Sunday, December 31, 2006

Baby's 1st New Year's Eve

Yesterday marked three months since Andrew's birth!
He is such a big boy and such a happy baby :).

I'm still planning on sharing a Christmas post but we're
only half-way through with Christmas. Six days down,
six more to go...

Have a blessed New Year!!!

Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness. ~Psalm 65:11

Friday, December 29, 2006

The House That Lee Built

Here are the girls,
Faces wreathed in glee,
When they found by the tree
The big little house that Lee built :).

Bethani's favorite are the little dolls and the broom.

I say "big" little house because it is obviously small, it's a dollhouse, but it is so comparatively huge that I'm not quite sure where we are going to put it more permanently. It didn't look like it would be so huge while it was in the box!
Here it is from the front...

Isn't it amazing?! 
I had sooo much fun furnishing it :).

The box said "mansions in minutes". It failed to mention that those minutes could also be measured in hours upon hours upon...well, you get the picture. I stained the floors, held things in place while Lee glued and helped with the painting but aside from that Lee did it all. We've calculated that we have spent well over a hundred hours on this project, about 28 of them in the three days before Christmas morning. We were up until six'o'clock Christmas morning trying to get it finished in time!
Here are a fraction of the pieces Lee started out with about six months ago...

Anyway, it's over now. Lee did a great job and the girls love it! It is tradition to put a candy cane shaped tube of M&Ms in the girls stockings and every year it has been inevitable that they make a huge deal over the M&Ms and open them right away. This year they were so excited over their dollhouse that the M&Ms were virtually ignored and they weren't opened until the next evening! That is a sure sign of success ;).
I wouldn't call it a cheap project but we got everything from the house to the furniture to the little "stuff" for 40 to 50% off, mostly by using coupons and watching for sales since last Christmas. It was such a thrill too add up what we saved! One of the cashiers at the craft store where I bought most of the little things during a 50% off sale was amazed at what I got for so little, comparatively. She said you would be amazed at what a lot of people come in and spend on such things. Depending on the size house you get you can really end up spending whatever you budget. A smaller house means less furniture, etc..
Now...on to the next project! This one is bit more ambitious, Lee's planning on doing it completely from scratch, so it could take awhile. I can't tell you what it is because my girls read my blog...won't that put a fun little itch in their ears ;)?
Hmmm, I wonder why Bri is growling as she reads this over my shoulder???

Monday, December 25, 2006

Have a Blessed Christmas!

Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you;
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

    Who hath believed our report and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?  For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.  Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. ~Isaiah 53

Monday, December 18, 2006

This Will be Fun to Clean Up...

   After successfully supervising Bri in preparing to make the dipped pretzels I retreated to the living room to feed Baby. When I came back a little while later I stopped short and, surveying the pretzels and pretzel bag as well as drips of chocolate and wax paper peppering the dining room from one end to the other I exclaimed,"What exploded in here!?".

   Bri's reply..."Bethani..."

They had a lot of fun, but if you think Bethi's mouth is messy... should have seen the floor!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A Hodge-Podge of a Post

   Andrew is eleven weeks old today!

   He brings so much sunshine into our days! He has rolled over from front to back for the first time and he laughs! He started out with such short little laughs that I wasn't sure that was what it was, kind of like his smile did. As they have matured I can see clearly now he was truly laughing but I couldn't tell you when he laughed for the first time, sometime about two weeks ago. He smiles a lot now! The other day one of the neighbor ladies came over to drop off her annual loaves of bread. Andrew had been really upset but as soon as I opened the door he was quiet and all off ;). As an aside, I've told Lee that if we ever move I'll have to get her bread recipe, after having it so many years in a row it wouldn't seem like Christmas without it, and it is delicious! Anyway, Andrew coos and has extremely strong tummy muscles! He is so anxious to get up and go that sometimes I think he could fling himself out of his seat if he wasn't buckled in! He still eats seemingly non-stop and has topped 14 pounds now. Doris, another neighbor, is floored every time she sees him at how quickly he's growing. We finally got some pictures printed off of him just yesterday! Yeah!!! I never sent out birth announcements because I didn't have pictures so now I'm going to stick them into Christmas cards, I can't believe how long it took us to get them printed! I know some people will be thrilled to finally have a picture! Now I know that I could have sent them in over email and all Lee would have had to do would be to pick them up, that's nice to know for next time...I've been on Ritz's website many times lately and never saw that option listed.

   We are right in the thick of the Christmas season now. I'm hoping to do a post after Christmas chronicling our holiday detailing how we celebrate and why. We are making homemade wreaths for Christmas gifts this year for our neighbors and Lee's employees, hopefully we can finish them tomorrow! We'll probably supplement them with white chocolate coated pretzels. I have yet to start the Christmas candy! I hope to have the girls working on the pretzels today, they will probably be able to do the chocolate dipped potato chips and the peanut butter balls largely by themselves as well, and the best part is they think that all of that monotonous dipping is actually fun! Ah, I have hit that time of my life I used to dream of when my mother would say, "When you have children you can make them do it...." heehee ;).

   We took a walk around our neighborhood after dark the other night to see the lights and the girls sang Christmas carols as we went. At one point we thought that Bethani had lost a doll Tori had let her hold (ended up she had dropped it before we even left the house) and we heard Tori sniffing. Thinking she was crying over her doll Lee asked her what was wrong, "My nose is running. ", she answered. "Well", Lee replied teasingly, "Run it down (as in, chase it down)!". To which Tori replied in an incredulous tone, "I'm trying to run it up!!!!" and added a bit confidentially, "I don't want to lick it....". Ewww, note to self: don't leave the house without a Kleenex ;). This was, of course Andrew's first time participating in the annual Christmas walk, here he is all bundled up in his sling ready to go:

He really wasn't terribly impressed, he ended up falling asleep before we got but a few houses down from ours!

   I know it is probably a bit late for Christmas but I thought I would end with a few recommendations for future gifts. We recently got the My Creation Bible by Answers In Genesis for Andrew and I was very impressed. It is a children's board book and appears extremely durable, the illustrations are impressive and it is very true to scripture. It does a beautiful job of tying the Old Testament and the New Testament together. I know Andrew is a bit young yet, but Bethani loves it and even Bri and Tori enjoy the pictures and listening to the story. We also got paper dolls based on the Elsie series for Bri and Tori, these are the most beautiful paper dolls I have ever seen and appear to be pretty durable for a paper doll. It comes with instructions for how to turn the book into a folder for your dolls and a little case to assemble that holds the cards that contain the history of all of the styles, like what was a "riding habit" and when and why was it worn, making them great learning tools as well! The girls love them and they were so beautiful and fun to look at that I hardly noticed the blister on the back of my finger from the hours of cutting it took to get them cut may want to try cutting them out in phases if you invest in these ;)...

We got Bethani a beginners wooden magnetic doll, here she is putting her "new baby" to sleep in her box ;)...

We got her a wooden one thinking it would be nearly indestructible...until we found several pairs of the dolly's shoes in mommy's 7-Up can later that is never dull with Bethi around.

Now, I need to scoot so I can try to get the ball rolling on all of our many projects! I hope you all are having a blessed holiday season!

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." ~Isaiah 9:6&7

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sisterly Love

I shared in a post shortly after Andrew's birth that I thought there would be something special between Andrew and Bethani. It has been so much fun to watch everyone in the family forge their own unique relationships with each other as our family grows and changes and it has been a lot of fun this time to watch Bethani, little more than a baby herself, adapt to the changes a new baby has brought. She was really going through kind of a needy phase leading up to his birth and we all worried a tiny bit how she would be able to cope but she seemed to mature a bit overnight and it has been so beautiful to see the "little mommy" a 19 month old can be :). She runs to bring diapers or burp clothes and is quick to alert someone if she notices he has a a burp cloth ;)...before anyone else does. She will gently wipe his little face when he spits...with a not-so-discreet exclamation of "ewww!" ;)...and she loves to "hold" him. She pats his little back when he's upset and says, "It's O.K. baby" and when he's in a playful mood she likes to play beep-the-nose or just get as face-to-face as possible and say, "Hi baby!!!". It surprises me how gentle she is with him because she's not a gentle child by nature ;). But the other day she did something that melted my heart beyond a mere "aren't you cute?". Andrew was having some floor time and Bethani came up to him and started talking to him in her own little language and then she took his little hand, closed her eyes, babbled a little prayer complete with an "amen", gave him a little kiss and said, "nigh-night". I got some of it on camera after I figured out what she was doing.

What special perks come with the title of "Mother"!

"Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven. ~Psalm 148:11-13

Ho Hum

Too cute not to share...

I really don't think we're that boring!

Saturday, December 9, 2006

The Game of Life

   I had one of those "they-really-are-getting-it" moments the other day. The girls and I had just finished a game of Life and when we tallied up the score Bri came in last. "Well", she said, "You and Tori may have beat me by the rules, but I got to have lots of children and I never had to borrow money [unlike her mother and her sister] so I really won...". Can't argue with that logic ;).

Friday, December 1, 2006

Roses in December

   To many people that is merely another cliche but down here in seasonally challenged South Carolina you really can have your roses in December, see...

   They smell amazing too. I guess if I can't have snow a steady supply of roses is a nice consolation :). I have pansies in December too...

   Don't they go nicely with the hanging icicle lights and the snowman wreath on the door :).

   I love snow and I miss it so much. I can't say exactly what it is about true winter weather that makes the lack of it something to actually miss now that we don't get to experience it, seems kind of silly when I try to put my finger on it. Down here we get about two days of winter a year and they come in the form of an ice storm that shuts down the entire state for lack of the proper equipment to cope with that sort of weather. That's after it has emptied every store of every carton of milk and loaf of bread, you're out of luck if you actually need milk or bread :). I would love to take my little people to an outdoor skating rink and sledding, to teach them that snow is not made out of styrofoam...heehee ;)...

   We use the idea of snow to teach the girls about God's amazing creative ability, of their special place in God's creation and most importantly that though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow ~ Isaiah 1:18.

   I caught Bethani and Andrew's first snowball fight ;). Bethani would load him up and he would kick them back out, it was really cute.

   They are actually styrofoam balls that masquerade as snowballs in a basket during the winter season.


   Oh well, we have our roses in December...