December 31, 2008

Christmas Wrap-Up

Here is a picture overview of our Christmas fun this year...

On the 20th, our cul-de-sac had our second annual progressive dinner. Such fun--I'm glad we do it! We had appetizers at one house, salad course at our house, and the main course and dessert at another neighbor's house. I took one measly picture that night--don't know what was wrong with me! I didn't even get any pictures of my neighbors! Oops! At least I got a picture of the first time I used the beautiful china and silver I was given by my Great Aunt Louise.
On the 22nd, we had our friends Andy and Elisabeth over for dinner, and then we went to see some great Christmas lights. Elisabeth and I chatted in the backseat as Justin drove.

I'm not sure why guys like taking hideous pictures of themselves. Andy looks pretty deathly in this one, but look at us girls in the background--always ready for a picture! =)

On Christmas Eve, we met with our good friends Dusty and Amy for lunch at Prairie House. It is a fun restaurant out by our old house, and we hadn't been there for awhile! I can't tell you how much of our time we spent laughing!!! DW and Amy are such great friends. We hate it that they are hours away in Atlanta, but our friendship is still going strong!

Aren't they so cute!

We just had to get a picture of the "Noel" Bear. Yes, we are holding his hands!

Let me tell you how thrilled the guys were to take this picture.
Later that evening, we spent a little bit of time at the cemetery with Jonathan. Tough, because this Christmas eve should have been so incredibly different.
Estella (Andy and Elisabeth's daughter) and Jonathan's graves
The next morning we got up at the crack of dawn, actually before dawn, and drove up to Tulsa. Justin's sister, brother-in-law, and niece were there with his parents, and we surprised them. We hadn't been planning on doing Christmas with anyone this year, but since Joy was there with her family, we arranged to surprise Gene, Kathy, and Ryley. It was a great surprise! Betsy ran in the front door with her beautiful new coat on (see earlier post) straight to Pappaw (Gene) and Ryley. Boy were they all shocked and surprised! Ryley just about wiggled out of her skin with excitement at seeing Betsy!
After getting over her excitement of seeing all of us, she ran to put on her present that Santa brought her. Here is Ryley as Ariel, her favorite of all the Disney princesses.

Joy made Ryley a really neat present. They spent a week at Disneyworld back in November, and Joy made this really cool frame with Ryley and all the princesses. So special!!

Of course, Auntie Aly had to try on the wig too! (Honestly, I wish I'd had a costume like hers when I was little--Ariel was always my favorite too!)

After opening presents, Gene ran the Polar Express train that he had up under his tree. Betsy is always curious about the train, until it starts running. Then the barking begins. Betsy and trains=not friends.

Just had to throw this picture in too. They have a pond behind their house that always has ducks and swans in it (more things that don't go together with Betsy very well!) It was really strange to see these ducks walking on water--the pond was still iced over!
Later that night we went out to see Rhema lights--a college in Tulsa that decorates their campus with TONS of lights each year. They had re-done a lot of the lights this year, and it was really beautiful!

Ryley and me

Joy, Ryley, and Ryan

Wish these pictures even began to do justice to all of the beauty!

Ryley and the candy-cane

On our 6th anniversary, the 27th, we relived our first date--almost 8 years ago! For our first date, we went to eat at Village Inn with Joy and Ryan, and then went to see Chocolat afterwards. This year, to celebrate all of our anniversaries (Joy and Ryan's was the 28th), we went back to Village Inn and saw the movie Marley and Me. Such a fun evening!!!

10th Anniversary...

6th Anniversary...and going strong!

We had such a great time in Tulsa. Justin loved all the games and fun--including Barbies!! Check out my hubby in this little clip!

Overall, we did have a great Christmas. I'm so thankful for our friends and family, who have been there for us through all of the ups and downs that 2008 brought. We are really looking forward to starting 2009, a year that will hopefully bring many great new things to our lives! Happy New Year!

December 29, 2008

Not the news I wanted...

Justin and I had a great Christmas--we drove up to Tulsa and surprised his parents. A post all about our Christmas week's events with pictures will come later. I'm not really up for posting today.

Got the news this morning--not pregnant. I just don't get it--I know God has promised that we will become parents. It is just so hard being patient. So now we have to wait another month before we can do fertility shots again. We've been trying three months short of 5 years, with countless unsuccessful clomid cycles, 3 fertility shot cycles, 3 miscarriages, and one baby stillborn. I never imagined that the thing I have always wanted most in life, to be a mom, would be this hard and agonizing. I know God has a plan for us--I do trust Him. It is just so hard to be going through all this when it seems that just about everyone around me doesn't have any problems having children. I know that many others are struggling as well, and I would never, ever wish this on anyone, but it still hurts deep inside, even when I am genuinely happy for them.

I promise I will have a much better post soon. I'm not going to let myself be down in the dumps for too long.

December 24, 2008

Baby Jesus

Ever since I was a little girl, the story of Baby Jesus' birth has been my absolute favorite part of the Bible. When I was small, my grandma would tell me the story, and I would act it out. I was always Mary, because she got to be pregnant and have Baby Jesus. We even had a name for the donkey that Mary had to ride on to Bethlehem (Clippity-Clop). When I would have nightmares, my mom would always tell me the story of Baby Jesus, and it always helped me not to be afraid anymore--something I find myself still doing to this today! Plus, as a family, on Christmas day we always did a whole "production" of the Christmas story (of course, I got to be Mary in this one too!)

All this to say that I love Christmas. It is so easy, though, for me to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everything that I think I have to do--finding the perfect presents for everyone, getting food cooked just right, and visiting everyone. Even the fun things about Christmas--the lights, music, and time with friends and family can get overwhelming. I'm determined, though, to remember and focus on the true reason for the season-the birth of Jesus. I love Christmas for this reason alone--to celebrate the birth of my Savior--the ultimate Gift that God gave to us.

This year is a bittersweet one for me--I'm still excited for all that comes with Christmas, but I often find myself thinking about my baby boy, who should have been a month old on Christmas day. As I was enjoying our Christmas Eve service tonight, I found myself tearing up, thinking about what would have been. We were surrounded by kids, as well as one that was so sweetly singing along to the Christmas carols right behind us. Our pastor spoke about the hope, peace, joy, and love that this Advent (the coming of Christ) season brings. I'm so glad that have hope for future children, as well as a peace deep in my heart that my little guy is in such a better place, but it is still hard. So I'm chosing to enjoy this Christmas, and just like when I was little and had a nightmare, which is what losing Jonathan feels like, I will remind myself of Jesus and the story of Him coming to earth for me.

I pray that you and your family have a wonderful Christmas--the fun parts, as well as the truly important part--Jesus!

December 22, 2008

Christmas Packages!! (UPDATED--look again!)

(If you already read the original post, scroll to the bottom to see the update)

Can I just say how much fun it is to get Christmas packages in the mail?? We've have been getting some from family over the past few weeks, but the one that arrived today gave me an extra smile! Even dogs love giving presents at Christmas!! The package was from my parent's cocker spaniel, Molly!! Here she is--isn't she pretty?!

My sweet Betsy is so excited about her Christmas present, and can't wait to open it on Christmas morning! (By the way, she also sent Molly and Bella (my brother's cocker spaniel) presents as well! Aren't our puppies so thoughtful?!

Just thought I'd put a picture of Betsy's Christmas look!

One more thing to share--my good friend Amy was in town this week, and we got to spend the whole day together!!! I can't believe it has been 2 years since we lived in the same city, but I think our friendship has grown even stronger during this time!!!


So Molly called tonight (with a little help from my parents) and wanted Betsy to open her present early. Cousin Bella had already opened up her present and Molly wanted all the girls to enjoy their gifts... So get ready for some told in Betsy's own words!

Hmmmm...what is in here?

I think I can smell Molly on this box!

Oooh--that looks fun!

What could this be??

How do I get into it? I need thumbs!

Getting closer...

What is this? It looks so beautiful!

What cute flowers!

Mom...come on! Stop taking pictures and help me put it on!!

I'm not quite sure what I'm supposed to do, but I think I look beautiful!!

And it's reversible!!!

I love it!!!
I have my own beautiful coat to wear on cold winter days like today!

I think I look like a princess, with my very own cape! Now if Dad would just give me some of his food!

Not Dad's food, but Gigi and Gramps also sent me Beggin Strips--yummy!!!

Here are some close ups of my beautiful new coat!

I love it!! Thanks Molly, Gigi (for making it), and Gramps for the idea!!! What a GREAT Christmas present!!! Merry Christmas everyone!!
(This was all dictated to me by Betsy herself!! =)

December 21, 2008

Happy Birthday, My Love!

I just want to write a post to tell my sweet husband--Happy 28th Birthday!! Justin, I love you so very much, and honestly don't know what I would do without you in my life! You are such an amazing person, and every day with you is a new, fun adventure! I hope you have a wonderful birthday, and an even better 28th year! I love you!

December 19, 2008

What my mind does at 3 am...

Here is what is going on in my mind at 3 am...

"Did I put a title on the blog I wrote earlier? It doesn't matter, just go back to sleep. I really should put a title on it--how do I always seem to forget that? Oh well, I'll check tomorrow. (turn over) I don't think I did post one--not important--go to sleep. Have I already posted about the things I put in my blog? Can't remember--go to sleep! (turn over again) I wish it was the 29th already--each day waiting feels like 2 weeks! Ahh!! Go to sleep--the 29th will come faster. (quick bathroom break--maybe that is why I'm still awake) I really should just check quickly to see if I put a title on that blog--Ahh! Why am I still thinking about this????? Maybe I blog too much if I wake up in the middle of the night and can't stop thinking about this! Oh well, go to sleep! "(turn over again) Repeat for 25 more minutes.....

So, here I am. Yes, I did forget to put a title on it. Fixed. Maybe I can sleep now. Gosh I don't like my mind sometimes.

December 18, 2008

The Letter R

I'm borrowing this idea from a friend, Suzette, who I think borrowed it from another friend! Fun!

Instead of my normal Thankful Thursday, this week, I'm going to list 3 things that I love (and am thankful for too!) starting with the letter R.

So here goes...

1. Ryley--our neice. She is such a special and fun little girl, but lives far away in Colorado! I'm so glad her mom Joy (Justin's sister) keeps us up to date with pictures and blogs about her! In November, they went to Disneyworld, and let me tell you, my little neice was in heaven!! One night on their trip, after a long day if fun, Ryley had her head on her daddy's shoulder, and she said, "Daddy, dreams really do come true!" How cute is she?!!!Ryley's absolute favorite princess, Ariel. How cute is she? I can't believe that she is already 5 1/2!! I love you Ryley!!

2) Reading---I absolutely love to read! Right now, I'm in between books, which drives me nuts. But I'm making myself wait one more day for Christmas vacation. I just finished Nicholas Spark's new one, The Lucky One. Very good! My favorite reads are historical fiction, especially from Christian authors. My favorite is Francine Rivers, but I also like to read Angela Hunt, Terri Blackstock, Gilbert Morris, and many others.

3) Ross--I love to poke around at Ross! There is one just about a mile from my house, and it just happens to be on my way home from work, so I stop by every so often to see if there are any new bargains! Right now, though, it is pretty picked over for Christmas, so hopefully, 2009 will bring more deals! (And I'm hoping good deals on maternity clothes!)

No news yet on the baby front--we have to be patient for 11 more days, but who's counting?!

I'm so excited that after work tomorrow is Christmas break! I have all sorts of projects I need to get done around my house already listed in my head! Plus, Justin's 28th birthday is this Sunday, followed by Christmas, and our 6th anniversary on the 27th! So it should be a fun few weeks off work!

PS--so many of you have left sweet comments for my last few blogs. I appreciate them so much, and have been wanting to get back to you and leave you a comment, but have been pretty sick this week. Just wanted you to know that you are on my to do list--watch for a comment soon! =)