Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ellie's Baby Dedication

Last Sunday (January 20), we celebrated sweet Ellie's birth with a baby dedication service at our church.  It was also the day we observed the Sanctity of Life Sunday.  It was such a special service to me, and I will always remember the things that were said, the songs we sung.

Seth and I promised (again) to raise Ellie (and Mason and Hannah Kate) under the admonition and training of the Lord.  Our parents (mine in spirit) promised to encourage and support us in the training of our children unto the Lord.  And our church promised to support and encourage us and our children as well.   
It's my understanding that, during the prayer, Ellie kept trying to grab Bro. Bud's ring, and it was supposedly the cutest thing.  But I wouldn't know.  My eyes were closed.  It was a prayer.  But I can just see her now! 
And here we are . . . all five of us.  Mason really wasn't that unhappy.  He just doesn't like to see my camera out these days.
Here are the three most precious blessings in my life.  Ever.  Parenting is, hands down, the most. daunting. task. I've. ever. been. given.  My life verse for parenting is Deuteronomy 6:4-9 . . .

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children.   Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Oh, may I even come close to being the godly momma these sweet babies are so deserving of!
After church we went to MawMaw's house to eat lunch.  I made my famous lasagna (okay, so maybe the only person it's famous with is my bestie), and Aunt Ashley made a salad.  We invited our pastor to eat with us.  And Ellie girl opened her sweet gifts.
Our church presented Ellie with a certificate and a pink little New Testament Bible with her name engraved on the bottom of it.  Uncle Barry, Aunt Ashley and Abbie gave her the handkerchief dollie.  Pop and Mimi sent her a sweet bracelet with an E and cross charms on it that she wore during the service.  And MawMaw and PawPaw gave her a pearl and pink crystal bracelet.  Uncle Troy, Aunt April, Avery and Beau gave her a book (Wherever You Are my love will find you) when they were in town this past weekend. 
This picture is for Pop and Mimi .. . they haven't yet seen the bracelet they gave her "in person."  But here it is with the cross and E charms.
And for dessert, I picked up my favorite strawberry cake from my favorite local bakery. They wrote Ellie's name on top for me.
Ellie's gown was also another gift from Pop and Mimi and her Daddy and me.  When Hannah Kate was dedicated, she wore my Christening gown.  It was so special to me that Hannah Kate was able to wear it, and she will one day have it.  I thought about it, and I decided that I really wanted my Christening gown to be something special just for Hannah Kate.  I also wanted something special just for Ellie.  So I decided to get a gown for her to wear.  Mimi helped me pick it out.  It's a beautiful gown with a bonnet.    
And . . . just because . . . here's Hannah Kate on the day of her baby dedication in March 2008.  She was three months old. 
Yes.  I know.  They look nearly exactly alike!  Except Ellie does not have the strawberry tint to her hair, and her ears are different.  Her mouth is a little different, too, but it's hard to tell in these pictures.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Ellie: 6 Months Old

My Dear Ellie:

You are SIX months old!  That's half a year!  And I have to admit . . . I sure hope the next half of your first year will go a little slower than the first half!  You are growing up too quickly!  I had to have a little bit of help with your month marker this time around.  Because this is what you think of it (it was nearly impossible to capture your monthly picture this time because you couldn't keep your hands or your mouth away from the paper!):
There were so many exciting things going on during your sixth month of life (and one not-so-exciting).  It was your first Christmas!
You loved all of the pretty packages and bows.
And here you are on Christmas morning with your stocking.
I was so sad that you spent your very first Christmas with an ear infection.  I know you won't remember it.  But I will.  I began noticing that you just weren't yourself.  You were fussy.  A lot!  And you would just cry and cry for two hours before we could get you down for the night.  And then you were waking up a lot during the night.  You were also grabbing at those ears.  So I took you to the doctor on Christmas Eve.  You had a double ear infection.  The doctor prescribed an antibiotic, and we came home to begin the Christmas festivities.  During the next few days, I wasn't convinced that you were feeling better.  You were still up a lot at night.  And you just weren't my content baby.  So I took you back to the doctor on January 7.  Sure enough, you still had infection.  So we started another round of antibiotics.  You began fussing less and sleeping more.  Well, a little more.  But I still wasn't convinced so I actually took you back to the doctor this past Monday.  There is no infection, but there is still some fluid in your ears that is bothering you.  I am praying that the fluid will drain and not bother you anymore.  During all of this, it seemed like you'd forgotten how to sleep through the night.  But last night I put you in the crib at 9:00, and you slept until 4:45 this morning!  The uninterrupted hours of sleep was such a blessing to us both.

You got a lot of toys for Christmas . . . you absolutely LOVE playing with your toys!  You love things that light up or play music.  As a matter of fact, you LOVE music!  You were in your bouncer the other day while I was practicing the piano.  I was playing a rather peppy tune, some swing music, and your legs were just a kicking, and you were just a laughing!  You always have to have something in your hand.  You are almost - but not quite - sitting up by yourself.  For now, I'll put you on your pallet with the boppy pillow behind you.  You love being on your pallet surrounded by all of your toys.

You wear a size 2 diaper.  You are still in size six month clothes, but you are wearing nine month in some of your footed sleepers.  When you went to the doctor on January 7, you weighed 13 pounds 5 ounces.  Everyone always comments on how "tiny" you are for your age, but you are the chunkiest baby of my three! You have a huge fat roll at the top of your thighs.  Neither your brother nor sister had chunky monkey legs like you do.  You are growing some peach fuzz on top of your head, but you can't really see it.  I just love that bald head!  You are drooling a lot, and I know you are teething, but none have come through yet.  You are rolling over more and more these days, but you still don't care to be on your stomach.  You sleep on your back most of the time, but you're beginning to prefer sleeping on your right side instead.

Here you are with Hannah Kate's bitty baby.  Yall are about the same size!  At first, you couldn't figure her out.  You would touch her ever so gently and then take your hand away.  And this continued for awhile.  And then you started knawing on her, and sister took her away from you.
Since you were so puny at Christmas, I left the tree in the playroom up a few extra days and took your picture in front of it later . . . as in these pictures were taken after January 1!  But I wanted to try to get some sort of picture with you in your Christmas dress.

And here you are, my happy baby once again!
I love you so much, Ellie girl!  EVERY DAY with you is a treasure!


Monday, January 14, 2013

Our Christmas

Better late than never, I guess.  And, if you know me, you know that really doesn't describe me at all!  As far as I'm concerned, if I'm on time, I'm late.  But in my defense, I've been working to get these pictures posted FOR A WEEK.  My computer is sick, and my internet connection is crummy.  I'm hoping to get a new computer soon, but there's nothing I can do about the internet.  So here goes.

It was Christmas.  It seems like forever ago now.  It was a fun time, an exciting time.  Mason had a two week vacation from school, and Seth had two weeks of vacation time left to use before the end of the year so he ended up being home with us for nearly three weeks.
For the only the second time since I married and left Georgia nearly 13 years ago, we did not make a trip to Georgia during the holidays.  The first time was the year my Christmas baby Hannah Kate was born.  And this time I was honestly just too tired to make the long trip, and the days just didn't work out for us.  Sometimes when I think about that, it makes me a little bit sad.  But I also know God's hand was in that decision a few months ago because only He knew how it was all going to turn out.
Since we were not going there, Pop and Mimi came here to see us.  They came the week before Christmas and stayed several days.
The night before they left, we opened the Georgia gifts.  They came loaded down!  I'm going to be honest.  It kills me to do this, but the pictures in this post just aren't going to be in order.  They didn't load in order, and it's just going to take me too long to get everything where it needs to be.  So that's just how it's going to be for now because I'm ready to get this posted so we can move on to bigger and better things.

I really think that I've always loved Christmas Eve more than Christmas Day, even as a child.  It's a day that was always full of tradition for my family, which I cherish.  There are some great memories on that day in years past.  Besides, I loved the anticipation of what was going to be waiting for me the following morning. 

This year was no exception.  This is a Christmas Eve that I will FOREVER remember.  It began with a trip that morning to the pediatrician (no, that's not why I will forever remember it).  Precious Ellie was diagnosed with a double ear infection and was on the verge of RSV.  I was not surprised at the ear infection, as she had not been napping or sleeping for several nights prior, and she had gotten so fussy and just was not her sweet self.  I was so hoping we would all be healthy during the holiday since we spent Thanksgiving with the flu, but that was not to be.  I was, however, thankful that Ellie was able to start antibiotics to hopefully be feeling a little better on her first Christmas day.

When I got home with her, I began cooking my dishes for Christmas day lunch with Seth's family.  I actually wanted to get up and have a large brunch with my own little family, a tradition I was hoping to begin this year, but that didn't happen since I had to take Ellie to the doctor.  So I decided to do it for supper instead.  There's just something about Christmas and brunch that's meant to be.  We had a breakfast pizza, grits and baked curried fruit (peaches, pears and pineapple).  Oh my, it hit the spot.
After supper and bath time, the kids opened a few more presents that had arrived in the mail from Georgia.  And I played around on my camera a little bit.  I should mention that rarely has ANYTHING I've tried from Pinterest actually turned out as advertised!  But here was an attempt.  Well.  Never mind.  For now.  That picture just jumped to the bottom of the post, and I can't get it back up here.  Oh my, I am so aggravated.  Well, you'll just have to see it later.  Okay.  Back to the presents.  From Georgia.  And another one just ended up down there as I was trying to resize it.  So you'll see it later, too.

At the bottom of this post, you will see a picture of Mason holding a spy kit.  That's one of the pictures that jumped to the bottom.  Well, here's a picture of him wearing some of the gear from the spy kit.
After they opened presents, the kids went to bed.  I stayed up and made a red velvet cheesecake.  It was the first homemade cheesecake I've ever made.  And, I have to say, it really was pretty!  And I think it was pretty good, too.  And not only that, but the top didn't even crack!  Of course, it didn't matter if it would've because I covered the top with a thin layer of more cream cheese-y goodness.  And guess what . . . the picture of that cheesecake is at the bottom of this post!

We actually had to wake the kids up on Christmas morning.  We had a short worship service at church at 8:00 so they had to wait until we got back to open their presents.  At this point, Ellie was feeling maybe a little bit better.  But I didn't even dress her in her Christmas duds because I just wanted her to be comfortable since she'd been so miserable the past few days.  And here are some Christmas morning pictures of stockings and opening presents and such.

Hannah Kate thought it was so funny when she pulled some undies out of her stocking!  I don't know why.  But she couldn't stop giggling.

This picture just cracks me up.  Mason was showing Ellie was all was in her stocking.

After we opened presents, we went to PawPaw and MawMaw's house.  I'm not sure what the girls are laughing at, but Abbie was showing them something on her new Ipad.
We ate lunch and then had to wait a few hours for Avery and Beau to arrive from Houston before opening presents.  There's nothing like an exciting game of Twister to pass the time!
And then it started raining, and the power went out!  It was still out when Avery and Beau arrived.  And mean ole Aunt Julie wouldn't let anyone open presents until the lights came back on.  It was Ellie's first Christmas, and I wanted pictures.  Yes, my camera has a flash.  That isn't the point.  I also wanted to see what everyone got!  My children nor my niece were particularly happy with me at this point.  So PawPaw went to the gas station to get some gas for the generator.  And right about that time, electricity was restored.  So the opening of the presents got underway.
Barry, Ashley and Abbie gave everyone t-shirts from their camp in Cocodrie.  Yes, Ellie got one, too, but she was actually napping when I took this picture, and I didn't want to wake her up.

When Ellie woke up, we opened her presents.  Here's her shirt!

Mason got this really cool electric scooter.
And, yall, I'll be honest.  Several days later (meaning after January 1), I dressed Ellie in her Christmas dress before I took down the last tree and took her picture!
Oh, and this would be the little Christmas buffet (ham and cheese melts, baked potato soup, broccoli salad, spinach and artichoke dip, pepper jelly cream cheese spread) I served the night we opened presents with my parents . . . you know . . . BEFORE Christmas . . . again, some of the pictures that should've been at the top.
I cut the cream cheese in the shape of a Christmas tree and covered it with pepper jelly.  I think next time I'll use green pepper jelly.  I used red because I wanted the chopped parsley to show up.
These yummy ham and cheese melts with a poppyseed glaze on top are actually courtesy of Pinterest and are actually some of my favorites!
And here are the Georgia presents.

If you're looking for a great gift for some of the boys in your life, big or small, this is it!  We have this in Mason's room for now, and it's a lot of fun!
Yeah, I don't know what's up with this, but before I knew it, this was walking around the family room.  I guess he was bored.

And now Ellie is ready to take a road trip!  First stop . . . Georgia!
And yall will never believe what Hannah Kate got.  Another one.  Meet Marie Grace Gardner.  She joins Emily Bennett.  Now there are two American Girl dolls in our house.  Can I just tell you . . . Hannah Kate still hardly knows what to do!  Remember when the Today Show was giving away American Girl dolls at deeply discounted prices . . . well, folks, it was the real deal.  It's my understanding that Cindy's Flower Shop had to close their doors a few hours one morning because they couldn't be interrupted because they were trying to win a doll.  And they did!
Well, look-y here.  It's the red velvet cheesecake I made!
And the picture I was trying to recreate from a Pinterest idea.

And the spy kit that came with the glasses and mustache you saw earlier.
And so that was some of our Christmas in pictures.  As for me, well, I received the BEST. GIFT. EVER. on Christmas Eve night . . . but that's another post for another day real soon.  Promise!

And, as for Ellie, well . . . I took her back to the doctor last Monday.  The first round of antibiotics did not heal the ear infection.  So we started another round.  As of today, she is doing a little better . . . sleeping better, at least . . . but I'm not convinced her ears are completely healed.  I foresee another trip to the pediatrician in our near future.  And the weekend after Christmas, Hannah Kate had a flare up with her asthma.  I don't know how, but we managed to stay out of the emergency room this time, and she is doing much better now.  So between the ear infections and the asthma, I really am glad we were here for that and not in Georgia.  Again, God knew where we needed to be.

So last week Mason returned to school, and it's back to life as usual.  Or is it . . . exciting things are coming!  (And, no, it does not involve another baby . . . just to clear that up in case you're wondering.)