Thursday, December 27, 2012


On Saturday morning we packed our car and made our way down 75 to the lake. There was a lot more traffic than we anticipated and it took us a little longer than usual, but we made it around lunch time. Emily, Frank, Katie, and Lilly were there waiting for us with Judd's parents. Judd's grandparents came later in the afternoon.

I thought it might be fun to take the girls to go get Christmas pedicures, so Katie, Lilly, Charlotte, and I drove into town and found a nice spa chair to sit in. It was fun to hang out with them and be pampered for a few minutes.

Sunday we went to Grandmother Plymale's to visit with her and eat lunch. When we got back, we did one of my favorite traditions and decorated our cookies.

(I told Lilly I'd pay her a dollar to smile. Hmm, I think I forgot to give her that dollar)



It was this guy's first year to really participate in the decorating. He stuck with just one cookie and continued to apply icing over and over again to the very soggy cookie. He had fun - which is really all that matters!


On Christmas Eve we spent the afternoon at Aunt Tricia and Uncle Winston's house visiting with Judd's extended family. Then went back to Judd's parent's house and exchanged gifts. After the kids were all hopped up on new toys, we changed them into PJs and put them in the car to go back to our house.

We made it home around 10:30 PM Christmas Eve and transferred them into bed. Judd and I got to work setting everything out for Christmas morning.



We got started about 7:30 AM opening presents. We just took our time and played with stuff as we opened it. Max probably finished opening his stuff around 9:30 or 10:00. It took him forever. All he wanted to do was play with his new trucks. He was pretty cute when he would open a present, "Wook Daddy, Wook what I got." Charlotte was very good and gave us a big hug and said "Thank You" when she opened a present from us.



Max refused to sit for a picture, his sister didn't mind.


After presents, I made waffles with my new waffle maker. Judd cooked some bacon. We sat down and had a nice brunch. Since it was so rainy and yucky we stayed inside and played all day. We watched our new movies and just hung out. It was a really nice day. By the end of the day we wanted to get out of the house, so we went downtown Decatur and grabbed some dinner.

It was a great Christmas and one that I'll always remember!

Friday, December 21, 2012

No Training Wheels

For Max's birthday he received a little balance bike from Judd's parents. The more we thought about it, the more it seemed like it was the best way to learn to ride a bike. So, we dusted off Charlotte's bike (she didn't ride it much be cause the training wheels were just too wobbly and we couldn't ever get them right), watched a video on YouTube about how to remove pedals, and stripped her bike of the pedals and chain. She now had a balance bike.

After a few tries she was coasting down the driveway with her feet up - balancing. She started to be able to make some turns like that. So, after about 3 weeks of riding like that every few days, we put the pedals back on and gave it a whirl.

She jumped on, started pedaling and hasn't looked back. She got it immediately. It was the coolest thing to watch. I wish I could have captured her face on camera at that exact moment - the pride and sense of accomplishment just beamed out of her.

She rode for a long time that afternoon. She has wiped out a couple of times since that first day, one time gave her some road rash, but other than that she has been great on the bike. She loves to go fast, which is funny to me because she is a pretty cautious kid. I'm so happy for my bike riding girl!



Monday, December 17, 2012

Finding Hope in Advent

I went to church yesterday feeling down and discouraged. I wasn't able to get the thoughts of Sandy Hook Elementary out of my head. Those babies who were just sitting in school doing what they were supposed to be doing. The adults that tried to protect them. Obviously, this situation has affected Judd and I because we have a baby about to go to Kindergarten. A baby that is only a year younger than those children. I haven't been able to look at her over the past few days without wondering what I would do without her - I can't imagine a world without her. There are parents who are realizing a world without their baby.

We went to the 9:35 Alive service yesterday. It is our church's contemporary service. We flip flop between the contemporary service and the traditional service. The contemporary service is in the Fellowship Hall and the church's band performs songs. But, our minister preaches the sermon, offering is taken, etc.

The band is really good. Every Sunday that we attend that service, I'm always impressed with their performance. Yesterday they performed a Lessons and Carols service - this was the first year they attempted this.

They started the service with "Do You Hear What I Hear?", but it was to the tune of "Bittersweet Symphony". It was beautiful. I sat there listening to the words, and reading them on the big screens on either side of the stage. Then, these words appear:

A child, a child, sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light
He will bring us goodness and light

I've heard this song many time before. It is one of my favorites. I've sung the words. But, for some reason yesterday morning, it hit me. I lost control of my emotions and just sat there with tears streaming down my face. (Judd was thoroughly confused) That's it - so simple! That's the hope we feel during Advent. I've always known this, but for the first time, I really understood and felt the hope.

The world has so much darkness and pain. Bad things happen everyday. It is very easy to get discouraged. But, this newborn baby boy brings us the hope that we need. He brings goodness and light. He is the answer.

It was a powerful moment for me - one that I won't soon forget. During this advent season, I hope you have a moment like this. One that brings you back to why we celebrate this magical time of year.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Trimming the Tree

This year we don't have the time to make it up to our favorite Christmas Tree Farm to pick out our tree. It is sad to think our schedule is that full, but it just isn't going to work out this year. So, we went to Home Depot and grabbed a tree the other night.

Last night after dinner and baths, I popped a big bowl of popcorn, put some Christmas carols on, and the four of us got to work trimming the tree. The kids were so excited to unwrap each ornament to see what was lying beneath the tissue paper. I'd hear, "Look what I found!" Then, Charlotte would say, "Awwwwww! It's so pretty!".

There is a high concentration of ornaments about the height of a certain 4 year old, but it's still an awesome tree. The kids were both so into it, wanting to help and participate. Christmas is going to be SO fun this year!