Sunday, November 29, 2009

Amanda Turns 3!

Little did we know on Monday, November 27, 2006 when we welcomed Amanda into our family, how much richer our lives would quickly become.  Shaun and I both grieved the passing of this year of her being two.  It was enchanting, difficult, wonderful, trying, magical.  Anyone who has known her for two minutes can testify to the fact that there is something special about her.  She's not afraid of anyone or anything and has a magnetic personality.

Over and over and over, I've watched complete strangers be affected by her...even the hold-out ones eventually have to smile. People give her candy, toys, money, etc because they are so blessed by that "something" about her...all of that personality wrapped up in a short, solid body is more than they can ignore.

Amanda has been an incredible blessing to our family,  I wish there was an adequate way to capture the essence of her this past year.  We rejoice that she's growing into the girl and woman God created her to be and we would never want to hold her back in anyway, but, without a doubt, we will always hold "Amanda being 2" as a precious, amazing year.  And now I'm crying...again.

It worked out well that most of our family was still around from Thanksgiving.  We celebrated the day after, Friday, on her actual birthday.  I think I counted 25 adults and 13 kids....just family.  We ate lasagna and salad (I didn't dare serve turkey in any form).

The night before Amanda was up for a good part of the night, so she was quite tired.  Shaun actually slept in her twin bed for a couple hours because it was such a rough night.  She starting wearing down towards the end so this is her big sister telling her she needs to smile.  Avery said, "you need to smile like I did on my birthday" and then ran to get the picture of her doing just that.

Earlier in the day while I was making her cake she said, Mom, you worked so hard to make my cake! then, when she came down from her nap she checked the counter and said, Oh good...I was afraid all the people ate my cake! 

Amanda, we love you just the way you are and feel so blessed to have been entrusted with you for a few short years.  Have fun being 3!

My daughter, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart, 
for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. 
Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.

Proverbs 3:1-3

Project 365, Week 48

November 22
We have a little remodeling project going sister came over with some paint colors she had kicking around and we talked colors for a while.  Decisions, decisions...

November 23
My sister-in-law came over and we had a baking night in anticipation of lots of company and parties.  The girls "helped".

What a face!

November 24
Shaun gave me a big surprise by presenting me with a box that said "Nikon" on it....a new lense (50mm 1.4)!  It is very similar to my favorite one that walked away with my former camera.  It has lots of great uses, one being that it does well in low light settings.  Knowing I'd be needing wanting it for the upcoming Nutcracker performances the girls will be in, he gave it to me early so I could use it.  A man who listens, understands, cares....and he's mine!  Needless to say, I snapped lots of pictures testing it out.

November 25
Shaun's grandparents arrived from Florida to spend Thanksgiving with us.  Shaun had a basketball game so we made it a family affair.

November 26
Thanksgiving Day!

November 27
Amanda's birthday...3 years old!

November 28
Shaun took his three girls to Boston to see The Nutcracker.

Sara had a great Thanksgiving week, too, warm southern style in short sleeves!

Friday, November 27, 2009


So...I've got tons of fun memories and family times to blog about but we're still in the thick of it, so I'll just leave you with this one picture that has me laughing.

Avery to Shaun: Daddy, did you sneeze?
Shaun (still waking up): Huh?
Avery: Yeah, look at your sweatshirt...did you sneeze?

Me: laughing as I overhear this conversation and put it all together.  Shaun had stepped outside to get something and it was raining.  Just for the record, he covers his mouth when he sneezes....and then promptly washes his hands. :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I Heart Faces ~ Sun Flare

When I saw the photo challenge this week at I Heart Faces is Sun Flare, I immediately thought of this picture.  I like the sunlight coming through the trees and the emotion on my brother-in-law and sister-in-law's can just tell they are in love! 

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving ~ Part I

Several years ago, my side of the family decided to move the day we celebrate Thanksgiving to the Saturday before, so we would all have the chance to be together and its become a treasured tradition.  As my sister Bethany would tease me, I think every tradition is treasured and tradition simply constitutes doing something more than once...maybe so.  It truly was a celebration of our countless blessings...we are thankful for all God has done!

My sister Amy and her husband hosted this year and did an amazing job.  Their family of seven lives in a perfect house for holding lots of people and there are lots of places for the kids to play, not under our feet.  Actually, it was a beautiful day, so most of it was spent outside...I didn't get a picture of the hockey game that Uncle Chris and the boys were playing in the driveway.

My dad and his wife (Pop and Kiki)

My mom and her husband (Grammy and Bobbi)

Three boys celebrating their first Thanksgiving!

10 adults, 11 kids (just missing my brother and his family of five)

Only a three year-old lets you take this picture and doesn't get mad...and....the inevitable....

Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men
Psalm 107:8

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Project 365, Week 47

November 15
I didn't even know Avery had taken this picture, but we'll go with it because you can see the swelling in my one knee.  The results of the MRI showed a bruised kneecap, which is what has caused the fluid build-up.  There is also some fraying and tendonitis.  The doctor offered both surgery and physical therapy as options but said they were not necessary.  I can start using it, I just need to "listen to my body".  So, I'm back to the same old boring excuses that everyone else has for not working out...time to get these last 10 pounds of baby weight off. 

November 16
Caught these two conspiring together.  Amanda was showing Aiden which button to push to use the camera...oh, she must have a list a mile long of things to teach him.  :)

November 17
Avery is starting to read pretty well so I picked up a reading sheet from the library and she crosses off a square with each book she reads.  Made a rookie mom mistake and assumed because the library had the sheets out, there was a program running.  When I inquired about what the prizes were and was told there were none, Avery was already well on her way.  So, I brought a prize to them that they could give to her...a gift certificate so she could take her family out to ice-cream.

She was very proud and we were all very full!  You go, Reader-girl!

November 18
Last year, on Shaun's side of the family, we decided to pare our giving to each other way down and instead pool our money together and adopt a couple families in need.  We enjoyed it so much (ALWAYS better to give than recieve, isn't it?) we chose to do it again.  This year we had two families.  My super-organized-sister-in-law-who-needs-to-start-a wedding-planner-business Sarah, had gone shopping online and figured out within $10 what we could get them within our budget, so all we had to do was go around the store and find the items.  Thanks to good planning, good sales and a timely 30% coupon, we were able to get a lot for our money.  Then we went back to Micah and Sienna's apartment where we organized and wrapped everything and ate pizza.  If you are in the area, this is the organization...we've been very impressed with how they run things.

November 19
Avery was reading to her brother and sister who were paying close attention. 

November 20
My dear friend came home for a couple days and we got to spend most of the day together.  We talked and laughed and spent some time getting to know each other's kids.  She was like chocolate for my soul.

November 21
Once all of my family had in-laws, we decided to move our Thanksgiving celebration to the Saturday before, to ensure we could all be together and to free up Thursday for "the in-laws".  Its become a special day for us, even though my brother cannot be there (we missed you guys!)  For the first time, the kids outnumbered the adults...10 adults, 11 kids.  So much to be thankful for, just in that one room!

Sara is taking a break from her break to host all of our projects.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Three Peas in a Pod

This is a post that Avery will some day be mad at me for doing, but its not every family that can say they have three in diapers so I wanted to document this small window when our life's savings is going to purchase diapers.

Avery has been potty trained since she was 22 months old, except for naps and bedtime.  Several months before her third birthday we cut out the nap diaper and now we are working on the bedtime one.  In fact, the reason I decided to take pictures now is that she's had five dry nights in a row...this could be it!  Amanda is still both nap and bedtime and super happy with that.  We started potty training her over a year ago and I think she'd still prefer to wear a diaper all the time.  When children are old enough to put on their own diapers, that's clearly a sign that its time.

Avery, if you ever read this, I want you to know that you thought of and organized this next picture.  I was going to be satisfied to just get a quick one of the three of you.  Maybe its because you don't go to preschool so you have little to compare to, but it really doesn't seem to bother you that you put a diaper on every night, just like your sister and brother.

Love those rolls!

And feet!