Monday, December 22, 2008

Three Days 'Till Christmas

...and all through the house, every creature was stirring, even the mouse (in the garage!). We are crazy busy here getting ready for family coming in today and tomorrow. We are going to have a houseful of guests all week, but I promise to come right back with stories and pictures galore! In the meantime, Merry Christmas! May God bless you this season and in the coming new year!

P.S. Fun Christmas tidbits:

1. Bella has asked Santa Clause for a baby doll this year.
2. Bella has been singing "Yes, Key Kaws (Santa Clause) bring me baby doll" to the tune of Jesus loves me
3. My favorite was when she sang the above song at the top of her lungs in Walmart!
4. Bella loves to dress up like Mary and carry her own Baby Jesus- wait till you see the pictures!
5. Gingerbread men are the "cookie with face"

I love the season from the bottom of my heart. Seeing it through the eyes of a toddler brings me such joy! I love it!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cookies, cookies, and more cookies

'Tis the season to be baking, fa la la la la, la la la la.

Just as the season began, catastrophe struck and our hand mixer died. I began to have heart palpitations imagining all the cookies and tamales and potatoes that could never be without a mixer. Fortunately, I have a very sensible husband who calmly suggested I go buy a new mixer, and one that will last for a while. I headed to Bed Bath & Beyond armed with a 20% off coupon and got myself a new best friend. Here she is. Isn't she lovely? Her name is Vanessa.

Vanessa and I have been busy ever since. Sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles, gingerbread cookies, and icing galore!

Bella and Irene making snickerdoodles


Irene hard at work with the gingerbread men

Our army of oddly clad cookie men

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A couple more

Katie and I

The largest and most gorgeous wedding party in history!

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Wedding, Part 2

Eliot running down a country road!

Sigh. Doesn't it feel like a home? I loved it there.

It's taken me a while to sit and write this. I'd love to use all the easy excuses (like Thanksgiving, for example), but honestly it just comes down to one thing; my heart was so full I could barely process everything. I needed a week of reality before I could sit down and try to relay to others what my time in Texas meant to me. I left on Wednesday, the 19th and was gone until Sunday night. By myself. For the first time since having Bella, I went somewhere without her. I had such mixed feelings about it. I missed her like crazy, but in the end, I was so grateful for the uninterrupted time I had with my dear friends.

What everyone wants to know is what it was like to a) be re-united with Katie and Melissa and b) be there for Melissa's wedding. I'll try and tackle "b" first.

Because I was there early, I was able to be a part of a lot of the pre-wedding stuff like making bouquets and decorating the church and reception hall. We had a blast Thursday just hanging out together and watching everything unfold. The reception hall went under a dramatic transformation and turned out so pretty! And the nice thing about working together on these projects was the time it gave us to get to know Melissa's other friends. There were fourteen bridesmaids! It was like one long, extended slumber party! So much fun!

Melissa, the night before her wedding

One of my roomies on this trip, Sarah!

Melissa making arrangements while decorating the reception hall on Thursday

My other roomie, Catherine, who has been Melissa's friend since they were babies!

Katie, looking gorgeous and acting silly!

Melissa and her mom at Mel's bridal shower

Saturday, Melissa was calm and radiantly beautiful. There is no other way to describe her. She was glowing with excitement, but sure and certain. Regal. I've known Mel almost two years and have never seen her like that. It was a particular beauty that came from within herself and it took your breath away. What a privilege it was to be there and be a part of her day! Something remarkable about Melissa: she took time on her wedding day to do the hair of all of her little sisters, herself, and her best friend!

The wedding was emotional. I've never felt the Holy Spirit during a wedding ceremony like I did last Saturday. The presence of the Spirit in that sanctuary was palpable. The music was gorgeous. Just like their own lives, the ceremony for Scott and Melissa focused not on themselves, but on Christ. I was blessed by being there.

On to "a" and what it was like to be with my girls again. There are no words. It was as if not a day had gone by. Except we're all wiser these days. The time we spent in Antigua together bonded us as friends, but our individual struggles there and beyond have seasoned us. Oh, it felt good to be there. And it was so much fun! Katie delights me. She's funny, ridiculous,thoughtful, intelligent, insightful and I could go on and on (and she would like me to!). Spending four days with her was like having a gigantic band-aid placed over my heart. Spending those four days celebrating with Melissa was icing on the cake. It did my heart good. Let's do it again soon, girls! Miss you and love you both!

My new favorite picture

Eliot striking a pose

Katie being silly with my camera after breakfast

Katie and I

And Mary Margaret: I love you, sister.