Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Gifts of 2008

As I said before, 2008 went by so fast. I really can't believe it's already on its way out the door. A year ago today was Cory's due date!

As I look back through my photos of 2008 and think about the many, many memories we made or were given in that speedy year, allow me to share with you my list of gifts I was given during the last 366 days (it was a leap year, after all!).

57. Cory was born! A mere 15 days late, our sweet little man made his appearance into our home and into our hearts.

58. Related: we became a family of four.

59. Watching my boys being brothers is a sweet gift indeed.
60. Our trip to Atlanta to hear Pastor Tim preach, to worship the Lord, to see old friends...
61. Good times with good friends (Noah and Lauren continually make our list of thanksgivings!)

62. Jeremy's job which a) he loves and b) enables him to work from home.
63. In April, Jenna got married to Curtis (and Jeremy especially was glad to get another man in the family!)
64. Learning to juggle two under two - it's actually been wonderful! With a few exceptions of really crazy moments (like mealtimes), it's so much more fun to have two.

65. Our zoo membership!
66. Iain, my little man who is eager, fun-loving, silly, and zany, and who cares for Cory like a true big brother.
67. Watching Iain learn to pray. He loves to pray for people who are sick, especially. Like this: "Dear Jesus, please help Cory feel better. In Jesus' name, amen. Jesus will help Cory because He's a mighty God!" Or for Jeremy: "Dear Jesus, please help Daddy do a good job working. In Jesus' name, amen. Jesus will help Daddy because He's a mighty God!"
68. Special memories with me and my boys (like this walk to 7-11 for a rare slurpee treat, or our many trips to the park. Oddly, some of the best times we have are when we're outside because someone (usually Iain) is sick and we need a change of pace. We have some fun!)

69. Jeremy and I had a date at Epcot (with Cory who was too small to leave behind). We got to see the flower show.
70. Easter pictures with two boys instead of one! (Click here for last year's picture.) Thanks, Kels, for the photo shoot!

71. Lots of praying about big life changes... again and again... and waiting still to see what the Lord has for us.
72. Going to Camp Carolina - stressful but good.
73. The feeling of adventure that comes with being open to His plans!
74. Our trip to Tennessee for Nan's birthday.
75. Seeing Jeremy with the boys.

76. Cory, who loves to be held, who climbs all over everything with astonishing skill for an almost-one year old, who is sweet and funny and lovng.
77. I've been getting practice two days a week at having three kids - Iain and Cory love days when Caiden comes over!

78. The Alabama trip to surprise Jenna - and seeing Iain's pure joy at getting to drive a tractor with Uncle Curtis. Truly a highlight for Iain AND for me.

79. Seeing Cory's personality just blossom. It's amazing to watch him grow.
80. Iain turned two! He delights and amuses us with his witty and hilarious remarks. Love to hear what is in that boy's brain! He's smart and sweet and all three of us adore him!
81. Jeremy and I celebrated our fourth anniversary. He is a wonderful husband and an awesome daddy - he's my biggest gift this side of heaven.
82. I had fun doing flowers for another wedding - that makes two weddings I've done (Jenna's being the first).

83. Hearing Iain sing all the time. ALL THE TIME! He constantly has songs on his mind and he loves to sing for whoever will listen, or even if no one does.
84. LOVED the trip to the farm with Lauren and Noah. What an awesome day that was!

85. Cory starting to learn to walk.
86. Holidays spent with families.
87. Cranberry sauce on my Thanksgiving meal! And this year, Iain joined me!
88. Jenna and Curtis' happy news - and a cousin for my boys.
89. Doing NaNoWriMo and finishing!
90. Christmas - Cory's first, Iain's third, and Jeremy and my fifth.

91. Lessons learned this past year, especially on contentment.
92. Jeremy, who is patient, kind, loyal, hard-working, silly, steady, and loving.
93. My new business idea - stay tuned!
94. My girls' Bible study and the small group we have meeting in our home.
95. My family. This is where I want to be. I am so blessed!

On to 2009!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas 08 - The Grammy And Papa Edition

Grammy and Papa came our way to spend the Saturday before Christmas with us. Iain and Cory opened a fun costume box full of awesome outfits: fire man, knight, horse, Batman, policeman, Spiderman, etc. Poor Cory spent the day in a sad mood because he was teething pretty intensely. Nevertheless, a good time was had by all.

Other fun gifts included a 10-foot-long animal-alphabet-train puzzle which is a combination of some of Iain's favorite things, and some books.

Our Very Own Tree

Let me prove to you how much these boys love our Christmas tree.

They love to play under it.

Cory turns to point to it, rather than looking out the window, when we ask him where the tree is.

Recent conversation at the Post Office, with an elderly man spreading Christmas cheer:

Man: (to Iain) Merry Christmas!
Iain: We have our own Christmas Tree.
Man: You do?
Iain: It's got guitars on it. (ornaments of Jeremy's that Iain really, really wants to play with, but isn't allowed to)
Man: What?
Me: (explaining about the ornaments)
Man: Well, that's nice.
Iain: Daddy will teach me to play guitar when I am bigger.
Man: (probably thinking "I never should have said Merry Christmas!") Okay then. Goodbye.

Iain loves to read under it. What better place to lie down with a good book? (I LOVE these pictures, even though they are dark.)

What will these boys do when they realize that the Christmas tree is unfortunately not a permanent part of our home's decor?

Jingle Bells

We always need to have a Christmas project to do with all the cousins when they come to town. Last year, it was gingerbread houses. This year, I saw this and thought it would make for a fun jingle bell time when we go caroling around the neighborhood. It's taken from the decorations of the store Anthropologie, which always has the most creative, clever, unusual, pretty displays and decorations I have ever seen. I think ours turned out just as nice!

So Nan assembled the bells and ribbons, and we had a gay old time making colorful, noisy, and festive garlands.

I clothespinned them up to the window to keep them untangled, and they looked so great up there! Forget caroling - can I just leave them hanging on my window?

We did jingle all the way as we caroled (it was not as obnoxious as you might think). I don't have any pictures of that as it was too dark. The boys had fun with their bells. Iain was feeling (and still is feeling) under the weather with a nasty cold, but he was very interested by the idea of going from house to house knocking on doors and singing. He kept asking, "We're doing?"

Cory loved loved loved caroling. He jingled his bells, bounced up and down in the arms of whoever was holding him, and sang along. Oh yes he did sing along, this brilliant not-quite-one year old. He hummed and sang whenever we did and stopped when we stopped. So what if there were no words to his songs? They were adorable and beautiful.

Back to the jingle bells: After the caroling, most of the bells turned up again decorating a lamp at my mom's house. I really like how they turned out! Kind of shabby chic, I think.

Where They Spend Their Time

(Get ready for some rapid-fire blog entries!)

Both Iain and Cory love tiny places. It's not unusual for me to be momentarily unable to find one or the other of them as they hide away. Here are some of their favorite spots:

In The Buddy Hug: Iain named this little nook between the couch and the wall. Why it is called The Buddy Hug I do not know. Both boys love to play there, and especially to dump all the buddies (stuffed animals) back there and burrow.

In The Buddy Box: Can you see my little buddy?

On The Orange Chair: (yes, it is orange under that white blanket!) Iain used to do this when he was younger, too. Cory can climb onto the chair by himself and often sits up there to read his books. Then he turns around and scoots back down.

Behind The Orange Chair: Right now, the chair is in the new room (as we still call it, though it is a year old now), so there would be room for the Christmas tree in the living room. The chair is back in a little nook created by a closet door on one side, and Jeremy's drums on the other. But behind the chair, there is just enough space for one little boy, or two, to crawl, hide, and play. Cory uses this spot the most, but Iain likes it, too.

And now you know where to find the boys if they ever go missing!

Monday, December 15, 2008

What We've Been Up To

A photo essay. :)

We've been making Christmas cookies!

We've been decorating "our very own Christmas tree!" (says Iain)

We've been reading a lot.

We've been eating mulch - uh, playing at the park, that is.

And some of us have been wrestling a lot, too.

We went to Tallahassee for Jenna's graduation. This meant that we...

...took a family picture on "our" steps.

...visited friends.

...played and had fun at Aunt Fran and Uncle Neal's house.

And today, we went to story time at Leu Gardens with Lauren and Noah.

And played at the fountain.

In other news, we had a big few days last weekend. Cory's first baby tooth finally started peeping through on Saturday the 6th, and then he took his first steps the next day, from the couch to his daddy's arms! He's taken up to five steps, but certainly not on command. Crawling is still his preferred method of transportation. Told you he was growing up fast!