November 30, 2008

Some Christmas decorations...

Today Justin and I did a little bit of Christmas decorating. We had such a fun time, and right now are sitting back (exhausted!) enjoying some pretty lights and actually watching The Santa Clause! Love this movie!!


First thing this morning, we took the wreath out to Jonathan's grave. When we got there, there were some flowers left on his grave, right by his angel. How special that someone else came by to remember our sweet boy. Thank you to whoever this was--I don't know if you read my blog, but I just wanted to tell you how much we appreciate this and how speical that was to us!!





Then, on to decorating the house...


Here is Justin "up on the rooftop" making our house pretty!!


A little decorations on the inside, too. As you can see from the fall leaves still sitting on the couch, we are not done yet, but just thought I'd post a few pictures!

Here are our stockings--yes, even Betsy has a stocking!
I love putting up my nativity scene each year--I've done it each year since I was a little girl! We got this Willow Tree set for our wedding, and I've wanted to get the whole set (creche, animals, wise me) for years, but just never have. Maybe next year!
And the outside--not the clearest picture, but I love the way the big lightbulbs look!





Hope you're having a great start to the Christmas season!

November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving with the Steiners

What a wonderful Thanksgiving we had this year--amazing food, wonderful friends, and a lot of laughs! Here are some pictures of our couple days at a wonderful lake house on a small little lake in Texas.
Just hanging out on the couch

Our friends Jonathan and Yana--and Baby Andrus arriving in May!

Andy and Elisabeth, and their dog Tyson. If you knew Andy, you would know he is always silly!!
Now, for a little tour of the house...
The kitchen...

The living room--great tv!

The dining area--the living and dining area are open to each other--a great room for a group of people!

Tyson, Andy and Elisabeth's dog, is such a great dog. He was so mellow, and you just can't beat this face!!
Outside, from the back porch, looking down towards the lake.

Another view of this amazing property!!!

The grill area...

The back of the house...

Gazebo area...

And the two-story boathouse!!!!

Complete with a diving board, waterslide, and a second story deck you can jump off into the water. I bet it's so much fun in the summer time!

The upstairs is a big game room, and the downstairs has a boat and 3 jet-skis.
And then, while the food was cooking.... it was the Men VS....
The trashcan. It was about an hour of 3 all out games of Pig/Horse (with acorns), and I'm happy to say that Justin won all three! =) Then came the fun part...Betsy had never been in a lake (or any kind of water for that matter) and we took this opportunity to send her for a little swim. Here she comes racing down the path...

And then for the big moment...
In she went...
And she wasn't too happy. Look at that face!!!
Then she decided that it was just a great big water bowl and she was thirsty.
video
Click play to see Betsy try to figure out what she was supposed to do!
She couldn't really figure out what to do, and finally Tyson (standing behind Justin) came to the rescue and led her out.
I wanted to actually see her swim, so we put her in a little deeper water. She was so cute, and can doggy-paddle!!
But that was enough, and she was done!
Our little princess dried off, and was exhausted for the rest of the day!! We were so glad that Betsy did a great job out at the lake. She is never around other dogs, or without a leash outside. She had so much fun with the other two dogs and was so well-behaved! She for sure had a fun Thanksgiving! Especially with the many table scraps she was given!!
Here was our table set up for the big meal...
I made a special centerpiece to honor our babies. For Andy and Elisabeth, a pink cup for Estella, for Jonathan and Yana, a white cup for the baby they lost at 13 weeks, and for Jonathan, a blue cup. We wanted to include our babies into this special day, and will keep their memories alive during future holidays!
Here is the spread of ALL the food we had!
Yana, posing at the table...
and the cooks! It was so much fun to cook with these girls!
After dinner, and watching the Cowboy game, we had fun playing about 3 hours of games! Didn't get too many pictures here, but we had A LOT of laughs!!!

The end of the night--we realized that we had both brought our Hope shirts (our church is called Hope) so we had to take a quick picture!



All in all, this was a wonderful Thanksgiving. We were all so happy to be together, and do something completely different. I'm so thankful that God has given us friends to share this part of our life with. Even though we wish we all hadn't met under these circumstances, we are so glad to have each other!

November 25, 2008

Peace

(Sorry for all the blog changes lately--I liked my last one, but it was kind of hard to read! I just found this one that I thought was pretty cute too!)

Yesterday was a much better day that I thought it would be. I had been anticipating this day for long, and I've heard it said that the anticipation of a day is actually worse that the day actually turns out to be. I'm so thankful that I found that to be true.
I had a very peaceful day, just doing things that reminded me of Jonathan. I spent the morning making this little sign to put in the vase on Jonathan's grave. I have been looking for a week for something special, but have not found anything. Justin kept asking me what exactly I was looking for, and I kept telling him I didn't know exactly. So after not finding anything, I decided to go to Michaels and wander around to see if anything there felt right. I found my supplies and woke up my craftiness to make this special sign.





(back side)
I found this sweet little heart ornament in a shop in our cute little downtown last week, and I love it!
I spent about an hour at his grave. It was so peaceful, and I really enjoyed it. I read some books to him, sang to him, cried a little bit, talked to him, and read him a bunch of the letters I had written to him in my journal. It was a gorgeous day--sunny, 70 degrees with a slight breeze. God couldn't have created a better day for me!

Another thing I found downtown last week was this beautiful frame. Actually, Justin found it, but once I saw it, I new it had to be a part of our home. I printed out another picture of him and finished framing it. I am planning to hang it in our room.
Just in case you can't read it, this is what it says...
The Broken Chain
We little knew that morning that God was going to call your name. In life we loved you dearly, in death we do the same. It broke our hearts to lose you, you did not go alone; for part of us went with you, the day God called you home. You left us peaceful memories, your love is still our guide; and though we cannot see you, you are always at our side. Our family chain is broken, and nothing seems the same; but as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again.
Amazing, don't you think?!
I also bought two balloons, just like the ones that we released at Jonathan's funeral. Last night, before we went to sleep, Justin and I each wrote Jonathan a message and we released them outside right by his tree.
I also have been thinking about how to include Jonathan in our Christmas decorations. It would have all been so different if he were here--we would have had oodles of things that said "Baby's First Christmas". But those just don't feel right to me, so again, I was on a hunt to find just the right thing. I found two special things--
This is an ornament I found at Mardel, a Christian bookstore. It is a silver rattle with the James 1:17 on it: "Every good and perfect gift is from above." Jonthan was absolutely perfect, and we will always consider him to be our gift from God. I can't wait to hang it, with some other special ornaments that people have gotten us in memory of him, on our Christmas tree.

I also finished making this wreath that I'm going to put on his grave this weekend.
This is what our mantle looks like right now--so many special things that remind us of Jonathan. You can also see the stocking I got for him that I'm going to spiff up a bit. I'm planning on putting his name on it and making it special. Eventually, these things will be placed in other places around the house, but right now, I love looking up there and seeing all the things that remind me of him.


Overall, November 25th ended up being a great and truly peaceful day. Again, I was reminded of how many amazing people I have in my life. I cannot begin to express how all the calls, emails, blogs, comments, texts and prayers made this day special. I'm so thankful for each and every person in our lives who are always there for us! I love you!
I really feel like I have hit a turning point. Getting through yesterday gave me a feeling of closing this chapter of my life. Not at all in the sense that I won't grieve for Jonathan still, or go to support groups, or not think about him anymore--not at all. But the feeling of "he was supposed to be here" ended with the last official day of my pregnancy, even though in reality, my pregnancy was over 4 months ago. While I was at the cemetery, I was able to tell Jonathan that I was okay to move on now, to work on having his brothers and sisters, and I truly felt a peace about that--a knowing that it was okay with him as well. I don't know if that makes any sense, but I feel like it's okay to start fully living again. God has a plan for our lives, and I'm really ready now to live in it, trusting Him! Please continue to pray for us as we continue on in this journey to becoming a (bigger) family.
Tomorrow we are heading to Lake Athens, about an hour and a half from here, to spend Thanksgiving with some dear friends who have also lost their babies this year. After months of dreading what Thanksgiving was going to be like, I can honestly say that I'm so excited that it is tomorrow!! This year is different--it is the first time I haven't been with family for a major holiday--but I know it is how God had planned it all along for us. I'm so incredibly grateful for the blessings God has given to me. Even in losing a child, dealing with the fact that my husband's job is directly affected by this crazy economy, and feeling completely out-of-control (something I very much like to be in), God is good. Through this, my life has been changed in ways that I never would have imagined. And I never want to be the same.
I won't be around for my Thankful Thursday, but I think that this blog can count!! =)
I pray that you have a wonderful, thankful, and truly special Thanksgiving tomorrow. I know I will!