Christmas 2013 (part 2) & New Year's & a Birthday! (Whew)

3 weeks out & I'm finally posting Christmas!  
Here's to more timely updates in 2014.

(And WOW!  Thanks for those comments earlier - seriously I figured only my mom read at this point.  That was so affirming & nice to hear from people.  Thanks, guys!)

We did Christmas with R's family in our home the weekend before Christmas.  On Christmas Eve, my family showed up!
Lovie & Cookie travelled a long way (7 minutes) and spent the night with us so we could pretend like they were really visiting.  
Will woke up on the 24th sick and I quickly took him to the dr.  Thankfully, it was strep and not the flu.  He was miserable most of the 24th but once the antibiotics kicked in that night, he was doing so much better.
Having a sick kiddo kind of made for a weird Christmas Eve - we were so sad to miss church at our new church and had looked forward to taking Cookie & Lovie to our church for the first time.  But a day hanging out at home together was nice too.
Lovie brought her parts of the dinner to my house to prepare - with sous chef Ellie assisting, of course!

 Ellie stuffed her first Christmas turkey!
(Which means she is one turkey ahead of her mama.  I've managed to avoid the stuffing part for 30 something years.)
I was so excited to host not only my side of the family at our dinner table but also our dear friends, the O's & their grandpa.  
But - with a sick kiddo, those plans changed.
My sweet friend brought over the salad and dessert she had made for the dinner & I loaded up items I had made into tupperware for her.  
So I guess we still all shared a meal - just not the table or the watching of kids opening a gift.
(This is a terrible, terrible picture of me.  Why am I making that face?  Should have put on some makeup & brushed that hair.  Sorry - I blame it on sick kiddo.)

Ellie & Lovie preparing dinner

By bedtime, Will had perked up & the kids each opened a gift from their grandparents.

Ellie is in a funny stage where she makes hilarious faces and poses for pictures.  

Stockings all ready & kids ready for bed

Christmas Eve story time

Will had written a thank you note to Santa and was beside himself with excitement when there was a reply note waiting for him in the morning!  
Ellie was beside herself with excitement at bedtime.  She really got into Christmas this year - singing carols all the time, yelling Merry Christmas to strangers, and announcing, 
"Santa is my favorite old person!"  Smart girl.
She later modified that to, "Santa is my favorite old person but I really wish he was a princess."

After reading the Christmas story from Luke 2 in our bed, the kids rushed to  wake up their Cookie & Lovie (who had been awake for awhile because my kids still don't wake up particularly early for Christmas but C & L are good at pretending.)

It was stocking time!

More than anything, Ellie has wanted a pink flashlight for months.  I have no idea why but it had something to do with her babies.
Basically, she already thinks like a mommy & every gift on her wish list had to do with taking care of her babies or something she thought they might like.  (like a lamp - she requested a new lamp to help her babies see better in her room.)
Thankfully, Santa pulled through and managed to get her a pink flashlight.  She was so very, very happy!

New soap!

Ellie got some fun feathery bracelets which she shared with Cookie & Lovie

After stockings and coffee refills & Mimi got here, we headed to the living room for presents under the tree.
Interestingly, the kids had walked by the tree already a few times & even posed for this picture yet neither one had noticed the big, unwrapped gift to the side of the tree!  Might need to work on their observation skills.

Will had really really wanted this switch & go dino.  He loves it.
I kept noticing how fun it is to have Christmas gifts with little kids - they want really big items that don't cost a ton so it makes the tree look really exciting.  I know as they get older, eventually they will prefer very small items that cost a lot and the tree won't look nearly as exciting.

Finally, we directed Ellie's attention to her big surprise gift - 
a new trampoline!!

I think she was ecstatic!

(For some reason I am having a hard time uploading videos but trust that I have some awesome videos of her jumping not only in her splints but then barefoot!)
Excuse the soapbox for a moment...
As I watched her jump and laugh and show off, I was filled with such pride in her accomplishments and awe and humbled at how far she has come.  Tears filled my eyes.  Initially, I wanted to email the video of her jumping independently to a few certain doctors who told me she would never walk or wouldn't have a good quality of life (again - I reiterate as I did to that particular doctor - We do not define quality of life based on mobility.)  And I really wanted to send it to the doctors who suggested we abort her.  
I kind of wanted to send a "take that" message.
(I know - not a very good Christmas message.)
But then.
God convicted me and instead gave me eyes to see with grace.
I realized that really I wanted to send this to doctors and to pregnant moms and dads to be who are given scary prenatal diagnoses.  
The thing is - doctors know a lot.  They do.  We knew incredible details about each of our kiddos before their births.  
And that information can be very beneficial.  It enabled us to make better decisions to help have the best specialists we could have on hand at the birth of each kiddo.  It helped us prepare our own hearts and our families and friends.  It helped us make treatment decisions.  That information was vital for us and could have been life saving in some cases.
But doctors don't know it all.  And really great doctors know that.  
As much as they may know about a baby in utero, they can't really predict quality of life.  They can't know that in three years, that baby may jump barefoot on a trampoline on Christmas morning like a very typical three year old.  They can't measure possibility.  They can't predict perseverance.  
They can offer hope.  For the doctors who offered us hope, I want to send this video too.  Thank you for believing in our daughter.  Thank you for being honest with us, for explaining realities and possibilities and fears, but for never saying "never."
Thank you for encouraging our hearts in our darkest days.
For the moms and grandmoms and aunts and friends out there who may stumble on this blog in your own dark days as you wonder and worry about a prenatal diagnosis - you are the reason I write (when I remember to blog, that is.)  I pray you will see pictures of my kids - both with rare diagnoses and differences - and that you would see hope and how we have embraced our normal - and it's often no different than the normal of their peers.  I pray you will see pictures and read our stories and know that you too can have hope.  You don't know yet what your child may accomplish.  You don't know what they won't accomplish.  You don't know how you may redefine what you thought was "normal" or "expected" or even important to you - how having that baby and child in your arms will make you rethink so many standards you set and that can be a good thing.
You can't measure possibility.  
Every time either of my kids hops on this trampoline, I am so thankful.  I am thankful for kids who can jump despite having joint issues or missing feet.
And I am thankful for  a way to burn off energy on cold winter days.  It has been a LIFESAVER!  

Back to Christmas now...
more gifts (& funny poses by Ellie)

jumping break

I love that each Christmas, my kids have received books & they always stop gift opening for awhile to read.  I just love that.

Will reading to the family.

Christmas morning books

We always celebrate Christmas night with long time family friends.
Will took his perplexus puzzle - which captivated men of all ages!

Ellie insisted on wearing her crown and also convinced Curtis to play babies.
I'm pretty sure I used to make him play babies a long long time ago too.

Dinner!  The bearded plaid guy on the left is newly engaged!  We are so excited.

Jane always has fun dinner table conversation starters - I look forward every year to our topics.

Curtis after being instructed on how to properly hold the baby

William David squared

Dish washing with Sarah (our flower girl 10 years later)

our little fam 

Ellie & her fav Dr. Rick
Ellie apparently decided this was a fun party and part way through dinner, she had an idea.
She first asked Dr. Rick if she could spend the night.  He sent her to Mrs. Janie - who agreed that she could but she had to wait 2 yrs.  Ellie was in tears.  We were cracking up that she wanted to spend the night so badly - she has never asked to do this with anyone besides her grandparents!  When we got home, she began begging me to spend the night at Dr. Rick's if she potty trained successfully.
Deal taken.

I suspect she was just enjoying the attention of being the only princess there and wasn't ready for that to stop!

A few nights later, we celebrated R's birthday.  We built a fire outside and I made his favorite dinner.

After dessert, we bathed the kids and tricked Daddy into one more trip out to the firepit...

where I surprised him with some of his best friends ready to hang out.
The kids were put to bed and R had fun with his friends for the night.
I couldn't believe I actually pulled off a surprise!

Our slumber party with friends New Years Eve party took a different twist this year into a party at our casa with good friends.
R smoked some meat, friends brought food and kids in pjs & we enjoyed dinner and hanging out

These two little mommy best friends are just precious.

Ready to roast marshmallows by the fire

Will read stories to baby H

at 10 something, I put the kiddos on a quilt with a movie on the dvd player - amazingly, they made it til 11:30pm and everyone was very happy!

So we rang out 2013 with a bang - lots of holiday hosting and parties and time with family and friends.  The house was often messy and full of people and I love that.  We made lots of memories, started some of our own traditions, broke other traditions, operated on not enough sleep, and laughed often.  
It was messy and chaotic, busy and beautiful, full of restless anticipation, excitement, wonder, awe, peace and perfection all wrapped up together.... kind of how I imagine the stable scene must have felt a few thousand years ago.

2 thoughts:

ywilbur said...

That was great. Loved seeing the kids enjoy their presents. JK got his first skylander game (giants) and 2 weeks later went back to pick up accessory and the newest version had a whole, practically empty wall of accessories! I'm terrible at pulling of surprises and have yet to do so.

CatDee said...

Maybe you should've sent a video..I know that it might come across as mean yada yada..but still obviously little Ellie made it (you actually make very cute kids ;) ) and she and you can and should be proud of it.

Anyways sounds like you had a great christmas!

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