Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas ~ Part III

Adam's dad was really sick on Christmas, so all of the traditional festivities with his side of the family were delayed until the next day. This actually worked out well for us, since Adam was flying on Christmas Day. He got in late that night, and we woke up to Christmas... as if he had never missed a thing! Stockings, presents, Christmas dinner, he got to experience it all. I couldn't have been more ecstatic and blessed to have our family complete. It's a good thing our kids are little still so we can get away with it. ;)

The funniest thing happened later that evening! Almost everyone was in the kitchen, cleaning up after dinner. The kids (or so we thought) were playing quietly in the living room. A little too quietly actually, so I left the kitchen to check on them. The first thing I saw was Gavin with food of some sort in his hand. I thought to myself, that's strange. Where did he get something to eat? Little did I know, a family friend had left an assortment of cookies on the coffee table in the living room. So there were the three cousins, huddled around the cookies, totally unsupervised, eating them as fast as they could possibly cram them down. It was hilarious! When do toddlers ever have an entire plate of cookies to themselves, without anyone telling them which ones or how many they can have?! Well, they took FULL advantage of the situation. We even saw bites out of cookies that they had tried and discarded back onto the plate. We're not quite sure how many cookies were consumed, just really thankful that they didn't get sick. ;)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas ~ Part II

We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning at my sister's house. It was so much fun getting the cousins together... there is never a dull moment, that's for sure! Jacob was glued to the Christmas tree, looking for presents that had J-A-C-O-B on them. He found pure entertainment in hunting for the presents that were his, even if he couldn't open them yet.

Just like his big brother, Gavin is absolutely enamored with his cousin Maddie.

This is my great-grandma, who we call Tutu.
Gavin towing Travis on his new Tow-Mater bike
This was too funny! Jacob found Maddie's "Hula Girl" movie and was begging me to play it for him. Once I put it in, he and Gavin were completely glued to the screen from start to finish!
This trampoline was by far, the biggest hit of the night. It was really funny to watch them grab onto the handlebars and jump super high. They would even pull out some interesting gymnast moves in between jumps. Jacob was trying to count how many jumps he could do. He got to 100 before we we told him that it was time to give his cousin a turn. As he jumped off the trampoline he exclaimed, "That's A LOT of jumps!" All four cousins were lined up, sweat beaded on their forehead, waiting anxiously for their turn. Seriously, how can you beat good exercise, entertainment, and a good night sleep all wrapped into one toy?!

My sister taught me a lot of things about Santa Claus, so I could be better prepared next year.

Rule #1 - Always wait until your kids are sleeping to wrap the presents.
Rule #2 - Wrap the Santa presents with different wrapping paper than your other presents.
Rule #3 - You also have to use different stickers that say who the present is for. (Maddie just discovered that this year. "Look Mommy! Santa uses the same stickers that we do!")
Rule #4 - Disguise your handwriting on those stickers.
Oh, and her kids really like it if Santa leaves a special note for them...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas ~ Part I

Since Adam had to fly on Christmas Day this year, he wanted to have an early family Christmas together. We've never spent Christmas at our house, so it was fun to make up our own traditions as we went. After Jacob and Gavin came down the stairs, we immediately discovered a huge difference in the way they opened their presents. Jacob tears through each one, hardly even looking to see what it is before sprinting to the next one. Gavin carefully opens each present, wants us to get the object free from all of the plastic and twisted wires, and becomes immersed in playing with his new toy. We could hardly tear him away to open another one!

The sweetest part was how concerned Jacob was with Mommy and Daddy getting presents too. He noticed our empty stockings and started filling them with his already opened stocking stuffers. Then, he ran upstairs shouting, "Mommy! I have a present for you!" And he would come downstairs with a Christmas bag filled with random things he found while he was up there. You should've seen the look of pride on his face as I opened my "present". Like I said before, I'm learning so much about Christmas with a four-year old. The lesson I learned is that Jacob would like to pick out a present for Mommy and Daddy too. Oh, and that Gavin's favorite toy of all was a $1 slinky.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Four years old

Jacob loved Jungle Playland so much this summer, he kept telling me that he wanted to have his birthday party there. The only problem was, Jungle Playland is two hours away. However, all his cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents live up there so it would be a lot closer for them. I decided that since we would be up there for Christmas anyway, why not? I invited a few friends who lived in the area (whose kids are Jacob and Gavin's age) and it couldn't have been better. Not only was it super fun for the kids, but I got to see friends that I hadn't talked to for a long time. And I loved seeing their kids... they were so grown up. It was cute how well they all played together, as if they had been best friends their entire life.

Jacob helped me make the cupcakes (I mean, lick the frosting)
I made it into the Tiger's mouth!
These soft cushions are perfect for climbing toddlers!
Gavin didn't waste a minute of exploring...
... and going down the big slide
We spent a lot of time playing in the balls...
...and throwing them at each other :)
Time to blow out the candles!
Mommy has a picture of us together when we were babies
Thanks for coming to my party everybody!

Four years ago...

... I was almost two weeks overdue. Thankfully, I wasn't too miserable, just very anxious to meet my first baby and be a new mommy. My midwife told me that once I was ten days late, they would induce me. So December 19th rolled around and we called St. Joe's first thing that morning. Unfortunately, they were super busy and told us we had to wait until they called us back. It took FOREVER. What do you do when a simple phone call determines when you have your baby? You wait nervously by the phone, jumping everytime it rings. We kept double-checking to make sure everything was packed, made phone calls to relatives and close friends, and waited some more. Finally at 4:00, we got the call from St. Joe's. We screamed in excitement, jumped in the car, and away we drove to the hospital.

Once we got there, I was given a pill to start the contractions. The crazy part was that we were given permission to go for a walk (it would aid the contractions) outside of the hospital. So what did we do? We walked down to the spaghetti factory, where all of our friends and family were having dinner! Knowing it would be my last meal for quite some time, I ate bread, salad, spaghetti, the works. Then I could feel my contractions begin. Surprisingly stronger than I thought. We decided to walk back to the hospital which, if you know where the Spaghetti Factory is in relation to St. Joe's, is a steep uphill walk the entire way. So here I am, in labor, walking up this crazy big hill, stopping every few minutes to breathe through a contraction. I remember Adam giving directions his friend on the phone and I was like, "ARE YOU CRAZY? I'M IN LABOR! GET ME UP THIS FREAKING HILL!"

We made it back to the hospital and I was dilated to a four already. My midwife decided to give me another pill. After taking that pill, I was immediately thrown into incredibly intense contractions. Adam always tells me that our lamaze classes were a waste because with the pain I was in, there would be no trying ANY birthing techniques. And I most definitely was NOT getting into the jacuzzi that my midwife was trying to coax me into. All I could do was curl up in a little ball and beg for an epidural. Adam kept telling the midwife that I had no desire to make it through any part of labor naturally, but she didn't think it was time yet. Finally, after Adam told her several times that I wanted an epidural NOW, she checked me and found that I was dilated to almost a 6.

I was so happy to see the anesthesiologist come into my room. There's something about being in that much pain and slowly feeling it go away. It was the biggest sense of relief in my entire life. And after that? Well, I was ready to bring on movies, games, have everyone come in for a party! But that feeling didn't last long. The baby's heartbeat started going down. On the machine, you could see a red line that the heartbeat was not supposed to go under. When it went below that line, I completely panicked and could barely breathe. They placed me in several different positions and gave me an oxygen mask. Nothing seemed to help.

I remember seeing my midwife leave the room and come back a few minutes later in scrubs. It was horrible. I never thought I would end up having a C-section and was not prepared at all. I thought about all that food I'd eaten just hours before. I was trying to be brave and even cracked some jokes about how hot Adam looked in scrubs. But I was so scared, scared about the surgery and scared for my baby. I remember my family coming into see me before I was wheeled into surgery. My sister telling me that she was so glad I was having a C-section so we didn't have to worry about the baby. My mom trying to give me words of hope and encouragement, but I could see tears lingering in her eyes.

During the C-section, I focused on Adam and clutched onto his hand with all of my strength. I'll never forget staring into each other eyes, as if we were communicating all the love we felt for each other in a single look. Then Jacob was born and I looked into his little eyes... and I knew my heart will be filled with love for him forever. My beautiful baby, a beautiful miracle from God.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A proud moment

I had one of my proudest moments as a mom tonight. There's just something about your first child and their first Christmas program. Sure I've seen more Christmas programs than I can count and they're pretty darn cute everytime. But when it's YOUR kid up there... it's a whole new world. My heart was melting over him. I just wanted to say to anyone who would listen, "See him? That's my son up there. Isn't he so cute?!"

Unfortunately, I didn't realize you have to get to the Christmas program at least an hour early to get a good seat. Seriously? I was there 30 minutes early and thought I would be in the front row. No such luck. Everyone was draping their coats and purses across entire rows to save seats. It was crazy.

Luckily, my videocamera zooms in really far and I had a perfect shot of Jacob. He was so proud that his cousin Maddie was there to watch him so as soon as he got on stage, his arms were waving madly. "HI MADDIE! MAAA-DDDDIIIEEE! HI MADDIE!" The funniest part was that he couldn't see us, so he was actually waving at a random girl that he thought was Maddie.

As soon as the songs began, Jacob was ready with his singing voice and arm motions. Three year-olds are so funny! One was singing SO LOUD, one was a few words ahead, one a few words behind, one was spinning, they were all shaking their bells at different times. Pure cuteness. I loved every second and couldn't have been prouder to scoop Jakey from the stage and smother him with kisses when it was over. It was the first time I have ever watched him perform and I will always remember how sweet it was.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

My Dream

I had this dream last night. I've had dreams like it before... the kind where you wake up startled, trying desperately to remember every detail. The kind where you know it has some kind of significance. And I really think this dream did.

It started out with people everywhere, all carrying their luggage. Only it wasn't just any luggage. For me, it was all I had in the world. My money, my clothes, the things I cherished the most. I did recognize one person, but most of the crowd was unfamiliar to me. I noticed quickly that there were kind people who took the time to stop and talk with me. There were also people who seemed to be in a big hurry. There were short with me, and I could tell that they didn't have time to help or answer my questions. I was placed in a group and given a number. We had tasks to accomplish, and each step was somehow getting us closer to a goal. Nobody knew what the end result would be, but we were definitely in some kind of race.

Being a competitive person, I remember caring a lot about how far I was in the race. We were given a number partway through to tell us how close we were to the end. I remember being number six and feeling on top of the world. Like I was accomplishing this huge feat.

All of a sudden, my world as I knew it came crashing down. Just as I seemed to be winning the race, I got on the wrong elevator and lost my team. Suddenly, the team I ended up with was no longer winning. I remember feeling devastated, desperate to find my team. Then I looked down and realized that all of my worldly treasures were gone. My purse, money, those items that were special to me... everything I had. I completely panicked and ran from person to person, asking if they knew where my luggage was. Nobody seemed to care or wanted to help. They were all so focused on the race that they didn't have the time.

Defeated and withdrawn, I continued the race by myself. Finally, I entered this big room filled with chairs. I had this feeling that I had made it to the final step of the race. Now we all had to wait. While I was waiting, someone really kind came to comfort me. They knew all about this race and told me not to worry, but to persevere. That my things were taken from me for a reason. Then the wait was over and it was my time to go. I walked into this little room and somebody showed me all of the treasures I had attained. My suitcase was there, but it seemed insignificant now. The treasures there were far greater than my little suitcase. I was filled with a sense of beauty and happiness that I had never felt before. I had finished the race.

The person in the room with me pointed to the window. Outside the window, I saw elevators everywhere. All of them were dropping, but some stopped at a sudden halt. Some never stopped, they just continued to drop endlessly downward. In front of the window, there was a girl and someone was asking her questions. She was talking about her life and the sinful acts she had committed. The important part though, the only thing that seemed to matter, was if she felt repentant for how she was living. Seeming to laugh in the face of the interviewer, you could clearly tell that she did not. The person in my room pointed toward the elevator that this girl was assigned to. I watched somberly as it dropped endlessly.

I woke up with my heart pounding. The memories from the dream came rushing back to me and I couldn't help but feel that there was great meaning in this dream. That I was in a race. That it didn't matter if I came in first place. That I needed to slow down and help other people, instead of worrying how far I was getting. That my worldly possessions would be taken away, so I shouldn't be clutching onto them so tightly. That this race will have an end and I will have questions to answer. Questions about my life, but more importantly, about having faith in Jesus and being repentant of the things I have done wrong. And at the end, there will be two very different destinations... I just don't know if elevators will take us there.

I had a new rejuvenating feeling to continue the race.

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas shopping

We were shopping the other day and Gavin found one of those Christmas CD displays, where you can push a button and listen to the different samples of music. Once he realized that he could reach the buttons and change the music himself, his face burst into joyful smile. Then he slowly broke out with his little toddler dance. People started stopping to watch as he pushed a button, listened to the song, and either bounced up and down if it was fast or swayed back and forth if it was slow. I could've watched him all day. With all the Christmas hustle and bustle, you just have to stop and enjoy a precious moment every now and then.

Speaking of shopping, I fully admit to not having this Santa thing down yet. I have always been able to Christmas shop with my kids under the assumption that they will soon forget what I put in the cart. This still works with Gavin, but for Jacob... those days are over. A few months ago, I picked out some movies at Costco and Jacob STILL talks about them. "Mommy, where'd you put those movies? You hid them for Christmas?!" See what I mean? Not so good at the Santa thing. Now when we are at the store Jacob will say, "Mommy, I like Lucky Ducks for Christmas. Just buy Lucky Ducks and hide it." Smart kid. He's got it all figured out. Did I mention that I'm also not the best at hiding the presents? He finds them. "Mommy! Is this my present? Are you hiding it for Christmas?" Hmmm... so Christmas might not be much of a surprise this year. Maybe I'll have it figured out for next year.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree~

I love getting our Christmas tree. It's one of my favorite family outings all year. We've kind of made a tradition out of riding the little train, cutting down our tree, getting an eggnog latte, watching National Lampoon's Christmas vacation while we decorate, and ending the night with each of us opening a small gift.

This year, everything didn't go as smoothly... kind of like the movie. First, we cut down a tree that was too big for our tree stand. So Adam had to cut a huge chunk off the bottom, just so it could fit. Only we don't have a chainsaw, so it took him almost an hour to cut it with our rusty saw. Then once we finally got it to fit inside our stand, the stand completely broke and the tree crashed. So after a trip to Home Depot for a new one, we finally finished decorating around midnight. Even after all of that, there's nothing like collapsing on the couch and staring at your decorated tree in the dark. It was almost worth all of the craziness...