Showing posts with label Gwendolyn's 1st Year. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gwendolyn's 1st Year. Show all posts

One Year Ago


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1:01 AM.

That was the moment I first saw you.

When the contractions started the night before, I was so excited.   You were coming!  I was finally going to get to meet you, and maybe my secret wish would be fulfilled and you would be born on your daddy's birthday.

Fast-forward five hours, and I was surrounded by strange men, careening down the highway in an ambulance, bawling my eyes out and screaming in pain.  You were coming.  And this was not how I envisioned your birth.  I was terrified.

They wouldn't let your daddy ride in the back with us.  He was so worried and rode the entire way to the hospital with his neck craned, trying to see me and help me. I heard his voice between contractions.

At some point the Lord took away my fear, and I just knew.  You had to come now.   So I gave one final effort, one final scream. . .

And then you were here.  And in that moment when I looked down and saw your sweet little face, your little arms and legs curled in so tight, all the fear was gone.  I didn't remember the pain.  

You were okay.  I was okay.  You were here.  And you were so beautiful.

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It could have turned out so different, Sweet Baby, and I know Jesus was watching over both of us. 

They wanted to clean you up before I held you, but I was too impatient - I reached over and snatched you away while they were still trying to wipe you down.

I held you.  You opened your eyes and just looked at me.

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I was the most blessed woman in the world.

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Today is Gwendolyn's 1st birthday.  I can't even believe it's been a year already.  She is such a blessing from the Lord, and what a joy she has been to us! 

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Her life outside the belly started off in such a dramatic way, but what I love most are the little, seemingly insignificant moments we have had together over the last year.  When she cries her rolling cry and quiets when I pick her up.  Her little chuckles.  The way she blinks her eyes hard at people when she's happy.  Little arms stretched out to me.  Her four little teeth that show when she grins.

These are the things I treasure.

I feel so blessed to have Miss Gwen Ruby as my daughter.

We love you more than we can say, Baby Girl!  May you (and your daddy!) have the happiest birthday today.

Love,

Mama and Daddy

Ornaments And Christmas Treats

 A month or so ago I bought some clear plastic ornaments.  Honestly I had no idea what I wanted to do with them, I just thought it might be a fun project with the kids.

Well, after some research, I decided what we would do, and last week I sat down with the kids to make them!

I made these two because each represents one of my sweet kiddos right now.  

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The train is for Wyatt.  Wyatt is so into trains this year - he couldn't stop talking about it as I was painting the train on!   

The penguin is for Gwen, because the other week I put Gwen into some new penguin pajamas and I showed Derek - she looked so cute in them.  Then he started calling her "Pen-Gwen" - get it?  So her new nickname is Penguin, which I think is adorable!

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Then I made these glitter ornaments with the kids; handprints on them - yes, it was messy.  But it was also a lot of fun, and Wyatt loved helping me with the glitter!  

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I copied the idea on this blog for the penguin ornament (except I also used glitter), and I used this tutorial to do the glitter on the inside of all the ornaments.

The mess was worth the memories!

In other Christmas prep news, today has been officially designated as my baking/Christmas-goody-making day!  I have had a few fall backs for Christmas goodies since we first got married, but this year I'm trying some new treats.  

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Here is my list of things to make:

Watergate Salad - For Christmas dinner at my mom's.  The recipe I'm using is similar to this.  I have never made this before, but I'm told it's easy.

Breakfast Potato Casserole - My grandma's recipe - this will be for Christmas morning.  I'm just going to get it ready and put it in the fridge so we can just put it in the oven on Christmas.

Bacon Jalepeno Cheese Ball - I've never made one before, but my mom said she was making a cheese ball for Christmas, and I thought it was a great idea!  So I'm going to try this one.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies - Okay, this is one of the fallbacks, but it's one of our favorites so I wanted to make it again.  I'm adapting it this year though, because the recipe I have used in the past is too crumbly.

Carrissa's Chewies - My mom bought me this Rocky Mountain Sweet Shop cookbook, and these cookies are in there.  They involve coconut, chocolate chips, and almond extract.  Yum!

Blitzen's Bites - From the same cookbook above.  In which you pile cocounut, brown sugar, toffee bits, marshmallows, and almonds on top of graham crackers!  They looked good.

Rolo Pretzel Bites - I don't know who first came up with these since I've seen them on Pinterest and the Rolo bag, but it's genius!  

Some sort of popcorn creation - This is still in the works.  I just wanted to do something with popcorn.  I may end up coming up with my own creation.

Vegetables - I'm just going to cut up a bunch of vegetables for us to munch on.  Sometimes on Christmas I just get sweeted-out (my own term for having too much sugar in a 24 hour period).

Do you do a spread of Christmas goodies for your family?  

Gwendolyn's Birthday Banner

I can't believe it, but in about a week Gwendolyn will be turning one year old!  It seems surreal to be talking about her first birthday party already.

I've been thinking about her party theme for a while, and it's changed a couple times.  Can I just say that it's a little challenging to think of a fun party theme when your baby's birthday is so close to Christmas?  It was hard to think of something that fits with the winter season that doesn't seem too Christmas-y.

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I think I finally hit on a good theme though, and I'm excited to post about it after her birthday party in early January!   But in the meantime, here is a little sneak peek!


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My blog friend Jenna runs the shop Elle Jay Party Decor, and she offered to send me a birthday banner to review!  I was so excited to have a nice, professional banner for Gwen's party!  I told her my theme and general color scheme, and she came up with this beautiful banner.


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I think it goes perfectly with my theme for Gwen's party, and I love the snowflakes!  It's the perfect touch of winter without being Christmasy.  The ribbon and card stock are really sturdy, and I love it because I know I'll be able to use it again for some of her parties in the future!


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If you are looking for a custom birthday banner for one of your kiddos, check out Jenna's Etsy shop!  She has so many cute, affordable banners, and she also does coordinating cupcake/cake toppers!  She also has some adorable Christmas items available, and if you order by Friday you can still get them by Christmas Eve!

She does beautiful, high-quality work, and is easy to work with.  I highly recommend ordering from her shop! 


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If you order something before January 31st from Jenna's shop, just use the code CALLIE3 to get free shipping!

So that's one little piece of Gwen's party decor and theme - you'll have to wait for the rest!

Note: I received this birthday banner for free from Elle Jay Party Decor in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.

Christmas Card Photos 2013


I think all my Christmas cards have finally been mailed, and most of them received, so I thought I'd share our Christmas card pictures!  I took some of the ones of the kids and Derek, but my friend Ashley took most of these for us and she did a fantastic job!  I really like the way they turned out!

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So, since I can't send all of you a Christmas card - consider this my little Christmas card to all of you!  You all make blogging so much fun, and I want to say thank you for visiting my little corner of the internet.  Praying for a beautiful Christmas season and blessing for all of you in the New Year!

Thanksgiving and Deck The Halls 2013

This year was our first Thanksgiving as a family of four!  

We started off the morning by going to the Thanksgiving service at our church - I had never been before, but I enjoyed it!  They open up the service for testimonies and sharing what you are thankful for.  It was a nice way to start the day.  I always debate whether I should stand up and say something at services like that though.  Our kids were wiggling all over the pews, but if I had stood up I would have said that I am so grateful for them.  It was a challenge getting pregnant with Wyatt and Gwen, and then the Lord blessed us with this sweet surprise baby.  We haven't been through nearly as much as some to get our kids, but what we did go through has just cemented to me how great a blessing children are!  Even when they don't sit still in church and dad takes the baby out, and then the toddler spends the rest of the service waving at said baby who he can see through the back door and occasionally yelling out "Hi Gwendolyn!" while people are trying to talk.  Ahem.  

 We switch off every year between visiting my family and visiting Derek's family on holidays, and this year we spent Thanksgiving with Derek's mom and dad.

Family picture.

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Gwen's first Thanksgiving!  She ate everything we gave her, so I think she enjoyed it.  I suspect that sweet potatoes were her favorite.

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Wyatt had a fun time playing and reading his book with Poppa!  He didn't want to eat dinner though.  Crazy kid.

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The kids with their Poppa and Gramie!

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Everything was delicious, and after dinner we played one of our favorite dice games.  It was a lovely Thanksgiving!

On Friday I went Black Friday shopping with my mom and sister and pretty much finished all my Christmas shopping.  Then we headed to the mall because our church held a flash mob there!  It was fun to watch and they did a great job!

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On Saturday we packed up the kids and went to a small town Christmas parade!  It was fun to watch Wyatt this year, because he loved everything about the parade.  Gwen was just cold, but she liked smiling at and charming all the people around us.

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I took Derek to one of the sandwich shops in town that I go to for lunch sometimes (the parade was right across from where I work), and Wyatt and Gwen were so smiley!

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 Then we came home and worked on setting up the Christmas tree!

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Of course Gwen had to pick out her stocking.  Years ago I found these little stockings I liked at Hobby Lobby, so I bought up a few of them for my future children.  We let Wyatt pick his stocking for his first Christmas, so this year Gwen picked hers!  She chose the red one!

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Playing with the nativity set.

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Then we started decorating the tree!  Wyatt gets really into putting the ornaments up.  I love watching him!
  
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Gwen liked looking at the ornaments too.  I think the favorites for both kids were the sparkly ornaments!

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Gwen kept watching Wyatt put the ornaments on the branches, and she actually grabbed an ornament, crawled over the the tree, and tried to put it up!  It was so cute!

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Gwen "helped" me put the tree skirt on, and Wyatt was dying to put up the star with Derek!

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I love these pictures, Wyatt loved putting the star up!

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 And just staring at our pretty tree when it was all done.
  
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Derek and I got to wrap up the weekend on Sunday with a date!  We went to see Catching Fire.  I read The Hunger Games last year and I have very mixed feelings about the Hunger Games, but I wanted to see the other two movies to see how it ends.  Mostly because they sucked me in with the love story - I want to see what happens with Katniss and Peeta.  After watching the movie (which I liked much better than the first one, movie or book), I decided to go ahead and read the other two books in the series.
I'm still thinking I would not recommend this series to just any young teenager, because it is very violent.  It bothers me a bit that it's geared toward teenagers, because I'm not convinced that every teenager in our society will handle it well or be able to pull any point out of it.  The violence is supposed to be horrible in the book, but the whole story is still very glamorized.  And I still don't think the "point" is well represented in the books (so far), but I will withhold final judgement until I finish the series.

We are a little late on starting advent, so as I write this it's our plan to start tonight!  Derek's brother and sister-in-law always send advent stuff for us every year, to go with the advent calendar they gave us, and there are quite a few presents and goodies waiting for the kids as we get closer to Christmas!  I think Wyatt will love it.

I love this time of year!
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