night when Pawpaw was in town and took us to dinner at Olive Garden, we discussed getting together Wednesday night for her birthday. When asked where she wanted to celebrate, she said Cracker Barrel. The cake you see in the photos is one I actually made at home, complete with princess sprinkles! When I called Cracker Barrel, I was disappointed to find out that they don't "do" anything for birthdays outside of singing. So I opted to bring my own cake and they were fine with that!

I was suprised she didn't start crying when they were singing to her! But she enjoyed it!

This was when she opened her Hannah Montana barbie doll that Pawpaw got her. I don't know what it is with this child and Hannah Montana, but she LOVED the doll! She also got a bag full of clothes, but the bag was so big none of the pictures turned out right.

Baby James and Anniston also received gifts (the cutest little sea horses with light up tummies - they remind me of Glo Worms). Gracie was not too happy about sharing gifts on her birthday, but she was when I told her she could open her brother's gift for him.

While Gracie opened her brother's gift, Tara opened the one for Anniston (Anniston is hidden behind the bag!)

James with Pawpaw

The birthday girl and her Pawpaw!

Pawpaw had to go home on Friday afternoon, but Gracie really enjoyed the fact that he was here again on her birthday (he was also here last year!) We are glad we got to spend time with Pawpaw while he was here on business!