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Archive for December, 2010

{Yes, this post is a few days behind, but I’ve been enjoying some much needed downtime with my husband and daughter.  Jim’s astonished that I’ve managed to keep him so busy on vacation!  Ha!}

It started snowing in NC on Christmas night and it continued until the next morning!  It’s the first time it’s snowed in Charlotte on Christmas since the 1940s.  We were excited to take Molly out to play and she seemed to enjoy running around in the snow for a bit, but then I think she got really cold!  When we came in from the snow, I made Nutella hot chocolate and we *all* enjoyed it.  Molly wants to try everything we are eating or drinking {as long as it’s not a vegetable or a meat!} and she has a great affinity for anything sweet.  A tree branch fell in our backyard during nap time, right onto the power lines.  Luckily our power didn’t go out and the power company sent someone out quickly to get it down.

After Molly’s nap, we went to my grandparents for one last Christmas celebration.  There are so many of us now – my mom and dad, my sisters and their husbands, Jim and me, and four kids – that we have to sit at separate tables when everyone is here.  Molly had fun exploring a new house and did her part to provide some entertainment.

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We had such an exciting Christmas!  I’m usually hard-pressed to get out of bed in the mornings, but on Christmas Day, I was ready to see Molly’s reaction and couldn’t wait until she woke up!  When she finally awoke, we took her into the family room to see her play kitchen and grocery cart and she immediately started to play with her new toys, but then wanted to eat breakfast.  We sat down at her little table so she could eat a cinnamon roll with us, and Jim and I both realized in the same moment that this would be the last Christmas morning that we would sit down to a leisurely breakfast first thing in a long time!

Good morning, Peaches!

I know just how this works!

Jim and I made the play kitchen that Molly got for Christmas.  It was fun to work together to design, create, and give this gift to our daughter.

After Molly played with her gifts a while longer, Jim and I exchanged gifts and then we went to my mom’s house for breakfast and gifts.  Beverly, Ben, Jackson, Benjamin, and Addison were there, too.  It’s so fun to see Molly interact with and get to know her cousins.  I pray every night that they will all be close and I love that we get to see them so often!  My mom went the extra mile to make sure the kids knew Santa had been there:

Santa's footprints, sleigh bells, and carrots for the reindeer

Oops, Santa lost his hat!

Isn’t that so fun?!

Then we came home for naps and went back to my mom and dad’s for dinner.  By this time, Whitney and Mike had arrived from Tennessee and we were finally all together for Christmas!  And, to make the day even better, it snowed!  It started snowing while we were at my parents’ house and it snowed all through the night.

Jim, Molly, and me

Christmas is so different as a parent – there are weeks, sometimes months, of expectations leading up to the day and you never know how your child will react.  It was funny to realize that to Molly, it was just another day and she wanted to eat when she woke up!  But it was also fun to see her react to the fun toys, being with the entire family, and enjoying multiple cookies.  She knew it was a special day if she got so many sweet treats!  {We have the funniest video to share of our cookie monster soon!}  We are so blessed and I am grateful that we were able to celebrate Christmas in so many ways.

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Growing up, my mom, dad, sisters and I always went to my Dad’s parents – Grandma and Grandaddy’s – on Christmas Eve.  They would cook dinner, we would exchange gifts, and then we would go home to get ready for bed (and Santa’s visit!).  Now that my sisters and I are older {shh!  don’t tell anyone!} and we have husbands and families of our own, each year is a little different.  Sometimes we’re all here on Christmas Eve and sometimes we’re not; this year, we’re not.  Whitney and Mike are at Mike’s parents and Bev and Ben are at Ben’s parents, so Jim and I invited Mom and Dad to go to the Christmas Eve service at our church and then to come over for dinner.

The sanctuary was packed when we arrived at church at 5:30, so we had to go to the fellowship hall for the “overflow crowd” and watch the service on projector screens.  At first, I was totally bummed about that because I love our church and this service in particular – children act out parts of the nativity and the music is beautiful.  However, I quickly realized that seeing the service from the fellowship hall was the best scenario for our little family.  Remember that toddler of mine?  She doesn’t understand that she should sit still, or at least sit quietly, in church!  Luckily, most of the people around us thought she was cute, and she finally sat in my lap for the last two songs of the service.

We made it home in time for Molly’s bedtime and then we had dinner.  I made baked ziti in honor of Jim’s family – his aunt Dede always makes baked ziti at Christmas.  I was excited to host dinner tonight {but was kind of relieved there were just four of us – hosting a holiday meal is a lot of pressure!}.  I used my Nana’s china and crystal, which always makes me smile.  As I was washing the dishes tonight, I lingered a bit on the china plates and serving pieces, thinking about what a special lady Nana was.  Christmas at her house meant M&M cookies and racing my cousin Randy up the stairs for the last of the ham and cheese party sandwiches.  {Hmmm…those might show up as a recipe here soon!}

Although so many things have changed over the years and we do so many things differently during the holidays, I cherish the memories I have from my childhood and love to include as many of them into our new life as I can. I hope that we are creating wonderful memories for Molly.   I know that *I* love the little traditions that seem to be forming as we grow into a family.

I can’t wait to see both my sisters and their husbands, my nephews and niece, and my parents tomorrow morning!  But even more exciting?  I can’t wait to see what Molly thinks about Christmas morning!  I know that Jim and I had so much fun preparing for tomorrow morning, so if Molly has half as much fun then it will be a success.

{And just because, a few pictures from my dining room tonight:}

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Today is Jim’s 35th birthday!  He has the day off work and we’re planning to hang out as a family, he’s going to play golf, and then we’re going to have dinner at one of favorite places.  Molly and I are  looking forward to helping him celebrate his special day.  However, we got a head start on the celebrating Saturday night at Jim’s *surprise* party.

My husband does not love to celebrate his birthday {unlike yours truly} and since it’s so close to Christmas, a lot of our friends are already traveling for the holiday and sometimes we’re traveling ourselves.  We always make time to go to dinner just the two of us, but this year, I wanted to do something different.  So I planned a surprise party, knowing that he would hate it and love it at the same time.  Meredith, my mom, and Beverly were instrumental in helping me pull it off and since I was already out of school the week before, I was able to get the shopping done and cupcakes baked without raising any suspicion.  Jim tried really hard to poke holes in my plan – he didn’t want to go to the “Christmas party” at Meredith’s and he wouldn’t play golf on Saturday (which I desperately needed him to do so I could help Meredith set up!).  However, it all worked out.  The food was delicious, Meredith’s house was beautiful, and Jim and I had so much fun!

The best part?  I *almost* got away with the entire surprise.  Even though Jim started to think something was up late in the week, he wasn’t entirely sure until right before the party when a guest showed up at our house as we were leaving to get a drink before heading to Meredith’s!

Even though it was a lot of fun and I *love* to plan parties, especially for people I love, I will never plan a surprise party for my husband again.  That’s a tough secret to keep!

Happy birthday to the most supportive, adoring husband and the most fun, doting father.  Molly and I love you beyond words!

 

{Visit Sweet Birdie’s Nest to see the surprise party invitation.}

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I hate to back out of a promise, but sadly there is no video from Molly’s Christmas program on Friday.  I took the video camera, and I actually used it, but unless you want to see a man’s arm in a black sweater for 20 seconds, then it’s really not worth watching.  It was super cute, though, and Molly did a great job!  I was worried she would cry during the performance, but she sat right beside the teacher and shook her jingle bells. It was quite entertaining, and if any of the other parents share video or pictures with a better view, I’ll be sure to share them!

On Sunday, we went to Breakfast with Santa with my sister and her family and my parents.  The breakfast part was great; meeting Santa, not so much.  Molly was terrified to the point of silent sobs and she seemed traumatized in the car on the way home.  You can see in the picture below that she’s clinging to my dress and trying to climb over my head.

{That’s not the best picture of Molly and me, but I feel like there are so few…neither one of us love to have our picture taken!}

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Santa’s elves have been very busy getting ready for Saturday!

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Wondering about the rest of our weekend?  Be sure to check back tomorrow!

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Yes, it’s Thursday.  But you still want to know what we did last weekend, right?  School is out this week, yet I’ve still managed to stay very busy finishing my Christmas shopping, meeting with a bride-to-be about Sweet Birdie’s Nest invitations, and playdates.  I also think that *all* of the cleaning I’ve neglected to do in the past four months should be done right away.

Anyway, last weekend, Jim and I went to Kiawah with some friends for the half-marathon.  Meredith and John rode down with us Friday afternoon, and after a few stops at random grocery stores, a Piggly-Wiggly t-shirt, two guard gates, and a trip down a dirt road, we finally made it to our rental home, where a yummy pasta dinner awaited us.  Meredith, Carrie, Rachelle and I ran the half-marathon in the rain on Saturday and then we spent the rest of the afternoon doing *nothing* at the house.  I’m not sure I’ve ever spent an entire day doing nothing, but it was nice.  We went to Charleston for drinks and dinner on Saturday night, turned in fairly early and headed home on Sunday morning after a visit to The Ocean Course, where the 2012 PGA Championship will be held.  Even though it was a cold, windy, and rainy, the view from the clubhouse was to die for and it was the only glimpse of the ocean I got all weekend.  It was the first weekend away from Molly (she stayed one night with Grandma and Grandpa in July but we weren’t gone very long!) and I was very emotional Friday morning before we left.  Then when I realized that we didn’t have cell service at the house, I was a wreck.  We had to get in our car and drive down the road to check in.  Of course, Molly could have cared less that we were gone, but we sure missed her and were so glad to be home when she woke up from her nap on Sunday!  {Thanks, Nana, for making sure MJ had a wonderful weekend while we were gone.  I know she enjoyed her time with you!}

When Molly woke up from her nap Sunday, we headed to Graham’s first birthday party.  Check out pictures from the party here and here.

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Lucky Molly gets to participate in the Christmas program at school twice this week.  Her class is singing “Jingle Bells.”  I can’t wait to go with Jim tomorrow to see eight toddlers attempting to sing “Jingle Bells.”  When I sing it at home, she looks at me like I’ve lost my mind, so I’m not sure she knows what she’s doing!  But, she looked awfully cute in one of her Christmas dresses this morning!  I attempted to get a few pictures of her before we went to school.  She was so sweet, laughing and dancing, until I pulled out the camera and then she started running away from me!  I’ll try to post video of tomorrow’s program over the weekend.  I’m sure it will be entertaining.

 

Let's go, Mom! We're going to be late for "skoooo."

 

 

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While of course I think Molly is super-smart, I also know she’s the product of Jim and me; therefore, I think she’s pretty particular, too!  She cracks me up the way she wants things to be “just so.”  The other day, we were playing in the family room and she walked over to the diaper bag and began pulling a diaper and wipes out.  She then proceeded to bring me the diaper and wipes, and I exclaimed, “Yes, that’s a diaper.  And those are your wipes!”  She gave me a look and sat down on the floor at my feet and then attempted to put the diaper on!  She pulled all the wipes out of the container and wiped her face and hands and the floor (which I *don’t* do during diaper changes, by the way!) then was trying to figure out just how that diaper was supposed to go.  Once I stopped laughing, I asked her if she needed her diaper changed and she hopped up and ran to the changing table in her room!

On Tuesday afternoon, Renee (our babysitter) picked Molly up from school.  It’s been cold here so Renee made sure Molly put on her coat before they walked to the car.  Molly and her friend Sutton have the same lunchbox; Renee saw the edge of the lunchbox and picked up the coat that was on top of that lunchbox.  Molly started shaking her head and looked up and down the row of bags and coats until she found hers!  She knew that coat wasn’t hers and she was trying to tell Renee!

Funny girl!

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Last night, Jim and I had gone to bed and all of a sudden I started laughing out loud; I was thinking back over our day and I pictured Molly bundled up in her coat and hat, strapped into her car seat.  She can’t really turn her head when she has on her coat, so when I turned around to talk to her in the drop-off line at preschool, she just cut her eyes at me.  And then I could see her cheeks rise and her eyes narrow and I know she was smiling at me but I couldn’t quite see her mouth.  I kept seeing that image of her yesterday and it made me laugh every time.

(Excuse the poor picture quality; this was taken with my Blackberry in the carpool line!)

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