Monday, December 29, 2008

Still Here

We're still around... I've got a mountain of pictures and heaps of things to say, but in order to do that I need to get out from under all of the piles at the house. I'm hoping to get caught up soon!
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Thursday, December 25, 2008

This Christmas

It's been a different Christmas, especially for me. I think I've spent the entire Christmas season coping with this, trying to figure out what exactly that means for me.

Having Little People in the house made me really want to recreate some of the Christmas magic I so fondly remember. I mean, Christmas has always been really magical for me. I have these grand memories of idyllic Christmas mornings around the tree, Christmas Eve services, time with family, baking in the kitchen...the whole package, really. And even though Christmas really was wonderful in years past, I know the memories are a little bit inflated: we never have been a Norman Rockwell family, even if we are one in my mind.

But these memories led to some warped expectations for me. I wanted to burst forth into the Season with beautiful decorations, tantalizing aromas wafting from the kitchen, smiling children, perfectly wrapped gifts, et cetera, ad nauseum. Frankly, I've been battling my expectations since Thanksgiving... all the way on through Christmas. And it's made me a pretty miserable person.

These inflated expectations led to major disappointments. I "failed" when only nine ornaments made it on the tree, and the gifts didn't even have bows or tags on them. I was a "disappointment" when Christmas Eve supper was hastily warmed up while the baby screamed. I was a "terrible mother" when I failed to produce engaging Christmas crafts and activities for my toddler. I'm sure you can see why I was pretty miserable this season?

I wanted to create all this magic... and in it, I managed to forget the real Magic of God, with us. Emmanuel. A tiny baby came, to die, to reconcile us to our God. He was born of a virgin, bore the sins of the whole world. God is with us.

Now that is something to celebrate.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Are Any Words Necessary?

For the record...this is a Costco-size box of Honey Nut she's not totally tiny!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

12 Things

I'm watching Top Chef and they're having to create dishes based on "The Twelve Days of Christmas". And since I lack brain cells right now, I thought I'd list twelve things that are, right now, making me happy.

So here they are:
  • 12 Christmas gifts (give or take), purchased and ready to wrap. And the shopping is done.
  • In 11 days, Michael and I will be here. Alone. Without children.
  • 10 candy canes hung in the lower quarter of our Christmas tree... by sweet small hands.
  • 9:00 and Nora's actually settled in her bed
  • 8 days until Christmas, which we will be spending here, at home, just us, for the first time.
  • We'll have 7 Ham children in January... but we had a blast spending time with the other six this past weekend in Mississippi.
  • Nora went for a 6 hour stretch last night... we're getting closer to sleeping through the night!
  • 5 little ladybugs all in a row.
  • It's our first Christmas as a family of 4...and I love seeing four beautiful stockings on the mantle.
  • I'm reading 3 pretty great books right now... about 3 pages at a time. I'll take what I can get these days, right?
  • 2 sweet, sweet little girls...and I get to spend my days with them. What a great job!
  • 1 wonderful husband, who organized our computer desk after a long day at work. And he washed bottles, for the second night in a row. Am I lucky or what?
...okay, that was harder than I thought. But fun!

Count your many blessings, name them one by one.

Monday, December 15, 2008

21 Months Old

This little delight turned 21 months old on Sunday. We celebrated with our dear Hams, although we didn't actually celebrate Phoebe's month day; but a birthday celebration was in order, since Elle turned 11! What fun!

I have about nineteen other things on my list that are a higher priority than this, but I can't bear the thought of not recording some of the things that Phoebe is doing these days. So here goes!

Phoebe is...
- talking up a storm, and becoming more articulate. Most of her words are words that only we understand, but she uses a lot! Some of my favorite new words are milk, marker, and Clifford (cuh-cuh)... though there are many more, too!
- fascinated with print, of all kinds. Anytime she sees environmental, she says "A-C" (as in, "ABC's") and wants to know the letters. She also still loves to see numbers, too. On that note, Phoebe will occasionally sing "A-C" when we sing the ABC song. Yay!
- singing along to Jesus Loves Me, too!
- pretending, which is totally fun. Today, she pretended to cook a meal with clothespins for at least half an hour. She insisted that George (the Curious one) and I take "pies" (bites). She even blew on her hot pans to cool it down for us!
- loving paint and markers... which has opened a whole new world of fun to us
- finally done cutting her canines! We had a nightmare month with that, but the fourth one is finally through the gums. Praise the Lord!
- testing boundaries, but we see the fruit of discipline...even though discipline is never easy

Phoebs is our sweet, sweet blessing... we love her big! But now I'm up way past my bedtime, and I've got to crash... I'll probably add to this list later!
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008


2 Months Old - Nora

I'm done apologizing for my lack of updates/pictures/etc... I'm realizing that this is just my season of life right now. Have two months really already gone by? What a whirlwind! I feel like I can hardly catch my breath these days; however, as each day passes, things get a little bit better.

I am going to try to keep up with these month day posts, though; I'm convinced I won't remember a thing about my kids if I don't! Nora turned two months old yesterday... wow! We also had her two month checkup yesterday. Here are her vital statistics:
  • 10 pounds, 4 ounces (50%ile)
  • 22 1/4 inches long (50%ile)
Nora also got four shots and an oral vaccine... yuck! She hasn't seemed to have any nasty reactions, other than some increased fussiness yesterday. (Tylenol helped.) She's such a sweet little trooper!

At two months old, Nora is:
  • eating every 2 1/2 to 3 hours, on a fairly predictable schedule. She also usually will go down for her nap fairly easily, about an hour and fifteen minutes after she wakes up.
  • taking Zantac twice a day to manage her reflux. This has been a miracle drug for her feeding issues!
  • sleeping well at night, but not yet through the night. We typically feed her at our bedtime (10ish) and then she will make it until around 3:30. Last night, she was able to stretch to 4:15, but every night is a little different. She also goes down for the night sometime between 7 and 9. She's still having a few fussy nights a week.
  • smiling! She's always been a happy baby, but she delights us with her sweet smiles. They are huge, but hard to capture on film. She also has a sweet little dimple pretty far back on her cheek, which is super cute.
  • loving bathtime. She's always loved the water; we think she's enjoying a spa experience every time she gets in the tub.
  • Nora also really enjoys looking at her reflection, "dancing" and kicking, watching her mobile, and being held. She's generally a very easy-going baby, and I'm so thankful for that!
We love, love, love having our two little girls. Last night, Michael and I just giggled about the blessings sleeping under our roof. We have our hard days and nights, but I'm so thankful for the blessing of two little girls so close in age. Praise the Lord!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Labor of Love

Last year, Michael and I went to the Behold the Lamb of God tour at our church. Of all the things we did during the Advent season, this event was the one that most helped me prepare my heart for Christmas. Behold the Lamb (subtitled "The True Tall Tale of the Coming of Christ") tells the story of the coming of Christ, beginning in the Old Testament. If the tour comes near you, I would highly recommend going; it will be worth your money and your time.

Anyway, I haven't been much in the Christmas spirit this year. The Advent season sort of snuck up on me, and I still sort of feel like I'm in "survival mode" with the girls. But while I was doing some chores the other day, I started listening to the Behold the Lamb album; it really helped me focus my heart on His coming.

One of my favorite songs on the album is called "Labor of Love". It's about the literal birth of Christ, Mary's labor of love; it's absolutely beautiful. I can't listen to it without crying. Anyway, I just wanted to share it here... I know you'll love it. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


My girls have been utterly delightful these past couple of days. Or maybe it's just me? I'm not sure. I do know that my specific prayer each morning has been that the Lord would give me eyes to see the sweetness of my "everyday"; He has done just that.

Phoebe has been especially fun. She's been quite the chatterbox (although I'm not quite sure what she's saying), and she's doing new things at a rapid clip. Just today, she surprised me by doing adorable little hand motions to a song about David and Goliath on our Wee Sing CD... I have no idea where she got them from, either! (They were totally appropriate for the song, too.) Also, finger painting was a smashing success -- especially considering the last time I tried to get her to finger paint it sent her into a panic. We've had so many sweet moments that I, like Mary, am treasuring up in my heart.

Nora, too, has been a delight. She's just started smiling (although not very often), and she seems to be more settled these days. We're loving getting to know her; she is such a sweet, sweet little girl!

Anyway, I'm behind on so many things right now... but I just felt like I needed to get it down on "paper" that things have been good here lately. I'm so thankful that the Lord has allowed us a couple of good days in a row; it has been like medicine for my weary heart!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I can't believe it's been over a week since I last posted! We managed to make it out of the house on Tuesday afternoon for our Thanksgiving at the lake, and we were "unplugged" from the Internet until Sunday. Needless to say, I've been recovering since then.

I'm going to try to do a recap without getting too verbose... perhaps the pictures will speak for themselves?

Like I said, we managed to get out of the house on Tuesday. Michael was starting to feel better, but I felt like my cold was turning into a sinus infection... my fever lingered until Wednesday night. Anyway, we arrived at the lake just in time for supper Tuesday night, and just before my cousin Danielle, her husband, and her two children made it in from New Hampshire. The kids loved getting to run around and explore the house, and we settled in early. Phoebe slept better than she'd slept in weeks. It was good to just be there!

Wednesday, the rest of the family drove in from Florida, and Michael's parents and brother also arrived for the fun. The weather was absolutely beautiful, and the kids had a great time playing together. I loved seeing Phoebe play with her cousins John and Madi...they really had a blast together! The atmosphere in the house was lively and loud; of course, that's to be expected when you throw a bunch of Italians in a house together!

Thursday, Thanksgiving, was a wonderful day of...well...thankfulness and food. The women spent most of the morning in the kitchen, the kids played outside in gorgeous weather, and we all enjoyed spending time together. We were also all feeling better by Thursday -- something to certainly be thankful for! We feasted in the late afternoon, but Nora couldn't be bothered to wake up for the dining experience. Phoebe, who doesn't usually eat meat, gobbled up some turkey and macaroni and cheese. After dinner, we squeezed into our matching Thanksgiving t-shirts for a family photo.

Friday, we shopped -- but not the typical Black Friday shopping. We went to the little main street downtown, and went in a variety store and some specialty shops. In the variety store, Michael snagged a balloon-animal making kit, which turned out to be the best purchase of the day; he entertained the kids all weekend with dogs, swords, hats, and more! However, the weather quickly turned sour, and we spent the rest of the weekend indoors. No pictures of Friday; I think our memory card needed a break.

On Saturday, the Italian contingency decided we needed more again, the morning was spent cooking. The afternoon? Well, let's just say there was an important game on that most of us wanted to watch. Michael and I also spent a fair amount of time playing with the crew of kids in the house -- there were eight kids under nine, cooped up indoors thanks to the weather. Michael got to brush up on his balloon animal skills, schooled some kids in Wii Mario Brothers, and earned himself the title of Coolest Grownup Ever. And can I get a hearty Roll Tide, anyone?

Sunday, it was time to bid the lake farewell. The house feels a bit like home, since we also rented this house during the summer... but it was good to return home to our little (quiet) house. We were so thankful to spend time with family from so far away, and I'm especially thrilled that they got to meet Nora while she was still small. It was a happy Thanksgiving indeed!