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Monday, December 22, 2008

Let the fun begin

I have been thrilled for this week to begin. There is much to look forward to . . . and it all began today. Holden and I went to a birthday party for Jesus this morning and had a lot of fun with other moms and kids. Then, tonight we drove through a local park to see Christmas lights. I took Holden out of his carseat as Jeremy drove through because it really was a sight! The place was covered in lights. And Holden did say “ooooh”. I’m pretty positive that he was impressed by the display. I love going to see Christmas lights. Growing up, it was an annual event in my family. But since this month has flown by, we were really getting down to the wire. So I’m very glad we got out tonight to see the lights. Here are a few pictures from tonight.
Holden is his snowman jammies. Because it is so cold here!

Holden giving nice, slobbery filled kisses. Slobbery, yes. But so so sweet!
Jeremy reading “The Night Before Christmas” to Holden.
Tonight was sort of our Christmas Eve. When Jeremy gets home tomorrow (Tuesday) evening, we will do Christmas with just the 3 of us. Which brings more exciting events. Tomorrow, Holden and I will be making cookies for Santa. Ok, Holden probably won’t be participating much in the baking. Not this year. Despite the fact that my husband finds this absolutely ridiculous that we are leaving Santa cookies and egg nog (since Holden is only 7 months old), we are still going to do it! I’m telling you – traditions are starting this year! Did I mention that Santa is coming during Holden’s afternoon nap? It was most convenient for us this year. And I’m pretty sure that growing up, we never had Christmas at our house on Christmas day. So Santa comes whenever you want him to. Tomorrow should be a fun day.
I have also been so excited to have all of my family together. We are traveling to my parent’s house in Texas on Christmas Eve. Both of my sisters and their families will be there and I am expecting a very fun week with the fam. Lately I have just been almost giddy about this week. Many pictures to come!

December 2007 to December 2008

On Sunday Jeremy and I were discussing last December. We were talking about where we were at this time last year with our situation and desire for children. December was better than the previous months. In December, we felt hope. If you would have asked me in January of 2007 if I would have a child by the next December. I would have been certain of it. But as the month crept closer, I knew that it wouldn’t be a possibility. But December was also the deadline we set. God had been drawing us towards adoption for years, but more seriously the last 6 months of last year. So last December, we excitedly committed to adopt. And in May, 5 short months later, God blessed our socks off! And so, on Sunday I laughed and said – I’m glad we never got pregnant. And Jeremy smiled and agreed. It was a sweet moment. We just can’t imagine life without our Holden. I’m thankful that God continued to have us wait, because He had a better plan for us. Not only a plan that would fulfill our hearts longing, but a plan for a baby boy and possibly an overwhelmed mother. And sometimes I am amazed that He chose us!
In the midst of all of it, God changed our thinking, He changed our hearts and He changed our plans. My vision for my family looks different now. And it’s more beautiful than what I originally had in mind. Oh my, how life can change in just 1 year!

Friday, December 19, 2008

E-mealz.com

My sister told me about the website above. I really wasn’t sure if it would be my thing, but decided to give it a look. And I have to say that I really, really like it. You choose a “meal plan”, like regular, low-carb, low fat, even weight watchers. Then for $5 a month, this nifty little site plans your meals for the month and gives you a weekly shopping list. It has been so helpful and very affordable! It’s not those recipes that call for 17 things that you don’t already have. You can specify for a family of 2 or 4 and maybe even more, I’m not sure. I have tried it for 3 weeks now. The best thing is just the variety that it brings to the table. There have been times that we have eaten so much chicken and fish that it just made dinner so boring. But this has just added lots of variety to our dinners. And I have noted some good recipes. Many that we will do again and again. In fact, as a sneak peak, I will share with you my favorite recipe thus far.
Creamy Crockpot Chicken
1lb of skinless boneless chicken breast
1 can FF cream of mushroom soup
8 oz. RF cream cheese
1 packet of Good Seasons dry Italian seasoning mix
1 cup of dry white wine or cooking wine.
Pour all ingredients into crockpot (excluding chicken) and whisk ingredients together. Add chicken and turn crockpot on low. Cook for 6 hours. Serve over rice.

Now, Jeremy normally won’t eat cream cheese, but actually really liked this one. And since I did my meal plan for two people this particular recipe had everything halved; like ½ lb of chicken, half a can of soup and so on. I just doubled it and we had it 2 nights in a row. Who wants half a can of soup lying around.
So that’s my plug for e-mealz.com. Some tasty meals, variety to dinner time, very affordable shopping lists and easy planning for your week. Click here to check it out! I realize at this point that I kind of sound like an infomercial. For the record, I am not being paid to say any of this.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Diversifying the Décor

Last year I really wanted to buy a nativity scene after Christmas. I didn’t get myself into the stores in time and so I never found what I wanted. And I am sort of glad it happened that way. After Christmas last year, we didn’t have Holden and now I am more aware of the white world we live in. So recently I have had my eyes peeled for a darker-skinned nativity scene. One that would be more accurate to how I imagine them. I mean, I think that we can safely assume that Jesus and that bunch were not light skinned. I assume that Jesus looked more like Holden than Jeremy. And obviously this is more important to me now, because of Holden and our future children. For some reason, I just want my house to reflect the same diversity that my family is reflecting.
But this weekend I wandered over to Cracker Barrel because I always find cute Christmas things there. And so I have to show you may latest purchase for our tree.
Isn't he cute? And I have to mention the ornament was only $1.50. So if your family looks like mine, go get you one, or two or three. They had a little girl caroler too!
And I still haven’t found the darker-skinned nativity scene. So if you have any ideas for me, please do comment!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hello Santa.

On Saturday, Holden had his first ever visit with Santa Claus. When we placed him in his lap, he took a good long look at that white bearded face. He was a bit dazed in the picture as he had fallen asleep on our drive to meet Santa. So even though Jeremy was making all kinds of obnoxious noises behind the photographer, we received no smiles. Our son is so convenient in that way!
So, picture with Santa - check. Done! Mark it off the list.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

If you're happy and you know it -

CLAP YOUR HANDS!
Yes, Holden has learned to clap. Oh what a fun age! It really really is!
watching mama clap and trying to play along.

Muscle Man!

Here is our muscle man. So, he is a heavy weight. People don’t think he is that heavy, until they hold him or pick him up. If only I could hide it so well! But like I have been saying, the boy is solid. See for yourself. I’m telling you all – I see football in his future.
I think here he is saying, "Check out these guns!"
*And no, I don't do cloth diapers. This is just a cute little diaper cover that someone gave to me.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It’s beginning to look a lot like . . .

CHRISTMAS!! Well, it’s looked like Christmas at our house for almost 2 weeks now. We put up our holiday décor the Sunday before Thanksgiving, just because we knew that we would be wiped out from our Thanksgiving travels. And boy, were we! We didn’t even travel around so much, but Holden and I brought home bad colds (that we still haven’t completely knocked). So I’m glad the decorations went up early. Holden got in on the decorating action. Well, not exactly. He watched from afar. And as I have said in a previous post, I am kind of glad that he isn’t mobile yet. So I can determine his proximity to the tree and the shiny ornaments that I’m sure look so tempting for his little hands to grab.
You may have noticed that I sacrificed my spot on the mantel. We need new stocking holders . . . and now matching stockings for that matter.
So shiney! And even looks like a toy.

We even did a little decorating in his room, though there isn’t much space to add much.
Merry Christmas! I hope you are all able to relax and enjoy this season and its true meaning.
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. 2 Corinthians 9:15

Monday, December 1, 2008

7 months

Well, here is Holden at 7 months. I honestly can’t believe that he is already 7 months old. And I have this feeling that May 1st will be here in the blink of an eye. I know that time is not traveling faster than it has in the past, though it sometimes feels as if that is indeed the case here. I am just watching my little boy grow and develop by leaps and bounds. And then I begin to think . . . wasn’t he just a tiny baby that couldn’t even lift his head . . . that would fall asleep after drinking an ounce of formula . . . that I thought would never grow into his 0-3month clothes. And literally overnight (or approximately 210 nights) he is 7 months old. This was a very special month for us as we finalized our adoption. Holden has been 100% our son since the day we brought him home and so we have never wavered from that. But this month, it legally became official.
Onto what Holden has been up to this month. He is now completely sitting up without support. He has learned that bath time is so much more fun when you can sit up and SPLASH!
He loves to “swim” on his belly, but is not up and crawling yet. Jeremy is SO ready for him to crawl and I am kind of hoping for a peaceful Christmas with no ornaments being ripped off the tree. I can wait another month to see him crawling. But he is scooting backwards, as evidence of this picture I took a few weeks ago. He started out playing by the stacked rings. It must be so frustrating to travel away from your toys!
Speaking of the rings. This month I realized that he is kind of boyish. Yeah, I know that’s probably good since he is a boy and all. But I hand him a toy such as this one and he slings the pieces everywhere. He doesn’t seem to do anything gently. He might be my little bull in the china closet. I will have to teach him my gracefulness. That line might only be funny to Jeremy since he knows I break something normally once a week.
He has taken a liking to pink baby dolls this month. You know our babysitter club thing we have going with Blake and Lauren . . . well Katelyn and Noah were at our house last weekend and Holden seemed to like Katelyn’s doll. And I thought it would be funny to get a picture of it. And possibly hold it over his head for eternity.
He has some tickle spots and sometimes I use them just to make myself laugh. Hearing him laugh and cackle is quite contagious! Though over Thanksgiving, I was going to show the family his cackle and so I tickled him. Instead of laughing he reverted to screaming. He did this several times. Fun screaming, of course! Which really seems so appropriate for tickling. Tickling isn’t funny. It’s kind of mean!
I guess that is the newest on our little guy. I’m sure I will remember something else I should have added as soon as a click the publish button. But for now, that’s all I’ve got.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Giving Thanks in 2008

I will be unplugged for the rest of the week, so I decided to give thanks now. No matter the season of life, I have always had so much to be thankful for. We take so many conveniences for granted. Though this year, thankfulness takes on a whole new meaning. Here are a few things that I am thanking God for this year (in no particular order).
*I am so thankful for my son, Holden. He has added so much to my life. My days are filled caring for him. Changing him, feeding him, playing with him, kissing on him, reading to him and just loving him. He is such a happy boy and brings a lot of extra happiness to our home.
*I’m thankful for my job. Yeah, I don’t get a paycheck for it but I love it all the same! I tell Jeremy often how much fun I have during the day. It really is more than what I always imagined it to be. It fills me up like no job has ever done before.
*I am thankful for Jeremy. On Sunday we celebrated 6 years of marriage! I really do adore my husband. He is truly my best friend. I am so thankful that I get to walk this road with him by my side forever.
*I am thankful for a happy, healthy family of 3!
*I am thankful for 2007. It was a tough year, but it has brought us to where we are now. Such a joyful place! And looking back, God always knew what I needed. And he knew where he needed to work on me. And though I probably wasn’t thankful at the time . . . thank you God for walking with us through the valleys so that we can experience a deep and rich appreciation for your gifts in this earthly life.
*I am thankful for a new friendship.
And I know that is just the tip of the iceberg. But those are few things specific to this year.
In every thing give thanks; for this is the will of God. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Monday, November 24, 2008

6 month pictures

Well, I mentioned earlier in the month having Holden's 6 month pictures done by Carrie LaFollette. Click here to check out her site. You remember I mentioned he was a bit frowny that afternoon. Figures. :( Well, we got the proofs back last week. Looks like she did manage to catch a few grins. And here is my favorite.

And yes, I am kind of spoiling the Christmas card by posting the picture here. So act surprised when you get your card in the mail. Act like you have never ever seen this cute picture of Holden. And then display it proudly on your refrigerator, Christmas card holder, mantel by the stockings, wherever you prefer. I leave that decision up to you.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Some recent faves

Below are some of my recent favorite pictures.
I needed to run an errand in the 38 degree coldness outside. What better excuse for Holden to try out one of his newest accessories! He kept it on for about 2 hours, sleeping with it on in his carseat as I did my thing. I am pretty sure he loves it, in case this face didn’t tell us that much.
Holden and friend, Lyndon just chilin out. I do think they love to play together. And that’s good because I love to chat with Lyndon’s mama.

Last weekend was an eventful one, celebrating Holden’s finalization. After all the company had left, Jeremy decided that he would join Holden for a Saturday afternoon nap. And I have to say that I love this picture. And I love these boys!

This is now what I see when I go to retrieve Holden from his crib. We still haven’t dropped the crib down, so he can push himself up high on his arms to peek over the rail. (Don't panic, he's not pulling up yet.) When we see one another, we normally both just laugh. Not sure what makes it so funny.

And here I was attempting avocados again. Not sure how he doesn’t like the stuff! This time I was sneaky (or so I thought) and mixed it with his carrots. Weird combo I know. Not sure why I went the direction of carrots. Anyways, he just kind of jags on it and makes a horrible face with each spoonful. Yet continues to open his mouth and accept each bite. (This is one of Holden's rare, but less photogenic moments.)

And I leave you with sweet, sleeping Holden. He is in one of his favorite positions. Normally every night Jeremy and I go into his room once he has fallen asleep and just look at him. Then we leave the room and comment on how cute he is. :) Seriously, this is almost every night! He is either like this, or more commonly on his back with his hands behind his head.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sweet Cousins

Cameron and Holden are a little over 9 months apart in age. I think they will be big buds in no time. We were trying to get just one cute picture of the boys sitting together. No problem right? Wrong! Holden just wanted to kiss Cameron. He is really into kissing these days. And Cameron DID NOT want to sit on the couch and pose. But when he did sit still he was normally trying to pet Holden’s hair. He had a real fascination for those curls. It was pretty funny. I think if you flip through these pictures in true cartoon fashion, it will tell the story all by itself.

Oh Happy Adoption Day!!!!

Hip, hip, hip hooray! Oh Happy Adoption Day!
These words are from a book that I would definitely recommend to families that have or will be adopting. It is a perfect book for any kind of adoption: domestic or international. But Friday was our happy adoption day. And so November 14, 2008 will be a date forever etched into my memory. We will probably not annually celebrate the day, but it will always be a special anniversary in my heart.
My parents, my sister Amy and nephew Cameron came to town for the big event. We went to the courthouse at 1:30pm on Friday. It was a very quick process; but we had a nice and interested attorney and a thoughtful judge that welcomed us into his courtroom. From there we headed home with one stop to pick up the cookie cake. Then a couple of friends joined my family at our house for a little celebration of our special day. Thanks for celebrating with us – to those that were actually at my house and to those that thought of us on this special day. I feel like so many of you that just couldn’t be with us on this day have been on your knees for our family for a long time. And so you have prayed us to this point in our lives. I know these prayers inched us closer and closer to God’s call for our family. And now is such a sweet and blessed time in our lives. Friends, you know we love you and we are so thankful for your support and love to us.
We had so many pictures from Friday that I couldn’t decide on just a few. So if you have stuck around this long, here is a slide show from our big day.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Accessorizing

I mentioned a little shopping in the previous post. And look what we found and couldn’t pass up!
Nana bought this little hat for 3 bucks and some change. NICE! But then of course we had to hunt down an entire outfit for the hat.
And then we needed something to keep those little ears warm this winter and we found this cute little stocking hat. We'll see how well he does to keep them on his head.

A little spoiling never hurts

Nana and Holden were caught twice by the camera. She has been doing a little spoiling during her visit.
Catching a nap after a long morning of shopping.
Vanilla milkshake at 6 months??? (Don't worry. I gave the okay on it.)
And then of course he wanted more.

Loraena's Book Giveaway

Go and check out Loraena at Unmeasured Grace ! She is doing a drawing for this new book.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Share your Christmas traditions

Jeremy and I have been talking about Christmas traditions for about 3 years. Once we began thinking about adding children to the mix, it became even more important to us to make sure our focus at Christmas was on Christ, rather than everything society likes to make it. I do still love the traditions of driving to look at Christmas lights and giving gifts to those we love. But I never want my little family to be so consumed with the other stuff that we miss out on the true meaning. So as Christmas is creeping up on us very quickly, my mind has been on this subject for about 2 solid months now. Because this is the year that is different for us. This is the year that a new little life will celebrate his first Christmas. And even though he won’t remember a single iota of his very first Christmas celebration, I still want to begin our family traditions this year.

For our family, I never want Christmas to be about the gifts. With that being said, we will probably always keep the gifts small and at a minimum. If we ever feel the need to do something “big” for our kids; that will probably happen on their birthdays. But my mind has been wondering, what happens when Holden is older and in school and Santa brings his friend the newest video game equipment or his own television for his bedroom, while Santa brings Holden a board game, books and a new movie. I just wonder how we will explain. I am beginning to think that Santa is going to complicate my attempts to make Christmas about Christ.

One thing that I decided that we will do beginning this year: each person will be given a gift that could aid in their spiritual growth. Maybe a new devotional, an inspiring book or a new translation of the Bible. This little gift will probably revolve around books, unless I can find some other creative ideas. A friend once said that growing up, they would open their presents. Then their parents would ask them which present they wanted to give away. And so they would have to choose one of their gifts to give away and they would take it some place. Not exactly sure where? Obviously a place where a child would truly appreciate it. She said, each year it was always so hard. But as an adult, she is so thankful that her parents taught her and her sister to give. I LOVE this idea and may consider it in a few short years when Holden can play along.

But I am wanting more ideas. What did your family do growing up, or what are you doing now, so that your hearts are fully celebrating Christ during this season? I want Holden to grow up and know from the very beginning that Christmas is not about him and certainly not about getting presents. So tell me your thoughts. What are your traditions?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Dear Nana,


I am looking forward to seeing you in a few days and spending my week with you. I expect lots of spoiling and cuddling when you get here. See you at the airport!

I love you!
Holden

Friday, November 7, 2008

I love to bounce!!

I think Holden has gotten the hang of his jumperoo. See for yourself. Thanks again April. He loves it!
video

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Holden’s weigh in and a little shout out for Theta boys

Today Holden went to the doctor for his 6 month appointment. Mean ole nurse gave him some mean ole shots. Just kidding. She is a nice lady. But I have a feeling, that with each visit, Holden is going to remember that face and truly not like the sweet lady. But now for the news that you have been waiting for . . . he weighed 19lbs 15oz and was 28 1/2 inches long. He was in the 97th percentile for height! He’s gonna be a tall boy, we think! The weight – she told me that he was between the 75th and 90th percentile. Doesn’t that seem like a broad range to fall between? I thought so. He did scream and cry during the shots. And he tried to wiggle his little legs away. Have I mentioned that his little legs are like solid rocks? The boy is pure muscle. The nurse mentioned before the shots that he was tightening his legs. Like maybe he was tightening up in anticipation (or perhaps showing off and flexing his quads for her). But really his legs always feel so solid. He’s going to be our little football star. (. . . no pressure Holden)

And here is a little shout out to the Theta boys that read this blog. Wait! Do any boys really read this blog? Jeremy does. Maybe I should just make this a shout out to him. As I was saying, here is a little shout out to Jeremy.

(hint: check out the band-aids)

Monday, November 3, 2008

I love booberries!

(On a lighter note than the post below.)
Tell me! Where were these cutie smiles on Saturday when we met with the photographer for 6 month pictures? Where were they Holden?




Yes, another word to add to my vocabulary. Booberries, most commonly referred to as blueberries. I pureed some frozen ones, as fresh blueberries cost out the whazoo! These are mixed with his baby oatmeal. Yum! He was opening wide for more.
Holden is now eating fruits such as blueberries, mangoes, peaches, apples, pears and avocados. I think that covers the fruit. And then veggies like carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, green beans and sweet peas. So far, he is not crazy about the green beans, carrots or avocado. But just wait til he can try guacamole. That will change his life forever!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

6 months ago today . . .

I didn’t even know about Holden. May 1st at 11:18am. He was entering this world probably about the time I was chomping into my sandwich. How weird! Oh how I wish I could have been there for his birth. And I wish I didn’t have to miss his first week of life. 6 months ago today I was a bit disappointed. I thought I had heard God telling me to pray for an April baby. And so, I had fervently prayed for about 2 months. I had many friends and family praying along with us. God was teaching me to trust and my baby came into this world on May 1st. I find this no coincidence. It makes me fall in love with God 10 times over to see how He worked this miracle into our lives.
This past month has been SO MUCH FUN! I mean it. Hands down, funnest month thus far. (Yes, I know funnest is incorrect grammar.) I feel like Holden is learning to love. He gets so excited when Jeremy or I come into the room. He gives us kisses . . . long passionate ones. Sometimes they are aggressive on the cheek, which I think is him mimicking me. When I kiss his cheeks (ALL DAY LONG), I think I get a little rough. What can I say? I can’t get enough of him. And then sometimes his little kisses are soft and gentle on our lips. He is just so sweet! I will do my best to keep him away from your daughters. Besides, I don’t want to share those kisses. Yes, I might become THAT mother. ;)
This boy is into everything. And no, he is not mobile. But anything within his reach is up for grabs. I made the mistake of sitting him on the table at Subway a couple of days ago. (of course I was sitting there holding onto him.) He turned over my water glass and was just grabbing at everything! What in the heck am I going to do when he is crawling? I should probably start baby proofing the house now!
Holden is getting pretty good at sitting up, though sometimes he tips over sideways. He still LOVES to check himself out in the mirror and we can keep him on his tummy for quite some time with a mirror in his face. He is rolling both ways now. More often front to back. I think he normally just doesn’t have an interest in rolling onto his belly. I’m sure that will change once he figures out crawling.
His little personality is coming out more and more each day. Along with the occasional arching of the back during a moment of frustration. Yikes, never knew it could happen so young. Can we say FIT? Yep, he has them occasionally. But overall we have such a happy little guy.
We go to the doctor on Wednesday for the official weigh-in, but he is somewhere around 20 pounds. Not sure on the length. Check in after Wednesday.
This is going to be an extra special month for our family of 3, as Holden’s adoption will be finalized in just 2 short weeks. What a blessing! I have never questioned it or even had many concerns about the lingering finalization. But it will be a special day when it is official. We are looking forward to that celebration!
Here are a few pictures from today.



Speaking of pictures . . . we actually had his pictures done outside today. Carrie was fabulous and so patient with him. He is normally such a smiley, happy guy. But for some reason, he decided that he was going to be so serious for his photo shoot. Jeremy said Holden was just going for the artistic look. We couldn’t get many smiles from him, no matter how silly we acted. But smile or no smile, I think they will be fabulous. I mean, with Holden in the picture, it will be cute. Though I’m probably a little biased.