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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas and a Little Bit of This & That

Elephant made me do it. 

At least, that's what I imagine she's saying here.  As I was getting ready for work yesterday morning, I overheard my husband say, "Mommy's not going to be happy about this."

Now, it's not that she won't survive digesting a corner of Dr. Suess's How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but, good grief, my sweet, little bean is like a magnet to paper in any form...or vice versa.  

Either way, the mass amounts of wrapping paper, tissue paper, church programs, non-board books, mail, puzzle pieces with paper pictures on top (that last one was pointed out to me at her daycare yesterday, for real), and so on and so forth, makes it TOUGH for a well-intentioned mommy to manage.  

I felt like I was diving, no, not to dodge a bullet, but rather to fish some wadded piece of slimy paper out of my baby girl's mouth every time I turned around, which was immediately followed by a healthy dose of baby fury directed at one certain mommy, who remains unnamed... 

But, oh, how I love her!  Except for the minor paper tantrum, she lights up a room.  She giggles and jabbers and wraps her arms so tight around my neck only to gently lay her head on my shoulder, as if to say, "Never let me go, mommy!"

And that's exactly how she slept all night last night.  She woke in the middle of the night, and I tried and tried to put her back to bed in her crib, but she held so tight to me like a vice grip with those teeny-tiny legs wrapped tightly around my waist and her arms in full bear hug, you-can't-leave-me-mommy mode.  So, I gave in, and she slept on my chest curled up in my arms for the night.  

With my daughter in my arms, my little dog Peaches jumped on board and snuggled in at my side.  I got zero sleep last night (it's a wonder I can function today), but my girl slept like a rock star after that, and that's all that mattered to me. 

Her daddy calls me "Number One" to her, because mommy is her Number One fan, and she will only go to me in the middle of the night.  Lay her in my arms, and she quiets instantly.  If I lay her down in her crib, she screams until I pick her back up.  It's a new phase, but we're working through it. ;)

Oh, how she loves her daddy, too.  She can cover ground like you wouldn't believe when he walks in the door.  

I always knew she'd be a daddy's girl.  Those two are partners in crime, I tell you.  Pizza, cookies, ice cream, licorice, anything that mommy has deemed off limits, little bean knows is fair game with daddy.

Oh, and, YES, Christmas was wonderful!  

Every year we spend Christmas Eve with my husband's side of the family, we attend Christmas Eve service and then gather together for a big lasagna dinner whipped up by his aunt.  It's a lovely tradition and one that we look forward to each year.

We had an extra fun occasion mixed in this year and celebrated Christmas at my sister-in-law's house the week before Christmas, so Chloe got lots of cute cousin time in this year!

Then, on Christmas Day, every year we make the 2-hour drive to my parents' house and celebrate with brunch, the reading of the Christmas story from the Bible, and just spending time visiting.  This is the first year we mixed it up and added in a white elephant gift exchange, which was a fun change of pace.  It always feels good to come home.  My mom goes nuts with the Christmas decor, but it really gives my parents' home a magical feel.  I love it!

 Christmas Day at my parents' house

About this whole Christmas thing, well, I continue to be humbled by the gift of salvation and God's son Jesus Christ given to us on that Christmas morning over two thousand years ago.  I don't make that statement tritely.  It is part of every fiber of my being, and this Christmas, I am incredibly thankful for the way it has directed the course of my life.

In other randomness, My husband and I are pretty low-key people, so we decked our house out in volumes of Christmas decor, and then just huddled in with our little girl and our dogs.  I'm still looking for an excuse to have company over just to put it all to good use, but this month came and went so fast, that time is no longer in our favor *sigh*.

BUT, hey, feel free to stop by, friends, if you're in the neighborhood! 

And the princess found her slipper...

...then proceeded to eat it.  

Ha!  Love those silly babies!

Little bean snagged a sweeeet recliner from Grandma & Grandpa 
for Christmas.  It matches her nursery perfectly.  Yahoo!  She was also spoiled 
with all sorts of fun gifts from aunts and uncles, so much so, that Ron and
I should be good to go on entertainment for quite some time.  Double score! :)

May you and yours have a blessed 2013!


Monday, December 17, 2012

Heart Sessions: To the Broken Hearted in Newtown, Connecticut

To the broken hearted in Newtown, Connecticut,

I am broken hearted with you. You don’t know me, and I may not know you, but the life and loss of your precious little ones has reached into the depths of my heart and etched a permanent memorial.

When the news first flashed across my computer screen, I was in my office at work. I felt my heart sink as I realized the crushing weight of your loss. I closed my office door, and I wept for you, and I wept with you. Days later, I sit here still with tears running down my face and an ache in my heart for you.

I considered my own little one at that very moment entrusted to another’s care while I was away at work. How could I not imagine walking in your shoes?

That night, my busy “self-sufficient” toddler slept all night nestled against my chest, something that hasn’t occurred since she was a new baby. I hold her that much tighter in honor of you, brave parents, whose arms lay empty tonight.

I won’t forget your loss.

I believe every parent who has ever loved their child with the God-given ferocity and fire that drives us to the ends of the earth to shield and protect them, is standing behind you, grieving with you and loving you through darkness.

Never in my life have I felt such a powerful force of grief for the loss of those I don’t know personally, and yet there it is…the great equalizer…the one thing that makes us all unified: Parenthood.

The loss of a child…

Is there any greater pain?

I muttered all of the “Why’s?” over and over when I heard the news, and I still don’t understand it. Why God? Why when they were so young and innocent?

And then there are the brave teachers. Mothers and wives who leave behind devastated families and children of their own. Why? For what?

I don’t know the answer. Like so many have said before me, how do you make any sense of the senseless?

I do know one thing, if any…that there is a Heavenly Father who has felt your loss, whose son Jesus Christ suffered a gruesome death to bring us life, and that Father, yes, He knows your pain. His innocent Son carried the awful penalty for the sin of the entire world. He feels your unbearable hurt, loved ones. He counts every tear, and He will carry you when you can no longer carry yourself. He understands the depths of your grief, that which can never be put into mere words.

Today, I pray that God carries you through this nightmare, that He brings blessing in the midst of tragedy and breathes new life into your broken hearts and broken homes. I pray that you would feel such a tremendous out-pouring of love from not only this nation but also from the far reaches of this world.

I will pray for you until there are no more tomorrows.

Your little ones are resting safely and peacefully in the arms of the Father today. May He bless you and keep you until you are joyfully reunited.

Blessings, Sandy Hook.

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