Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Houston Christmas Lights

Christmas lights are so enticing!  They sparkle and flitter in the breeze and allude to the Light that is Jesus.

We went with David and Laura to the zoo for Zoo Lights before Christmas break.  Even on a Wednesday night, it was busy, but not so much that it wasn't enjoyable.  The zoo has added so many features since we went the first year of its existence.  Man Cub did great in the carrier, and we had a nice time with my brother and sis-in-law.

The next night, our local fire station drove through with the truck decked out, blasting Josh Groban's Christmas album, and tossing out candy canes.  This is a yearly tradition we look forward to.

Between Christmas and New Year's, we headed down to Galveston to Moody Garden's Festival of Lights.  We'd never gone before, and we were super impressed.  Our favorite part is that they actually tell the whole Christmas story instead of just focusing on the secular parts of Christmas.  What a treat!

What are your favorite local places to see lights?  We'll have to keep trying new places as well as maybe re-visit Moody Gardens!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Recap

We had a fabulous Christmas, and I think Man Cub agreed!

On the 23rd, we had our own little Christmas just the three of us.  That's when we learned our little guy loves ripping paper-oh boy!

He got two little toys from us, an Aggie Baby DVD, and his daddy made a donation to ACE in his honor for the kiddos' Christmas party.  

On Christmas Eve, we played Mary, Joseph, and Jesus at UBC's Christmas Eve service.  I was so excited to get a family photo with the camel, but the camel seriously pitched a fit and refused to load into the trailer.  The owners tried for an hour and a half, but when a camel doesn't want to go, a camel doesn't go!  Oh well.

It was a different experience for us to be in the service like that.  We spent 20 minutes outside as part of the nativity scene with goats, sheep, shepherds, and a donkey, and then waited in the foyer for about 25 more minutes til we took the stage as the Christmas story was read.  I loved that we were apart of this though it made for extra challenge to focus on actually worshiping.  Man Cub was excellent the whole time.  We've since been recognized in public 2 times as the Holy Family.  Ha!

We were going to spend Christmas Eve at my parents, but someone decided he couldn't sleep in his crib there, or with Mommy and Daddy there, so 'Baby Jesus' fled to Egypt at 12:30 so we could get at least some sleep before family Christmas the next morning.  *He hasn't slept great since then...grrr*

Once we got back to my parents, we had a beautiful breakfast and then took turns opening our gifts.  I'm was so proud of my family for not going overboard with the presents.  Our little guy's favorite thing was his Johnny Jumper from his uncle David and aunt Laura.

Mama and her grandbabies

The next day we Skyped with Isaac's family and opened presents together that way.  It was a fun, if not terribly odd and awkward, way to chat for a bit.  Let's just say I am certainly not a fan of video calls.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!  We celebrate because of You!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Man Cub: 5 Months

Oh, little Chimwemwe, we love you so very much!  We finally picked your Zambian name for you based on your personality: always happy/giggling/joyful.  Everything is an exciting game to you, and you are teaching us to choose joy in each moment.  Your little laid back personality, huge, gummy grin, and deep belly laugh attract friends and strangers a like.  I'm so grateful to see God using You so often to bring a smile to others.  May He always use you, and may you always want to be used by Him!

Your sleep hasn't really changed from last month.  You still go to bed between 7:00-7:30 each night, and you sleep til 6:45 or so each morning.  On weekends, I can nurse you when you wake up, and then you'll go right back to sleep until 9:00 or so.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!  You're more or less at one morning nap of about 1.5 hours, an afternoon nap of 1.5 hours, and a 30 minute nap about 5:00.

You are still such a good eater!  You nurse around 6:45, 4:30, and 6:45 during school days.  Then you'll have a 6 oz pumped bottle at 9:45, 12:45, and 3:45.  If it's not a school day, you nurse at those times.  Your lack of weight gain is starting to be a concern.  We visited with a GI doc who is treating you for reflux to see if that will help you gain weight.  You and I also spent a Saturday at Texas Children's to make sure my milk wasn't the problem; it isn't!  It's better than average, so we've got to figure out what's going on with you!  I love petite babies, but even petite babies are supposed to gain weight!

You've learned to blow bubbles.  This entertains you (and us!) for ages!  You've discovered your feet and think your toes are quite tasty.  You can almost sit up unassisted.  I'm excited for the day you can sit but not yet crawl!  We found a baby carrier that you, Daddy, and I all love (Pognae), so you spend a lot of time in that just chillin.  So glad we don't need the stroller very much any more.  You still love to sing/be sung to.  You can pick up small thing and put them in your mouth so we tried a bit of avocado just for earlier this week.  I think you managed to eat about two bits.  Fine by me.  It was more to entertain you than anything.  You're learning to actually pet the dogs and you can almost throw Aggie Belle's ball to her.  More often than not, you respond to your name/Chimwemwe. 

Baths, puppy kisses and cuddles, being outside, music, being sung to, your swing, the Bumpo, the excer-saucer, time on your playmat, when your grandparents and great-grandparents sing and talk to you, laughing, cooing, drooling, squealing, being flown around like Super Man, being tossed in the air, the Pognae, eating, sleeping, sitting in your high chair when we are eating, rings and other chew-on toys, your new cuddle toys, and grabbing anything you can reach

Dirty diapers, being too sleepy or hungry

Five Month Stats:
Weight: 11 pounds, 15 ounces
Length:  25 1/8 inches
Eating: nursing/breast milk bottles 6:45 am, 9:45 am, 12:45 pm, 3:45 pm, 4:30 pm, 7:00 pm
Bedtime: between 7:00 and 7:30
Awake: sometime between 6:45-7:15
Naps: usually 8:30, 1:30, and 5.  Sometimes more...just depends on how hard you've been playing.  :)
Diapers: Size 1 
Clothes: 0-3 month and 3 month onesies; size 3 months and some 3-6 months pants and rompers because you're so long!

Merry Christmas!

We have had a day full of family and fun, and most of all the joy that fills us each day from the gift of Jesus! We hope each of you experiences this unwavering joy today and always! Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Man Cub's Christmas Outfits

Thanks mostly to my mom and Tot 'n Teen, Man Cub had the cutest outfits for Christmas.  Boys 'n Berries, Kissy Kissy, Magnolia Baby, Osh Kosh, and Bailey Boys came through for us big time, especially since most of these were bought in the spring 75% off.  :)

Smocking of Santa and his goodies:

This little romper has Santa's face on the leg.

This romper with the gingerbread train was super cute but also has a circus scene on the other side, so he can wear it all winter!

Snowman, Santa, and a Christmas Tree play clothes

Kissy Kissy makes the softest clothes!  Mom had the reindeer and 'my first Christmas' embroidered on it for him.

Our friend Brenda sent us this sleeper.  So warm and cozy!!

I bought this for our Christmas card photos.  The tree tab is removable, and my friend Kim is monogramming the blank tab for me so Man Cub can wear this all winter too!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

My 30th Birthday Wish

I turn 30 3 weeks from today.   I have lots of thoughts about that, but those are neither here nor there. Here's what I do know: I can't think of a better way to be celebrated than by having at least 30 people make a donation to ACE/CACZ to help those we love so dearly in Zambia.  We work so hard to keep families together, educated kids to provide them a way out of poverty, and unite orphans into forever families.  Even just $5 can make a HUGE difference to my Zambian friends.  Would you consider making a donation here?  Then, let me know that you made a donation so I can thank you and keep track of my goal!

Christmas Decor

I adore having the house decorated for Christmas.  We don't go totally crazy, but I love what I have.  It's most my angel collection from childhood and my nativity collection from adulthood, and I enjoy how it all comes together. 

My little fair trade tree.

It was exciting and strange all at once having 5 stockings this year!

The larger 2 nativities are from the West Bank and the little one is from Honduras.

 Nativity on the left is from Peru and the one on the left is from Venezuela.

I want to add ribbon to the tree next year.

Another Israeli nativity with two prints from our She Reads Truth Advent devotional. I hang all of our Christmas cards around the stair case railing each year.  It's festive!

Two of my Zambian nativities.  The Precious Moments one is a hand-me-down from my parents. 

This is my current favorite:

The little trees on the left are from Zambia, the big one my dad's mom made for me when I was a baby, and the little tree on the right is from my mom's childhood.

The tree has nativity ornaments from England, and the other one is from Mexico.  

Mom bought this tree for Man Cub's room.  He's loved having it to look at, and I love that I can easily turn it on in the middle of the night or at bedtime for just enough light to change a diaper.  

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