Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Jill's First Birthday!

Our little baby is one year old! So hard to believe. Jillian is a joy. She smiles nearly nonstop, and is such a sweet cuddler. She hugs me every morning and lays her little head on my shoulder at night. I hope that she never grows out of that. Happy First Birthday, Jilly-Billy!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas 2010

I love Christmas for many reasons, but mostly because it reminds me that I am blessed. Blessed beyond measure with plentiful provisions, a healthy and happy family, and--foremost--our Creator and Redeemer, who humbly took the form of His creation. It was wonderful to see Kate start to really "get" the Christmas story this year. As we did our Advent activities every day of December, Kate was excited and filled with anticipation for Christmas. Many mornings her first words would be, "Is it Christmas yet?" She was also excited about the decorations and loved putting "her" ornaments on the tree, as well as the tree topper. Next year, she'll have to give Jill a turn at that.

Soon after the tree went up, I realized we needed some sort of barrier to keep Jill's curiosity from littering the house with ornaments. Luckily I found a baby gate/playpen at a garage sale that worked well.

Josh surprised us all with an early Christmas present one night by buying and secretly setting up a fire pit on the back deck. He had me and the girls come out to find hot cocoa, marshmallows, and a nice warm fire. So sweet.

Since we'd be traveling for Christmas, Santa made a special early delivery to our house on the 21st. Kate laid out milk and cookies for the very first time, and went to bed with visions of sugar plums dancing in her head.

This is what she found the next morning...a doll house!

Jill seemed pleased with her toys as well.

We spent Christmas at my mom and dad's house in East Texas. My mom wanted to dress Kate up in different costumes portraying the Christmas story and take pictures to make into ornaments. Kate was only too willing. She has a flare for the dramatics. Here she is with a solemn portrayal of Mary.

My two sweet shepherds.

And a Wise Man bringing gifts to a wiggly baby Jesus. When Jill escaped from her costume, Kate said, "Baby Jesus, swaddle up again."

Kate surprised us with a spontaneous Live Nativity performance. I caught most of it on video, but unfortunately I'm having trouble loading it on here. Here's a a still shot of her telling us the Christmas story. Note her props--the sheep and the tiny manger scene near the doll house.

Another highlight of our time was making a birthday cake for Jesus. Kate really enjoyed this, and we plan to make it an annual tradition.

The girls had great fun opening gifts at Grandma and Grandpa's.

Kate received a real guitar, and it was a huge hit! It didn't take her long to start serenading us.

Of course, Jill was most fascinated by the paper but did seem to enjoy her gifts as well.

On the morning of the 25th, the girls awoke to find their stockings filled. Santa made a second pass to bring books and a few small goodies.

In addition to the fun of Christmas, the girls enjoyed spending time at their grandparents' house, where there are always great adventures like four-wheeling, hiking, and exploring in the woods. On Christmas Day, we gathered with extended family at my aunt and uncle's house (about 10 minutes away) for lunch. There were 8 young kids there, so Kate had plenty of playmates, and she even got to feed chickens and collect eggs! It was indeed a wonderful holiday!