Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas Pictures-Part 1

I am finally getting around to posting some pictures of our Christmas this year! I have so many I will have to do it in separate posts though. Here is our house all decorated. I just love, love having Christmas decorations and lights out in our house. It is so cozy and makes me want to stay home all day! But just this morning I took the last of our decorations down. They are boxed up and put away until next year, although I could not stand to put away all the white lights! I left one strand out to use for Hayes' birthday party coming up this month. They're just too festive and fun to put in storage all year!

Our big tree!

Nathan and I got our stockings as a shower gift before we got married from my sister. I finally decided on one for Hayes this year after buying 3! I knew she would always have it and I wanted it to be perfect!! My mom always put so much time and thought into our stockings growing up (and still does) and I plan to do the same for Hayes. So I saw the Kelly Rightsell stockings on Kellie P.'s blog and had seen them at the holiday market here in B'ham. You see how it is still not monogrammed? I'm afraid to do it b/c it will force me to make a commitment about keeping it forever-hahah! Anyway I love it and hope to add more of these to our mantel in the future.:)

I always put up this small tree in our dining room with old ornaments. I love it. They are all old w/pictures and I love that some say 1978, 1981, etc. I guess I'll do this forever b/c I can't stand to not use them someway and our big tree always holds our new ornaments (from this decade anyway!)

Family Christmas dinner. This was year #60 for this I think? (but my 30th:) This is our big event with my dad's side of the family. I always look forward to this every year and it was Hayes' 1st Watson family Christmas dinner. It's the only time we get to see alot of our extended family/cousins and lots of fun. Nathan always laughs b/c we get the save the date for this in June. There is really no excuse to miss it (ha-Alyssa!! just kidding! they didn't make it this year b/c of a trip and they were definitely missed!)

Hayes' bunny class Christmas party-her first party-so cute! She did have on a cute Christmasy outfit but couldn't manage to keep it clean until party time, so she had to change into her "extra" clothes from her bag!
This is her little friend, Rutland and his mommy Adrienne who I work w/at Covenant. A was my old roommate at Auburn for 2 years and suitemate our freshman year!

1st ride on the carousel for Hayes! It was all decorated for Christmas w/reindeer. She didn't know what to think about it at first-it was a little long for her! There will be many more trips to the carousel and I know she'll love it!

This is entirely too long if you are still reading-so sorry! December was just a long month w/lots of activities! I don't know why I feel the need to add so much text to my pictures. Be back later w/part 2!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Camera Ideas

I am coming back soon w/a Christmas post! We are just getting settled back in from being out of town and this week we are thankful to have company until Friday. Hopefully I'll get around to posting some of the many pictures of our Christmas this year. It was so fun that it was Hayes' 1st Christmas!! She had such a big time playing with the boxes, paper, and ribbons. She did not notice all the gifts so much but I know she really is grateful for everything!!

We are in the market for a new camera finally and I am in need of some suggestions! We have had 2 in the past 5 years and I am telling you neither one of them is ideal if you're constantly taking pictures of a little one. I need one that is fast and good for children. Nathan's doing some research and I'm supposed to be doing mine! So if you have a camera that you just LOVE or do not love, let me know. And I've already gotten raving reviews on the canon rebel so I know that would be a great one. Any advice would be much appreciated!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Our Grandaddy

Our sweet Grandaddy passed away early Sunday morning. We knew it was coming but just did not know when. He had pneumonia for the last month and his body could not fight it off anymore. We have SO many good memories of him and it's really neat to look back at pictures of him. We found out yesterday morning on the way to church. Nathan brought me back home and I tore the picture basket up looking for as many pictures of him I could find. These are some of my favorites that I'll share. It's so funny when you look at pictures that you can (or I do at least) remember that very moment when the picture was snapped, where you were, who was there, etc. Even ones that are so old.

Grandaddy was such a sweet, tender, smart, loving, caring man. All he ever wanted to do was to take care of his family. My favorite phrase of his was "whatever my baby wants!" He was very sensitive and emotional. He would tear up and almost cry about anything related to his grandchildren. He loved his whole family so passionately, 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren. I'm so thankful the Lord let us have him for 88 years. He had a long, healthy and productive life. He was in the real estate business his whole life until about 5 years ago when he decided to retire. He served in the military and loved to show off his uniform and tell you about all his travels around the world. And lately in the last few years he loved to try it on for us!

He was married to my Grandmother for 63 years and loved her so much. We're so proud of the legacy of marriage they left for all of us. My sister asked him a few years ago about the secret of marriage, and he simply said, "well, you just stay around." What a simple secret and easy advice.

But the funny thing was that my Grandmother had a twin sister, Louise, who we all called "Ease." She and my Grandmother always dressed alike, were super silly, loved to entertain and be the center of attention. They called themselves 'moviestars' because they were in a few commercials during the 90's. Ease's husband passed away in 1990. So from then on, it was like Grandaddy had 2 wives. He took care of Ease like he did my Grandmother and the 3 of them spent alot of time together. I'm sure it was not easy for Grandaddy with these 2. It's really hard to explain them-their personalities, jokes, dressing alike, etc. I think our family could easily write a book about them!

(At the twin's 80th birthday party-don't be scared, these are not their real eyes!)

Lastly, would you please keep my grandmother in your prayers? She is going to be moving to Birmingham now that he is gone and is very confused. We hope she'll adjust quickly and easily and we're so happy she'll be close by us now. She has lived in Montgomery her entire adult life, but we know she will be fine wherever she is.

Hope you take time to really enjoy your family this Christmas season and remember that relationships and memories are all that matter! Merry Christmas!!

I'll post our Christmas card soon! I still have a few more to send out!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Good Day and Night

We really appreciate everyone's thoughts and prayers today for Hayes! She did very well despite not knowing what was going to happen to her. She of course screamed when they tried to weigh her, listen to her breathing, and all the easy stuff. She does not like anyone to mess with her and she will let you know it very quickly!! After a few minutes of playing w/their toys, the nurse let us walk her back to the monkey doors to drop her off. When we handed her over, she screamed her little head off all the way down the hallway!

We got back to the room and about 2 minutes later the doctor was already calling telling us they were going to take out her adenoids, they were huge and swollen. So really by the time we walked back down the hall and to her patient room, they had put her to sleep, put her tubes in, and had already determined her adenoids need to be out, SOOOOO fast. So they did an IV and gave her more anesthesia. That was probably the theme of our visit to Children's in the last 2 days-efficiency! Everyone does their job really well and quickly. I guess when you're working w/children you have to do things fast!

So we came home this morning and she slept all day until around 3:00. She only woke up for about 30 minutes to eat and then went back to sleep. She had so much medicine in her I didn't think she would ever wake up. But when she did wake up, she was happy and by late this afternoon she was back to her old self. I was missing my little sidekick all day while she was napping but I did enjoy some free time.

We had a wonderful experience at Children's South-the staff, rooms, playroom, snacks, doctors, short wait times, helpful people, giving instructions, etc. EVERYTHING about being there was very positive and we're so thankful to live so close in case we ever need them again (but hopefully not:) Thank you again to everyone for remembering her today. God is so good and faithful and we know He was the one taking care of our little baby today through all the doctors and nurses, and through our praying friends!
And now we are all going to bed early at our house-Good Night!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Early Christmas Present

Our sweet little Hayesie Daisy is getting an early present tomorrow morning. Santa (at Children's South) is bringing her a set of tubes for her sweet little ears! We went today to meet w/the doctor and went ahead and scheduled her for tomorrow morning. She has way surpassed the '3 ear infections in 6 months rule' and has had about 5 infections in the past 2 months. Those little ears just cannot get well on their own. So, tomorrow morning when she is finished they say we will have a brand new baby, which makes me sad and happy altogether. I love her just the way she is, even if she's a little fussy at times b/c of those ears! But happy too because I know she will feel 100% better! She had a tympanogram (Tara I thought of you doing all that testing in the quiet room w/the steel doors!) and it showed mild hearing loss b/c of so much fluid that has built up. But that is nothing to worry about and it should be cleared up after the tubes are in. Also, she may have her adenoids removed if they look too large. Please say a little prayer for our baby girl if you're up at 6:15 Tuesday morning. We know she will be in great hands at Children's!

And all that pressure and drainage in her ears is really not holding her back too much (in the daytime at least.) She is on the go and ALL OVER the place. If I don't watch her for a second, she is out of the room, down the hall, and heading to the bathrooms trying to get into the toilet tissue baskets! She also has a love for the batteries in the pantry door.

This was at a fun music class we were invited to last week-SO cute and entertaining for the little ones-instruments, songs, dancing in circles, colored scarves, etc. ALOT of fun!! I think it is called Fiddlesticks Music.

Lastly with her big girl lunch, all finger foods. She is still eating a lot of baby food but is liking big people food more and more. I know she would eat almost all table food but I just need to get prepared and cook more things that she is able to pick up with her fingers. She is almost 11 months-so hard to believe she'll have her 1st birthday next month. I need to get busy!!

Hope you are enjoying the Christmas season with your family!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Here Comes Santa Clause

We are SUPER excited about Christmas at our house. Every morning when we wake up our 1st job of the day is the turn on our Christmas tree lights. And even better is when it's a free day that we can stay home from school and just play and enjoy our trees and decorations all day!

This was taken when Hayes just woke up from a nap and saw the tree decorated for the 1st time. It literally took 5 seconds before the 1st ornament was broken. She loves to stand at the tree and just slap at it and laugh!

We visited Santa Friday night and Hayes did not quite know what to think of him. She didn't really see or notice him at first.

But then when she actually looked up and saw who was holding her-oh my! She did NOT want this stranger holding her!!! She screamed her little head off! Maybe next year she will like him but for now Santa is just not her thing!

(*Little tip in case you have not already seen can take your camera when you see Santa and take your own picture so you don't have to buy a whole package. We saw Santa at Brookwood Mall and they let you do this, not sure about other malls though.)
Happy Monday!

Friday, December 4, 2009

The rest of Thanksgiving

Hayes has pretty much decided that she likes walking now. She sort of does half and half. She will walk all the way across the room and then turn around and crawl all the way back to you. I was just standing in the kitchen and she just walked into the kitchen to find me. What a sight! It is so funny to watch her. So since she's now into the walking stage, she just got her first pairs of new shoes. She does not really like them on her feet yet, she tries so hard to pull them off. I think she'll get used to them though!

Here are a few more of pictures of our Thanksgiving time with family. LOTS of good food, family, friends, sweet babies and plenty of blessings to be thankful for.

And now it's on to Christmas! What usually takes me a good day or two to get our house decorated took me about 6 days off and on this year. I had to squeeze everything into naptime and after prissy pot's bedtime. But we are finally all decorated and now we have the whole month to enjoy it! I love it!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Pictures

We had a great Thanksgiving week in Dothan. It was a long week and alot of fun to be with our families, but now we are soooo happy to be back home! It was very nice to have a long visit with everyone and I wish we could have those kind at least every month. The only sad part of the week was that Hayes had her 3rd ear infection, so she did not feel great and we woke up to her screaming every night (and still are.) No fun to be a sick baby w/hurting ears. But after several antibiotics that did not work, she had a nice shot this afternoon so we're praying for a peaceful night tonight with good sleep for everyone!
I have way too many pictures of our time in Dothan so I'm really having to pick and choose which ones to share. There are just so many and since this is our 'scrapbook' I do not want to leave any event out. So if you get tired of looking, just click away to another blog!

Visiting our Grandaddy at the hospital-he is doing a little better thankfully and leaving the hospital today to go to a rehab center

3 Elizabeth's

Girls Beach Trip

Mary Hannah's Thanksgiving Feast, she was a precious little Indian!

Playing with Carson

Visiting Nathan's mom's artroom at school

Ready for Thanksgiving!

I will have to post part 2 later. I hear a baby waking up! Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It comes and goes way too fast. Cannot believe it's already time for Christmas!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Vacation Week

We got started early this year! Hayes and I came to Dothan last Friday to spend our Thanksgiving week in Dothan. A whole week plus a day and I'm sure we'll still leave feeling like we did not get to stay long enough. Nathan will be joining us on Wednesday and it really cannot come fast enough. We are loving spending time with our families but there is just no one like DADDY. I think he misses us too, but is probably really enjoying himself and all his free time before and after work, the tv to himself, a quiet, clean house, no diapers, etc. Well now that I wrote that it really sounds a little sad now that he's there by himself without us!

This past weekend we had a fun girls beach weekend with all of my high school friends (minus Katie-we missed you)-SO much fun to get together and reminisce. It was so great to see each other and amazing that everyone(even Jenny!!) could get there since everyone is spread out w/families, and to be able to work it out for husbands/grandparents to keep all the babies. These girls are longtime friends, 15 and 20+ years-so thankful for all of them. It was my 1st time spending the night away from Hayes-of course I missed her but we mainly talked about our little ones (11total) and looked at pictures so it was really like we were not away from them at all! No responsibility felt really fun and strange, but I love my responsibility more than anything and could NOT get back to her fast enough on Sunday. No pictures from the beach yet though b/c my camera cord is not here with me.

Dothan has already been busy, visiting friends, lunch at Mama Rosas, playing with our cousins, seeing cute little Indians at the 1st Pres thanksgiving feast, and today we visited our Shug's (Nathan's mom) art room at school. Tomorrow we get to pick up our sweet big cousin Carson from school and eat lunch and play. He and Hayes play so good together-he is very sweet to her. He called last week and asked if he could marry her-he is three! Our trips home are never relaxing. With both families here, we rarely have time to just sit around-it's usually go, go, go running from one place/event to the next (which I usually like, but it's harder with a baby!) But even in the busy-ness of being here-running around to stores, eating lunch out, trying to take a nap somewhere (thanks Alyssa!!), trying to see friends and extended family- it's still fun b/c we're with our FAMILY (plus Hayes has thankfully been flexible and taken some very good, long naps!)

I do have some pictures to share that I just got back from Hayes at 6 months. I can't believe how much she has already changed just from these pictures though! Tomorrow will be 10 months-that is super hard to believe. She is working on walking more and more every day. She takes anywhere from 5-10 steps but then falls down and decides to crawl-that's so much easier and faster of course!

Prayer Request: Our Grandaddy is in the hospital in Montgomery with pneumonia, several blood clots, and several other unpleasant things. Would you mind keeping him and my Grandmother (who is very confused) in your prayers? We would appreciate it very much.

Hope you all have a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving with your family. We all have so much to be thankful for!
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His love endures forever. Psalm 100:5

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I Don't Want to Raise Successful Children

A friend sent this to me this morning from Proverbs 31 ministries website...a good reminder that worldly standards and benchmarks do not matter in God's eyes. It was such a catchy title that I had to read it and it was well worth it. Take a few minutes to read through if you have time!

I Don't Want to Raise Successful Children
19 Nov 2009
Lysa TerKeurst

"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)

I don't want to raise successful children. That's a shocking thing to read, and a shocking thing for a mother to type. So, let me clarify.

I used to define success according to my child's report card. Good grades and academic achievement would surely equal a good child with great potential in this world. But then several of my children wound up being average students with average grades. Though we carted them off to tutors and spent many a late night at the kitchen table helping them, they remained average. And I remained concerned and frustrated.

One report card day I found myself facedown in the fibers of my carpet crying and wonderi ng, "Where have I gone wrong as a mom?"

I dug into Scriptures. I begged God for wisdom and discernment. I prayed for God's perspective with each of my kids. Finally, one day it dawned on me - what if I simply chose to embrace the natural bent of each of my kids as God's way to protect them and keep them on the path toward His best plans for their lives?

What if my A student needs academic success to prepare her for God's plans while my average to below-average student needs to be steered away from a more academic future? What if my sports star kid needs that athletic excellence for his future assignments by God, but my benchwarmer kid is being protected from getting off course by her lack in this area?

And that's when it finally dawned on me. My job isn't to push success for my kids. My job as a parent is to recognize the unique way God created each child and point them to Jesus at every turn along their journey toward adulthood. Yes, I wan t my kids to learn and thrive and grow up educated, but it's not a flaw in me or them if they don't have straight A report cards and trophy cases full of sports medals.

Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it" (NIV).

I am challenged to ponder these words, "… in the way he should go." Are we training our kids that the "way he should go" is to chase worldly achievement or to chase God? Whatever they learn to chase as a child, they will chase as adults. Therefore, we must be challenged to honestly assess the way we are pointing them to go.

My daughter, Hope, is one of my average students. She has also warmed many a bench in the sports she's tried, and can always be found hiding on the back row of the stage during school concerts. Using the world's benchmarks for achievement, Hope wouldn't be seen as a child positioned for success. But God…

This past January, my 15 year old Hope, shocked me when she announced she wanted to go to Ethiopia with some missionary friends of ours and live in the remote African bush for the summer. Yes, she may not have trophies and straight A report cards but she does have a heart of gold. And because she's not entrenched in sports and academic pursuits that could have created obligations for her summer, she was free to go to Africa. Free to chase God in a really big way.

One of the first e-mails she sent me from Ethiopia read, "Mom, I've fallen in love with the AIDS orphanage children. They rushed at me when I held my arms out and I tried with all my might to hold all 30 of them at once. I love it here."

Now, don't get me wrong. I do expect Hope to return to her studies this fall, give 100% effort, and finish her high school career having done her very best. She will most likely then go to college. But she probably won't be delivering the valedictorian address or wearing the honors cords and medals. She'll be the on e with a vision of a dying AIDS orphan pressing against her heart ready to chase God's plans to the ends of the earth.

So back to my original statement, I don't want to raise successful children. It's true, I don't. Though Hope's sister coming behind her is an A student and can always be found on the front row of school performances - we don't chase after success for her either. I trust God that she needs those things in her life for the plans He's unfolding in her life. We train with that bent in mind. But, we don't chase it. Just like Hope, we point her in the direction of God at every turn and pray like crazy.

I stand by what I said and I'll say it again, I don't want to raise successful children. Because--- raising God-honoring adults who will set the world on fire for Christ is just so much more rewarding.

Lysa TerKeurst

Thursday, November 12, 2009

(Almost) Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

I had some serious food inspiration this week after reading Becky Tucker's blog about all her cooking in the kitchen this week. She made the Pioneer Woman's cinnamon roll recipe and when I read through it I was dying to try it for myself! The only downside for me is that it makes tons of rolls-like 50-100 and there is no way we have enough self control(or counter space) in this house to make, then freeze or give away that many without eating most of them ourselves. So I was at Publix earlier this week and found the Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix. You can make homemade rolls or cinnamon rolls from this mix. It already has the flour mixture and packet of yeast in the box.

So I woke up Wednesday morning about 6:30 and thought I would make the cinnamon rolls for breakfast and surely they would be ready by 7:15 or so. Well that was not the case. It turns out that the "from scratch" baking like the box claims is truly that. You mix up your dough, yeast, egg, water, etc. and then wait and wait. It needs to be refrigerated (like Becky said) so you can actually do something with the dough. Then once you roll it out with your rolling pin and put your cinnamon mixture on the dough, you roll it up, slice into rolls and then let it sit again to let it rise. So our morning breakfast turned into a morning project and we did not get to eat until 10:00. But, they were so worth it!! So you might need to do this on a morning when you have a few hours of free time!

Before Baking...

After baked and glazed...(and next time I would double the glaze recipe-just to have a little extra:)

The good thing is this recipe made 16 rolls. Eat them right out of the oven, while they are warm and soft! Also, this might be a seasonal baking item because it was on the end of the display shelf at Publix. I'm a frequent visitor to the baking aisle these days and have never seen it. You might want to grab a few boxes to stock up once you try them!

This picture doesn't have anything to do w/cinnamon rolls but Hayes wanted me to take her picture eating cornbread for the first time at lunch yesterday. Lunch date w/mommy and daddy at the Bluff park diner.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Morning Reading

Please take a moment to read Kelly's blog here if you have not already done so today. She wrote about day 2 of her trip to El Salvador w/Compassion and has many stories of families and children who have sponsors and how it has changed their lives. It is heartbreaking and humbling, but it is a great reminder of the great commission that we are all called to be the hands and feet of Christ (Matthew 28:19-21.) You'll be so glad you visited her blog too!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Botanical Gardens

I am super sad that I never got around to taking any pumpkin pictures with Hayes. It seemed like every weekend or any free afternoon we had was either raining, or had just rained the day before, too cool outside, or Hayes was not feeling good. So no pumpkin pics for us this year. That is okay though because hopefully there will be next year for the pumpkin patch! So today we had a lunch date w/our friend Lindsay and her precious girl, Caroline. Lindsay is a sweet, loving, extremely friendly, encouraging, supportive, and super fun friend from college days. She is at home all day w/her baby and one thing I really love about her is that she is SO spontaneous! She's the friend you can call who says YES to everything you ask her to do and does so w/much enthusiasm! There are many things I love about her but that is just one thing. I wish you all knew Lindsay. Maybe you do if you went to Auburn? She's precious and a beautiful friend inside and out. Anyway we met for lunch at Zoe's and then took our girls to the botanical gardens. It was a beautiful day in Birmingham today, not too warm or too cool. We talked and strolled and had fun watching our babies take it all in. So here are our fall pictures, finally!! No pumpkins, but plenty of fall flowers!

Hayes with sweet friend, Caroline...such a cutie pie and the most beautiful blue eyes!