Saturday, December 25, 2010

We must have been good!

6:25 am and Ty's awake so I headed upstairs to see if Kate was awake too...surprise, she was. At that point, we gathered everyone and started our Christmas morning. Santa brought the family a new trampoline!

Santa made a mess!

Grandma set up a scavenger hunt for the girls to find their big gift. They had a blast with it.

And here is the "big gift"! They've been on eBay all afternoon budgeting their money!

Kate got this castle tent and everyone loved playing in it. It is set up with all Kate's favorite things in her room in anticipation of her first sleepover in it tonight.

It's a John Deere! Ty gets one before Dad or Grandpa!

Once we had our breakfast of cinnamon rolls, spice cake coffee cake and egg casserole, Kate headed out to play in the snow.

Okay, so Lauren has decided she has to have the Justin Bieber cut out from the mall. My dad found out she was willing to pay $35 for it and has decided he wants to be a cut out too! He believes he is worth $36 with $1 being donated to charity! (My sister added that she felt sorry for the charity!)  Once we got this shot of him in Kate's princess tent, we developed further plans of putting him on the cover of romance novels too! He says "it's just what the young ladies want"! Dear heaven, we are a sick bunch!

The best gift was Ty adding the word "pa-pa" to his vocabulary.

And when it was all said and done.....this mess remained! After Mom and Dad headed on to Theresa's house this afternoon, Greg and I packed away all the Christmas decorations and recovered the house. It feels so good to have it restored to "normal"!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve Checklist


Our Christmas Eve traditions include:
    1. Arrival of Grandma and Grandpa
    2. Crab legs for dinner!!! We only get them once a year so it is SO special!
    3. Christmas Eve service where I was able to burn off said dinner chasing my son for over an hour. He doesn't stop moving!
    4. Jesus' Birthday cake!!! 
    5. This year we added a viewing of Makenna's play for Grandpa and Grandma
    6. Reading the Night Before Christmas by the tree
    7. Preparing a plate for Santa and his reindeer
    8. Watching the start of a white beautiful
    9. Tucking into bed with the "not before 7am" talk and anticipating very sweet dreams

      Merry Christmas friends.....

      Wednesday, December 22, 2010

      Christmas Cookies!

      I will seriously need a work out plan by New Years at the rate I'm going! Makenna and I worked on the cut out cookies last night. We had them ready to be decorated when Stephen (Erin's boyfriend) arrived today to help. Having him here was really nice when the center of the mounds bars needed cut! That takes some serious muscle power and my hands never appreciate that level of abuse! In the end, we had iced sugar cookies, buckeyes, mounds bars and pizzelles. Oh yeah, going to need to work out!

      Erin and Makenna both enjoyed being creative with the cookies.

      The fondue pot makes melting chocolate so much easier than the double boiler. My grandma made me this apron years ago with left over fabric from several of the dresses she'd made my little girls....which only included Erin and Lauren at that time. I only use it when I bake with my just feels more sentimental that way.

      His arms are getting longer!

      And if I move them too far into the center, well......he now climbs onto the table!

      Monday, December 20, 2010

      Fairy Tales

      I love fairy tale endings. Really love them. You know the ones that have everyone living happily ever after? The ones that allow the bad to be redeemed, the good guy to win, the sick to be healed, etc....I love a happy ending. In my immaturity, I trust God also loves happy endings. He would only call us into His work if he had the perfect ending in place for our lives. Ultimately I know the ending with God is perfect and joyful and glorious, but on earth, life hurts and the journey can be painful.

      Seven years ago today a beautiful, tiny boy was born into my heart. He was there as a result of God's calling for me to love this baby. Initially I said, "not me, Lord. My plate is full, but I promise to pray for this precious baby". God didn't call me to pray for him just yet. He called me to love him. The longer Greg and I prayed for him and his biological family, the more strongly we felt God calling us to love him as our own. We started the adoption process, attended the ultra sound where we learned he was going to be a boy and continued praying with our church family about the mighty task God had given us. We knew we would face hurdles and there would be complications, but trusted God to work out the details.  But, the journey we were on included broken, hurting people who made choices along the way. You see, Ryan Patrick was born to one of God's broken daughters. She was having our son because she had an affair. We learned upon Ryan's birth that she was also addicted to drugs, therefore so was he. We were supposed to be adopting Ryan to help this couple save their marriage, get clean and raise their other children the way they know is best. Ryan would serve a painful reminder of a poor choice and his birth mother wanted to save him from that burden. Nine days after his emergency birth, my beautiful son passed away in my arms as I sang to him and told him all about God who loves him and was waiting to welcome him into heaven where there were no tubes, pain or sadness. I walked out of that hospital still feeling the peace of God around me. He carried me and comforted me.

      As we attempted to put ourselves back together and move forward in our new "normal", I was overcome with resentment at times because I didn't get the happy ending I expected. Losing Ryan, I tried to justify would somehow make his birth mother straighten out, heal their broken marriage and make their other children the priority they deserve to be. None of those things evolved out of our loss and I was so angry. It has been a long journey of healing for me. I've struggled with making Ryan's life matter. Only we knew him and the impact was so great. It is so hard to think of him as forgotten or that he didn't matter. He is God's baby. He was my baby. Each year as his birthday arrives, I struggle with what to do to mark his day. It certainly hangs in my heart throughout the holiday season, as our only nine days with him also had to revolve around the demands of Christmas gatherings, keeping things "normal" for the girls and being at the hospital every day for Ryan.

      Last year. God revealed to me one of the reasons I struggle so much with this season is because no one was willing to slow down and step back their plans because of a baby. I imagine that is how God must feel. At what point do we slow down and take note of the baby all of this business is supposed to be about?
      This year I was blessed to hear a message from a lady in our church who lost a 14 year old daughter to cancer just a few years ago. She was amazing. She said, "if I am breathing, I am grieving, but I choose to live in joy". It was so beautiful and healing.

      God's been working on me. I am grateful. I have enjoyed this season for the first time since I held my son. I still think about him and wonder who he would be in the mix that is the Baughman family. I was so blessed to be called to be his mom. It was a privilege, no matter how short our time together. I am grateful God called me to love him, because that was the easy part. And this year.....well, I've marked his birth by sharing my heart and spending the day out and about with one of my girls. I am okay.

      Sunday, December 19, 2010

      Miss Glamour Doll!

      Makenna played Miss Glamour Doll in this year's Christmas play. She LOVED the role and found she was quite natural playing an important diva (surprised?....I didn't think so!). Anyway, the play opens in a toy store where a little girl is making her Christmas list. It is miles long and her mom is frustrated she doesn't understand the true meaning of Christmas and leaves her to think about it awhile. Lindsey, the girl falls asleep among the toys and wakes to find them all alive and ready to learn the true meaning themselves. In telling the Christmas story to the toys, Lindsey becomes really aware once a boy comes in to buy a Miss Glamour Doll for his sick sister. They all discover this little boy has done a lot of odd jobs to raise the $100 for the doll and has asked for nothing more than to see his sister smile. In the end, they all realize God's gift to the world is the best gift ever and we should be focused on giving others God's love rather than material wish lists.

      Having Hannah there, makes the process that much more fun for Makenna.

      I think I need the bring the box home....."go to your box, Makenna!"

      One of Miss Glamour Doll's lines mentions how she'd like a Mr. Glamour Doll, only at one point in the play, Captain Courage gives her a tissue and flower and she is clearly not pleased with the gesture! She did not stay in character for that scene!

      Thursday, December 16, 2010


      Ty gives the "wise guys" a lift
      Makenna captured this one. She adores this little guy. He is confident he is adored by all!

      I love this baby! I could just kiss those cheeks all day...if he'd let me catch him!

       We had an ice storm hit our area last night. Roads are a mess and schools closed for the second time this week. Erin was really looking forward to wrapping up her first semester but we were informed a little while ago that school has already been called for tomorrow as well. She is excited for the break but nervous she will need a serious review before January 3, 2011 when she has to take half her finals as a result of this week's closings.

      My other children were disgruntled when they discovered the icy conditions would not close our dining room, although I am giving them tomorrow. A couple of the girls have been invited to neighbor's houses for gatherings and I am not THAT mean....usually.  

      Wednesday, December 15, 2010


      Teething......we've always said the number of fingers in the mouth indicates stress levels....this poor thing is REALLY stressed!

      Erin adores little Cameron. He is so happy these days and such a cuddly baby.

      Kate is "relaxing". Okay?

      Erin had a stressful couple of days with weather complicating her final schedule at school but she walked into the house to discover little Cameron in my arms and immediately smiled. There is just something special about having a new baby in your arms to shed light on what is important. He smiled really big for her just before snuggling in for a little nap.

      Ty has had another week of teething and has found himself a little grumpy at times. I have no idea how many teeth are in his mouth or how many are on their way. It is too dangerous to stick fingers in there to count!

      Monday, December 13, 2010

      Snow Day!

      Kate couldn't wait to play in the snow. It was so cold, I kept trying to hold her off. In the end, she played outside for 10 minutes and came in looking like Rudolf, so we compromised. I brought a bowl of snow into the bathroom sink for her to play in.....she loved it!

      Erin appreciated the snow day home from school as it allowed her an extra day to study for finals. She was ready for the study break as she headed to work tonight. Lauren and Makenna were once again horrified to discover our dining room table was still accessible for school today! They'll thank me in the spring when we are finished and the neighbors are sitting in classrooms.

      Ty's 17 month stats

      Ty is looking for the laundry balls I use in the dryer. They are generally tossed around the house while I fold each load.
      This little man is already 17 months old. Trucks, balls, playing outside, feeding Brutus, wrestling, and "Dad" are his favorite things right now. He still sorts toys and loves his trash can. "Helping" Mommy keeps him busy. The dog food, stairs, kitchen trash and bathrooms continue to be too enticing to be refused so those things remain gated off. His vocabulary has grown to 20 words. We are noting his attempts to repeat us as well. He babbles all the time and is making a lot of new sounds so real conversations are just around the bend. I can't wait to hear what all he's got to say!  He's wearing 18-24 month pants, 24 month shirts, 24 month/2T one-piece outfits and size 7 shoes. Greg and I were watching him this weekend and mentioned just how much fun our "little surprise" has been. The first few months of his life were exhausting and rough, but he makes us smile every day. I wonder what God's got in store for him.

      Friday, December 10, 2010

      I love playdates!

      I love getting together with two special ladies in my neighborhood. They have great kids and we can talk about everything from church, faith, breastfeeding, parenting, tea and meal planning together. We say we get together for the kids because it started off that way......

      And afterward, the kids look like this and we can get things done! Today I was able to take a walk all by myself! It was 50 sunny degrees so I drank in the fresh air and felt nothing but gratitude for my friends, the sunshine and my kids.

      Thursday, December 9, 2010

      This year's "Uncle Brad" gift was a hit too!

      Last year's tee shirt read, "Oops, I just made a Michigan in my pants".

      Ty added the word "touchdown" to his vocabulary during this photo!

      Sunday, December 5, 2010

      One down....

      We were able to work in our Baughman family Christmas today around Greg's schedule and the Baughman's travel plans. Ty fussed a good deal of the drive up, repeating "all done" and "down" over and over. By the time we arrived, we were all ready to be "all done"! He made up for it by sleeping the entire drive home. Kate didn't allow that peace to last and used the time to harass and taunt her sisters in the back seat. At one point, Greg told the girls to "just ignore her and she will quit" and immediately gasped saying he sounded just like his mother! Family road trips don't improve with time......It was a gorgeous drive though. Greg drove up and I looked like a tourist taking photos of the snow covered landscape out the van window. I couldn't help myself and wished there was more snow!

      Ty found a trash can in the office and drug it out just as we started opening gifts. He was more interested in throwing away the wrapping paper than seeing what was inside any of the packages. He had a blast. Kate may be on to something with her prediction that he will grow up to be a trash man! Grandma has given up on her gift opening system. There are just too many kids to keep track of whose turn it is to start each round! They all had fun and were spoiled rotten, as usual.

      After dinner and gifts, Grandpa used the tractor and took the girls out on the bobsled he and Greg built together about 30 years ago. They came in half frozen but smiling from ear to ear.