To my sweet husband,
My heart is so deep with love for you.
When I think back to our unlikely beginning at sea,
And all the currents that have come against us since
All that we have endured to be together, to stay the course
Hand in hand at the sails.
The heavens guided us to this voyage
With God as our North Star
(And a crew of two in tow)
What a blessing it is to be anchored together
Loyal companions and best friends
On this: the Great Journey.
I love you.
Happy Anniversary. 9 years.
(18 since the March day we met on deck, your 18th birthday--I'm giving away your age ;0)
Your exceedingly grateful and blessed wife.
It was Christmas morning. The presents had arrived safely under the tree, and Baby Jesus had come to fill an empty manger. The kids had been eagerly awaiting his arrival, sitting on the stairs and dutifully singing carols in their angelic morning voices to signal Mom and Dad they were ready for the birthday celebrations to begin!
The first gifts of Christmas were the ones they'd bought each other. They were both delighted with their gifts, and were even more joyous at watching one another receive presents they'd purchased themselves.
Gryffy got Lorelei a cheetah, because she loves cheetahs.
Lorelei got Gryffin a Santa Claus, because it was red, his favorite color.
Gryffy got the Jack Sparrow barbie he'd been pining after.
Can you tell how thrilled he is?
And Lorelei couldn't believe that Santa remembered the Barbie she'd spotted in the store months ago.
But her American Girl knock-off really had her tickled pink.
Light sabers... more about these later.
Spiderman, our boy's favorite superhero.
And we didn't forget our Mr. Tubbins.
The Smurfs Dance Party and a Wii. That was fun! The kids got a good laugh at Daddy's fly dance moves.
The kids show off their favorite gifts.
And unstuff stockings.
Thank you, KC Parent, for all the stocking stuffers! The kids loved them.
Just don't ask me to write any child safety articles this year. Epic fail.
Gryffy loved his new cars app from Grandma and Grandpa Connelly for Daddy's Ipad. The car drives along the screen!
Someone asked me which ornaments are my favorites. We decorate our tree with lots of kids' crafts, but I have to say the kids' baby feet are tops on my list.
Speaking of homemade things, Mark and I agreed not to get each other anything besides stocking stuffers, and to have the kids help us make something for one another. We wanted to keep Christmas as simple as possible. Here's what Mark and the kids came up with.
L and G have been talking non-stop about this feathery Christmas tree they made me, and couldn't wait for me to finally see it! I told them it was a priceless treasure that I would display every year--I love it!
The kids and I made Mark some game pieces out of small pictures of us, mod podge, and flat vase glass gems, since we're always losing game pieces to Sorry and Candy Land. I thought I did pretty good, and was honoring my end of the agreement not to buy presents this year.
Apparently, however, there was a hidden clause that we could buy big for our anniversary, just five days away. I planned a fun date night, and was feeling pretty good about a simple, fun time together. But Mark, he had to tempt me with an early anniversary present--literally placed it directly in front of me. You know I hate surprises, so I had to look.
I was feeling kind of pathetic about those little glass game pieces we made him (but through the roof about my new MacBook Air)! It's even pink! Thank you, Hubsley :o)
A light saber battle ensued in the basement, and ended abruptly with an eye poke. Yep, that safety thing again...
On Christmas night, we took a walk through the dark neighborhood trail with our light sabers to guide us through to Christmas Place, two cul-de-sacs in our subdivision with more lights than the starry host.
We might have to make this a tradition.
And to top off our Christmas, the manger scene managed to stay put--we didn't lose our ass this year (we haven't got our bills yet, though)! Merry Christmas, everyone!
Before I post about Christmas, I thought L's new room deserved a whole new post of its own. It all began when L told Mommy that Daddy said she could have bunk beds.
Now let me tell you, I loved her old room. It didn't need an update. But seeing as how Daddy apparently had told her that she could have bunks someday, she was looking forward to it (and I'll admit it: I did want to free up some space in her room--you know how I feel about clean, simple spaces).
Lorelei loves Tangled, and earlier this year had purchased a life-sized Rapunzel with money she had earned (her first big purchase). So we went with a quasi-Rapunzel theme, which is not immediately apparent unless you look at details... a towering bed, vines on one wall (like the ones Flynn Rider parted to discover the hidden valley of Rapunzel's tower), and lots of birds and sky.
We fell in love with the bedding.
Here it is up close.
Let's zoom in a bit more! LOVE.
And you know how artistic Rapunzel is, just like our Lorelei. So here's an art desk (we painted the stools blue), a piece of art that she made, and owls she painted on the wall of her tower.
Here's a close up. Aren't they precious?
Lorelei and Mommy made this together. This quote is beautiful.
The valance is a table runner I found at World Market last week, velcroed onto the wall. We already had the white board, but Daddy got some trim from Home Depot to make it look lovely. Honey-do list item #72. Lorelei made the magnets on it with mod podge and the scrapbook paper from her masterpiece quote canvas. And may I also point out the little fairy door L painted on the wall beside her bed? She keeps looking inside in hopes of catching a fairy. No luck yet. And the room color--Lorelei chose it herself!
Here she goes exploring her new room! I think all that last minute painting of trim (I changed my mind and wanted cream instead of white over the old wood) and leaf stencils last night was worth it!
With her new "American Girl" Target brand doll, which I think she likes about as much as the room itself.
Okay, so she likes the doll more.
But she looks pretty stinkin' on top of the world up there too, don'tcha think?
Christmas Eve day was a bit more frenzied than normal--taking the kids to shop for each other's gifts (which they spent their own money on, and were really excited to give each other), opening presents at Grammy's, Mommy singing at church (carols--you can imagine how much fun she had!), and cooking... lots of cooking.
Lorelei, Mommy and Daddy did A LOT of painting. And after the kids were in bed, we painted some more. Lorelei's new room had to be ready for Christmas morning!
For dinner, we had Paula Deen's Shrimp Etouffee over rice. I've heard rave reviews from my cousin, Shelby, who serves it every Christmas Eve. And since we already had our shepherd's pie this week, I thought I'd give this a go instead. It was delish!
Let's get a look at those kids blowing out our Advent candles...
We completely neglected Santa and the reindeer's cookies, nog and carrots this year (not on purpose--we just forgot), but did partake in our own nativity play.
"Mary, you're going to have a baby," said Gabriel.
"How can this be?"
Gabriel had some explaining to do.
Get a look at that belly!
Look who just arrived on the scene! The birthday boy's here--God With Us, Immanuel.
Mary loves her baby boy.
The way Lorelei sits with her hand raised reminds me of the Pieta in St. Peter's--I could stand in front of that sculpture for hours. The picture could almost be holy, if Gryffy weren't playing with his Scooby-Doo slime :o)
Mary and Joseph.
And as the kids tucked into bed, we set out the manger on the stairs. The kids can't wait for Baby Jesus to arrive in the morning, their signal to rush downstairs!