Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Very Joyful Christmas

Recently at church our pastor preached on joy, the true meaning of it, and how easily it can be for our joy to be stolen by others or life circumstances if we allow it.  When I found out that we were going to be spending Christmas in Shreveport and that Ryan would be working, I was determined to make the best of it, have a good attitude and not let the circumstances steal my joy.  For us the work weekend began on Thursday which is when overnight call started.  No problem- I had all sorts of fun things planned and we were going to have a great holiday as a family of three.

Well Thursday morning I awoke to the sight (and smell) of a little boy who had come down with the stomach virus.  Needless to say the rest of the day was spent doing endless loads of laundry, multiple baths, and not so pleasant encounters with the stomach bug.  By 5:00 I was ready to drop and that’s when I got the phone call.  An emergency surgery had come in and it was going to be a late night. Fast forward a few hours and Ryan was home only to get another page: time to go back to work for the rest of the night.  Can you believe that this repeated itself the following night too??? I started the inner mind chant: have a good attitude, have a good attitude….

Late Saturday morning Ryan finally got home and things seemed to be looking up.  It was cold and raining, but we decided for Christmas Eve lunch to go the nontraditional route and eat some Mexican food at Trejos.  Afterward we decided we would brave the crowds and go hang out at Barnes and Noble.  We had a great time but unfortunately a diaper blow out ended our excursion a little early!

Chips and Salsa...yummy

Reading a story at Barnes and Noble

We came home in high spirits to take a little break before church and drove in to find this: 

Gallons and gallons of water, in our attic pouring through the ceiling.  As much as I was trying not to let my joy get stolen the $$$ signs began racing through my head as I contemplated how we were going to be paying for this and how to get it fixed.  We did the best we could with the roof and jumped in the car to go to church.  2 pages from the hospital into the service Ryan leans over and says that we have to leave because they need him in the ER.  So much for singing Silent Night…  We go on over to the LSU hospital and James and I spend some quality time alone in the cafeteria together. 

Finally home, ate leftovers for Christmas Eve dinner, the baby was in bed, cooking for the next day done, and still contemplating the roof situation.  At that point we hear a big crash.  A little more ceiling had fallen in. Nice. We also noticed that more water was creeping down the sides of the wall as well. More $$$ running through my mind.

Thankfully Lindsey offered her help and found a friend who was willing to come on Christmas day no later than 6 a.m.  to look at the roof. Praise Jesus!  Surely things were going to be a little smoother for the remainder of the weekend.  Santa came and put out the presents, and we went to bed.

1:00 a.m- page for Ryan to go look at a CT scan.  2 hours later we are both still awake. 4:15 a.m- page to come back to the hospital to admit a new patient.  5:15 a.m. – my alarm goes off so I can meet the roof man. 5:30 a.m- James wakes up, and I start hiding the Santa toys so he won’t see them before Ryan gets home.  

Hello Santa
Ryan was able to get home, Santa got the toys back out, and we were able to celebrate together for a little while.  Afterward we really wanted to go help at our church Love Feast which is a huge meal/outreach to the community on Christmas day.  Would you believe less than an hour after we got there Ryan got paged to go to the VA hospital?

Hanging out at the VA hospital

Helping daddy at work
The church Love Feast for the community

At this point I’m at the edge of a major pity-party and I prayed, “God, I’m trying so hard to remember the real meaning of Christmas and be joyful, but this just kind of stinks”.  And then slowly He brings things  into perspective for me.  Other various moments from the weekend are re-lived in my mind.  

Moments like when the lady beside me at church cried after telling me that it was the first Christmas since her mom died.  

This morning when Ryan told me about having to tell the patient that he was called in for that he has cancer…what a thing to find out on Christmas day.  Or the young guy who needed emergency surgery for cancer which was why he was so late the night James was sick.  That guy was younger than us. 

The friend from high-school who hasn’t seen her husband in 9 months while he has been in Afghanistan.  

The hundreds of homeless and low-income families that we were able to celebrate Christmas day with together at our church.  

Priceless, precious moments with my husband and son.

And I am reminded that we are so blessed. 

And then I gently hear God say, “Emily it’s not like the first Christmas was so picture perfect either”.  I’m sure Mary would have loved to have had all of her family celebrating with her and a great dinner after laboring somewhere warm and cozy.  Instead that first Christmas took place in less than ideal circumstances and harsh conditions.  Yet I’m sure that on that blessed first Christmas day Mary and Joesph were overwhelmed with all that the Lord had done for them, as I am on this Christmas day as well.  No we didn’t get to have our normal Christmas traditions, our family wasn’t with us, and things didn’t go as I had planned.  But we still received the peace from knowing that we were exactly where God wanted us to be, the reminders of His many blessings in our lives, and joy from the most perfect gift of all: Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

16 Months and a Little Bit More

Wow, I feel like I was just doing a 15 month post! This is a fun but challenging age as James is starting to need to be disciplined more and more.  Even though he is starting to really communicate with us he gets even more frustrated when we don't understand what he is trying to tell us. 

Stats: wears 24 month clothing, size 5 diaper, size 5 shoe (about to move to a size 6) 

Likes: shoes (wearing them and hiding mom and dad's shoes in random places around the house) the moon (random but looking for the moon in the sky and finding the moon in books has become an obsession!), playing outside, reading books, playing hide-and-go seek 

Dislikes: loud noises, Santa, having clothes put on

James you are 16 months old and are so much fun!  Every day you amaze us with what you are learning how to do.  We have been working on picking up toys together and also using a spoon by yourself (very big mess).  You can identify your hair, head, eye, mouth, nose, belly, ear, and toes.  You still love to eat but you are a little more hesitant to try new things, and we can't trick you very easily anymore! Suddenly in the past week or so you have started to love to look at books and have your parents read to you. This makes your Mom especially very happy since she was a teacher!  Your favorite book is Goodnight Moon (we have read it 5 times today) Some of your more recent words have been turtle, tree, nose, and eye but you seem to be learning more words every time we turn around.  You have 13 teeth and another is coming in, leaving you very cranky at times.  Overall you are much happier now than you were a year ago at this time, and your mom and dad are very thankful for that! We love you so much! 

Here are a few fun memories from this past month:
This was Ryan's outfit when he was little

How cute is the bow tie?

JT got his first "big boy" haircut. I did not like it at all! 
Over the past month Ryan has been super busy.  It's also been slightly depressing to know that we aren't going to be with our families until after Christmas, but we have been trying to make the best out of it by doing some fun activities such as...

Visiting the boardwalk on one of the busiest days of the year

Seeing Santa- not a fan!

Reading stories
Eating at Shogun and practicing with chopsticks

Destroying the bedroom
Getting bundled up to see the Christmas lights

This is how we do Christmas in Louisiana!!!
Making a birthday cake for Jesus- one of my favorite traditions growing up

Decorating the cake

Here is a little video of the decorating process
During this process James discovered M&Ms and we had to cut the decorating short
Final product

Drawing Christmas pictures

Playing with the ball

Taking ornaments off the tree...
My present that he made me at Mother's Day Out :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tis the Season to Be Jolly!

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas around here! We have had lots of fun things going on the past couple of weeks. 

A few weekends ago we got the opportunity to go hear David Crowder Band one last time in Texas.  Believe it or not they started their band the same year that we started dating...11 years ago! We counted up that we have seen them at 10 different venues over the years, each concert with its own special memories.  Farewell DCB- we will miss you! 

Before the concert we stopped at a place that defines the phrase "hole in the wall" but it had AWESOME Mexican food
Final concert

The "Keytar"
We have been doing lots of other things as well such as:

Lunch dates at Chick-fil-a  (JT is saying "please more chicken")

Playing with mysterious packages

Going to Bennett's  snow birthday party. Lot's of fun!

Making s'mores

Not so sure about the snow...

Playing with an early Christmas present from Granny Deb and Granddaddy

Ryan decided he didn't get enough of Thanksgiving dinner so I made part 2: turkey, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, rolls, green beans, and chocolate pie. Yum!
Getting ready to go to church

What is on that tree? Some balls!
Snack time

Helping with the Advent calendar

Time for the faculty Christmas party
I needed to make a dessert for the ornanament exchange
(which I ended up not being able to go to)
so I chose something that James could "help" me with.

Don't worry- we ate the ones that were on the floor!

That was a good cookie!