Friday, December 30, 2011

Goodbye, 2011

Last year, I took a look back and made a list of things from the previous year for which I was thankful.  This year, I thought I’d do the same thing.  Christmas was a great end to the year and made me feel so loved and so blessed.  And now, since there is only a couple days left of the year, here is what I’m thankful for in 2011. 
1.The absolute JOY that our daughter has brought to our lives.  She’s such an enormous blessing.

2. Getting to watch our family enjoy Dinah.  Grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, great-grandparents, great-aunts…that girl is truly loved. 
3.   An impromptu road trip to visit (and surprise) our sister. 
4.   Siblings.  I love ‘em.  All of them.  Dean and I both have the best siblings anyone could ask for.  My heart is always full after a visit with any of our siblings.  And, for a girl who grew up with only brothers, it’s amazing to have 3 precious sisters. 
5.       A new car after the old one completely died, and one that is reliable.  I love my car. 
6.       Being able to check off several items from my wishlist when I felt like it would be years before I got it whittled down. 
7.       My mom driving down every single week and spending half the week to babysit Dinah so I don’t have to pay for daycare or leave her with someone else.  It’s a little trying at times, but such a huge help and such a precious thing for Dinah and her Grandma. 
8.     Our dogs.  I’m not as crazy about our dogs as some people are theirs, but I really enjoy being welcomed home with such genuine excitement and I love how protective Musket is of Dinah.

9.    No more construction.  No more living in a partially unfinished house. 
10.  And, as of this week, thanks to a collaborative effort by our parents, a fully functioning TV.  No more watching movies & Netflix on the computer.  No more watching movies on a borrowed TV. 
God has been so good to us, and has again used our families and friends to bless us in so many ways. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child

Something different happened for Christmas this year in our family…children.  Our families are so far apart that there’s just no way to incorporate both in the same holiday.  When we first got married, we tried, but it was just too much.  We spent more time in the car than we did with our families.  So, now we alternate, Thanksgiving with one and Christmas with the other, and switch it the next year.  I got to spend my niece’s first Christmas with her, but that meant that Dinah’s first Christmas last year was with my side of the family.  This was the first Christmas for them to spend together.  And, it was wonderfully sweet. 
My SIL bought them matching pajamas for the occasion, and they were pretty precious in them. 

I loved watching them open their gifts from Santa, and see what was in their stockings on Christmas morning. 

(Lyla sat down with Dinah, and then asked me to take a picture of them"agether")

They talked, they played, they shared, and they laughed.  They loved every minute of each other.  And, I loved every minute of seeing them together. 
And, for your enjoyment, here is a video of them in the new car Grandma bought for them. 

It was the first of many Christmases to come, shared with children.  Next year, we'll be with my side again for my newest niece's (on the way) first Christmas.  The year after that, we'll have THREE little ones on Dean's side.  What fun!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Decorations of Red

I promised to post pics of our meager Christmas decorations.  While I miss my big pretty tree, I’m happy with what we’ve done this year.  Someday I’ll put my big tree up again, but this will do for now. 
Since our tree is so small, we thought it needed to be elevated so we put it on the piano.  It’s safer there anyway, so it’s out of reach of our little monkey, which is important since I accidentally bought breakable bulbs to put on it.  I’m willing to bet that if we’d left the tree within her reach, she’d be toddling around the house, dragging the tree behind her and leaving a trail of broken bulbs in her wake. 

Even though we don’t have room for the big tree, the house is finished enough this year that we were able to add some other decorations elsewhere.  We have brick where the wood stove sits, so we hung garland and lights on it, so it’s almost like a fireplace.  Cozy.  Well, except we still haven’t gotten the stove pipe installed so it’s not actually functioning yet.  Details. 
Then, we wrapped garland around the beam and made it look all festive.  There’s just something about having a wood beam in a living room wrapped or draped with garland.  I love it.  And, when I say “we” here, I mean that Dean did this entirely.  He took over a lot of it, because he’s much more meticulous.  I just tell him what I want. 
And last but not least, my wreath, or letter “A” rather, that I made for the door.  I was feeling crafty.  I also learned that I don’t have time to be feeling crafty.  It was kind of fun, though. 

*As always, please excuse my lack of photography skills. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas to Christmas

Last year about this time, I was writing about having started back to work after maternity leave.  I miss maternity leave.  Well, I miss everything except getting behind on the bills.  I’ve been part-time for a year now.  It sure doesn’t seem like it, but I’m so grateful that I’m not working full-time and that I still get some time with my little monkey. 
When I went back to work after my maternity leave, this is what I left:
And now, this is what I leave:

I still don’t know how this happened.  She has had strict instruction not to grow up.  Clearly, she takes me seriously.